Category Archives: loss

A Well-Lived Dash

I was talking to a dear friend of mine the other day and we were discussing life. She mentioned the poem about the dash you see on a headstone that’s between the day you were born and the day you die; and how the dash represents the life you’ve lived.

Sitting in my aunt’s hospital room, I’ve been thinking about her dash.

My aunt has been blessed with a beautiful long dash. She was born in 1921 and served in the Canadian Army with two of her brothers. She moved to California and had a wonderful life. She married the love of her life in 1946. My uncle adored her till the day he died in 2006. They had a love that most can only dream of. You could see the sparkle each would get in their eye when they saw each other or spoke the other’s name.

My aunt was successful in love and business. She was a well known interior decorator. She even decorated actor, John Davidson’s yacht!

She traveled the world with my uncle. They were also blessed with a son who is the light of her life.

Now at 94 years old as she approaches the end of her dash, I’m looking back on the wonderful memories I have of her. It puts a smile on my breaking heart.

I will mourn her when she’s gone to be with the Lord but I will not dwell on her passing. I will celebrate her life. So many wonderful memories will be with me always.

Psalm 23:6
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

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Mother’s Day

Mother's Day.

Mother’s Day

My heart is full of love but feels empty at the same time.

I miss my mom & daughter and love my sons more than words can express.

I feel empty, loss, love & blessed all at the same time.

When someone asks how many kids I have, my heart skips a beat.

Sometimes I will just say three & end the conversation. Other times I will elaborate on the details.

There are also times I say “Two…boys”. In my head, I finish the sentence, “and a baby girl in Heaven”.

The joy & sadness that I’m feeling intertwines. There are times joy wins & other times sadness overtakes me.

Own It

2012 was a crazy year. It started out uneventful. When we got to the last 3-4 months…totally different thing.

It seemed to spiral out of control. Words, like hairball & smile, to be exact, were a large part of what saddened my heart as 2012 started to wind-down.

The first word, ‘hairball’, was so offensive to a person that it ended an 11 year collaboration and friendship.

The other word was ‘smile’. As words go, smile isn’t a word you would think could cause such a problem. Timing is everything and the timing of the word smile on my Facebook page knocked the wind out of me, added to my heartache, and almost ended a 52 year friendship.

It’s one thing to make a comment that makes someone cry but also lightens their heart. It’s another thing to make someone cry and crush their already broken heart.

If yours words, no matter how innocent you think they are, come across wrong or are taken in a way you didn’t mean them…correct it. Not only correct it, do it quickly. Own it and apologize.

Some people don’t realize the power behind words. The person dishing them out may think the other person is being too sensitive…it doesn’t matter.

A half-hearted apology will lead to a half-hearted acceptance. That will leave a huge elephant in the room.

Words can hurt or words can heal.

Choose yours carefully.

God Sent an Angel to Get Me Home

God Sent an Angel to Get Me Home.

God Sent an Angel to Get Me Home

332726_2815486549466_1327898898_33233656_269500960_oTwo weeks before she was due, I went to the doctor and found out my daughter,  Sara, had died. While I was at the doctor’s office, the medical assistants tried several times to find her heartbeat. They hooked me up to a fetal heart monitor and tried, oh how they tried, to get the monitor to make a sound…any sound. I knew in my heart what they were trying very hard not to show on their faces. I was only able to keep my precious little girl for 38 weeks.

My doctor came into the room and gave me a heartfelt hug and expressed his sorrow over what my head was having a very hard time processing. After talking to the doctor, one of the girls asked me if there was anyone they could call because they didn’t want me to drive home alone. I said no that I would be ok to drive myself home. Truth was I just wanted to get out of there as fast as I could so I would be able to drive home before the reality of what happened hit me. And the thought of sitting in an office full of pregnant women waiting for “someone” to pick me up was, well, not an option.

They didn’t want to but they agreed and asked me to call the office when I got home. I nodded, yes. I got in my car, started the engine, pulled out my cell phone and pressed the button to call my husband at work. It rang once, maybe twice, and I hung up. I thought (not sure how I was able to) that it wasn’t fair to Jack or myself to tell him over the phone.

I pulled out of the parking lot and made the first curve in the road. I truly do not remember anything else until I was in my driveway. I went in the house and called the doctor’s office. When the receptionist answered, I said I was home. She was glad I made it safely and commented that I got home pretty fast.

The rest of the day and the hospital in the morning, which is burned into my mind, I will save for another time. As for the drive home, I don’t know. I spent many days thinking about and several sessions in therapy talking about what happened that day.

The therapist chalked up the lack of memory about the ride home on the fact that I was probably in shock. I have agreed with that belief for many years until I had a dream (or nightmare depending on how you look at it) about that day at the doctor’s office. In my dream I relived the whole day right up to the first curve in the road… Even in my dream, it went from the curve in the road to my driveway.

The therapist didn’t have an explanation for this. I do. There is only one explanation. I was not in control of my car or my life after the curve in the road. It was only by the grace of God I made it home safely. My loving Heavenly Father sent my guardian angel to steer for me. I am very thankful that He not only made sure I made it home safely but that my precious Sara made it “Home” safely too.

I will get through this

I get to choose how I act and react to the things around me. I know that all things work together for good because I love God and I’m called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

I need to make internal changes not just external ones. My heart is a key part in this. My heart needs to be transformed. I need to throw out bitterness, judgement, resentment, discouragement, depression, and anxiety. I need to guard my heart because out of it springs issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).

I know God will use my brokenness. What I’m going through is a gateway to get closer to God. The times I feel alone and unloved, I need to remember, God always loves me and is always with me. I need to be strong and not afraid. My Lord is always with me and He will never leave me (Deut. 31:6-8).

I need to remember God is with me and His comforting arms are around me to shield me from the things that are hurting me. I know God is going to get me through this. His comfort and His strength is always available to me.

When I get to the end of this chapter of heartache and tribulation, I will be stronger and able to comfort others with the same comfort I received from God (2Corinthians 1:3-5).

This is the day the Lord has made; I will…I choose to… rejoice and be glad in it (Psalms 118:24).

Happy Birthday Mom

. Well Mom, it’s the first day of summer. That means it’s your birthday. If you were still here, you would be 85 years old. It will be 17 years this December that you lost your fight with breast cancer.

It makes me not only sad but a little mad too; when I think about not only the battle you lost but also the time we lost. I’ve been trying very hard not to dwell on the negative. It took a long time for my heart not to skip a beat when the phone rang at 10am (the time reserved for you and me to talk).

When I post something about you on facebook, it makes my heart smile to read all the beautiful comments that others post.

I have lost track of the number of times I’ve told people the story about when the two of us went to San Francisco. You thought it would be a good idea to throw a french fry to the sea gulls!

My heart swells with pride anytime someone says I look like you.

I cherish all the wonderful memories I have of our time together. I am truly blessed! Thank you for giving me the “good cook” gene.

All the wonderful memories (and recipes) I have are helping me get past the pain.

Give Sara a big hug and kiss for me.

I love you..

Unresolved Grief

I started seeing a therapist regarding the depression and anxiety that has started to get the best of me. It didn’t take her long to diagnose me with unresolved grief. My journey through grief started when my mom died sixteen years ago from breast cancer.
I was just limping along through my grief over her death. About one month shy of the second anniversary of losing her, my daughter, Sara, was stillborn at 38 weeks. The grief I felt right then hit the grief I was already dealing with like a freight train. I ended up with a mangled mess of grief.

The grief I was feeling over my mom and my daughter were a jumbled mess of emotions. I wanted to hold my daughter, look into her eyes and tell her stories about her Grandma in Heaven. I wanted to be able to cry with and talk to my mom about my heavy heart and the piece that was missing because her Grand-daughter was in Heaven. I couldn’t do either and it was tearing me apart.

The stages of grief were jumbled together. I tried to separate the two so I could work through them. Looking back, I think I was close to the “acceptance” stage of grief before Sara. After Sara’s death, when my grief was tangled together, working through the stages of my grief, flew out the window. Since I couldn’t untangle my grief, I went straight to “anger” for both losses. I thought maybe it would be easier to work through if I was at the same stage for both…didn’t work. Fourteen years after the death of my daughter, I’m still in the same place.

Through my therapy sessions and some self-reflection, I have realized I have been trying to work around my grief instead of through it. The pain doesn’t really go away, you just make room for it.

God has blessed me with a few true friends who have helped me on my journey through this train wreck. They have been there to talk to me, listen to me, hug me or just sit with me. They have seen past my “I’m okay”.
God has also blessed me with His promises. He will comfort me and make me stronger. He won’t take away my grief but He will help me make it through it.

H. Norman Wright said, “The hard news is the only road to true healing is through the grief process. The good news is God travels that road with us”.

1 Samuel 30:6 …David strengthened himself in the Lord his God