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.

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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595

595. That is how many days since I last held my son’s hand. .595 days.

1 year, 7 months and 18 days since I kissed his cheek last.

85 weeks since I last cried on his chest.

14,282 hours since I last felt his heart beat.

856,944 minutes since I last watched him sleep.

51,416,688 seconds since I last felt complete.

595 Days, 2 hours, 24 minutes and 48 seconds.

595 days

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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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Remembering GB8

Friday the 5th, I had the honor of attending a balloon release in memory of yet another child called home to soon. I reached out to his mother when I heard of his passing and we have leaned on each other since. Young Garrett’s birthday is today and I thought I would share in his family and friend’s words just how special he is.

When I pulled up to Sherry’s house the yard was already full of teenagers. I walked into the house to find Sherry and there was a good bit of family and friends all gathered around hustling to make this day perfect. I was glad to see that Sherry was surrounded by people of all ages that wanted to support her. After a long hug with Sherry and a few tears, we started the party!

Everyone gathered in the front yard in a circle. Holding balloons of every color. There were jokes and laughter,. Tears were starting to form. Sherry spoke to the circle of love and then we all released balloons. It was quite a sight. Everyone kept looking up even though the sun was blinding. The balloons seemed to stay in sight longer than usual. It almost seemed as if they were reaching for a plane that was flying over. Quite a sight.

I began going around talking to people and asking them to share with me a story of Garrett. Or something about him. I had never met him and wanted to know who he was. What he was like. The stories and memories were plentiful. One thing that was always said was he loved to make you laugh. Here are some of the memories shared with me:

Kaitlin and Kylie- “We would spend weekends over and have bon fires. He was always doing something dumb to make us laugh. Garrett always made us watch the stupidest movies! And he loved to jump from the tree platform to the trampoline.”

His Granny- “He would come in my room and just jump up with no hands. He would move around like a fish until he got up there. He was just a joy. Kind hearted and always caring about others.”

His PawPaw- “He knew he could always come to me if he was worried about anything and he always did. His driveway is long and we let him drive the old 79 Chevy truck to the end of the driveway in the morning to get on the bus. When he got off the bus he drove it back up the drive. After a huge rain he it stuck and we had to go pull him out. I just miss my buddy.”

Jaron- “Garrett was always calling before I ever got up in the mornings wanting to do something. He would call until I finally got up. We are all bigger boys and when he would leave we would find these his tiny underwear. He was always leaving it at our house.”

Aunt Angie- “He was the most kind hearted boy. There are so many memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I especially will miss watching him unwrap Christmas gifts from me.”

Zach- “He was like a brother. Never a dull moment when he was around and always laughter. He always brought people up. He was a person I leaned on.”

Tyler- “He was like the little brother I never had. We always hung out together. I miss the times we would go mud bogging and get the 4 wheelers stuck and have to jump off in the mud. He was always joking, making you laugh. I hope to see him again someday.”

Joy – “I only met him once to take the family pictures but he made an impression that would last forever. He just had this laugh.”

As you can see from the stories that were shared with me, he is truly missed. I regret never getting the chance to meet him. As his mother said at the beginning, “He should be here but I know he is riding in the clouds watching over us.” Happy Birthday Garrett!

Garrett

Garrett

Releasing the balloons to heaven

Releasing the balloons to heaven

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Sherry, her oldest son Austin, Garrett's pup and motorcycle

Sherry, her oldest son Austin, Garrett’s pup and motorcycle

Sherry having a  tender moments with Garrett's friends

Sherry having a tender moments with Garrett’s friends

Sherry and her oldest son Austin

Sherry and her oldest son Austin

All that gathered to remember Garrett

All that gathered to remember Garrett

Giving To Heal The Hurt

Giving. Do you know what it means to you? Everyone translates that one word to mean what suits them best. Whether it be a selfish translation or one of utter selfishness. My translation may be one to surprise you all.

Giving to me is all about my survival right now. Yes, survival. I have always been one to help others or jump when needed. But now, I give even when I am not needed. I give when it is not going to be known to anyone but to me. I give to keep from crashing into the rigged rocks on the shore of grief.

There have times when I get so withdrawn into my grief and sorrow over losing Richie that I would go to dark places in my head. I would just shut down from all family and friends. Then one day, when I was at a low point, I really thought about the feelings. If I was feeling this then certainly some other Mom in grief was too. So I sat down and wrote a note of love to a Mom that I knew was grieving. This one note started a pattern. Now if I am sad, I send a note, email or text of cheer to someone. If I am lonely, I send a random text to a friend wishing them a great day. If I feel ugly, I send a text telling someone else they are beautiful. I will bake someone their favorite cake and take it to them if I simply need to keep myself busy.If I need a laugh, I just snap chat one of my nieces a picture being silly.

You see, this whole life we have been given is not about us as an individual. It is about each other. It is about what we put out n the universe. In Luke 6:38 Jesus says, “Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give to your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” To me, this means that whatever I give out to the world, will surely be given back to me. What does this mean I will be given? Well, it can be something as simple as a smile I was needing when I drop that note in the mailbox. Or it could be the thought of knowing someone later in the day will enjoy a slice of that cake. Maybe I will receive nothing but the fact of knowing I did it. No matter what the reason I did it for or the return I get from it, I know I am being measured by God. He sees the things I do and he is building my rewards that are going to be greater than anything I can get here on Earth. I also like to think that the giving young man that went to heaven is watching what is being done here. I do not think he wants me crying in self-pity but rather wants me doing like he did for us.

So for me, giving is healing. And in healing, I am doing what is expected of me as a child of God. In all the crazy messed up ways the world is now, maybe it would be better if we all tried to heal the world by small acts of giving. Just think if we healed the whole world!!!!

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Clouds

I haven’t ever really paid attention to the clouds since my children were little and we would lay back and make shapes out of them. Here lately, I am fascinated with looking at the clouds. In the car with my husband, rather than talk to him, I am staring at the sky. Lately, all I wonder about is what my son is doing in heaven? What is it like? I think back to how we pictured heaven as a child with angels playing on clouds. As we grow older, we learn of streets of gold, mansions and the land of milk and honey.

So now I wonder, is my son sitting on a cloud in heaven? Or is he walking the streets of gold? I know it sounds crazy but I think I am looking for that one special cloud. That one special cloud that he shapes into something that lets me know he is ok. Will he shape it into a dragonfly? Or into some totally random thing that makes us laugh our heads off.

I guess I will always wonder and stare at clouds until the day that I am reunited with him. And then I will dance in the clouds and skip down the streets of gold in joy!

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Who has he seen in heaven?

That is the question of my day. Who has my son tracked down in heaven? I was watching something on TV today and the thought ran across my mind. Did Richie go looking for Dimebag Darrell, Hendrix, John Lennon or Tupac or any of the other people he always admired musically? Or maybe he found someone like Chris Farley, Richard Pryor or Heath Ledger? I am sure he has already found Einstein to match wits with him.

This thought then led to has he started a Yu-Gi-Oh group with a bunch of guys? Or is he bringing friends over to his mansion for Granny to feed? Playing guitar with his idols?

I know he is heaven with our family gone before but has he made friends with the other angels? Do they hang out and crack jokes at each other? Now I am laughing because I wonder if there is Taco Bell in heaven and if they make middle of the night runs for burritos.

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