Joyfully Hurt

Tonight I was texting with my best friend and to her summed up our hearts. She, like I lost her precious son also and is trying to navigate emotions through this grief journey. And here is what we talked about:

How do we explain our feelings when life goes on around us without our sons? We are very happy for our son’s friends when they get graduate college, get married, have a child or have a huge life event. But while we are happy, we still have that what if in our minds. What if Richie were the one becoming a father? What if Zack was the one that was watching his bride walk down the aisle? All the plans we have built in our hearts and minds for them are now but dreams that drift away as our eyes flutter open each morning. Only to escape as we reach for the alarm clock with a tear running down our cheek because that dream will never be. And they are always just that, dreams.

So I told her that my heart joyfully hurt during these times. Joyful for the happiness that his friend’s have found. But hurt for the dreams that I have lost in the blink of an eye. Joyfully hurt. Joyful. Hurt. Forever broken-hearted but trying to let the cracks fill with some love and laughter. Joyfully hurt.

At least…..

“At least you had 20 years with Richie” If I had a dollar for every time I have been told that! I could I certainly could live high in the hog until the end of my days! I usually just nod my head and not think about it. But in the past few days it has really struck a chord with me. Does this mean I am luckier in my son’s death for the 20 years as opposed to someone who only had a few days, weeks or years? I am going to give four different death stories that have touched my life. They all have different amounts of time and circumstances. Then we will see who is luckier.

Let’s start with Renee. She was pregnant and excited for the new life she was carrying. Her family was busy buying everything they could get their hands on. Then she went into early labor. Just a week before the six month mark. She fought for more than a week and then the doctors had no choice but to deliver. Little Ian was delivered and only survived just shy of 2 hours. In this short time she held her baby, loved him, prayed for him and memorized every part of his tiny self. Time with her child: less than 2 hours.

Zack was the son of Tonya. Tonya spent ten years trying to have a child. Then when she gave up, God blessed her with a son. She raised Zack for 18 years. He was on the way to his high school graduation rehearsal when he was in a car accident. A few days later in ICU, he turned 19. Five days after that, he succumbed to his injuries. In the 19 years Tonya had Zack, she raised him, loved him and lived for her only child. Time with her child: 19 years 5 days.

Richie was my son. He was my firstborn of three. If you have been following my blog, you know our story. Summing us up because I will spend hours writing of his life, he was called home after an auto accident almost two years ago. Time with my child: 20 years 5 months 23 days

Ricky is the son of a precious lady named Mrs. Laurie. He is one of two sons she had. He fought hard to beat cancer but lost his battle in March. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather. Time with her child: 52 years 5 months 21 days

So which one of use Mothers is luckier? Is it one that has lots of memories to cling to? Lots of memories at times that cause us to want to scream because they are nothing more than memories now? The one that got 19 years with  her only child she didn’t think she would have? The one that had 20 years and but has her other children? 52 full years with a son that she thought would bury her? I could go into great detail about what each has and what others don’t. The one that has grandchildren from her child to watch versus the one that will never have a grandchild. The way people say it it almost makes me think that I should have one the lottery. Oh I had 20 years so bells and whistles and confetti should come out. On and on I could go!

But why compare. If we all four were to sit down to discuss our stories together, we would all have the same feeling… This is horrible all around. None of us is luckier for the amount of time we had. None if us are sitting around thinking about how the time we had was just the right amount. Not one of us would say that if we had a minute more it would have just ruined our lives. Or one minute less would have been much easier. You cannot put an amount on time when it comes to your children! The natural order a Mother thinks is this: The perfect amount of time we should have with our children is the time we have until our death, not theirs. That is the most perfect time no matter what it is. No matter how many other children we have. No matter how many memories we have.

I am not lucky for the 20 years, 5 months and 23 days I had. I am grateful for the 20 years, 5 months and 23 days I had. Forever grateful! Anytime we have with our children we should be grateful for. No matter what age our children are called home, we will mourn the could haves. We will forever wonder what they would be doing at this time in their life. What would we be doing. All I know is each and every day when I talk to God, I ask him to give my son love for me and ask him to just let me live one minute longer than my children still here with me.

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How’s it going?

How’s it going? Such a simple sentence but one that made me feel so great! The person that asked it didn’t ask it in the tone of “poor you”. Nor did they ask it in the “give me the juicy details” tone. They just simply asked, “How’s it going?” Just as a friend asking. There were no special head turns. Not the change in voice or tone people get when I have make it to that side of the room. Other grievers will know what I mean. When you walk up to a group who are talking excitedly about their garden or football and then you appear. It is almost like they have to put on what I refer to as the funeral voice. They just simply ask how it was going! That question. In that tone. In that matter of fact way meant more me than anything else right now in my life.

Right now my life is filed with so many emotions that some days I am exhausted just from my own head before I ever even get out of bed. I spend the days trying to cope with my delayed grief, empty nesting and just dealing with all the new things happening. It is so good for someone to just ask me a normal question in the pre-grief tone. Like it was amazing to me. I just can’t even describe. May seem silly to you but to me it was a big deal.

How did I answer them? I answered with this, “It is going good. Now tell me about the news with your fiance!”

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Self Under Construction

Well, I did it. I have officially decided to take time for myself, I have decided to for once to take care of me. This decision has racked me with pain, guilt and many sleepless nights. By all means, the outward appearance that everyone sees is of someone who is smiling, handling life and seems “okay”. The truth is that person has mastered putting on the face of happy deception. In reality, I spend my nights tossing and turning. Crying and screaming into my pillow. I spend my days with headaches and pure exhaustion. On the days that are good for me, there are the moments that fleet across my mind and will have me crying hysterically for a brief second. But that second is enough to leave me just ready for the day to end so I can crawl into the bed with sleepless exhaustion.

I was spending my days taking care of children when I could barely take care of myself. It is hard to put on a smile and fix grill cheese for these innocent faces when you just want to be alone. It has not been fair to them or me. They are not getting the best me they deserve. How do you answer them when they ask why you are crying? Well little child, I am crying because I miss fixing my son peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Or how about I am crying because Richie used to play this game with you and it hurts me now to do it. Not fair at all for them to have this sad mess instead of the MumMum that used to dance with them and sing at the top of my lungs over the littlest things. Not fair at all.

So what do I do when the last child leaves each day. I immediately go into shut down mode. I do not want to deal with life. I do not want to do anything. I want to go to bed at 5:30 and sulk in my own world. This is not fair to my husband or two children living at home with us. Well, Luke and Savannah are grown you may say. They can take care of themselves.Jeff can get his own supper and let you rest you say. Yes, they can and yes at times they do. But is this fair to them. They did not sign up for this grief ride either. I am the Mom. I am to take care of them no matter their age and I am to be the Mom. They do not deserve a Mom that shuts down from life every evening and does not share in their life fully. I should be making meals for us to eat around our table and hearing about their day. Instead they have been getting a Mom that is quick tempered, stressed, red eyed, frazzled and just a teary mess. My husband does not deserve to come home to a wife that tells him she has had a bad day and is going to bed the minute he walks in the door. How many moments have I missed with them that I can’t get back? Have I gone on too long like this that they no longer desire to be around me?

Then there is this….. Jeff and I have no more children we are responsible for. They have been raised, graduated and are off making there way in the world. What do we do now? We have always taken care of them and put them first always. I can’t count how many date nights were spent with a car load of kids and their friends because we didn’t want to leave them. Now what do we do? Are we even still close enough as husband and wife to be us? What if we don’t even like each other? How do we be us with just us? This scares me more than anything. How do we handle being married with just us? We are having to learn each other all over again.

Now the biggest one…. How do I take care of me? I have always taken care of others. My kids, their friends, my husband(s), others people’s kids, my family, my friends and even the daggum hamster! Now how do I take care of me? I have decided to start counseling to work through some of the things that are haunting me.Things that have haunted me since childhood. I have decided to rest. That is the hardest adjustment so far. I cannot sit still from thinking I have to do something. I am going to write, read, cross-stitch, volunteer at church and just take a walk. If I want to stay up all night crying, I will. If I want to scream at 12:34 in the afternoon because I want my son back, I will. If I want to go have lunch with my handsome son Luke, I will. If I want to go rambling with Savannah, I will. If I want to surprise Jeff with a picnic lunch in his office, I will. (I have always wanted to do that) I will do what makes me happy. I will take care of myself. I will for once let the grief out instead of holding it in until everyone else is taken care of. For once in my life, I will be under construction to be a better me for me. Not for others. Please pray for me. Aside from burying my son, this is the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

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You Really Wanna Know Mr. Osteen?

I keep getting asked how I am doing. I guess people think that because we are about to hit 18 months into the grief journey that things are just peaches and cream, rainbows and pots of gold. I am actually quite the opposite. I haven’t written on it because I have been trying to sort out this mind of mine that seems to be getting more frantic and loud. But after reading an article a fellow blogger shared about Joel Osteen’s views on grief, I had to share. Osteen believes that after a certain amount of time that grievers are only wanting pity. Well, Mr. Osteen, here is my response.

I am 18 months in this new life that God has dealt me. For 18 months, I have made sure to put others before myself. My children rarely see me cry. I make sure that each day they are not living in the shadow of their brother’s death. My husband and I have struggled to keep this family that was 5 and now 4 as normal as possible. We have struggled to keep our marriage strong when we have no words to ease each others pain and are lost as to how to be partners when our life is broken. I have to the best of my ability, and often failed, tried to keep up appearances at family events. I have tried to go to parties for other people’s children. I went back to keeping children one month after the death of my son. I never missed a school event with my daughter. I made sure my living son knew he was just as important to me as my angel son. If I was asked to do something, I 97% of the time did it. The other 3% I just mentally couldn’t. I never quit putting others before myself. I never said no when asked to do something for the church. I have smiled and tried my best to keep up a sense of the old life I had while trying to learn this new life. I will admit, I failed a lot. I failed my husband numerous times. I have even failed my children. I have horribly failed my sisters and mother. But I did the best I could to try to keep the hurt, sorrow, pain, and aching I felt to myself and not lay it on the shoulders of others.

So Mr. Osteen, do you really wanna know where I am at today in my grief? I am worse off today than I was the second the doctor’s gave me a time of death. I am worse off than the day we put my boy in his grave. In fact, 18 months of faking it and trying to be strong has taken a toll on me mentally and physically. I spend most nights tossing and turning. Releasing a days worth of built up tears. I do not want to attend any family events at all because my family is the broken link. I spend most days waiting on the clock to strike 5 so that kids go home and I can start my new rituals. What new rituals you ask? Well, Joel, can I call you Joel? I used to be very OCD about my house and life. The birth of my children’s half sister quickly let me see that this curly haired little toddler was winning the battle of messes. Now the OCD is back and I have the belief that if my house is spotless nothing tragic will happen to us again. My house was a little messy when we got the call of Richie’s accident. In fact, everything bad that has directly happened to us has come at a time when the house was a little untidy. I have been cleaning the house completely. Each room has been getting a deep cleaning. I dread having to get up in the mornings to take care of others. Nothing to do with them, I just can some days barely guide myself much less others. I hate answering the phone. People start conversations with “how are you?” I text very few people. Only the ones I can be real with get them. (A very short list) I am no longer the one at church that speaks to every single person. I sometimes fake reading something so that I do not have to socialize on Sunday mornings. I am exhausted by the end of Wednesday night Bible study because I have to fake happy on the bad days. I do not watch the news because it sends me into a tailspin of PTSD. I hate FaceBook because people seem to not understand that seeing wrecked cars and kids in the hospital bring back images that haunt me every single day. The sound of a train horn makes my heart leap into my throat. I only watch movies after they have been cleared by others for my broken mind to watch. TV holds little interest for me. The Travel channel is safe I have found. I hate 6:44pm on Sundays and the 29th of every single month. I feel as if I have won the lottery if I make it to 3:30pm on the 30th or a Monday and my living children are still living. I cannot eat chicken, mashed potatoes and corn in the same meal. Tried once and had almost had a nervous breakdown. I have started panicking about where my deceased son’s belongings are. Even though I know they are safely packed away in my guest room, I still have to go see they are there. I do this numerous times a day. It is all I have left that is tangible of him. I now get up numerous times to see if my living children are still breathing as they sleep. (They are 18 & 20.) A scratch on one of them has me thinking that the limb will be amputated and they will die. I text them constantly to see if they are safe. I text their friends if I do not get a timely response. I hate leaving the house other than once a week grocery shopping and church. I have certain things that we can not do on Sundays because if we do, one of my children will die. I am failing as a friend to the ones that are closest to me. I can’t remember when I last wished someone Happy Birthday when I was the one that was always the first. I cannot concentrate on tasks that are dear to me. I start projects and quickly lose interest.I spend some days pretending so convincingly to myself that Richie will be coming home that afternoon that by 4pm I feel like I lost him all over again. Sometimes I think that I put myself back into shock just to shut my mind off.

Even worst than the mental effects is the physical ones. I constantly have stress and tension migraines. I break out in bumps and itch like crazy if one thing starts getting out of the “new normal” I am enclosing myself in. I feel tired all the time but cannot sleep. And the absolute most terrible thing…. My heart constantly feels like it is constricting. It literally hurts all day every day. I believe my heart broke the day they told me Richie had passed. Since then I can feel it 24 hours a day. You really never know your heart is there until you experience a loss so gut-wrenching that you cannot even fathom it until days later. Then you are fully aware of its every beat. Every bloody thump against your chest feels like you are being stabbed. Do you understand the heart hurt Mr. Osteen? I am constantly on high alert, waiting on the next terrible thing to happen so my muscles are always sore. My nerves twitch. I have developed little ticks of nervousness. Some others never notice. I just feel like I am always in pain yet have no sickness.

Mr. Osteen, I have done it your way. I have not asked for self pity. I have hated conversations that revolve around me and my loss. I have put others first. I have not wallowed in my pain shutting myself off from the world. Where has it gotten me? It has gotten me no where. I am worse off than I was 18 months ago. I took care of everyone else and did not take any time for myself. So what am I to do now? Do I tell others that I need time now all this time later to be alone and grieve with no responsibilities? Do I continue doing what I am doing and hope it gets better? Quite a predicament I am in. There is no time limit on grief. Some parents lose a child and have another in a year later. Some can never imagine another child in their home. A wife can lose her husband and marry 6 months later. A husband can lose his wife of 60 years and pass away silently that night in his sleep from a broken heart. There is no book on grief. I hate the self-help crap people have been sending me. It would help to shove it up their wazoos. (I forgot to add the part about my quick temper being even quicker.) So please, Mr. Osteen, what do I do now that the way you wrote about does not work? You can email me your answer at mrsjschell@gmail.com. I will be awaiting your response.

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No, I Am Not Living In Death

Isn’t that something odd to proclaim? I am not living in death. I have been accused of this a lot lately. In fact, I have friends and even family that say they can’t be around me because of this. I am just at a loss.

They seem to say that since the death of Richie that I only surround myself with other parents that have lost children or the people I have met through organ donation. Well, maybe I have. When I hear of another mother or father that has lost a child, my heart breaks for them. So yes, I reach out. When I lost my son, Stephanie, Angel, Lisa P. and Judy were at my side because they knew what I was going through. The way they told me that all I was feeling was okay helped me tremendously. It made me regret not knowing what to say and reaching out to them more when they were going through their personal tragedies. Now when I here of anyone going through what I did, I go to them, call them or send a card. I reach out after the funeral because I know first hand that it is harder then, Yes, I have reached out to people that I do not even know but have met through my blogging. In fact, Sherri has become a great friend and I have never even met her! The organ donation world has showed me hope. I see the stories of life continuing. It gives me great joy and a sense of hope to meet the people who are living because of a gift. When I meet a donor family, I feel a kinship of sorts. I know the pain of loss they are feeling and the great pride they feel for their loved ones who gave. I was once “new” to this world too. I know the confusion they feel at first. I reach out just to be a friend. I answer the questions they have or send them to someone who has an answer I don’t. I just listen most of all because that is what I needed when I started this journey.

I do not live in death. I am perfectly capable of separating death from life. I have been to plenty of things that I have never even said the words death, dead or dying at. I am very comfortable with telling a group of Moms what Richie did at age 2 without crying or wanting sympathy. It gives me a great sense of comfort to be able to talk about Richie as if he were still here with people. Just because I say his name in conversation does not mean I want pity. It simply means that I am telling a story about him just like I do Luke and Savannah.

It may seem as if that is the only ones I am around anymore are the ones I have met in “death”. This is not entirely my fault. I have watched as Jeff and I are left off some invite lists. Some that are very hurtful. We have watched as some family, close family, completely cut us out of their lives. And when you bump into them at the store? We get the “we have been busy” excuse. Jeff and I have not been to busy or grieving too hard to reach out to people. Even if it is a text or card, we reach out. Maybe our circle does include more “death” friends than longtime friends and family, but that is all we have most times.

I am still a friend, cousin, niece, sister and aunt. Jeff is still a friend, cousin, nephew, son and uncle. And whatever else you may call us. We do not want any pity. We do not want any one to feel as if they can’t be around me. We do not surround ourselves with death. But the death of our child is always with us. If We can’t handle being around someone or somewhere, we will bow out quietly and gracefully. We are not and do not want to live in death.

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Tuesdays with Morrie

As I said, this summer I will be spending my time reading. I have now read almost all of Mitch Albom’s books. I wanted kinda of review or say a little something about each one. I do not think it will be so much as a review but as the feelings each book gave me. When you lose a child and then read books that speak of death, afterlife and such, it makes you think beyond the story. Remember this is the view point of a housewife/babysitter that mainly gets to read when in the bath, on the toilet or nap time. If I am lucky during a movie or at bedtime.

So I started with Tuesdays with Morrie. I have heard it referenced in many TV shows and when I found it in goodwill, I picked it up to see what all the fuss was about. I started with reading the inside cover and found that this was a “true story”. It is about his college professor Morrie Schwartz and his battle with ALS. He visits him every Tuesday for weeks until Morrie’s last day. Morrie shares with him the wisdom he has gathered throughout his full life.

The book is filed with pearls of wisdom. On how to deal with living, loving and dying. How to be a decent human being. How to relate to others on an emotional level. I could fill this blog with my favorite quotes from the book but I absolutely recommend that you read it yourself. You will get much more out of the book by reading it than looking at a few lines from it.

This book made me think long after putting it down. What if we knew we were going to die? What would you do? What wisdom would I have to pass on to my loved ones? Have the things I have done in my life mattered enough that someone would want to visit me every Tuesday until I died? It really makes you of the meaning of your life and how you have impacted others thus far. I have sat and thought of the things that I could say to others. I could give advice on parenting in divorce. How not to totally crumble in the death of a child.How to overcome having a loveless Father. How to make the absolute best strawberry cake you will ever eat. But is that enough? Is that what people will want to hear from me? And who would visit me? Will it be a family member childhood friend or someone I met along the way? Have I been the best me I can be to where I would have droves of people wanting to see me one last time?

This book is more than sharing the life lessons from a truly remarkable man. One that I feel like I have missed out on. It is a book that make you think about your life. How you have impacted others. And the biggest of all, have you learned anything of value to pass on to others.

I give this book more than two thumbs up or five stars. I think every school should make the senior class read it and study it. I think every parent should read it and learn from it. I just want everyone to read this book.

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Love without color

DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional writer. I am just a housewife with thoughts in my jumbled overworked brain. I may not have used politically correct terms. I may have unknowingly offended someone and I am sorry in advance. This is my story in the words that I was raised hearing. Please read to the end before you tell me how horrible I am. You will see it all comes to a point.

My niece has made me take a look at myself over the past few months. My niece has made me see how I was wrong about things in the past. My niece and her big heart that sees no colors or differences in people has made me a better person.
Growing up in a small southern town, from a big southern family with a long line of southern traditions, there were things that just were not done. And whether you understood the reason or not, you just abided by those “unspoken laws”. You just simply did not date someone that was not of your color. Now before you go thinking that my family is some back woods thinking people, let me continue. Whether spoken or not, it just never came up really. In my Mom’s generation segregation had just happened. In my generation, I went to school with the children of the first black children that ever attended school with my white Mom. There was never a question of race that I can recall in my generation. There were whispers of my cousin that dated a black boy behind the family’s back but it was never spoken aloud. Then the whispers of one of my close friends getting pregnant by none other than a black boy. This was the first time I had ever really seen it up close and out loud. Yes, I was sheltered or had blinders on. After that friend, I saw how some of my friends had been dating the opposite “race” for quite a while now. Then came when it hit our immediate family circle, I was forced to see it head on. My younger sis moved in with a boy that was half white, half black and 100% wonderful. He fished with my boys and all of us loved him. I saw the way family treated her and it broke my heart. Not just because she was my sis but because they didn’t see how great he was especially with my kids. That relationship fizzled and a side note, she married one of the worst “white” boys known to man. { Color doesn’t make you a good person.}
Moving on…….. The biggest news of all to hit this huge southern family happened! One of my cousin’s was going to have a baby by a black man! Can you imagine!? What was this family to do??? What were people going to say? The older generation went into fits! The middle generation was just watching everyone else act a fool. The younger generation, could have cared less. This was going to be our first child of “mixed color” or “mixed seed”. The mixed seed reference from one relative made me laugh. I think regardless of color, we are all of “mixed seed”. That just always seemed so stupid to me. Anyway, the day came when this baby arrived and I fell in love with him. In fact we all did. Well most anyway. {P.s. The father wasn’t the best mate choice for my cousin. Proving of color doesn’t make a good person.} Times had changed. We all just looked at this boy and wondered how anyone could hate him because of his color. Change was happening in this bunch. This went on to another cousin dating a black man. Who by the way, we all love! They are broke up but we are still in contact with him. He watches my daughter and son like a hawk and keeps them out of trouble. I think we were more heartbroken when they broke up than they were.

So now we move on to what has inspired this blog. My niece text me  a few months ago and was upset. She started it with the phrase I hate most, “I need to talk to you and it needs to be a secret.” I thought if this girl tells me she is pregnant I am going to tell her mom and we will both beat the brakes off her. But it wasn’t. She wanted me to know that she was dating a “Black” boy. My first thought was instant relief for no baby on the way and then the thought of why is this a secret. She went on to tell me that some other relatives and such were in major disagreement over this. This was just not done they said! How could she do this to the family? My response was simply, “Does he make you happy? Does he treat you like the princess you are?” She says yes and yes! When Jeff got home, that night I told him I had something to tell him about his niece. He looked at me and said,”She better not be pregnant!” I said, “No, she is dating a black boy.” He says, “Is that all? I would have been more shocked if you told me he was white!” He said he has always “known” her preference. I didn’t get him to elaborate. This man has an uncanny sense of knowing these girls better than I ever will and of what they like!

We had planned a party here on New Year’s Day and she sent me this text, “We are coming Thursday and I wanted to know if D could come? If you say no I understand.” My response, “Why couldn’t he come? Is he not housebroken?” She says yes he is and I say then as long as he doesn’t poop on my floors he can come.  Now to why I am writing this long blog, what made her ask me this!? Why does she feel like she has to ask permission for him to come over the threshold of the Schell residence? I asked her this. She said that other family would not let D come to their house. This troubled me. Are these family members willing to risk being around this lovely niece of ours just because of color hatred? Even worse, How can these people claim to love Jesus and then hate a young man because of the color of his skin before ever meeting him? Well, she brought him to our house. He is a wonderful, polite young man. He adores my niece. He treats her like a princess. She is a handful and a half and he just smiles at all her crazy ways. And in the words of her Mom, “Until he hurts her, I support them.”

This has prompted me to look in the Bible and see where it says that I should hate him because of his color. First, I believe it says,in John 3:16 that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believeth  in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Not that all you “white” people can go to heaven. All people.  The verse that makes skin color fade for me is Galatians 3:38 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Right there,doesn’t say anything about if you :are white, black, yellow, purple or polka dotted. John  7:24 sealed it, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgement.” Jesus said that out of his very mouth.  So there it is: Jesus said not to judge appearance. (skin color, hair color etc)

But most of all Jesus says LOVE. We are to love everyone. It says so in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. (Get a Bible and read it yourself) We should all love. If you say you love Jesus, then you should love everyone.  It is hard for me sometimes to overlook the way we were “taught” in my younger days and just love. This proving that we are taught a lot of our hate and misunderstandings. Sometimes I feel a pain of “what will the family say” when one of these many kids does something “against family tradition”. But I will say, 99% of the time, I just welcome it and love. There are good and bad of every race. We just have to surround ourselves with all the good and surround each other with love. The other 1% that I slip, I pray that God forgives me.

So my dear niece, I hope that you and D have a wonderful long life together! I want to attend both high school graduations in a few months. In the upcoming years, their college graduations. I want to dance at their wedding, spoil their children, have family dinners together. I just simply want to LOVE.

The happy couple! May they have many many years of smiles and love!

The happy couple! May they have many many years of smiles and love!

Please DON’T Assume…..

I normally try not to post angry posts. But, after a lot of thinking over the weekend and then a bad’s night sleep last night, I have decided to let it spew forth. So here goes, forgive me if I hurt your feelings but it either comes out through my fingers or my mouth. I suggest you be happy with me writing….

For almost a month now, I have listened to people around me assume they know how I am feeling. They assume they know what will be hard on me with the upcoming holidays. They assume that they know best. They assume that I am going to a blubbering crying mess for the next two months. They assume that it is best to make decisions for me so that I can avoid any hurt. You know that is all fine and good to be concerned but here is where the people assuming are wrong in there assuming… None of these people are involved in my daily life. None of these people are in my weekly life. In fact, they are in one of two categories. The first being “friends” that really only pay attention to your feelings by the Facebook posts or by heresay. I’m okay with these people until they start to tell others how much of a “mess” I am in and how “pitiful” I will be. The second group, which I find the worst, is the family group. You know the ones you never hear from unless it is “expected” or because they felt a twang of guilt because of a Facebook post. I find this group to be the worst. The family group thinks that they know best because you have the same blood running through you. When in reality, they know you less than your so-called friends.

Now I am not saying that all my family and friends are wrong in their assuming. In fact, My church friends and the friends that are closest to me are spot on in the assuming. The family that I speak to daily or almost daily is dead on in my feelings. The friends and family that have seen me have the good days and the bad days are great. The ones that have called me to see how my day is going and get an earful that they didn’t deserve because I was upset over the most random senseless thing are awesome. The ones that just text or call to make me laugh are God sent. The ones that treat me just like they did before that dreadful day are the ones that know me best. They know me cause they are here. There for the good, bad and ugly and all the in between.

Here is where the rest are wrong in the assuming. Halloween is not considered a holiday to us. In fact, my children are grown so we do not even do anything with them on this day. They do like all other grown children and hang out with their friends. Jeff and I spend Halloween night giving out candy and watching out for “Creepy Haley”. I will be just fine on Halloween. Thanksgiving Day since my divorce has always been given to the kid’s Dad. I do Thanksgiving with them on a different day with my family. Me and Jeff usually go eat with friends or family. Sometimes, we even just spend the day in pajamas after a great meal at Waffle House. Christmas is going to be rough and the days leading up to it. Not gonna even fake that one. I will be sad. I will cry. I will be lost.

But you know what??? If you were involved like you make out to be then you would know that I am an expert at putting on a smile and making each day memorable for my living children. That I can make it through the holidays without completely breaking. I buried my first-born child, I think I can handle Santa Claus, candy canes and tinsel.

What I can not handle is all this assuming from people who wouldn’t know my true feelings if they were hand delivered to them in a telegram. What I cannot handle is my kids being very angry because someone thought they knew how they would feel. What we as a family cannot handle is the ones that assume things are tough for us and start with the looks, fake hugs, fake “I love yous and fake everything. The way people will post to us on Facebook but not send us a text or call the other 364 days a year. I cannot handle the way my kids want to skip the holidays not because they are missing their brother but because of everyone else and the way they are already talking about things they know nothing of.

We will be having a family discussion this week as to what we want to do this year. I guess some of you can go ahead and assume that we won’t be there because your assuming is really what is hardest on us.

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