One of the challenges I have found being a grieving parent is the profound emptiness I sometimes feel. My friend Mel put it best when she said, "We now all have a Lauren-shaped hole in our hearts that no one else can fill." I thought, "Yeah, that's right."
I mean I can be in a room full of people and still realize that empty feeling. I know Lauren is not there, whether I am with a room full of people I love, or a room full of people I barely know. I followed Ole Miss to back-to-back Cotton Bowls in 2009 and 2010 where there were literally thousands of people yet I felt that emptiness inside.
I struggle with this a lot. I wonder if the Lord understands my feeling of emptiness, when I am supposed to be filled up with Him. Is He angry at me for not recognizing that He is my all and for still feeling sad? I don't think so. I think He knows why I feel that way. I think He understands. He wept for his friend Lazarus like we weep for our lost loved ones. Yet, Christ raising Lazarus from the dead brings us the hope of resurrection and reconciliation with our loved ones.
The closest I come to complete fulfillment is during the Eucharistic celebration. At that moment of awe, I feel a sense of completeness that eludes me almost all the rest of the time. I am happiest at that moment, I think.
I will add one caveat to this post: In no way am I shortchanging the happiness I feel spending time with my husband, son and future daughter-in-law. I probably did not have to say that, but I will say it anyway. I love them with all my heart. But I loved Lauren too, and our separation is painful for me.
I know now that I can give this suffering to Jesus. He shares it with me.