Sunday, September 3, 2017

The Open Wound

        These past weeks have been the most challenging weeks/months I have ever had to face. Let's just say I think the initial shock has worn off now. It has felt as though I had found solid ground over the course of the summer. Days were hard and others were harder. There was processing and organizing my thoughts. Our wedding date past and grieving that was difficult, but it really didn't hit me what that meant until I came back here to Port Alsworth. It all began to hit me the more I experienced his hometown in Iowa and meet all the people who love and adore Kyle. It was an experience that taught me more about Kyle and opened up a new appreciation for who he was and the welcoming family that I am now a  part of. After being in Iowa, reality kept sinking in. The words easy and simple seem to have disappear from my vocabulary. Kyle being gone has been more in my face than ever before. So what do I do now?

Love me some Iowa fields
         It's not the first time this has hit me that Kyle is gone, it's more the fact that he isn't here on earth, at all. So many plans were set up for this fall. We would have been married, moved into our cabin, starting our life together, catching salmon, plan for a family, have growing pains of him being gone for months at a time for guiding, all the while following the Lord in whatever opportunities He had for us.

" And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His Purpose." -Romans 8:28 

        I came back to Port Alsworth husband-less. I have a very hard time comprehending that fact. It taunts me and stares me in the face. I sit in our supposed to be home and it's completely and utterly silent. Well, except for the occasional plane or 4 wheeler on the runways. I get lost in the thought of how I used to wait for his plane to land, hurry up and greet him as soon as I could be there, or the sound of him driving up to the house on his 4 wheeler. This type of grieving is not something that can truly be prepared for. It's facing the reality of coming back to "our" hometown. As I sat on his bed, I could hear the humdrum of life, yet everything inside my head and heart was screaming....get me out of here. It's the get me out of this horrible, gut wrenching feeling of severe loss and pain.

Beautiful hometown with Tanalian Mountain just chilling in the background
        The pain is all to familiar as I look back at December at the initial shock factor of death. I think of memories we have shared together. The unconditional love we showed one another. I hate this place (not PTA) rather the figurative place I feel like I visit sometimes. The PLACE where I will never know what it feels like to talk to him again. The PLACE where I will never live life with him by my side. The PLACE where reality hits me and the numbness has warn off. The PLACE where is feels so incredibly raw that it hurts to even visit it if only for a moment. This PLACE is cold and musty. It brings a picture to mind of a dark room in an old forsaken basement of a house. Half of the staircase is rickety and dilapidated and the other half of it but seems to be repaired the closer it gets to the main floor of the house. As I walk myself down to this dark and rat infested basement room, The sense of being alone, fear, doubt, insecurity, lies, betrayal, emptiness, and loneliness seep into what feels like every part of me. As I describe this PLACE to myself, I feel as though I could allow myself to get trapped here because it becomes familiar. However, experiencing joy and life before draws me out again and again. I remember who God truly is.

" Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. -Hebrews 13:8

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken." -Psalm 62:5-6

          I recall memories of us and I begin to remember God's goodness in the times we shared together. I can hear voices and footsteps above while I visit this PLACE below. It sounds like a joyous and happy place, somewhere I long to be. I enter into THE PLACE when I allow my grief to consume me. This is a PLACE where I enter into when I feel as though God has abandoned me and left me to fend for myself in this dark world. I write these words to put a picture to how it feels to fully embrace this grief. It's when I reach this PLACE that I take a look at myself and see just how badly I want to join everyone upstairs but can't figure out how. Some of my friends have even come down to this PLACE to be with me. They remind me that I am not any of those things I am choosing to believe and that God is behind me, in front of me, right next to me, and sometimes even carrying me through this dark PLACE. It's a feeling of frustration where, "life falls short of my expectations I insist that things should be different." -The Feeling Good Handbook I must remind myself of the truth that there is hope in the Lord.


         I have to give myself my I pep talk to remind myself just how far I have come. I look back at where I used to be and that's about far as a I get. I try to look at where I am now and think I should be farther. I struggle to expand grace to myself. If this were anyone else going through something similar, I would not use the words I use on myself: "you should be farther","pick yourself up and dust yourself off", "suck it up buttercup"-as Kyle would tell me to do. These words would be harsh and cruel to tell my grieving friend. Yet these are the exact words I speak to myself. I have a hard time seeing truth in the midst of everything going on. I struggle to look toward the future because the last time I did, well everything fell apart. It's hard to write these words when I feel such a deep sorrow and sadness but here we are. They need to be said, maybe for myself or maybe for someone else who truly doesn't know how to put words to their thoughts, feeling, sorrow, or grief. I promise you, with Christ there is hope.
        It does tend to feel like I don't even recognize who I am. I know that Abbey is still in there but it's just a different Abbey. I am constantly learning at what giving myself grace looks like as I mentioned before. I scream, cry, and just feel left confused by this whole tragedy that not only struck my life but also many other loved ones and friends. I know I am not the only one grieving here. Kyle didn't just impact my life and for that and I am reminded of the main purpose we are here on earth. It is to love the Lord with all our hearts and to love others. Kyle did a great job at displaying that. He lived life to the fullest, took risks, and adventured as much as he possibly could. He lived the "dream" that so many envy. If he had never pursued his dream then we would have never met. I am so glad we both took that leap of faith and moved ourselves here. I am thankful that we met. There was a reason for it. There was a reason we dated the length of time we did and yet another reason we planned our wedding. I would do it again in a heartbeat if it meant that I could spend one more minute with him. I absolutely love Kyle. He taught me what it looked like for a man to pursue, love, care, and cherish me. He has forever changed my life and I am thankful.
       So, I really don't know where to go from here besides fixing my eyes upon the Lord. I run through my head what he might tell me. The only thing I keep coming up with is RUN to God. The Lord is my strength and refuge. He is my stronghold and anchor. God is the only one who can calm me as the storm rages around me. Kyle was always my biggest encouragement, he always pointed me back to Christ, and without him, I feel as though the wind in my sail has been striped away. I am not entirely sure how to get that back or even how to get out of that PLACE I tend to visit.
        I can't help but think of myself and how hard this is for me, yet at the same time how selfish I must be for thinking this is hard. It really is a vicious cycle. I don't always know the balance that needs to take place, and for that, it makes it all the much harder for people to approach me, get into my boat, or even be around me. I feel bad for not being able to pour into others, or I get frustrated for how quickly I shut down and get tired. I want to be able to help others help me, but as I spoke to a friend this week, the words, "maybe it is okay to let them struggle." It goes both ways, I can't always be there for others and likewise for me, someone can't be there for me ALL the time. Only the God can supply all we NEED. It just might look different from what we DESIRE.


              This wound that is trying to heal is there daily. It hurts, needs to be cleaned, and at times I let it go without taking care of it in the right way. I change the bandages that seep with blood. It sometimes consumes me, brings me to my knees, and at times knocks the wind out of me. I deeply appreciate everyone who asks how I am doing. Please keep checking up on me, pray that I can become more like Christ through all this. Just know this is such a process and most of the time I am seriously just trying to figure it out. I do it wrong sometimes. I push people away when I need them the most, I get so caught up in myself that I lose sight of others, and for that I apologize.
        I have more than enough on my plate right now but I am trying to walk it out faithfully. The first week ranks high of being the most difficult week I have experienced since December. There were several weeks that have been hard but coming back here without him just wrecked me. I didn't even know how to prepare and looking back, I don't even know what would have helped. I was not ready to fly back alone, do the grocery shopping, meal prep, and move back into my old room. It feels I have been hit by a freight train repeatedly. This is just something I need to face I suppose. I look forward to teaching again this year, hopefully graduate with my masters, coach basketball, and be the friend I can be when my friends need me to be there for them. I want to love others and love them well. I am constantly working on learning who I am. I miss the Abbey that I used to be but at the same time I am excited to see how going through the fire will help shape and make me this redefined Abbey. I struggle and am learning every day.
        I really do get it that people all grieve differently. There really is not a book for this. There have been books written to help and encourage in some way. The only book that has truly helped me is the Word of God. I am thankful for the Bible and for the people whose stories are written down where I can look back and not feel completely alone in this mess. King David's words have spoken to my heart more than once on this journey. Also, it's our stories that others can learn from, receive encouragement, or be challenged by. So as I say, "SHARE YOUR STORY." It really truly matters.


  1. I'm sure there are many moments that it doesn't seem it, but you are so brave, strong, smart and beautiful! I love your love for Kyle and Jesus❤

  2. Thank you Danita! It is amazing how the Lord works to bring people together. Even with how I met you. :) Thank you for the encouragement and following my/our story.