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Posts Tagged ‘grief’

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Today is the one year anniversary of the school shooting in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. Today is a brutal reminder that one year has passed since the innocent lives were taken from their families. Today is the reminder to each family and friend that they have lived every season, every month, every week, every day of a full year without their loved ones in their lives and here on this earth with them.

Join me in prayer for these families. Join me….because even though most people like to think and are even so brazen to say that the first year is the hardest…and after the first year…things will start to get better…….that just isn’t quite true.

For a family that has lost a child…..the first year is obviously difficult. It is filled with all the “firsts”.…the “first” holiday without your child….the “first” birthday without your child….the
first” beginning of school without your child….the “first” last day of school without your child.

But what makes it difficult….is for that first year….you can still imagine your child……just the way they were…the things they liked…the friends they would play with….the sports they liked to play….the foods they enjoyed. You can even imagine how they looked….how they wore their hair and how their voice sounded. You could imagine all of those “firsts” fairly easily…as if they would still be there……You could see them and hear them…..still……………..

Each year after that “first“…..it gets a little bit harder. After several years….you wonder….what their interests would be……what friends they would still have……what activities they would be enjoying…….how would they be styling their hair…..how would they be changing….how……would they sound……

Then……many years past that….when their classmates are going to their high school proms….you wouldn’t even know if they would have wanted to go……who they might have gone with……what they would want to wear….how they would want to arrive…limo or car…any of it…..because you would never know them even close to that age….

I say this because I want you to realize…..that the families who lost their children and loved ones still need our prayers. They will need them for the rest of their lives. I’ve come to realize there is no such thing as “closure” when you lose a loved one….. or as the grief cycle being done. It is a never ending process that only ends when we join our children in eternity.

I also ask that you allow these families to be happy. I think it is wonderful that we see them smiling and laughing with their families in some of the clips I’ve seen. Don’t think that just because they have gone through something so devastating that they don’t deserve to smile again. Don’t look at their lives now and wonder how they could be so happy after, what you consider, is such a short time after they lost their loved one!

They can be happy again! God is that good! They can choose to continue living their life…all while remembering their loved ones they lost. Losing someone tragically….doesn’t mean you can’t go on…it doesn’t mean you aren’t able to continue.

That is the awesome thing about our lives…. NO MATTER WHAT is going on……WE CHOOSE! We choose if we continue to get up…to continue to live! We choose if we are going to be all consumed by sadness or to feel it and then move on…..past it..

No…it doesn’t mean it is easy! Quite the opposite! It is hard! Very hard. Knock-the-breath-out-of-you hard! But it can be done. You just have to decide if you are willing to do it!

When God gave us free will….He gave us power. Power to choose! WE CHOOSE EVERYTHING!

NO……we may not get to choose what happens TO us…..but WE CHOOSE how we react. WE CHOOSE how we allow it to make us feel. WE CHOOSE what we do next.

Just because bad has been done TO us….doesn’t make it okay for us to make more bad choices!

WE HAVE POWER!! No person…..no situation …..NO ANYTHING has any power over us….EXCEPT the power WE give it!!!

So choose……CHOOSE YOU! CHOOSE to be weird and choose the good out of EVERY situation!

I can say….after EVERYTHING I have been through……There is ALWAYS a silver lining….you just have to look for it!

Maybe that seems weird to you……maybe you think it is very uncaring for me to say there has to be a silver lining in everything…..like in the Sandy Hook shootings….but it is there. Good WILL overcome evil……..the Light will shine through ANY darkness…..but sometimes….MOST of the time….it is US….who has to find it!

May you see the LIGHT in everything and CHOOSE the POWER God has given you!
My vote…..is on anyone who makes this choice!
Blessings and prayers! ~c

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I miss my momma………

Sixteen years ago today was a day, weather wise, much like today. Windy….chilly but not really cold.. Cloudy…overcast….not much sun.
Sixteen years ago today I was putting up the Thanksgiving decorations. Not because Thanksgiving was already over….actually it hadn’t even happened yet….but because we just didn’t feel “festive”.
Sixteen years ago today I helped make calls that I knew were coming….but never wanted to make.
Sixteen years ago today I said goodbye to my mom’s earthly body and wept because in those first few moments, minutes, hours…..I already missed her.
Sixteen years ago today I felt jealous of her…..because she was the first to get to see my boys in heaven.
Sixteen years ago today I felt loss and relief at the very same moment. I lost my mom. I knew I’d never get to call her again or talk with her or celebrate anything in my life with her again! But at the same time…I knew she wasn’t hurting any more. Her pain had become more than any of us could tolerate…especially her. I am thankful she is completely healed in her new body!!
Sixteen years ago today I started mourning the “never woulds”….. Mom “never would” make it to mine and Bryan’s wedding. Mom “never would” see my beautiful sister get married. Mom “never would” see me with my children now. Mom “never would” see that she finally had a granddaughter. Mom “never would” see my sister and myself as successful business women. Mom “never would” see so much…………..
or would she????
This morning I awoke with that same double edged sword of feelings….Sorrow of missing her and joy knowing she was somehow watching over me and my family. Today is my son’s first wrestling tournament ever!! As I prayed for him I smiled knowing she would be watching over him. I smile knowing she is watching over me…over all of us who loved her and are still here.
As I hugged my sweet daughter this morning and just relished the moment and the feeling and bond between mother and daughter, the tears started to fall.
I miss my momma.
I miss her smile.
I miss her hugs.
I miss our talks.
I miss her….everything.
It never goes away. I will never be too old to wish I had my mom with me. There is never a milestone or a day that goes by I didn’t wish she were still here.
The holidays are a difficult time….she was so all about the holidays. It is hard some times to get into that holiday spirit and get excited…. But I do….for her….my my boys…for my sweet family now……and for me.
I will never stop missing her. I will never stop thinking of her.
But I will go on and continue to live the best life I can on this earth…..partly…..because of her!

I love you momma. You told me once you would love me until you took your dying breath…..and I will love you until I take mine….

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So here I sit….smack dab in the realization that 16 years ago my life was forever changed. There aren’t many days I really let myself feel all the hurt associated with this day…but today is that day….the day I allow myself to be very real with those feelings. Today has started kinda different though.

You see…..through the night…I was thinking it would be good to have my cry and get some of the emotions out while everyone was asleep. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t make myself cry. I felt like I was in a fog. I couldn’t cry. What was wrong with me? Why? Why couldn’t I feel those feelings? Were they too bottled up? Had I pushed them down too deep?

My kids got up…and were so loving and sweet. Bryce held my hand and caressed my hair and told me he loved me. I held his hand so tight…. because sometimes I’m so afraid…..it could be the last. Then sis, was so sweet. She said she knew what today was. She knew it had been 16 years since Cody, Cory and Caleb died. It knocked the breath out of me to hear her say it.

Then…after I took her to school and came back home….the tears came. I have been getting loving and wonderful texts and messages and facebook posts….that mean more to me than I can say in words…and I’d been ok….. But then it hit. One of the girls that was a classmate of Cody’s talked about this day…how she missed him and his smile…and said I had been an inspiration during this whole time…. it hit.

I’m gonna be brutally honest…today.

I DON’T WANT TO BE AN INSPIRATION! I DON’T WANT THIS TO BE MY REALITY. I JUST WANT TO BE A NORMAL FAMILY. I DON’T WANT THIS. I FEEL LIKE MY HEART IS BEING WRENCHED FROM MY CHEST!!!!

I so believe God is using this story for His Kingdom. I truly believe He is calling me into His ministry to share His hope…through all situations. BUT I DON’T WANT IT TO BE LIKE THIS!! I totally submit to His will. I totally believe it is only by His strength I am still here. But …….

I would give it all back….to have them here with me. If I could change it….I would. In a heartbeat. If I could see their smiles….again….and just hold them……..God PLEASE…..this mommy’s heart is in a million pieces. It hurts so bad. I hate this. I really do.

If I had known…that when I saw Cody and Cory in the hospital when my mom had her surgery…it would be the last time…..I’d have held them longer…and maybe not let them go. If I’d have known…..I’d have made Caleb talk to me on the phone longer……and made him say he loved me….one. last. time.

As I sit here…..the tears won’t stop. I am continuing to get such sweet texts and messages….and sweet friends…I cannot express how much they mean to me. I truly believe God has placed such amazing people in my life…..in order to keep me going. As the tears flow….and the hurt…just doesn’t stop….it is the people I love….that keep me moving forward. It is those people…that give me my purpose.

My sweet boys…..I miss them so much….and can’t believe…I’ve lived without them now for so long. I still can see their faces when I close my eyes. I still can see their smiles….and imagine them now.

If you had told me that they would be taken from me in such a horrible way…that I’d have to go on living without them…..that I’d have to find a way to continue my life without them in it….I’d have told you I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it.

But, the reality is……I have gone on……I have found a way……..I have done it.

There are days, like today, I’ll be honest with you and tell you I don’t want to. I don’t want to do it. I don’t want this to be my life.

But, during this day……I’m reminded…..I haven’t done it alone. I have had family and friends who have walked me through this sixteen year process. I have had people I have never met…praying ….. for me to be able to continue. I’ll be reminded each time a person texts or messages me or “likes” a post on fb….that I am not alone. I am still here.

And…as I’ve said before…..if I am still here….then there must be more. I said on this date…..sixteen years ago….I promised God and my boys…that I would stay here and figure out why He left me here. And honestly….it is becoming so much more apparent to me.

He left me here to show others that …. through His strength….there is more. There is a family that I love and adore. My sweet husband and our two children are now my world. They are the glue that holds me together. My friends…..they are here for me no matter how crazy I am…..and love me no matter what….

And He is showing me…….that I am here…..to be His comma. My part in His story is to give hope to others. I’m being honest when I say I really think it stinks…….to have this story….but it is mine. Those sweet boys…..were mine. But really…they are His. They were only mine for a short while. And I’m going to be so honored…….to share them with the world…..and see just how He is going to allow our story………to touch yours!

Today has warmed my heart…..hearing stories of how my boy’s lives touched yours. I am very aware of how others were touched by the loss of my boys. If you ever want to share a story with me about one of the boys…or about how their loss has affected you…or where you were when you found out…..I’d actually LOVE to hear it.

Thank you for remembering with me today. Thank you for loving me through today. Thank you for your prayers and your kind words. I will always miss my babies!!

I want to share this pic…. my sweet daughter was playing in my jewelry one day and took this picture. It is of my c3 necklace. I love my c3angels. They will always be a part of me!

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So, today I had the conversation with a friend that they needed to enjoy where they are today. They needed to stop borrowing worry about tomorrow and anticipating what will be…..because they will, in turn, miss out on the joy that is today.

After our conversation she thanked me for my perspective…….but it was I….who had to take a step back and listen to my own words…and heed my own advice.

Don’t ya just hate it when your own words come back at you and just bite you in the butt???? That is what happened to me today.

I realized, after having that conversation, that I need to do just that. Rejoice in what my “today” is. I literally burst out in, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice” tunes that my pups were all too happy to listen to! But literally…it made me stop and realize…..we are told….really commanded to rejoice in our Lord…..every day….in every situation.

I’ll be honest…I don’t always feel like rejoicing in everything… And it is mostly in looking back at circumstances and times I’ve had, that I am finally able to rejoice.

Then as I drove for a while, my mind started comparing……my memories to my todays.

On this date back in 1997 it was a Thursday.
Today…it’s Wednesday.

Back then, weather wasn’t too bad.
Today……it’s snowing/raining/sleeting….. and who knows what will happen later! 🙂

Back then, I took the boys out for dinner at Arby’s. Had a fight with Cody since he wanted me to keep my “mom van” and I was considering getting a car! Was told I looked like their sister when we ordered our food! (OF COURSE I had to throw that one in there…..cuz I love that part!)
Today……I’m at work and tonight we have kid’s church and sis is doing her first Wednesday night pre-team class. I had to tell my sweet boy he didn’t advance to the State Science Fair from regionals and it kinda bummed us both out.

Back then…..after dinner, I drove the boys to their dad’s house. I didn’t know it then….but it would be the last time I ever saw Caleb alive. He was off to do something and I didn’t get to squeeze him….to hold him…. to memorize his sweet, little face.
Tonight…..I’m going to bring my kids home from church and just sit on the couch with them and let them curl up around me. I’m gonna ask them about their day and let them tell me anything and everything they want to. And I’m even going to pray that we get so much snow/ice tonight that they will cancel school tomorrow so I can spend even more time with them!

Back then…… I went home and prepared to be at my mother’s surgery the next morning. I knew it would be early so I didn’t stay up late. I talked to some friends on the phone and then went to bed to try to sleep. My mind was all over the place, so sleep didn’t really come. I talked to the boys…..told them goodnight again…and approved of Caleb going to his buddy’s house to spend the night.
Tonight…….I’m going to soak in the day….love on my kids……love on my husband….and try to memorize their faces!! I’m going to thank God for February 20, 1997…..and I’m going to thank Him for February 20, 2013.

Of all people out there….you’d think I should know to take every day, every moment……and rejoice in it! But so many times I let life just start to happen…and I worry….about the tomorrows. I should know that sometimes…….tomorrow….never comes. At least….not the way we plan it.
You would think….after everything I have been through…..this would be an easy lesson for me…. but it’s not. Even I need to be reminded. So I decided to share….so we ALL can be reminded…

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7 NIV)

So, please take it a day at a time. Take time to rejoice in the season you are in….it might be the best you’ve ever had….or it might be a difficult time. Either way, we are called to rejoice. Rejoice in our sufferings……rejoice in our blessings! It isn’t easy…..I know. But it is possible. And sometimes…..when we do…just that…..we realize just how blessed we truly are!

Thanks for taking a stroll through my today and to my yesterday with me! Much love ~c

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It’s okay to NOT be okay……..

Okay….since my last post was about not comparing ourselves to others….especially their highlights to our low moments…..I’m going to continue to be very transparent.

Maybe the title gave it away…but I’m just not in my usual…”Happy! Happy!” smiling self! I’m ok….but underneath everything…I’m not. I’m emotional beyond words……

Last night, all my husband had to do was look at me and give me a big hug….and I broke out in tears. I told him, I soooooo wished I was “normal”. He reminded me there is no such thing as “normal”. But, all I know…..is my reality….. and it is NOT normal!!!

Then, this morning, a friend just sent me a sweet text…..letting me know she woke up with me on her mind….she knows it is a hard week for me…and that she’d be praying for me. Well, off go the water works again. It meant so much that in the midst of her busy life….she took the time to remember me and how this week is so hard.

It is hard. It isn’t any easier……and at this point….I don’t think it EVER will be!

Today is the day….usually my mind starts this process. You see, today would have been my parents’ wedding anniversary……and there is something about that date…. that starts my mind thinking, remembering…..every detail from February 19th through February 25th, 1997.

I don’t know how to explain it. I can focus on my “today” and the life I am living now….but there is this ever-present feeling, remembering, going on in my head….in my heart! I have this all the time, really…..but this week it seems to magnify itself. It makes me emotional….and I never know how I will react to it. Sometimes, I am perfectly fine….and can go on about my life and almost no one could tell this is “that week“. Other times….I’m pretty ok…just emotional…more so than normal. Then there are times, when I’d rather just hole up in my own cocoon and not go out. I don’t want to live in my current reality…because it still hurts so bad. I just want to be by myself…not have to talk to anyone…not have to do anything!

I can honestly say…..I thought it would be much better by now. I thought it would be different…not hurt as much. I thought, after a certain number of years, I would be able to talk about it, think about it and go through this week and it just me a part of me….a memory….a story I could talk about. But no…..it still hurts. It still stings in a way I can’t describe. It continues to knock the breath out of me in a way I just can’t describe. What I thought……is never going to happen. I now realize this will never go away. My grief is a life long process.

I saw this quote and realized it is so true…..

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And…..so for me….and all those I know who have felt the loss of a child….

Allow me to share some thoughts with everyone. Some of these thoughts I have shared before…some….maybe not… Please know I am sharing from my heart…..and I just need you to hear it with love.

First……I KNOW BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT….that my boys are with Jesus! I know their hearts were filled with His Holy Spirit and upon the very second their earthly lives were over…their heavenly eternity began! And Yes…..I rejoice in that knowledge! BUT…even in that knowledge….there are some times…it just. doesn’t. make it better! Because I AM THEIR MOM! I want them here with me! I want them to want me….to neeeeed me….the way that I need them to be here so I can hold them! It is unnatural for me to imagine continuing with my earthly life when my children’s lives are not walking here with me during mine! Knowing this in my head……does not make it hurt any less. It didn’t then….and now….just short of 16 years later, it still doesn’t help! I am thankful that one day I will see them again….and we can spend eternity together……but it doesn’t stop the hurt in a momma’s heart while I’m still here!

So, if you know a parent who has lost a child…at any age…..be mindful of this. Please…oh dear friends please….do NOT tell those parents they should be rejoicing in these things! Please understand that while we KNOW these things……we still don’t want them to be true! No matter what the reason……no matter how long our children were with us…..we WANT them to be here…with US….not in heaven. Not because that isn’t the eternity we would wish or want them to have…but because we don’t want that eternity to begin before our own!

Second….. It doesn’t matter how long it has been….. it will never stop hurting! Don’t tell someone that it will get better with time…. Don’t tell them that grief is a natural process and that they should be done grieving by a certain time…… because it DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY!!! There are no….SHOULD BEs…..there are no….rules of grief….and there is no “time line”. Every one always said to me, “The first year is the hardest.”….. so I expected my second year to be so much better….easier. Guess what? It was WORSE! By the second year….I was starting to not be able to tell you who they would have been hanging out with…..what they would be liking….which sport would be their favorite! And now……here I sit….16 years on Friday since they have been gone…..and it is almost worse. I don’t know what they’d look like…..who they might have married…where they would have gone to school….if I’d have grandkids with one of them….two of them…maybe all three! I just don’t know! But it is my reality. I live on the edge of…this is my life…and this could have been my life! And there are constant reminders daily of each of these. I am so thankful for those I have in my life now. I truly love the older ones who call me mom and allow their babies to be my grandkids….. But I want that from my boys! I want to scream it sometimes…..I just want my babies back!!!!!!!!! I want to have fought with them through their teenage years like I am doing now with their brother! I want to sit on the front row of their wedding like I was so graciously allowed to do at one of their best friend’s weddings! I want to have my grand-babies call me and tell me about everything…like I get to do with my oh so precious adopted daughter! I want what I thought my life would be like to be my reality! But…..

It is what it is…..when it is…..and lasts….until we meet them on the other side!

Don’t freak out! I’m ok. Really…..I am. This is just a glimpse into the reality that is in my head and my heart. I LOVE my family I have now. I LOVE the life I am leading now. I LOVE the ministry God has given me through my story. BUT…..I’d be lying if I told you I am always happy…. My memories make me happy. My life now makes me happy. But there are just some times the hurt is overwhelming and the two worlds that are my life just don’t match up too well…..

Do I wish things were different…sure. But seeing God do such a work through all of this…..in me, as well as others…is humbling. Do I wish God could accomplish some of the things He has used my story to accomplish in a different way…YOU BETCHA! But I’m honored and so thankful He has chosen to use my story to bring others hope in His love.

If you can’t find me this next week….or I seem a little out of it….now you know why. I think I’ll go and just stay a while in the same place I was 16 years ago…..I’m gonna crawl into the lap of my Heavenly Father and just imagine His great big arms….holding me…..comforting me. Because even when no one else here “gets” me….He does. He understands me….and He accepts me. He allows me to me mad…to hurt…to cry…to yell. He is big enough. He will still love me. And for that….I am thankful.

Much love to each of you! And if you know of someone going through something…I pray my words will help you find grace for them…..even if they aren’t where you think they “should” be.

One of my now famous sayings is this….”It’s okay to be down….it just isn’t okay to stay there”. I’ve learned that I have to let myself feel these feelings….or they will come up later and really get to me! I’ve realized that no matter how bad some things may seem….if we continue to walk through them….they will only last for a season and that things WILL change!

He is faithful….my God can/will continue to perform miracles! I feel blessed that me being here….is one of them! ~c

“I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. Jeremiah 31:13

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