It’s been a while….

I have been so busy these past few weeks with work and school that I haven’t had the time to write. And that explains why my heart is heavy. Writing these  past few years has been so healing for me, and now that I’ve been away from it – I can tell it’s been awhile. So I will write – but please know when I do it’s a good thing even while the topic may be heartbreaking and words may sting – it is healing.

Part III – Chapter 9 – God’s Night Light

from Grieving Forward Embracing Life Beyond Loss by Susan Duke

By his light I walked through darkness – Job 29:3

Susan talks about the light of God and how he gives you enough lite to move forward even though it feels you are going backwards in your grief. I felt that often during the early months and first year after Brittany’s death. It seemed so dark at times, I wasn’t sure I would ever see light again. My life seemed empty and my heart heavy – I became so very tired of the dark. Now the dark only comes during October and it lasts until January. I have to reach way down during these months and put myself in the hands of God because I cannot do this alone.

During the dark night of your soul there will be moments when God strikes a match and rekindles your hope. Through your darkened corridors of grief He lights a candle to renew your faith and show you He is there. In the early stages of grief, when your view is clouded with sorrow and you long to take giant steps into His healing light, God is depositing eternal treasures within your heart. – (page 98 – Susan Duke)

The above passage is one of my favorites from the book as she so eloquently describes my path. Although in the early months and years I wasn’t able to see that light, I came to know God was working on me to keep moving one foot in front of the other. To remind me that although my greatest treasure was just taken from me, that I had a purpose. That I was here for a reason. But I still needed a light to find my way.

So now I am entering the what I call the dark times. The time where I am constantly reminded of the gravity of my loss. The lingering effects of my loss and the value of life that I still carry. October 13th will be the 5th year since Brittany’s death. Does this, all this mess, get any easier – maybe – just a little. October is October and I doubt that I’ll ever be glad to see it again. November isn’t much better as the holiday season begins and I see moms and their daughters at the mall doing the things I should be doing with my Brittany and all the pain, the sorrow and the grief flood the gates of my heart again and again. Till I have nothing left.

Her birthday, Christmas and New Year’s – they all bring wonderful memories. But they also bring a longing for her that I will never again know. To hear her laugh and to feel her hug – that is the worst feeling. That kind of emptiness is indescribable. So yeah, this time of year is what I call the dark times and although I try very hard to roll with the holidays, I really just want to crawl up into a ball and sleep until January. But instead I have to crawl up into the lap of Jesus and let him comfort me. It was the best advice someone gave me when I was at the bottom of my despair two years ago.

So if you know me, light a candle on October 13th and say a prayer that God will show me that light. If you know anyone who grieves over the loss of their loved one, especially a child. Light a candle for them and pray that God shows them the light. It is that light that clears the way down the path of grief into the light of hope.

until next time

m

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A Sorrowful Night

I won’t lie I did something I haven’t done in a while and that’s I cried myself to sleep last night. You see I’m in that period of the dark times where Thanksgiving is upon us and my girl’s birthday, what would have been her 22nd birthday, follows shortly thereafter. And then there is Christmas.

I was feeling very sad last night as I lie in bed thinking to myself “why is life so damn hard” “why aren’t things falling into place” and “why am I hurting more than usual”. I could have answered those questions in so many ways, yet I just couldn’t seem to find the right one, that is until this morning. But first I must lay the foundation for what is going to happen next and why I think it’s important to move forward.

Just make sure it’s palpable for you to know what it’s like to be me I will try to put it into words for I’m not sure you really understand the gravity of my loss(s). Then I will explain what I intend to do about where I sit now, numb and finding life somewhat meaningless.

The day I said goodbye to my mother was extordinarly difficult. I was seven months pregnant with Brittany and as you could imagine very hormonal. But I was able to put it together and continue on. But underneath that calm exterior I was slowly dying. What I mean is my life as I knew it was no more. I just spent the next two months sitting in the rocker that was in the baby’s room and rocked. Asking God “why”? Then two short months later my sweet baby was born.

Five years later, my grandmother, to whom I was very close was about to die and I was called to her bedside to say goodbye. As I entered the room I called out “Red”, my nickname for her and I was the only one allowed to call her that. She was on a vent and unable to respond, however, I saw a tear stream out of her eye as she attempted to move her head in the direction of my voice. And then she passed.

The nurse there knew I was in nursing school and offered to me a chance to do something she felt would be “healing” for me. I helped prepare my grandmother’s body before she was taken to the funeral home. It was I guess in a strange stort of way a healing process, but still during that time, I found myself silently working and asking God “why”.

Over the next 12 years I found myself asking God “why” so often I was beginning to wonder if he had turned an ear to me. Taking care of my daughter who had suffered a great illness at the age of 11 months and the many side effects from that illness was often too much to watch. Though I asked God often “why” I never really got an answer. I just did what any other mother would do, I care for her, I debated with doctors for her, I fought for her and in the end I lost that fight.

When you watch three of the most dearest people you know and love uncondtionally die right before your eyes – it changes you.

I am not the person I was the day I watched my mother take her last breath as I whispered in her ear that it was ok to go that the baby and me we’d be ok. I’m sick with nausea just thinking about that moment now as I write this.

I am not the person I was the day I watched my grandmother die and helped prepare her body for the funeral home. Knowing that the second most important woman in my life was now gone from me. Now I’m left to be a mother, and a mother of a child with health problems and no mother figure to ask for help. No one to reach out to for help. I just suffered alone.

Then as I watched my daughter suffer from her illness, set back and success, it was all such a roller coaster of emotions. She suffered in school, subject to redicule and bullying so often it would make you want to scream at people and say “what kinda kids are you raising”. But most often I felt helpless and sometimes even hopeless.

Through it all she remained upbeat, optimistic and at times, I thought she’s a better person than I because I would have given up. But no she just got up every morning and with a smile faced a world that didn’t understand her much, or didn’t want her around until she met Carolyn and Andy. They truly understood her and knew what I knew all along – that she was a true gift from God and we were so very fortunate to have her in our lives.

Then that dreadful moment came when I watched helplessly as they tried to revive her for the fourth time in 12 hours. There is nothing, and I mean nothing, that is more gut-wrenching than to watch from a distance, yet knowing everything that is happening and understanding that nothing was going to work, but yet praying for a miracle. A miracle that never came.

So now as I sit her today facing another empty set of holidays I have to do something different. I have to get back to what I know works for me and that is reading about triumph over failure. Reading about faith and the grace that it can bring to a sorrowful filled person. I have to get back to what has kept me out of the trenches for the past four years.

What I have been doing is spending too much time trying to make other people happy. To be the “negotiator” of relationships. To appease those around me as if I have been chosen to do that. Because I have not. I’m not here to apologize for anything or anyone. I’m simply here to write out what I know to be true about grief. How it’s torn me from limb to limb and yet I’m still standing.

I have to get away from all the other noise that’s been consuming my life and take care of me. If I don’t – I know this for sure “I will not survive”. I will die of a broken-heart and I don’t believe that is what God has intended for me at this point in my life.

So I have chosen to blog about another book, for it is in this way I can show how and why I have made it from hell and back several times over. And hopefully help a few people along the way.

My next book topic is: “A Grace Disguised” by Jerry Sittser – How the soul grows through love. The reason I chose it is that his words really helped me see that I could keep going and keep believing in love even when it seemed as though I didn’t feel I had the capacity to have love again for the fear of losing it was too great.

Stay tuned…..

until next time,

m

The weariness continues….

In chapter five of Max Lucado’s book “Traveling Light” he talks about the Burden of Weariness. How much of it relates to a lack of sleep, too much noise in your life, not observing the sabbath. I decided to take a different spin on this topic as it related and still relates to my life today as a mother who lost it all.

The weariness continues….

My favorite quote of his in this chapter is “Repeat these words after me: It’s not my job to run the world”.  That quote couldn’t be more apropos than it is right now in my life. But seriously….when  you have lived the life I have – it’s been all I know. Running my world, running my families. Always on guard. On post. Ready for protection to fight the battles. Little did I know that it was God fighting my battles – I was the one who was thinking it was me, therefore; paying the consequences. But God – He was in control all the while.

We never quite see that picture of God being in control when we are in a middle of a life crisis. It’s always in retrospect that we see how God was moving at that time in our life – right. I look back now and think “how can there not be a God” seriously – it can’t be by shear luck that I have survived this mess of a life up until now. God’s hand has been all over my life and especially these past 3-1/2 years.

A few days ago I got a chance to listen to one of my favorite pastors, Bishop TD Jakes. I download his podcasts and listen when I can. For some time now I have gotten out of the  habit of doing so, but God, being the God he is, all caring and all loving, gave me a little nudge to listen again. And oh did I get a good message.  The message is named Growing in the Dark part 1 and my goodness did it hit the mark for me.

He talks about how when  you are weary, tired you tend to lay your head in the wrong places. Meaning you make mistakes, poor judgements in areas of your life that you wouldn’t have if you were rested. It looks at Sampson’s life to show the comparison of his times of weariness to ours and it really spoke to me that I have been laying my head in the wrong place, therefore unable to rest and become stronger.  Bishop Jakes spoke that  you cannot be tempted by what you have enough of, it’s the things that you never received that you are tempted by.  Think about that….it sure opened my eyes.

When you are weary it can blind you to see what is really in front of you. What is in front of you looks good and you are blinded or impressed by what you see. But you don’t see who they are, or what they stand for. You see what your weariness lets you see. Because when  you are tired you can’t see the reality of your situation. Temptations come so quickly and from many directions that you cannot see them coming. Then you find yourself in a situation you cannot see a way out. Then there is God.

When you pray for the weariness to leave you, pray that you will not be tempted while  you are weary. For temptation comes to the weary very easily. I know for I have been tempted when I am weary. When I have laid my head down and trusted – the dark one comes to tempt you with what He knows will take you out. My friends be very careful of weariness for it can destroy you. It can eat you alive and it allows the dark one to enter your life and destroy all that you have left. Keep God at the center of your life and take rest as he has commanded us to. When God gives you favor – He opens your eyes to what is standing before you even when you are weary.

  “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” – Eph 2:8 NIV

God can turn things around – even your weariness. Even as a strong person, there is vulnerability….God see that, but so does the Devil. The contradictions of life can blind you to connect to the very things you hate and stay away from the very things you love. We are walking on shaky ground here. A foundation that is crumbling because of weariness. On exhaustion.  Get some rest. Rest in God’s word. Crawl up in the Lord’s lap and sleep. When I say sleep – I mean spend time with Him. Take in all He has to give you.

I’m alive today to speak about this – I know first hand how God can reach down and grab ahold of you when He has a life for  you that you have yet to live. And I, I reached up out of the darkness and grabbed His hand. You know life doesn’t just stand at your door waiting for you. Just like God, He is right there for you, but you have to hold up your hand. Just like life at your door, you gotta open that door and walk through it in faith. That my friends is a work in progress for me. Is it for you?

Until next time,

M