Inside each and every one of us God places a song, a calling, a unique thing that we excel at. Sometimes because of things that happen, we lose that song. Many, many years ago, I used to write and play the piano by ear. Because of so many things happening, I walked away from that. I could not see any benefit in that. I was made to feel different because I could write how I felt and play. I did not want to be different at the time. I wanted to fit in. When Ashley died, I lost my whole song. There was not any color in my life. It seemed all black and white and I honestly felt this is how it would be now the rest of my life. I could not see anything good ever coming out of her death or anything else that happened in my life previously. But God.. But God had much more bigger ideas and in His word, He promises to bring good to them who love Him and are called according to His purpose. He also says in His word, He has plans to prosper us, not to harm us but to give us hope and a future. When we are at the crossroads in our life, we have to trust He knows what He is doing. We may not understand at all but God does.
After Ashley died, the only way I could get out my feelings was to write. I could not say what I was feeling because of fear of rejection but I could write them all down. I found such relief in writing again. What I felt inside coming out on paper was a huge release for me. Recently, I finally after 30y sat down at the piano to play. I was scared half to death because of the memories of what had happened to make me quit playing but I found such therapy in that. Finally accepting this is me.. This is who I am meant to be. One who expresses themselves in writing and music. A weirdo so to say as the world would say but, it is me and I am ok with that finally. Accepting who God made me to be. At this stage in life, I just want to be able to be me. It has been a long road and many trials and lessons along the way but, through all those I learned many valuable lessons. Lessons I would have never learned had I not gone through the things I did.
No matter where you are at in life, there is a song inside each of us that the world needs to hear. If it is buried deep inside of you, maybe it is time to re examine it again. Not a one of us is alike. God made each of us unique and when we try to be like everyone else, we rob the world of a different perspective that only we can bring. There is something that only we can do. God did not make us all alike specifically for this reason. When we come to accept this about ourselves and about each other is when we learn and grow. We need to be able to just be ourselves and know in our hearts God loves us just as we are and has made us just as we are. When we embrace this and accept this is when I truly believe we finally find the peace we are longing for. We can not be at peace when we are constantly in competition to be someone we are not meant to be. Look deep inside of you and find that song that was meant only for you and embrace it… Remember this, in order to have a full song we have to play the black chords as well as the white ones. We can not just play the happy white ones, the black ones make music as well and enhance the songs of our lives.
I remember when I truly felt like I was one of the ” least of these”. I had come from the ” other” side of the tracks. Because of my parents issues, I was bounced around from home to home. I never felt like I belonged anywhere. I had never had the stability that a good home life brings which left multiple lasting scars on my life. It was not that people did not love me for they truly did and truly tried but where I was at in my life at the time, I could not comprehend it at all. I remember the time I truly did feel loved as I was. Through a course of events, God had started moving me to a different state. He also had allowed me to meet someone who truly is an epitome of Gods love for us. Through the course of events, no matter where I was at in my life, no matter what I was doing, this person loved me anyways, like God always does us. I never could imagine how God could love me?? Me, who was a mess. Me, who always was going against the grain. He knew way before I was born what my life was going to be like. He knew what it was going to take for Him to get me to comprehend His love for me was one person to show me His love in action. For this person to be His hands and feet.
The biggest commandment in the Bible is to love our neighbors as ourselves and to love the Lord our God with all our heart, body and soul. There is no discrimination against who it is we are to love.. Love ALL is the commandment. No matter where they are at. No matter what their political views are. No matter what they believe. We are called to love them all as Jesus does. No, we do not have to agree with them. The hate that has been spewed out this past week from the election is not as God would have we as Christians to be. How can we proclaim to be Christians and love God when we can not even treat others who are not ” like” us with love and respect?? This is no small task but one we must be aware of and carry out for it even to begin to make a difference in this world. We live in a very broken world and there are many hurting people. Jesus sat among these broken people and ministered to them. How can we not do the same? We can not expect to make a difference unless we walk among them and take time to listen and empathize with them One person at a time and then in turn that person reaches out to another. Just as hate has a ripple effect so does love. The power of love goes a long way. I know it is not easy by far but, God has placed us here for such a time as this. He knew long before we were born, the times we were going to live in and what we would each see and face. We have more power than we realize by just loving others. A touch, a smile, a hug, listening to them, praying with them and for them, being empathetic and the list goes on.
I will be forever grateful that God, knowing me as I was, loved me enough to place ONE person in my life who loved as Jesus does at just the right time when I was truly a broken mess. He knew what it would take to break down all the walls and for Him to get to me to start picking up the pieces. I know it is not an easy task to love ” the least of these” for I was one of them But, those are the ones who need to see Jesus in action to even begin to comprehend Jesus. I think we should all LIVE LOVE LOUD.. That my friends is what will make a difference in others lives and then in turn, they remember and make a difference in others lives. THAT is how we change the world we live in, one life at a time…
Well, here we are in another year of suicide prevention and awareness month. One of the most difficult times of year for me as I never imagined I would be in this club. But, here I am so over time, I have learned to try to make it work. I sure can not excuse myself from this club though I wish I could. It is a lifetime membership where the dues to get in are way too high.. I have to trust that God knows what He is doing here. I know it was not His will for me to land in this club but He knew this LONG before and set things up for me beforehand. So many things happen that we have absolutely no control over. It is during this time, that we have to trust God and His ultimate plan. God does give us more than we can handle at times. At these times, is when we have to trust Him and what He is doing. That saying has always gotten to me for it is so wrong.. We will find ourselves in situations we can not handle but God can..
When I found myself in this club, the farthest thing from my mind was surviving. I was determined I was going too. I was not going to make it. These are normal thoughts for one who has lost a loved one to suicide. We find it alot in the parents who lose a child for the order is messed up and the rest of our lives as we imagined it are forever altered. I even had one friend whom I had since I was 10 tell her children, ” Kellie is going to be next. She is not going to make it” We do find that is the case with many parents who lose their children. This is where you come in… If you know someone has lost a loved one to suicide, you can make a difference by being there for them and listening to them no matter how long they talk and how mixed up their feelings are. God knew what I was going to need long before I did so He placed people in my life who would do just that… Listen and accept me as I was, a very broken, messed up Mother who did not understand any of it at all… It has and continues to be a journey that has many emotions and feelings and changes. What I feel one time is not what I feel another time. This is where I have to trust God as He is my mainstay and has and will continue getting me through each moment. Through all this, I have drawn a relationship with God I never had before. I know He will never leave me nor fail me. He will give me the strength I need at the exact time I need it.. Not before.. All things I never knew before… I have gleaned alot from being is this valley. Things I never would have known before but, the ache to hold Ash is still there and I honestly believe it will always be there until that one day when God says ” your work is finished, welcome home my child, job well done” Until then, I will keep going on knowing He is with me all the way. Difficult as it may be, this is how it is now. All the way, my Savior does lead me. Through the valleys of life and on the mountaintops. Without Him, I would not be here today..
You too can make a difference for people like myself.. Be there for them. Listen to them. Educate yourselves on the signs. Be that friend that can make a difference. Never underestimate yourself.. YOU can make a difference and save a life.. Just by taking time to listen and care…
As many of you do not know, I have had this boyfriend for four years now. He has not been very nice. He would not let me sleep. Woke me up all hours of the night. He made me cry many times for days on end. He beat me up many times to where I was begging him to stop. He spends day after day after day with me. He will not leave me alone at all. He is relentless. I wish he would just go away and leave me alone. He scares me as I have never had a boyfriend like this before. Normally, they give you space. Not this one. No space ever. Some days he is sitting on me and smothering me. But, I could not get out of this relationship at all for a long time.This boyfriend has a name and it is grief.
Well, today I had some new thoughts about this. At some point in time with this I have to try to end this relationship. I have discovered no matter how hard you try, how far you try to run, how much you try to ignore it, it does not go away. There is nothing to help but time. Over time, the grief gets less intense and does not beat you up as bad. The boyfriend stops living in your home. He moves out but still comes by to visit from time to time. I have thought about this and thought about this and wondered what it would be like to put margins on how often he visits. When he shows up, let him in but limit his stay to an hour or two, then throw him out and go do something else. Until he visits again. Over time, I am hoping he will get about tired of the lack of attention and start leaving me alone for longer periods of time. Thus far, this has worked. Nothing is going to change any and I deserve to live again. I do think God understands when we are grieving but I do not think He wants us to not ever live or have fun again. Life just takes a different aspect without our loved one. But, that does not mean it can never be lived again. The love will never die. I think we think if we arent grieving that we are growing apart from them when in all reality they are forever ingrained in every part of our being.
Today I decided to serve this boyfriend his eviction notice. We broke up. Even if it is just for a day, a week, a month or however long, we are done for now. I want to live again and believe that is what God and Ash would want as well. Not saying the boyfriend won’t come back because that is an unreal expectation for I will have bad days but, he is not going to stay as he has in the past. I mean seriously, who wants to have a relationship with someone like this anyways?? But, it is forced on us and we have no choice. But, in time the relationship does simmer down to an acquaintance that only visits now and again.. That is just how the relationship with grief goes of which I am glad for I could not survive this as it was at the beginning for the rest of my life. All of this to tell you, it does get easier… In time..
So many times we have something happen that we truly do grieve.. A loss of someone, loss of a job, loss of a friendship and many other things. Early on this journey of grief from the loss of my child, I always thought I had to hurry through this because being sad was not going to make God happy… I thought He would not be pleased with me if I was sad and despondant over missing my daughter and dealing with the aftermath. When I tried to hurry through this and pretend I was ok, when I definitely was not, all that did was compound things. I was placing more weight on my already heavy laden shoulders…
I have since learned that God truly does understand. He does not expect anything more than I am able except to keep the faith. The faith that God will see me through. No matter how long it takes, He would not go anywhere. He would carry me when I could not go another step… I could be honest with Him and tell Him exactly how I felt for He already knew… Feelings are going to come and go but we have to stick to the truth. We are not going to be able to run through this. God will walk with us all the way. Our life is a journey not a sprint race. This is just one of the chapters or seasons of our life. It will not always stay this way. Each of us are different in how we grieve. But along those lines, each of us are different in our journey. My journey is not your journey. God deals with each of us differently as well.. We can not compare ourselves to others. What works for one, may not work for another.
My biggest obstacle on this grief journey truly was myself. I was complicating things for myself by expecting more out of myself than I could give or do. I had to lament in this for quite awhile before I ever began to see the light… I truly did not see anything but dark for the longest time. I was truly afraid to admit to anyone how I felt and what I was dealing with on the inside for they would never understand or they would walk away. It turned out that was not the case. That was all what the devil wanted me to believe for if I believed that he would succeed in me not making any progress…So many times the devil likes to pump lies into us. Grief can do that as well. Our whole world has been turned upside down. Which makes for the perfect time for the devil to attack. We have to stick to the truth. God can and will get us through whatever it is. He loves us as the broken people we are. He is truly ALL about restoring us and taking the broken pieces and putting them all back together again in a much more beautiful piece of art only He could create. If we were never broken what would our need for God be? He does use things such as this to make something good come out of it. We just have to believe that and keep taking one more step. Like the flashlight we can only see right in front of us. We can not see years from now, so we can not assume it will always be this way. That is what the devil wants us to believe…. But God……. God loves us as we are. He truly does understand. He can and will get us through this. We just have to believe. Will you believe??
So much can be said from a photo…. This photo to me speaks volumes to me… I was always the one who stood behind my daughter. I would always let her run ahead a little and then catch up to her. I was always the one who fixed everything for her. Maybe that was not the best thing to do. Who knows?? But it was what I did. She knew who to call when she had a problem or needed something for some way, Mama would fix it for her. Anyone that knew us, knew this. I think I overcompensated for my lack of parents in my childhood. When she died, I not only lost my child, I also lost my best friend. I also lost myself. Who I thought I was. I will never know what happened that last few minutes of her life that she made this final decision. I have come to accept this. This is one thing I can not fix.. I will never be able to make sense of it or in any way shape or form be able to fix this. On that day, I felt I was handed a life sentence for something I did not do, on multiple levels. Not only did I lose my child, but I also lost many many people who were my friends. It horrified them to watch this unfold and they were scared it was catchy or something. I do not think they understood that they were only adding another layer to the already multiple layered issues. I was horrified myself for I did not know what I was supposed to do.. I had always only known myself as Ashley’s Mom.. We had faced the world together and now she was gone. I would never be a Mom again. Yes, I know I am still a Mom but not in the same sense. She was all I had. We complimented each other. I would fix things for her and she did the same for me. I also think the biggest fear my friends had and another reason they ran for the hills, is they knew how close we were and they were afraid I was going to follow her..
Four years later I am still dealing with this. The new thing is I have never had surgery and Ashley not be there to take care of me afterwards. It always seems to be something new comes up that I have never done without her. In the little things like this, it just resonates and magnifies the greatness of the loss. Had she only taken one moment and thought about what this would do to me and the the rest of her family and her friends… But, that will never be.. I can not fix this.. I can not undo what she did. But God can and is slowly rebuilding me. One brick at a time… The process is long and tedious but He is so patient with me and realizes I am a human and loves me just as I am. For that I will be forever grateful…
She has once again ran ahead.. I am still behind her only in a different way. Someday, I will catch up to her… Until then, she will remain in every fiber of my being…. I miss you Ashley Nicole and will til I see you again….
Sometimes in life things happen that completely shake us to our core and our inner being. We end up shattered pieces as in this picture. Such a thing happened to me four years ago when my only child took her own life. Little did I know when I came home that day that all my dreams and inspirations were going to be gone and my life would never be the same again. The person I was, went with her that day, never to come back again. What I saw that day, will never go away.
So began the journey to find who I am and what I believe in. Looking at this picture reminds me, how long would it take to piece this all back together and have some sort of a mirror. Quite a long time and alot of work. So many times, we place such expectations on ourselves by expecting ourselves to be ” over ” something or further along than we are.. Either that or other people expect this from us. Which in all reality sets us up for failure. If people could only see the progress we have made and what it has taken just to survive this shattering experience. This is when we have to focus on the only one who can even begin piecing this all back together.. God can and will pick up all the broken pieces and put them back together again. But, once again, we are a work in progress.. He has begun and will finish His work in us, a little at a time. We have to stick to the truth in the Bible that God loves us as we are and that He is working in us and on us. So many times, the devil likes to trip us up and make us feel bad because we are not further along than we think we should be or because we still struggle with things. Looking at this mirror, helps me to realize that it is going to probably take the rest of my life to fix this. We will never be wholely fixed until we arrive home with Jesus. God knows us as we are and loves us just the same. We have to just keep taking one step at a time and knowing one day it will all be ok.. Remember this life is a journey, not a sprint. We are a work in progress with the beautiful canvas of our lives to be revealed at the end when all the shattered pieces of our lives will come together to make the beautiful picture God has in mind for us. Our goals need to be progress, not perfection.