This week has been hard. I miss Warren so deeply and there are just moments that I cannot move from the feeling of complete despair. I think I am having a difficult time understanding that I can rejoice in the hope of the Glory of God (Rom. 5:2), but at the same time be miserable in my suffering. For me, my heart aches all the time, but then some times it aches so badly that I cry and feel so alone that nothing seems to help…I open the Bible, music is playing in the background, I’m crying out to God for relief, but the tears keep coming and my heart and my entire body just get lost in the deepest hurt imaginable. My memory plays and replays time I spent with Warren, vacations, baseball games, tucking him in bed each night (yes, even at 13), his pajama pants that he always wore even though they were way too short, chocolate donut holes on Saturdays, his magic tricks, the way he would always make his bed, his showers every morning (in the dark),….and on and on. There are no words to describe how much I miss the very presence of my precious Warren Austin Barfield. We all do… the loss is great. It is real. It is painful. …not pretty.
“Be merciful to me, LORD, for I am faint; O LORD, heal me, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in anguish. How long, O LORD, how long? Turn, O LORD, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love” (Psalm 6:2-4).
Two things had been weighing heavy on me for several weeks since Warren died. The first was returning to the cemetery for the first time and the second was cleaning out his locker at school. There have been many day to day things that have been hard..like our traditional blueberry muffin Fridays, our silly goodbyes in the morning (often Warren would open the shutters and make silly faces as I left for work) 🙂 , and especially sitting at the kitchen table staring at the empty chair where he used to sit. All of these things have been difficult and yet somehow we face them head on each day because… we have no choice.
I was scared to go to the cemetery, because I wasn’t sure what to expect. I honestly couldn’t even remember where in the cemetery he was buried. What was there? Was there something there that identified him? Even typing these words is still so very difficult…dead, buried, cemetery and Warren, these are words that shouldn’t be together in a sentence.
Well I faced both fears this week…not alone, of course, one of my dearest friends actually faced both of these with me. How awful to drag a friend, with whom we used to laugh and watch our boys play ball together..our conversations used to include talk about baseball, girls, 8th grade dance, clothes, hair and make-up…the normal stuff. Now, I’m calling her up to take me to the cemetery. This.Is.Not.Right.
We arrived and had someone show us where to go. We walked up and the heaviness in my body and ache in my heart made it difficult to breathe. I noticed fresh dirt right next to the place where Warren is buried and I immediately felt invaded and apparently, with no hesitation, asked the women, “who is this?”… she answered me and even gave me a name. I cannot remember the name, but I do remember thinking someone should have asked me or at least informed me who would be laying next to my boy…weird, but it just didn’t seem right. The lady hugged me and left. (which was a good thing…I had not felt very comforted by her earlier)…I put my hands on my knees and leaned over his grave and cried. I would probably describe it more like sobbing….It wasn’t a pretty sight, but necessary….for me. After a few moments I sat down with my eyes closed. The day could not have been more gorgeous, and as the sun beat down on my face, I continued to weep. I touched the grass that had been placed over the mound of dirt. It was dry and brittle. There were chunks of dirt or clay that I couldn’t easily break in my hands. I just kept rubbing my hand over the grass and began to talk to Jesus. I asked him once again to help me…It seems like in times of my deepest sorrow the only thing I can think to say is “Please, Jesus, help me…help Bill, help Grace, we desperately need you…”
There was nothing at the grave that had his name on it. I had worried about that. I guess that’s not unusual since it takes some time to decide what type of marker you want and then have it made and placed etc. At least, I know, and I don’t have to wonder….Before we left, we talked about something..something like “now, which way is he facing? his head is there, and legs here?…..” We had a normal conversation too, but I can’t remember what it was. We stood, it had gotten a tad warm..seriously, I was beginning to sweat and thought this was good, but it’s time to go. It was simply good because it was no longer a mystery to me.
His locker…well, in short it was anti-climactic. Warren was a very neat and tidy person, just like his Dad. He cleaned and organized ‘stuff’ regularly. His locker was no exception. The school had offered to gather what was in it and give it to me weeks ago. However, it seemed important for me to see it. I had not ever been in the 8th grade building. I couldn’t even tell you the names of all his teachers. This is what happens when they get to middle school..especially if they are good students who make good grades and never get into trouble, which would describe Warren. So, I wanted to go there and see his locker in person. I wanted to see where he stood and where he hung out with his friends between classes… So, for that reason I am glad I went myself. As his principal opened the locker, I think I held my breath in hopes to see something that would speak to me..why not a sign hung inside that said “I love my mom”!!!? Or at the very least, a journal with more of his personal writing in it..nope, nothing besides 2 workbooks, 2 journals (one of which was math….or science-boring) and some unopened, lined notecards. I actually looked at the principal and laughed with tears streaming down my face..”that’s it? how disappointing..” So we put it all in a bag I brought with me, and walked away. There was a teacher in her room that came out and spoke very kindly of Warren, and how even though she did not have him, it was clear what an amazing young boy he had been. She hugged me and then I walked out of the 8th grade building….
*side note…Warren’s LA teacher emailed after I got home and said she had some things of Warrens to give me…I jumped in my car and headed back up to the school. She gave me a journal (which only included some notes), and a blue folder that contained one of his last tests..(dated 11-19-14) and something that he had written about himself at the beginning of the year. Apparently, they had to write their teacher a letter telling her about themselves. It was so beautifully written and brought a huge smile to my face…I can’t wait to share it! One thing I will tell you is that he used 5 words to describe himself that I think are spot on!!!! Generous, Athletic, Responsible, Respectful, & Devoted He was certainly those things and more…..Miss him so much!
So…as I sit here this Sunday evening after being at a cheer competition all weekend with Grace, spending our first Valentine’s Day without Warren, I have unexplainable peace, peace from God that surpasses all understanding.. (Philippians 4:7) Could I cry? Yes… Is my heart heavy? Yes…Do I miss him? Yes…Terribly, but I can rest in His promise that He will carry us…and that He IS enough for today, and when/if tomorrow becomes today..HE WILL BE ENOUGH!
Psalm 61:1-3 Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 62:1 My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.