Sunsets and Heaven

Three years ago I never would have thought that a simple sunset would be on display just for me; that a colorful pink, blue and purple sky would become my hello from heaven, a tiny glimpse of heaven peeking thru just for me. My end of the day “hey mom, I’m all good.”  I search for Grant any way I can… for some that may seem silly or ridiculous. If my son were missing on earth I would never stop searching. My boy is missing physically but I will never stop searching for his spirit. He is as present in my life as my every breath, unseen and unheard but very real. Grant is my good morning. He is my good night. He is my quiet conversations.

I now find a sort of peace in the beauty of our heaven and earth. Never before losing Grant did I think a bird chirping when I’d wake, a dime on the ground, or a cloud in the shape of an angel be his presence in my day. Call me silly or crazy but only those who have lost deep have faith that balloons somehow find their way to heaven or that loving words are heard when talking to the moon.

I write my thoughts and feeling as my own sort of healing but also  in hope that others on this journey weeks, months or years behind me may feel less alone, that different is a “normal” way to feel and that conversations with the dead becomes companionship. Some may believe that my or similar behavior is a cry for therapy. I call it coping, a sort of way to manage a bit of the suffering.  Before losing Grant I knew it was normal to grieve in the way of tears but never did I completely know or understand the depths of sadness… describing that would be a long chapter of its own that most would chose not to read.

This last week my heart has ached for a family and an entire community that is grieving the loss of an amazing young man.  I’ve thought a lot about how family and friends were my strength in my darkest of days. I physically hurt knowing the agony this journey will bring them through.

When I heard the news on social networking I walked out of my office I think in a daze. I wasn’t grieving my loss in those moments. My heart was deeply pained for another family, a family I don’t really know yet still saddened by the tragic heart breaking news.

So many people in this same community reached out to me after losing Grant. There is something about growing up in a rural community that remains with you a life time; a place that no matter where you may go in life you still call home…. where trusting your neighbor, lending a hand whether in the fields at harvest or wiping the tears from a friend’s face comes natural. My roots grew deep in this community and because of that I am incredibly saddened for each and every one of them as they say good bye to such a loved young man. I pray for the strength of each and every one of them as they continue on this earth without their boy. May the love of this community carry them on their weakest of days.

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Dreaming

March 18th, 2015 –

My alarm did its daily 5:15 jingle. Most days I turn it off and just lay there for a few minute gathering my to-do thoughts for the day ahead of me. But this morning was different. I half knew I was dreaming but my dreaming thoughts lead me to think it was reality. And then I woke up to realizing it was just a dream. I don’t often dream of Grant and when I do it seems that in many of my dreams we are still fighting addiction and my thoughts are often that this a message that if he were still here this would still be an ongoing battle that Grant himself feared living with. For those whom have lost a loved one I know you know what a pleasure it is to dream of them. But I think for those who have lost deep and by that I mean a great love waking up can be more like grieving… because when it’s a good dream for a short time you felt the sort of physical presents you have so desperately been longing for… and you wake up to the loss all over again. You are left empty armed from an embrace that took you away for a short while. It’s bitter-sweet. It’s amazing to be in his presence, even if it is only a dream, but saddened when reality is back in our midst.

After my alarm went off this morning I must have drifted off into my Grant dream. In my dream I was told he was coming home. I was so confused but I was told there was a reason for him leaving earth for a while and it was hard to explain why he was back. I saw him in what felt like real life. He smiled and said he would meet me at home. I felt like the men around him were like his guards {like most dreams after waking – things don’t make sense.} I remember Grant getting into the back seat and leaving in a big white car; kind of like a station wagon, new and unlike any car I’d ever seen with 3 of the men. The car was going much faster than I could and at that moment in my dream I remembering thinking/knowing/questioning if this was just a dream. The house that I recognized as mine was not familiar to me when I woke up. But in the dream it was my house, from a distance I could see that white car in my driveway. I was screaming “Oh my God it’s not a dream. He’s home. He’s home.” I ran into the house where Grant sat with a smile. I remember five of his friends standing in shock in the room. I remember Grant saying in the voice I recognized as my baby boys “I wrote you all a letter asking you to meet me here and I’d explain why I’ve been gone…” And then I woke up. I laid there for a few minutes… much like I do every morning… reminding myself Grants gone. As I look at his photos on my dresser and embrace my reality… this morning… my heart hurt.

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Last week Sarah called me so excited because she had her first Grant dream or sighting as I’d like to call it. She told me her story and I asked that she write it down so I could always have the memory. When you lose someone it’s hard to accept the fact that there will be no more memories made so for me… even if it’s only a dream it is a present moment I have spent with him. Her dream went something like this:

Chelsey and I were walking around downtown. I think it was a normal day, just like any other, but all of a sudden she grabbed my arm. She said with an excited voice “there is a guy on the bus that looks just like Grant!” We quickly caught a ride on a city bus where the seats faced the center of the bus. We were in the middle looking at a man who was looking down, as if he were reading a book. On a side note, there are many times in real life we see someone, whether it be across the worship area at church or driving down the road, who has an “if you squint your eyes tight” similarity to Grant’s appearance that can almost let us imagine we are in the same place. We know it’s not real but if just for a second we are able to feel his presence and pretend he is still here it gives our heart a little piece of happy, even if for just a second. In my dream we were trying not to stare this image of our bus boy was so real to us that we just wanted to suck up the moment before he moved and we realized we had just paid a bus fare for something that wasn’t reality. I can just close my eyes and see how vivid and real this dream was. As I sat there staring in my dream he picked up his head and looked in our direction and with the biggest smirk on his face he said “hi girls!” And it was him! It was him, my dreaming eyes were shocked! The rest of my dream has no detail of exacts but consisted of us talking and hugging and laughing as we drove around on this city bus. I was on cloud 9… and then my alarm went off. I even snoozed the alarm, knowing well I’d be late and scramming to get ready later, thinking I could go right back to where we were. It was amazing. It’s really incredible how a dream can let you truly forget the reality. How unimaginable things can happen and you have no sense of impossible.

:)

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The Puzzle

Last week I looked forward to spending the weekend at Grants Place. Steve and I had a list of to-do’s… yet it’s the simple things like looking out the window at a beautiful sky or watching and wondering why birds fly the way they fly that make my days so serene … listening to the sound of nothing but the breeze. Yes, even the mysterious noise of nothing is part of my wondering… about life, death… weird things like wishing I understood the sound or the wind. Wishing it was his voice…. a noisy kind of silent I never hear in the city.

Being at Grants Place I find peace, quiet, and the time to process the reality of him being gone from this earth. I know it is the place of serenity Grant wanted Steve and I to have. It’s time we can reminisce about our boy, where we can cry together, and a place where we can, if only for a short time, shut the world off and just feel and grieve our boy together. Losing Grant is a heart ache that Steve and I equally share; he understands and has patience for my ugly days and helps me embrace and find joy in the happy days. I know Grant wants me to appreciate simple things like laughing at funny things that the kids say. Annie asked me last week “Nana, why do you like Owls?” For a second I felt teary answering her unknowing question. I replied “because they make me think of Grant.” She instantly made me giggle by responding “I just look at his picture.” I’m still giggling at the innocence yet real answer to her question. Annie made me laugh. A five year old can still make me laugh. Grant never laughed harder or repeated things more with his gut rolling laugh than the words of his nieces and nephews.

This past weekend I brought along a puzzle that I received from a friend this past holiday, an adorable owl picture in 500 pieces that I thought would be an easy task, until I opened the box. As I poured all the pieces onto the table I just sat there for a few minutes and thought this looks like my life 3 years ago. But not 500 pieces…more like a million. I could look over at the puzzle box and view the picture much like the one on the wall. I could see a picture but as I pulled all the pieces that resembled the frame of the puzzle square my thoughts were this: there cannot be enough shapes to frame and complete this shattered photo. It is strange moments like this that I can relate to grief and healing.

I think it’s normal and understandable to feel this way. For some, a few pieces a day will find their place to finally complete the beautiful image. Maybe for others, several pieces put in place one day and I suppose there are days we just swipe the whole thing off the table because the thought of life not ever being as we hoped for seems impossible. Putting the picture of life back together without Grant feels wrong or disrespectful; never wanting to finish because the complete photo of my life will never be the same. I sat there thinking if I were to compare my grieving and healing to this puzzle I don’t know if there would ever be that last puzzle shape in place… it’s that piece of my life that will always be missing from complete wholeness. At that very moment I felt “what do I think Grant was say?” Suddenly I knew the answer he’d give me “Complete wholeness is Heaven…”

Grant Loved Me… I know how much he still loves me…. I continue to take baby steps to a place in my grieving were I’m learning to unselfishly miss my boy… maybe an odd choice of words??? But for the past three years I’ve been on mood swings of honestly – angry horrible selfish thoughts at times.

I’m not being honest about this for just any given reader. If you’re shoving your chair back thinking “wow what a bitchy griever” then this probably isn’t for you. I’m saying it for those in the deepest trenches of grief, sorrow and sadness. Losing a child is the worst pain, the scariest place to be… it feels hopeless most days. But as time has passed I want to find joy in Grant’s life. I don’t want to be bitter for the future, success, happiness, love, families other’s will have that I dreamed of for my son. Grant wouldn’t want that. Healing is hard, finding peace is hard, accepting is hard. Loving my son for the amazing person he was on earth matters more to me than consuming myself with anger for dying. I made it to a place in my grieving I can hear him, and as hard as it is to listen, I hear him.

“Mom, Be happy.
Mom, I never left you.
Mom, Don’t think like that.
Mom, Let it Be.”

I love you Grantie
Mama

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Different Kind of Christmas

This month marked year three; three years without our beloved Grant… and I have discovered a new season. I’ve discovered a new season of loss, not necessarily the season of “the holidays” but another season in the stages of grief. This time, this stage, this season is a bit different from the others. Still sad, still missing Grant more than words could even begin to voice, yet I’m beginning to find strength and treasure the joy in celebrating his life. Don’t get me wrong, I still cry in my coffee and many days I am about one donut hole away from seeking therapy, but this season I have felt like opening my blanket and warming the hearts of others.
Since we lost Grant in early December this means we will now celebrate the fourth Christmas without Grant. The first year I’ll be honest was just pure numbness. A barely twenty-something-days after having our hearts ripped from our chests I don’t think any of us barely remember anything but the bitter cold of winter slapping hurt in our hearts. We were hurt, saddened and raw. The hustle and bustle of the season continued in households around the world. Our Christmas shopping was left undone. Everything that was not purchased or wrapped before December 3rd was just left undone. It didn’t feel right to continue in a happy stupor without our Grantie right along-side us.

The next two Christmases just felt unfair. The routine behaviors of the holidays seemed computerized, get done what needed to be done to make a Christmas that the kids could still enjoy but the hearts of the adults still felt empty without our original family of six in tow. The only way to describe it is a similar feeling of looking into a snow globe. The inside world looked so happy, so beautiful, so unlike what I felt like on the inside. The vision of beautiful, happy families making Christmas cookies, putting up lights, sledding, and enjoying every detail of the holiday season made everyone else’s life look like a hallmark movie. The vision made our family feel as if we were robbed of peace and joy of the holiday season and with an empty feeling that we would never get that joy or peace back. In these last couple of years my eyes have been truly opened to the hurt of others which has shown me that most families have some kind of snow globe mentality of Christmas.

This leads me to this new season of grief: Giving back is where I feel my heart has led me this season; random, anonymous acts of kindness in memory of Grant. In these moments I have felt happiness, fun and joy, laughter and downright pees and giggles knowing someone else felt warmth in their heart, knowing someone else felt cared for and loved on. All of these acts of kindness have had something to do with Grant’s likes, loves, and mischievous fun and humor. Some may have thought of it as a thoughtful gesture, but it truly has been a celebration of how much we love our boy; I know he was laughing and snickering in heaven right along with us. It’s been healing for all of us; the feeling of giving back a bit of his fun and humor has been a priceless feeling of his presence in this difficult time of the year. After all, showing our children and grandchildren that life is more than x-boxes, electronics and toys is important. Sharing with them that the true meaning of Christmas is about love, joy, peace and breathing life into those around us. This season of giving back has filled our Santa sleigh with hope.

As the seasons have passed us by these past few years I have cringed speaking the words good-bye. I’d prefer “talk later,” “see ya,” anything but the words “good-bye.” The holidays are even harder for me when it comes to finding the perfect words such as “til next time,” and “see you next year.” We expect there to be a next time; a tomorrow; a next year. We hear the inner grumbles of our own daily resolutions… Next year I’ll be nicer. Next time I’ll be more cheerful. Next opportunity I’ll compliment them. Next time I will say “I love you” or that “you mean the world to me.” Next time I will say all the things they deserve to hear.
It’s nearly impossible to predict one’s final breath. I was spared the agony of knowing it was Grant’s last day on earth yet cheated because I never had the chance to say good-bye. I would suppose the reason it’s hard for me to feel comfortable ending a day or conversation with those final words would be my feeling saddened that I did not have the chance to say everything I needed and wanted to say to my boy before he left this earth. I feel like I missed his final nod, that he knew … (that he really, really knew) and heard the words… I Love you. I Love you. I love you. And I always, always will. And yet… I know he knew….. Because I always, always told him.
This Holiday season I have thought a lot about gratitude. Practicing gratitude means appreciating the good that other people bring to our daily lives. For the past three years I have been blessed with the kindest gestures of love. I have reflected back on how friends, even strangers, reached out to my family and am so grateful for the kindness and hope that these people have put into our lives. As dark and sad as days have been I felt Grant’s love beaming on me through each and every hug, card, note, Facebook “like”… and every hoot, owl, text, and message.

I recently stumbled upon this beautiful song by Mark Shultz “A Different Kind of Christmas” – my favorite part is:

“It’s time to put the candles in the windows, the lights upon the tree
It’s time to fill this house with laughter like it used to be
Just because you’re up in heaven, doesn’t mean you’re not near
It’s just a different kind of Christmas”

I know Grantie, you are with us, at Christmas-time and everyday. You live on in each one of our hearts, in the joy of these beautiful children, in the silly faces they love to share. The love they show me is a constant reminder of how much you love me. In this season of gratitude and giving back I have learned that to truly bring joy, peace, love and hope back into our lives that we do not have to let go of our Grant in order to do so but continue to bless our friends, family and strangers by celebrating his life.
I’m grateful.
Grants mom

Video link from our family to yours: christmas 2014 kim.

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Snow is falling Christmas Eve

Lights are coming on up and down the street

The sound of carols fills the air
And people rushing home, families everywhere

Putting candles in the windows
Lights upon the tree
But there’s no laughter in this house
Not like there used to be
There’s just a million little memories
That remind me you’re not here
It’s just a different kind of Christmas this year

In the evening fires glow
Dancing underneath the mistletoe
A letter left from Santa Claus
Won’t be the same this year in this house because

There’s one less place set at the table
One less gift under the tree
And a brand new way to take their place inside of me
I’m unwrapping all these memories
Fighting back the tears
It’s just a different kind of Christmas this year

There’s voices in the driveway
Families right outside the door
And we’ll try to make this Christmas like the ones we’ve had before
As we gather round the table, I see joy on every face
And I realize what’s still alive is the legacy you made

It’s time to put the candles in the windows, the lights upon the tree
It’s time to fill this house with laughter like it used to be
Just because you’re up in heaven, doesn’t mean you’re not near
It’s just a different kind of Christmas
It’s just a different kind of Christmas this year

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Joy

On December 3rd, 2011 I was robbed. Robbed of two significant things; Grant and joy. The loss of my brother was the very obvious loss; the one everyone else could physically see. He was gone and that was a fact. On the other hand, the joy factor was taken from me and it wasn’t so visible. It could have been the forced smile or laugh that fooled many, but I just couldn’t figure out how to bring joy back in my life. I was only 25 and I knew that Grant wouldn’t want me to live the next 50+ years joyless. I couldn’t and still can’t fight for the return of my brother, however I needed to find what joy felt again. This might be the little puzzle piece that people kept telling me that ‘time heals’. I still don’t believe three years later that any time healed the loss of Grant. I miss him more each day just as we love more each day. But maybe joy could return…

On October 9th, 2014 I finally felt what genuine true joy felt like as I was handed my daughter after impatiently waiting for her arrival on Earth. Grantleigh Grace filled my arms and heart with that joy. Grantleigh will never replace Grant, but she has taught me so much in her 7.5 weeks in my arms. I know her Uncle Grant helped me learn this too.

On Grantleigh’s 3rd day with us (mind you I hate the number 3) she had what was labeled a life threatening event by the emergency doctors. I’m not going to get into details as they hurt too deep, but it was the scariest moment next to losing Grant. I thought I was going to lose her too and I was so scared of being robbed not only of her, but the joy she brought to me.
They taught me never to take anything for granted. They put forth the importance of family above anything else. They instilled the deepest love imaginable.

As the holidays approach I can reflect on the lack of peace and joy we were suppose to feel. I was selfish and made it clear the last few years how much I hated the holidays. I despised Christmas music, hated the holiday lights and mostly hated Christmas shopping. All these things reminded me of the awful day I had to walk into Banana Republic and select Grant’s funeral attire. The hustle and bustle and joy in that damn music made me want to scream my head off. The thought of happy hallmark releases seemed like false hope of perfect endings and Santa making the most complicated wishes come true.

This year is the first that I’m not looking at those things. I’m remembering what the meaning of these holidays are… They are love. They are family. They are God. They are hope. They are joy. This year as hard as today the third year anniversary (remember I hate 3) is I am allowing myself this step… The step to allow myself to feel joy and celebrate family as I know he would want for me and Grantleigh. Grantleigh deserves a mom with a heart full of joy…

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Finding the Courage

There was a time in my life that I thought in order to be a courageous person I needed to save a life, be some sort of hero, or be honored with a precious Medal of Honor.

Finding courage these past few years has been a daily struggle. Losing my child is something I’ll never get used to. Searching for peace is frightening and serenity is even more grueling because it means accepting the things I cannot change, and that challenges me daily. I am daily challenged, as I am sure we all are in our own way, to have the courage to change the things I can… and some days I just want to stay in the pit of grief.

Someone on the outside may think I’ve moved on, I go to work, I smile, I remain friendly and I focus on what needs to be done… for any parent the thought of losing a child is something unimaginable. A song would say “I can’t live without you” and yet the cruel truth is… you do have to. Or the quotes that make my skin crawl like “God doesn’t give you things you can’t handle…” Unfortunately EARTH does. God had no desire to hurt me.

For most of 2011 I couldn’t have imagined the unimaginable yet at the end of that same year I endure the most unimaginable pain on this earth.

For the first year I begged to wake up and for it to all have been a horrible dream. I pleaded with God to bring him back. I was so mad at God I couldn’t even pray anymore… not only had I lost my son I lost faith.

Someone once said in a bible study after losing our baby Christian… “you can be mad at God Kim…God can handle it…” Those words have been a reminder in my ear the days I cursed God for not saving my son. I’m sure Mary had a few words of her own as she watched her son die.

Holiday seasons came so quickly, another holiday season to get through. Losing Grant Dec 2011 is a blur. My favorite time of the year became my most dreaded season, yet I knew I had to find courage to get through another holiday. My girls deserved to enjoy the season and I so wanted to relish the glee in the eyes of my grandchildren.

Facing the truth, accepting that Grant will not be in my future takes courage, the courage to open my eyes to happiness, to laugh once again at my 7 little funny faces, to embrace a hug without wishing they were Grants arms. To have the courage to live in the present, allowing myself to love life for what I have today. I do have to live each day not looking back… not looking forward… just living today… having the courage to live one day at a time knowing that courage has nothing to do with facing my fears or being fearless but seeking my higher power for the strength to enjoy the moment. Seeking courage for whatever my fear may be isn’t about walking down this rugged road in hopes of reaching some sort of normal as it was, courage comes from living life, feeling heart ache and finding compassion for others knowing the taste of the saddest kind of tears.

I think we are born with courage. Courage must have been buried somewhere deep inside myself because as much as I preferred to stay numb the rest of my life I didn’t want to disappoint or sadden the others I deeply loved. I not only had to find strength for myself but for them. Don’t get me wrong… courage is like a yoyo still. I have my good days and I still have my many bad days, courage is the smile on my face that doesn’t match the hurt in my heart.

I’m scared… everyday I’m scared of life without Grant. I’m sad… but I still try to find happiness. I’m weak… But I still seek what strength I have.

I’m not alone…we all have our battle to fight… we all have our times of weakness. I have mine, Grant had his… some may see his earthly battle as weakness… but he fought his battle till the end. He never gave up. He had more courage than anyone I know.  No matter how bad a day may have been, no matter how sad he felt he always hid it behind a smile and pure kindness. He fought his earthly war as hard as he could and I know he is my strength to fight mine.

I Love you Grantie.

Mama

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Grantleigh Grace

We have been incredibly blessed! Heaven placed this little angel in our arms. On October 9, 2014 at 5:41 pm weighing 7lbs 3oz and measuring 20.25 inches Grantleigh Grace made her appearance, bright-eyed and as beautiful as could be. We are all just amazed at how magnificent this little miracle is. We are so blessed and know that her uncle Grant is so proud of his little name-sake and her mommy.

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The Tides

I can only imagine someday looking into the horizon and finding peace and understanding to the emptiness I feel in my heart.

I was listening to a youtube video of a mother expressing her journey of grief, how years after losing her son grief still comes to her in waves. I understood what she was saying completely.

I remember the last time I sat still in the sand; a few weeks before losing Grant, looking out into the blue water. I remember thinking this must be our tiny glimpse of heaven on earth.  It’s true that grief comes in waves… just when I feel some calm in my day a memory, the reality, the truth much like a wave comes barreling me over. Some days are easier than others for no particular reason. Sometimes I can genuinely laugh, have silly conversations with friends and then out of nowhere I feel angry, sad and bitter. It is very much like breathing in and out. Just when I feel some relief and exhaled the tide pulls me back in… but I won’t begrudge myself for wanting to be alone, slamming a door or crying in the middle of any given day and feeling like the world just sucks. It does pass and I do find clarity and balance once again for a moment. The moon always seems to pull back the tide of grief that just knocked me over allowing me to sort through my waves of fear and sadness.  Like a new horizon or the wonder of what tomorrow will bring; I don’t know what grief look like further down the road… I just keep walking.

I’m learning to know myself, I’m learning that it’s okay to be happy and yet I know when to crawl inside myself and just rest. There’s no expected time of the day or night grief hits me, it just does. It has no particular agenda. I’m learning grief in its own way is a gift; it’s my cry break, because trying to be normal for hours on end is exhausting. It’s a healing release; a sort of release to my sadness. Living my life without Grant; these three words simply say it all “I miss him”

I Love you Grantie,

mama

Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and the Sun and the rotation of the Earth.

Sun… Happiness, laughter

Moon… Darkness

Both a part of life… sunshine and darkness… much like life… happiness, sadness… life continues….

mom

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When you are stuck in the stages: Grief

I am often stuck in a deep sadness and anxiety. I can blame it on the busyness of life or business because that’s more socially acceptable at this stage of grief. But all too often the sadness still revolves around the fact that sharing this life with Grant isn’t possible. It revolves around school starting again, the cool air coming back which reminds us all that the snow is just around the corner, and another year has passed. The hustle and bustle of people have forgotten about the sad past because of facebook photos that look so happy and “moved on.” It revolves around the birth of a new niece coming up that I vow will still know the existence of her beautiful uncle who would have been so proud to hold in his arms. He was the guy who I m sure bragged about how amazing these little ones are to his friends. I’ve met plenty of people over the last few years who knew my brother who knew almost every intimate detail of my kid’s lives, again who I barely knew prior to losing him. They know these details because he talked so much about how proud he was of me and my sisters and our cutie-pies.

 

Fall is in the air: I used to love this season. I used to breathe in the fall air with a welcoming thought as I knew my busy season was soon coming to a short break and I could once again breathe slowly and enjoy the sluggish speed of winter. These past couple years it has just been a constant reminder that another year has passed and yet I feel no different than I did nearly three years ago.

 

I think when you’ve lost someone so significant in your life you really do want to see “life” in this life again. You do not want it to pass you by and feel so deeply sad. You want to enjoy the good things in life and hope that your children, husband and friends still see you as a loving, positive (not sad or depressed) person.  You know that you will never be the same person again but you hope that the new person you have become is still one that is worth loving. You try. You hope. You try again. You talk to a doctor. You google “grief” and wish that the stages were as simple as they seem summed up in a short article. You wish that the promise that your loved one was spared spending the rest of this life glued to an addiction, spared of a life of pain, deep hurt and sadness, spared of a life he hated, spared of a life that satan’s power had put his grips on was good enough to move on. You wish that the knowledge of this life being just a blink of an eye, the promise of heaven and seeing him again after this life was easy to be content with.

 

You google grief and wish that acceptance was the end. You wish and hope that acceptance meant you had also accepted that this life is just a blink of an eye and that joy should still consume this world while you wait for your day to come and be greeted by him at heaven’s gate. But each day you are reminded that it is a selfish life. Maybe I am selfish that I wish back those days. Maybe I am selfish that I wish back the days of watching 90210 reruns on my couch as my new baby snuggled in my arms and while he pretended to watch the show he was really staring at those cute little new baby toes.

 

  1. Shock and Denial
  2. Pain and Guilt
  3. Anger and Bargaining
  4. Depression, reflection and loneliness
  5. The upward turn
  6. Reconstruction and working through
  7. Acceptance and hope

 

This is the list I found this morning. And personally with each of these google searches I get a little more saddened that it always seems like acceptance and hope are the end result and that once you’ve gone through this list we are expected to be back to our old selves. It seems as this should be a 7 month checklist that each month poses its next challenge. Honestly, somewhere in this 33 months I have come to the acceptance part of this theory but I promise you that it does not mean I am back to my old self. It does not mean that I don’t wake up wanting to scream out loud or wish for an extra hour of sleep with hopes that a dream will be centered around his voice or his hugs. It doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a vacation or post happy looking photos on facebook. It also doesn’t mean I don’t still seek the google button for some self help guide. I still just wish it all back every minute of every day. While so many others have moved on a piece of my heart has been forever changed and the only way I can describe it is that unless you’ve been through it you don’t get it and I really wish this upon no one. It also means that we are more aware of what this is like and continually fear losing again. The pain and anxiety of the unknown future truly constantly haunts us.

 

I guess what I am trying to say is that for those out there who have also lost a loved one or love one who has been forever changed due to loss is that you are not alone. So, when you are stuck in these grief stages and wonder if people think that you should have moved on by now remember it doesn’t take time…. It takes a lifetime. We have been forever changed. And as I remind myself each day it also doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to enjoy what’s left of this life. Enjoy the little miracles each day presents to us. Laugh daily because you know they would want you to. Until we meet them again. XOXO

deer8

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

 

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My Memory Chest

Over the past two years Karmin has been working on a book documenting Grants life…a book allowing up to three hundred pages telling the story of an amazing person inside and out.  When thinking and looking back at memories whether we knew someone all that well or not photographs tell a story.

Yesterday once again I brought over an arm full of memories, notes he wrote me… repeating I love my mom… to I rode my bike to the store, be back later…to photographs that revealed a glimpse of Grant in each one of his nieces and nephews.

Karmin sat there with me as my heart flooded with memories of all four of them, remembering outfit, laughing at hair style,  reminiscing through pictures that brought back a whole day of memories that made me cry and for the first time a few that made me laugh.

I have 31 years of those special memories, many envelopes of hair that are dates, special cloths they wore, school projects, report cards, journals he wore in grade school,  belly buttons wrapped in plastic and photographs upon photographs that documents 31 one years of the best little people I call my everything.

Yesterday as I sat by one of my boxes full of memories… not a shoe box… a wood box the size of a chest… I sorted through the best years of my life and I don’t regret one silly thing I saved.  The things in that wood box are the only material things that matter; maybe losing Grant has lead me closer to the understanding of what really is significant in life….  The colorful pieces of art that hung on my refrigerator are really what mattered when I look back; not the material things that others may have envied.  I cherish what I have saved, because I don’t know if I appreciated the important things in the past as much as I should have.  I look back and wish only that I wouldn’t have spent so much time wanting …..But embracing what I had.

As Karmin continues documenting Grants life she has started a book for her very own baby girl, something already so beautiful, not a moment forgotten… this little girl’s arrival has been documented since before the photos of a positive result stick…

Each day since losing Grant I remind myself of the things I am thankful for…. an emotion very hard some days, feeling happy as I knew it was a sense of feeling whole. I struggle with that.  I struggle with grieving so hard I can’t enjoy the things that also matter all around me.

Looking through my box of memories was not just about Grants past,  digging through the photos and drawings and special clothing was about all four of my every things… digging through that box of my treasured past I found my thankfulness, I found importance,  I found the best part of my life, and for that I am thankful.

Grant left a gaping hole in my heart, a hole in all of our hearts that without future only memories can fill.  I know when I am blessed with this book of my boys life I wont look back at the things I wish I would have done or wish I would have had. I look back at a life I am so thankful for, a life I was so blessed to have held.

I Love you Grantie

Mama

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