Sometimes I think God sends you to exactly where you are supposed to be. A sweet friend, Toni, asked me to come over and look through some homeschool books today. I probably haven't seen Toni in two years and was a bit surprised to see she had invited me to her house. Honestly, I didn't know what or if I needed any books, but I wanted to go simply because she asked me. She was talking about a family that lost their 21 year old daughter a few weeks back and this other family that lost their little girl earlier this year. Then sh was talking about her struggle with cancer among other struggles. Then she says it - IT - Jeramiah 29:11 to me, "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." Now, I am not very good at bible verses. I have an awful time remembering them and it really just is not my thing. This was one of the first verses I ever learned and if I had a life verse (which I don't) there was a time - I would have said this was it. I used to say this verse a lot when I was finding faith in my life. Just at a time when I was questioning why we were leaving FL and why Timmy was going to the Army and why my nice neat life was changing so much. When Timmy died - I sorta hated that verse. It made me want to SCREAM - "NOT HARM ME - WHAT THE HECK DO YOU THINK TAKING MY SON HAS DONE TO ME?" and then the part about "hope and a future - ummm... where the heck is my son's future?" I know some people will not ever say they question the wisdom. It is like taboo to say - but I am so beyond caring what anyone thinks - so I question lots of things. Toni was so amazing today when she said sometimes it is just SO HARD! Sometimes you are just mad at God! She said it without any judgement at all, just pure truth of somebody that understands sometimes life stinks! She was like sometimes this is so very hard to believe. It was so nice to hear somebody else say these things and then say I am going to have faith - even if I am angry and even if it is hard. I felt like I was just supposed to be there with her today and I am so thankful that God put me in the exact place I needed to be today. And... some days I get it, but I know it is okay if I don't. God understands.
Death... it changes you. The first time I remember dealing with death was when my mom's best friend died. I remember my mom answering the phone and hearing the pain in her voice. I am not sure how old I was, but I remember seeing her standing there and I knew something was terribly wrong. When I was 8, my grandma died. I loved my grandma in some way, but not in the way my kids love my mom. I was sad she died, but more sad for my mom that her mom had died. I was terrified of going to the funeral and tried to give myself a fever by staying buried under my covers. I saw ghost faces on my door at night and was in general just freaked out. When I was 15, my sister, Michelle's baby Daniel died when he was 4 months old. He was born with heart defects and he never was able to come home from the hospital. Again, I wasn't very attached to this precious little baby, but my heart ached for my sister. I remember going to his funeral and seeing his tiny body in a tiny casket and thinking I can't believe my sister hasn't lost all her marbles. It was so very wrong. I remember watching my dad sob over the loss of his grandson. I hurt for my dad. I hurt for my sister. I hurt for our family, but I was still somewhat detached. When I was 23, I had a miscarriage. I was devastated. I wanted my baby back. Every part of me hurt and ached to hold my baby in my arms. I didn't understand and I grieved and I hoped to one day have another baby. Years went by - all of which my dad was very ill. The Mayo Clinic said he could die today, tomorrow or years from now. Nobody really knew. When I was 26, my dad was set to have more foot surgery (he had ulcers on his feet). It should have been routine. It wasn't. He died. Just like that - after 9 years of plugging along - a fairly easy surgery and he dies. I remember telling each one of my siblings that he had died. I remember telling my dad's siblings he had died. Nobody tells you that it sucks to tell people you love that your dad has died. My mom, as always, held it together. I get my hysterics from my dad's side of the family. I felt numb when my dad died. I was pregnant with Savannah and all I could think was he was never going to meet my baby girl. I really wanted him to know who she was. I wanted him to be proud of me and see my beautiful family. When I was 31, my best friend and my sister-in-law, Debi, was murdered. This death was the hardest for me at the time. I could not and would not accept that this was okay. I fought it with my mind and my soul. It hurt so much. I loved this person and we were friends and we shared so much and she was so good. She was like up there with Mother Teresa as far as being one of the most kindest and loving people ever. She didn't deserve to die. I struggled. I hurt and I hid it. I didn't talk about her death and how much I was hurting to many people. I just couldn't even say the words. It was just too difficult. I started this blog - to focus on the many blessings I had. It helped and slowly - so very slowly - I began to not hurt so much. When I was 38, my son died. Dear God... I have tried. I have tried to focus on my children and my blessings and I see them. I know they are there. I will never be the same. I will never not hurt. I will never not feel this ache that rocks me to the core. Nothing will ever compare to this. I have spent the last week going over and over things in my mind. Am I supposed to be past this? Am I supposed to be done grieving? Do I enable my children to have a crutch in their brother's death? Do I focus too much on Timmy being gone? The truth is I don't know. I don't know the answer to those questions anymore than I know the answer to WHY!!!!??? WHY!!!!!???? WHY!!!!???? little baby boys are born and never get to come home from the hospital or why miscarriages happen or why parents die young or why loving mothers are taken from their children or why, GOD, why did you take my sweet, sweet boy? I don't know. I can't answer that. I can say with all certainty that death changes you. It changes your family. It changes every thing in your life. It can fill you with fear and guilt and uncertainty. It makes you doubt all the things you thought you knew. It makes your children vulnerable. It makes them fearful and insecure. And that makes you feel like a lousy parent because more than anything in this world you want your children to feel happy. So, my best guess is that we are right where we are supposed to be. There is no timetable for this. There is no magic potion. Some people will understand and others will get tired of the same old song. I will make no apologies for my family. I will not expect my children to get over, get past, get around the loss of their brother. He was a damn good brother and they loved him. When my husband asks me to take a photo of Timmy off my facebook because it is killing him to see him staring back at him - I will do it even though it is killing me to take that photo down. I do this because I understand that we are all fighting our own battle. I understand that it is painful and ongoing and long. Death changes you... there is no sugar coating it. The only blessing in that is that some how, some way, I still believe that some day I will understand and there will be no more tears.