• Laura Alvarado-Newson

7 Years later: the life of grieving and forgiveness

It has been 7 years since the accident. I can truly say God has been faithful. We made it through, my son is still alive, although a different boy.

As I think about it, it never ceases to amaze me how many times I have been forced to grieve. I grieved the time he was born, because the healthy, strong baby boy I was joyfully waiting for never came. I grieved at every milestone he was supposed to hit. I grieved as we came home with this different young man. I had to reconnect with him, get to know his movements, his new limitations, his feeding needs. I continue to grieve as time goes on, he is 19 years old and I grieve as I see other young adults going to college, dating, working, growing into independent adults. As my son still sits in his wheelchair, depending 100% on me and his caregivers for his basic needs, yet he has never stopped smiling and laughing. His joy eases the pain of the "how it's suppose to be" vs. "how it really is".

Grieving is necessary. If we don't grieve, we cannot move forward and embrace the new. Without grieving we stay stuck.

Just this morning I realized how many times I have been forced to grieve a loss. I have been grieving on and off for the past 19 years. From his birth, to his milestones, to his accident, his homecoming from the accident, to losing his father a couple of years ago. I was asked yesterday to describe some of the emotions of grieving. I said grieving isn't just about tears and sadness; there is so much anger and resentment that builds up. When my husband went to heaven, it was a juggling act of heartbreak and anger. Thoughts of "why did you abandon me?" "why did you leave?" to turning to God and demanding an answer "why did you take him?". Add into the mix confusion, exhaustion, and regret, well this is a perfect cocktail for giving up, for becoming bitter, for getting stuck.

I can't say "fortunately", but I do believe that my experience with my son, so much grieving, so much having to let go of "what was or what should've been"; the need to accept, to forgive, to make a conscious decision to move forward, to keep walking, really helped me through the loss of my husband. I had a lot of forgiving to do. I forgave God (although He did nothing wrong), I forgave Him for withholding my healthy, strong son. Obviously His plan has always been bigger than my little mind could fathom. I forgave my body for not caring for my son properly when he was in the womb. I forgave the school for not taking care of my son properly. I forgave God for taking my husband. I forgave Jorge for leaving us. I forgave myself for feeling all of the horrible emotions and making some "no so smart" decisions based on my broken emotions. Most importantly, I received God's forgiveness for allowing all of this pain to cloud my faith and judgement. He not only forgave, but He blessed.

Without forgiveness, we can't move forward, we can't walk in God's blessing.

As my son grew, strangely enough, the grieving and moving forward got easier. Acceptance of what "is" today, the letting go of "what was and what will never be", and the living of life to its fullest, in spite of, the pain and sorrow of the past and present, has become a regular habit in this family. I have refused to live in the past, I refuse to allow the past to keep me stuck and I will be passing this stubbornness onto our kids. Life is too short, we must find joy and we will find joy in the midst of the sorrow because God is with us and He has everything under control. We don't understand everything that happens, we may never understand. The only thing I am sure of is God is faithful and has carried us through some dark times, and will continue to carry us through.

In June, God turned our mourning into dancing by bringing a man into our lives who understands all of this. Who, also, has learned how to grieve losses, let go and move forward. God has brought us comfort and joy in the midst of change and pain. Will there be more losses? Yes. Do we continue to grieve? Absolutely. God will be with us through it all, this is our comfort.

Yesterday we hit a beautiful milestone as our 3 children were baptized. I will forever rejoice in the Lord and in being the mother of 3 amazing children. Children who have lived through pain, heartache and are also learning the art of letting go, embracing today and seeing God's hand of mercy and grace through it all.

The picture above is of our beloved Pastor baptizing our Jorgie.

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