Mommy O’ Mommy

I miss my Mommy. All the reasons that I have told myself this year to make her death easier are now steaming piles of cow pies. She is no longer in pain. After losing my son and grandson, I told myself that now she has her boys again! She is no longer grieving! Now she is up in heaven with my Granny, Grandpa and her three grandsons! And better yet, for once in my life, this is the natural order of existence. Burying your parent, not parent burying child.

Truth is, I need my Mom right now. I need to be able to talk to her. To tell her what is troubling me in my life. Tell me how to fix some problems I am having in my little family. To give me her unfiltered opinion on where some people can go and rot, then tell me that if I hate I am not getting into heaven. That was my Mom. She would rip someone into shreds if they hurt one of her girls feelings and tell us about the fire and brimstone of hell if we did the same. I need my Mommy to tell me that someone I am so worried about is going to be fine. I need her to tell me that people can change their ways. I need her to tell me she is proud of me for taking a new path for myself. I need her to tell me that I am spoiling my kids. I need her to tell me that Harper is the most beautiful blue eyed little girl! I need her to tell me Maggie is not a child she is a horse dog. I need her to tell me to slow down when I drive. I need her to ask me if I am hungry. I need her to tell me what Victor is doing now on Y & R. I just really need my mom to pick up the phone and tell me she loves me.

I thought I could be the big girl she raised me to be but I am not. I am a mess. I have things I want to talk only to her about and she is not here. My best friend is watching her Mom slip to the other side. I want to be able to tell her all the things people told me to make me feel better. But they are words and they don’t help. It is horrible.

One day, out of the blue when you think your day is going to be okay, a thought will brush lightly across your soul and you will crumble. Mine was when cleaning out the greenhouse. When I got I my greenhouse I planted so many herbs! Not one came up. Not one single sprout. Mom told me I didn’t hold my tongue right. A few days before I was crying on the way home from work and told her just send me one sign, any little thing that she was watching over me and my brood. While cleaning out the greenhouse, after being planted 8 months before, there I find 2 pots full of cilantro! I thought “Oh she is watching me!” I brought them into the house to repot and put in the windowsill. Then I picked up the phone to call and tell her. I broke. She is gone. I can’t call her.

I just need my precious, beautiful, funny and amazing Mommy. For just one more day. One more day!

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!

Every wrinkle tells a story

I spent this morning looking real hard in the mirror. I look old. Gray hair, wrinkles, bags under my eyes, puffy places, droopy places! My jowls (as a friend calls them) are fatter and saggier. When did this happen? I guess it has been happening all my 41 years. Yes I have admitted it, I am 41.
I have decided this morning to embrace my age. Embrace my gray. Embrace all the wrinkles, sags and droops. Each one tells the story of my life. The lines around my eyes from laughing at my kids while growing up. The black circles under my eyes nights of sleepless worry while waiting on the kids to come home. The saggy puffy eyes from crying because missing my son is so unbearable at times. Even the one eye that is always puffier than the other! The gray hairs a mixture of a hard long troubled but happy life I have had. The gray streak a reminder from the day I was told my son was gone. The lines in my forehead from trying to understand why I had the life I had.
I have a friend that sells Mary Kay. She is always wanting to give me a make-over. “You will be a totally different person!” It seems every friend I have is selling this Nerium stuff. “You will look 10 years younger!” Friends that sell body wraps, eyelashes, weight loss pills and every miraculous age fighter known to man. It seems that every where I turn I can be prettier, younger, skinnier!
I am lucky to have the problem of aging. How many people are taken too soon to get to this point? My son for one. I have a friend that lost her daughter when she was 24. A time when her life should really start. Another friend who lost a son in his 40’s. I need to embrace this age and time that God has allowed me for whatever reason to see. I am lucky. I am blessed.
It seems to me we are all wasting precious years trying to be what we used to be or someone we are not. I don’t want to look like a different person. I don’t want to look 10 years younger. I want to look in the mirror and see me. All of me. Every flaw. Every line. Every age spot. Every little detail that makes me… ME. It has taken me quite a while to get the point that I am happy with myself. Happy with my age. I think happiness is the best look any women can have.
The endless lines tell the story of the journey that I have been on since birth. They are a road map that has gotten me to this day and the person I have become. I am going to embrace the gray! Embrace the wrinkles! And if I look 60 when I am only 41 then I will give God the glory for allowing me to keep on this journey of life. Because in my opinion, there couldn’t be a more gorgeous me than me.

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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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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Happy Birthday To Me!!!!!

Yep! I am 29 again this year! I have been 29 for so many years that I cannot remember what my actual age is. I have to always ask my husband! I haven’t been writing lately. I have been caught up with life. Caught up in my own problems and self-pity. What a better day than today to get back at it. I thought I would do a year’s review and let everyone see a summary of how life can change, rise, fall and flourish.

We have had many happy events this year. Some major life milestones. Savannah graduated high school! Krista got to sing the national anthem twice at Atlanta Motor Speedway. I got baptized! Luke has been working hard at being a firefighter. We got to meet Richie’s heart recipient Lance. We also met a tissue recipient Morgan. Luke bought his first truck with actual payments and even got lasik surgery. We have a new addition to our family. Maggie. A great dane/ german shepherd mix. Richie’s dog Sam and his hamster Pippin are still alive and kicking. (Pippin is now living beyond normal hamster years.) We have Jeff’s stomach issues under control and that is a relief. Will started college! We are officially settled into this house and preparing for some remodeling.Jeff and I have attended many Donate Life events in honor of Richie. Just to name a few for the ones in the house.

Other good news! Sydney is about to head off to University of Alabama! Dillon and Lauren got married! Kaelyn and Nolie are walking! Hunter is still awesome! Briggs is adding more fish trophies to his name. Brandy is about to bust with boy #2. Josh has found him an awesome lady that we have just fallen in love with. Wesley is playing his heart out on stage in Florida. Ingles got to meet Lance! My family got to meet Lance! So many of Richie’s friends have just been out and tackling the world. I love when they call me to tell me what they are doing!

I have made many friendships this year. I have met many people that have touched our lives and hearts! Tonya and Robert have become close friends that we cherish like family! Debbie M and I have become like sisters. Misty started coming to my church and has quickly become my sister in Christ and confidant! I have made many friends through my blogging and Donate Life journey. I have gotten very close to our piano player at church after we bonded when she lost her son. I have also become very close with people in the community that reached out after Richie passed and have become more than acquaintances. they have now become people that I can depend on and reach out to share the good and bad. Our small circle of friends has now grown abundant.

Well, I was going to share the bad that has happened this year also but now I think I will just let it rest. Why should I focus on the bad? No matter what happened in the past year, nothing can be as bad as the day we lost Richie. So why focus on them? I think that is a big problem for the world today. Rather than focus on all the good things in life we tend to get hung up in the bad. The dishwasher broke, the tire was flat, JimBob didn’t get the promotion. Who cares! You still have life, your world didn’t stop turning. There are very many little blessing that should be celebrated each and every day. Even if it is just the fact that you and your family woke up and were able to put your feet on the floor. It would be very easy to get sucked into a world of self-pity and I have to stop myself daily. Life’s problems can consume us and make us miss God’s little blessings and rainbows. So what is the past year had hiccups along the way. I have been through the worst and none of it equaled that! So here is to turning 29 next year! May it be filled with many more milestones and many more friends!

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