Life After Loss

 

Today I ran across this picture on my Timehop:

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It’s not the type of picture that would normally elicit memories from the entire day because I probably posted a million similar pictures. This picture however brought with it an array of unexpected emotion.

2 years ago today I sat alone in my living room with my ridiculously pitiful pup and wrote the last blog post I have had any desire to write. I sat for hours with tear stained cheeks and typed my heart out in my Microsoft Word document. I hit saved, exited the program, and never posted it.

So here it is, the last blog post I wrote on January 13, 2015. Take heart half way through, it gets a little better toward the end

Dear 2015, 

I wish I had nice things to say to you, but I can’t think of any right now.
So far you have brought pain and bitter heartache.

I want this to be a letter about all about the positive things, the things you have in store, the secrets to come, the adventures to be had, no negative and no bad…

but it can’t be. 

Because with all of the things that are in store and all of the adventures to be had, there is still a bitter ache.

2015 will never be what I thought it should be.

Every happy thing that happens, the things I will want to shout from the rooftop,
the things that make me want to pick up the phone and call home,
will immediately remind me
that 2015 will never be what I thought it should be. 

And when the days get hard and I feel low,
when I am in the grocery store and I can’t find the right aisle,
when I have more kids in my house and need advice or just an understanding ear
I will again remember
that 2015 will never be what I thought it should be. 

No matter what else happens, 2015, when I look back at you it will sting.
Along with the good memories will come the heartache
Along with the adventures will come a sharp pain
2015 will never be what I thought it should be.

It’s 2015 and 10 days ago my mom died.

2015 will never be what I thought it should be.

Don’t stop reading yet though, because the good part is coming.

For me, 2015 has been heartache and pain beyond what I have known before
but 2015 is not what my mom thought it would be either.
You see, my mom was battling Leukemia, she had been battling it in one form or another for over 2 years. She had undergone extensive chemo, lost all of her hair, had a catheter in her chest, been through a bone marrow transplant, and lost her life as she had previously known it to be. She didn’t have the energy to work, or the immune system to spend time around many other people.
Her life had become something that she never thought it would be.

But she didn’t quit.
She persevered, she ran the race and she finished well.
She loved to the end.
She loved the people that others took for granted.
She loved the downcast and the overbearing.
She knew the love of Jesus and she gave love from Jesus.

Her life had become something that she never thought it would be,
but that didn’t matter,
because Jesus was still the same.
He was the same for her
and I know
that even though 2015 will never be what I thought should be
He will be the same for me too. 

and 2015, even though you bring me pain,
I know you brought my mom peace

I know that right now she is Singing With the Saints.
So even though I am angry enough to throw things at you, and I am extremely conflicted about my feelings on the next sentence… on behalf of my mom I will say,

And for one reason or another, I never wrote that last sentence. I have no idea or memory of what I was planning to put there. Today I sit in a different living room typing once again with tear stained cheeks while eating crackers to curb the nausea that has come with the pregnancy of my second child and trying to my keep my first child from chewing on my toes with his brand new, really sharp teeth (babies are gross).

In September 2015 I found out I was pregnant for the first time, and I realized in that moment that this letter was accurate. For the rest of my life it will never be what I thought it should be. There are still so many happy days, and the years have looked much brighter than the end of 2014 and beginning of 2015 looked for my family, but the ache that comes with loss never really dulls or goes away, you just kind of learn to live differently.

I have also learned that while the first half of the letter is accurate mostly on the days when big things happen, the second half of the letter is even more accurate every single day. Jesus is still the same, and He is enough. He doesn’t take the pain away, because pain is part of life on this sin riddled Earth, but He holds us through it, He gives us the strength to continue, and He gives us joy even in the hard times.

So I want to encourage you this year, if you are or find yourself in a place of loss, depression, shame, guilt, fill in the blank, look to Jesus. He is the author and perfecter of our faith, He is there in every season, and as I have seen over and over again the past 2 years

HE MAKES ALL THINGS NEW

*Sorry my first post in 2 years was sappy and full of tears, hopefully in the years to come I will fill these pages with much more upbeat words.*

Small moments and Small healing

On Monday I drove to Missouri to see my grandparents.
I wasn’t expecting anything special, just a quiet visit with my grandparents because I don’t see them often enough.
I got a lot more than I had expected. It’s cool how God shows up when you least expect it. It’s amazing how the littlest things can often feel like stitches sewing up a broken heart.

I have always seen my mom in my grandpa. I think they are so much alike.
They share an adventurous spirit, a gypsy soul that can only be tamed by an incredibly gifted personality, and even then only for a short time. They share a wild side, a mischievous personality that is always up to the best kinds of no-good. The kind that may get them into a little bit of trouble, but that also makes a situation feel light-hearted and that seems to draw people to them. They are fun, and they are unique.

But on Monday when I pulled into the driveway it was not my grandpa that seemed to bring back the memories of my mom. It was her mom. My grandma. The one with the incredibly gifted personality that every gypsy soul needs in their life. It was her expression and how she came outside to greet me when I pulled up, with her hands on her hips and squinting into the sun. I could almost see my mom.

I miss that.

I stayed with my grandparents for three days and it brought healing that I never anticipated.
I saw my mom in my grandma like I never realized. I saw her in the compassion and matter-of-fact way that she spoke. I saw her in the busy-body that is my grandma, the never-sits-still always-ready-to-help attitude that has always been my grandma. I saw her in the little things that I never thought to think about.

God used small moments. I found healing in the way that our conversation flowed. In the fact that even when we had nothing to say it was ok. I found comfort through watching her work and interact with the people around her. I found comfort because I felt almost like I was with my mom.

I am so thankful for my grandparents. I am thankful for how he put my mom together using their personalities. I am thankful that I have time with them to know where I come from. I am thankful for their past and how it shaped their present, and I am thankful for how God used their past to shape the woman that I called mom.

God used the smallest moments of my time to bring little bits of healing that I can only pray will be the beginning of a renewed hope in my life.

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