Opened Wound

”I think she died as a consequence to xyz decision YOU made…” – – – Swoosh, the dagger was plunged! Expertly removing the freshly formed scab. The bleeding hasn’t stopped. Just when one thinks that there’s any semblance of healing, the questions and doubts come back with a vengeance.

Doesn’t this person know that I’ve dissected every step and decision made and agonized at the very thought that I might have missed something? Does this person not see that I would have never, knowingly harmed my baby girl?

”Sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you…” came, BUT I had already plunged deep, deep into the darkness of my soul. The fog descended, surrounding me with guilt and shame. Once again, the light and air, snuffed out; the wound opened and raw.

Castigating thoughts from without, joining hands with the thoughts from within.

Ragged Edges

Thinking it is a good idea to attempt something normal…familiar. Hey, they are safe. They love me and I love them. Venturing out of the home-made shelter to test the outside world, only to be thrown into spiraling thoughts that assault the mind with unending questions. How stupid of me to think it would be “ok”!

Everything has changed! It’s ludicrous to think otherwise. For sure, I am a totally different person. My ragged edges cut and hurt. Not an excuse, just a fact.

Walking on eggshells, I don’t do. My masks shattered by sorrow and pain…not apologizing for this! Filters annoy me. Primp and proper, I am not.

Being around me is incredibly difficult! The sharpness of my ragged edges cut and bruise. I think I’ll crawl back into my home-made shelter where everyone will be safe😢

Shame

“…I couldn’t imagine confessing the anxiety which whispered white noise in my ears. What would fellow Christians think about the black dog of depression often barking louder than the voice of God?…” ~ Steve Austin

I’m floundering. I don’t fit in anywhere. Too “holy” (haha!) for the world. Not “saintly” enough for the church. In God’s providence (yes, I still believe…) I came across Steve Austin on Twitter. No, no magical story, he “just” turned up on my feed. I’m not completely familiar with all that he proclaims, just this quote just hit me raw.

So, we don’t have a “home church”. Since we came to faith we have always “belonged” somewhere. Crazy how that high school mentality of belonging continues even as adults. Yeah, we don’t belong to the popular crowd…anymore. We are outsiders. Now, don’t get me wrong, there’s tons of people that would love for me to be in their “group”. I’d be an amazing token to show off what God can do! Sexually abused as a child, raped, domestic violence, alcohol abuser AND now, the cherry on top, the death of her daughter to cancer. Can you read the BOLD letters on the billboard? But no, I’m just a used up, discarded “saint” that has disappointed the masses. No victory story here.

Just this Sunday we visited a church. It’s a small crowd of smiling welcoming people. Maybe this one? I thought. After service they were having lunch together. We were invited. I panicked. We rushed out. Once in the car, I felt “safe”. Where they mean and snotty? No! Far from that. But my brain went to all kinds of scenarios. Some, real and others, well, made up…I guess.

Back in my “corner” with thoughts of how messed up I am and wondering how in the world I got here. And, thinking this is how it’s going to be…sigh😔

I got this!

Hand me the gavel. Give me the whip. I got this! I’m an expert at wielding just the right blow. I know just where to hit. I got fifty plus years of practice. Don’t you know, practice makes perfect? My perfectionist self continues to wield the weapons until the perfect blow renders me “wilted and useless”.

It’s exhausting to be both the offender and the judge, but one word or phrase hits the brain and the onslaught unravels. How to stop the onslaught, is not an art I have mastered. On the other hand, laying it on hard and heavy, well, it’s so easy. I’m a natural.

”They must think…” “Yup, they are tired of dealing with me.” “Did they mean…?” And on and on it goes. You see, I not only got my own thoughts castigating me, I put words in your mouth as well. Cause I’m just talented like that.

I will isolate myself, AGAIN, cause this talent needs lots and lots of work. And, solitude, is the perfect environment for it.

Don’t worry…I got this!

YOU would tell me…

My attempt to participate in the “writing through your grief” group was completely stunted by horrible triggers which sent me spiraling for days. Continuing to practice ‘being kind to myself’ I bowed out. Maybe another time, maybe never, who knows. However, the following prompt caused me to pick up my pen…

“How would you love me in this?”

“If I imagined you speaking…you would tell me…”

How would you love me through this? Goodness, you’d be absolutely heartbroken that I’ve been so incredibly sad and inactive. I remember the day we got the “final-NO” in your care. We got home, put you to bed. A family member was here to help (so grateful!), so I was able to go into the back yard to ‘breathe’. I gave your Dad and Brother the latest news, then I walked to that block wall and screamed, “I can’t…!!!” I sobbed, not sure what else I said. Punching that wall was so tempting. Before I knew it, your brother’s tender arms drew me in and held me. Safe…calm…breathe…hold it together. I came back to your side. The sight of your little face was oh, so sad and you were crying. I said, “what’s the matter? Are you ok?” Crying, you answered, “I’m sorry Mom, for hurting you.” YOU HAD HEARD MY BREAKDOWN and blamed yourself for causing my tears and pain. This memory still haunts me. I was mad at myself, mad at the world, BUT NOT YOU. My precious girl ‘taking care of Mom’ as she was finishing her earthly race, God, I have much to learn from you.

You hated to see me sad. You never wanted me to hurt emotionally or physically. You watched me and cared for me.

I remember difficult moments when I’d say, “Angie, I need a hug.” On good days you’d come to me and hug me. On difficult days, you’d say, “Come here.” I’d go to your bedside or couch and lean to you and you’d hug me.

You hated when I was too “homie”. From your small allowance, which by the way you were an amazing steward of, you’d say, “Come on Mom, I’ll buy you lunch.” I’d tell you I could pay so you could use your money for your Starbucks runs, but, no, you wanted to treat me. So we’d go and have Jack-in-the-Crack (haha! that’s what you’d call it). Two ninety-nine cent tacos, fries and a coquita. Caffeine was your friend.

What would you say to me now? Maybe, “Ahí, Lady, what are you doing? I am so JOYFUL. I am with my Savior, where I longed to be.”

I would hope you’d say, “You did everything you could. At the end, I didn’t feel any pain. I heard your goodbyes. I felt your touch.”

I know you’d say, “I am so happy Chubbs is there all the time. And, I love Maria.”

“I’ll see you soon, Mom!”

 

In the End…

Ponder with me…

When someone comes to mind, what is the first thing that pops into your mind? When death comes, how will you be remembered? When you are just a corpse, and hopefully, people come to pay their respects, what will they “think about” as they stand over you?

Death has rattled our cages again. I’m older, and hopefully wiser. I’m learning to “think through”, to “work through” grief and loss. Our family has the tendency to stuff grief down our being so as to not deal with it or even acknowledge our pain. So, I’m a pioneer in this “new and improved” way…haha! And, guess what? Working through loss and all the implications thereof, I’m finding, is so much better and healthier than the alternative.

What triggered the above questions has been two recent deaths. When the first death occurred the words and sentiments written were those of love and honor. When the second death occurred there was an eerie silence. The legacy left by the first will be one of fond memories and the deep desire that the person wasn’t gone. The second, well, there is almost a “relief” that they are no longer causing damage.

In the end how will I be remembered? What memories will I leave behind? Will I be missed or will it be a welcomed loss?

Oh, that I would learn to number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom; that I might leave a legacy worth emulating.

A Tortured Soul

It’s been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Your windows have been closed shut forever. I remember a few times in our lives that you dared to crack them open, only to slam them shut as if it was the most stupid thing you did. Agonizing pain tortured your soul. Why couldn’t anyone help you? What kept you shut in your pain? Once again, we are left with a myriad of questions and regrets.

Two memories of you as a teenager come to mind. I was only a child. You were raging mad, like a caged animal who had been brutally hurt. You lashed out only to be beaten mercilessly. And, so, the brutal assault upon yourself and others continued. Your manipulation was masterful. I wonder if your poisonous spews were to keep us away, in an almost protective kind of way. Warped? Yes, but is that what you learned?

You were a son, a brother, a husband, a dad, a grandfather…a human being. How did you slip from our hands? How did you end up alone in your last hours? And, selfishly, I ask, “did you know I loved you?” You were always on my mind and prayers, and now you are gone. A horrid end to a spiraling life.

I wish I could say, “you are now at peace”, but…

So, as many times before, I will rest on the fact that God is God and I am not. That He is merciful and just. That this side of heaven, my questions may never be answered. I will hold on to Him and His promises, and when I have no strength to hold, He holds me still. Like a weaned child, I will rest upon His bosom…there I find comfort and a peace that surpasses all understanding.

Be still my soul, and know He is God.