Breathe

Holidays are tough when you are grieving. I will always be grieving. I try to hold onto the light, the good things – but there is such a gaping hole. According to my grief counselor, I am dealing with delayed grief, or what ever label one attaches. I always feel like I have to be the strong one, the responsible one – so I hold everything in – take care of business. SO – Here I am going through the 3rd Christmas without my son, my only child and – it isn’t any easier for any of us. My husband is hospitalized, so I am holding down the farm. So, I spent the holiday with my animals and a nasty respiratory infection. Finally gave in and went to the doctor. My asthma was flared up and needed a treatment. So I spent my morning in a the medical center, doing a nebulizer treatment – 2 years, 10 months, and 6 days after my son died of a severe asthma attack. Each breath cut through me – I will finally had to admit how guilty I feel – he got the asthma from me, I know it. I feel like it is my fault, my punishment and I don’t know why. No matter how many times I tell myself, it isn’t my fault and it isn’t about me – I can’t stop the thoughts. They attack in waves. I love my GOD so much, and I lean on the GREAT SPIRIT for comfort and healing, and I know HE did NOT TAKE my child, HE received him in love, just like HE loves me.

Still – the thoughts come. My son, a young, successful Emergency Room Doctor just finished a shift saving lives. Why couldn’t they save him? He saved lives. He made a difference in this world. Why is he gone and I’m still here? What do I do? I hate these thoughts – I suppressed them as long as I could – now I have to let them out so I can let them go.

Breathe. I tell myself just breathe and let it go. I needed to lance this abscess so I could get this poison out.

I needed to spend this holiday in my home alone so I could deal with my grief, and not be responsible for anyone else. I don’t have to put on the brave face. I am spending this day in prayer, in healing – just me and my dogs (and hugs on the horses, mule, cat, – and patted the goose). I absorbed their love – pure, honest love.

Maybe, if there is any good that can come of my grief journey – it is to share the revelations – tell someone you love them and give them a safe place to express their grief. Everyone needs to express the dark thoughts without judgement or condemnation or fear of rejection – Don’t hammer a broken person over the head with the Bible. Remember, it is the word of GOD, not a weapon. Instead, Hold their hand and pray with them.

If you are hurting, you have to breathe and let it out – scream it out – curse it out – even break something if it helps. But the abscess never heals unless it ruptures. I hold onto my big Ol’ Charlie Tarheel (My German Shepherd) and I cry and I pray. Strange as it sounds, I believe he is my spirit animal, sent to guide me to a closer spiritual relationship and a stronger faith. That works for me. I pray everyone in pain finds what works for them, to bring healing. Please, don’t give up. Continue the journey.

Prayers.

Advertisements

Being Invisible

I love my husband very much. My husband is a good man with so many good qualities. He also is very “high maintenance” because of his disabilities, depression, and addictions. This is the third Christmas without our child, and my husband is hospitalized. Believe me, Time does NOT heal all wounds.

I hope this does not sound wrong, but sometimes, I feel invisible. When loved ones call, they are always so concerned about my husband and rarely ask about me. My husband needs care and treatment, and sometimes gets so concerned with himself, he doesn’t ask how I feel. He needs me to run errands and support him and give understanding – but doesn’t understand when I say I am tired.

Let me share a recent conversation:

Relative speaking to me: “He is just going through so much – holidays are difficult. I just cannot imagine what he is going through. He lost his son.”

Me: Silently thinking, He was my son too. I’m right here – in pain.

Relative advising me: “Well, you need to be strong for him.”

Me: Silent once again

After the relative left, my husband and I chatted.

Husband: “You need to call my friend so he’s not worried.”

Me: “Honey, I called all your family to keep them up to date about your care and situation. I am just really not up to more conversations today.”

Husband: “Well, he’s going to be worried. He knows I was struggling and yesterday was Christmas…it was hard. You need to call him.”

Me: “It was hard for me too and….”

Husband: Interrupted with attitude, “Just forget it. I will call him when I get out of the hospital.”

I know he is a good person, just struggling with his health issues. I am glad he cares about his friend, and does not want the friend to worry. But there are times I just want to scream, “Strong people break too! They break on the inside where no one sees. I am tired of being strong. I hurt too.” But, instead, I am silent. Maybe because I am just too wounded to speak up or maybe I don’t believe anyone is really listening. I’m not really sure anymore. So I go through the day, invisible. No one really SEES ME – they see a functioning avatar, an imaginary person – but not me.

But GOD is good and HE sends comfort, spirit helpers. My animals, they see ME. They hear ME even when I am silent. GOD SEES ME – HE sees all my flaws and all my sins and loves me anyway, especially when I feel unlovable. So, If you know a “strong person” maybe check in with them. Maybe they need a hug.

Christmas breakfast with my furry family

It’s Christmas. So I lit a candle, got out my best cowboy china, and fixed breakfast for me and my dogs, Charlie Tarheel and Baby Dawg. We feasted together on hash and eggs. I even baked a birthday cake for Jesus – but no chocolate for the critters. Then I sang Christmas carols – sorry dogs. But hey, the Bible says make a JOYFUL noise unto the LORD. Doesn’t say it has to sound good – just JOYFUL. So I believe my nasally, flat, off key screechings are pleasing and acceptable unto the LORD. The horses and the mule had a feast too – carrots and apples and granola. Gertie Goose had sweet corn on the cob (hard to find this time of year) and butter bread. Flip Flop kitty had Friskies Shreds, hash, and warm milk.

Everyone got a hug and a scratch. I hung onto my horses neck’s and cried into their manes. I hugged Hector the mule and sobbed on his shoulder. I clutched the kitty and shared my pain. Gertie Goose bit me on the thumb – hey, she’s a goose.

My dogs curled up with me on the couch and absorbed my grief and gave me their love. It seems the more I give my love away – the more love comes right back to me. GOD truly sent me COMFORT and PEACE today. And I will be able to visit my husband at the hospital this afternoon.

Merry Christmas.

Picking up the check

I have been offline for a while – holidays are so hard.

My husband, my porcupine, really got lost in the dark. But this time, he saw the train wreck coming and reached out for help. He is now in the hospital receiving the treatment he needs. Odd as it may sound to some, I am proud of him. He didn’t reach out for alcohol or drugs. He didn’t hurt himself. He admitted his problem and asked for help. That takes courage and I am proud of him.

As he receives the support and care he needs, our loved ones do their best to show they care. They tell me how strong I am – but they forget, I don’t have any other choice. Bills need to be paid. Animals need care. Somebody has to be strong. I know there is love in their words, and I receive them with love – but, forgive me – sometimes I do feel like I am picking up the check. I lost my son too and it hurts more than I can every express. I want to just break down and quit, but I can’t. Too many depend on me. So I trudge forward.

I have to stop this – Just me feeling sorry for myself a little bit. Then I remember, today is Christmas. I have loving friends and family. I have precious memories. True, there are no people here with me right now, but my animals are my family and they are here. My SON’s spirit is here. GOD is here. In my heart, I know Jesus is the one who picked up the check for sins he never committed. I am thankful.

In love with a porcupine

Sometimes, I feel like I am in love with a porcupine, a very cute porcupine. This porcupine has some very, VERY good qualities and a good heart. But it is covered in sharp, painful quills. It just seems like every time I let down my guard and get close – OUCH!!

I want to trust the porcupine – OUCH!! I get stabbed by the LIE Quills.

I want to believe things will change – OUCH!! The addiction quills!!

It hurts.

But I still love the porcupine.

Is it his fault for hurting me, or is he just being what he is?

Is it my fault for trying to love a porcupine?

Or do I just need some sleep?

Going around the same mountain

The Israelites spent 40 years going around and around – I get that.

I feel like I am going around and around the same mountain, and I just can’t get it right.

The same demons keep cropping up – so around I go, making another trip.

I cannot stop a loved one’s addictive behavior. I cannot make the outcome different – so what I am failing to learn?

I see the train wreck down the line, but what don’t I see? Should I just get out of the way and refuse to be collateral damage again?

What about compassion and forgiveness and responsibility and commitment?

Sometimes, I just drop to my knees and ask GOD, how broken do I need to be?

Where is the line? Strong people break too.

Kindness has power

My mind is rambling today – I just miss my son so much – it is hard to rein in the thoughts. So I am just going to let them run.

When my son was 11 years, he was diagnosed with a condition called mid-aortic syndrome. This is a very rare, dangerous condition that required a complicated and dangerous aortic implant. He was in surgery for over 16 hours and my husband and I spent this time on our knees or pacing about. Unfortunately, there as a problem with the implant and after only a few hours in recovery, Jay was rushed back to surgery for another 4 hours.

I wanted to call my prayer group and tell them to pray harder, but I was out of coins for the phone. Yes, this was back in 92, and I needed coins.

A custodian walked by, busy going about his duties, yet he stopped to notice my tears and care. Without a word, he stuffed a handful of quarters into my hand. I tried to thank him, but he just gave me a hug and a bright smile and strolled off. I did call my prayer team and they did pray harder and my son began to grow stronger. Today I am grateful for the 24 additional years we enjoyed together, and for the act of kindness.

I do not know the kind gentleman’s name and I did not see him again – but he is always in my heart. His small act of kindness is burned indelibly into my memory. There is power in kindness! Just like the loving woman who washed Jesus’ feet, the kindness is remembered.

Today, my husband and I are letting the grief take over – we are just letting it flow. As we do – my mind rambles about. When we first learned we would be parents, we were filled with joy. When we first held our son, we were filled with love. When we lost him, we were filled with pain and sorrow. But, broken as I am, I know I still have value. I can still serve a loving GOD by being kind. Even if it is just some small gesture, a quick smile – I know kindness has power, lifting power that touches everyone, even those who just witness the kindness.

We need the power of kindness in this world today, more than ever – more kindness to all living things.

Just BE

This question is so natural this time of year – a simple question really.  “What are you planning for the holidays?”   In my head, I answer: Isolation. Pain. Sadness. Darkness. Anguish.

My son loved Thanksgiving. He just loved Turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy and stuffing – the whole menu. I would roast a huge turkey, just to make sure he had plenty of leftovers. He always said the leftovers were one of his favorite parts.  Now, I don’t want to roast a turkey, smell a turkey, or even see a turkey  – maybe never again. It hurts too much. I miss him so very much – always.

Instead of happily rushing into the holidays, my husband and I are bracing for the overwhelming pain, loss, and grief.

Many friends and relatives extended invitations, sincere and heart felt.  We declined them all.

Not because we do not appreciate the invitations. We do.

Not because we do not love the people. We do.

In fact, it is because we love them. I don’t want to drag down some one else’s holiday. I don’t want to make them uncomfortable.  And I just don’t want to pretend I am OK when I am not. I don’t want to put on a happy face – when I feel like crying. This holiday, I need to be able to just “BE”

BE sad or BE broken or BE still or BE hysterical or BE nostalgic or BE in communion with GOD or BE …. whatever I need to BE.

If I am around others, I must consider their feelings. I must conceal my pain and put on the smile facade.  I always feel like I need to BE what they need.

So my husband and I will stay home over the holidays. We will BE with each other. We will remember. We will sob.  We will pray.  We will BE.

I miss you, Jay.

 

I did it!!  I rode my horse on beach, next to the ocean

It was a very emotional day.  I rode my WildFire on the beach, even a few steps into the Atlantic Ocean.  I missed my son so much.  He loved the ocean.  Our last days together, were spent by the ocean.  I wanted to call him, to text him photos – to hear his laugh – instead, I searched the sky for signs.  I believe he was there with me.

Gazing out an airplane window, looking for you

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.