Updated: Feb 27
Grief is a really hard thing to explain and understand. When someone we love dies it is such a trauma to our whole being. Our family is moving like a freight train toward the one-year mark of our baby boy being called to his heavenly home.
On June 9th of this year Roy had the older boys in the middle of Rodeo Bible Camp (which was such a blessing to them). This left me and the third lil’ ‘poke at home holding down the fort. We checked water and put out salt and mineral for the cows, we fed the fats, fed the dairy cows, we did 5,000,000 bird and 4-H chores for the older boys and finally we were ready to hit the hay.
I got the dreaded call from my cowboy at 9:45 at night, “Babe… I just got a call that we had a calf hit on the highway and I’m going to need you to go deal with it.” I drug my weary body out of bed and put my work clothes back on. As I travelled south on the highway I was praying that the calf wasn’t too injured and maybe still alive. Not only was that not true, but this calf was hit so hard it was unrecognizable. I don’t know if it had any bones that weren’t broken and it’s hide had been ripped off such that I couldn’t even find our brand or an ear tag.
This is gross.
This is hard.
I looked a little further down the highway and there lay its little heart. This calf was hit so hard that its heart blew out of its body. I felt like the only way this much trauma could have happened to this little calf was if it had been hit by a Mack truck.
These are a lot of gruesome details, but it is the true reality of my life and things we have to deal with while living on a working cattle ranch.
This is also how grief feels sometimes.
When Ben died I felt like my heart burst out of my chest.
It sometimes still does.
I cried ugly tears for this calf as I drug its lifeless body down into the ditch.
Just like my life, the cars continued to fly by my black pick-up on the pitch black night. Despite my hazard lights being on, some did not even slow down.
That is how life proceeds when grieving. Out of 12 cars that passed by, most at a full rate of speed, only one stopped to see if I was okay and needed any help. Thank you for being kind human beings.
For those of you that have stopped and asked how we are doing, I cannot thank you enough!
I finally headed home, washed up, and crawled back in to my bed.
The next morning as I was checking on things I drove by the accident site and just on the other side of the fence was the calf’s mama. She was looking for her baby but couldn’t find it. Again, I know exactly how she felt. I don’t know how many times I have tried looking for Ben this past year.
My cowboy and I spoke on the phone and he asked me to do another awful ranch wife duty and that was to hook on to the dead calf and get it nearer to its mama, because if I didn’t she might go through the fence to get to her baby. Cows generally don’t let three strands of barbed wire stand between them and their calf. She was more than willing to tear her own flesh to get back with her baby. What mama wouldn’t walk through “the fire” to be with her baby? Again, I understood the sentiment.
I completed my task and finished the rest of the 6,000,000 chores. One more time we had to drive by the site of mama and her dead calf and this time there was a coyote already on the prowl ready to devour that calf when the mama walked away.
Again, this is just like the devil and how he prowls and is ready to pounce on the thoughts of our grieving mind. If I had my .270 with me I would have shot that coyote square between the eyes. This is what we must do when the enemy attacks. We must attack those thoughts square with the word of God.
This story was awful.
And hard to live out.
So is my journey of grief.
I recently put together a message titled “What Lens are You Looking Through?” and the heart of the message was “the lens we look through must be the truth of God’s Word and the truth of God’s character, not our experiences.”
“The lens we look through must be the truth of God’s Word, and the truth of God’s character, not our experiences.”
My experience can make me think that God is not good. The truth of his character is that he IS good.
My experience can make me think that God is not kind. The truth of his character is that he IS kind.
My experience can make me think that God is not merciful. The truth of his character is that he IS merciful.
My experience can make me think that God is not loving. The truth of his character is that he IS loving.
We must look at God’s character through the lens of the cross. God showed his greatest goodness, kindness, mercy and love when he sacrificed his son, Jesus, for us.
In two days, on June 27, 2022 we mark the fact that we have lived without Ben for an entire year. I have zero idea how that is even possible. This is a life sentence with no parole, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that a good, kind, merciful, and loving God is going to walk with me during this journey.
Our family chooses to continue to follow Jesus not because life is easy, but because we want to spend eternity with Him, and Ben, and all those we love that have been called before us.
The last words of Scripture that my baby boy heard come out of my mouth was most of the book of Ephesians, but the final verse was Eph. 6:19-20, “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly as I should.”
Since I still have breath in my lungs, it means I still have purpose on this earth, and I pray that by “the blood of the Lamb and Word of our testimony” (Rev. 12:11) that we are fearlessly making known the mystery of the gospel (Eph. 2:19).