It's been a week since my last update, and there's honestly not much of a difference in our healing process at this point. I'm proud to say that Wes and Dutch haven been handling this tragedy remarkably well; better than most would expect at this point so close on the heels of Sharon's passing. I, myself, did not handle the loss of my uncle this well. In fact, I had fallen into a depression that took me eight months to overcome. While the overall mood we have each day is somber, there are many moments and occasions where sadness or tears are the dominant emotion. However, there have been so many occasions where I've seen them smile or laugh, and instead of being just a shell of their former selves, I see their true selves often. It fills me with such joy, pride and hope to know that this tragedy has not swallowed them whole, and that they are not hiding away from the world, but that they are fighting to live each day, to find the silver lining on this storm cloud, and are finding joy in small things.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)
We struggle daily with our sadness and grief, and occasionally fall apart at random moments. But the strength and comfort we have to fight through this comes from each other, our shared pain, the blessings of our family and friends, but most of all from our Lord. We feel His presence more strongly in our lives now than we have before, and our relationship with Him is more real than ever. There are many times where we shout our prayers up to the Lord, asking for His strength, guidance and comfort. Without our God, there would be no way for us to overcome this tragedy.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you. (Psalm 9:9-10)
Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken. (Psalm 62:1-2)
The past two weeks have been challenging in ways other than emotional. We've been busy planning the memorial service, and it has been difficult to think so often about certain unpleasant details. I'm trying very hard not to get overwhelmed or stressed out from my seemingly endless list of tasks. It will be a relief when the memorial service is over, partly because of all the extra work it's caused, but also because of the emotional stress. We've been blessed by so many family and friends who have offered us endless amounts of help and support in preparing for the memorial.
Since Sharon's passing, I have stepped in to take over her position in the ranch. It has been a monumental task because no one knows the process or responsibilities that need to get done. There is so much to do and figure out that I have to try very hard not to allow myself to be overwhelmed. Dutch gave me a perfect analogy: It's like trying to eat an elephant. You have to do it one small bite at a time. That is absolutely the case here! We've been so fortunate to have two family friends come up to the ranch to help us sort through the office and teach me what needs to be done. Luckily, the tasks and responsibilities themselves have been easy to manage, and I should be able to master them quickly. It's all about sorting and organizing everything into a manageable state. I'm so proud to be an active member of the Bergman family and business, I just wish it were under different circumstances.
We camped in our French Valley pasture over Memorial Day weekend with some good friends. It was a last minute decision on whether we would continue with our annual campout this year, and I'm so glad that we kept our plans. It was a nice opportunity to spend time with friends and to try to relax and have fun. There were many times where I felt sad and cried, but overall, the weekend was wonderful. It's so hard to go about normal life and events without deeply feeling the loss of Sharon's presence. When we first drove into the valley on Friday night, I started crying because I was immediately assailed by so many memories of Sharon. I even thought I saw her more than once because different women at the campout had their hair done as she would have, or had worn a shirt that she would have worn.
It's a battle not to dwell in the sadness, nor to mope over the opportunities that we've lost. Especially because there were so many plans and ideas that I had for our future together, and it's so hard to think about how that is all lost now. I have to force myself to think instead of the happy memories we shared instead of dwelling on the lost future. One of the hardest things from last week was when we looked through family pictures to choose some for the memorial service. I had always wanted to look through Wes' baby book with Sharon, and I cried last Thursday because I finally had the opportunity to look through the pictures, but she wasn't with me. I also have to remember that God's plan for my life is greater than any of my plans. I may feel pain over this loss and the loss of a future with Sharon, but I have to trust in God that He knows what's best and His plan for my life is perfect.
For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)
So many things remind me of her; her presence was everywhere on the mountain, and in so many aspects of our life. Even though I know she's gone, there are numerous times where I stop in shock and think about how unbelievable this is. I still expect to receive an email from her, to see her name on my caller ID, to hear her voice, her familiar laugh, to see her smile, or feel her hug. Even though I know that she's gone, my heart and mind haven't fully seemed to grasp that fact. How do you let go of someone you loved so deeply, someone who was such an important part of your life? How do you move on without them? I've shed so many tears, so often and so randomly, that they seem like a permanent part of me. These tears are endless. This pain is endless.
But God's arms and love for me is all-encompassing. He provides me with a peace and a strength that is unimaginable. Without God, this pain would consume me. This healing process is a long and arduous journey; it is in no way easy. It is among the hardest things we will ever have to overcome. Yet God is on our side, and through Him we can do all things. I give my burden unto Him daily, and He holds me up in His arms and makes me able to bear this pain. We will survive this, one day at a time.
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)