Tired, just tired

I’m just plain tired of it all…..

the living

The not living

The crying

The dry eyes

The forced laughter

The empty feeling

The longing

The wanting

The loneliness

The hurt

The guilt

The grief

The what if’s

The why me’s

The loss of faith

The loss of me

The endless cycle of emotions

I am just tired

From broken to shattered

I haven’t posted in a while because I thought my brokenness was healing as much as possible. In 2017, we welcomed our first grandson, Preston James Nelson! What a beautiful life we were blessed with. God had sent us this little angel because he knew this family was sinking under the pressure of losing Richie. He quickly became known as Peanut, Lil Buddy, Stinky, James Leroy and many other names. He didn’t even know to respond to Preston. I became a Granny, Jeff a Grandpa, Luke became an uncle. Our life was coming out of the darkness for the first time in 4 years!

I often felt as if there was any way the cracks in my heart were going to heal it would be because of this sweet boy. I didn’t cry as much. And when I did cry it was because Preston was missing out on his Uncle Richie not me. My mourning went in a different direction. I mourned for the loss of what an amazing uncle he would have been. Savannah was the best Mom! She doted on him and made sure everything was just perfect for him. She gave him Richie’s middle name so he would have a piece of him always. Luke, my Luke, became the Uncle every boy should have. Preston was in the yard getting dirty before he could walk. Luke was his hero! If you could have seen the way Preston got so excited when he heard Jeff come home each day! His little feet would go so fast they never even moved. This baby healed our family. We laughed now! Our how was noisy!!! Our house was scattered from one end to the other with toys! Pure Joy!!!

I can not describe or even begin to explain the joy and pride I had as a Granny. It is all I ever wanted to be in life was to be like my own Granny. And now by the grace of the Lord Almighty I was!

I say was because on October 15th, my sweet little Peanut was murdered. For reasons I am not even sure of (investigation still pending), the last of my heart was completely shattered beyond any repair. I watched my daughter go through a pain that I knew all too well. I could not save her from this tragic heartbreak and pain. I could not save my own son and now my grandson. Talk about feeling like a three strike failure. The only thing worse than watching your own son die is to watch your daughter watch hers die. Watching and knowing there is nothing you can do but hold her hand and watch.

At 8:23 pm on October 16, Preston was pronounced. October 16, what was his Uncle Luke’s birthday. A day that I was supposed to be watching Luke and his Little Buddy eating cake, riding on the Polaris and pretending to hunt.

Why God Why!!!!????? Why our family again? And to lose a 21 month old to murder?! I have been walking around scared to even try to comprehend any of this. Do I want to know the answers? Yet can I live without the answers? I feel as if there is a belt around my heart that keeps getting tighter and tighter each day. I pray. I thank the Lord for the time I had. Bless the Lord’s heart, he must think I am the most messed up minded person he ever made. (I hope he broke the mold after he made me) I cry, scream, question, praise, thank, rejoice and show every emotion in one prayer multiple times a day. I just cannot even begin to understand any of this. Why Preston who was the most happy toddler in the world? Everyone that met him became instantly in love with him.

So now I am a broken Mother, a broken Granny and just broken. Please pray for our family as we make sense of this tragedy. God Bless you all.

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.

Dear Friend,

Dear Friend,

I am sorry that you lost your precious son. I am sorry that you lost a piece of your heart. I wish there was something that I could do to take your pain away but I know from the loss of my own son that it never goes away. It never gets better. It just becomes a more comfortable hurt.  A hurt that you will feel second of everyday for the rest of your life.

I want you know that it is okay to hurt. It is okay to cry, scream, yell and stay in the bed all day. People told me after my son’s funeral that the hard part was over. Little did they know that I spent that week in a daze and had no clue what was really going on. The day after the funeral when I woke up was when the hard part began. People were no longer coming around to hold my hand, to sit with me to fill my empty moments and fill the void. That day was the day that I had to figure out how to do a life sentence without my child. I had to figure out what to do when it was time for me to send the good morning text to him. What was I to do when time to cook supper? I only knew how to cook for a family of 5, We are now a family of 4. Who do I tell good night to now? So many things that I never even realized, now seemed to pile on me like I was trapped in a hole being filled with dirt. It felt like I was in that grave also with cold red Georgia dirt being shoveled on me too.

I want you to know that it is okay to be mad. Mad at God for taking your handsome man. Why did he do this? Did he not see the life he had here? The people that needed him? Me? You? Why your child? Why my child? What made them so special that you called them home before us? This was not the plan. It may have been God’s plan but it certainly wasn’t ours. It is okay to be mad at your child for leaving. Yes, it is okay and it will come. Why did they leave? Did they not fight hard enough to stay? Didn’t they look back and see us looking forward to our lifetime with them? Did they leap willingly into the light and grab the Father’s hand without a thought to all here who would miss them?

It is okay to feel guilty. Guilt it the one emotion that will creep in and catch you by surprise and bring you to your knees all while ripping your heart into bigger shreds. Guilty for words that shouldn’t have been spoken. Guilt for words that were never spoken. Guilt for a pop on the butt many many years before. Guilt for the what ifs, why nots, should haves and could haves. Guilt for being angry at them for being gone. Guilt for a smile that you let escape before thinking about it. Guilt for laughing a friend’s joke. For me, Guilt has been the worst of them all. I feel it everyday no matter how great of a mom I think I was to him. You will feel this way because he is not here to tell you it is okay. People can tell you that it is just another cross to bear that we should lay down, but I know we can’t.

It is okay, my friend, to tell people to leave you alone. To tell them to bugger off. We need time alone to process our feelings. To learn this new life and how to walk it. You are not expected to hold court and entertain the masses so that they feel better. This is your time. If you want people around then let them in, when ready for them to leave, throw them out.

It is okay to be overwhelmed. The pain of a mother that has lost a child is unbearable. The pain of a mother that has other living children and grandchildren to guide through this is especially unbearable. It takes a strong woman to be a complete mother to living children after losing one. There are times when you have to fake a smile when you are dying inside and then in the quiet of the night the guilt from the fakeness you shown sets in. An endless cycle we will always be in. I feel at most times like I am on a hamster wheel. Spinning and spinning and never able to jump off. Often times I wonder, what happens when I do get off? That thought is just as scary.

It is okay for you to be scared. Scared you will forget his face, laugh, voice, smile, quirks and all the things that made him yours. Even scared that one day you will get used to this pain. Scared that in your old age you will forget the memories you cherish dear. Scared for the children that are left behind. Scared that every move they make will be their last. Scared. Scared mixed with dread is now going to be with you always.

While all of this okay, it is also okay to find your way. TO FIND YOUR SMILE AGAIN. To find your laugh. To enjoy the sunshine. To enjoy the party. To enjoy the little things. To enjoy the big things. Nothing will be the same as it was ever again. But it is okay for you to try to find a bit of light in the darkness. A glimmer of hope. Hope and Faith is all we really have left. Hope that our children will get through this. Hope we will survive this. Faith that God will see us through. Faith that one day as we are bowing at our Savior’s feet, we will feel the hand of our child on our shoulder saying Mom!!!!!! Oh what a day that will be!

Please know that I am here for you. In heart, body and soul. I am a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, to sit in silence and to scream with you. You are not alone. You are now in the club that no Mother wants to be in. A club where you are not alone and the numbers are great.  You are now in the Broken Mother’s Club.

I love you and pray for you,

Belinda, Broken Mother since December 30, 2013

Morning Maggie!

No big emotionally heart wrenching words today just thought I would share some of my therapy with you.

This is Maggie and she was delivered to me two years ago. She needed a home and I needed rescuing. I was told that one option to try to get over the PTSD of my son passing was a comfort animal. Something to make get up and move. Something to give me unconditional love when I was in the deepest throws of grief. So I agreed and she came.

So the kids friends brought over a nameless little Great Dane/ German Shepherd mix little girl. We bonded instantly. She was taken away from the only mom she had ever known and I had my precious taken from me. We needed each other.

Maggie Mae as we called her kept me on my toes. She would get into anything and everything and then some. She was growing faster than we thought and soon became known as Maggie Moose. She took over the house and claimed it as hers. Everyone’s favorite comfy chair soon became the only chair she could stretch out comfortably in. She became our child and the kids sister. Maggie was Krista’s shadow and my best friend.

Our sweet pup has grown into her huge feet and into our hearts. She is more human than dog. When our grandson arrived she was a little wary over this tiny human the size of her head. Poor Maggie became frantic when he had his first real crying spell and was clueless as to what to do. She simply gave him her bone and waited to see if he would calm down. Now, this tiny human chases and terrorizes her in the walker. At night though, she has to be snuggling her little peanut when he sleeps with me and wakes me at his slightest move.

This goofy, clumsy, spoiled pup has now learned to read my moods and love me a little more when I need it. This morning I woke for the 6th day in a row with tears in my eyes from some emotion I can’t name. Some trigger that is nameless to me in my sleep. Maggie sensed this I guess and laid right on top of me. She just laid there looking at me with those eyes and every once in a while licking a tear away. The love of a best friend spoiled only when I told her she would meet her new groomer today and get a bath. (She hates the word bath)

I was always a skeptic on comfort animals but now the biggest supporter. She is my rescuer, my comfort, my love, my child. God knew I needed her and sent her at the right time! My Maggie Mae Moose Schell, the biggest, slobberingest friend of all time!

In 3 Days

In 3 days, my first born son will be 23 years old. In 3 days, I will not be able to tell him Happy Birthday. In 3 days, he will be celebrating his birthday in heaven. In 3 days, it will mark the 3rd birthday he has had without me. In 3 days, I pray that I make it through the day.

I Failed My Children

I failed my children. I have made one of the biggest mistakes a parent can make. Powerful words for a Mom to say. But it is true. What could I have done that was so bad?

Well, I didn’t beat, starve or abandon them. I didn’t take them to church every Sunday like I should have. Every single Sunday I should have had them in Sunday school and then sitting in a pew with me hearing the Word of God. Oh I took them here and there. But I failed to make it a priority like food, clothes and shelter. I let them go with friends and relatives to church and youth groups. But I didn’t take them myself consistently. We were not in church every Sunday as a family.

Why didn’t I do this? There are many excuses I can make for it. I was tired. We didn’t have a church we liked. There was that thing we wanted to do. I wanted to sleep. We will go next Sunday. It’s okay, someone else will take them. Well, we have had a hectic week. My Mom and Dad are to blame for not taking me regularly. On and on I could go but they are just that excuses. But there is no excuse. It clearly says in Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. I taught my children manners, right from wrong and how to be good people. But that alone will not get them into heaven.

I am extremely thankful that the good Lord saw me failing my children and put people in their life that would lead them to be saved. I will forever regret not being that person. I do have peace of mind that their salvation is secure.

So where does that leave them now? I am in church every time the doors are open. And where are my children? Well, they are there sometimes but not every Sunday. They are adults and I cannot force them. If I had started from the start of being in that pew every Sunday, then they would wake up every Sunday out of habit and be there. Then the habit would turn into a need to be there like mine. I did not train them up in the way the real way they should go. Now they are busy on Sunday. Too much to do, they have plans with friends, or simply just don’t want to.

I have ask for forgiveness over my mistake. But I still beat myself up over it. The verse from 1 Timothy 5:8 really convicts me. It says – If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied them faith, and is worse than an infidel. pretty bad when the Good Lord calls you like you are. I pray every day that my children will see how I jump up to go to church and tag along. I pray this cycle will be broken and they will do better than I did.

So my advice to all the ones with children… Take them to church. Let them see it as a good time and not a burden or a chore. Let them see you excited to go. Stop looking at your watch ready to bust out the door before your pew ever gets warm. Teach them. Talk with them. Pray with them. Do it now while they are young and they will standing beside you with their families when you are old.

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Grief Stage #482

I seem to have hit yet another stage in this grief journey. I don’t even know what you can call it. The “if he where here stage” or “he’s missing this stage”? Whatever you call it, for three weeks now I just cry every free moment alone I get.

It started when preparing for my sister’s wedding. She and Richie are only a few years apart and were more like siblings than aunt and nephew. The whole time all I could think of was how excited he would have been for her. I have no doubt he would have been a groomsman or fought to give her away. I try not to live in the thought of every second of the fact he is not here but during the ceremony and reception it was all I could think of.

I have been doing that in everything. Even little things like what I am cooking. I have picked up the phone to text him what is being fixed so many times lately. I have all but stopped cooking. A movie was coming on the other night and wanted to tell him to watch it. I hate when we have anything lately with family because I can feel his absence. I just keep thinking about what he would be doing. Would he be aggravating Lexie and Kane? Would he be teasing his Grandma? Would he have been yelling at the football game on TV with Jeff and his uncles? Is he missing out on everything that is happening here?

Yes, I know everyone says he is watching down from heaven and isn’t missing one thing but I find that hard to believe. The only thing that gives me comfort in him being gone is that he is in heaven. As I am lead to understand from studying the Word, in heaven there is singing, worship, serving, ruling, fellowship with others, eating. (Rev 15:3, 5:9, 22:3, 22:5, 2:17, 2 Tim 2:12, Matt 17:3) Richie is experiencing a life of fellowship with God (Rev 22:4), a life of rest (Rev 14:3), a life of service (rev 22:3), a life of growth ( Rev 22:2) and a life of worship (Rev 19:1). Why would he be looking down here at this messed up world? He is probably having such a glorious time with no worries of this world, sickness or trouble that he hasn’t thought of us. I am sure my Granny has gotten a good grip on him and is showing him off to everyone up there.

With all that being said, I am still mourning what he is missing but I am comforted by Richie rejoicing at the right hand of Jesus!

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Lil Sis Got Hitched! Part 1

My littlest sister, Jessi Rae, got married this past weekend. These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of her crazy wedding planning. It seemed as if everyday she was making yet another list that had the same things from the day before’s list. It almost got to where when I saw her walk in with a pen and paper, I wanted to run! But she is the baby so we made lists. And more lists, And more lists.

She wanted to do most of the wedding herself and not pay people to do things that she could do. Or things that I could do. Like baking and cooking. So the last few days before the big day, I was a candy and cookie making fool. But I was also a crying babbling fool. I just didn’t know how I was going to get through her getting married! Why did she have to be grown? Why were my kids grown? WHY WHY WHY!?

Jessi is 16 years younger than me. I know! How gross is it that my parents were still making babies when I was in high school? Anyway, that is something for my therapist to deal with. When this little baby was born, I didn’t think I could ever love anyone as much as her. Yes, I had two other sisters but this one was special. She was perfect. Being the oldest, I quickly took on the role as “other Mother” to her. Jessi was my practice baby and I loved her so much that I didn’t think I would ever want a kid of my own. in fact two years later, I was told I would never have children and it really didn’t bother me because I had her. Well, that idiot doctor was wrong because a few months later I was able to tell Jessi that Sissy had a baby in her belly.

Because Jessi was so little when Richie was born, they were more like brother and sister, Richie was her living baby doll and she adored him. When Luke came along, she had another baby doll to play with and the 3 of them were inseparable. Everywhere we went, we had Jessi right along with us.Everyone thought we had three kids. I don’t know who was more excited when we found out that the 3rd and last child was going to be a girl, Jessi or everyone else. Now she had a real live girl to put dresses on and tote around. And dress up and tote around did she do. Jessi was more like my daughter than my sister and we had her every chance we could.

These sweet little babies grew up into aggravating little turds. Aunt Jessi turned into the confidant and alibi they needed. While I am still scared to hear all the things they got into, I am grateful that they have had someone to lean on when they couldn’t with me. The sweet little kids that played in the mud grew up to be adults before I could blink.

Jessi had a baby girl and then a baby boy who are more like my grandchildren than my niece and nephew. I love all my nieces and nephews but these two are just so special to me. I literally sit and cry sometimes because I love them so much. We went through losing Richie and my heart broke for Jessi. She lost more than a nephew, she lost a brother, While I lost my first born son, my heart broke because I could not take the pain from my kids and Jessi. But through our ordeal, we had this very special man to lean on…. Kevin.

Kevin is the one that Jessi has chosen as her life mate. We always been very hard on anyone that Jessi has ever brought around and no one was ever good enough. I used to say that if a man was hand picked from heaven and sent here, I still wouldn’t like him totally. Well, I think Kevin was hand picked by Jesus and sent here. He has always been the nicest and sweetest to all of us but it wasn’t until my darkest that I really saw the heart of this man. The week after we lost Richie, I was always turning around to him being right there. At night when he would go home, I would find little notes and messages from him saying he loved us. Since the moment I lost my son, he has been there to lean on and hasn’t left yet. I knew that he had gotten close to the kids but was not aware of how close until then. He mourned as if he had been raised from the start with Richie. When he was lifting me, Jessi and the family up, he had tears of loss in his eyes.

Beyond how great he is in our times of needs, Kevin is just the most fabulous, Dad! He not only took in Lexie and loved her as his own but he is dedicated to her. Shae has not one need or want that he doesn’t fill. He steps in for Father/Daughter days with pride. He really and truly loves her without any thought to biological ties. She is his, end of story. And the way he is with Kane. From the second he knew Jessi was pregnant, he was in love with a child he never met. And now that he has met him, they are best friends. I have sat here trying to find the words to describe how amazing of a Dad he is. There are none that do it justice. He is just simply unconditionally devoted to loving that little boy.

The love story between Jessi and Kevin is like something from a romantic comedy. Me and my sisters just laugh at the two of them. One minute they can be arguing about the stupidest thing on Earth and then Jessi will look at us and say, “He is just so good looking I can’t even take it!” Or he will just look at us and say something corny like, “I love her so much I can’t imagine life without her.” We just look on bewildered and slightly jealous. They are so obsessed with each other that they had no choice but to get married and stay together forever. They have ruined each other for other people. If Jessi ever says she wants something, you can bet your last nickel that Kevin will have for her very soon. If Kevin wants something, Jessi will make sure that it is a priority. NEVER EVER LEAVE YOUR PHONE UNATTENDED AROUND THEM! If you do, there will be tons of pics where they just take one after the other of themselves. One day we all went on a family outing and Jessi had my camera to take pics. Out of almost 200 pictures, only 50 were of the trip, there rest were them cheesing it up.

I have spent so long talking about them in this I never got to the wedding! I will do that in the next one! Lil Sis got hitched and I am still a crying mess. They have  a true love stroy, an endless love for each other and a lifetime of dreams to fill.

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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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