Who am I becoming? 8 years have passed now that Eliyah has moved to Heaven. I believe I have become more tender hearted than ever. I was thinking out loud wondering why is this bothering me? Why does this seem something so foreign to me or something that needs to be adjusted? I think it’s because we must always guard our hearts with everything that God gave us. Recently I had to ask what does this really mean? To guard my tender and at times very fragile heart, because out of it flows the well spring of life. In my writings and conversations I can be very vulnerable. I do not want this organ (my heart) to be stepped on. I require joy. Not always happiness but joy. My heart thru this journey has had in my opinion way to many bandages, and far to many leaks. How especially in grief can this be avoided? I don’t think that it can. I think I have tried every avenue to avoid, and even run away from even the possibility, but just like my shadow it’s there. So I concluded that it is avoidable, so I must manage. This heartache, It can come with any subject.. A romantic loss, a physical loss of someone, disappointment. Let me talk about that disappointment. Hoping and praying for the outcome you want and when it doesn’t happen…Bam!!! it rears it’s ugly head. Especially when you dont see it coming. Such as the sudden death of a loved one. Maybe you’ve prayed for something and the answer God gives is no, or he is silent. Whatever it is, the outcome did not meet the expectations or the desire that you had within. Maybe you are up for a promotion at your job. you’ve been there a long time, you out shine your co-workers, and the bosses’ nephew comes to town, and bam!! he gives it to him based on being related alone. How do you respond? Do you respond? What if you have been praying for a job all together and week, denial letter after another keeps coming? Bills have red-notes on them, and you are a week shy of losing your apt. or home. How do you respond? I wonder at times what keeps people from utterly breaking? What about when that relationship you thought was the one that would last forever and it fails? You invested time, maybe money, given of yourself and it comes to an abrupt halt, or you find out things about the other person that changes your feelings? How do you handle it? Another thing I realize about myself is that I’m an over thinker.. I over analyze, I allow things to steal my rest because my mind is circling. I tend to run things in my head, you know worst case scenarios, best case scenarios. But it’s so bad because I will think but what if ? Let me say those what if’s will destroy you. They will take you mentally away from it all. You will be so caught up in worry that it’s all to the bad. When a situation pops up and I begin to dream, envision how it will go, smile at the possible outcome etc. I couldn’t be more excited. You know how a balloon has air and it’s flying high and enjoying the view. If it suddenly gets thwarted or doesn’t come into fruition, my silly heart falls, balloon deflates, and I am now overthinking plan B.. The re-adjustment. But how does this happen without big ole crocodile tears? or worse anger!? I then take a pause, deep breaths, and start to replay it all. Am I at fault? Does God still care? will it get better sooner or later? What does my readjustment look like? who else if anyone is involved? Can I even listen to the small still voice in my head that says “One day this too shall pass”? Do I even care to listen to any encouraging voices around me? are they around? It’s thee hardest emotions for me. Will there ever be justice? Did I set myself up for failure? Did I have expectations and should not have? But how the hell do you not have expectations? Maybe they were too high…. Maybe they weren’t high enough. Even in grief I never want to be the victim. Watching others experience loss knowing what the road up ahead will bring makes me sad. My empathy has grown. Learning and loving through it all. I keep going, I keep moving forward, I keep praying, I keep dreaming, I keep Heaven in my view. This journey has not become easier. I am still navigating life the best that I can. God gives me strength beyond what I thought I could receive or even have. I press forward everyday. When my heart needs a rest, I do my best to give it that and recharge, re-focus and begin again.
The death of a loved one is so abrasively shocking to your system. The loss of my son Eliyah has been a journey that even when I close my eyes, if I choose and sometimes when I don’t I am catapulted immediately to the day he died.
Death brings unknowns. You ask the why’s… they seem to go on and on. Even if you had an answer, The question of why would still rear itself to your mind in some fashion. What if it’s unknown? What if there is no tangible reason? What if you had to just accept what has happened and begin the brutal task of healing. Yes healing is brutal. It takes time, it’s painful, it leaves scars to remind you of what happened. Sometimes healing is not what we think it should look like. Sometimes how you picture it, the exact opposite is what you are faced with, and now you must adapt accordingly.
Eliyah’s cause of death was SUDEP. Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy. I will focus on the second word. Unexplained. It means it is not accounted for, there is no identifiable cause. It is Unknown. How unnerving right? If you are someone who needs answers it is a mental drive to the crazy house because there is not an answer. I like satisfaction. I want to know reasons, and sometimes my overthinking mind needs a reason for the reason. And yet here I was dealing with a death that had no reason behind it. And furthermore why my child?
Sometimes it’s fear of the unknown that makes our minds scream. What if? What about? etc. This year specifically has challenged many of us to the core for several different reasons. A world pandemic. So many unknowns involved about how we should move forward to stay healthy. Many of you lost a loved one this year, or a job, I have a friend who lost her beautiful home in a fire. Where do you start? Where do you go from here? So many unknowns.
When my mother was sick, my dad used to tell her take one thing at a time. Slow down, don’t try to do it all at once. Sometimes we must acknowledge that steps must be taken. For example if you want to bake a cake, You follow certain steps first. You don’t just throw all in the oven. Certain ingredients must be mixed. Gotta follow the steps 1 thing at a time. Healing of a loved one especially is a process. You don’t heal all at once. I wish it was that easy. A simple process.
Grief is an unknown. It carries with it many, many facets. It carries with it no timeline, no proper way of “grieving right” no such thing, it scares people away, yet can also make people want to draw closer to you to help you through. It affects one person in one way, and to another a different way. No rhyme or reason. It’s complicated. It has stages. the stages are not in any specific order and can last a lifetime of not. Unknown.
So how do we handle the unknown? Do we know? Is there a playbook out there with the plays? An answer key in the back of a book? Is there a guru high upon a mountain who has all the answers? I chose, yes chose to rely on faith. The bible says in Hebrews 11:1 That faith is the hope or the confidence in what we hope for and assurance/evidence about what we do not see. It means to believe completely even when there is no evidence to support. It is my foundation for my relationship with God. The very start of what matters on a spiritual side. It is my confidence that later becomes fully operational to believe his promises. It’s unseen but exists beneath what is visible.
This is what carries me. It fuels me, Drives my reasoning for how I move in life. Utilizing faith while in the unknown has allowed me to put one foot forward at a time. It is the constant abiding trust in what I can’t see. It’s like the unseen foundation of a building. You can’t see it but you know if it’s not there the building would collapse. It’s knowing it will work when it’s not apparent to my senses. It must be applied to all of life challenges. I encourage you to face the unknown head on with faith in front of you. It will make a difference in your life.
I haven’t written or shared anything here since the beginning of the year. My father Wayne Wilson passed away suddenly at the end of January, and being a daddy’s girl, it did a number on me…… Thinking about it now it’s probably been 6 months. I kept saying to myself I need to write in my blog. I’d say c’mon girl aren’t you thinking about writing? Sure.. I thought about sharing..But it just didn’t feel possible. I think and have thoughts about much this year. We are still in a pandemic of sorts. Many have lost love ones this year, and would probably conclude that this is the worst year ever in their lives, and for different reasons. I write this blog in an effort to help with my own personal healing in my journey, but to also encourage others who have experienced the loss of a child. Some have reached out to me saying that this blog has helped them through other losses, and to that I say to God be the glory.
Grief is not about survival. It is about living each day well through hurt, pain, loss, fear of future, etc. My heart has been overwhelmed lately watching the news in part and seeing what is happening across our nation, and our world. I think about those that have experienced new loss, and the indescribable pain they now feel.
Yesterday, I visited the cemetery where my son Eliyah is buried. It’s not something that I do often, or make a habit of but I felt the need to get out of the house and go somewhere where I could cry, pray, and not be bothered. When I got out the car and walked to his grave my body just fell into a sit down position and I just weeped. I weeped for the son that I miss so much, my father who’s loss to me is still very raw, I just sat there and cried. I just cried because I had the feeling of being on the “backburner” on the stove. Through this time I’ve had to console others. When my daughters were younger and even now of course I have to lay aside my hurt to help them. One of my girlfriends always reminds me that I am of no help to anyone if I am not cared for. Airlines always tell you to put the mask on yourself first, and then proceed to help someone else. Who will care for the person that must care for everyone else? Who provides love to the one that feels depleted? I sat on the grass. I never sit on the grass anywhere because within about 5-10 minutes I’m super itchy. Hahaha. I even had a little blanket in my trunk but I was too weak to move so I just sat there. I dont know how long I was there. Maybe 30 minutes, but I needed to talk my thoughts out loud. I needed to pray, I needed to read, and re-read Eliyah’s marker over and over.. I could feel the tears in the back. What do I mean by this? Well, when you are cooking a large meal, maybe for Thanksgiving or a celebration. Most stoves have 4 burners on top. The burners in the front get priority use for what is needed quickly or what is needed or being tended to first. The burners in the back are used for maybe warming something up, or you have already cooked the dish, so you put it back there to get out of the way. It’s important however that these burners are not left alone or forgotten about because of their placement. This is what parenting, or moving through these times feels like for me. Like I’m crying in the back somewhere unattended. It’s a catch 22. God gives you strength, and people see that and make assumptions that you are A ok. You help your friends, your kids, family members, your neighbors, and even help those who are just going through the first year or first few weeks of grief. They’re looking to you because you made it on the other side, and smiles are there again, and comfort for them is needed and you are the only one who can give it. I understand it completely.
The struggle of staying sane through these difficult days is what the tears in the back are. I know I had to reconcile that time moves on even when you aren’t ready or don’t want to. I know that it is ok to not be ok. I know that broken crayons still color. I want you, me, us to be well. Self care for you is important. Do not neglect what it is that you may need. Do not push or allow yourself to be on the ” back burner” if you need the attention in the front that is condusive to your healing. Tears in the back requires an assessment. I am no good to others when I am a mess. Most times even the people that I’m closest to fail to recognize the distress signals. Or the expectation is that I’ll be good in a day or so. Tears are cleansing and given by God for a purpose. Never loose sight of that. I’ve cried often this year. It’s been a year for the record books. Just keep the tissues on standby…But through this difficult season I know that God will wipe the tears away. He bottles up the tears. Joy will come again, and it will be unspeakable. This is my hope that I cling to…….
Today marks 1 year to the date that I began this blog. It is also my son Eliyah’s 23rd birthday. I have to say that I am proud of myself for starting something in honor of him. A blog that has allowed me to express many things of my grief journey. Thank you for following and I pray it has and will continue to bless you, bring healing, and understand my grief a little better.
Milestones as today hit very hard. The unpredictability of grief is what I hate the most. You make plans, and then boom! Plans change in a heartbeat because now you no longer “feel” like it or maybe what you thought you’d do you no longer have an interest in doing. Or the weight of the day just became so much that it became to much of a burden. Sometimes it’s other people’s expectations that you must now battle through.
Eliyah was born on the 4th of July. So, in addition to dealing with all the above. It’s a national holiday. People invite you to bar-b-que’s, for some it’s a beach day, and the fireworks at night. This requires leaving the house. It requires being around people who may not get it. they may want you to be happy as not to bring their celebration down. I can look at a the from the perspective of a clock. I may be up for all of it around 10 am, and not want to see anyone at 4pm. I may just want to reminisce with close family until noon and see some people for a little while at 6 pm. There’s really no rhyme to the reason. It’s just how grief works.
Today, I had plans to celebrate at Disneyland, because it was one of his favorite places, and mine. However my plans changed do to some other things coming up, so I will more than likely go next week. It’s been 7 birthdays now without him and I have felt the sting, emptiness, hole, every year. every year I’ve done something different. some have been planned and others not so much. I too what feels necessary for my heart, spirit, and mind. 1 year I remember I forced an ended early a trip because my mother wanted me to celebrate with the rest of the family in town. I was miserable.. I didn’t want to be around anyone, and 1 family member even asked “oh is today his birthday”? just completely unaware and didn’t understand my pain. I vowed to never let that happen again, and it hasn’t. I celebrate and honor Eliyah as I see fit. Not under anyone’s request.
I am honored to have been chosen to be Eliyah’s mother. He came into this world calm. I had no drugs, no I.V. and a very relatively pain free natural childbirth. Eliyah lived his life loving us his family, and had a heart for others. He loved God and although he was 6 foot 3, he was a gentle guy. He loved his sisters, and was proud to be their older brother. I miss him more than anyone could possible think. Time doesn’t make my heart less empty. Living my life for God makes it bearable.
Happy 23rd birthday in Heaven Eliyah J. Linell
July 4, 1996. Eliyah J. Linell was born. January 19, 2013 Eliyah passed away. 16 years on this earth he lived a wonderful life. I am blessed, and honored that God chose me to be his mother. Yes, God chose me. Through the easy pregnancy and even easier birth Eliyah was peace. God’s plan was that he would be born on this particular holiday although his “due” date was July 7th. I never thought that in God’s plan that would include him leaving this earth before me at such an early age.
Have you ever heard the phrase “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans?” I started hearing people say that from an early age. I don’t think it has anything to do with God actually laughing at you, rather God thinking ok, you can plan that if you want but my plan for your life will go as follows: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. Although this scripture is used often to comfort, it is not a security blanket like Linus carries around with him. If it’s looked at in that way one is led to believe that sufferings are not meant for them and prosperity will rule forever. No, it is to know that we have a confidence and hope that God will be there to help in the midst of our suffering.
I think about those in the Bible who had plans. I’m sure many did not grow up thinking they would be great men and women of God. Look at the life of Job and what he and his wife endured. I don’t think he knew what was to happen in his life. That God would use him in that way. I also did not know that God would use me in this way too. I did not know on Jan. 19th Eliyah would take his last breath here on earth. Our plans were to go to Disneyland that day.
What I can be confident in is that God knows what he is doing. He knows how to plan my life better than I ever could. No, Eliyah’s death wasn’t even a thought in my plan for my life nor his. I saw him growing up, graduating form high school, going to college getting his dream job and starting a family. I struggled to know that he would never get to do any of it. I prayed and asked God was this part of your plan? Is this your will for our lives? Is there any way to reverse or change what has happened? Do you love me?
It is difficult to imagine anyone loving Eliyah more than I do, but God does. He understands the depth of my love for him. He still watches over every single detail of my life. What is important to me, is important to him. All of this is true, yet I still grieve, I still mourn. I ignore those that say move on because it’s been X amount of time. I use the date of Eliyah’s passing as a grid to pass everything across.
I don’t have the luxury of planning out God’s plans. Some would get into the debate of was it his plan for him to die so soon? What is God’s role in suffering? Why did he allow this to happen? All questions of deep and painful complexity. I know that I must engage in the realities of human life. In all its grace, and grief. The love of God still shines in my life. No matter what, God does have a plan, and it is always good. Faith in his plan isn’t believing that what I want goes. Knowing that he is Sovereign and loves me and draws us to fulfill his plan for our lives no matter what.
So, no I nor you get to plan God’s plan. We are not in charge. Do you find yourself asking God why? when things are good, and you just sit back and enjoy, and then only ask him why when bad things happen? This is what I will end with. God’s plan for your life will never ever outstrip the grace he makes available to help us and enable us to live well. There is no promises of escape of struggles, sorrow, or pain. Jesus himself said “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. ” (John 16:33)