Monday, February 28, 2011

It hurts when you have a sore throat and you’re trying not to cry…

I’m emotional today. My mother-in-law died suddenly and unexpectedly last night. I want to write about it, about the raw, honest emotions my amazing father-in-law is expressing, about the help we’re receiving, both from angels in our town and those in the spirit world, about my feelings about my mother-in-law, but I don’t want to be intrusive to those who are grieving. Perhaps when I’ve gathered my thoughts and things aren’t so raw, I’ll be able to write about this.
And I know that we’re supposed to let all of our emotions out, that crying expels hormones that make you sad, but when you are trying to hold everyone together, it’s hard to just break down and let it all out. That will come later, after the funeral.

So here’s the biggest battle I’ve had with my tears and my throat today…

You know that lump you get when you’re trying to hold back the tears. I know you do. Well, when your throat is sore because you’re coming down with the same virus your three littlest boys have, that lump makes your neck feel like it’s in a vice, and like you are going to gag. It physically hurts.

At the end of a difficult day the 14-year-old boy had offered to give Baby Hippo a bath in exchange for me doing his dishes. I gladly agreed to this, knowing that I could get it done in half the time he would. When I was finished, I went into the bathroom to see Baby Hippo happily splashing to the tunes of George Strait. Just for your information, the 14-year-old boy has recently become a cowboy, which means that he doesn’t actually work with cattle, unless a rare opportunity presents itself, but that he wears western shirts, Wranglers, and a cowboy hat. This also entails listening to country music, namely George Strait, 24/7. He has even asked why I haven’t blogged about his “cowboy-ness” yet. Cuteness!

Anyway, back to the bathroom. I sat down and told him that I was done with his dishes and that he could be on his way. He said, “Okay, Mom, but have you heard this song? It’s a really cool song”. I listened to the hit that was playing and I said no. Just as I answered, though, the chorus rang out, and I realized I did know the song, and I began belting it out...

“Let me tell ya a secret
‘Bout a father’s love
A secret that my daddy said was just between us
He said daddies don't just love their children every now and then
It's a love without end, amen, it's a love without end, amen”

He said, “Mom, I thought you said you didn’t know this song.”

“Well, I do. I didn’t realize it until the chorus came on.”

And this is when the lump in my throat, that had been threatening to emerge all day, reared its head and put my neck in a vice. I couldn’t talk, or even look at him, because my eyes were welling up with tears. I don’t know if it was the fact that he was touched by a song about fathers, and that he missed his father who committed suicide six years ago or if he was thinking of his step-father, John, and what he has meant in his life or if he was just imagining that this is the kind of father he wants to be, but whatever the motivation for his interest in this song, it affected me deeply.

I sat on the edge of the bathtub and listened quietly along with him, trying to keep from bursting into tears as Baby Hippo splashed and played. Then we got to the end of the second verse.

“Okay, Mom,” he said, “Now this is the best part. Listen to this.”

As the third verse started, he repeated, “Okay. Listen to this part.”

This is what it said…

“Last night I dreamed I’d died and stood outside those pearly gates
When suddenly I realized there must be some mistake
If they know half the stuff I done they’ll never let me in
Then somewhere from the other side I heard these words again

And they said, Let me tell you a secret, about a fathers love
A secret that my daddy said was just between us
You see daddies don’t just love their children every now and then
It's a love without end, amen, it’s a love without end, amen”

Okay, right now, as I’m writing this, the lump is back, and it hurts.

As I listened to this verse, a little quiet sob was released from my throat, but I don’t think he heard it because of the splashing. I thought of what profound thing I could say when the song was over and how I could say it without letting on that I was about to start sobbing like a little tiny baby.

When the music stopped, I said in a loud voice, so as to disguise my lump, “Yeah, that’s a good song.”

Profound, I know. And I know many of you are sitting there wondering why I didn’t just let it all out in front of my boy. I guess the answer is because I don’t want him to be all “freaked out” that I would burst into tears when he’s trying to share a thing that means something to him. I’m sure my therapist would have said that I should’ve let him see me cry, but I just couldn’t.

As he picked up his IPOD player and began to walk out of the bathroom, he turned to me and said, “So, Mom, I guess this tells us that George Strait believes in Jesus.”

I smiled at him and nodded and said, “Yeah, I guess it does.” Again, very profound.

I LOVE that boy. Here's the song...

P.S. My sister and I are finally getting skinnier!
See how we're doing it HERE! :)


Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear about your mother-n-law, how sad. Possibly the song was a way of your son, showing his sympathy and respect for the current death. Sometimes children release their feelings for something through what they know,(which was the words of that song). I know when my husband died my son felt guilty because he couldn't cry. And it was interesting that the songs that were playing 8 years ago fit our situation of my husbands death. I don't know why we all go through so many difficult trails, but am glad to have the gospel to help me through them. My family, friends and the gospel are my salvation. Love, prayers and thoughts are with you and your family during this time.

Jessica Kramasz said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. {{hugs}}

Pati @ A Crafty Escape said...

I am so sorry to hear about your loss.

Lynn said...

Hugs Jenn. I am SO sorry to hear of John's mother. It's so hard to hear the news when it comes and you wonder if the pain will ever get any better.

The same thing happened just a year ago for my husband when his mother suddenly passed without warning. The pain doesn't go away.....but it does lessen. The great memories of her is what keeps us going. Keep those memories alive. Write all that you can down now. And then if you wish to blog about it later....just copy and paste. You won't regret it. It will be a treasure for John, You and your kids.

Thank goodness that we have the knowledge that we do about this life not being the end. Until you meet again.......

Brian + Cheryl B. said...

Oh Jen.... my heart started aching for you as soon as I read about the part about your mother-in-laws passing. I know how much she meant to you. I know how much she will be missed in your life. Hugs is all I can offer. But thankfully I have an abundant supply of them. Here's one :->

I totally understand you not wanting to let your tears out in front of your son. He was indeed opening up and sharing a very special moment with you, and guys don't see tears as being a 'good' thing.

From the moment I first heard the song you wrote about, I too have loved it!!!! Oh the love our heavenly father has for us! Amazes me without end!!!

Here's another hug my friend ;->.

May God grant you the strength and endurance to gracefully make it through this ever so trying week.


a moderate life said...

Sending you a big hug and prayers for your husband's family. These are such difficult times to go through but at least you have the love of your wonderful family and you can all support each other. All the best, Alex

Emily Heizer Photography said...

I'm so sorry about your loss. I know you have to go on and function and take care of your family, but what my therapist says (and you know I spend enough time in therapy...) is to assign a specific time to be upset. So, if you can be alone and mostly free of responsibilities for 15 minutes or an hour at bedtime, or something, assign that to be your worry time, your greiving time, and let yourself grieve then. Let it all go. I know it feels like if you let it out you're not going to be able to come back down, but I promise you, you will.

I'm so sorry.

PS: I love baby Hippo and your little baby Georgie Strait

singlemormonchick said...

i was bawling and i dont even like that song. its a good message though.
i am so sorry about your mother in law. such a horrible thing to go through for everyone involved. i will add my little prayers to the millions that i am sure are being offered on your behalf.
thank goodness for the plan of salvation.
if you would take it and it would comfort you, i would give you a hug. :)

Bobbi Jo Nichols said...

I am so very sorry for you & your families loss. Praying for comfort to you and your sweet family.
Hugs, Bobbi Jo

Emily said...

So sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. You should really let those tears flow, instead of feeling that lump in your throat. Best of Luck getting through the next few days.

Elder Romney's mission said...

Let me know when that lump needs to come out, im not good at expressing feelings but im a good listener and I can hug!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Thank you so much, everyone, for your sweet words or condolence. And SMC and Jeni, I would take a hug from you guys ANY time!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Oh, and everybody else who offered {{hugs}}....

young mother hubbard said...

I'm so sorry for your family's loss.
I pray you'll receive the comfort you need.

Such a sweet moment between you and your son. What a special boy he is! I like that song to for the same reasons.

Janiece said...

deepest sympathy.
and just for the record...I tear up every time I hear that is ok to cry...really

Karen said...

I am so sorry to hear of your mother in-law's passing. Hugs and prayers for you and your family.

Keeley said...

I am so so sorry about the loss in your family. I am so so happy that you have sweet boys in your family. I'm crying for all the pain and sweetness of it.

blog master said...

Jen, thanks do much for.sharing that tender mercy. Made me think back to his Fathers beautiful funeral.
I had to stop and.clean my.glasses a few times to to finish reading it.
Our love, thoughts and prayers are with you all.
Love ya

Amanda B. said...

I am so sorry for your loss- that is so very tragic. My prayers are with your family.

I love that song too- it really says so much-

And I soooo know what you mean about the lump AND a sore throat- that is tough!

Expat Mom said...

Very sorry to hear about your mother-in-law, that has to be very difficult for everyone.

I really hope my sons grow up to be as great as yours! Just the fact that a fourteen year old offers to bathe the baby is impressive, but having him share stuff like that with you . . priceless!

Kelli said...

I love you. that is all.

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Kelli, I loved your comment and I love you. That is all.

Salsa Mama said...

I am so sorry about Aunt Louise. It just seems so strange to think of her gone. I wish I could be there with Paul for the funeral and give you all hugs. Just know I was there in my heart! Sending my love to you and your family. (((hugs)))

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Thank you, Salsa! We sorely missed having you here, but I hear you might be coming soon! Yay!