I used to be afraid of flying – never wanted to look out the window. But, since I lost my precious son – the worst has already happened to me. I just don’t have the fear anymore. Maybe I just don’t care – but here I am looking out the window (Sorry, it is a dirty window). I am looking for you, Son – signs, anything. Each cloud formation, each ray of sun – I search. Is that you? I miss you.
I am afraid I do not know the name of this purple flower, but I love the colorful blooms. It is a hardy, tall fellow – standing up to Virginia drout and sun. My husband and I sat on our “memory” bench and enjoyed the last of them
Now there is a huge dragon fly in our living room. I believe this is a powerful, positive blessing and we will help guide our little visitor safely outdoors.
Holidays and Parties – for me – are definitely on the casualty list. I used to love parties and family gatherings. In the fall, we would always build a huge bond fire and invite family and friends to the farm. We would eat my husband’s chili, roast hots dogs and marshmallows – just enjoy.
I have not hosted or attended a party since losing my son – I just struggle being around groups of people. Truthfully, I cannot get “in the mood” to host a party and I don’t want to attend some one else’s party and bring down their mood.
Has anyone else experienced the awkwardness of the grief journey? The isolation? When I encounter people, acquaintances who either do not KNOW or I do not see on a regular basis – there is an awkwardness in our interaction. I can tell it is on their mind and they feel uncomfortable – and I feel uncomfortable. Conversation just feels “forced”.
Holidays and party days are ahead – AGAIN. If I muster the courage to accept invitations, will I would be socializing with people I have not seen since my son’s memorial service? Will they feel uncomfortable? Will I be a dark cloud on the party?
I cry privately. I grieve privately. I work to always maintain my composure in any public situation. I do not want to burden others. What to do? Go? Say no?
Met a new friend scurrying down my drive way. Don’t worry. I gathered my little friend up and moved him to safety. As a child, I remember my Mom telling me these little Woolie worms could predict the severity of the weather based on their color. Can’t remember exactly, if it was black or orange that meant a bad winter. Maybe it is silly to stop my car to move a little fuzzy caterpillar, but – hey, GOD made caterpillars too – and besides, it is healing to stop and visit with nature for a little while. The grief is always with me, but moments like this strengthen me. Does anyone know what kind of little critter this is??
As I blogged in the past, there are many casualties of grief. Horseback riding was one – for me. In the last months, I have tried to get my saddle time. While it has been good to be back on a horse – we weren’t a team – not connecting. My mare would hollow out, jig, toss her head – not good. My ride last weekend jarred my back – and seriously had me thinking about giving it all away. I have been riding for nearly 50 years – I can’t quit like this.
So, I prayed. “God, please – I don’t know what to do. Help me. What is wrong with this hateful red, mare.”
The only word that kept popping in my thoughts – Listen
Well, God, I am listening – that’s why I am praying – tell me!!
OK, thanks to my loving Spirit Sister, we changed the tack – maybe the saddle was pinching?
Still, nagging voice – Listen.
This morning, after a sleepless night – I hauled my horse to the near by park. That voice was hounding me – Listen!!
AAARHHHGGH!! The anger, the frustration – what does that mean????
I just broke down, hanging on my horse’s neck – sobbing. I hugged her head and pleaded, “Tonka, I am so broken-hearted. Please, Tonka, I need you.”
This time, I understood the voice – Listen to the horse. I looked into her eyes and knew that I put too much in the saddle. I don’t mean just my extra chubby butt. I mean I took all my pain, grief, sadness, darkness, rage, and frustration riding with me – I piled all that onto Tonka’s back. As I clung to her neck, I asked her to forgive me. I promised her today, it would be just my chubby butt (again, I apologized for the chubby part). No more emotional junk. I felt her lean into me and sigh.
Today, was the best ride in 31 months! Today, Tonka and I connected. When a horse and rider connect, it is beautiful, powerful – it is spiritual.
I believe the Great Spirit blew HIS breath into the nostrils of the horse – he gave them life so they could held guide us. In the woods today, surrounded by creation and truly connected with my beloved mare – I know GOD was there and my prayers were heard. I am so thankful.
After a 3 hour ride, I smothered Tonka with kisses and scratches and stuffed her full of apples. She was so relaxed, I could feel her relief. Finally – I listened!!!
I have always loved the Book of Ruth – beginning way back in my childhood (about a million years ago). It was like a fairy tale to me. Ruth was beautiful and loving and kind. She did not abandoned Naomi in her pain and grief. In the end, Ruth and Boaz fell in love – and in my mind “live happily ever after”. I was so absorbed in Ruth’s story, I never really considered Naomi’s.
Now, I am living Naomi’s story!! Suddenly, I read Ruth from a whole different perspective. Naomi lost both her sons. I lost my only son. I know her pain. I feel her pain. Naomi had a loving daughter-in-law. So do I. I cherish her.
In Ruth Chapter 1, Naomi tells everyone not to call her Naomi anymore. That name meant pleasant. Instead, Naomi wanted to be call Mara which is bitter. Yeah, I am bitter too – I understand. Sometimes the bitterness is all-consuming. But I am trying, everyday trying – not to be bitter. I am trying to remember the end of the story where Naomi is blessed by Ruth’s love and ultimately, her relationship with Boaz. GOD saw her pain and grief and heard her sobs.
So, the loss of Naomi’s sons was not the end of her story.
Maybe this is not the end of my story.
My morning began in a blanket fort.
First alarm just went off at 5:30 am. My mind acknowledged the alarm with a snarky snarl, “I have 20 minutes before second alarm goes off.”
I am snuggled in my blanket fort with the blanket pulled tightly over my head. It is a soft, cuddly blanket – feels like kittens – fresh from the dryer last night, smelling sweet. I want to burrow down into my blanket fort and just think of you. No grief, no tears, no pain – safe in blanket fort with happy memories.
I remember pulling couch cushions and blankets and turning our living room into a camp site. I remember looking through the view master at dinosaurs, and pretending they were binoculars and real dinos and we were brave explorers. I remember the giggles and the tickles – blocking out the whole world in our little blanket fort.
The second alarm pierced my perfect memory – had to finally drag it out of my blanket fort. But don’t worry, Son, I will be back. Does anyone else have a blanket fort?
My grief is not weakness. My grief is not sin. My grief is not a lack of faith. My grief does not offend GOD. It is a very human response to a very profound, devastating loss.
I am flawed, broken person. I make mistakes. GOD knows me and loves me anyway.
I live for somedays. Somedays, I am OK. Somedays, I am not OK. Somedays I make good decisions and I make progress. Somedays I make stupid decisions and I slide back. Somedays, I do all that before my first cup of coffee. I know GOD loves me anyway, that’s why I keep trying.
Some days, I do things I don’t really understand, like carry a pebble around all day, clutching it for dear life. Someday, I will retire and explore other ways to support my family. Someday, I will go to the World Equestrian Games in North Carolina – and Someday I will go to Ireland and take my followers along. Someday, I will be able to devote myself full time to hobby farming and crafting. Someday I will something- …. Or maybe never, maybe nothing – I really don’t know.
I chose to share my journey, not force it on anyone. I do not know where this journey will lead me – I don’t have that kind of “written-in-stone” plan. I cannot look that far ahead. I may have to change directions, alter my path a few times as I trod along. I will stumble. I will take wrong turns. I will continue. I will make my journey with GOD, communing with and answering to GOD.
If in my little rantings even just one person can find a pebble they want to pick up and hold for comfort – I am grateful. If sharing my journey can let them know they are not a bad Christian if they scream out in pain, if they cry in the shower, if they suffer with grief or depression or pain – let them know they are loved as they are– then this is a journey worth sharing. GOD loves us all anyway.