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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.
Two 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.
The author, a mutual friend, poured her heart out on the page to give the reader a glimpse of what she was feeling. When asked if I thought it was alright to remove part of a sentence in the piece…I said no. I tried to explain how important it is to leave the piece as it was written.
I felt a whirl-wind of emotions while making my way through the chain of events that happened after that meeting. After a series of emails…the piece was pulled from the program. The short list of emotions I was feeling included: disbelief, heartache, frustration, and love.
My disbelief was mixed with heartache and frustration as I tried to understand how some people could be so closed-minded that they will not listen to facts. By digging in her heals and not listening to me, she would throw away over a decade of friendship and collaboration. I also had a hard time understanding how another friend would turn into “Switzerland” so not to get involved.
I am thankful for the undercurrent of love that was flowing through me during this time. The love that gave me the strength to follow this path. Also the love for the author and for what she had written.
As God says in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, for everything, which includes everyone, there is a season.
I am sad that what I have done for 11 years…seasons…has come to an abrupt end. I know that God will lead me and guide me through my next season.
THE HEALING BRICK
By: Julia Kovach
Nervously, I approach the Angel Statue thinking I’ll have to search for my son’s recently engraved and installed paving brick, but I look down and there it is, nestled in amongst all the other little angels, his name in print, for the entire world to see.
This sight provokes something unfamiliar in me; deep in my soul, in my very core. I kneel down and through my thin grey slacks I can feel the cold, hard, roughness of the bricks on my knees.
“My knees could bleed as I pay homage”, I think, as if atoning, “Let them, I would almost be grateful.”
I touch the words, ‘MICHAEL S. KOVACH, PRECIOUS SON’.
“Oh sweetie, look at you; you’re finally here.” I whisper.
Humbly, I bend down and kiss his name. Instantly I flash back to the hospital and he is in my arms again, and now I am not feeling the cold textured brick, but am kissing his face.
I open my eyes, tears streaming.
Like a cat coughing up an unmanageable hairball, thirty years of guilt, grief, and torment begin to rise, large and ugly, from deep within and catch in my throat.
I remember when I was pregnant with him and how I didn’t watch my diet and I didn’t reduce my stress and I didn’t get enough sleep. And I remember laboring, and how I screamed, “Don’t let me die!” but I didn’t scream for the life of my own son.
“Please forgive me.” I whisper.
I hear a guttural animal groan escape from inside me; as the words allow my agony to detach itself and release.
I was like a broken bone that had healed misaligned and needed to be re-broken so that it could be set right and mend properly.
Michael’s brick has been my one quick SNAP! I am now re-broken, re-set, and relieved.
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).
. 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..
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
Between the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic on April 14th and the 97th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide on April 24th, I have been doing a lot of thinking.
My Grandmother, on my Dad’s side, was born April 8, 1900. In 1912, she traveled to England with her mother, to sail on the maiden voyage of the Titanic. I can only imagine the thrill and excitement they were experiencing traveling for their home in Istanbul, Turkey to Southampton, England.
Their excitement quickly ended when they found their papers were not in order and they were not allowed on board. What must have been going through their minds and their hearts when they found out what happened four days later.
Three years later, on April 24th, was the beginning of the Armenian Genocide. This time it was my Grandmother, on my Mom’s side, turn to have a brush with death. I don’t know a lot of the details on what happened to her. The little I do know sends a chill down my spine and makes my heart swell with pride.
My Grandmother along with many, many other Armenians were forced to march…to their deaths. 1,500,000 Armenians were sent on death marches, raped, beaten, starved, crucified, butchered or sent to a certain death in concentration camps.
It is almost impossible to comprehend the inconsolable terror that must have be racing through the mind of this teen age girl. My Grandmother was wounded and played dead on the side of the road. The strength she drew, to lay still and control her breathing well enough to be left for dead, could have only come from God.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
I am so thankful and blessed to be part of these two families!
Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who delights greatly in His commandments. 2 His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed. Psalm 112:1-2
Sundays, when I was growing up, meant visiting and having dinner at my grandfather’s house. My sister and I called him ‘Poppy’. When my sister was quite young she couldn’t pronounce ‘grandpa’ so she said ‘Poppy’ and the name stuck. Even though it has been over three decades, I can remember Poppy’s house as if I was there last Sunday.
The red brick colonial house sat on a street lined with old oak trees; in the middle of a quite, quaint neighborhood in southwest Detroit. Ten wide steps led up to a long porch painted gunship gray. The front door was oak with a large, oval-shaped, leaded-glass window in the center. Walking through the doorway, you were greeted with an oak paneled staircase with a chunky oak banister and stairs leading to the bathroom and three bedrooms on the second floor. The smell of cherry pipe tobacco was mingling with the aroma of the chicken roasting in the oven and the rich buttery rice pilaf simmering on the stove; in the kitchen where I could always find my grandma.
In the living room was Poppy’s chair with wooden arms and red fabric, worn from the years. Next to the chair was a glass ashtray on a two-foot-high metal pedestal. On the far wall was a brown brick fireplace with a wooden mantle and recessed shelf. On the shelf was a Zippo lighter, cigar box, a canister filled with cherry pipe tobacco and a brass-and-wood pipe holder. In the holder, was a silver pipe cleaning tool and two pipes. The bowl of one pipe was white with a carving of a lion’s head on it. The other pipe was dark brown with a much worn mouthpiece. To the right of the fireplace was a steam heat register, painted the same color as the porch.
Beautiful oak molding framed the archway which led to the dining room, where there was a large stained-glass window above the china cabinet. Behind the beveled-glass doors of the china cabinet sat a half-dozen china tea cups, each with a different floral design, and a crystal bowl filled with butterscotch candies. On the opposite wall was a large rectangular gold-tone frame with a oval opening and a black and white photograph of Poppy in his World War I uniform.
On the long dining table was a white laced tablecloth with the Sunday-best china and silverware. A large bowl of lettuce, tomatoes and onions tossed with oil and vinegar was placed next to a small crystal bowl of tart pickeled cauliflower, carrots, celery, and green tomatoes. The empty space on the table waited patiently for the roasted chicken and rice pilaf to join in.
After dinner, coming from the living room were the sounds of Poppy banging his pipe against the ashtray to remove the old tobacco, then the crinkling of the tobacco pouch to refill the pipe, and the distinctive click and smell of the Zippo lighter igniting. Then, the popping and clicking of the tubes in the television sounded as it warmed up just in time to hear Sonny Eliot give the weather report.
For many years now, my grandparents have been spending Sunday dinners with Jesus. Time has taken it’s toll on the house and the street is not as quaint as it was when I was younger. I will always remember Sundays at Poppy’s house consisting simply of dinner and television, but memories so sweet they will stay with me for a lifetime.