Monday, July 16, 2018

ONE QUESTION



"Am I going to feel this miserable for the rest of my life?" That was the question that, after the initial bereavement shock and numbness wore off, I would wake up with and go to bed with and constantly grapple with all day long. How could I go on? How could I face a life of day after day, non-stop bereavement pain? There wasn't anywhere I could hide where "it" wouldn't find me. 

One day, I'd be all steadfast faith; convinced of their eternal joy. Then the next day, my faith would evaporate the second I saw a child that was around my toddler boy or baby girl's age. Or a young guy around my husband's age. My faith was strong enough, all right. Strong until another trigger slammed me down to my knees. Like a wobbling fighter in the ring,  one more good right hook took me down. Very down. But God provided a way out.

They were mother and daughter. (The daughter was near my age.) Both had experienced child bereavement and now both were "mentoring" me after my own bereavement. Only one had Faith that I could survive, though.  The other prayed I'd never wake up from my post-accident surgery, to spare me from what she endured.  It scared me, all the talk I heard around me, from some moms who'd trod the path for so long. How, "The horrible pain never stops!"  "It never gets better!" Scary stuff! What my future would be like?

Don't listen to anyone who is ultimately discrediting God's ability to save you from bereavement's stabbing pain. Even if they've been on the journey a long time and other things they've said have been helpful.  Your path is your own. And you can survive! You can regain a life without constant horror. Give it to God to "fix." Let Him handle it. Then step back. Expect to receive. (Even if it's a teeny-weeny faith-expectation--at least, you're trying!)

I'm glad I decided to follow the example of the mother--not the daughter. Only one of those two led me closer to Jesus and the glimmering of a way out of gloom. I took her hand, weakly trusting He knew the way out. What happened afterward?

 "He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me." (NIV Psalm 18:19).

Don't get all hung up on "Because he delighted in me." It only takes a tiny mustard seed amount of faith to "delight" God. Maybe that's all we can come up with under such intense pain . . . but it's enough to change our world for the better. Peace, Donna


Friday, June 15, 2018

MY BOOK




After 2 years of sporadic at times yet intense work, my book (in print and Kindle version) is finally done and is up on Amazon now. It’s been a labor of “tough love.” I anticipated being able to finish writing this book in the several months hiatus from my library bookstore volunteer job. What people don’t tell first-time writers though, is that you basically, write the same book over and over again as you find your written “voice” and learn new skills as you progress. Which means going back to the beginning again and refreshing your previously written work with your new writing knowledge. Again and again!

After some soul-searching, I decided I would change identifying details out of consideration for the fact that "the impossible" has happened with me, more than one time. Other than names and places, everything else is true. My goal with this book is not to make money, but to somehow, some way help others that are either struggling with bereavement or know someone who is. 

What I learned from writing this book, is a reemphasis of how much God help helped me, and how I’ve changed over the years after my family’s transition into Heaven. Gone (thankfully!) are the long stretches of near-despair; the feeling that they (us!) were “cheated” out of life’s joy, etc. I feel acceptance of God “allowing” their physical death and have complete reassurance in my mind that they are with Jesus in our Father’s heavenly abode. Trusting in God (sometimes akin to leaping  blindfolded into hopefully waiting and open, secure arms) was how I got to this place of peace. Everything I needed was initiated first, by trusting God. He delivered. That's not to say I don't feel sad at times, of course. But I've also learned that I cannot stay in that spot, because I get sucked under like quicksand the longer my feet stay there. I learned I had to reach out my hand for help.

Peace! Donna 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

THE STRAIGHTAWAY


THE PROGRESSION OR MY BEREAVEMENT JOURNEY:

 Photo 1: In the very beginning of my grief journey after losing my family, all I could see was scorched ground. I couldn't lift my head up and saw nothing but earthly destruction.

 Photo 2: After a period of time I could lift up my head and look beyond the earthly destruction to see renewal possible, but struggled with the fullness of their joyful existence without me, without the life they could have had. We could (should?) have had.


Photo 3: When healing progressed, I saw renewal of health, and growth --for both myself and my deceased ones. But I couldn't reach them; there were so many obstacles in my way, such a long way to go before I could see them easily again. But blue skies were definitely present among the clouds.


Photo 4: It's now a feeling of a "straight shot" right to them but it's still aways off and how much longer does the road continue on? The obstacles separated are offset by the gorgeous blue sky that is shining through and illuminating my path forward towards them. I remind myself, "Keep trudging along the road and you will get there eventually--guaranteed!" All roads intersect at a level where we mortals cannot perceive. God, the great architect of the universe, has made all things united.

   



Thursday, March 1, 2018

NEW BIRTHDAY TRADITION

Lisa's last portrait. (Nine months young.)

~~~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY LITTLE LEPRECHAUN!~~~

Today, March 1st, is Lisa's birthday. She was only 9 and a half months young when she went to Heaven, along with her big brother Michael (2 yrs. 3 mos.) and their Daddy. Had she stayed here on Earth, she'd be 34 years old! Today I decided on a new tradition to honor my family. 

This also being the birthday of a friend of mine, I was busy picking out and sending her one of the online greeting cards she and I get a kick out of sending each other. It suddenly dawned on me . . . why not pick out a birthday card for Lisa? One of the "talking" cards that she can listen to. Why hadn't I thought of doing this before? 
     
I scoured through the cards to pick one out as if she were merely living in a different state. (Which technically she is, now living in a Spiritual "state.") I found just the right card. A cute one with a cat in a rainbow wig. Funny, that cat exactly resembled the cat in the photo I have of Lisa smiling at a cat on our doorstep. That one was a grey tabby . . . just like this one on the card! That rainbow wig the cat on the card is wearing  . . . that's the same kind Michael had once worn with a Halloween costume! Humph, kinda strange, this one card having two similarities like that.

I used every last one of the allotted characters when typing out what my chosen female voice would say to Lisa. The additional, written "personalized note" was also carefully worded. I then "previewed" the card, listening to the playback two times. I felt Lisa with me, listening too. Even though I believe that loved ones are always around us Spiritually, sometimes their presence is just sensed more easily than at other times. For me, that's on bittersweet days. 

I'm planning to send Michael and Tim a talking card on their birthdays now, too. And maybe I won't stop at just their birthdays. Why don't I send them a card just as I would've had they not left for Heaven? 

Thank you, God for giving me the idea of how I can send smiles across miles.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

IT'S OK TO BE DIFFERENT


In the bereaved parent world, there's a ton of "They'll never do this" and "They'll never do that." I've often felt like the oddball out because I'm hanging on for dear life to my Christian beliefs. But even Jesus got laughed at when he told the grieving many to stop their despair;  the young girl wasn't dead, she was just "asleep."

"Meanwhile, all the people were wailing and mourning for her. "Stop wailing," Jesus said. "She is not dead but asleep." (NIV Lk 8:52).

People who are asleep are still alive. They aren't responding to others around them like when they're not asleep, but they definitely aren't dead.

After the most recent mass school shooting, our President had words of comfort for the bereaved parents. He started his speech by including God but then quickly went into the typical lamenting of those focused only on loss. The fact that their lives were taken from them; their not getting/seeing/doing all the things parents wished they'd had the chance to. Lives cut short.

Where is God Soverign in all those statements? How is this helpful to hear? If someone recently suffers limb amputation, do we tell them all that they now cannot do? What they've missed out on? Why then do bereaved parents constantly have to be slammed down into non-helpful lamenting? Redirecting our thinking from an earthly to a Heavenly perspective, takes conscious effort in the beginning. Like with anything, it gets much more automatic with constant practice. It's well worth the effort. Despite what Society constantly throws in our face about what's important to focus on, those who believe in God can focus on what He tells us is true.

No life is shorter than what God has allowed it to be. Nobody takes our lives away unless God haas determined that person's work is over (no matter how short--even miscarriages, in my belief). My daughter's work was over while still a baby. My son, while still a toddler. Either God's All-Powerful or He's not. Someone All-Powerful cannot be overpowered by anyone. He alone determines when our work is over and our stress-free Life begins.

So to me, it's nonsensical for me to lament that my children didn't get to do this earthly thing, or that earthly thing. Because I believe our existence in Heaven is bigger than all that. I really don't think any of our earthly happiness can compare to what they're experiencing in their new Lives. It's like complaining they didn't get to play in the sand box . . . when now they're busy exploring the whole universe. It. Just. Doesn't. Matter. Admittedly, it took me a long time to get to this viewpoint (I'm currently 30+ years post-wreck). During most of my bereavement I'd constantly felt like my family had been cheated, but I'm sure glad  I came to the conclusion that God, being God, has to be fair.  I've  changed my focus from "They didn't get to" to "Look at all they have!"

Different can be bright.
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