Friday, December 25, 2015

MARY CHRISTMAS!

                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

As bereaved moms that are also Christian…we are called to believe "the impossible"…that our children are not truly gone, but only gone ahead--and are still very much alive! We are-like Mary-called to believe, to trust that God somehow has it all figured out; that what He says will in fact come true, because He has spoken it.

We can believe that God created the entire universe…that He spoke an entire creation into being. Why then, is it so hard to believe that our children are still alive?

Partly I feel, is because society is heavily anti-Christian. And I have come across more than a few Christian "leaders"…that have led me, alright…almost led me right down the primrose path of disbelief!

I have heard several variations of Mary's innocently questioning, "How can this be?" from those I already expected would well know the answer.  A leader in a global Christian "think tank", a new acquaintance, asked me "Did God really help you after the accident?" It was her worst fear realized, what I'd gone through, and she wanted to know if He was there for me…

Honestly, my heart sank when I heard the question. It was only months after the wreck, and I wanted support for my tentatively strong faith that all was truly well. I felt great joy though, being able to enthusiastically affirm my belief and say,  "Yes! God has been there for me and has truly helped me.

Another Christian leader questioned how anyone could survive child loss. Again, my heart sank. Is it any surprise, that the bereaved continue on with shaky hope--if any hope at all--that their child is still alive, with leaders seemingly so unsure of God's sufficiency (and proficiency!) I am fortunate that my current Pastor is a strong Believer. She Trusts Him completely, and I find her confidence very faith-affirming.

When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Ps 11:3)

I no longer cry buckets of tears in extreme grief over the loss of my children. My eyes may mist when I think of my sweet Michael and Lisa. Of course I miss them and will always love them. That's a given. But I'm not dwelling on loss, or getting stuck there...Why? Because I believe. I know that my Redeemer liveth…I also know that my children liveth! I can't say I believe in God, without believing what He tells me. Either Jesus really is Whom He says He is…or Jesus is a lunatic talking madness. Either Jesus was speaking the Truth, or He was a madman. And through reflection on all the ways He's helped me in the past, I choose to believe the evidence--that Jesus really is telling me the truth in Scripture. Jesus tells us to at least believe on the "miracles" in our lives-- that He's helped us to receive-- if we struggle to believe.

"Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do." (John 14:11 NIV)

I know my children are well taken care of in Paradise. It's like they're on an all-expenses-paid vacation that never ends…or have won the biggest lottery ever…And to be perfectly honest, I believe my parenting skills are far surpassed by God's!

Many that are diagnosed with a life-threatening physical disease or injury, recover--over time. After 31 years on the bereavement journey, am I to remain in the same state of acute horror that i was in when I was first "diagnosed?" When we have a life-threatening spiritual injury…are we not allowed to recover? To again live and potentially thrive?

Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." (Mk 10:27)

Also: 

"I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Phil 4:13)



"All things"…includes patiently enduring child bereavement…!

There's a common theme in two verses that I love; I find them helpful to strengthen my faith. The analogy is that death is akin to "sleep." (And when someone sleeps, it's generally accepted that at some point, they will wake up!)


"Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope." (1Thess 4:13 )


he said, "Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep." But they laughed at him. (Mt 9:24) 


Many around us--society in general--have no belief in an afterlife. (Maybe they laugh at us?)  If there's no afterlife, there's no hope of reunion. How sad--to be looking only at a lifetime of loss, instead of focusing on what is to be gained after transitioning. For our physically deceased children have gained.

 For those moms that aren't that sure their child is in Paradise, I am a firm believer in late pardons-God wants everyone to come Home-- and He gives everyone absolutely every mercy in order to ensure this. God is known to be an extravagantly generous lover. I believe our children have gained Paradise-- and as mothers, we have assurance that all is well... and equally important, that Reunion is coming!

Believe! and "Mary" Christmas!




(All Scripture verses from Biblehub.com)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

WAITING AND WATCHING...



 During this busy  holiday season, bereaved moms, like all moms, typically overdo it. There's so many requests, that can zap our energy reserves. I want to sound the warning, about something that I feel is never talked about enough. Something that can help to arm us against a holiday "ambush"...

Many Christians don't really understand, that our enemy is highly intelligent. Or understand that he actually preys on us-- just as he did with Jesus--at "the opportune time"…

"When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time." (NIV Luke 4:13) 


Like Jesus, when we're tired and hungry--and hunger takes many forms--that's when the enemy goes in for the attack. After reflection,  I can see how this enemy tactic has been played out often in my own life.  If we also realize, that:"Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (NIV 1Peter 5:8)… well it can all get pretty scary. Thankfully, God provides us with the best ammunition against worrying about all this, because...

...the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world" (NIV 1John 4:4)

 It's widely known, how good for our physical health it is, getting proper rest and eating nutritious food.  Similarly, when we feed on Jesus through His Word,  this helps our souls to stay rested, hydrated and well fed. Then we can feel stronger to fend off the attack of our enemy. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The concept of "feeding body and soul" seems  almost redundant!   I think of  God as an "Efficiency Expert"…per this example…When you feed  your body-you're helping to feed your soul, too! 
I love You, Holy Trinity (another example of efficiency-"3 in 1"!)

"They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights."
(NIV Psalm 36-8)

(Scriptures cited from biblehub.com)


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"VETERANS" DAY


Veterans Day is today. According to Wikipedia: "A veteran (from Latin vetus, meaning "old") is a person who has had long service or experience in a particular occupation or field…"
 "Veteran" comes from the Latin word for "old". Anyone that's a survivor of child bereavement, would probably say they've prematurely aged a bit… Young and carefree as a response to tragedy? Not so much…
The definition went on to include this cultural tidbit...
"In Russia, a tradition was established after World War II where newly married couples would on their wedding day visit a military cemetery." 
Now I bet that was a real mood upper…!
There are a lot of wounded bereaved Moms out there…wounded from the lifelong battle against "giving up and giving in" to despair, over the physical loss of their child. Being a veteran myself of this "war", I offer a suggestion to those newly in battle.
~~ Don't listen to anything different than what your Commander tells you!  ~~
For Christians, our Commander in Chief--of course--is dear Jesus. He has given us a wealth of ammunition in Scripture, to say to ourselves, and to fight against those enemy forces… that want to utterly defeat us. There is truly, such a generous supply of this powerful ammunition, and constant GPS- like support available,  to all who call on Him for help! Mercy, generosity and kindness available to ALL. He's Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent (ALL- KNOWING, ALL- POWERFUL AND ALL-PRESENT) We never have to be "good enough", for Jesus to help us, if we sincerely ask Him for His assistance.  Why don't more Christian Moms believe Him at His Word?

There are very many bereaved Moms, that practice self-defeatist thinking. For example, how many times have you heard a bereaved Mom say...
"I will NEVER heal from this!"
"I will NEVER ever enjoy life again!"
And then there's the particularly scary-to-the-newly-bereaved...
"I will NEVER be the same!"
"I will be FOREVER miserable!"
War time tactics always include at least the "possibility" of actually winning the battle...!
In fact, one of the tactics of warfare, is to try your hardest to make the enemy feel they cannot win any battle, whatsoever. This forces them to retreat--to go backwards, putting up no resistance.
Those that are seemingly forever-stuck in severe grief, continually appear to non-stop binge-feed on the deadly woulda/coulda/shoulda trio. (And what you feed...grows!)
"He/She will never ever_____! (insert word)" 
"I will never ever ______ ! (insert word)"
 "WE will never EVER _____ ! (insert word)"
With that kind of thinking going on 24/7, is it any wonder these poor women are stuck in a deeply grooved brain track, that gets harder and harder to (rewire) get extricated from?
I have often thought of what my response would be, to the following scenario-- regarding my child being "away" for a time.
My child has won an incredible prize. He (she) will NEVER EVER be in want of money, for EVERY SINGLE THING is supplied for him (her) FOREVER! And not only is that supply plentiful, but my child's ability to ENJOY what is so generously given, is increased beyond my wildest dreams! The place where my child now resides, is extravagantly gorgeous, and has the most beautiful LIGHT... because that is actually God illuminating absolutely everything there is in that place with the most refreshing newness! Plus any physical, emotional or cognitive impairment my child had prior to winning this prize… is now totally vanquished! He/she is COMPLETELY HEALTHY NOW! Somehow, this place, additionally has a bonus way, to banish all thoughts of sadness and loss! So he/she is given everything they could possibly ever want, in generous amounts of it, in companion with Jesus Himself and other kindly souls (so he or she is never lonely). Plus here's the kicker...THE PRIZE WINNINGS NEVER GET EXHAUSTED!
But there's just one thing that is attached to this extravagant generosity…I will have to be physically (only physically, mind you) parted from my child...until it's "my time"...to join him or her in this place called Paradise...!
Now back to those perpetually lifeless, grieving Christian Moms...If they truly believed the very assurances of God Himself...can they then continue to persist in this negative, defeatist attitude… indefinitely? I'm not talking about the early years of child loss…that time before the dust settles enough to look out from the foxhole. After all…a gigantic bomb blast just darkened our world to near oblivion...
But later on…when those first stirrings of healing start to surface. That first big smile at something; the first laugh; the first time you "forget"... That time period when the whole direction and course of this bereavement war, is going to begin to be set; as if one starts coming out of a foxhole, looking for safety and some fresh air again.
As a "veteran", I feel it's so vitally important to warn newly bereaved Moms--to not get dragged back into the trenches again--to that constant mindset of intense pain, like at the beginning. No, let yourself begin to heal from this most grievous of wounds…The tide is changing!
"See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."
(Isaiah 43:19)
Through Jesus, we have so much to rely on-- to sustain us through this awful journey. Don't let those that are mired in --and stuck for years and years in a constant state of "denial"-- take away your hope. (In my humble opinion, these women tend to be chronically angry women. The least we can do, is to pray for their healing.)
Well beware, because "misery loves company." Negativity can be catching. Positive people like to surround themselves with the like-minded, for just this reason… 
 I want to be someone that willingly applies God's healing, comforting and salve-like Words, to my situation. I open my Bible, and let God heal me through His Word. The Word that's given to sustain us, and to help arm us against all enemies, enemies that sometimes arise from our own ranks…
BE VICTORIOUS IN BATTLE, MY FELLOW VETERANS! 

 HAPPY VETERANS DAY!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

OF BABIES AND OLDSTERS

 




 After 31 years of child bereavement, something still continues to 
rankle me. It happened again yesterday, while on my weekly walk with 2 neighbors. The conversation had turned to a death of a relative…who died just 6 weeks short... of 100 years old.

     While I understand the sadness--I cannot get over the amount of lamentation and utter angst at his transitioning, as expressed by family members, retold by my neighbor. An apparently huge crowd of epic proportions, of grieving family members and friends, were apparently completely consumed with shock and grief…and fiercely non-acceptant at this untimely death--this sudden loss. A huge memorial (perhaps necessitating a stadium?) is in the planning...

     I have little to say in response, as I bite my tongue. My other neighbor additionally remarks, "Seriously God? You couldn't just give him 6 more weeks to reach that milestone?" (100 years.)

     My heart feels stirred…I cannot help but silently compare...My children have physically died so very young...My baby girl Lisa at age 9 and 1/2 months... My toddler Michael --27 months young. Words cannot express the frustration I feel, when hearing apparently how unfair it all seems, that a person nearly 100 YEARS OLD had to die…and how completely bent out of shape, the entire surviving family is.

     Only those who have lost a child--no matter what age--can understand the difference between what is considered more or less a "normal" transitioning, compared to the depth of loss that we feel, when our child transitions…which is always "abnormal".  There's no comparison, so I cannot fault them if they have not experienced the difference. But it still rankles me.

     I've often wondered, how much family "help"really is. I now feel, that because I was without physical family support during my most tragic hours after the wreck, it was actually a blessing in disguise. I have seen so many people struggle, for a very long time, when they have a seemingly inexhaustible rallying support system. It's as if it's constant negative reinforcement, of a sort, as the relative/friend cries and laments along with the survivor. I had a taste of that, with strangers who had read about the wreck coming to visit me and offer their unsolicited religious advice. I politely listened, but couldn't wait for them to get out of my room. They were raining on my survival technique…which was to only focus on the fact that my family was still alive and happy in Paradise with Jesus. Of which there should be no expression of utter loss or companioned sobbing, which only served to undermine my determination to focus on their still being alive and not dead.

     Yes, I understand that initially, this can be helpful to the grieving. It helped me when people cared. Or had tears in their eyes at their sudden departure. (And said very little or nothing).  But weeks, months…or years of sobbing consolers afterward? How is one expected to see their way forward to Life again, when one is constantly being jerked back to Death's ugly blackness?

     When my family died, I saw no family members at my hospital bedside.  I was able to speak a few times by phone to my father, who was far away, care- taking my mother and sister. My brother was MIA. A couple relatives I usually had little to do with, phoned in their condolences. 

     Meanwhile, my newly late husband's parents saw my hospitalization as an opportune time, to rapidly arrange my family's funeral and interment in their home city. (And take what they wanted of their son's from my home--under the guise of "helping me" to pay bills.)

     BUT…all this only reinforced my need for Jesus to step it up and kick into gear to help me. It's easier to see one's need for Jesus, when there's nobody else standing in the way (and sometimes blocking the way) …

     Jesus did bring help, too. In  more ways than I can really recount. One big way, I love to retell, was when I was facing discharge from the hospital into the care taking of my in-laws, who lived in that city. I was not allowed to be discharged and live alone. (Which I wanted). I vehemently did not want to live with my in-laws but had no option, I thought.  Enter God, who provided a total stranger (a friend of a friend)-- who-- "just happened""-- to be a former nurse; an Episcopalian widowed priest's wife; (my first intro to that denomination and of which I later joined) ; a health conscious senior who --"just happened"-- to have a spare bedroom in her modest home, rented out to those in need…and currently vacant. Yeah…tailor made for me, and this wonderful woman, Beatrice, soon became my nearest and dearest all-time friend-- greatly facilitating my healing.

     There really is a special "sisterhood" among us bereaved Moms. And I think the most important thing we can do after comforting a fellow bereaved Mom, is to help point the way forward--to rejoining Life. Or at the very least, to tell the devastated Mom that YES…rejoining Life is entirely possible…that LIFE can be worth living again, and joy and laughter have not permanently died...just as our child has not permanently died... but is awaiting us to join them in eternal  happiness with God.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

MICHAEL'S BIRTHDAY



     HAPPY BIRTHDAY                                                 MICHAEL!!! 

You'd be 33 years old today, Michael. It's hard to wrap my head around that--especially since "33" is the age Jesus attained, before He was crucified. And "33" used to seem so old to me, when I was a kid…However long a child's earthly life lasts…it's never long enough. Curiously, the last day I had you for a full 24 hours, was technically the shortest day of the year because it was the day of the Winter Solstice.  Starting from the day you transitioned, the days got longer and longer...

I miss you terribly, and your little sister Lisa, and your Dad. (I almost wrote "Daddy"…but  remembered, that you are a toddler no longer.)

 I can hardly wait to see you all again. I think if I weren't already transitioned, I'd probably just die from the excitement of seeing you all finally…it has been so long since that cold, winter day in 1984.


I'm excited to begin our family LIFE again anew, and I so look forward to being greeted by you and "the rest of the gang" when I finally get the OK to go Home…and "Hey, leave the Light on (for) me!"

~~I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU ~~

Monday, September 7, 2015

LABOR DAY





"HAPPY LABOR DAY!!!"

To me it seems odd…that the holiday all about rest from labor, isn't titled  more aptly "Rest Day" or  "Day -Off  Day." Instead we call it "LABOR" Day--as in "WORK Day"--the exact opposite of a day off! And then we have the audacity, to include "Happy" as a preface to "Labor"…which, if it was all that terrific…we wouldn't need a day off, in my book!

 Oh the limitations of spoken language. No wonder we never hear anyone remark in sci-fi films,  "Now those Aliens from Mars…I'm telling ya,  they talked my ear off!" Advanced beings are usually depicted as being characteristically silent.  "Thought transference",  does seem a much more efficient and far less error prone way to commuicate. No wonder, why God often communicates with us, in that way.

Bereaved parents labor extensively before, during and after our child's earthly arrival and departure from this planet. (And with 3 "Super-Size Me" babies... I definitely"labored"!) Later on, I  labored-- when I should have rested. Productivity is far overrated! Oh those woulda' coulda shoulda's…a deadly trio, if ever there was one.

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal."
(NIV Matt. 6.19-20)

 I now read that verse, thinking of my children as being the treasures referred to.  While earthbound, they were beyond my control, to keep them from being snatched away. Now in Heaven, my treasure is tightly held onto, by our Creator's "power-full" Hand.
"I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand." 
(John 10.28)

Now that my children have been born into Heaven, I have a whole new way of interpreting this passage:  

"A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world". 

(John 16.21)

I had great pain-excruciating pain-when my children were being born…into Heaven. I think it is because it took awhile, for me to accept that they were actually…"born"…again. It was a time of intense labor for me, working through all the constricting issues, while they were stretching further and further away from my tethering cord. With acceptance-- that they are intact, alive and safe and in a wonderful new "real" world, it's as if all three of us have been reborn. God's generosity cannot be measured…all things are new and fresh, and restful…starting when He holds us in His arms, at the very moment we transition into the real world…His world.

I've been told, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away."
I think it's really more accurate to state, "The Lord giveth... and the Lord will share again…" Also known as, "Heavenly Reunion" :-)

HAPPY LABOR DAY!!!

(BIble verses cited, from BibleHub.com)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

HOLDING TIGHT



     Today, I had to make my two rescue cats endure emotional suffering. It occurred to me, that their suffering and -subsequent comforting-held some parallels to my own experience, after tragedy struck my life. That day,  an auto accident physically separated me from my husband and two children...  for my earthly lifetime. The date of the wreck,  happened to be the day after the Winter Solstice...when days become ever increasingly "longer".

     My kitties, well, they refuse to cooperate when it's time to trim their dagger-like nails. I know it's time to go to the groomer, when Toby starts repetitively snagging a nail on something. When he perilously hung from his tallest cat tree, unable to free himself without help (what if I wasn't there at the time?) I knew it was "time"...

     How I long to be able to tell them "why" they need to go through these repetitive "trials"…I wonder if God is discomforted, when He sees us so angry, confounded and bewildered by what He is allowing to happen to us.   And perhaps wishing He could explain that it only seems like He's being "mean" toward us…that He doesn't randomly take us out of our comfort zone-just when we're feeling all safe and secure…(My kitties were resting when they got nabbed by me.)

     Abby cried on the way to the groomer. I had called Uber, so the driver that picked us up was totally unfamiliar to them.  New car, new smells…everything was so foreign and probably scary for them…just like it was for me, back when. "Why, why, why?"

     I reassured Abby as best I could, with the limitations imposed on me. I couldn't fully make contact with her- we were all seat belted in, plus they were in cat carriers. So I used my "voice",  my "touch" and mostly just my being "present" with her, working within the confines that restricted me. I tried to make them understand that "All is well".   These things we too,  experience...when God comforts us. He uses His servants'  voices, hands and selflessness; assuring us of His continued love toward us. 

     I so love holding my cats -my fur kids-with my arms tightly wrapped as securely around them as possible, when they are undergoing "the trial"…Whatever happens during this time, I am as close as a heartbeat; and I don't hesitate to show them my love in whatever way I can. If I feel this way toward my cats…how much more must God feel towards us when we're suffering?

     After the wreck 30 years ago, I recall still, the nearness of God. It was a kind of continuation of the overwhelming,  "Wrapped in warmth and love- beyond all doubt" feeling I experienced earlier, on that cold December day.  Before the Jaws of Life appeared to "free" me, I'd had a NDE (Near Death Experience).  That love was a kind I had never experienced before. It was a life-changing kind of love. It felt as if God knew absolutely everything about me- the good, the bad and the ugly-and it still made absolutely no difference…He never stopped loving me, because that was not an option.…It felt as as if there was never even a blip on the radar, regarding anything I had ever done "wrong" diminishing His love toward me..  It was simply a completely  unwavering, completely unconditional immersion of His Love...beyond all mortal understanding. It felt true, that God really is Love.

     I personally think, if I may be so bold, that God can't wait until we finally get Home. That He is discomforted when He sees us struggling so, being mortal and thus incapable of truly understanding His ways.... As much as we ourselves long for the "ease"that Heaven implies... I believe that God also longs for us to have that swallowing up of mortality, and being clothed with immortality-finally shedding our earth-bound, kindergarden-level consciousness. We will finally get to understand "why"…and God gets to finally explain why He really wasn't being "mean" to us. That our suffering had to do with our long-term comfort. And that suffering while taking the sharp edges off, ultimately helps us to walk without pain, letting ourselves- and our companions- rest from fear.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

EASY ACCESS



For those of you that regularly visit your child's gravesite (usually located in their mom's hometown, right?)…I think you are incredibly fortunate. Some of us…not so much.
The longer I go on this journey...the more desire I have to chat with Tim, Michael and Lisa at the family grave. The problem?  They were buried in my in-laws' city, in the state we all used to live in, but nobody does anymore!  While hospitalized, my in-laws arranged for my family to be buried at tlocal cemetery. They figured I'd just move on with my life-outta sight, outta mind, leaving town, I guess…I always had to make trips to see them at the cemetery…me-who doesn't especially care for autos anymore... 
Looking back , I think I needed to separate myself physically from them during part of my journey, in order to survive the devastation. (After that initial, unable to wrench myself away from say, an isolated sock, shirt or other tangible things connected with them.) I wanted to run from the tragedy in as many ways as I could.  Run away from pain, loss, suffering and heartbreak..Visiting the gravesite, just reminded me of how much I lost…How I was left "behind"…how I still struggled with what my kids missed out on…(Nowadays, I no longer feel they missed out…I now feel that "I" missed out!)
A few years after the wreck, now remarried and with son, I decided I wanted to get my transitioned family back to where they belonged…at my own local cemetery. But after making some phone calls, was strongly advised to wait until my in-laws passed away- so I would not face a possible lawsuit! (For causing my in-laws undue pain and suffering by moving my own husband and children closer to me…go figure.) So I tabled the idea. I focused on the fact that only their bodies were in that casket-not what truly makes them uniquely them-their Spirit/Soul- which resides safely with God, now. And when Jesus "visits" me…they are along for the ride, as there's no separation. There's no "Kids, you stay in the car, while I go in the house for a minute" kind of thing going on. Everyone arrives as a package deal…I think they're into "efficiency" up there in Heaven…?
The cemetery won't call me back. I've been trying since last week to get some closure on this headstone cleaning business.
When I contacted the cemetery two years ago,  management told me the water had already been turned off for the season. I was outta luck. Shoot. So last year I called earlier. The cemetery, I was told,  had been recently heavily vandalized. (Horrified, I quickly asked about our headstone, and thank You Jesus, it was unscathed-at least that's what they told me)…They had their hands full with all the cleaning up, but I gave them my new contact information, hopeful, yet they never contacted me. Last week,  I was able to talk to someone who promised a call back later that day, after checking out the headstone…but no call back came. Repeated phone calls only go to an answering machine. I leave messages, but nobody calls me back…ugggh!
SO the "positive spin" I put on this, is to conclude that God is making it "easier" for me, to strengthen my belief in their new way of LIFE. I need to communicate with them through Jesus primarily-soul to soul-skipping all the physical stuff that's only temporary, anyway...
And, as if to cement that point, SO often, when I'm trying to deal with some random, usually difficult emotional issue regarding my transisitioned ones…all heck breaks loose, here on the earth-bound homefront. New health issues, repair issues, but repeatedly it's  issues with my son from my remarriage-Kevin. 
I had Kevin when I was in my SECOND year of grieving the loss of my first family…Yeah- that was incredibly rough…Definitely not something I'd recommend, timing-wise!
So... if you regularly go to your child's gravesite...I really envy you! As for me, I feel the Lord's telling me, "Hey! take care of matters down THERE and let me handle this Heavenly stuff--I've got them in the palm of My Hand…and they are FINE!

Ok, Lord, I get it! Still would be nice though, to sit at their gravesite and chat awhile, now that I'm getting older and just too tired to run…But the good news is-the endurance producing news- is our Reunion gets that much closer every day! We have much to look forward to…just keep hanging in there, Moms!

Monday, June 29, 2015

PEEK--A-BOO! I SEE YOU!


I heard it again…someone bereaved of their loved one, lamenting that

    "They will never get to see…(enter earthly occasion here)…!
   
 If the person saying this is a Christian, how can they feel this way? (after "initial" bereavement, of course.)

What happened to the concept of the "Communion of Saints" and of the Spirit unifying the souls of the Believers…uniting us in "The Family of God"?

So many of us have had occasions, where we have "felt" the presence of a physically deceased loved one with us. Often during "higher- emotion" kinds of days…Why should we think that our loved one cannot "see" what's going on?

One thing we know about God, is that He doesn't shortchange us when it comes to blessings. Wouldn't the transitioned one want to see us? And God would deny them this…why again??? It makes no sense to me, personally, that God would deny the transitioned ones the ability to see what's going on in our daily lives. To me, that would almost be cruel- the idea that those closest to us can no longer "commune" in Spirit with us still on earth-while accompanying (like piggy-backing?!) God's Spirit.

"On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you." (NIV John 14:20)


Even on earth, we sometimes "get vibes" that someone is undergoing an emotional trial of some sort…And perfected in our abilities in Heaven, being "like Him" (1 John 3:2)…we suddenly would lose our ability to zone in on our earth-bound loved ones-how again??? Personally, I highly doubt that!

Psalm 84 (which coincidentally was the year my family transitioned), is a particular favorite of mine. Especially verse 11, which states:

"For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right." (NLV -all Scripture references from Biblehub.com) 


That is like a Scriptural antidote to any poisoned thinking...

If God doesn't withhold anything (ultimately) good, from those on earth…why then would He forbid this good (of knowing and seeing how we're doing) to those who have entered Paradise? And knowing what's going on with those left behind on earth... that is certainly something our loved ones would consider a "good" thing, I feel!

Some people have told me, that they believe, that knowing of earthly things would dampen the joy of those in Paradise. I believe as others, that full knowledge includes the Scriptural belief that, "All things happen for good" -Romans 8:28)- and I believe our loved ones see already, that all things have worked out perfectly in the future…they, like God, not being subject to time limitation...

"Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely." (NLV 1 Corinthians 13:12 )

It's such a waste of emotional energy I feel, once "armed" with these Scriptural truths, to continue to wail and lament, that our loved ones now transitioned, cannot still "know" (and see) what's going on with us on earth. We bereaved, need all the weapons we can use- to fight our common twin enemies- of disbelief and mistrust.

Do you want to be healed? Jesus asked…  
    "When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, "Do you want to get well?" (NIV John 5:6) 
 I ask myself why am I hanging onto beliefs that limit my joy? As my Pastor relayed to me and I share with you, 
     "Jesus didn't ask us why do we sin…He asked us why do we worry!"
Trusting in God's exuberant LOVE and MERCY, believing that yes, He can "...do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine"... (Ephesisans 3:20 ) gives us an incredible sense of earthly relief, in my humble opinion!






Saturday, May 16, 2015

DON'T BUG ME NOW!

I can't get over the difference-in my receptivity toward outside help- from when my bereavement journey first started, until now… Which then leads me to question just "when" the right timing is, to offer unsolicited support…


What stands out most in my mind, is a friend extending herself to "help" me, while I was still hospitalized. She knew someone, who had lost her husband and one child, in a tragic private plane accident, several years prior to my family's wreck.  This woman was asked to write me a letter about her experience, and her walk in faith throughout. [-

The letter was long, and I just didn't feel like reading it all. "Did she lose her whole family?" I remember asking my friend. No…she had at least one other child still at home. So because she had not lost her whole family…I felt that I could not relate to her experience. She still had someone left to hug and cuddle, and hold on to. More like hang on to. And she was physically the same…while I was struggling with broken bones and scars, right along with my broken heart and crushed spirit.

All of her words of comfort to me- with a "Hang in there" tone of sentiment, just fell flat. I tuned her out. She means well, I thought, but she couldn't possibly understand what I'm going through. 

I tossed a book (literally) that was given me, not long after that (yes, from the same friend!) because it made me angry. It was a bereavement book that many found comforting. To me, though, on and on it seemed to go-description after specific description of Heaven. I just couldn't buy it. It was too personalized to the author's delight, I felt. Maybe someone else's Heaven would be an entirely different kind of environment. Pleasant, like the one described-but with entirely different "specified attributes"? 

Awhile back, I came across a copy of the book in the library bookstore. I flipped the pages, reading here and there…and wondered why I had such an intense reaction to this book! "Hmm…'kinda interesting reading... this man's depiction of Heaven", was my current feeling.

I find myself much more open minded regarding the whole eternal experience. Thirty years can do that to you...The age my children are now, or the fact that our roles of maturity are now reversed, no longer seem important issues to me…at all…Maybe because I've aged and mellowed out, in general, over the years? Except as I write that, I realize that I've also gotten considerably more opinionated-almost crotchety- about issues big and small, too, as I've aged. (Like first names that are so hard to figure out how to pronounce... much less spell correctly!…Why do that to a kid?!)

I've concluded that a bereaved person can only gain comfort when they're ready to hear what's going to be said. Trying to convince someone, for instance, not to blame God for what man's free will did (and He did not stop)-is a lesson in frustration for me…if the person isn't ready to consume that kind of food yet. Intense pain can be very isolating. For me it was like, "Don't bug me now!" Like a wounded animal, I wanted to be alone-cowering in a corner with my intense pain... and not bugged by anyone unless hungry- and it was food I could tolerate…

There's grief work that has to be done first. Work that makes one extra hungry...Grief work can seem entirely all consuming…eating us up alive,  it sometimes feels.  You can live without food for quite awhile. But you can't live without water for very long. Jesus is our "Living Water"…After liquids, then we're ready for solids... frequent small meals- of a "highly digestible"nature- provide grieving bodies and souls with nourishment. It just takes awhile, before we're back to eating exotic, spicy new foods again…Until then, we eat to "survive" and are not interested in much else. Until later. Sometimes much, much later.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

TRUST



"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power which is at work within us…" (NIV Ephesians 3:20 )

Whenever I start to let my worries get away from me, I try to remember that verse.What is to worry about? And if  "nothing is impossible with God"…then I guess that means He pretty much has the power to save us from any devastation. 

Oh wait…I had devastation happen to me-back in December 1984…my whole family wiped out and me barely alive. What happened there? Where was the Love then? And therein is the biggest struggle with Faith we have to rescue with…

"Why does God allow crap to happen when He's got the power to prevent it?" 

This question will bring one literally to one's knees.  Hopefully in a prayer request- to help us to (nervous drum role here) "accept" His decision… To accept that God allowed whatever man's free will has horribly done- to us and our loved ones.  "Accept"…because trying to figure out, the infamous "Why God?" answer, is utterly impossible for us mortals. "Help me to accept" has been a much better request for me. Not to say that in my early grief journey, I didn't also try to figure out the torturous "Why?"...

"Help me to accept"...Accept what exactly?…God's Will? God's allowance of what happened?" I think we all get hung up on the interpretation of "God's Will." 

As many have stated, God lets us have our free will-for good or for ill. My take on it is, God did NOT WANT my family to be wiped out by that speeding truck. BUT, God had full knowledge of what was going to happen ahead of time...(i.e. the truck driver's free will decision to forego stopping at the intersection). He allowed the wreck to happen…for reasons that I am incapable of understanding, with my limited mortal comprehension of the big picture. He did not take my family away…He received them into His All-Embracing Arms.

To me, there's a huge difference in God "wanting" and God "allowing" the accident to play out the way it did. If I believed that God had "wanted" that wreck to happen to fulfill some bigger purpose…I would not be in love with God today. But in my heart, I know that there is some "big picture" plan that God allowed this man's free will- caused- devastation to enfold the way it did. He did not want itHe allowed it. There's still reason to "trust God", if I believe this way. 

I think a survivor's past, may be a big determiner of how she/he interprets this worst of all personal faith crises. Anger and raging at God? Perhaps there is a history of responding to one's nuclear family in this manner. And maybe it worked?  Perhaps feeling shocked and paralyzingly numb- at what seems to be a concrete example of "betrayal of trust "?  Maybe there's been a lot of abandonment issues in one's past.   

I'm used to resignation…no amount of pleading produced effects when I was young. Love- yet  non-understandable indifference to my needs, often seemed to go hand in hand. Therefore, I feel perhaps I have struggled with less intensity with this most perplexing of Faith questions, having constantly felt a sense of resignation growing up…Hey, perhaps my desperate pleading for girly bedroom furniture (white French Provincial Canopy bed with gold trim-Sears Catalog circa 1966) falling on deaf ears, ultimately helped me greatly! Thanks Mom and Dad!

Maybe our grief journey is so different…not so much with the "stages" we all go through...but with what pattern of response we bring, to this table of tragedy known as child bereavement. Sometimes "less" really can lead to "more!" God is still worthy of our love and trust!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

HELL ON EARTH OR HEAVEN?


I have always been perplexed by bereaved parents, that seem to have a hard time with believing their children "Are in a better place!" I am recognizing that my own dysfunctional childhood, could have actually helped me greatly in understanding-and believing- that my kids, "Are in a  better place!"

I find myself wondering, "What if I'd had an idyllic childhood?" …One that didn't include parents that tried their best-yet had major mental health issues. One that didn't include my schizophrenic older sister- chasing me around with scissors, after my parents left to run an errand.  I had nightmares for many years, about trying to outrun my sister and lock myself in my bedroom.  After I woke up in the middle of the night with her staring at me, my door was always locked.

I remember being cold enough to need a sweater outside…even in the heat of a Chicago summer day…And it took me somewhat by surprise, to realize that, in the vast majority of my "happy memories"growing up…I am  completely alone, doing my own thing. Sadness and invisibility, these were major themes for me growing up.

I suspect I'd feel much more of an impact- that my kids were in fact "missing out"- if things had been different for me. I realize that I have no real idea, what great things my children potentially could have had, but didn't get to experience. So I guess I'm actually lucky in that respect. As torturous as the "what ifs" are, especially during early grief,  I feel fortunate…that my own childhood was less than fortunate. Thankfully, God always brought someone, or something to me to buoy my Spirit, which kept me going.

So... it's easy for me, to fully embrace the truth that my kids are in a much better place. I have absolutely no doubts. I do not feel that they have missed out on anything of value. Nothing is impossible with God…and He is the God of Restoration. He is fair and just. Why would I worry about them? Or want them back in the hellish place called "earth"…the battleground between good and evil… I do wish we never had to physically separate so soon of course!…but would  I really want them to leave Paradise to return back to earth? Mother "no's" best… Sweet reunion awaits Above.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

EASTER THOUGHTS




Easter is about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The Easter week starts with Palm Sunday ("Everything is going great!") and then suddenly, we're headlong into concentrating on His suffering and excruciating death…BUT... we end with the joy of His being risen back to Life. Such has been my grief journey over the last 30 years.

In the very beginning of my journey, there was only pain; constant suffering and death surrounding me 24-7. I did believe my family went to be with Jesus in Paradise, yet I clung to the only reality of them that I could actually "feel"-the pain of their absence. Their sudden departure-the ripping away of my very flesh--even having them "back" through painful memories, was better than not "having" them with me at all…

Yesterday, I experienced a rerun of of that initial, intensely sick feeling of wanting my children physically back, but knowing it cannot be during my lifetime.  I was tired, which always makes grief worse… During that time, I was taken back to the old days-of the reality/unreality of their physical deaths-that almost smothering feeling- of unrelenting heaviness. I quickly told myself not to go there. I've done my "processing" work, so this was just taking a walk on the wild side! 

The difference between "then" and "now",  is the fact that now I have a new reality to change my thinking to... the reality that they are more alive than I am! It dawned on me, that this verse: 

"Mine eye also is dim by reason of sorrow…"(Job 17:7 ASV)  can also mean the inability to see beyond sorrow, which implies an emotional rut- a stagnancy...

 I refocused on the reality of the vibrant life they now lead. Disaster averted.

On my walk to church this morning, I passed by some flowers that were in varying stages of growth. I thought the "bud" form was truly just as beautiful as the full blown bloom. It dawned on me, that my little Lisa was like a rosebud that had gone straight to Heaven. Still full of potential and everything necessary to fully bloom. I would have been completely incapable of thinking such a thought as this, early on in my grief. I couldn't see "life" back then. I saw absence. I didn't realize then, that they are closer to me now than before, when physically alive.  Dying plant matter, enriches the soil. My children's deaths... have greatly fed,  nourished and enriched my soul...

Early on, I struggled with, "Why?" (did that 10 ton truck have to be right there at that intersection- in the least populated state of all the states?) During the church service today, we read that while on the cross, Jesus asked the Father why He had forsaken Him, and for the first time, I realized in a different way, that, when suffering, even Jesus asked the question "Why?"

Lastly, walking home from church, I realized another significant difference between then and now.  Now I realize that my children may be (temporarily) physically dead-yet they are vibrantly alive Spiritually…while I am by comparison…Spiritually dead... and merely physically alive. Who's really alive? 

Monday, March 23, 2015

PENNIES FROM HEAVEN



There's an interesting little poem, written by Charles Marshburn, that showcases something many bereaved people are familiar with…

PENNIES FROM HEAVEN

 I found a penny today 
Just laying on the ground. 
But it's not just a penny, 
this little coin I've found. 

Found pennies come from heaven, 
That's what my Grandpa told me. 
He said Angels toss them down. 
Oh, how I loved that story. 

He said when an Angel misses you, 
They toss a penny down. 
Sometimes just to cheer you up, 
To make a smile out of your frown. 

So, don't pass by that penny, 
When you're feeling blue. It may be a penny from heaven, 
that an Angel's tossed to you.

So is that an Angel "tossing down" a penny…or one of our beloveds? I consider my children as close to being an Angel as is possible-having left this world at such an early age. I've always felt it was one of my transitioned beloveds, signaling to me that, "All is well" with them, and will be with me!

Last week I had an uncharacteristicly difficult day volunteering at the library bookstore. Feeling distressed, I started restocking a book cart, and I looked down... and right by my foot was a penny! How is it that these pennies "just show up"…when we could use a little boost?


God cares about the little things in our lives. I've met many people, who feel that God only cares about "the big stuff". How wrong they are! All over Scripture, God reveals Himself as Someone Who cares about ALL of our daily travails…and wants to HELP us...

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."     
(Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)

I looked up "yoke" to find out more clearly what it is…here's a (unreferenced) definition…

YOKE: 

a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the plow or cart that they are to pull.

Here is a photo of a yoke:




Clearly, Jesus is planning on helping us carry our burden-two animals are used with a yoke! He doesn't expect, nor desire for us to "go it alone" when undergoing trials.

God uses pennies, and sometimes "us" too, to let people know He is there

At the library bookstore, with a customer today, I suddenly felt an urge to "promote" a book to her- that I had just selected seconds ago to be put on a display stand (which usually results in a quick selling). I showed her the lovely, purple book of poetry by Robert and Elizabeth Browning, and she carefully looked it over. Then she quietly told me that she'd lost two husbands through death. She and one husband had adored the poetry of Robert Browning; he often recited one of Browning's poems to her. And how this husband's gravestone, even has an excerpt of one of Browning's poems etched on it. She stared at the book. She was clearly touched as she bought the book,  then quietly left the bookstore.


Monday, March 9, 2015

LEMON-AID


Sunday had a weird twist to  it…a "lemon twist," actually. Walking into church (and marginally late),  I was immediately greeted by a fellow parishioner.  He asked if I wanted a heavy bag of lemons? Apparently another parishioner had picked an overabundance of lemons. I love lemons and told him yes. Because of the late time, he put them somewhere in  one of the back rooms. It was a festive day, with a visiting bishop and New Member official ceremony simultaneously happening. 

After the service, I  felt very tired and left to go get some needed groceries at Trader Joe's (about a mile away from church). Going up the hill…I realized, "Shoot-I forgot those lemons!" I headed back right away, only to find all the lemons were snatched up.  Some people had several. I could see why. Upon examination, these were the largest lemons I've seen in my life! Each one was at least the size of two large lemons…these lemons had been on steroid plant food or something! Oh well, I just figured, "Ya snooze…ya lose…" No big deal. I was a little taken aback though. It seems more fair that everyone should have taken just one… and later gotten another if still available.

Later at home,  I received an unexpected (and rare) phone call. from my ailing older friend from AZ. She was checking up on me, as I'd mentioned some health concerns, one being my worsening eyesight. She was wondering, "Would a corneal transplant  help?" She said she would give me her corneas…she would make sure her corneas only went to me!

 An interesting contrast immediately came to my mind. Here was my ailing friend, taking the time and breath energy- to offer me her corneas! She isn't a church goer. She is a person who struggles mightily at times, with her faith. Yet her generosity, far surpassed my fellow church members today…after a service emphasizing giving to others…

God made lemonade when I wasn't even handed a single lemon today!


"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." 1 Corinthians 10:13 English Standard Version

Saturday, February 28, 2015

LISA'S BIRTHDAY


MARCH 1, 2015
~"HAPPY BIRTHDAY LISA"!!!~

Lisa would be 31 years old today, had she survived the wreck. It is hard for me to wrap my head around that fact. In this picture, she is 4 and 1/2 months old…nearly half of her life spent already... I so wonder what she would have looked like. What she looks like now…

Although Lisa is physically deceased-yet her Spirit is very much alive. 

"The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing." 
John 6:63 NIV

If being Spiritually alive is what truly matters…who is really "alive"…and who is considered "dead"? Lisa- is perfected in her Spirit…and I- still have soil stains left on my soul…Lisa's Spiritual body is vibrant…my physical body is decaying daily…some would call it dying…Therefore, I conclude that Lisa is much more alive than I am!

I could never look at such a viewpoint during early bereavement. I did believe their Spirits were still alive. Yet what "death" was, seemed so black and white. My children's physically being able to be with me, was what I equated with being "alive".  Permanent physical separation, I equated with "death". The separate natures of physical and Spiritual did not seem to matter much to me back then...all I could understand was the near despair upon their death... and separation from me.  Like so many of us, it took a very long while before I could even say the word "dead", next to the words "Lisa" or "Michael"... Seeing that in print, precluded an emotional meltdown…
When my children transitioned…my entire reference point for what constituted "life" was turned upside down. I had to learn that physical death, had nothing to do with separation (where it mattered) and everything to do with continued relationship and Spiritual Presence.

Gradually, I came to understand that "separation" is merely a myth. That because Lisa is with God, she comes as part of the delightful package that God brings with Him when He manifests Himself. And when He seems far away yet in truth is never far away. Lisa is never far away.

In honor of Lisa, my gift to her is a donation to one of my favorite charities, "Food for the Hungry". I had made up my mind about this a couple of days ago. Today in the mail, I received a donation request from them-nothing out of the ordinary, right? Yet upon studying the letter-I saw something that I feel is a "sign"…Here is the letter:








"22" times seems like an odd number to be the matching number…until I saw the connection and the "Godcidence"…

December "22" was the date of Lisa's birthday into Heaven…

Signs are such sweet comforts! Thanks God! Thanks Lisa! (and a shout-out to Michael and Tim!)

"HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY 
LISA LEPRECHAUN…
MOMMY LOVES YOU!!!

COMMENTS WELCOMED AND ENCOURAGED!!!

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