Personal Tools of Healing

There was already talk of the grief process before we ever left the hospital, people talking about the stages that we would go through as we grieved the death of our son.  I remember crying out, “Would it be ok if we skipped one of the steps in the process!”  There are plenty of books for you to read about the stages of grief, so there is no need to even go down that road.  Melvin is a pastor and a trained counselor well acquainted with the whole process, but when it came to us walking through this grief, it was by faith and through God’s grace alone. 
The tools that God has used to guide and heal us through this journey of stillbirth are His living Word, reading, quoting, and memorization, prayer, praising Him in listening and singing praise music and His people.  The shattered dream of  our son's life has left us with a renewed dependence upon God who continues to prove to be the All-Sufficient One.  In our greatest time of hopelessness, we are able to find the Source of encouragement and hope.  God is mighty to save!  There is only One that can comfort the greatest sorrow and fill the greatest void.  There is only One that can heal every wound.   
Even with trusting God with this struggle, there will be days that you do not feel like doing anything!   Sometimes we just want to stay in bed.  Thankfully, it does not happen to Melvin and I on the same day so we are able to encourage one another to abide in Christ and to rise on up and engage in daily responsibility, work, taking care of your other children, homeschool, etc.,.  In the early days, we forced ourselves to resume normal responsibilities as much as possible.  Push back quickly when you feel the urge to isolate yourself from everything.  Believe me.  Our grief is no different than yours.  We do not want to resume life.  For Heaven’s sake, what is normal life now anyway!  
From the very beginning, even in the hospital, Melvin had the desire to get us as a family away and do something fun.  This is essential!  People kept asking what they could do for us, and Melvin was not shy to say that he desired to get us away.  We had some dear friends offer us their cabin in the Great Smokey Mountains for a week getaway.  What an absolute blessing!  God used His beautiful creation in the mountains of Tennessee to begin to speak healing over us.  It was so good for us to see that no matter what, we are still a family, and still able to have fun together.  
Melvin and I  enjoy exercise, so that is one thing that we resumed as soon as possible.  For me it was 6 weeks postpartum because of the c-section.  Exercise is essential in helping to fight the pit of depression.  Exercise will release natural anti-depressants and can be a positive addition.  Another thing we did was plant a garden.  It was that time of year very soon after Elijah’s death for planting a garden.  I physically did not feel like stooping and bending, but it was great therapy for Melvin to pull me up a chair right beside where he and the children were working.  We called it “Elijah’s Garden”.  Also, Melvin and the kids planted several of the outside plants that we had received as condolences.  This proved to be a beautiful reminder of our son all summer as well as for the years to come.  Each year, there is an anticipation of the blooming plants to remind us that there is hope in the resurrection!  Praise God!  Melvin also used some of his emotional energy to do several other outside projects around the house.  He filled in the holes in our Bermuda grass yard with sand and pulled weeds.  As you can see in the early days of our grief, God’s wonderful creation played an important part in our healing process.  I think we ate outside on our back patio every meal for six weeks.