When We Cannot Understand the Pain Someone Carries


I remember the time I sat on my top bunk in Marysville and wrote a letter to Caleb’s kindergarten teacher. I had been gone from home for about six months and I could hardly bear the thought of him approaching this milestone and not being there to do all the mom things. To pick out his outfit and go to teacher orientation and make sure he ate breakfast on that first day of school and knew someone would be there waiting to pick him up. 

Caleb was the shyest of all my children. He didn’t speak hardly a word until he was almost four and he would just stare at strangers with those big brown eyes. It made my mama heart ache, even more, to send my quiet one off into the world of public school and to be mostly absent from it all. 

I was thinking about this yesterday as we celebrated his graduation. About that moment in time of pouring my heart and tears out to his teacher, in hopes that she would have some insight into the situation and keep an extra watchful eye on him. 

To be honest, I can still hardly think about it to this day. There are boxes of pictures I still haven’t gone through, mostly from those six years and especially the ones from around the time I left. 

I can see the pain in their eyes. 

And I don’t know if there will ever come a day when that won’t make me want to lay flat out on the floor. 

Sometimes I hesitate to talk about the grief of that experience. I feel like people see my life in the happy here and now and may not understand the wrecking heartbreak that still lingers, thirteen years on the other side. 

Here’s what I’m realizing. Anyone who doesn’t understand that should thank the God who knows and carries our deepest sorrows that they do not understand. 

I never wanted to be a grief expert, not that I have a degree in this but sometimes experience gives you credentials that no amount of study could. 

If you’re in a fresh season of grief or walking out a lifetime of it because of what you’ve been asked to carry, just know that you don’t need anyone’s permission to feel what you feel. 

Grief is such an individual experience. And when we cannot understand the pain someone else carries, we should be so thankful.

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