May 15, 2024

Identity "Crysis"

It's hard to know who you are after a heartbreaking loss. You know you are changed forever, but the pain and the tears make it difficult to see what remains of the "you" you used to be. This was written two years after Rhett's death.

Lorna Hering

I want to scream...and cry.

I want to know how to rid myself of this lump in my throat and this ache in my heart.

I still want to know why I even have to deal with this identity crisis.

But I do.

I didn’t even consciously know this crisis existed until a specific moment this week, but now that I know, I have to do something... and that will be tough.

I had an epiphany. It was an eye-opening and heart-heavy experience, mixed with a whisper of freedom for my bondage. I could see it so clearly, and it hurt. And it embarrassed me. And it angered me.

But...worst of all, I knew “it” clearly identified me.

I used to be my own person. I used to know my identity. I was strong, I was creative, I was happy, I was “blessed”. I was a child of God.
I was Lorna Hering.
I lost her. Actually, she was abducted at 3:23 on December 28th, 2015 when Rhett died.

I don’t blame myself. I didn’t choose to lose myself.

The grief was all consuming. It ate me alive.

If you aren’t on this side of the “child loss equation”, you simply cannot understand.

It’s beyond your ability to comprehend the ripping and tearing of your DNA when your child dies.

And I have to admit... I used to be on the other side of that ugly equation too...and maybe I was a bit judgmental when people couldn’t move on after a loss or a tragedy. Maybe a bit too quick to think I had the answers. Maybe a bit too hasty to give up on a grief stricken soul. And, I was totally incapable of understanding the plight of parents who have had to live through such a deep identity crisis.

But I have had a shockingly-hard epiphany.

It breaks my heart and leaves me feeling lost.

I have totally forfeited my identity as anything other than Rhett’s momma. The dead kid’s mom. The lady who lost her boy in an ATV accident. The bereaved mother. The heartbroken shell of the ex-Lorna Hering.

I never did that intentionally. I just kept slipping and falling and grabbing on to Rhett. I did not and do not want to let him go. And to be honest, I don’t think I will ever successfully figure out how to really let him go as long as I am breathing.

But... I do have to give Rhett back to Rhett.

I have to let Rhett have his name and his identity back.

As much as I love being associated with that sweet boy of mine that died too soon, I hear God saying that I need to remember that I have my own identity...

I love that. I hate that.

It feels like freedom. It feels like heartbreak.

It feels like I’m abandoning my boy and letting go of his memory.

It feels like hope, like I’m letting go of heaviness.

Jesus says...

My real identity is that I belong to Him and share His DNA.

My real identity is that I am a child of God that has survived the unimaginable and am somehow now better equipped to help others.

My real identity is not “a bereaved mother” but “a beloved daughter” of the King.

I am Lorna Hering.

I have scars and bruises and rips.

But, I am still who He made me to be.

I am not just a product of the most devastating tragedy that my heart has ever known.

I am more.

I have to locate the real me again. I have to search for and reclaim my identity.

That does not mean that I am abandoning Rhett.

You must understand that I miss him and hurt the same as I did before this revelation.

It just means that I am ready to re-find ME.

And if you have sat and cried with me during this “identity CRYsis”...thank you.

You have helped me reach the point of wanting to find myself again.

And I will need your help as I search for me.

And if you have been “offended” or put out by my identity crisis, please forgive me and maybe have a little extra grace for those like me...because this side of the “child loss equation” has been so hard on Rhett’s mom

...I mean me

...I mean Lorna Hering.