Forever 17

As I remember my Brittany today, I know she is spending her birthday in the presence of God and that I’m so very thankful for. I miss her terribly and on this day it’s not lost on me the gratitude I have that she was given to me for a short time not to exist but to live and give lessons to those whom she came to know.

So now our job is to release the pain, give it to God and walk in gratitude for the time we had and walk forward in love to those who are still with us.

Many thanks and gratitude I have for you all as we walk on this journey together.

Until next time,

M

Credit: TobyMac #speaklife, Lysa Terkeurst

Don’t be afraid of the dark

I saw this quote from Toby Mac and it resonated with me as I reflected on this time of year. The period between Brittany’s angel date and her birthday I spend a great deal of time thinking about her. How much I miss her and remembering how tough the early days were.

I cannot tell you how much of my time in those early days and weeks after Brittany’s death I spent either laid out on the floor or on my knees praying for my life; questioning why my girl and begging God to remove the pain.

Each time God responded but not always how I would have liked. What I know is God never left my side. I felt his presence every step of the way. Psalms provided healing to my broken heart and Job helped me understand I wasn’t alone in my grief. That there would be a restoration to what was lost.

My faith has remained strong over these last 13 years – although not perfect I know the restoration will come perhaps not on my timeline but Gods.

#tobymac #speaklife

Until next time

Mal

Tears still show up unexpectedly…

Age 15

Reminiscing through photos of my late daughter and this one popped up and my heart sank but at the same time brought me such joy because this picture to me speaks to her heart. Her soul was so rich with love and humor.

I miss her so much. I keep avoiding thinking about it – but even after 13 years, the tears come quickly if I let them.

#grief #griefjourney #griefandloss #griefsucks #sheismyheavenlyangel

Until next time,

M

October 13 – 13 years

As I laid in bed last night I couldn’t help but remember where I was exactly at that moment 13 years ago. Sitting in the PICU at Brittany’s bedside praying for a miracle as she continued to get worse throughout the night. It’s hard to believe it’s been 13 years. In space in time, it seems like a lifetime ago; but yet my heart feels like it was yesterday.
What I am thankful for are the people who knew her well, continue to remember her for the wonderful quirky and loving soul she was to all of us. Her best friends still send me notes honoring her memory on this day each year. This year has been no different.
I’m sitting here now in the beautiful landscape of the North Carolina mountains with people who understand my pain, allow me to be and do whatever I need to do whether it be cry, laugh, grieve, or just remain quiet in the sweet memories of my sweet girl.
I’m so grateful.

Until next time,

M

A Grown Woman ALWAYS Needs Her Mama

This picture is one of my favorites of my mom and me. I’m not sure how old I was, thinking maybe eight or nine years of age. Which means my mom was in her mid-late 20’s. She was the best mom. She loved her children and worked to keep food on the table and clothes on our backs. She was a single mother. Working three jobs at times to make sure we stayed together as a family.

Today she would have celebrated her 79th birthday. That seems so far fetched given she died at the young age of 48 on September 16th, 1988. Just a few days after we celebrate her 48th birthday.

What is staggering is I’ve lived half my life without her. But those first 31 years she prepared me to be a mom; to be a strong and successful woman; and to live through the most unimaginable grief. She taught me the importance of having a strong work ethic. She taught me right from wrong. She taught me that I was so much more than I thought I could be. She believed in me. She was my best friend. And every day I think of her and know she walks along my life with me, guiding my way.

There are days when I just wish I could get a hug from her. She gave the best hugs ever. She wrote the most amazing letters to me and I have them today. I treasure them with all of my heart.

Here is what I know – You are never too old to want your mama, to need your mama. I also know she has my Brittany with her. I feel them all around me protecting me, keeping me moving forward, even on days when it just doesn’t feel right.

Grief sucks…

Until next time

M

Empty Page

I have not written a post in a while and I can’t really explain why other than when I sit down to write, nothing comes out. It used to pour out of me like water flowing from a jug. Writing was effortless. Pain does that. When in the fire, words come so easily. Without really any true effort, the posts just kept coming, week after week and month after month.

Now I am faced with this empty page that I have been staring at for weeks, maybe even months. I’m stuck. I’m stuck in the mud. I exist somewhere between the sorrow of a broken heart and a life I’m trying to fit into. Every word is hard. Every thought is like sludge. Nothing really comes out worth writing about.

This empty page is representative of where I am right now in this moment. Some of it is grief, some of it fighting off the demons of grief, some of it is tired of grief. Grief is exhausting and when it’s “that time of year” it’s grueling. I just don’t want to think about it. But my body has a mind of it own and says “this is you and this is what happened to you” – own it. But I don’t want to anymore.

Grief is all I’ve know for the past 30+ years. All types of grief. And at varying stages. It’s worn me down. I’m tired. This time every year I am at war with grief. I don’t want it anymore. I just don’t want to think about. But yet it returns and creates havoc over my life until it settles in for the long winter months of hibernation.

So while this seems a bit “dark” and I can imagine you might be concerned, don’t be. I go through this every year. Then it passes one day and the sun comes back out and I feel my heart begin to beat again.

It’s during these dark times, I keep busy, avoid it and try not to let it over take me. But as I am often reminded, grief never ceases. It has to be reconciled. God put me on this path for a reason. One that I plan on asking him about one day. For what purpose has all of this suffering been for. I can’t even bring myself to think about it all. One day I may know but for now I just write so people know they are not alone when these dark days loom over them. They will come and they will go.

The choice is always to take a deep breath and move through it, write about it and send it on it’s way.

Until next time,

M

Grieving Mother’s Day

As I sit here contemplating another Mother’s Day to endure, I cannot help but think about the many thousands of other grieving mothers who are experiencing this Mother’s Day from the perspective of loss.

I remember the first Mother’s Day after my mother’s death in late 1988. I had just given birth to my daughter and it was my first Mother’s Day – but the absence of my mother clouded that day for me. I struggled to celebrate for myself. This was a critical milestone in my life having just had my daughter just two months after my mom passed away at the age of 48. I felt the loss of my mom like no other. I needed her during this time in my life more than any other.

As the years waned on, I began to enjoy Mother’s Day because I had this beautiful girl who loved making me gifts each year to celebrate Mother’s Day. She was God’s gift to me. Once she became ill and diagnosed with a chronic illness, I struggled to understand why her. Why me. In a more global perspective – just why?

As many of you know, in October 2006, my daughter, and only child, passed away at the age of 17. She was one month shy of her 18thbirthday and a senior in high school. So again, I found myself struggling to breathe and especially on holidays. The first holidays were the worst.

Mother’s Day will forever be the worst day of them all. Some of you who read this will, unfortunately, understand this. Some of you never will. If you have not experienced this much loss, you cannot know nor could you understand. This is the time we need to have our greatest support from family and friends. The struggle is so profound. No matter how many years pass, the pain is still there. It always will be.

What I’ve learned over the years is that grief makes people uncomfortable. Especially those not directly impacted. It’s so important to stand with your friend or family member to support them. If you are the griever reading this – please reach out to someone who understands and can validate your sorrow. It’s real. If you are a friend or family member – go be with that person. Understand they are hurting no matter how many years have passed since their loss.

The world stands still on this day for so many mothers. The memories of their babies, children, adult children – all flashing back to the day when they were still alive. At the end of each Mother’s Day they are reminded of their absence in their life and we must be there to support, hug, love on them. Even those of us who are walking the same journey.

To all you mothers out there – Happy Mother’s Day. We celebrate you and your gifts to the world. I know this is hard for you, but take in the great joy of giving life to this world and spend time remembering the good memories with your child. Say their name, write in your journal, tell their story here in the comments below. Celebrate them.

Until next time,

M