Thursday, March 17, 2011

happy st patrick's day

In Time of Sorrow...
May you see God's light on the path ahead
When the road you walk is dark.
May you always hear,
Even in your hour of sorrow,
The gentle singing of the lark.
When times are hard may hardness
Never turn your heart to stone,
May you always remember
when the shadows fall—
You do not walk alone.

I was looking up Irish sayings today, to post on my FB, and came across this one.  It spoke to me because it has been such a time of sorrow around here, but then I realized...I don't feel sorrowful today!  I'm not sure when the change happened in my heart, but I am no longer consumed with sadness.  It started happening when I forgave Jeffrey, and started praying again.  I did realize that something was changing in me when my husband was preaching last Sunday, and I didn't cry.  I even heard a song that made me think of Jeffrey and Jeremiah, and I didn't break down.  My heart feels lighter, and the gloom I felt around me for the last two years seems to have gone away.  I guess forgiveness really does make a difference.  I had no idea that forgiving someone could change my whole outlook on life. 
Thank you , Jesus, for forgiving me...and teaching me that no one is beyond forgiveness.  And thank you for putting some joy and sunshine into my life again!  

Sunday, March 6, 2011

for the love of trouble

Well, we survived yet another anniversary of Jeffrey's death.  Jesse and I went to the cemetery and brought flowers.  We realized when we got there that he still does not have a headstone.  This is frustrating to me, because I don't understand why it hasn't been done.  He just has a tiny plaque made of paper in a plastic case that says his name and birth date/death date.  You have to squat down on the ground and try to read it through the warped plastic.  Maybe it is just too much for his parents to handle...but I can't help thinking that it just isn't good enough for him.  He was a great kid, and a great little brother, and although his choice was really stupid and hurtful, he deserves to be honored with a headstone.  I'm not sure what to do about that...its really not my place to say anything to his parents.  It seems like anything my husband or I say to them isn't taken well or really listened to.  I am worried about them.  So, if you are reading this, please pray for them and their grief and their search for peace. 
On a side note, my kids keep me so busy that I don't get a lot of time to dwell on all that.  My two-year-old is developing quite an attitude lately!  He has started telling people "don't like you" and has earned a bunch of time-outs this week.  Let me explain how time-outs have been going around here: my kids decided (very sneakily) that they would sit with each other in time-out, and entertain the one in trouble.  Needless to say, being in trouble in our house isn't really a punishment.  But, at least no one is crying...they are giggling.  (and also not learning the lesson Mom was trying to teach them).   *sigh*
So, while you are praying for my in-laws, maybe also say a prayer for my sanity as I deal with two kids who love trouble  :) 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I choose hope

Today is a really emotional day for me.  I keep remembering the details of that horrible day when we found out Jeffrey was gone.  That he had chosen to be gone.  It had to be some kind of terrible had to be an accident!  I can't get out of my mind the shock and fear that I saw in everyone's eyes.  I can't forget the sobbing of his Dad, and the blankness of his Mom.  I can't forget watching my husband be strong and take care of everything...calling people all day long and telling the horrific story over and over again.  I couldn't comprehend what was happening.  It was such a shock to pull up to their house and see police tape blocking the house and cops everywhere and the Medical Examiners van in the driveway.  It was like a punch in the was real.  I had no idea how this could have happened. 
Jeff was a happy kid.  He was funny and goofy and loved his family.  He had friends and hobbies and goals and dreams.  He was close to his family.  What makes a kid like that end his life?  We still don't know.  That might be the most frustrating part of this tragedy...not understanding why. 
Today I could wallow in self-pity and sadness.  I could stay in bed and sleep.  I could listen to depressing music or watch a sad movie.  But, today I choose hope.  I know where Jeffrey is right now.  I know that he has no worries, no fears, no problems, and no pain.  I know that he is forgiven by God for his choice. 
I went to a women's retreat last weekend and had a major breakdown (which turned out to be a breakthrough).  I was feeling like there was a wall between God and I and I don't think I had really felt close to Him for two years.  I realized that the wall was my unforgiveness.  I hadn't forgiven Jeffrey for committing suicide.  I hadn't forgiven myself for not seeing the warning signs and reaching out to him.   I didn't know quite how to do that. I finally just let it go...and I now really feel the hope that I believe in.  So, today I choose hope. 

With Hope by Steven Curtis Chapman

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The last two years

I thought I would begin my blog by telling you the events that have occured in the last two years that have changed my life completely.  Two years ago tomorrow, I had just gotten my kids down for a nap and decided that I should sleep, too.  My son was about 6 months old, so any sleep I could get was awesome!  I had just fallen asleep when my phone rang.  It was my husband and he didn't sound right.  He said " I am heading to my parents' house. Jeffrey shot himself."  That was the beginning of the worst week of my life.  My husband's younger brother was just 19 when he decided to end his own life.  He left a note, but it didn't give us much comfort.  My daughter was 2 at the time and asked a million questions.  "Why did he die? Where did he die? How did he die? Where is he now? What is heaven? What do we do there?  Will I go to heaven?"  I was not prepared to answer these kind of questions for my overly-interested, spiritually sensitive two-year-old.  But, she amazed me and accepted his death with few tears. Even though she still doesn't know "how" her uncle died, she is content knowing that he is in heaven waiting for us.  But, having to explain all about death and life and salvation made me wonder what I really believe.  Do I really believe that the instant I die, I will be in God's presence?  My naive view of the world was shattered that day. 
Then six months later, my husband's sister's boyfriend was killed in a car accident.  It was so heart-breaking to watch our little sister lose her little brother and her boyfriend so close together.  She would sleep for days and when we saw her, act like everything was fine.  I don't know how she could even function, but she did.  His funeral was so brought up all the feelings about Jeffrey's death that I had pushed aside.  I had been just living life, raising my two little kids, trying to be strong for my family, and and trying not to dwell on the sadness that wanted to overwhelm me at times. 
Then six months later, I got a call from a friend and she said she was coming over right then to talk to me about something.  I couldn't help but think that she was pregnant (which would have been very scandalous).  She actually had to tell me that our close friend, Jeremiah, had been killed in Africa that morning.  My first thought was "how can I tell my husband that someone else is gone?"  Our hearts had just been ripped out again.  Jeremiah was like family to us.  My husband had been mentoring him for years and we loved him like a little brother.  My daughter was also very close to him.  Which made me again have to tell her that someone she loves is gone.  There is nothing I have experienced more painful than holding my three-year-old while she cries and grieves over a death. 
So since then, I have been trying to figure out how to keep living despite all the death around me.  It is a daily struggle not to worry about something happening to my kids or someone else that we love.  This blog will hopefully help me put into words all that I have been feeling and thinking, and maybe it can help someone else who is dealing with loss.