“It’ll get easier.”
“Eventually you’ll get accustomed to it.”
“There will come a time when you look back and realize you finally moved on.”
And the list could go on. All sayings people told me after Jason was killed. And, to each one of them, I smiled, agreed, and went on. But the one I heard most often, the one that cut through me, and caused me to shiver, was “It’ll get easier.” As if time will erase the hurt, the absence, the void, the feelings of guilt. Time heals all wounds – right?
How in the world would things get easier was all I could think? And, before we go further in this, please do not think I’m offended by people saying phrases such as this to me. In reality, I know they are trying to help, and they are saying the best advice they know how. Few people I know are in my position, and those who try to help are VERY appreciated, and honestly, I don’t want people to know first-hand what my life is like.
I don’t want them to ever feel in the depths of their soul, the reality that things would never get easier, only different. I don’t want them to experience the heart-wrenching moments where the smell of his cologne catches you off guard, and you fight back tears in the middle of a department store. I don’t want them to understand the days when all you can do is exist.
Things haven’t become easier, and they never will. Each moment, day, month, year would bring with it new challenges, thoughts, and events. None would be easier, perhaps I will be more prepared for them. Really, all the preparedness does is camouflage the hurt, “guilt,” and pain associated with whatever I’m accomplishing. Being prepared doesn’t make things easier. Living a life after you lose your husband isn’t something one can ever really claim is easy. It’s not something you train yourself for, practice the skills needed until you reach your max capacity. What happens is: I will learn to adjust, to alter, and to compensate whenever possible, but an air of easiness will never accompany these changes within myself. With each change, alteration, and compensation comes guilt, loneliness, and worry. And lately, with each change of my life or C’s, comes a sense of overwhelming unfairness. Unfair that my life seems to be made enormously more difficult because of one small choice.
I’m a firm believer in seeing the positive- not ignoring the negative in your life, but looking around it to see the positive. But lately my viewpoint of how unfair my life seems to be has caused me to fall into the deep despair of negativity. A pit I haven’t found myself for any length of time since Jason’s death. Yet, in the last 3 weeks, I’ve wallowed in this pit. In fact, while in the pit, I’ve thrown myself quite a few pity parties, and I’ve been the guest of honor! Each day in the past 3 weeks, it has felt like various people stand over my pit and toss more dirt upon me.
Meetings planned where I will view the evidence (a necessary and requested event on my behalf) – dirt!
“I miss my daddy.” “ I wish daddy were here to play football with me.” “ Why did MY daddy have to die?”- dirt, piled upon more dirt, and a few huge boulders that seem to be lodged permanently upon my chest!
People who make decisions that demonstrate their lack of respect or gratitude for our family’s sacrifice – dirt ground into the innermost parts of my heart and my soul. The places that influenced my choice to be an officer’s wife to begin with, and now some are rubbing dirt into those sacred places, and disrespecting our sacrifice.
In the beginning, being positive smiling Stephanie, I had my handy shovel, and I tossed dirt right back. And while tossing, I always tried to spin it, trying to somehow see the positive. And then, one day, I just couldn’t shovel anymore. In fact, I couldn’t even flick dirt. Positive seemed to be erased from my vocabulary, and in its place, I seemed to be substituting the word “unfair.” And each day I spent with my newfound use of the word “unfair,” I despised myself for being this way. I tried to embrace the bad days, and to turn them into good, but it just never seemed to happen. And, with each small pile of dirt, I truly felt for the first time:
“ this is my life, and I guess I’ll just have to accept it.”
While in my pit and throwing myself yet another pity party, I was explaining this feeling of being defeated. I discussed how scared I was for the trial to happen, and how at the same time I needed for it to happen.
Did I really have the ability to watch the videos of evidence?
Would I ever be able to vocalize exactly how my life has changed as a result of Jason’s death?
Could I sit in the courtroom and hear officer after officer recount the moments right after Jason’s death, and somehow resist the urge to go and hug them, to thank them once again for all they have done and continue to do for Jason and for our family?
I wasn’t sure I was ready to “go there.” And, the more I sat and thought about all this trial would expect of me: the physical, mental, and emotional moments I would have to prepare myself for, the more I began to feel defeated. I had waited for 8 months to be able to lay this chapter of Jason’s death to rest, and now, when it’s approaching, all I can feel is apprehension and fear. And again, the feelings of how “unfair,” this was crept into my mind. When the following message appeared on my phone, “If going there scares you, can you cope with your how your life will be by not going there?” And I thought:
Could I live with myself if I never sat through the trial?
Could I respect the woman I was if I never gave a victim’s impact statement?
And the answer was overwhelming….Nope!
And, just like always, when I’m throwing too many pity parties, God ever so “gently” taps me on the shoulder, and reminds me “His scales, not mine.” He reminds me of His bigger picture, and that my human mind will always view the changes, alterations, and problems that stem from Jason’s death as unfair. That even though my life may seem more “difficult,” than others, in the end, it’s all part of a bigger plan.
Today, for the first time in 3 weeks, I realized that the way to balance the scales is by being the person I was created to be in this situation. The person God has been preparing me to be for quite awhile now. I can’t cope with how my life would be if I didn’t attend the trial, hear the evidence, or even testify to how our lives have been changed, because the person God has created me to be isn’t the victim. She isn’t the girl who lays in a pile of dirt and allows others to generously pile more on top of her. She’s the one who gracefully throws the dirt right back out, but while doing so she makes it into positive. The dirt I’m created to throw back is the way to balance the scales.
Community service, forgiveness, friendship, supporting other police officer’s wives, raising a boy into a generous man, giving back, and being positive is how God intends for me to balance the scales.
Of course life seems unfair when I’m at the bottom of my pit throwing myself hourly pity parties!!! My view of the world is obstructed in my pit, and the only thing I can see is DIRT. Being the victim is easier when you allow yourself to remain in the pit. When you allow yourself to see your situation how the secular world wants you to see it.
Balancing the scales, well yes, it’s hard. It requires continual sacrifice, changes, alterations, and events that I don’t always feel I’m cut out to do. It requires me to relive the evidence a few more times, to think about exactly what happened that night, to verbalize the best I can the pain, fear, void, and emotional turmoil we have endured since Jason’s death, but even though all of these make my life more difficult, they are what I’m called to do. These actions make me the victor, not the victim.
I know I’m not alone. All of us can be a victim to some circumstance or event in our lives. We can allow the world to dig us a pit, and lay down in it while dirt is continually thrown upon us. What are you allowing yourself to be a victim to today? Who are you allowing to throw dirt upon you, to darken your perception of the world and humanity?
Identifying what put you in the pit, and who is throwing dirt upon you is vital to eradicating your status as a victim. But most importantly, what are you going to do to change it?
People will throw dirt at you as long as you allow them, so how will YOU change it? I can promise you that it isn’t through negative Facebook posts, whiny messages to your friends, or giving up. Nope, I’m not judging you for doing any of those because I did them all! And, they didn’t work. What works is refusing to allow the devil to continue to demote your mindset to victim, and instead, fighting his attempts to demote you, with positive thinking and giving back to others. Want to balance your own scales? Want to no longer be a victim? Then be the person God created you to be – a being created in His image. And, I can assure you that’s a far cry from a victim. His image is generous, graceful, forgiving, loving and the list goes on and on. Join with me today, and fight to no longer be a victim to whatever pulls you down. Instead, be a part of the good in the world, and watch as your status rises out of the pit and into the victor’s ring. And not because you did it alone, but because that’s the type of person God created us all to be!
As I prepare for the trial, and all of the emotions that I will experience, I ask that you continue to pray for our family. Pray for my strength to be the victor, no matter the outcome in the judicial system. Pray that whatever is decided at the end of the trial, that I will have the peace of mind to know that I have do everything possible to seek justice. And that afterwards, even though my life won’t be any easier, that I’ll continue to remember it’s “His scales, not mine.”