Mothers Day Minus One

Since last November, I’ve been living in the Year of Firsts, without my boy.

Benjamin was the reason that I had a lot of “1sts”, not only the 1st Mothers Day. He was also the “WHY” for my realising that I HAD to get clean and sober.

Because God allowed me to become a Mom, I got to experience my baby’s first…poopy diaper (tiny but legitimately icky)…the first time our eyes met…the times after that when we would share a smile, a snuggle, a laugh…

As a single parent for about half of his life, I was concerned with SURVIVING for much more of the time than I’d like to admit. It’s nearly impossible to “stay in the moment” and live all of the Hallmark card images that flood the social media streams when you don’t know how your MOST BASIC needs are going to be met. We never got to go on vacations or to amusement parks. Instead, we mostly went to the Children’s Hospital to see whether his heart was working as it should. I learned later that he had to live with his own kind of PTSD as a result. I just know that by the grace of God, I did my best. We had a lot of laughs together.

PLEASE don’t feel sorry for me/us.

I’m not sharing that for your pity. It’s my life, and the reality hasn’t been pretty a lot of the time. So, nobody (except social media) ever said it had to be. Or even that it SHOULD be. It’s just truth.

My boy taught me so many things. For example: when I thought I had taken as much pain as I could stand, he inspired me to endure a bit more. He gave me reason to dig deeper for the answers when there didn’t seem to be any. His smile and tender “I love you more, Mommy” gave me the courage to find a way out of dangerous situations and to leave relationships which were destined to leave lasting scars on both of us.

My 1st baby was the instrument used by God to teach me what unconditional love looked like, walked out.

My boy grew up into a kind, gentle, insightful and funny man. I will always be more than grateful that he was a man who chose to forgive me for sometimes reacting out of fear… and things I learned from my own less-than-perfect, yet perfectly human parents.

I hadn’t planned to write anything for this Mother’s Day. In this year of 1sts, I’d just as soon skip over it.

I am still a Mother. I have another boy, or rather, young man. He delights me, more than I have the ability to express. And, I have Ben to thank for him, as well.

When he was about 6, Benjamin began to say things about how he would like to have a brother. So we prayed together, if it was ok with God, could we have a baby brother for Ben? And God listened.

I have been blessed, doubly. My son’s both grew up to exceed my hopes and dreams for them. I can’t wait to see what my younger son will become. He’s already more than I imagined he would be.

Only God knows what the future holds for any of us. But I know this much:

The Creator is good, He loves us, and He delights in our seeking to know Him. I look for the day when I see my Dad and my boy again. Trusting God to guide the rest of us Home.

Are you hungry?

I find myself ever increasing, in being aware of an emptiness in my soul. My spirit has been touched by God, of course. I am a Christ-follower.

But, still, there is such a longing for more. More of Him. More of His Spirit. MORE. The Word says that we can have as much of the Holy Spirit as we WANT.

How much do you want?

This world has beauty, and it has joyous celebrations, and peaceful moments. The Bible talks about how we think we are healthy and happy, and have all that we need. In fact, we, without Jesus, are quite the opposite. We are lower than the beggars on the street, that we try not to see.

But…I know that there is more. I have personally experienced it. Then, I was led away, back to the familiar. Sure, it was my choice, but I went.

If you are a seeker of Truth, if this world does not fulfill the deepest desires of your heart…you know, when you’re lying in bed and you wonder “is this all there is?”, then I hope you will listen to this.

Ask Him to speak to your heart, a little louder. And then respond when you hear Him.

I plan to.

Keep them alive long enough to get HELP

So, if I showed signs of having broken my leg, would you, as a religious person, tell me to pray about it, and then go on about your life? No.

If your child was diagnosed with diabetes or cancer, would you tell them to read their Bible, and that’s it? No.

Why do otherwise intelligent people insist that mental illness has to be prayed away? “If you’re depressed, read your Bible more.”

Reading scriptures and praying may not be hurtful, but I think the reasons for not going to a Dr. or therapist have much more to do with fear of what “people” would think, along with hoping that it will just go away…but it doesn’t work that way.

The last time I checked, the same people who would REFUSE to get help for a depressed child don’t think twice about taking medicine when THEY are feeling poorly.

So, here’s my point:

Familiarise yourself with symptoms of depression.

It’s NOT normal for a (child, preteen, teenager)person to stay awake all night, every night. Or to sleep 12+ hours, regularly, for no apparent reason. Or to have noticeable weight fluctuations. Or frequent tearfulness.

Often sadness is hidden behind anger. Surliness, irritability, sarcasm, isolation, fighting…

These things alone, are not necessarily a cause for alarm. If you notice several of them, on a regular basis, you should take notice.

Talk to the person. LISTEN. Then don’t stop looking for a solution until you’ve found one that is agreeable to that person.

If it takes therapy, medication, dietary adjustments, or whatever, do it.
DO SOMETHING.
People struggling with depression (or any other mental illness for that matter) DON’T just snap out of it. They will not grow out of it.

What happens if you don’t find something to reduce the depression? Do you want to know? Really?

The person will find a way of relief.

*Self-harm (this can end in accidental suicide)

*Drugs or alcohol (may also end in death)

*Impulsive/high-risk sexual activity (same)

*ALL of the above, and worse (death)

From my own experience as a person in recovery, and a formerly depressed person, I have a good amount of insight. And, I have no reason to lie to you.

If your kid is floundering, no matter what age, do them a solid and get them help.

In case you weren’t aware, they are killing themselves out there.

Reasons to Smile are out there.

I wrote this last year. I hope you like it.

I see a dapper-looking lady, probably in her 80s or more dressed in her casual Easter duds, walking into Wal-Mart holding the hand of a 40-something, long haired, leather-jacketed man: her son. His gait and the tenderness in the way he looks at her indictates that he is fully aware of the jewel at the end of his arm.
A few minutes later, I glimpse him pretending to throw a loaf of bread at her, then another aisle down, he hides and waits for her to come around the corner. Her smile is matched only by his smile.
She is clearly well cared for. I’m not sure if she is 100% lucid, but it really doesn’t matter.
She is happy.
He dotes on her.
And I am sitting in the middle of a busy Wal-Mart on the Saturday before Easter.
Crying.

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If you can’t be with the ones you love, honey, love the one you’re with.
And figure out a way to get back home.
#Mom #love #huggingstrangersinWalmart #doit #thisistheloveHetaught #loveoutloud

“…love one another right now…”

I found this on my cousins’ social media page. Been looking for something great to share with you…thanks, Margie. ❤

There was a farmer who grew excellent quality wheat and every season he won the award for the best grown in his county. One year a reporter from the local newspaper interviewed the farmer and learned that each Spring the man shared his seed with his neighbors so that they too could plant it in their fields…
“How can you afford to share your best wheat seed with your neighbors when they are entering their crops in the competition with yours?” the reporter asked….
“Why that’s very simple,” the farmer explained… “The wind picks up pollen from the developing wheat and carries it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior wheat, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of all the wheat, including mine. If I am to grow good wheat, I must help my neighbors grow good wheat”…
The reporter realized how the farmer’s explanation also applied to peoples’ lives in the most fundamental way… Those who want to live meaningfully and well must help enrich the lives of others, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all…

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I miss being a Mom

But you are a Mom. You have a son.

Yes, I do, but he’s grown. I am learning how to accept him as a pseudo-adult. Mostly, I’m learning to give him space.

After my older son died, I wanted to cling to my “baby”. However, he was no longer living with me at that time. That ship had sailed before I had even realised.

So, currently,  I’m working on figuring out what to do with a bunch of really messy feelings.

I think, almost daily, that I ought to shut down my social media…at least for a while. But then an old memory will pop up. I would hate to miss those. My personal memories of my children growing up are so few (I guess it’s because of ptsd), and those that I do retain are liberally mixed with things I wish I could forget.

Which leaves me here. Exactly 4 months since my baby died.  Wrestling with so much fear, anger, sorrow like I’ve not known before.

I get up in the morning and quickly switch my thoughts to gratitude,  similar to switching the lever in the fuse/breaker box. It has to be a fast move, so to keep the Grief locked away.

I remind myself that my younger son is doing his best, taking care of himself just fine, and God’s got him. I trust and believe those things to be true.

I know that “feelings aren’t facts”. Intellectually, I understand that the future will get better…

But right now, I just really miss being a Mom.

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My beautiful boys

A beautiful day to be drink and drug-free

About a week ago, it was typical winter weather, bitter cold and windy. Here, in Virginia, schools were closed and then had a 2-hour delay. We even had a few inches of snow!

Then, a couple of days ago, the temperature rose to 70°! Bizarre, even for Virginia.

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Today, my husband and I went out to run errands together, and it was a pleasant enough day.

Last night I was sitting in a meeting and a friend disclosed that about a week ago his child had completed suicide.

Yeah.

He has not chosen to relapse.

This is a beautiful example of the power of the spiritual program of recovery found in Alcoholics Anonymous.

I have so many things to say, and I need to say them. However, I feel like I just don’t have the words, right now. Maybe I should do an inventory to decipher what it is that I’m feeling.

Of late, my feelings are ever-changing, like quicksand…sucking me down…

In the desperate attempt to keep from feeling the emotional battery, I bob and weave furiously, dancing to avoid the right hook of pain and sorrow. More often than not, the punches land squarely.

I feel like there are a thousand emotional land mines all around me. I don’t know, maybe the death of my son was the impetus…I begin to recover from the devastation of stepping directly on a HUGE mine, then have a few days of comparable peace. Then out of the blue I step close enough to another mine, to set it off. The personal damage is much less, of course, but it ensures that my mind stays keenly on alert for any further, life-threatening  explosions.

Perhaps that’s why my verbiage is at such an all-time low. 95 days in. Part of the process, I remind myself.

I am walking in the dark now, gingerly, with arms outstretched, feet carefully searching for a safe spot on which to step. Whether or not such a place exists for me, now, I cannot say.

Moving forward, I am sure to encounter more death, pain, and plenty of other things over which I am powerless. My hope is to find a place where I can focus more on the births, and the healing, and laughter. Sooner would be better than later, but it’s in God’s hands.

I am reluctant to write while my days are more painful than not. Whether or not I will continue, only time will tell.

I shall remain…looking for reasons to smile, looking for His face.