Forever within the numbered days…

I am currently working on end of life care projects for adult services across social care and the NHS. In developing this area, I’ve had to come to terms with my own experiences of death, and it has not been comfortable. As a society I think we are rubbish at acknowledging and talking about people who have passed away or who are dying.

This year, I have found myself coming face to face with the reality of grief, as my memories of my sister Kate, who passed away when she was only 4, have come flooding back. I think its because I’ve got small children, and spend too much time at work talking about death and dying! I am also trying to have a mid-life crisis when I can fit it in!

The negative side of what happened for me I think is, that I am very hard on myself and I think it comes from trying to be “enough” to fill the gap in mine and my parents lives when Kate passed away, and not being able to acknowledge as a toddler that this simply isn’t possible. I was only 18 months old when I started cheering them up, and being good and this has continued into living the best and fullest life I can. I don’t want my kids to grow up feeling like they are not enough in their own right, and am finding parenthood a massive challenge. There is always more activities we could do together, more toys I could buy, more trips to take, and more wisdom I could be sharing. I feel that I must be the best version of myself all the time, and its just not possible!

Alot of my personal healing has come through my faith, with my understanding growing that God knows and loves me exactly as I am and takes great delight in me, warts and all. Last weekend my mum led the teaching at St Paul’s women’s weekend and it was really lovely to have time together, drinking tea, eating cake and praying.

Just being still and calm and relaxing is always going to be difficult for me but I am determined to get better at it, both for my own sake and for my husband and kids sakes! Time doesn’t always have to be filled with meaningful activity, and we all have to relax to be able to do anything. As Christians we need to rely on God’s strength and  understand he has the bigger picture that we can’t see “Psalm 139:16 (NIV) Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be”

I am reading a book called “The Fault in Our Stars” which is really touching story about a teenager living with cancer. This passage made me cry … I think it sums up how sad it is when anyone dies before their time, and how anyone living with the memory of a loved one feels.

“There are infinite numbers between 0 an 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. of course there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 an 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities…. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and I want more for … than he got. But… I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.”

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