Being Present

Over the last 6 years since Elijah left this earth, I have encountered many people. I have built many beautiful relationships. I’ve met other moms who have lost a child and there is a unique bond that only we share.  However many of my relationships changed. Many people whom I thought would remain in my life are no longer a part.  Including family members.  I also see that those who I maybe at one point was not close to or did not know well are some of my closest confidants.

Grief has an awful effect on most of us.   It itself is a complete stranger.  My parents told me never to talk to strangers. Do not engage or become familiar with. Therefore, when grief hits, everyone deals with it in a different way.  It is an unwelcomed stranger that forces itself usually immediately after a loss.  Many of those who I counted as my friend during my deepest part of my grief could not handle it for whatever reason.  Some I would say hated to see me suffer so they backed away not knowing how to handle it.  Some were trying to handle their own grief and maybe felt like they would make me feel worse by sharing their hurt too. And maybe others feared that my tragedy would somehow affect their lives differently so they just vanished all together.  Losing someone will either 1. bring you closer together, or 2. be the catalyst for falling apart. And I experienced both.

I had to ask myself a question… Am I asking to much from my friends/family/comforters? I mean he was my son, my heartbeat, I carried him!!! Right?? Surely no one is grieving harder than me.. Not true.  I had to ask myself also What are if any are my expectations?  Should someone automatically know how to comfort me? No, they aren’t mind readers. No one could assess my emotional, spiritual, or physical needs without my input. People were grieving in their own way, and because he was my son many people would in fact heal quicker than me because of the relationship to him.  Some of the anger I had was towards those closer to me. Some demanded more of my attention to them and I couldn’t give it and I was hurt in the process.  I could not understand why I was being avoided in my time of utter and complete sorrow, and brokenness. I mean just because you don’t know how or maybe at a loss for words you avoid me? Yes, people did. I had a friend who 3 years later called me and told me that it was to hard for him to see me hurt so he stayed away. I understood yet at the same time could not give myself a reason for our friendship to just pick up and continue. I instead thanked him for telling me and wished him well in his life. Even through my own grief, there were times I had to sacrifice and be there for others through their pain as well.  I also had those who said some pretty dumb things. Some things said were even quite disrespectful.  I could say it was because they were at a loss but some people at the heart of it are just insensitive and even if you wrote it out and they took a class and then explained it again, they would still be insensitive and there is nothing that you can change about that.  And I could not make excuses for them, so I in turn isolated myself to protect my heart.

Being present is not an easy thing to do. It requires patience, faith, love, gentleness, being kind, and discernment to name a few.  In my life today are some wonderful people that encourage me, pray for me, love on me through my tantrums, and push me to keep going. I have healthy relationships with those who didn’t run away. Those who could bear the weight of my grief. I have met wonderful souls who do not mind me talking about Eliyah, his impact, and his life. I evaluate my expectations better than I did before. Even as my journey continues and yet still the layers of loss that are still being uncovered come, I have those in my life I can call.  I’m careful not to except someone to give me what I know only God can. I have friends who are present and find it not to be a burden on them.  I’m aware that friendships change. My life became more complex, and not easier. I’m so grateful for those that God placed in my life, and I’m grateful for those who he knew would not be good for me and he removed.  God has given me beauty for ashes. Thank you Lord for all that you have done in my life!!! Thank you for being present and never leaving nor forsaking me. Amen!!!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

Encouragement through grief…

I only want to see Gods glory because my heart knows that that is the necessary key to my survival. The difficulty in special or non-special days will not outweigh my joy in the celebration of those that I love still here.. I celebrate through tears. This faith of mine says to count it all joy.  God never stops working on your behalf…not even in his silence.  .When I have an ongoing emotional circumstance that brings pain/anguish, I know that God’s word “pokes” peace back into my heart. It takes your mind off of the issue. The situation may not change…it may even get worse, but God is in control. He is just, & he is right. He is sovereign. I rejoice in who God is. Throughout this journey, there have been some pretty dark days. Endurance is key. Life is not fair & may not even be pleasant. Our perspectives are limited. We don’t always see the big picture of the plan. As I have experienced a deep loss, & as I continue to walk this journey of life, I must remember…to hold everything loosely, and never ever forget God’s presence through these times…..Grateful for grace, mercy, love, and faith

Brokenness..

The medical definition for pain is the physical feeling caused by disease, injury, or something that hurts the body. Mental or emotional suffering.  Brokenness is defined as forcibly separated into two or more pieces. When I think of my grief and my heartbreak, I can become so overwhelmed that it is challenging to get out of bed.  I have to focus on the work it takes to grieve purposely.  I have to intently focus on the fragments. There is sadness, grief, anger, and this luring traumatic imprint that shows itself.  I’m left to gather up these pieces. Most days I’m successful in the maneuvering around the triggers, and many days where I fall to my knees asking God for help….The memories for the most part of wonderful, but there are also memories that leave me immobile. I remember finding Eliyah in his bed early that morning unresponsive.  I remember the 911 call, I still see the horror on my daughters face as she entered his room, I have the memory of seeing my dad hold onto my fireplace mantle for support and shed tears ( at that time I’d only seen my dad cry three times in my life). It’s been six years and these memories are still here. I’m unable to forget. I still see his face three hours before leaving my room saying I love you with that big smile. I’m happy that I still have that memory, and many others that make me smile.

  I read somewhere recently that the wound is the place where the light enters you.  My life was severly interrupted. My daily life patterns were shattered. Profound changes were inevitable. Death interrupts, it causes pain, it brings brokenness to the forefront. It delivers wounds so deep that most won’t even talk about it. But as much as we hate it, we will all experience it. It’s unavoidable. Grief is pain. Grief expresses our connection with our loved one that’s gone and in and of itself it is an expression of love. Bottom line is once you have experienced the darkness, you appreciate the things that shine.

The passing of Eliyah has changed me forever. In two days it will mark him leaving this earth six years ago. I feel it just as much today as I did the moment the paramedics pronounced him gone.  My heart was shattered into an infinite amount of pieces. However, it has made me stronger. More resilient. I have courage that I didn’t possess before. I love differently, I share differently. I give more than I did before.  It pushed me to set realistic goals, changed how I communicate with others. I am more transparent, I have developed better coping skills through hardships.  Yes, grief has changed me.

In my being broken, I drew closer to God. I had to go on. Trusting in his grace. Holding on to his faithfulness.  He told me in Psalm 139 that I could trust him even in times of grief.  This was going to require a spiritual healing.

When I think of a broken bone I know that it takes time to heal. It is also a process that involves much. Its usual cause is that there’s has been some excessive force applied and the break or shatter occurs. It causes much pain. It also varies at the duration of the healing.   This all correlates to grief. It can’t be rushed. It can also be gruesome, and ugly. It is a process that like the healing of bones will vary in time from person to person. Grief has challenged me to invest differently with my time, and gave me light as to what really matters and what doesn’t.

I’m grateful that pain, being broken, and grief has an end. Just like our bodies, it is temporary. Have you heard the saying ” This too shall pass”? It’s true. There is peace on the other side of pain.  We can rest in Jesus, and disengage from the busyness of the world.  Healing takes patience and time.  There is joy in the mourning. God will give you peace for your pieces.

Think about what areas in your life that has forever changed you. Has God reminded you that there can be peace in the midst?

Boundaries in Grief

The thing about grief is that what is true always changes.  My life since Eliyah’s passing hasn’t become easier, it’s become more complex.  I set on a search for balance, which included setting some much needed boundaries.  Friends, family have this idea of how you should be. It’s their perception of how you should grieve. For example, ” You’re too happy today, shouldn’t you be more sad? ” Or “you sure are sad don’t forget to smile it’s been almost ( insert time here).”  People unintentionally will fault you or bring guilt because they perceive it should look a certain way. I was and am determined to not fall into that trap.  Grief looks different for me than it does for anyone else. Grief is unique. I had to talk to the Lord about this often.  Smiling…. I felt how can I do this when he is not here to enjoy? I felt I was betraying Eliyah who was not here.  Sadness… does Eliyah really want me to be so sad? I searched for moments yes moments of enjoyment.  I wasn’t going crazy, I was grieving.  There are so many layers to grief. I experienced people saying extremely insensitive things to me.  It’s like did that really come out of your mouth??? You can’t wrap your mind around it. But what matters the most is not what is said to me or about me but my response. What is my reaction? What are my thoughts towards this person? They don’t understand my pain, or maybe they are trying to avoid their own pain, They speak without thinking etc.  Whatever the reason may be has nothing to do with me.  What was helpful to me was not to respond. Yep, keep my mouth shut and when necessary remove and isolate myself from the source.  You think, am I not going through enough without the extra nonsense of people?? yet God was reminding me that even in grief he will get the glory.  I had to forgive…Cry out to God to help me because this is hard.. Job said ” I have heard many things  like these; miserable comforters are you all.  (Job 16:1-2). Can you even imagine??  How frustrating it was to listen sometimes.   I had to in my anger and sometimes confusion forgive.  I could not allow bitterness to take root in my heart towards these individuals. Did I get mad? Yep…. I sure did.  I could not believe that people I knew would behave in that manner or from a different perspective those that vanished, disappeared, went ghost, that simply could not handle or face our loss did that…. I though they would be near to my family and instead they were not.  Again dealing with the many layers of grief.  Recently, I sat with a young woman who recently lost her teenage son. Part of our conversation, she told me she visits the cemetery every day. I said to her you must do what gives you peace. She said her sister asks her “Why do you go there, he’s not there!” She said she knows but it’s something she has to do for now for herself..  I told her if going to the cemetery for the last month since his passing brings you healing, then that’s what you do. You can not be pressured into grieving how your sister feels or wants you to, or anyone else for that matter. I said people mean well for the most part, but going to his gravesite helps you and that is all that matters.  Well meaning, well-intentioned people, has caused me to pray more. They do not understand my pain, and nor should I expect them too. My expectations have to stay in check and I have to focus on what is crucial and beneficial to my healing. Having and keeping my boundaries. It always points back to the Lord.  I was reminded a couple of days ago that God’s Sovereignty is over my situation. He is in absolute total control which means I can trust and lean on him through my pain. I hope and pray that you can do this as well.