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Facebook has a wonderful tool in the memories part! It reminds you of some really wonderful things! But opening up today’s memories was more difficult than usual!

This greeted me this morning.

This was 2 years ago!

Seeing this picture kind of stopped me in my tracks. I already knew it was the 2 year anniversary of his diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes….but seeing this kiddo….and remembering him so thin and so sick….and the moment our lives were turned upside down….was hard.

Then….I kept scrolling…and this….

It was one year ago today we had almost a full week in patient with him being so violently ill. This got me too. You see, after his diagnosis, we made trips to the ER almost every 3 months with him not being able to keep any food down and getting down below 100 pounds! To see your child not be able to gain weight…to try to do everything they possibly can to keep their “numbers in check” and do a good job but then…something else keep them down…. To see them and know something is wrong but you can’t do anything at all to help them….is just another level of helplessness as a mom I had never experienced before.

We left the hospital the first time….armed with new information…a new way to live….a forever diagnosis with no cure…but “manageable” with multiple shots each day and a new thought process to everything. We thought we were doing everything “right” and didn’t understand why we kept landing in the hospital and he wasn’t gaining weight.

We left the hospital the second time…armed with new information…yet again. We were told it might be a forever thing…but it might not. He had diabetic induced gastroparesis. Basically…a partial paralysis of the stomach…where his stomach wasn’t pushing any food into his intestinal tract….where the nutrition portion happened. Basically….he was malnourished….no matter what he ate….or how much of it….because it wasn’t all getting to his intestines. Thus…causing no weight gain and the onslaught of uncontrollable vomiting.

And then….there is today! My son has gained 65 pounds in the last year and has not had a single instance of vomiting since he left the hospital a year ago! PRAISE GOD!!!

He is preparing for his senior year of college….and we are within two months of receiving a Diabetic Alert Dog for him! He has completed training and enjoying the beginning of a wonderful internship and has been in a relationship with a beautiful Christian young lady for over a year now!

To say these “memories” were difficult….would be a very true statement.

What I hope you see as I share these memories though….is this…..

Today looks totally different than it did two years ago…..one year ago……

Both of those days were hard…..difficult…and overwhelming! But we CHOSE not to stay there! We CHOSE not to believe the worst and keep working towards what could be in the future. I say we…but he did most of the work. It has been hard, but I believe even he would tell you it has been worth it.

I’ve watched this boy grow into a wonderful young man. He sees God working…..and in his most difficult moments….has cried out to God WHY??!! But. He has also seen God allow him to use his difficult moments to help others….to empathize more with what they are going through…and to have different perspectives on things. This momma’s heart has broken over the last couple year’s memories….but also swelled with watching how it has changed him.

It is not always easy. Sometimes the waves and the storms seem to strengthen against us….but they aren’t bigger than my God. They aren’t there forever. The sun can….and will…and DOES shine again! I’ve seen it! I’ve seen it happen in this child’s life! And I couldn’t be any more proud!

Today…..this is my boy….smiling….growing….thriving!

Things are constantly moving. Keep moving forward. Let things in your past be memories….but don’t stay there…..God has more in store for you than just the memories of yesterday. What God has shown me…again…today…is it’s good to look at the memories….to remember…to be sad for a moment….and to let it take you back for a bit….just don’t forget to jump back in….to today. And if your today….still isn’t as good as you’d like it to be…don’t stop….because just like I always say….if you wake up in the morning…. there is always MORE for you!

Much love!

Momma C~

Grief is MESSY!

Read this or don’t…it really doesn’t matter to me. I’ve had so many thoughts swirling in my head…I’m just going to pound on this keyboard and get them all out. This isn’t a feel-good, well-planned blog. This is me….being real…being raw…and just ranting.

22 years ago…..right at this very moment….I saw my two oldest children’s faces for the last time. I gave them hugs for the last time. The truth of the matter is this…..I didn’t even want to see them on this day. You see, they had come to the hospital where my mom had just had surgery. I had asked their dad NOT to bring them because I didn’t know how bad the outcome could have been and I didn’t want them to be there for the initial time when she would get out of surgery. Of course, he brought them anyway. I was annoyed. I had not wanted them to be there for that. They were 11 and 10 and I wanted to soften the blow of the possibility of their grandma being worse. They already knew she wasn’t good…but I wanted to determine how and what to tell them.

Little did I know it would be the last time I’d see them. Their little brother had stayed the night with a friend….so I didn’t see him on this morning. I regret being so irritated. I regret not holding them longer. I regret not taking them with me….and picking up their brother and taking them away for the weekend with me.

I feel selfish for leaving. I have felt guilty for not being there….for not doing SOMETHING to save them. But I don’t know if it ever would have made a difference. It might have….for a day….a week…..a month. I just don’t know.

Before you go all weird about this….I KNOW in my heart I couldn’t have changed anything. I know in my heart of hearts….I’m not guilty for their deaths. I’m just being honest with my thoughts.

I don’t always have it all together. And I’m angry at people who think grief fits into the same box for everyone….that someone should just “get over it”. I have more friends than I care to realize…who’ve lost children, lost loved ones in tragic circumstances….or just suffered loss. IT HURTS.

Time DOESN’T heal all wounds.

THERE IS NO CALENDAR on how long grief should last.

IT NEVER looks the same to everyone.

STOP stuffing those of us grieving into a box!

Tomorrow will be 22 YEARS!!

That is 264 months I’ve lived without them!

That is 8030 days I’ve not had them physically here in my life!

That is 192,720 hours that have passed since they left their earthly bodies!

And that is 11,563,200 minutes that have ticked by without my 3 sons here to love!!!

I say all of this….because IT STILL HURTS!

It hasn’t gone away! I seem fine to almost everyone. I live my new “normal” life all the time…but there are days when the grief is overwhelming and suffocating still. The realization that they would be 33, 32, and 30 right now blows my mind in ways I can’t describe. It is SO STINKING hard to imagine a child who never had the opportunity to grow up as an adult. The way my mind cannot wrap around who they would be hurts…..more than you can understand! I strain at trying to see who they might be…but I just can’t. I see their friends as adults with lives so varied…and have no idea the direction they each would have gone.

People…..stop telling grieving families to “just get over it” or “you should be past this stage by now”. EVERYONE GRIEVES IN DIFFERENT WAYS!

Just because there are times I can tell my “story” and not cry…doesn’t mean I don’t cry and it doesn’t make me sad.

Just because I’m too sad to move on a day that has no real signifigance (i.e. birthday, anniversary) doesn’t mean something must be wrong with me.

Just because I can be fine in one moment, and then my mind goes to something that makes me incredibly sad and cry….and then suck it up and keep moving…does NOT mean I’m not allowing myself to feel my real feelings! It means I’m learning to let a little out at a time and not bottling it up. It means sometimes I have to stop or I’m afraid I won’t stop. It means it still hurts….it ALWAYS will….but I have to keep going. HAVE TO keep going.

I see so many hurting and my heart breaks for them. I see so many being so real and raw with their feelings….with their losses. Yet I also see those who you would never know about their loss. Those who choose to not let their grief and sorrow be seen by others.

What you need to know…is both sets of people….are still grieving. You don’t know if those who never show it break down only when they are alone…so as not to bother others with their grief…or feel like they are a burden because nobody else understands. You also sometimes don’t see those who seem to be sharing all of their grief have the good moments…trying to live life as if it’s all okay.

You just don’t know.

You aren’t them. You don’t know where they were emotionally and spiritually when they suffered their loss. You don’t know how they’ve processed it and allowed themselves to feel it. You don’t know how their heart feels empty and full all at the same time sometimes…and they are trying to find the new balance of life.

You just don’t know.

I don’t even know or claim to understand other people who have lost children. No two instances are the same….or even alike.

What I do know….is it hurts. It hurst deeply. I know what helped me and how I’ve handled it …..for me! I know I can listen and tell them they are loved and they are still “normal”. That what they are feeling is okay. I can’t say I understand…because I don’t.

But………I get it.

I get the hurt….the deep, gut-wrenching agony they feel. The emptiness and void. I get the difficult times when they just don’t know if what they are doing is enough….and they times when they don’t want to keep going and yet they do…all in the same breath. I get they want their past back….they want what they had to be back with them again….but they have to learn to live again in their new life….without the loved one they had here. And it HURTS! It feels like you aren’t honoring them…..and yet it feels like one of the only ways you can honor them is to move on and be happy.

Your life feels like it is ripped into two very distinct pieces. Before…..and after. I know mine is.

My life is defined so much by the day my boys died. There is my life with them….and my life without them.

It hurts to have lived so much life without them. And yet, I’m also proud to say I’ve LIVED so much life without them.

See…..grief is messy. It’s where my two worlds collide! It’s where what I wish for….them being here…them still being a part of my life….gets tied up in my now….my family now….my wonderful two kids and husband….and how they would all be together. It’s the….what I knew and what I know now. It’s the missing so much what I had…but so thankful for what I have now. It’s the wishing and wanting….it’s the missing and the hurting….all mixed in with the living and loving…..the fun times and bad times. It’s all part of me. It’s all part of who I am and how I’m coping.

Do I always cope well? Nope. Do I know what tomorrow holds? Nope.

Do I kick myself for not holding them tighter 22 years ago today? Yes. But not daily….not always. Just sometimes.

Have I learned hard lessons….? You bet.

But grief is messy. There is still a lot to learn.

If you’ve been through it….you know. But you don’t know everyone’s grief story. Not even if they share it with you.

Please…realize you just don’t know what you don’t know. Accept it. Accept THEM!

Be kind. Mention their loved one’s name. You aren’t going to “set them off”. It’s not like they aren’t already thinking about them! Pray for them. Allow them to feel it…allow them to lead and allow them to let you into their grief….or give them space to grieve on their own.

Grief doesn’t fit into a box. There is no textbook answer to what it looks like.

To me…the only completely and utterly correct definition is this….

Grief is messy.

So thankful my God is bigger…so thankful my eternity will be spent with my boys….and my mom…and so many others I love. So thankful this life is temporary. This body isn’t all there is…..and my heart will be healed…one day. So thankful there will be a time….where grief is no more.

To each of you grieving……I get you. I love you. I am praying for you!

~cheli

One Day Older….

No….yesterday wasn’t my birthday. Actually, that was last month.

It isn’t my birthday that bothers me. But, if I’m being gut-level honest….today’s one day older….more than any other day in my life time….is the one day that is bothering me the most.

You see…..today…..I am one day older than my mother was on the day she died.

There….I typed it…I said it. It is so hard. Much harder than I ever thought. I’ve been thinking, in the back of my mind, on this for almost a year. Knowing it was coming. Knowing all along that if God kept allowing me to wake up…this day was going to happen.

Yesterday morning was hard for me. As I sat alone doing my quiet time, having coffee and enjoying the silence of my home….the tears just flowed. Knowing…..I was the same age as she was on the day she died.

I thought of what she left behind. Of all she hasn’t seen in the past more than 21 years since she has been gone. I think of my sister, and all she has been through and accomplished that mom didn’t get to see….and realize my son is almost the same age as my sister was when mom died. I cannot fathom not being here when he graduates college…or gets married….or has children. I cannot fathom not seeing his life unfold into adulthood and being here for the good and bad.

Then there is my own daughter. My mom never got to see me be a mom to a daughter. With my relationship with my sweet girl, I feel like I’ve broken the generational curse of difficult mother/daughter relationships. I enjoy every phase of her life and we are so close! I see mom in her. Her tenacity in something or just some of her looks are so my mom. She has this little bump on the ridge of her nose. The other night I was looking at her and then looked at my husband’s nose…no…he doesn’t have it. I looked at mine…no…not there. That was from my mom!

I saw a saying the other day….”I looked in the mirror this morning and my mother was looking back at me!”. This made me laugh. But today….it stops me in my tracks. Because I don’t think I can see her there when I’ve outlived her!

Growing up, mom was sick a lot. I remember her being in the hospital or down and even helping nurse her back to health at a very young age. When I got pregnant and had my first three kids so early in life….I truly thought it was because God was allowing me to have a family early on because I wouldn’t live past 40 or so……. But God had other plans.

Mom…I see so much of you in my world. I looked at my home the other day and thought about how much you’d like it! All the natural light….and the blues! I looked around and realized so much of what I have is exactly what you would have liked! I wished you could see it! I see you in my kids. Their smiles and looks sometimes are exactly what you would look like! I see you in my sister. You would be so proud of all she has accomplished….but mostly of who she has become through all of it!

Mom…I see you in me. I still recall so many tender moments we had in the last year of your life. You taught me so much in those last months…..and those are lessons I will carry for the rest of MY life.

Mom…..today….what I need to say….is I SEE you…..but I’m NOT you!

I am one day older than the day you died. And as long as God sees fit to allow me to keep waking up….I’ll be here enjoying my life and my family! I’m going to take care of this temple He has given to me so that my life on this earth can be long. I want to see future generations of our family and tell them about you. I want to share the good parts of you.

But what I must realize mom…is I’m not you. Just because you had to leave this world early….doesn’t mean that I will. For so long, this has been in my mind….back there somewhere nagging at me. But today I’m saying no more. Momma…..I love you still….with everything I am. Tears are flowing as I’m typing this and I’m missing you still…daily. Dang it….I wish you were here. But you aren’t! And I am.

So I’m going to do what you’d want me to do and put the crazy thoughts behind me….move forward and keeping the past in the past. I’ll only take the good with me…and you….and your love for me….are part of the good.

I miss you momma. More than words can describe. But….I’m going to keep getting past this. One day at a time….I’ll be one day older…..

Today…..is just hard.

I can’t believe it! 30!! Today you would be 30 years old!

I wish I could say today is a “Happy Birthday” kind of day. But to be completely honest…it’s not. It is grey…cloudy…and I just don’t feel “happy”. I am trying hard to wrap my brain around today being your 30th birthday. It is so hard to imagine celebrating you as a man…. because I never knew you as anything more than a sweet boy. You are my sweet Caby-Baby! You will forever be 8 in my mind…because my mind can’t seem to imagine what you’d be like as anything older than that. I’ve celebrated 22 of these days without you here…and honestly…it hasn’t gotten any easier.

My memories of you are still so vivid. Your silly-yet-serious way of living life! That is what I remember most! You had this way about you…so matter-of-fact…yet so silly at the same time! Man…I miss that. My heart literally aches right now as I picture your smile in my head….as I remember your voice and can imagine hearing your silly laugh as I close my eyes. I long to feel what it was like to embrace you for one more time. I remember you were not too cuddly…unless it was on your terms and your time! You were in constant movement..unless playing video games or reading…and then…it was hard to get your attention because you were so engrossed in what you were doing!

I wish I had more memories with you. Eight years isn’t enough.

You are my baby…even though I had more kids…you’re still my baby. Your baby sister is driving…and we went to a concert together last night! Such fun memories I’m trying to create…with her and your brother… But each time I create a new memory with them…I think of you and your brothers…and wish I had some of those with you. I feel robbed of the good, the bad…and have no idea what any of it would have looked like!

I may not feel “happy” today…but what I can say, sweet boy…is I have JOY. I have joy in the blessing of being your mom. I have joy in the wonderful times we did have and share together. I have joy in knowing where you are. I have joy in knowing you are loved. I have joy in knowing I’ll join you for eternity and we will never be separated again. I have joy in your brother and sister whom God gifted to me after you were gone. I have joy in living the life I have left here and knowing that is what you would want for me.

I don’t always have “happy”….but I do choose to always find JOY!

You…my sweet boy…brought joy and silliness into my world. I get so caught up with the difficulty of life…that remembering you….actually helps me to lighten up….be silly sometimes…and then be serious again. You taught me to live in a different way…a better way. You taught me love…and laughter…in your short eight years. For all of that…I am thankful.

My heart aches and misses you…but it also smiles as it remembers you. Your 8 years of life…filled me with love to last my lifetime.

Happy 30th Birthday Caleb Harrison! Thank you for the way you lived those 8 years here on earth with me! I can’t wait…to spend eternity with your smiling face!

Until then….sweet boy…all my love!

~momma

Today would be my sweet Cory’s 32nd Birthday! It’s hard to believe. That is a man’s birthday…but he will always be my sweet boy! Forever 10…..forever that sweet smiling face! I haven’t been able to sleep….thinking of you….wondering about what your life would have been like.

I wonder….

Would you have been an actor? I remember you telling me when they were starting to look for the second “Home Alone” movie starring role…you told me, “Just get me to Hollywood mom. I’m their guy!”. And…you TOTALLY believed it too! This makes me smile even now! Your confidence was off the chart and I know you probably could have been right!

Would you be singing? Maybe famous for that angelic voice? You loved to sing….I mean, LOVED to sing! I’d like to think you’d be a worship artist and touring with a band….bringing praises to God through your songs! Helping others worship…..singing along with you!

Would you be a doctor? You were so smart…without even having to try! You had a passion for learning and loved helping people!

Would you be married? Single? Have kids? All things I’ll never know.

What I do know is you cram-packed a whole lot of life into 10 short years! You LIVED every moment you were here! You smiled…ALL.THE.TIME! You loved on others and helped those who needed it! I’ll never forget going to a parent/teacher meeting and your teacher telling me of a sweet moment between you and another student. You weren’t finished with your assignment when you noticed another kid struggling to understand. I don’t know how you knew…but you did. She said she watched you….get up and go to this student and put your hand on their shoulder and comfort them, encourage them and then help them understand it in a way they could continue with the assignment on their own. She said not once did you do it for them…but instead…you taught them in the way they needed to understand it. She said you then went back to your seat…you glanced over at her…and saw she was watching. She said you just grinned and picked up your pencil and finished your own work. She was amazed. I cried then and I’m crying now.

That was your heart! That was just who you were! I was so proud of you! I still am! I try to remember these little things and honestly….strive to live out my life in the same way!

One of my favorite things about you is the way you loved! Even the way you loved me! You were my child who always had to “tag up”! This part about you is something that I miss. You were confident and loving. But you loved your momma! You would fall asleep in my lap and I’d have to carry your long, lanky self to bed….even still in 4th grade!! But if I was ever gone for an evening….or you were just needing some extra reassurance…you’d always come and climb into bed with me. You weren’t a cuddler…you’d stay on the edge of the other side….but your foot would ALWAYS slide over to my side until it was touching me. You’d always “tag up” and make sure I was there. It was as if…..as long as you could just touch me….you were okay. How I miss your touch!

Tears have fallen a lot lately in missing you and your brothers! You would not believe the support…the love…of others! I opened my facebook and was reminded of the ones who wore red on your 30th birthday to show you love! The ones who remember you….that to this day…think of you so often! Your 10 years on earth were short….but impactful! This is the 22nd birthday I’ve had to celebrate without you…without your touch!

What I wouldn’t give for you to tag up again! To feel you….to see your smile in person and not just in my dreams. Oh…how I love you son! How proud I am of you!

In “wondering”….I am reminded of the truth.

The truth is….you ARE a star! You ARE a worship singer! You are “tagging up” still…..it’s just with Jesus! I know your voice was added to the choir to praise God on the day you went to heaven! I know you do nothing but smile every single moment! I know you still care for others and bring joy in every possible way! I know, for you, it has been but a moment since you arrived to the most beautiful place!

But for me…it’s been 22 birthdays without you! It hurts…and there are still tears. One of the first things I did this morning was go to find scriptures to comfort my hurting heart. It’s amazing…how heartache can become physical pain. Like…my heart literally hurts. My throat burns as hot tears roll down my cheeks. I feel like I can’t catch my breath…because taking another breath…living more days without you…just hurts too much sometimes.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning, or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Rev. 21:4

How I long for this! But for now…I’m comforted in knowing this is what YOU get to experience! I remember having the Point of Grace song, No More Pain, sang at your funeral. Just for you…yes…P.O.G!! ;). But for the gentle reminder of what you were experiencing…to help soothe so many hearts.

Today…I’ll celebrate you! I’ll celebrate who you were….and try to live up to how you lived your life! Sweet boy….I can’t put into words how blessed I am to be your momma. I can’t begin to tell you what the ten years with you have done to change my life….for the better! It wasn’t long enough…at all! But I’m so thankful to look forward to my eternity with you! I can’t wait to join the choir WITH YOU! I can’t wait to see your smile shining again! I’m the one….who can’t wait to TAG UP….one more time!

Until then….sweet Cory….I’ll be here….living….because that is what you’d tell me to do! All my love and hugs and kisses!

~momma

CRACKED!!!

Do you ever feel like you are just broken? Like the cracks in your life are just too much to mend? I totally get it!

But let me share with you something….

You see….

What I’ve come to realize is that it is through the cracks…..God’s light shines the brightest! You heard me right….I think God’s light shines brightest through the cracks of our hardest times….when we allow others to see us in our true beauty. Cracks and ALL!! This is where He shines.

Think about it for a minute.

Go ahead, close your eyes..no wait…you can’t read with your eyes closed! Okay….just read and imagine what I’m saying!

Take a large vase that is pretty thick skinned….and solid. Brand new! NO CRACKS! Can you picture it? It is dark blue! (Why? I don’t know…I just like blue!) This is the vase you’ve been searching for. There are 2 of these vases on the shelf. You see this one and as you pick it up and turn it around…you see a large crack going right up the side of it! This is NOT what you wanted….not what you pictured! This just won’t do! I mean, I’m not getting THIS vase! And if I did….I CERTAINLY wouldn’t pay full price for it! I mean……it’s DAMAGED!

Are you with me? Can you imagine yourself with this vase? Ok…let’s keep going.

Behind the vase is another one just like it….so you pick it up. It’s PERFECT! No cracks at all! This is what you wanted. This is better. I mean, I didn’t come all this way for something with a CRACK! That is imperfect! I ONLY want perfect things around me!

So….are you following me? Well…let’s keep going.

This vase…this perfect one is the one I’m going to get. I take it home….but this vase isn’t one for flowers. I’m making a lamp out of this one. But as I assemble the pieces….I take the light bulb and place it into the vase…. Yup! Perfection! It fits exactly the way I knew it would. So I continue….this is going to be beautiful and just what I wanted. I continue and get the cord and fitting into the small hole I’ve made in the bottom (with no cracks, I might add) and so it is in place. I screw in the light bulb….and here we go!

I flip the switch….and….the light bulb lights up….but I can’t really see it. There is no light shining through. The beautifully perfect, thick skinned vase…just won’t allow the light to go through it. (Are you still with me? Did your light bulb go off too??)

But…If I had gotten the cracked one…that crack…..that imperfection….would have “perfectly” let the light shine through.

Ok…you see…sometimes we want the perfect. But in God’s plan…our perfection…isn’t always the same as HIS! And His is the best kind of perfection. What we “perceive” as perfect….isn’t always REAL! Like “Fakebook” and “Instaglam”….we see what others want us to see! We see filtered…not real. We see their highlights and don’t get all the behind the scenes yuck! But, this is what we begin to strive for….what we think we are supposed to look like.

What I love seeing is the real….the raw….the messy and the imperfect. Because this is where we see God. When others are real….we don’t feel so much like an island. We don’t feel like we are the only one with this flaw….or the only one going through something tough.

But even better….when we allow God to heal our “cracks”….or where we try to see God in the midst of our cracks…..He shines through those places and OTHERS see Him……so much more vividly. Because they see we aren’t “perfect Christians” who don’t NEED our God. They see us struggling, but they see us seeking Him, what He wants us to learn in this situation….or maybe the fact that we get mad, get frustrated and cry out to Him….. They see us being REAL with Him. And….when they see us in these situations…..yet still loving and trusting Him….they want MORE of HIM who gives us peace.

I see this in the lives of so many I get to call friend. They are suffering, yet they seek Him…and are so public about it! It AMAZES ME! I’m in awe of how real, how raw they are….and how in the midst of their sorrows, they are CONSTANTLY pointing others to Jesus! This my friend….is how we are reaching the world. Not by portraying perfection…but instead, by showing others our cracks and imperfections….our sorrows and our weaknesses!

Let’s go back to that vase for a minute……I was preparing years ago to speak to a group and the theme was taking broken things and making them beautiful. In my praying and researching, I found the art of Kintsukuroi. This is where a broken piece of pottery is mended…using fine metals like silver and gold. The cracks are very visible. And yet, now, this piece of pottery is MORE VALUABLE as a broken piece than the original, perfect piece would be!

This is how God sees us! We are valuable to Him….we are chosen and mended by Him! We are worth more than gold and rubies and pearls! He sees our imperfections and wants to heal them. Then….each one is a reminder of a time when He carried us through…a scar to remind us how He has a plan for us…not to harm us…but to prosper us! Each scar is a crack He has mended and when we share with others how He walked us through…we lead others to HIM!

This my friends….is part of what I talk about when I talk about my two worlds colliding!

Do I wish I had my boys here with me today! You bet! But would I have the family, the faith, the testimony with that changed situation? I don’t know. I would love to say “YES!”….but the truth is…I just don’t know.

Do I love living my life now with the people I have surrounding me? Of course! But do I miss the “What would’ve been/what could’ve been” with the people from my life before? Yes….I truly do.

Life is hard. Life is messy. So, let’s be real…. We ALL struggle. Sometimes….more than others. Some people…more than others. But none of us, not one, is perfect. Only Jesus. I’m learning the more I know about myself, the more I need HIM!

I want life. Yes…I’d love a less messy, less tragic, easy-button life. But, that isn’t what He wrote out for my life. To be real and honest…it ins’t what He wrote out for any of us!

What He did write…is HOPE. Hope in Him…Hope in being real….Hope in others who have cracks…loving us through our own….Hope in knowing our eternity isn’t messy…isn’t painful…isn’t imperfect! I choose HOPE! I choose JOY! I choose messy now….with mended parts… so that I can reunited with those I miss….be healed of every heartache and pain…and get to see Him…the one who carried me through it ALL…face to face…for eternity!

This, my friends…is what I want for all of you!

Many prayers…much love….and totally cracked! ~c

Again, my two worlds collide. Today would be birthday #33 for my sweet boy! Yes, 33 years ago Cody Brian made me a momma for the first time! I remember it all very vividly, as if it were yesterday.

But other numbers also come into play on days like today.

Numbers like 11. Cody will forever be 11. My sweet angel only had 11 earthly birthdays. So even though I would be the momma of a 33 year old man today….I can only see or remember him as an 11 year old boy.

#22. This is how many birthdays I’ve had to “celebrate” on this earth without him. 22!!! That is twice as many as the number I had him here with me! This is a difficult realization. This is where it just is hard.

I say, a LOT, that my two worlds collide. In my last post I talked about how it is different than some people think. Let me share something that I heard recently that has really resonated with me.

A few weeks back I happened onto a radio station at the end of a story. I don’t remember who or what…so I can’t give them proper credit…but I truly believe what they were saying. I heard them talking about grief…..and joy. They seem to be two polar opposite feelings….and so it is hard for people to fathom that I can live with both…much less let them coexist in my life. But the way I heard it explained made perfect sense to me.

You see…I grew up a dancer…and I know that sometimes when you put partners together…they don’t always seem to “fit”. But when they learn to allow each other the space needed….they start to move together gracefully. They begin to fit in a way you never thought possible.

This is joy and grief. You have to learn to allow them to be dance partners in your life. This visual for me represents my week! This week I am going through the grief of not having my son, Cody, here with me. His birthday is difficult because I don’t know the 33 year old man I should be celebrating…I only know the 11 year old child he was when I lost him. This is grief. But this week is also my son, Bryce’s, high school graduation. I am preparing my home to have guests coming into town to celebrate him and his accomplishments. JOY!

So, this week is full of JOY….intertwined and mixed with….GRIEF. Over the past 21+ years, I’ve learned to let them dance together. I’ve learned to allow myself to feel joy….even when it seems like I should be full of grief. I’ve learned to allow myself to feel whatever feeling is inside me….and work my way through it….so that JOY…is what I end up with.

GRIEF….can now turn to JOY! What do I mean when I say this? I mean, that even though my arms ache to hold my children…..even though I can’t imagine what they would look like now, what they would be doing in life….or any of those things….JOY…comes in the many wonderful memories I have of them! And then….even more JOY arises from knowing I will get to spend eternity with them! I have HOPE….and in that HOPE….JOY arises!

I miss this boy. I miss him more than words can say….or you could possibly imagine. I’m not trying to say I haven’t cried…more tears than I can count…or that I’m always smiling. What I am saying though….is I know where Cody is. I know he is experiencing true love….and none of the sorrow I have. I know where he is…because I know he put his trust in Jesus! And I know, because of the promise of the cross…I WILL see him again!

Happy birthday sweet boy! I celebrate you today! The 11 years you were with me has helped make me who I am today. You made me a momma first. You were my protector first. You had a smile I will never be able to forget. You, held my heart…and will continue to have it…until I take my last breath.

Until we meet again, my sweet 11 year old angel. I will love you forever… ~momma

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