Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Amputation of Self

Little Update-- Please forgive my oops!! I combined the titles of two books I have read. I guess that's what happens when you read so many. So sorry. The now correct title is below.
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It is taking me a while to get through Jerry Sitser's book A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss. It's a book I have picked up and put down many times... not because I don't like it or find it boring, but because I find Sitser's words so deep and so true that I need time to just savor what he has said. I have mentioned his story briefly here before, but in case you missed that post or may have forgotten, Jerry Sitser lost his mother, his wife, and his youngest daughter all in the same fatal car crash.

Yesterday I picked his book back up and started chapter 6: The Amputation of the Familiar Self. I don't know that my "self" as a mother was familiar to me; after all, Isaac was my first born son. Sitser refers to a catastrophic loss being like an amputation throughout his book, and in this particular chapter, calls to mind that it's like an amputation of your self... your very identity. That is something I can definitely identify with.

He talks about how the very people who defined him as a son, a husband, and as a father, were no longer here. He mentions how loss leads to a confusion of identity. Boy, is that something I can relate with. How in the world do you define yourself as a mother, or a father, when your child isn't here? Mother's Day and the upcoming Father's Day are times where Spencer and I have found ourselves asking those very questions.

Sitser goes on to say, "I am not quite sure what to do with me." I love the honesty in that... and I can certainly relate. For months, I had no idea what to do with my "mom" energy. I don't have any other children to nurture that part of my identity, and Isaac isn't here. I know I am particularly grateful for this blog, for Isaac's golf tournament, and for the connections I have made with other grieving moms that allow me to talk about Isaac and feel affirmed as his mother.

It's a hard thing, feeling like part of you has been "amputated." In many ways, I will never be able to care for Isaac in the ways I would like. I'll never get to rock him to sleep, but a Band-Aid on his "boo-boos," take him to sports practice, or anything like that. Yet this morning, God brought to mind the fact that in other ways, I have had the gift of having the most pure and the most loving relationship a mother could ever have with her son. All there has ever been is love.

So while I'm feeling as though I am adjusting to this "new normal," there's still that part of my "self" that feels like it has been cut off. I don't know that there's any remedy for that, but to take it before the Lord for all that it is, and ask Him to affirm my motherhood and Spencer's fatherhood. And He has been gracious in that.

If you are someone who has experienced a loss, I can't recommend this book highly enough. It is gripping. It will touch your soul. And most of all, it will lead you to the One who can comfort you in the midst of your heartache.

20 comments:

Holly said...

It sounds like a very good book and one I just may have to read sometime. What a fitting title too.

April said...

That book definitely sounds as though it would be a vessel for healing. At least, to recognize what it is that you are feeling, in order to forward.

I understand how the word amputation can describe what has happened to your soul when losing a baby. I believe that will never be replaced, filled in or "grow back" - but rather your soul or "self" (with God's help) will build an alternate branch to make you whole again. It will grow around this void and surround it completely. You will be whole again, and that void with always be there - filled with the love you have for your son.

Lynn said...

Thank you for always pointing to the One Who has held you through it all. Thank you for being a part of the healing for so many amputees. You and Spencer are loved!

Tammy On the Go said...

Your maturity in the Lord and grace in writing has blown me away lately. I know this is the Lord and more and more I see how Isaac has so profoundly affected your life.

Thank you for using your gifs.

kay said...

"All there has ever been is love."

This line spoke deeply to me. It's truth is so profound.

Thank you for the book recommendation. It sounds like something I need to pick up.

The Fabulous Ms. Beth said...

I will have to take a look at it. Thank you for sharing and many hugs and prayers to you. :)

~ shi ~ said...

I wish that book had been around years ago...Maybe would have taught me things about my son's death that would have helped. It is so nice that there are wonderful helps out there, which is an odd thing to say huh! Help books for those who hurt, when you are hurting you want to know you are not alone and how to move on or live with it..Such an odd world we live in...Will not Heaven be amazing!..blessing.

Anonymous said...

I do not understand your pain and so I won't even pretend that I do. I do want you to know that I admire you SO much, as a mother. You are such an influence as to the type of mother I wish to be. "All there ever was is love".
...So, whether you think it or not, you are a shining example of what a mother IS.
Thanks again for sharing your story with all of us!
Julie Ball

Whitney said...

It is so hard to think of myself as a mother when my son is not here to tend. I love what you said: "it's the most pure and most loving relationship." That brings tears to my eyes because I've just thought so much about NOT having a relationship with my Isaac. Thanks for your words, Stacy!

Anonymous said...

The idea of 'amputation of self' can be expanded to include so many other irreversible situations one faces in life: particulary serious illness that forever changes your lifestyle. To know that you have to re-create a self who may no longer be identified as a professional (if you can't work, lose your job), or any other 'title' that was a self imposed identification. Ultimately we are all a 'God's creation'and other titles are superflous. Thanks for sharing the book.

Marcy

nikki wood said...

Thank you! I've been looking for books to read about loss, and it just has seemed so overwhelming to find the right one. I think I will head to the bookstore today!

Gina said...

Although I have looked at your blog many times I have only recently been able to bring myself to read your story. You are very insperational to me, and although you might not know it I have found strength in your words. The book sounds very interesting and you are right going through a loss you feel like part of your identity is gone. I often talk to my therapist about this. I think I need to go look for this book as well. Thank you for the recommendation. You will continue to be in my prayers.

Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace said...

Well said as always...thank you, sweet friend. Praying continually for you and Spencer.

With Love...

Sonya said...

I have commented on here before that I have read this book and I truly found it an amazing read. It took me several months to read it because I liked to ponder on what he said. Plus I have almost 6 years worth of feelings to sift through since I lost my brother and there has been so many things happen in that time. It was nice to have someone put into words what I was feeling and really what I am STILL feeling.

Thanks Stacy

Monica @ Writer Chic said...

I almost picked it up the other day. I'm starting with "Empty Arms." Not thrilled with it thus far, but it's a start.

MendedHeart said...

I came across your blog through another - I am so sorry for your loss and I pray that someday soon you would hold another bundle of joy. (Not that one child ever replaces another) I just wish you joy again. Hugs :)

Rebecca Louise. said...

I think it is a veru apt title for what you were explaining. I am so glad that find this helpful and encouraging to read :)

Please be in prayer for my friend Imogen who lose her baby Lockland last night to trisomy 18 :(

Mochamama said...

Thank you for sharing. I'm reading Empty Cradle Broken Heart that you recommended a while back and have also read the book by John McArthur and have really got a lot from both of them. I will have to pick this one up. It's comforting to know i'm not alone or crazy for what i'm feeling after losing my son. I sometimes feel like i am and then when I read your blog and other women's blogs who have lost a child I find comfort in reading what you have to say because it sounds so familiar and I don't question myself as much. Praying for you and Spencer.

bluecottonmemory said...

I lost a little girl half way through a pregnancy. There are things I will never be because she wasn't there. I never got to hold her. When you don't get to hold the child you lost, people don't treat it the same. As a result, you mourn, grieve, and heal alone. WHen I miss her, I think about her, waiting for me in heaven. What a powerful post!

Ruth said...

Dearest Stacy, I just haven't had time to read all the blogs or write recently but I just wanted you to know that I read Jerry's book a couple of weeks ago based on your suggested reading list back in January, I think, . . .finally, ordered them and just now am starting to read them. LOVED!!!A Grace Disguised. I devored it and it was amazing and so real. I am recommending it to everyone I know. Thank-you so much for being real and sharing your heart. Today was Renner's and my birthday. He should have been one and I turned 31. Bittersweet. I am giving myself a gift by spending a little time here in blogland. . .sucks. I miss him so much, the possiblity of him, I am amputated. I have faith but i am just a human mom. I am learning and growing so much in my faith and love for God and others but I don't want to. Just want my son, Didn't want to be used this way. . . Ugh, I know you understand. much love-hang in. Thank-you again.