Kindled Gratitude

Fatigued and weary, I entered that room. Who knew “it” would become a place of worship? Who knew the God of all creation would flood me with His love. A midst the clamoring weights, a Presence that would break through the dark.

I was reminded of that ditch. How did I not die there? How did I crawl out? Why didn’t he kill me? What made him stop the brutality?

I was reminded of that barrel at my temple. What happened? Why didn’t he pull the trigger? What scared him away? How did I find the will to move?

And, so it went. Picture after picture…none scared me, none made me angry. I breathed, “Why me?” Not “why me”? as in why did such and such happen to me, but in “why am I still here?” “how did I survive, and others didn’t?”

Not everyone escapes

Not every suicide attempt is thwarted

I think of sitting at our dinner table speaking hard things, deep things…not the norm.

I think of sitting with my hubby…sometimes talking, sometimes silent.  Oh, the peace and tranquility…not the norm.

Even my daughter’s last days, last moments…final breath. In her room, on her bed. Me by her side as she took her final breath and her final heart beat still palpable on my palm. Yeah, NOT THE NORM. I think of My Grieving Friend who got “that call” and had to go identify pieces of her precious son. Of that Momma who got “that call” that her son had hung himself. Of that life that ended in a ditch with no one to say goodbye.

Psalm 106:7, “…They did not remember Your abundant kindness…” — Oh God, may I not take for granted Your abundant kindness. May I have a heart of gratitude as I recollect ALL that has been given to me; all that has been granted.

“…AMAZING GRACE, HOW SWEET THE SOUND THAT SAVED A WRETCH LIKE ME…”

May I continue to have eyes to see beyond the here and now. May I cultivate a heart of gratitude and NEVER, ever forget where I’ve been and where I’ve come from. Every tool has chiseled me into the person I am today. My story continues…

 

Expectant

To that new life that is being formed in your Mommie’s womb:

  • May I dream with you and believe in fairy-tale endings
  • May I believe that there is hope for the future
  • May I allow you to wear your rose colored glasses
  • May I laugh with you and cry with you
  • May I be silly and serious
  • May I jump in the puddles, bask in the sun or run in the rain…with YOU

Oh, that I may learn that you will have your own life journey. May I not taint it with my doom and gloom. But most importantly, may you know that you are LOVED no matter what♥

We anxiously await YOUR arrival🌺

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!”

 

Daddy-Issues

Another holiday in the books! Social media in tip top shape with all its Kodak moments. The endless flow of post card perfection. With all them filters who can go wrong, right? What lurks behind the scenes? What if we could peel off every “filter” and were allowed into the rawness of life?

I read a blog post which was originally posted on June 6, 2018 entitled “Gravity and Stars: A Father’s Day Reflection for the Fatherless” by Sammy Rhodes. Within his post Rhodes quotes Michael Chabon:

…fatherhood is “an obligation that was more than your money, your body, or your time, a presence neither physical nor measurable by clocks: open-ended, eternal, and invisible, like the commitment of gravity to the stars.”

“Obligation” and “commitment”, words packed with a punch. Words that enter the recesses of my mind and turn up with an “ERROR-MESSAGE“. Rhodes says, “There are a lot of ways to lose a father, each with unique pains.” and “…[his father] haunts the land of the living with the presence of their absence…his absent presence…” — Wow, this hits hard! (emphasis mine).

Thoughts of my own father “missing” yet there. Remember Dad? Yeah, The Runaway has deep “daddy-issues”.

Memories of my Dad are few. From that trickle flow, one looms the size of Gibraltar. His “presence” was painfully absent when his little girl needed the protection of her Daddy. In a sense handing over the preciousness of a soul to abuse. With his “absent presence” came others that would step into his abandoned role. However, this proved to be disastrous. One said that “he loved me as his daughter”, only to cowardly bury the truth. The other said, “I love you like a daughter”, as he denied his thwarted attempts to violate her body.

In the mystery of this life journey there are turns in the crooked road that bring you to ponds of fresh water. Waters that quench and satisfy a thirsty soul. I have been given eyes to “see” A Father. The only one and perfect Dad. I am so grateful! And, by the grace of God, my husband has been that Dad that has been and continues to be always “present” for our children.

~~~Gratitude in the midst of pain~~~

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.

Birth Date

There are records in a village of Mexico that state that a girl was born. A home birth, common to the land. No gender reveal, no birth announcement, no baby shower, no pictures on social media or elsewhere. Oh, how things have changed.

“Back in the day” is now part of my vocabulary. Who would have thought I would still be here today, 53 years later.

As Job, I have thought, “I should have never been born” or “what is the point”. Crazy brain! You know, for such a mess up like me, I like to think I did something “right”. Yes, I’m learning to shift through the crazy muck in my chaotic brain…an ongoing process. In the midst of it all I have had the privilege and joy of being a Mom. Four humans that lived, some for a very short time, in my womb. A miracle indeed!

Last year my son and his girlfriend treated my hubby and I to a fancy dinner overlooking the ocean. The sunset took my breath away. For a moment “everything” was alright. The vastness and beauty of the ocean reminds me of God’s amazing mercy and grace. Beauty in the midst of gutting pain.

After dinner we took a stroll down the malencon of La Paz, Baja…so refreshing. We ended the evening laughing and dancing under the stars. For a moment “everything” was normal, although one is deeply aware it’s a new normal. And, somewhere in it all, it feels perfect. A beautiful evening etched on my heart. Beauty for ashes, indeed.

So TODAY I am grateful that:

  • My husband doesn’t know the pain of widowhood
  • My son doesn’t know the pain of being an orphan

AND, somewhere amidst the thick fog, together, we will find a “lantern” to light up another moment in time.

A hug, a smile…laughter.

Listening to the beat of their heart

 

Good Friday✝️

You don’t know my son. He is a fighter…” (queue the dramatic music) “There’s a heart beat!” gasp! The kid lives. Another miracle for the books. Prayers answered. They walk into the sunset. And live happily ever after…

S — C — R — E — E — C — H ⇒⇒⇒

What if “the kid” dies? Yeah, mayor GASP! That would be a different kinda finale. No best seller. No stellar premier. No front page news. Just a total dud…a flop.

Spoiler Alert – EVERYBODY DIES. No magical kiss to revive the “sleeper”. No mantra or prayer or magic juice can raise the dead. The fat lady has sung, gone home and is not coming back – EVER! Yes, indeed, reality sucks!

If – – – – – – that is all there was, then I’d numb myself with a substance and throw caution to the wind, cause it doesn’t matter anyway.

Ah, but, let me tell you about a “man” who came down and dwelt among us. Who was killed and buried. No happily ever after in the land of the temporal. However, that was not The End. No! No fairy-tale-ending here, cause those endings don’t bring hope beyond the grave. This Man did what no one else has done, nor will do. He conquered our last enemy – DEATH!

The Grave is Empty

One day all sorrow and pain will be done away. My tears will be wiped away by the One who will carry me to the end. I’d say that’s a very GOOD FRIDAY✝️🖤🌼