37 Good Days in a Row….and Counting

Posted on: October 4, 2012

Dear Friends and Family Who Have Loved Us, Served Us, and Prayed for Us This Year,

It’s been about 9 months since we lost our Patrick, and about 7 months since I’ve been able to write. Finally, today I think I can post a note.  Since it’s been so long, I’ll do my best to catch everyone up with our healing process.  This may be the last time I write about it.

For the first two months I felt cocooned inside a very safe bubble of Divine grace. I’ve described it as having an I.V. of grace straight from Heaven into my soul. I still cried every day, often many times a day, but sensed an indescribable closeness of the Lord’s presence, and supernatural comfort – that peace that passes all understanding.

During those two months our house was a revolving door of love, with meal after meal, hug after hug, prayers galore, and our mailbox and inboxes filled with notes of compassion. If you sent a note or gift that we haven’t acknowledged, please don’t be shy about letting me know. We want to express our thanks to everyone who reached out to us.  (I haven’t had the wherewithal to write the scholarship thank yous yet, but hope to soon.)  We will never forget the way so many of you served us, prayed for us, fed us and comforted us. Truly, we were taken care of in a way that glorified God, and we’ve learned much about expressing compassion from you.

In February, after the meals ended and the visits slowed, it seems my dosage of that heavenly I.V. got lowered, much like pain meds wear off after surgery.  All the pain I’d been sheltered from slowly crept in, and I began to ache, heart and soul.

I can hardly explain how fragile I was from February to August. To give you a very small glimpse of what life looked like, I wasn’t able to look at Patrick’s senior picture or graduation picture.  If I absentmindedly caught a glimpse of that sweet smile, I would usually stop, drop and sob. Eventually, I stopped dusting those pictures altogether just to keep myself from going into another cycle of sobbing.  After a while one gets very tired of sobbing.

I couldn’t handle anything official regarding his affairs because I couldn’t bring myself to form the words that had to be said to the person on the other end of the line.  I could barely type them.  I thank the Lord for our adult children who handled everything for us.

One day I decided to delete videos off my camera to gain space, and unexpectedly played a video taken a month before the accident. There he was, so alive and so happy, as though nothing had happened.  And for three seconds, he was here. I was pierced afresh, turned it off, couldn’t breathe, and cried for days.

Twice while running errands I caught a glimpse of a tall young man with his lanky gait, and couldn’t stop staring – until he turned, and I saw a stranger’s face.  And then I couldn’t stop crying.  My head knew those guys weren’t Patrick before they turned, but my eyes bypassed my brain, and shot a message straight to my heart, and I couldn’t stop it from leaping and then crashing.

I’ve learned that waterproof mascara isn’t, not even the expensive brands, and I’ve attended more events makeup-less than I’d ever have thought I could.  Normally, I wouldn’t leave the house without at least mascara.

I couldn’t meet friends for coffee because the look of pure compassion in their eyes was utterly overwhelming to me.  I couldn’t attend my moms’ group, which I’ve had the honor of leading for over 12 years, because I felt I might collapse and cry in all of their arms as soon as I felt their collective compassion.  When I finally made myself attend in May, I felt like I had arrived in my hospital gown, and my goal was to get through the meeting without falling apart or running away.

Friends drove 4 hours round trip to treat me to lunch and present me with a necklace inscribed with Patrick’s name.  When they handed it to me, I burst into tears, and could not even look at it.

I’ve learned that when people love you, they carry part of your pain.  They hurt because you hurt. And it hurts to know that your pain hurts them, but you are completely without resources to help them in their pain.  You barely have enough resources to tend to your own.  And the only way they’ll stop hurting for you – is when you stop hurting.

Bill and I have both been constantly comforted by the children, and they comfort one another.  Having our Sanguiney-Joel around has kept us totally engaged (big smile here because he is very fun and highly verbal).  And frequent dinners and fellowship with the rest of the children have brought real comfort.

Grace in, grace out.  This is the mantra I’ve breathed all year. And for 7 months I’ve kept myself busy in this house that now feels too big, spring cleaning and deep cleaning each room, and tackling our yards and gardens with great diligence.  All in an effort to keep my mind and hands busy.  And because I needed to be alone.  I never felt like God left me; I knew He was here.  But I needed to be apart from people.

We have three floor-to-ceiling windows in our family room dressed with dark chocolate, heavy wooden blinds.  My ritual each morning on my way to the coffee maker is to open those blinds to the tip-top, letting the early morning rays of sun come flooding in.  Our black lab always races me to the windows, confident that today is the day a crazed burglar will finally appear, and he will prove himself my protector.  Alas, each morning it’s still school children and mommies with strollers who glance in at my drooling, wagging, barking dog.   When I get the last set of blinds opened, the cat jumps gracefully to the ledge, seats herself importantly and stares out, welcoming another day of silent condemnation on everyone and everything in the world.  After all that satisfying judgment, she falls happily asleep.

Before I open the blinds, the family room feels private.  Not gloomy, but necessarily and appropriately private.  The world outside has been closed off, shut out until the night has passed.  I think that’s how I’ve felt for 7 months. Like the blinds to my soul were pulled down, in a need to guard my privacy and my grieving until the night had passed.

I wish I could say I was an Elizabeth Elliot or a Beth Moore, and that I’d spent those months memorizing Scripture, or in hours of meditation and prayer.  Or as one friend puts it, listening to my “self-talk” truth.  No, I just weeded gardens and cried, shampooed carpets and cried, polished wood floors, transplanted flowers, vacuumed under couches, washed curtains, painted rooms, dusted blinds, deep cleaned toilets, tubs, ovens and cabinets – and cried and cried and cried.  And cried.  And I have only been able to camp in the New Testament whenever I read, where difficult things happen to God’s people, as opposed to the Old, where the ground only swallowed up the disobedient ones.  I truly believe I was upheld and carried by grace and the prayers of friends and family.

And then came Wednesday, August 29th.  I was running errands in Bill’s truck, when, in the middle of traffic, and for no reason I can understand, something super far down inside me said, “It’s okay. You can go on living now.”  No, I didn’t hear those words, but I felt that message.  Was it the Lord speaking to my heart or soul?  Was it something inside my head telling myself it was okay to move on?  Was it that I had completed a certain number of days appointed for me to grieve?  I don’t know.  I know very little about God these days except that He is still absolute love and still absolutely sovereign.  I do know that a sorrow that had been gripping my entire person for 7 months had just disappeared.  On Newberry Road, between 55th Terrace and 62nd Street.  And it felt right.  And good.  Like the blinds of my soul had been lifted, and light was creeping in, and the world outside was no longer off limits.  It felt like the night had just passed and morning had come.  And something in me shifted.  Or I let go of something.  Or something let go of me.  And August 29th became my very first “good day” since February.

The next day became Day 2 of “good days in a row,” and I went about my work with hope and purpose.  But, I wasn’t comfortable sharing much about it, lest I crash and make people even sadder.  On Day 3, I said to myself, “Wow, this feels like another ‘good day.’  Maybe whatever happened in traffic that day was really real, really something important.”

On Day 16 I attended my moms’ group.  I was amazed and delighted to walk through the door as I once had, totally unaware of myself and scanning for faces that might need a word of encouragement or a hug.

On Days 27 and 34, I dusted the pictures on the bureau and wall.  And I only cried a little.  That’s when I knew it was time to share.

Today is my 37th good day in a row, and I’m actually writing on this blog.  I know I will eventually stop counting the days, but I will never forget.

I am profoundly grateful (did I say profoundly?  I meant PROFOUNDLY grateful) to everyone who has prayed for us and who have been so patient with me for so long.  I’ve been given the gifts of privacy, respect and space with no strings attached from so many of you, and you can’t know what it means to me.  I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but I think the night is over and the blinds are up.  Thank you with all my heart for giving me grace and space to get through the night.

With much love, Mardy

21 Responses to "37 Good Days in a Row….and Counting"

I recall Elisabeth Elliot once saying that keeping busy is what saved her sanity. :o) Love you!! And I’m so glad you have had so many good days!

So thankful Mardy. The Lord must love you so much to have put you on so many people’s heart, mine included, to pray with and for you. It makes me so happy to hear that you have come through it now. What a testimony! It left as suddenly as it came, thank God! Rejoicing with you and looking forward to what’s ahead.♥

Oh Mardy. You, my dear sister are so real. I am incredibly grateful to call you friend. Love, Catherine

🙂 Love You Mardy. Funny, You came to my mind today…. while i was in traffic… and i pondered the past year….and how you were doing… and what God has been doing… and then you write. I like it when that happens. It’s like there is a connection in Spirit… that’s pretty cool. Thank You for sharing….

Thank you so much for sharing.. God is Good ALL the time. 🙂 Love and hugs to you and your family..

You are so genuine and kind…down to earth and approachable. I am always encouraged to hear from you. The transparency with which you share your faith, your joys, and your heartaches makes me seek the Lord all the more. Thanks and warm wishes for more good days to come!

Dearest Friend, Thank you for sharing your heart. You put things and feelings into words that I could never … but if I could … some of what your said it just how I would say it for me back about 28 years ago. Reading your post is very comforting to me. Love you!! ~Jules


Hello Dear Mardy,
I have thought of you often during these past months – and then pray when you come to my mind. I am sure it was the Lord speaking to you 37 (now 38) days ago. I have had that happen once before to me (different circumstances) but it is a weird, though sure and comforting, sensation deep inside. Thank you for sharing your heart – it is always a powerful testimony of God’s glory.

wow, , you should be a writer! and published! first, when did you get a cat ???, lol : D i thought after Tux you’d never want to see one again!! lol. He’s fine but the same, : D only loves me, lol. ok, I knew you needed space and i know time is a big healing factor and i knew you’ll get in touch and we can visit when you have time : D .you don’t need more of my words, you know how i feel about all of you, Love always, Dawn : D and give Chance a big kiss for me : D

Wow. Thank you, Mardy. billandmardy posted: “Dear Friends and Family Who Have Loved Us, Served Us, and Prayed for Us This Year, It’s been about 9 months since we lost our Patrick, and about 7 months since I’ve been able to write. Finally, today I think I can post a note. Since it’s been so lo”

Thank you, Mardy. It was nice to hear how you are doing. Bless you.

Thank you again, Adam, for your love for our family. You are greatly appreciated.

Pure Love to you today. Thank you so much for sharing, Mardy.

“I know very little about God these days except that He is still absolute love and still absolutely sovereign.” – Of course, that’s it, isn’t it. The Lord is at hand . Enough.

Howdy! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Many thanks

That would be fine. Many blessings, Mardy

Your sharing inspires many ! Your testimony is something I am going to share with my mother so that she will see that those who trust the Lord are still human; they do suffer many trials, they are real people, but they use their experiences to be a faithful witness of Christ’s love and to help others who are in painful circumstances. Love you, Mardy (and your family)….tammy

You, my friend are such a blessing!!!! I LOVE how eloquently and honestly you share all of the feelings you have been experiencing! You have been and will continue to be an inspiration to all of us!! There will still be ups and downs but now that you worked through the deepest pain….you KNOW that God will refresh you again and again and again! Love you Mard!!! Denise

My heart is so happy to hear how God is blessing and holding you still :-)! When I saw the email, I didn’t read it right away… I knew I would be crying, because as you said, we DO hurt with you. I’ve thought about and prayed for you all especially in the holidays. We all love you so much, and you are our Elisabeth Elliott! I once went to a seminar with Elizabeth George, and she said sometimes we need to just DO something and the rest will come later. Say Hi to Joel and Bill from all of us 🙂 May your blessings be countless…. Love you much, Jackie and the Seifert clan

Thank You Lord for “painted rooms” to bless us. You are a blessing and we thank God for raising the blinds for you all. ❤

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