Brokenness & Withdrawal 

30 Jan

godhealsThrough withdrawal, I’ve encountered a few unforeseen consequences. Not drug withdrawal but personal withdrawal.

Not long ago I received a letter from a relative asking if they had inadvertently offended me. To say I was stunned doesn’t adequately express my level of shock. And more recently still, a good friend told me that she feared I was uncomfortable in her presence and had therefore withdrawn. This woman is one I count among my best friends and my relative is someone I feel very close to as well. It hurt me to know that my withdrawal from public life had left them wondering about how I felt about them personally. In my desire to escape, I hurt them inadvertently.

After the accident, I found very little privacy in which to process my grief over Bethany and Katie’s deaths and the drastic change in health and mobility Gracen suffered due to the same accident. Family and friends came and went, and we were oh so thankful for their presence and the support they offered each one of us.

Yet it was also a hectic time and sleep deprivation was a common occurrence. Upon Gracen’s release from UAMS, caring for her was challenging, to say the least. There were medications to keep track of and belly shots to give. She was initially confined to a hospital bed and when she was transferred to any other location two people were required in order to control her right leg which was encased in an immobilizer for the first three months following her knee surgery. We were also working around a broken wrist, cracked pelvis, and so on . . .

Our home might well have had a revolving door as there were OTs and PTs, doctors and home health nurses coming in and out on a regular basis. Eventually, we acquired the assistance of two care aides. They were lifesavers for us. They helped us bathe and dress Gracen, work on her therapy, transfer her from place to place get her out of the house and just generally kept me sane. Isabelle and Julie, Merilee, Kelly, Candice, Katie, and Kimberly kept us afloat along with Drs. Balmakund, Karkos, Scott, Weeden, Renard, and Friesen.

It was helpful.

It was exhausting.

And time marched on. . .

We learned to transport Gracen in a car & mastered wheelchair usage in a variety of settings. We managed sponge baths and tub showers, walker practice, and clothes changes. Everything took longer and was more difficult than it had been before, and that was just on a physical level.

brokenwomanAnd time marched on . . .

For everyone else.

But I . . .

was broken . . .

shattered really.

All of a sudden I looked around and a year and a half had flown by and I was still trying to learn how to manage daily life effectively or efficiently or . . . at all.

Not only that but it was time to switch gears and prepare to send Gracen to college.

I was terrified to let her go.

I was afraid to keep her home.

I was still reeling and all of the sudden others started pushing me to move forward and not to worry after all God is in control.

Life had been so busy, one task leading to the next, that I failed to do a lot of grieving just trying to keep my head above water. And while others were ready for me to move on, I was just getting started.

I looked up and found myself profoundly shocked by the way the world had moved on—by how I was supposed to move on—and I knew—I knew that no one understood me . . .

kintsugiheartNo one understood my daily existence because it wasn’t like anyone else’s. And yet, there were expectations. . .

Weighty . . .

burdensome expectations that I was not prepared, let alone equipped to manage.

So I withdrew. . .

It was a purely self-protective move.

I dropped out of life.

I huddled up inside my home and wrote my way through my frustrations, hurt, and grief.


But in so doing, my silence left others to draw their own conclusions, and for that, I’m truly sorry.

kintsugidefinitionWithdrawal was about me . . .

Not because of anyone in particular.

Withdrawal was about cultural, societal, and even spiritual expectations.

It was about protecting myself so God could begin the process of Kintsugi in my heart.

It was about me.

It’s still about me.


Posted by on January 30, 2017 in Faith, Grief


Tags: , , ,

16 responses to “Brokenness & Withdrawal 

  1. rogerholmack

    January 30, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    Yes, I would agree. We withdraw because we need it. ~Roger

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sandibrooke

    January 31, 2017 at 2:18 am

    “And while others were ready for me to move on, I was preparing to get started.” Brilliantly and eloquently stated. I understand just a fraction of what you have – and are still going through.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janet Boxx

      January 31, 2017 at 10:10 am

      Maybe I’m more normal than I realize! 😉
      Thank you for pointing that out!


  3. victoriawhyte

    January 31, 2017 at 2:49 am

    Sending you hugs through cyberspace 💜💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

    • Janet Boxx

      January 31, 2017 at 10:12 am

      Thank you! Sending hugs back your way, Victoria! Did I ever mention that Victoria is Gracen’s middle name? It’s beautiful.


  4. lightheartedletters

    January 31, 2017 at 3:33 am

    LOVE the graphic about repairing pottery with gold. That is such a beautiful illustration of redemption! Blessings on your gilding process at whatever speed it progresses. Your final line resonates so much. My journey with God is about me, no more no less. He and I are both personal beings, and that is the way it is meant to be!


    • Janet Boxx

      January 31, 2017 at 10:18 am

      I love the art form Kintsugi! It just speaks to me of what God does in human hearts. The one thing that is rarely mention about the art form is that not only is the piece considered more beautiful for all its been through but that it is literally more valuable because of the addition of the gold that hold the piece together. That – that tells me that our pain and sorrows make us more valuable to God’s kingdom work. That we are more beautiful because He is the gold that seals up the broken pieces of our hearts. He shines. I must decrease so He can increase and I think that’s what Kintsugi does in believers. If you ask yourself if others see Jesus in you, you would most likely find they see Him most in the areas of the deepest wounds in your soul. Let Him shine through your brokenness. It’s beautiful!

      Liked by 1 person

      • lightheartedletters

        January 31, 2017 at 12:57 pm

        Thank you for introducing me to this art style. Yes, the concept of redeemed brokenness becoming more valuable than the unbroken original is something I’ve been growing into. It never becomes easy, however, and visual aids like this pottery principle go a long way in helping me stick with it!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Melanie

    January 31, 2017 at 6:04 am

    Thank you for vulnerability Janet. My journey has had similiar elements. Withdrawal is something I must do a few days every week if I’m to continue the process. Grief won’t be ignored forever. We have to do the work it requires so that, like the pottery, our pieces are once again put together. It’s painful and will take a lifetime. I pray for both of us that the places God mends us shine like beacons of hope for others.


    • Janet Boxx

      January 31, 2017 at 10:21 am

      There is absolutely nothing I can add to that. Love you, friend!


  6. Nancy

    January 31, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Oh Janet, I am so sorry that you now have this added burden of friends feeling abandoned. You did not abandon them. You did not insult or offend them. You took care of yourself and your family first through God. That is what you were supposed to do. I pray that eventually, your extended family and friends will know, understand and accept. My prayers and tears are with you. Sending you hugs.


    • Janet Boxx

      January 31, 2017 at 9:44 am


      I think everyone understood once I explained it to them. I don’t think they took my withdrawal personally after that which I’m thankful for because I cherish those relationships. That response was simply an unforeseen consequence and it made sense to me. I was so glad both were willing to tell me how they felt. Had get not, I think those relations would have been destroyed over a complete misunderstanding. I am very blessed in the friends, family, and support arena of my life. Very blessed!


  7. Cindy Whyte

    January 31, 2017 at 8:12 am

    My heart goes out to you. So unfair what some people must go through in life. I lost my son also and almost 8 years later still struggle with depression and anxiety. Others cannot understand if they’ve never gone through it. It is pure selfishness that they make it about them instead of trying to understand and be supportive. You really find out who your true friends are. Nothing wrong with spending time alone to grieve, think, and try to deal with your new reality. My only consolation was reading these stories and knowing I was not alone. God bless you and take care of you. 💕


    • Janet Boxx

      January 31, 2017 at 10:03 am


      I appreciate your concern for me yet I have to say that both individuals mentioned in this piece were more concerned about either having inadvertently hurt me or with how comfortable I felt in social situations. While they missed the normal friendship we shared neither was concerned for themselves or acting in their own self interest. In fact, the way I found out about one was when I apologized for me failure to call and keep in contact with them. That individual never would have said anything had I not opened the door for them. Definitely more concerned about what I needed than what they wanted. They are my tribe, so to speak. Have been there through good and bad and thick and thin. I count them as a blessing in my life! I hope you have a tribe of your own. We all need others. We get by with a little help from our friends, don’t we?

      I wanted to write about this to help others recognize and avoid this unforeseen situation in their own lives. You need time alone but you also need others to help you through. I’d hate for other hurting Mom’s to lose friendships they value over misunderstandings.

      Eight years. I don’t even want to think that far down the road! I may be coping with anxiety and depression then too, especially in light of Gracen’s degenerative disease. That was one of the things that drove me to withdrawal as I felt as if others had no idea how stressful it was for me to look down the road anticipating more destruction, not because I’m negative but because that is the realistic prognosis for the future.

      I hope, over time and with God’s grace, you will wake one sweet day and realize the Holy Spirit has done a personal work in your heart that destroys the power of fear in your life. That’s my hope for myself as well. But until then, we endure for the joy set before us.

      Love and hugs to you. Thank you for responding to my post! I love hearing what others think of what they read – what I write and conclude. You keep me grounded!


  8. Carmen

    January 31, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Your words are precious to me.
    Each of us has our own devastating experience that causes a sudden change in what we assume is a normal life. Mine occurred August 19,2016 when I went to visit my 90 year old, very independent mother, and found her in the later /early stage of dementia. In a matter of 24 hrs, knew that she would be moving in with us. A woman that for the past 45years had chosen to only be a part of our lives from a distance.
    Your words express my exact feelings.
    Thank you for sharing that this is a normal way of existence while grieving through a life situation that we have no control over. Only aware that my daily existence comes from an all knowing and loving God


    • Janet Boxx

      January 31, 2017 at 10:09 am


      I am so very sorry to hear both of your mother’s dementia and of the distance that had developed in your relationship over the last 45 years. You are in a challenging situation and we’re obviously thrown into the fire without warning. That is a very difficult place to find yourself. I have personal experience with that and my heart goes out to you. I hope, in the midst of the fiery furnace you learn of the misunderstandings and errors that damaged your relationship in the past and that you can find restoration even in the midst of the fire. God’s mercies are new every morning and they transcend any diagnosis or hurdle life throws our way. God bless you!



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