By: Robyn Busekrus
One of my favorite things to do is to sit outside at night and watch the sun go down. Sometimes the deer run through our woods and the birds perch on the feeders. When I think of the purpose in the serenity of the woods, it’s to reflect on the simple things: the hues of the sun showing their radiant colors, the sounds of the leaves rustling as the deer prance past and the gift of time to just be present.
In our woods, there are paths created by the natural flow of water from the creek. There are also paths created by us as we walk through the woods in a variety of winding loops. The paths have a starting point. There is not a set ending point of the paths, as they journey down the hill and seem to continue.
Sometimes we have to reset and begin a new path on our grief journey. It’s the winding and weaving of the path that makes it worthwhile. At other times, we think we can journey a bit further and take extra steps to get to our resting place. At times, when I think I am doing good on the path taking it step by step, something will hinder my journey. It can be a sound, a memory, a season, or something that takes me back to that time in life that was so difficult.
A few years ago, I participated in a 5K mud race obstacle course. Let’s just say I am not a runner. However, I wanted to attempt the obstacles to say I completed the course at my pace. It was a year after losing our son and my husband and our other two boys participated alongside myself. (I should say they were ahead of me as they are runners and are super good at running!) They lead the way, as I did not want to hold them back due to my pace.
They were my leaders. The ones who kept pursuing the path over lakes, branches, rocks, and other obstacles. I was the one trailing behind watching them accomplish the tasks which prepared myself for the next obstacle by seeing their lead. When I wanted to give up, they were there to see me go to the next obstacle. They were in my view on the winding and weaving path. Knowing I had them as trail markers, provided that boost to attempt the next task.
One of the first obstacles was going through a pond that had mud across the bottom. About a third of the way, my shoes became stuck in the mud. My husband wasn’t too far for me and retrieved my shoes. We progressed through a variety of obstacles: mud pits, climbing structures, crossing creeks, climbing uphill and going downhill.
We came to one obstacle which was crossing a creek with the choice of two bridges. One of the race workers shared with us the pros and cons of crossing each bridge. The first was a bridge ladder that wobbled, and you had to maintain balance to cross. The second bridge consisted of balance beams of various widths. Our crew started the second bridge and when it came to my turn, I had to figure out my strategy. “How was I going to cross this bridge?” My husband yelled, “Do you want help?” I said, “No, I got this.” The worker came over and said, “You earned a badge because I heard you say, “I got this.” She told me to turn the badge in at the end of the race to get a prize. I learned that if a worker saw good in others or heard them say something to push through the challenges, they would give participants a badge.
I started on the balance beam and made it halfway across. I had the badge in my hand and was trying to put it somewhere when I lost focus and fell into the creek! I am not a good swimmer, so I was startled and just hung onto the skinny balance beam board until I could get across to the other side. In the past, I would have given up, but I was determined. Soaking wet, we approached our next obstacle, and it was crossing the creek again on the opposite side.
The task was to shimmy down a wooden, wobbly ladder, then get yourself on these metal square platforms to get to the other side of the creek. Our boys and friends were on the other side waiting. I said to my husband, “I am doing this my way.” Most participants were walking, jumping or running fast to get to the other side. My way included going down the wooden ladder and edging over to the first platform. My style also consisted of scooting and crawling over the creek!
In the race, I had to take one step at a time. Crossing the platform bridge consisted of crawling to the other side and that was okay. When I fell off the bridge into the creek, I took a rest and got up again. Getting up again is the key to continue on the journey. There have been days where it has been taking one step at a time. In the early days of grief, there were times of crawling into bed. When the grief was too much, I learned it was okay to rest.
At the conclusion of the race, I turned my badge in and retrieved my prize. It was a glass with the logo and makes for a reminder of the race.
As I read books, I always have a pencil or pen to write notes or highlight parts of the books to remember. In You Are Not Alone Love Letters from Loss Mom to Loss Mom, one passage of the book has been one that has resonated with me the most. It says,
“Just take one step, and then another. When you can’t take one step, it’s okay to crawl. When crawling is too much, it’s okay to take a rest. You will get up again.”
May we take it step by step on our winding journey. May we look for ways to support others on their journey step by step.
About Robyn Busekrus
Robyn Busekrus is a mom, wife, educator, and writer who makes her home in Washington, MO. Losing her third son Hope in the second trimester of pregnancy, was an unexpected part of her life’s journey. Robyn’s blog www.robynsnestofhope.com chronicles the journey of loss and hope. Appreciating the little things in life, while holding onto faith each day is the message she wants to share with others. Her interests include reading, home decorating, vintage markets, and community service.