It is very hard for me to comprehend that today marks exactly four weeks
since Noah left this earth, and left mine and John David’s arms. It’s been four
weeks since I touched his sweet, soft face, and that seems like an eternity.
This new way of life for us is so bizarre, and completely unnatural. Nothing
seems right without Noah. Every small sense of happiness we feel is quickly
overridden by the thought of, “Noah would enjoy this. I wish he was here to
enjoy this with me.” Everyday tasks are embedded with his memory, which is
simultaneously wonderful AND painful. Most every place we go, we have previously
been with Noah, and the adjustment of being in those places without him is so
incredibly difficult. Trying to find new restaurants in which to eat or new
places to shop where he has not been seems so wrong…trying to create
new memories without him hurts deeply.
Habits are hard to break; I often find myself mindlessly trying to
accommodate Noah in my daily coming and going. Using the back burners on the
stove instead of the front ones, making sure the laundry room light is on before
bedtime (just in case he sneaks into our room at night and needs light to guide
him), reaching for his favorite juice at the grocery store, watching for him
running around the gym after church so he doesn’t escape the room…catching
myself in these moments is heartbreaking. My life has been turned upside down,
and I feel like every bit of purpose and happiness I once had is continually
dripping out of my body; initially it came as an immediate gush, a release of
pressure and emotion, and now it’s just a slow and constant drip. I can
confidently say that John and I will never be the same. Life has given us a new
perspective, and it just isn’t nearly as sweet without our Noah.
I know that I obviously still have purpose, or I wouldn’t still be breathing.
God has given me a desire to serve Him, and now that will just be through a different avenue. I would give anything to still be able to take care of Noah, but because he isn’t in need of me anymore, I have to move on, no matter how wrong it feels.
The beautiful part of this story is that Noah’s memory can be a part of my new
purpose, and though he is not with me physically, his spirit will always live in
my heart and my life will always be changed by his journey. Each day that I am
able, I will share with someone new his story and the motto I have coined for
his life - “Never Forget - Live 100%.” I do find joy in passing his memory on to a person who never had the privilege of knowing him, by giving them a “Pray for Noah” bracelet/directing them to his website/showing them a picture of his precious face. Noah remembered so much; he never forgot a face or an act of kindness. If you played chase with him once, you were sure to be reminded of
that and asked to play it again and again. If you weren’t doing something to his
standards, you were sure to be scolded to try harder, i.e. singing - “Sing louder, Dad!!!” In these days of raw grief and heartache, it’s hard to do anything at 100% except miss him, and love him. But with that motto always in the back of my mind, and his memory in my heart, I will realize exactly the purpose God has planned for me, with John David, and I will run after that with all I that I have.
As for this moment, John and I are planning to place Noah’s memorial stone
tomorrow morning. I suppose this will be symbolic by bringing a finality to his
earthly journey; whenever we think of his death we will remember the place we
rested him, and remember this stone, which reads: The bravest boy who ever
lived, Noah Alexander Crowe, 2/28/08-5/18/12, Proverbs 3:5. This scripture
was one of his favorites, and he would recite it from memory. “Trust in the
Lord, with all your heart. Proverbs 3:5,” spoken with quite a cute speech impairment. It makes me smile to remember Noah saying that, and how God would remind me through those sweet words to trust Him. Even when none of this life makes sense, even when I feel so much emotional pain and torment…trust Him. In this world we will have trouble, but be of good cheer, Christ has overcome the world. I find my hope in Him, because He promises I will see Him, and Noah, in heaven. No matter what this life brings, Jesus will overcome it for us. Whether here or in eternity, only He knows, and why….but nevertheless we do overcome when we choose to trust and follow Him. It’s not easy, especially in the worst moments of my life, but I will do my best.
If you are still inclined to pray for us, please do so, but not for healing as one may pray for healing from a disease. Grief is not a disease, but rather an emotional response to our loss, and this response needs to run it’s course. Pray the our family would be “allowed,” or given permission to grieve as our bodies and emotions see fit. In my experience, I’ve noticed that our culture is not comfortable with those who are grieving because we haven’t, as a whole, been instructed in how to allow or help a person to grieve. I feel like the first
place to start is to really pay attention to the individual and attempt to
discern what they need based on their cues/actions, or when they are having an
ok moment, just ask what they need, and remind that person you want to help. The
most helpful person I have experienced since Noah’s passing is the counselor I
spoke with a few days ago. She was so helpful because she gave me the freedom to
just talk (without interruption) about the ENTIRE experience. She didn’t try to fix anything. She validated my feelings. She wasn’t uncomfortable. She let me cry. And I realize she has been trained to handle people like myself. I just wish our society was a little better at accommodating those who have experienced a tremendous loss.
Maybe we should bring back a few of those Victorian grieving practices, and wear
a black armband or some sort of outward sign that a person is mourning a loss.
That would explain to confused passers by that are wondering why I am crying in
the middle of the cereal isle, that I am not in fact crazy. When I catch myself
longingly watching other moms with their children, maybe they wouldn’t think I’m
creepy if they knew I was just missing mine. It’s hard not to want to scream at
the world, why are you still spinning when my life has stopped! Maybe it’s best that the general public doesn’t know…maybe that will ultimately help me to move forward when I just want to stand still. I said all that to say, please don’t pray for our healing, but pray we can feel and mourn as we should. There will come a day, slowly over time, that we become numb to the pain of missing Noah so desperately, and we will appear as though we are being healed, but know that a person just learns to live with a loss like this. The pain doesn’t diminish, just the ability to feel it.
I wrote some thoughts on emotions and heartache in September of 2011 that I
was glad I came across again the other day:
“I don't think that the healing of God means that He heals us from all the
emotions of pain, suffering, loss, hardship and heartache, etc. because He feels
those emotions Himself, because we were in fact created in His image.
I believe He heals us by giving us a deep sense of pride
and contentment in His plan and purpose, a deep rooted joy that pushes beyond
all emotional states, and just - IS. He is the great I Am. And when we allow Him
to comfort us in our pain and hurt, that basic sense of His being with us and
His purpose for us will overwhelm all the other stuff. The other stuff
doesn’t go away, and I'm sure it will come and go as long as we live, but
neither does He go away, and He will come to comfort once again when the
grief and pain emote themselves over and over. These emotions can almost be
considered healthy, for they give us an opportunity to lean on God’s comfort and
strength, and make us stretch to find the joy (state of being - not an
emotion!) that is so deeply rooted in Christ.”
Now that I’ve rambled from one thing to another, I will close and go about my
day. I just needed to check in, let those who are still reading and praying know
that John and I are still living and moving forward through time, while learning
to live without Noah, no matter how much we hate it, and we are praying for our
new purpose without him to be revealed. Thank you for loving us, we feel that
love every minute, and we pray that God will lead and guide you all as well. I
will keep posting as long as I feel led, and hopefully in the months to come I
will have good news about new projects and endeavors, in Noah’s memory, and in Jesus’ name.
But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect,
establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen (I Peter 5:10-11).
These posts are written by Noah's parents Jessica & John David Crowe. The default author is Jess, and those written by John David will be noted.