Squeeze & Space logoI’m thrilled to bring you my new guest series “Squeeze & Space.” Over the next few weeks I’ll be featuring the voices of women I admire as they talk about where in life they’re currently experiencing the squeeze and where they’re able to find a bit of space, some breathing room. What is bringing them down and what is building them up? What is suffocating them and what is saving them?

First, I want to introduce you to the absolutely extraordinary warrior, Kristin Murdock. Kristin’s first child suffered from anencephaly, and as a result, she and her husband have been walking a journey of life, love, and loss. Frankly, I’m in awe of Kristin and her courage to show up to her life. She is tender, and she is tough. She is honest, even in the sadness. I so highly encourage you to follow her blog, www.kristineats.com. Her voice is beautiful in its rawness and richness.

With all the love, respect, gratitude, and hope in my heart, I give you Kristin . . . in her own words . . .

Hi! I’m Kristin Murdock!

I live in San Diego with my husband Glenn. I love goat cheese, laughter, Thomas Keller, and Chick-fil-A.

Glenn and I have a little boy named Branch Lionheart who spent seven sweet days with us on Earth. Branch died on December 10th, 2013 and we are slowly navigating our way through life after loss. It’s pretty awful, really.

I like to write, and try to use my writing as a way to help in the grief process.  My hope is that God’s goodness shines through my story, even when it’s not pretty.   

1208133200041PART ONE: SQUEEZE

The other day as I was thinking about what direction to take this post, I wasn’t sure if I really knew what “the squeeze” was, or if I have experienced it.  And then, as we sat in our infant loss support group listening to a young mother share the story of finding her sweet six-week old baby lifeless in her bed, it hit me.

Death. Grief. Loss. It squeezes the life right out of me.

As this young mother spoke, the part that struck me more than anything was the description of her baby girl’s hands.  Little fingers, gripped around her mama’s, slightly stiff, her hands clenching tighter and tighter as the life left her body.

Did you know that tiny fingers clench after they die? 

All of us sitting in that room knew exactly what this young mother was talking about. I was overwhelmed by the grief and sorrow of it all, pained by the depth of lifelong sadness losing a child brings.  

The loss of my son introduced me to a new sadness.  It is a strange sadness, a deep sadness, a sadness that I know will change as the days, months, years go by – but even as it changes, it will stay with me.  This sadness is my squeeze.  The squeeze makes me feel small, helpless, betrayed, and very, very lonely. 

The most confusing part of grief has been the mental reconciliation, or should I say, attempts at it.  I don’t understand how we live in a world where tiny little babies die.  I don’t understand what it will look like to not have thoughts of my son consume most of my day, or if it is even possible for them not to.  I don’t understand what my role is now – I am a mother without a child, how does one go about explaining that?  

I wrote a while back about a meeting with my mentor where she described these confusions and attempts at reconciliation as “wrestle.”   This made so much sense to me.  I think the wrestling is my response to the squeeze. I am wrestling with God. I am wrestling with what it means to love and lose. I am wrestling with laughter and with weeping.  I am wrestling with life, and sometimes it feels like a mild form of insanity. As I am squeezed, isolated, tiny, and betrayed, my wounded heart wrestles – fighting for its life.

PART TWO: SPACE

Space. Freedom. Light.  When I hear these words, I picture a large, open, never-ending field. The field is in a valley between some hills and there are all sorts of little flowers. There is grass – the kind of grass that is soft and doesn’t scratch your legs. In this open space, I run.  I laugh, I smile, I am happy.  Love is filling every ounce of my being.  My boy is not with me, but I know he is ok, and somehow I know I can see him whenever I want.

Where is this wondrous land?

At every point in the story of Branch, a story filled with lots of love and lots of loss, there have been glimmers of space, freedom, and light. Sometimes these glimmers come in a hug, sometimes in a gift, sometimes in a word that was given to me – just to me – by God Himself.

A few weeks ago I was reading about a woman who has a “diamond cave” where she and God meet. At first I thought this sounded weird. I’m not really into kooky Christianity {there’s way too much Baptist in me for that!}, and this story had “quack” written all over it. The image kept coming to mind, however, so later that evening I wrote my prayer out and prayed that God would remove my skepticism and reveal His Truth. I asked God to show me a special place where we could meet.  I prayed for space, freedom, and light to show up in a unique and personal way.  I wonder if the field of flowers is my “diamond cave”. 

I feel space when I am hiking Torrey Pines.  I feel freedom when I close my eyes and let myself feel every. single. thing.  I feel light when I cup my hands in prayer – my physical posture of surrender.  I beg The Lord to meet me in my spirit. I ask Him to fill my empty palms. Sometimes they are just so empty.

Space, freedom, light: you are welcome here. In my writing, in my life, in my soul.  Come quickly.

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