The past. The present. The future.

So I have been thinking a lot lately about life and in looking back at my past life it seems like it belongs to someone else. Even as I browse through my old blog posts, it’s as if I’m reading about someone else’s experience. I get lost in the memories and confuse them with questioning whether it was a reality or a dream or a nightmare. I can quickly get myself upright when I look at pictures of me and Brittany or watch a video of her – but still it seems like it happened a lifetime ago.

Then I realize that the same thing is happening to me that happened to me after I lost my mom. My best friend in life. I began to forget her voice and what it felt like to be hugged by her. It’s happening again and it’s so hard to digest it all. I’m losing the ability to remember Brittany’s voice and her laugh. I can see it pictures or hear it in videos – and I’m so grateful for that. But losing the ability to recall her in my life has been a bit startling to me.

In the early days of my grief I could still feel her and sense she was around. I longed for her, to hold her and get my little hugs at the end of a long day. But now, I can’t even feel it. Even when I try to feel it. It’s just gone. As if she never existed. How can that be? Why does that happen? How does one reconcile that? I do not know. I know I have been dealing with loss for a long time but this one is just so hard.

It used to be so hard to live in the present  because I wanted so much to go back to the past where we had each other. Even though life was hard dealing with chronic illness and the financial woes that came from caring for her – I’d never trade for anything. Never. But living in the present is easier now – it’s a distraction – a means to distance myself from that painful event, like so many others. Don’t get me wrong, I still consider myself blessed for all that I have been given and still receive today. I’m loved by many and feel that love every day. It has been my life line. But not one day doesn’t go by without understanding the void that resides in my heart. Not one day!

The future, my hope has always been grounded in Christ and knowing one day all this pain and sorrow and loss will go away and we will be reunited again. This is how I have made it this far and how I will continue to love, cherish, extend grace and walk in the light of Jesus. Helping others with grief. Still not sure what that looks like but this blog is part of it. My book will be part of it. My life will be a living offering to my fellow grievers and I hope in some way I am helping you by sharing my story and the story of unimaginable grief and unexpected blessings.

I can’t help but think about the many people who join this journey without ever asking to. My heart goes out to those parents and families of those who recently lost their children, their husbands, fathers, and friends to such a violent act. My heart is broken for them because this journey is not easy. It’s hard. It takes a village to carry them through it. I pray for them daily and I know God is walking beside them and I’m fairly certain carrying them in the most darkest of moments. May God bless them and wrap his arms around them as they begin to navigate their grief.

Until next time,

M

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Peace vs Turbulence

“Even the saddest things can become, once we have made peace with them, a source of wisdom and strength for the journey that still lies ahead.” – Frederick Buechner

 

The lack of finality in what I assumed would be a life with my daughter, has left me feeling a little sad these days. As graduations are celebrated this time of  year, I am quickly taken back to a time when I envisioned my Brittany walking up to get her diploma. Yet what happened in reality is that myself along with her father walked up to receive an “honorary” diploma because Brittany died before her graduation. It is not suppose to be that way.

I also envisioned Brittany living out a life that may not have been what most parents hope for. Her disability would have had an impact on her life; however I also know she wouldn’t have let that stop her from accomplishing anything she wanted to do. Despite multiple setbacks and roadblocks Brittany lived a life that no one could deny wasn’t filled with joy and happiness. She took full advantage of the life given to her not knowing her days would be very short.

I have learned a great deal from how Brittany lived her life. I think it some ways she made peace with her illness. I know she would question why God chose her to let her have epilepsy and crohn’s disease, however those moments of feeling sorry for herself were short-lived. She made peace with what had been given her despite the many periods of her life that were turbulent. Even in her last remaining months one would have not known she was getting progressively worse. She refused to let it get her down.

So when I look at how her death and the absence of her in my life, I have to look at how she managed her day-to-day life and understand that by making peace with what happened I have an opportunity to make something good out of it. To pursue a life with peace that can lead to happiness. As I sit here writing this, I still find that to be a concept hard to visualize. Happiness after such devastating loss. Multiple losses each individually impacting my life differently. It will always be a work in progress for me. A couple of steps forward a one back. That is how grief works.

I want to walk out of my door each and every day with a smile on my face and to experience life full out just like Brittany did. I talk to her a lot about that. I pray often that she helps to guide me there. To this place of peace, even in the midst of turbulence, to find a place each day when I can look back at my day and know I took every opportunity to experience life fully. That is one of the many ways I can honor her life. She did it so well.

Loss can be transformative. It can be life giving. It can help us move forward. That transformation begins with acceptance and ends with peace. A journey that will likely take the majority of my life but I am determined to find a way there.  The path to peace should be our desire for it will allow us to grow into our new destiny for the journey that lies ahead.

Until next time,

m