2019, You Are Going Down

What a year! What a past 6 years! Better yet, what a past 45 years! Years that have been filled with many joys but far greater lows, sadness and burdens. I have had almost two weeks off work and I have used this time to really reflect on my life.

Is this life that I continue to live day in and day out the life I want to take into 2020? Do I want to take this life with me until I take my last breathe? Do I want to keep waking up in the same groundhog’s day cycle and going to sleep fighting tears for the things I wish I would have done or things that I wish would have happened?

Then I question, do I deserve that life I want? From the outside, my life looks perfect. I have two wonderful kids that adore me as much as I adore them, a precious newborn granddaughter, a husband that works hard and come home every night, a job that I love and want to make my lifelong career and amazing family and friends. But why am I so empty? Why am I so lonely? Why am I so sad when not with my children? Why do I feel like I need something more? Why do I go to bed each night feeling as if my day was a waste?

I know most of the answers are as simple as I have conformed to the environment around me. When I am at work, I feel like I can do anything. I can multitask and handle anything. I can get something done at the last minute with time to spare. I am sharp. I am on it. When I am with my kids, I am all about them. I am so focused on what they are saying, doing and hanging onto their every word or breathe. I fuss over them. I pamper them. I jump when they even whisper my name. I am supermom.

But when work and children are not around, I am sullen and blank faced. Why is that? I’ll tell you why, I have become so accustomed to doing nothing unless I make the plans, arrangements and details that if no one has made plans, I just sit. When did this happen? I have always been the one with the hair done, clothes just right, nails done and from head to toe just working it. When did I stop exercising and hiking? No I sit staring at a tv, book or phone letting the weight take over. When did I stop visiting my friends? When did I start saying “one day I will” instead of “today I will”? When did I become this person I do not know?

I can’t be this person anymore. I can’t wake up another day and look in the mirror and see this stranger. I have to get my happy back. I need to get my groove back. I need to find the joy I had that radiated out of me. It is scary for me. I know there are some people that I am going to have to leave in 2019. I know there are people that will have to evolve with me or be let go. I deserve to be happy, loved and adored. Not by just people, but by myself.

Look out 2020, Belinda is taking you and making you her B*#¥$!!!!! I am going to do what makes me happy! I am going to be the old me! I am not waiting on others to decide they want to join me. I will not be stuck in a cell phone and ignore this wonderful world! I will live. I will make memories. I will work my ass off at work. I will spoil my kids even more. I am going to be me. The best me I can be. Ready, Set…… GOOOOOOO!!!!!

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.

What if????

At what point is it okay to do what is best for yourself? When do stop believing in the words and empty promises of others? When do you start chasing the dreams you have rather than the ones that are in reality a black hole of lies? Do you hang onto that moment of hope or let it go because you know it is like the wind? When is it okay to stop putting your feelings away on the shelf? Is it possible to not break because you may upset another because of your needs? When do you walk away from what you thought was your soulmate but realize when it comes down to it, you are just a wife, not a mate?

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while getting the same result. Is it insanity to stay in a life that is just the same day after day? Where you just feel dread the second you pull in the driveway? Where it is the same mess, the same arguments, the same hurtful words? The same place where there is a lack of the love that you need. The love you long for. A place where you know that the few moments of love are only used as a way of pacifying you for the greater need of the other. A place that was once your safe haven but is now your insanity.

And what if you run? What if you just left it all behind to find your peace, your place, your dreams, a love unrelenting? Is there such a place where you feel love like you never have? A place where you matter as a constant, not as a convenience? A place where you know without any doubt that you are wanted and desired? A place where there is a soul mate to be your person? A place where

The sad reality of it is, even if you do run, find that life, live those dreams, you will still be utterly and eternally unhappy because it is not your life. When you have built a life for so many years on hopes, dreams and promises, it becomes your being. To shed that life would be like a death of self. How can you live if pieces of you die? So you will simply stay, in your misery and broken dreams, because you cannot bear to step a foot on an unknown path. Unhappy here, equally unhappy there. What to do? Where to go? Who even cares?

Bandages

When I first got to the hospital to see Richie, I didn’t know what to expect. What does someone who has been in a freak car accident look like? My mind had built up a scenario that had me scared to death to walk in the room. When I got in the room, he was laying there with nothing wrong with him but lots of white bandages around his head. I looked him all over. He had not a scratch on him. All 10 fingers. All 10 toes. Freckles in all the same spots. Just the white bandages. It looked as if they had rolled miles and miles of white gauze around his head. I could just see the tips of his ear lobes hanging out. He was perfect except for the gauze.

I have been in counseling or therapy as some call it. I call it crying time. Sometimes angry time. I spent an entire session recently on wondering if I am crazy. See, I now have a fear of white gauze. When I see it, I panic. It cuts me to the core. I feel like I have been punched. I lose my breathe, my mind and all sense of what is around me. My mind feels like it is going in every direction at once. Screaming as loud as it can. My brain is yelling for thoughts to get out of my head and all while trying to tell my body to calm down and remind me to breathe. Breathe in, Breathe out.  I cannot look at it. Not just head bandages. Any bandages that are white. Someone had their finger wrapped in some and I immediately went back to being in the hospital room looking at my son and the doctor telling me he was gone. Like I was magically transported back by a genie blinking her eyes.

I have been told things to do to make it better or to try and help. Apparently I have PTSD. Not just for war heroes like I thought. I talked to my cousin about it and he told me,”That S#$@ is real. Take your time to heal. Cause it may never go away.” I asked the one counseling me. And Josh was right. It may never go away. You can just learn to live with it and cope or maybe you don’t. Another cross to bear along with unending grief from the loss of my precious boy.

So why am I being so open about it? Why do I feel the need to share about my fear, hate and anger over white gauze? Because with the way media sharing is now days, I cannot go one day without seeing a person laying in a hospital bed wrapped in gauze! Every single day there is someone that shares some picture with a story of the pictured and their accident. How we need to pray to heal them. Yes we need to pray! We need to pray hard for them. But does the world need to see them in the bed fighting for their life? Why can we not just share a picture of them as if they were up and running? Do you think there will be less prayers without a picture like that? Truthfully I doubt half the people even looking and sharing the picture are praying for them. Most are just doing it to show the “gory details” and to be able to way they saw them that way. At the hospital, we had a strict no media policy. You could ask for prayers on Facebook but you were not allowed to post pictures of Richie in the hospital bed nor were you to give details that were not approved by me. The news story of his accident was not to be posted because it was not fair or respectable to the family. Why do we as a society want to see the pictures and stories like this? I have been there! You do not want to see it. It is not a spectator sport, not a gossip item. It is a human life and families are involved. Respect. It all comes down to respect for others.

So I am asking each one of my family and friends…. with my most sincere heart…. Please if you are friends with me on social media, watch what you post. What may seem like an innocent story to you can be a horrible reminder of loss to others. It can be a trigger into a world of panic and despair for others. There is no need to see people dying in a hospital bed. No need to see blood, bandages and any other thing like that. And truthfully if I am being honest, I do not need to see the picture of the accident site. None of us do. We can pray with just a picture of the person smiling.

thlp

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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Dear Savannah,

Dear Savannah,

I sit here on the eve of your high school graduation thinking about the past almost 18 years. There is so much I want to say but words just escape me for once. I will start at the beginning.

You were a surprise baby. I had the two boys and wanted a girl. And I got one. My baby born on 6/14 weighing 6/14. You were bright eyed and happy. I do not ever really remember you crying a lot or being a difficult baby. But when you started walking was another story. There was nothing that you did not get into. You thought that you were just as big and strong as your brothers. Every where they went, you were right behind. Spiderman and GI Joe now had Barbie as a bride. I just wish you didn’t listen to everything they told you. Remember when Luke told you to stick a Lego up your nose and me and Aunt Angel spent the night at the ER with you? Remember Aunt Angel almost knocking the doctor out because she was mean to you?

When you started school you were something else! You kept the teachers on their toes from Pre-K to 12th grade. You got in trouble in Pre-K because the kids wouldn’t do anything unless you told them to. Remember when you got in trouble for smarting off and told the principal that she shouldn’t call me because I didn’t like her? I learned real quick to watch what I say around you. Everything you set your mind to, you accomplished. You went out for cheerleading and made the team every time. Four years of color guard with the last year as captain. Even with problems reading, you made good grades. I am proud of the way you did your best in all of your school career.

You have been through so much in your 17 years and have come out smiling and always doing all you can for others. You have lost your friends, a cousin and your brother way too young. You have seen the harsh way adults can act and handle life situations without thinking of the children. You have seen the ones you love most go away and never come back. You have seen the ones you love most choose others when it was the wrong thing to do. You have seen people that should be setting an example for you do the all the wrong things in life. Through it all, your head has been up and your determination stronger. And you learned how not to be as a person. I wish I was half as strong as you on a lot of this,

I know you think that I am hard on you. That I yell way too much. That I am stricter on you than the boys. That I do not love you as much as I do the boys. Yes, I was harder on you. You are my only daughter. I am still scared to death that you will make some of the wrong choices I made. All I want in my life is for you to do better and have better than I did or have. I do not want you to have to work and get little reward. I do not want you have to go through being young, broke and a mess full of kids like me and your Dad. (It was not a bad thing, just want you to be settled and secure.) Sometimes it is hard for me to show you the love that I think you deserve. I did not grow up in the best of home situations and I forget that I have to do better with you. Sometimes, I just do not know what to do so I do things the way I learned as a child. You think I do not trust you. I do. In fact, I trust you more than anyone else on this Earth. I just want to make sure you are safe and sound. You see, I only have one daughter. I only have one “girl child”. From you I will get the grandchildren I desire. From you, I will get the Mother/Daughter trips that I could not do when you were younger. From you you, I will get to see all the dreams that never came true for me, come true for you. These almost 18 years may have seemed like I did not love you or that I was an evil old Mom but in fact, they were years of protecting you in my own way. I am sorry for any hurt or pain that I may have brought to you. My biggest regret is not being a better Mom to you than I have been.

My Dear Daughter, I am very proud of you. You have exceeded all my wishes for you to this day. You love your family with a fiery passion. Your cousins are more like your brothers and sisters. You treat your friends as family. You protect me when I am weak. You are hard-working and never ask for a handout. When something needs to be done, you jump in without being asked. Your church family thinks you are one of the best young people around. You are an amazing sister and daughter. You are a smart, loving, stubborn, beautiful, caring and wondrous fire cracker! You are my hero.

My one wish for you and your future is for you to go further than I ever did. For you to have more than I ever did. You have already done more than I ever have. You have made me prouder than I ever thought possible. I want you to graduate tomorrow and then go on with all your dreams. I want you to be the best teacher you can be. I want you to have a dream life filled with all you desire. I want you to have a huge family with all the kids you can handle. I want you to be able to take your family on vacations that we never got to go on. My goal as a parent was to do better than mine did. I want you to go on and be better than I was. I only ask that you do what makes you happy and is good for God. That you remember God first in all you do. And that you remember your old Mom and let her come around and spoil the mess out of your kids. ( and to let me name a few of them)

My Favorite Daughter, I love you more than my own life and cannot wait to see what you do in the future!

Love You Every Day,

Mum!

My newborn baby

My newborn baby

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My Graduate

My Graduate

My Christmas Wish!

Well, it is getting to be closer and closer to our first Christmas without Richie. Everyone keeps asking me what they can do to make it better. What would I like for Christmas? I really do not want anything for myself except prayers. But I have found something I want and wish for and need your help!
When my son passed away, a fund was started at the local bank to help us with funeral expenses and such. Well, this special young girl was the first one to show up and donate her very own money to our family. She is Richie’s classmate, friend and cousin. Her name is Lauren. Before any other adults gave, she did. Isn’t that something that someone 20 years old would just give so easily? Lauren is a very lovely young lady who works hard at everything she does and always, ALWAYS has a smile on her face. In the small town we live in, gossip travels fast about the kids. I have never heard one word about her other than how sweet, smart and extraordinary she is. She studies nursing at Middle Georgia State College during the week and works as a CNA during the weekend.
Now Lauren has the chance to study abroad in Scotland! How exciting! The trip however is very pricy. She has been working hard to raise the money on her own. Most would start a Fund Me account or whatever they are. Or ask everyone to help. No, Lauren has been asking about doughnut sales and bake sales. I sat down at my computer one morning a few weeks ago and pulled up Facebook and her smiling face was staring at me. Right then I knew to help her! I talked it over with Jeff, Mike and Angie and they agreed! We sent Lauren some money to help her go to Scotland.
So now I am asking each of you to help me fulfill a promise I made to this young lady. I told her that I would help send her to Scotland! She deserves this! When we were at the worst time in our lives, she was the first to help. She never asked for recognition or a thank you. She just did it out of the kindness and love in her heart. It says in the Bible- Luke 6:38 – Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
I ask each of you to dig in the couch cushions, get the change out of the cup holders in your cars and in the bottom of your pocketbooks! I have 803 friends on Facebook. If each one sent her $5 that would be $4,015. That is more than she needs and would even give her some extra money to bring her little sister a souvenir.
I believe that everything we do in life comes full circle. All the good you do, no matter how big or small, will give you greater blessings in return. Lauren blessed us and now I want to show her the same blessing. Now dig deep!
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