Years Pass

The 6th year has now come and gone and while it seems like any other anniversary date, this one was different. This time I chose to focus on me and not on the loss of  her. I spent some time at a spa in Florida and just relaxed. Took a walk on the beach and took in all the wonderful weather Florida offered. I sat and watched a beautiful sunset that took my breath away. You know one of the moments I have said I am looking for. Yeah this year was different.

So often I have sat and cried about the loss of my daughter and how empty I felt. I would gather her things around me and mourn for her. The emptiness I felt in my heart was palpable. The void in my life not seen by others – only me. No one sees that nor gets that. So I hide it. Well I try to hide it – it usually manifests itself in my withdrawal from social life this time of year while I work through it. It’s hard to explain that to those who don’t know that part of my life. And to the one’s who know my story – I’m sure it’s hard for them to hear it or see it too.

I must admit that looking at loss through a different lens can be a bit daunting. I wasn’t sure what to expect this year with my new plan. I still do feel like something is missing. I cannot put my finger on it but I do know I feel like I left something behind. So what was it? Perhaps I left behind my old ways of dealing with grief. Perhaps I left behind a sense of sadness and exchanged it for a chance at happiness. While that all sounds odd  – happiness when you are grieving the loss of a child or loved one, I do believe God gives us just enough space to go there. I know my daughter would be kicking me if she could, well maybe she is. The thought makes me laugh. As I know she is absolutely with me always in spirit.

She was a gift given to me for such a short time. I cannot spend time worrying about what if I had done this or that differently. Life played out as it did and I can only learn from it and move forward. Walking out my purpose one step at a time in faith that in time, knowing that I will receive a “well done” at the end of my journey.

until next time

m

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The crushing ripples of grief

I remember back in the early days after my daughter’s death I struggled with knowing who I was. I felt much like a tree that used to have beautiful branches and blooms. After the stormy death of Brittany, I felt that my limbs had been severed, my blooms withered away and I was left with just a shell. Devoid of all things called life.

I felt out-of-place wherever I went. When I went to an event in the town I lived, I felt out-of-place. When I walked in the store to get groceries, I felt out-of-place. When I drove up to my house in EGR, I felt out-of-place. Everywhere I turned I felt out-of-place. My whole life revolved around my daughter. 17 years of giving birth to her, keeping her safe, always working with medical team to keep her healthy. So when all that went away – I was left with a feeling of no purpose. It was a dark time.

As the months waned on and the winter cold settled in I felt more reclusive and more depressed.  I read the bible a lot those days hoping to find some guidance as to why it all  happened to me. Never really got that message. Which increased my feelings of worthlessness and depression. The more I read I should just have faith and get over it and move on, the more I came to understand that no one truly gets. I think the only way anyone could get this is for someone to have this happen to them. To have their life ripped up and their heart ripped out to the point that you feel nothing.

I wrote daily in my journal and for the most part it was very sparse. Sometimes I drew pictures of how I felt because the words wouldn’t come.  One of the items the journal page asked for was gratitude. I found that hard initially to find anything to be grateful about. Sometimes it would be the name of a person, or the sunny weather – but mostly I found myself grateful for breathing.

So often it was the gift of friends that caught me through so many of the dark days the first year.  Many came to be close friends that made me feel like I could make it through. I received so much love during that time and for that I have always been grateful. That is how the strong foundation was built for me to get to another level. I’ll always be forever thankful for God bringing those into my life, even if it was for a short time.

When your confidence is in God – you can do anything and God will show up!

My turning points were when I saw Brittany as a special gift from God because He knew I could care for her and give her a life that would shine and be of honor to God. Took me a long while to see that.

In February 2007, I had no idea where or what to do with my life. I wasn’t sure where my life would go or if I wanted it to go on. But through my faith and family and the best of friends I decided to move back to hometown of Indy. It was the one thing I was happy about. I wanted so desperately to leave the home I had with Brittany because it brought me such pain. There were so many great memories in that house, but also it is where I found her unresponsive. I had to leave.

While in the months to come, having left that  house was good for my grieving process, it was not good for my financial life. It was crushed. I found myself starting over. Even today I am still fighting the effects of that decision, which I would do again today, but it’s very sad that someone who has lost so much had to lose much more. There was no fairness. NONE.

People want to know why is it so hard to get over a loss. It’s because there is a ripple effect that happens when loss occurs. The ripples of life keep coming at you giving you little to no time to recover. Whenever I think I’m ready to move forward and buy a new house or condo, I find I cannot because losing my daughter meant losing my home too. So whenever I want to truly start over in my life, I cannot. I am forever reminded that when I ask if I can buy a car or a house or get credit – and I get denied – it’s just as if she has died all over agin. It just never stops.

I remain faithful that God will continue to bless me and that one day I’ll be able to start my life over again.

God is close to the broken-hearted, he restores those whose spirits are crushed.

Mine are still crushed.

until next time,

m

As Time Passes

As time passes I find I no longer look for those moments when I am overwhelmed with a wash of grief that suddenly comes over me and when I least expect it. I stopped expecting it a year or so ago. But funny thing – it still comes, it still stings and it still hurts just as badly.

As I wandered about my place today I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling disconnected, unmotivated to do anything, talk to anyone or spend time with anyone. I was upset with myself because it is not like me to be that way. Then tears filled my eyes and I felt as if I’d been stabbed in the heart by the sting of grief.

You see if you have never experienced it, you can’t even imagine it. But if you have experienced this type of grief – you know perfectly well what I’m saying. Try as you may to not think about it, dwell on it or give it any residence in your mind – it still shows up. It’s like a bad ache, an itch you can’t scratch, a feeling of gloom that comes over like a black cloud on a sunny day that brings a burst of rain so strong it blows you over and you are covered in tears like a watershed of rain.

The hard part is letting it happen. Letting the work of grief do it’s thing and then releasing it into the world giving it it’s due. Because I’ll tell you if you fight it will fight harder. I have found it’s easier to just let it happen. Let the pain come, the tears flow, the sorrow cry out in prayer to God because that is how it gets released.

I miss my daughter with every part of my being. More than I can ever share. More than I could ever write about. There is nothing that I could write that would describe the emptiness I have in my heart that will never be replaced. As this fifth Christmas comes to an end and the tears flow I am still thankful, still grateful and still hopeful for the future.

until next time

m

Who is God?

This is the 2nd part in a series based on the book from Max Lucado called “Traveling Light” – I encourage you to read if you haven’t already.

This series will be written through the eyes of a grieving mother and a child of God. My plan is to use Lucado’s book “Traveling Light” to inspire, enlighten and empower grieving parents, family members and friends to move through their experience and see God’s plan and to know His love.

 

When you are grieving a loss like the loss of a child it’s so easy to lose your focus on just about everything.  It’s as if blinders have been put on your face and all you can see is the immense pain and sorrow that prevails over your life. It’s as if a dark cloud hovers over your life and the sun cannot penetrate it. A black veil has been hung over your heart and will forever be there as a reminder of the profound loss that remains.

Fortunately for me, I had a foundation of faith at the time of my daughter’s death. Now it wasn’t as strong as it is today, but it was better than nothing. But here’s the real gift for me – I never really understood who God was until my daughter’s death. You can say “well how is that a gift” – well my dear friends, the gift is that God showed His face, His love and His mercy over my life every time I called His name and sometimes when the words were silent that came from my mouth. When all I could do was wail from the pressing sorrow that came from all sides.

For me God showed up and took my hand through the “Valley of Death” – that I will write more about later. But first I want to address who God is – in a way that I saw who He was and still is today for me, a mother who has lost the most precious gift of all – my daughter. To understand who God is; how magnificent He is and how awesome He is – creates a place for healing to begin in your heart as it has in mine. It doesn’t happen overnight and for me, it’s still a work in progress.

So – Who is God? Lucado describes God in a way that moved me to tears and he says it this way “He is the One who Is” “One who creates” “He is an uncaused God” “God is Yahweh an unchanging God, an uncaused God and an ungoverned God”.  So what I took from this is my God is a constant in my life. He’s a consistent calm in a stormy sea. He is always there and never leaves me. That is a comfort when you have a grieving soul.

“Counselors can comfort you in the storm, but you need a God who can still the storm. Friends can hold  your hand at your deathbed, but you need a Yahweh who has defeated the grave. Philosophers can debate the meaning of life, but you need a Lord who can declare the meaning of life. You need a Yahweh.” – from Max Lucado’s Traveling Light

I love that segment of the book because it really puts God at the center of any situation and hopefully shows you that no matter what you are dealing with God is there. I have felt that for many months and now years since my daughter’s death. Although some of the time I wasn’t sure I was feeling God’s presence – I still knew by faith that He was there.

I think in the early days of my faith, before Brit’s death I put God up on shelf – kinda like my bible. Took it down when I needed it or needed Him. But since my world was shattered, and let me just say that Brittany’s death was for me the straw that broke the camel’s back. I’ve had many other life shattering events – but my only child dying right before my eyes – well that rocked my world so profoundly – yet God remained.

Now God no longer sits up on the shelf of my life – He remains at the center of my life – leading me through the valleys and giving me rest when I need it. Blessing me everyday even though I don’t always see it. God has now saturated my life and that has been the very life blood I needed to move forward on the journey that I am now on. That is why I write so that God’s love can been seen through the fractured vantage point of unimaginable grief.

Stay tuned as we next visit – I’m gonna do it my way – it’s all I know – or so I thought…..

until next time

m