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Posts Tagged ‘grief’

A couple weeks ago I was blessed and able to snag tickets to the Carrie Underwood concert here so I could add another mother/daughter concert to our list! We went and had a blast! She is quite a performer and puts on an excellent show!

My sweet girl has a beautiful voice – but also has a large dose of stage fright – but totally enjoys the musicality of other gifted artists. And….this momma LOVES watching her watch others do what she loves to do! I love this part of our relationship and the age she is at! We get along….we have fun….we laugh…..

But on this night – we also cried.

For that – I was totally unprepared. You see…..I did not see this one coming. I did not see the need to “brace up” and “be ready” for the emotions to pour down our faces in the form of tears.

But that is exactly what happened.

As we were marveling in the many dress changes and the special effects and wonderful entertainment of the night – Carrie started to sing a song I, quite honestly, had never heard before.

The Bullet.

This song is very much about the loss of a soldier. And I respect that part of it. But some of the lyrics – brought me – and her – very much to our own story.

You see – the part about the limousines driving away – and mommas ain’t supposed to bury their sons – all hit me. And they hit me really hard….

But then…..

Then it happened…..

I looked over and she was crying….sobbing actually. The tears were real and they wouldn’t stop.

You see…..this is just another moment I realized – The Bullet – doesn’t stop.

She wasn’t there to see the limousines. She wasn’t there to see this momma bury her sons. She wasn’t there.

In the song there is a line that says – “The bullet keeps on goin'”. And it has.

It has affected her life since before she took her first breath.

She has never known her three brothers – but she has known about them. She never got to meet them – but she has experienced who they were through stories and pictures. She wasn’t here to experience how the bullets took their lives – but she is here and those same bullets are still goin’……..and affecting her life. She wasn’t here to witness their deaths….but she has grieved them her entire life.

Until she takes her last breath the bullets that took the lives of her brothers will affect her – and her children…….and their children.

The bullets keep on goin’

I wasn’t prepared for this during a fun night out with my daughter. I wasn’t prepared for the reminder of how the bullets tore apart my family and are still tearing us up inside. I wasn’t thinking on this occasion I would need to hold her and reassure her of how we can have the holes from those bullets having pierced our hearts – yet know we can still live and love – and be as whole as possible even though the bullets still sting.

I don’t know what I want to share in this blog. I really don’t. I just know it will never stop.

There will always be someone’s life affected by the bullets who took their lives.

Some of those people are affected in good ways. Some people learn about my boys and the way they died – but also hear of the love they had for Jesus and how that same Jesus carried me through – and they have found hope.

Some who knew the boys – are continuing to live….and I mean…REALLY LIVE their life….because they know their friends can’t.

Some though – like my daughter – their sister – have lingering affects. They have moments when everything should be fine – and it isn’t. Like at a concert – when you should be having the time of your life – and then BAM! You are sobbing because of something – someone – you miss so terribly – but never knew.

But I can also say their story has also strengthened her. She knows what it is to hurt – to lose someone you love…to lose someone you never knew you loved….to lose someone you wish you had known. She knows what it is to comfort – because of all the times she has been comforted. She knows that what you see – isn’t always the whole story in someone’s life.

You see – the bullet never stops goin.

Just like the ripples in the water. Your actions – might not seem too big….but they can keep going….and they can affect people you don’t even know – or realize.

Be cautious sweet friends. Because the bullets don’t stop. They carry on through generations – never stopping – and affecting many more than initially intended.

I want to share the words – because the true meaning for this song – of soldiers never returning home – is beautiful. I don’t want to take anything away from this part of it. But please know – because of our wounds – we reacted in the hurt of our own story – and the way the bullet stole them from us.

The branches on my family tree are forever changed.

BUT – although the bullet keeps on goin’ ……. so does the Love and Grace of Jesus. He has carried me – and will carry the future generations as well.

Much love – ~c

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To say today is tough..well..it would be a gross understatement. 

I could never have imagined being here. I could never have imagined living 19 years of my life without 3 of my children! But God knew…..

Remember when I posted about my 28 day journey?..well..today isn’t even day 28…that would be the day of the funeral. I really thought I’d be blogging and walking down a path of remembering…but God knew different. 

In the past 3 weeks my life hasn’t been anything I thought it would. But why does that surprise me? My grandmother unexpectedly went into the ER…and they were actually going to release her…but then her primary doc said to keep her for observation. Six days later…she left this earthly life and went to be with all her loved ones who had left before her! She was ready. But we weren’t. 

Then we were also moving..but it hasn’t gone smoothly…not like I thought. It’s a blessing…this new home…for my family. And I feel a lot of wonderful “new beginnings” here in this place… But quite frankly..it’s hard to start in another place…when so many in my family will never see or be a part of it.

If I think about it…the last 19 years hasn’t been anything I thought it would. I thought I’d get to watch 3 wonderful boys grow up…experience their teens…grow into wonderful men…have families…so much. But I didn’t get what I thought would happen…but once again…I’m reminded.. God knew.

As I awoke this morning my phone was already buzzing and beeping with sweet messages of encouragement and remembrances. Friendships I’m thankful for that help to carry me through. But my morning time with God looked a little different this morning. I usually wake up and thank Him and praise Him for new days…new blessings. But this morning…today…as I acknowledged the newness of today…it also meant I had to thank Him for what today was…what it represented in my life… And to be brutally honest.. I HATE that! To acknewledge His goodness today…means it is good that it is the anniversary of my son’s deaths! It has taken me a long time to be able to do just that…

In my hurt and my emotions I want to cry out…

It’s been 19 years since my sons were murdered! It’s been 19 years since they took their last breath on this earth! It’s been 19 years since I’ve heard their sweet voices and laughter! It’s been 19 years since I’ve been able to put my arms around them and hold them…or hug their necks! I was robbed of their life…of getting to see them grow…that is what happened 19 years ago!!

but what God gently reminds me…is this…

It’s also been 19 years since Jesus walked with them…hand in hand..introducing them into the Kingdom of God. It’s been 19 years since their pain stopped…no more tears…no more pain! 

  
It’s been 19 years since they began true and total worship..among angels and saints..of the one true God! It’s been 19 years since God started carrying me…in my grief and pain..into His path.

For me…it’s been 19 years! Some of it…has been brutal torture on this momma’s heart. 

For them…it’s been less than a blink of an eye in their eternity of glory! 

For my momma’s heart…God has been good. He has blessed me with two more beautiful children. Each of them has placed their trust in Him..so I KNOW our eternities will last forever…together! My heart has hurt…and aches…for there are places in my heart nobody can touch…not even my two kids now.  3 hold..for 3 boys…It is a place my heart holds for them and only them. 

On days like today…I let myself go to those places in my heart that are only theirs. 3 holes…from 3 boys. I let myself remember, feel the happy and sad…the pain and the tears…the hurt and the anguish. But during these days…God always replaces it with truth…..and that truth is that He truly does have a plan for me. Jer. 29:11. And that HE truly does use everything for good. Rom. 8:28. 

He reminds me of my favorite verse… Hab. 1:5. For if He had told me….19 years ago and a day…what was getting ready to happen…what He would ask me to walk through…what HE would carry me through…and that 19 years later I would praise Him…and give thanks for this day…I would have NEVER believed it! 

But what I’ve come to learn and trust is ……. He knows…

Music has ministered to my heart in so many ways…this is by Jeremy Camp.

“He Knows”

All the bitter weary ways

Endless striving day by day

You barely have the strength to pray

In the valley low

And how hard your fight has been

How deep the pain within

Wounds that no one else has seen

Hurts too much to show

All the doubt you’re standing in between

And all the weight that brings you to your knees

He knows

He knows

Every hurt and every sting

He has walked the suffering

He knows

He knows

Let your burdens come undone

Lift your eyes up to the one

Who knows

He knows

He knows

We may faint and we may sink

Feel the pain and near the brink

But the dark begins to shrink

When you find the one who knows

The chains of doubt that held you in between

one by one are starting to break free.

Every time you feel forsaken

Every time that you feel alone

He is near to the brokenhearted

Every tear

He knows

He knows

Thank you for walking this journey with me..with my family. To watch my children now..how they love..how they remember…I know I am blessed! I hurt…but I will be okay. My heart aches…but those places will continue to heal. I know…beyond a shadow of a doubt..that I will see my children again..spend my eternity with them and all my loved ones…and for that…today…I am thankful!

Much love! ~c

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It’s hard for me to put into words what is going on in my head right now. To say my two worlds are colliding….would be a gross understatement!! I can’t even make sense of it all right now…..all I know…is I’m one big, heaping mess of emotions.

Let me try to explain.

This is the last week of elementary school for my sweet daughter. She is my baby…so this is definitely an emotional time for me. But, the fact her three oldest brothers never experienced this part of life…makes the emotions compound. Cody, my oldest, made it to sixth grade…but never to his sixth grade graduation. Sis has her ceremony next Tuesday. The last day of school is next Wednesday. So we are officially in the last week of our elementary time…..ever. 

I’m so proud of my sweet baby girl. She is simply beautiful….and her heart shines brighter with each passing day. Our conversations amaze me and I love the simplicity of her heart. The innocence she still possesses yet the growth she is experiencing is a blessing to watch! She is maturing…day to day I see changes in her…and she isn’t a baby any more. Although, this morning, while trying to wake her…I tickled her to the point of her crawling into my lap…..where she laid her head on my shoulder…and just let me hold her…and rock her. We stayed there for quite a while…  I relished every second. I asked her if she will still crawl in my lap when she is grown and let me rock her. She said she would….though I don’t think it will happen often. These are moments my heart will forever treasure!! She will always be my baby girl. No matter what.

Then…there is my son. We are actively looking for a vehicle for him to have. He turns sixteen soon and will be driving himself…and his little sister…to school….and everywhere. In the last couple weeks….he has amazed me with some of the paths he is considering for his life. To say I love the times when the two of us talk…just wouldn’t describe the joy this boy brings to my life. He is the rainbow…the promise…the continuation of my parenting a boy through life. At this point….I couldn’t compare him to his brothers…even if I wanted to. But I don’t even try. He is so much his own person. His voice is deep and I love to hear it. His smile is huge….(now that is like his brothers though!!) He is evolving into a young man…with an awesome heart…right in front of me. This will be his last week with his friends at his school before starting his new adventure in school in July. 

His heart though….wow. Let me share.

Like I said, we’ve been searching for cars (trucks) for a bit now. He sends me or tags me pics and stuff he finds quite often…so last week when I received a text with a pic…all I saw was …”What do you think?” and that it had a pic attached. I was in a meeting when I received it so I waited to open it. Thinking it was another truck…I opened it. What I saw…..well……it was a hand-written note. I sat alone in a glass room at the conference table and read. My eyes began to “leak” and then full blown cry. 

A few weeks back…he had asked what Cody’s favorite color was. I told him it was blue. ….. and asked him why. He said just wonderin. Okay……

Fast forward to my text….this is what the hand written note said, with my corrections in ( ).

             “C3 – About 17 years ago (actually it’s over 18 years) my mom was married to another man. Toghether they had 3 sons, Cody, Cory and Caleb ages 12 (11), 10 and 8. The dad (he used his name) had some mental issues. (how else would a child consider why he did what he did?) My mom, Cheli, had divorced him. One day my mom went to my aunt’s Graduation (she was in college…but it wasn’t graduation..just a visit) So the boys went to stay with their dad. On February 22, 1997  he (his name) called Cheli and while on the phone with her he shot and killed Cody, Cory and Caleb . Then a couple seconds later he shot himself. (Actually, he only shot himself while on the phone with me…the boys were already gone.)

               To this day there is not a day that goes by that we don’t think about them. On Saturday, May, 23, 2015…Cody Brian Fox would have been 30 years old. So….to honor him will everyone please wear a blue colored shirt (Cody’s favorite!) and put it on social media with #REMEMBERCODY.

                        PLEASE RETWEET/SHARE THIS.”

Yes…all on his own…he wanted to honor his brother…who he never even got to meet. I can’t begin to express what this did to my heart. Tonight…we’ll be tweaking this a bit and he will put it on his fb and instagram. My mommy’s heart is full and exploding all while it breaks at the same time. 

My daughter is also counting down the days until her brother’s birthday. I’ve taken off work…we’ll be together to celebrate.

Yes…my first born would be 30 this Saturday. Yes…my heart longs for the what would it be like? Where would he be? Who would he be with? Where would he work? Would he have kids? …..all of those things travel through my mind. If I allowed it to go on….I could easily see myself sinking deeper and deeper into a depressed pit. It would be hard to bring me out of it. 

But God, in His all-knowing wisdom…gave me a great family! A husband that loves me in all my crazy moods and spoils me rotten….. A son who let me into his world and understands the complexities of my heart…. A daughter who is my baby and lets me love her and guide her as she grows and teaches me more than she realizes!! They are my focus and help me balance the heart-wrenching feelings I feel….while loving and being a part of their world. They get me. They know how messed up I am…how fragile my emotions are….that sometimes mom needs an extra hug and to just hold them close for a bit longer. They accept my crazy and embrace it. They are what God gave me to help keep me grounded. They….love me. And I love them.

I don’t know how I lucked out on having five gloriously happy….wonderful…caring children!! But wow….as I sit here and watch my two worlds collide…once again…..I’m reminded just how blessed I am. Continually….undeservingly…..blessed. That’s the only way I know to describe it.

So, as I struggle for the next week or so….through this massive collision…..please pray for my family…

And if you think about it…… Please wear blue and #REMEMBERCODY

And…….don’t forget to smile. My children all have the biggest smiles. All of Cody’s friends commented on his smile…after he was gone…they remembered his smile. He was generous with it…always giving. It made others smile…..and there is just something about giving your smile away. So please…share a smile with someone…and remember my sweet boy. All my kids really…..

Much love and thanks…smiles too! 🙂 

enjoy the pics….~c

  

  
  

  
 

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Crocodile Tears

Last night while preparing dinner….I asked my hubs where our daughter was? She had taken a shower and had been drying her hair…but I hadn’t heard anything coming from her way for a while!

So, my sweet husband went to check and when he came back he made a funny face….and then said she was just sitting in her room crying.

Well…needless to say I finished what I was doing and went back to her room. She was coming out and I could tell she had tried to pull herself together to make it seem like everything was okay…but this momma was having none of that! I told her to come back to her room with me.

When we got back there we both sat on her bed. I looked at her and asked her what was up. She looked at me and her lip and chin started quivering. She was trying so hard not to cry. She even turned her head and her hair was covering her so I couldn’t see her face…but I knew she was about to break. I went and got a box of Kleenex….came back and closed her door and moved closer to her. She just broke.

She cried so hard.

Then….when she was able to pull herself together…she told me she had
been been listening to some Christian music. She had her earbuds in and was just sitting on her bed and listening. This isn’t uncommon. She spends most of her time listening to music. I don’t limit the genre and let her go with her mood…..but today….everything she listened to was Christian.

She told me she had forgotten just how powerful Christian music can be….especially when you are just sitting still and quiet and listening to the words. She said the first song reminded her of her brothers. That alone….brought a tear to my eyes.

But then…she said the second song reminded her not just of her brothers…but of the fact she has never met them. She admitted she is jealous because it seemed like most of the people in my life had known them….and here she was…..12 years old…and she had never met her brothers!!! That…..made my tears….start to fall and just hit the bed.

Then……she said the third song talked about changing the world. She told me she knew she was going to do something to change the world…but her brothers would never be here to witness it.

I’m sure, you know by now….we were both just embracing and bawling our eyes out. I held her so close and so long I thought I would snap her in half. There was so much going through my mind. I felt so guilty….for bringing her into this world under those circumstances and asking her to live a life…..without meeting her brothers.

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After a while…we separated….(we had to blow our noses sometime..) and she looked at me and just said……”it’s just not fair!”.

It’s not fair.

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She is so right. I didn’t know what to say. I told her I knew her brothers would all love her and be so proud of her! But she looked at me…and asked, “But how am I supposed to know they would love me?”. I looked at her and told her….she is just going to have to trust me.

Of course I told her I knew how each of her brothers knew Jesus and since I knew she did too…I knew we would all spend eternity together. But she said that this life without them…will just seem so long. Then…she kinda grinned…and told me it wasn’t fair…I was going to get to see them first! Wow! She is just like me…that is exactly the sentiment I had when I lost my mom. I couldn’t stop crying….and at that moment…it wasn’t because she was gone…..it was because she got to see the boys FIRST!!! I told Breanna that story…and she just smiled at me.

I also told her…there are a lot of people who hurt so bad…they don’t think they can continue in this life without a person they love……and they don’t think they can ever get over the sadness they feel. I told her I felt that way the day her brothers died. I told her how late that night, I went in the other room to be by myself. I told her how I talked to the boys, I cried…and I yelled at God….”WHY DIDN’T YOU TAKE ME??????” I told her how God had calmed my spirit…and I realized if I was still here…HE must have a reason. I promised both God and my boys…that very night…I’d continue my life here on this earth…trying ….searching for what the purpose for me still being here was.

I looked my sweet daughter in the eye…and told her if I hadn’t gone on….I wouldn’t have her with me today…or her brother! I told her I was so thankful God allowed me to be a mom again! She touched my face and told me I would always be her brothers’ mom too! The tables had turned…and she was beginning to comfort me now!

I told her if she had any questions or ever wanted to talk about her brothers….it was fine. She told me it didn’t feel like she could talk about them…it felt like they never even happened. My heart sank. I felt that in protecting her….I had hurt her. So, I assured her she could. She reminded me I had told her not to tell her friends about them though….

I had to explain to her….because of the way they died….I tried to protect, not just her…but her friends too. She knew how they died…and had me to talk to about it…but her friends might not understand all of it and their parents might not want their kids to know something like that…..it was just too much for some.

But then…I looked at her and told her it was part of who she is. I told her it was now hers…I told her I trusted her with their story. She could share with whomever she thought she needed. I told her I trust her judgement. She isn’t to do it for attention…but it is a part of our family…it is a part of her…just as much as it is a part of me. Even though, physically, she hasn’t met them. They are her brothers and are a part of her life too.

I apologized. Over and over I apologized. I was so sorry she had to carry this burden. It hurts me to the core to see her hurt so much…for loving brothers she has never met and carrying this around with her. How do you process that? I mean, I have memories with them….she just has stories….and wishes to know them!!!

I thought of the families we know that have lost children. I thought how all of those….the siblings knew the child. And each of them…..were sick….not taken like her brothers.

These are the days that haunted my soul before I got remarried. These are the reasons I almost didn’t have any more children. These are some of the…….there is NO book….no “How to raise children after their siblings are murdered” website to go from!! These are the ways….the enemy toys with my mind and makes me feel selfish for having more children!

I just have to trust God….that these children are not only part of my continued purpose on this earth…but that each of them….has their own specific purpose. I also have to trust God…..that their purpose will be great…BECAUSE of who they are…and the story they have!!!

My daughter is right……she WILL change the world. I told her she might just do it with a part of her brothers story! They may not be here…on this earth….to see her do it…..but one day…when we are all in heaven together…they’ll pat her on the back for all the jewels in her crown and say “Well done, sis…..well done!”.

She smiled….I smiled. Thank you God for this child and her heart. Thank you for trusting me…..with this part of your story. It’s hard…and it just isn’t fair…but it is OURS!

“So we keep on praying for you, asking our God to enable you to live a life worthy of his call. May he give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do.” (‭2 Thessalonians‬ ‭1‬:‭11‬ NLT)

Please pray for our family as we try to figure out what this looks like. We talked about how we are in a new season. I am at a place where I’ve never been…she has now grown past all her brothers and I’m in uncharted territory with her and her brother now. We are in a season of hoping our life change will somehow create world change in us…in our hearts. My sweet girl has such a huge heart! She is more, at her age….than I could have ever aspired to be! I pray for protective coverings over this heart….so her part in HIS story will be HUGE!

I love each of you…and thank you for allowing me to share in our journey. It’s hard. But….OH SO WORTH IT!!
Blessings! ~c

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Welcome to my world…. I know it sounds like the weirdest title ever…but it is truly just a glimpse into my mind in a single week.

The reality is there. I live in the present tense but my mind is constantly in the present and the past …all at the same time.

Last week….those three things were all a part of my reality.

Driving school…..yes…my son is old enough to be in driving school. He attends the classes over Spring Break so he can get his permit the next week! I’ll have a driver….AAACCCKKKKKK!!

Junior High Enrollment…yes…my daughter brought home this envelope with enrollment information for JUNIOR HIGH!!! again…….AAACCCKKKKKK!!!

And then….3 White Caskets…you see…last Wednesday was the anniversary of the day I buried my three boys. All that was going through my mind during part of the week was those white caskets. A friend asked me if I would have done anything different. I only had to think for less than a second. I said there were quite a few things I would have done different.

One of them was the funeral. Not that I would have changed any of it….but I was in such a fog during that time….I just wish that I would have had someone take pictures…or even video the service. There were so many beautiful flowers and all the people there were so kind. I really wish I could share pictures with my kids…of the flowers….of the way we had the pictures of the boys by their caskets….of how we had the things that were special to each of them on or next to the casket. It sounds weird to even type it…but that is what I wish I had….so I could share my “then” with my “now”.

I wish I would have gone to see them again. I only went one time…I only went to see them …….and then I didn’t go back. I know why I did it then….and I know it was just their earthly shell….but I still wish I had gone to spend more time with them when I could still stroke their hair…still talk to them and touch them at the same time…..but I didn’t. And honestly…I wish I had.

Those are thoughts in my head…..and yes…the anniversaries make those thoughts swim in my head at a much higher rate…but they are always there.

Like this week…..it hit me that I was in a place I’ve never been before. It hit me that even though Breanna is, in age, past where all my boys had been in age……in calendar time….I was here. Breanna is in sixth grade…..her sixth grade graduation is coming in May…and …..here I am….in March of her sixth grade year……which is a place in time I never made it to with my boys….and now my baby…is there. Cody, never made it to March of his sixth grade year….that is a very vivid memory I am always very aware of. So, this is another place where I’m here and there….all at the same time again.

I’m totally in uncharted territory….I have been for a while now. I mean, my two kids now are so different than their brothers! But still….kinda the same. But my baby has now outlived the place in time my oldest never saw……..and that is hard. But it’s my reality.

Driving school……is a first…..and I’m going to enjoy this phase of my son’s life!

Junior High…isn’t a first….but she is my only girl…..and my baby! But I plan on enjoying this part of her life!!

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That is where I am people…..I’m in new territory….and I’m enjoying and relishing each part of it…..but it doesn’t mean my mind doesn’t go back…….or that my mind isn’t in both places at the same time. It’s hard. Very hard. I love where I am…but I miss where I would have been….all at the same time.

I read an article today…and it said what I’m experiencing is called “Complicated Grief”…..I think it is more like…..Complicated Survival!

Anyway…just a peak into my mind…that is just a few seconds of it…you should try to LIVE here! HA!

Wherever you are…know that God is with you! That is one constant that helps to keep me sane! Knowing that in my thoughts, both present and past, He is…was…and always will be there! Thanking Him for that…today and always!

Keep moving forward friends! It may only seem like an inch….but that is still progress! Know I love you…but more importantly…know the King of Kings….is MADLY in love with you!

Hope the trip through my mind made you smile…and feel “normal”! Whatever that looks like! 🙂 ~cheli

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18 YEARS!

18 years…..
The time, people say, from birth to adulthood.
The length of time, they say, it takes to make you mature enough or responsible enough to vote and serve our country.

But today…..18 years….is the length of time I’ve lived on this earth without my three sons.

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I’ve tried, really hard, to see this today as a positive thing. My sweet friend, who has also lost a child…calls this anniversary her sweet baby’s “heaven day” and celebrates it as such. I know that is where they are….but I just don’t see this day as that…..

I see this as the day they were taken from me….literally…taken. They weren’t sick and needing to be “completely healed”……I wasn’t sitting at their side…ready to release them. I was just in another town. Away for a couple days….thinking I’d get to come home and our lives…my life…would continue on. I thought I’d be their mommy forever…. I thought I’d get to see them through the teenage years….young adulthood….girls….women….marriages and children.

But I’ve seen none of this. I can’t imagine anything…..except their sweet smiles.

Cody will always and forever be 11 and in 6th grade.
Cory will always and forever be 10 and in 4th grade.
Caleb will always and forever be 8 and in 2nd grade.

THAT …. is my reality.

I can’t express, how today feels. I can’t make anyone understand the way I physically ache….and my heart physically hurts….I just can’t.

I just wanted to curl up in my bed this morning….and as the waves of sorrow washed over me…and I grasped so hard at the second pillow to muffle my crying…my gasping for breath…..I knew I couldn’t. I couldn’t stay there and just be sad all day.

And I thank God for that. As much as it hurts….as much as it makes me feel like I can’t breathe…like my lungs are being drowned, literally, in the sorrowful mourns of a mother having her life ripped out from underneath her…..as much as I want to wrap myself up in a big cocoon and not be a part of the outside world…..

I thank God…because as I was gasping for breath this morning….I also knew…that on the other side of my bedroom door….was another part of my life. On the other side of that door….were two more children…who love me, in spite of how crazy and not-normal I am…..and who need me…to be mom…to be present…in the here and now…in today….and not drown in my yesterdays!

That is a gift from God. All of my children are gifts from Him.

Even though I only got to be a mom to my sweet c3angels for less than what I wanted here on this earth…..I had them. I am oh-so-thankful for that part of my life. I can’t take any part of it away….I can’t ….and I wouldn’t want anything BUT to have had the pleasure of being their mom. I’m still their mom. I still get to share them…by sharing myself and their story with others. I thank God He has strengthened me in a way that I am different….and I can see all of this now!

And I’m mom to two great kids now. I love being a mom. I can’t tell you how much my heart aches for my sweet boys…my angels. But I do know I’m getting to a place in my life where I know they are looking over me and so proud of what I’ve accomplished since they’ve been gone.

I’m blessed. Yes…on the 18th anniversary of my three children’s murder…I can honestly sit here and tell you I’m blessed.

Blessed to be the mommy to five VERY wonderful children!
Blessed to know the love of one wonderful man!
Blessed to have family that love me and support me in everything I do!
Blessed to have friends, far and wide, to support me and pray for me when I don’t feel like I can do this thing called life…on my own!

I have so much to be thankful for! I know this….and yet I’m still sad. But I think that is okay. It’s okay to grieve…it’s okay to to be sad…because it only means…I have loved hard in my life….so I must grieve hard! As one of my friend’s told me…it’s beyond normal! And I’ve not considered myself “normal” for a long time!

I’ll leave you with this…a clip that Oprah didn’t use. It’s my sweet earth angels talking about their brothers…..and it is VERY precious to me.

Thank you for seeing me through…thank you for allowing me to share….thank you for letting me be so real….it means more than you know!

I’ll keep going……and might have 50 more of these “anniversarys” until I see you again…But when I do see you…all three of you…..what a glorious day that will be!!!!!! I love you forever! ~momma

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I’ve really been trying to wrap my head around the idea of so much that is going on around me. So many that I know experiencing pain, loss, grief and difficult times. I hear stories from friends and I read some of the stories on social media and my heart physically hurts for so many…..

The response of my heart has changed through the years…I’m ashamed to say these kinds of stories used to not have a huge effect on my heart. I mean….being honest here….I’d read it…feel bad for the person…then…go on with my life. There was no hurt…no feeling for that other person out there. Then there was a time when I’d take all of it on emotionally….as if it was my own to bear….in a way that wasn’t healthy for my heart.

Now though….it’s different. I’ve been trying to grasp the why and how it is different and how I can explain it. The following is what God gave me.

You know how some people say that you are born with a God-sized hole in your heart that nothing BUT God can fill? Sure…we try to fill it with popularity, accumulating things of this world, people of the opposite sex, parties and all that goes with that, shopping, eating, drinking…….because we just don’t realize that God is all that we need….. He is the only one that can fulfill the thirst for more that we crave!

photo 2

Well, I feel like the people I have lost in my life….my boys, my mom, my grandparents, my friends…….have all left holes in my heart. Let me explain. Each person and what they meant in my life…..is irreplaceable. When they left my life, they left an empty place that no one else could fill. Each one left a hole in my heart.

Through grief…..some people take that hole in their heart….and instead of letting God heal the edges of it…. they try to fill it up with something else….or worse…they allow it to gape open….raw and ragged….and allow the empty space in their heart to make them feel empty.

Imagine the frayed edge of fabric….uneven…fraying….and ragged. This is kind of, an appropriate image of the edges of the hole left by loss. They are raw and ragged and just don’t look right.

But imagine now…..the edge being sewed up….the hole isn’t gone…it is still there….but God can mend the frayed edges….over time. If we let Him.

And then……..what happens then….to me is amazing. Because as He gave me the visual of my heart….with holes open for each person lost…..He also showed me this………

 

 

photo 1As I’ve allowed Him to come in and help me heal….help me grieve…… as I’ve allowed Him to be a part and seek out His purpose…or the Silver Linings in each loss…..He showed me that instead of less of a heart because of all the holes….. He has INCREASED the size of my heart….because I’ve allowed Him to be a part of the healing.

There are still times when the holes in my heart ache….and the loss is very near and very real. But….I’ve also come to realize each time my heart aches in my grief….He increases the size of my heart….and in a way…the way my heart aches and feels for others. It drives me to stop….to pray for each of them. It drives me to action…to see if there is anything at all He would have me do for the others who are experiencing a new hurt.

This might make absolutely no sense to you. But to me….He has shown me how through the years…..through my losses…through my grief….He has increased in me my territory. He has increased the size of my feeling heart and the more I lean on Him in my own grief…the more my heart beats with Him in the grief of others.

That night…..the night my world was turned upside down and I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest and I couldn’t breathe or go on…..I cried out to God and asked “WHY AM I STILL HERE?”……I believe He is whispering His answer daily…..and today…..He is telling me it is because He needed me here to increase the size of my heart….to share with others my heart……and to give others the hope that their hearts….although they may feel like they aren’t able to go on….they can’t breathe…they can’t move forward with the holes in their own hearts…..I’m here to tell you that you can. I’m here as a testament that He heals hearts…..He mends them slowly….and then He increases them in size…so that you too, can feel your heart beat for others in a way you never could before.

Death, difficult times….are all a part of this life. I’ve said before that I wish we could all be born and die on the same day so that nobody has to experience the loss of someone they love!! But life just doesn’t work that way. I’ve really been praying hard about this lately….about how there is so much hurt and loss and difficult times in the world. This is the picture God gave me…this is the best way I can describe of how I feel about the massive loss I’ve experienced in my life…and how it has made me who I am today.

Philemon 1:7 NLT says
“Your love has given me much joy and comfort, my brother, for your kindness has often refreshed the hearts of God’s people.”

I want to give others comfort and joy…..through the kindness of my increased heart. It may still have holes in it…..and it always will…..because there is no one or anything that can fit into those places in my heart left by the people I’ve loved. I’ve never tried to “replace” those people….not my children today….my stepmother…my new friends….none of them “fit” into those holes….but God has allowed them to expand my heart. He has expanded the capacity for love in my heart through me allowing myself to be open to those new people and new experience. I’ve not put them into the places in my heart where the holes are…but I’ve allowed them to add to my heart.

So there you have it…..I have a “hole”y heart. But what I truly desire….is for God to make it into a “holy” heart. Through the difficult times in my heart…..I believe that is when He is doing just that!

“And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.”
Ezekiel 36:26

Thank you for being a part of my increasing heart!!!
~cheli

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