Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bee's Goodbye

Today (or by the time this is published, yesterday) was tough.

I spent 2 1/2 hours sitting in my chair with 1000 other people paying tribute to a beautiful woman's life that was very well lived.

I am exhausted and emotionally drained. Yet, after the long conversation Wally and I shared before bed, I am left awake with only my thoughts.

The service itself was nice. There was laughter, tears and stories celebrated all around Bee's life. There were numerous pictures to remind us of whom we lost. The spirit of Bee was nearly palpable, something I've only ever experienced at one other funeral years ago (and I've been to many, many funerals). Bee, in so many ways, was with us.

Though Wally and I happened to find ourselves surrounded by chatterboxes both before and during the service, and despite someone's outburst at a pinnacle point in Pastor D.'s personal message, AND even though a person had to be carried out by ambulance attendants on a stretcher, it was still a wonderful send off.

However, for some reason I found myself barely kept together through out the entire service. I felt like an over stuffed pillow who's threads were screaming 'We can't do this anymore!! We're not strong enough! We're going to burst! Watch out!!!!'

It may have been the sweet memories shared. It could have been the pointed statements that addressed Bee's clinical depression and the fact that 'She lost the battle of her mind'. Or .... it could have been the fact that I related so well, too well, to her obvious feelings of hopelessness that lead to her death.

Though my faith leads me to believe, with confidence, that Bee is at peace in the arms of her Father (and this does give me hope), my heart grieves deeply for the moments Bee will not share with her family from now on.

I also too easily understand how Bee could feel so hopeless as too no longer want to live.

I've heard so many times, from so many people (who quite honestly seem as if, according to the appearance of their imperfect lives, that they should be able to relate to her) that didn't understand why Bee would feel so hopeless, why she would give up on life.

I sit there and hear these questions and wonder what's wrong with me? Because I can COMPLETELY identify with wanting to leave this world and just end the pain that seems so incredibly overwhelming during different points in life.

I remember (as I've shared before) when I was 8 years old and wanting to end my life due to the bullying I had to endure every day at school. As I think back now I can't believe an 8 year old could possibly have those feelings, but I know beyond a doubt that I did. I will never forget the moment I pulled the cord around my neck, tighter and tighter until I knew that I wouldn't be successful. I gave up and cried wishing I never had to face the pain of others' mean words again.

I remember laater when I was a teenager, feeling lost and depressed when my best friend had found a boyfriend and I was left alone. When I wondered if faith was really real and I had yet to learn the Truth. I wanted out of life then. Luckily not bad enough to do anything, but I did fantasize about it.

Then another decade later when I experienced my first unbelievable loss, that of my aunt. I had faith at that time. I knew the hope we had in it, but the thought at the time, of living life with the reality of death getting it's grip , at any given time on someone I loved hurt too much. I didn't want to face life without her and with that truth. It hurt too much. I lay many a night awake in my bed praying that God would take me too so I wouldn't have to learn how to live without her. Even though I had a loving husband by my side doing his best to love me through.

A person can have the most loving spouse in the world and the strongest faith there is but when they are sad, when they are deflated, when they are broken hearted, their perspective is not accurate.

It was stressed upon a few times today that Bee had a chemical imbalance in her brain that caused her depression - that's what depression is scientifically, isn't it? No one wanted it to appear as though Bee's faith had dwindled at any point causing her to give up on it, thus giving up on life.

I knew Bee so I needed no convincing. Her faith was who she was, you could not divide the two. Some skeptics though would call her faith false or untrue, as it would appear too weak to believe in salvation from her emotional and mental anguish.

Many people can spout off Scripture after Scripture regarding all of the joy and freedom Jesus brings to those who are sad. I stand on these promises as true, but there are times when people are beyond sad, when their minds are ill and their emotions too much for them to receive the help that is available. Does it mean they are hopeless? No! Does it mean God can't miraculously heal them? No!

It means that we continue to live in a broken world waiting for the Healer to come and make it right. Some people ask 'Why does this happen?' The answer is what I've already mentioned. A broken world.

We had a chance to live in a perfect one but that didn't work out, now we must limp through what we've been given. However the good news is that we've been given a chance to walk and even run with joy through Hope. To not only survive in this broken world, but to also even thrive.

Often life is going so well that we question God when something goes wrong, because the hurt seems like the exception. Really, if we were honest, we are truly and overwhelmingly blessed to find and experience the gifts we have in this life (amongst the brokenness of this world) every passing day. Considering how far it is from what God intended it to be we should be much less shocked at the pain we experience and much more appreciative of the amazing miracles we are able to find in the every day.

How much beauty do you usually see in something that's shattered? However in this world and it's vast disarray we get to feel love from each other and we get to give and receive this love freely. We can hold a newborn baby all perfect and warm in it's state of amazingness. We are able to share life with a partner if that's what we choose. We get to laugh and experience joy at the littlest things. We get to enjoy what something tastes like, and be calmed by certain sounds.

There are so many ways each day, especially in our country, that we come face to face with what is good. So much that we find it appalling when we have to come face to face with something bad.

You're probably wondering how I went to identifying so easily with a mentally distraught person to preaching about appreciating that more often than not we live with the good things in life. I'm not sure how I got here either. oh well.

In short, I love Bee. In fact, I wish I could love her back here. I am also startled by the ending to Bee's story because it makes real the hopelessness one can feel. The hopelessness I have felt and could feel again.

I always want to focus on the wonderful in my life. I want to remind myself as often as I can that there's always a better way out.

Pastor D. said a few things that really struck me today. He reminded everyone to always say 'I love you' when departing from a loved one. He said, if he could, he would tell Bee 'I still need you. Our daughters still need you. We all still need you.' And he asked us all to watch out for our loved ones that may be experiencing depression and to not be afraid to get them help if it seemed needed.

Depression seems to be a taboo issue in our culture. We think it's essential to judge someone with it or decide that they are weak. If anything, I think those suffering with depression are just misunderstood and not given enough credit for the fact that they are getting through life. And if they haven't, it's not because they are weak. I think it's just because they didn't know what else to do.

Bee, I respected you before. I respect you now. You lived your life fully and with beauty. I admire that. Thank you for sharing your heart, but most of all your laughter. It brought a smile to many faces. What better gift can you give?

Give Papa a hug for me. I look forward to catching up someday. Enjoy your new home :)