Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Anchor STILL Holds, nine years later...

I had to take a moment of my time today and share a little of what is on my heart on the ninth anniversary of burying our son.

Perseverance.  Hope.  Sorrow.  Joy.  Peace.  

We have had a lot of bad happen in our lives and a lot of good happen in our lives and as I reflect upon the darkest of times, I remember singing "The Anchor Holds" by Ray Boltz.  Today, on this day of remembrance of so many of those tragic times in our lives, I sing it with tears rolling down my face because that "anchor" that I used to sing about in tears of depression, sickness, fear, grief, is the same "anchor" I sing about today with tears rolling down my face...and that "anchor" holds!  It really, really does! 

I have been young
But I am older now
And there has been beauty
These eyes have seen

But it was in the night
Through the storms of my life
Oh, that's where God proved
His love to me

The anchor holds
Though the ship's been battered
The anchor holds
Though the sails are torn

I have fallen on my knees
As I faced the raging seas
The anchor holds
In spite of the storm

Sorrow has perched upon my heart and invaded my thoughts, my heart, my being, and there are days it still does, even nine years later, but along side of sorrow resides joy, peace and love that fills my heart with hope, eternal hope.  

I remember people used to always tell me "sorrow may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning..." You know that Bible verse...Yep, that one!  I remember waking up in the mornings and screaming at God "WHERE IS MY JOY???"  And then the rants to God continued as I just wanted the sorrow to go away!  I wanted JOY back!  And y' day, I realized I had THAT JOY again! It was MORNING!  Not literally, but definitely scripturally! 

As I listened to Steven Curtis Chapman's new song today "The Glorious Unfolding" I had goosebumps from my head to my toes.  Because the story isn't over!  And looking back, I see the BEAUTY of it all,  even in the nights I spent weeping over Matthew's death...I see the beauty in the ashes...  

I see in the darkest of moments where God just held I screamed, as I cried, as I cursed death and the pain it brought to our family.  

I see life slowly evolving over the years...I see flowers blooming in places I never thought they would grow again...this friends, is hope coming alive and as it does, joy travels back in...into places that are so desperate for life!  

And that joy is God-given...and cannot be taken by anyone or any circumstance.  That joy can reside even on days when I am in the dumps!  And yes, I have those days!  Many of them, actually!  I just know that when they come, they will also go...and at the end of the day the "anchor" holds!

So today, as I look back on the past nine years, I see the sorrow, I feel the pain yet I see "The Glorious Unfolding" before my very eyes...and that is a beautiful gift from the one who has held me through it all!

If you are struggling today, if you are hurting and this is your darkest day, hold on to the "anchor!"  I have been in the darkest of places and He never left me, not once!  

I am grateful for the days ahead, grateful for life and surely grateful that I have the hope in my heart of being with my son again on the other side of heaven. 

For my sweet baby boy, I love you, I miss you...and as fitting as the end of the video of "The Glorious Unfolding" is, I will end with this... "I'll see you in a little while..." (big mama tears)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

HOPE & life after loss...

The bitter reality of life is that death is a part of it. Children die every single day leaving parents to do what no parent ever wishes to do...bury their child. I have seen a mother in her 90's cry over her daughter's casket and I have been the mother crying over my infant son's casket...I am here to tell you friends, it doesn't matter how old your child is, how old you many years you had him or her with you, how many days, or if you ever got to say "hello" before you had to say "goodbye..." loss is tough. Losing a child at any age is tough. There are no words I can write here for those that understand just what I am talking about except for I am so sorry...

Death is part of our lives, it is a part of life...and to be honest friends there are some days I just want to say "God, please no more." And as fast as I can say that, my heart is nudged back into place accepting that as much as death is a part of life, so is our hope. And our hope of heaven leads me right back to the place of a mother that will one day see her son again and with that, peace settles right back in.

Within our community, there are families hurting right now as they struggle with the loss of a child and I am here to tell you that after nine years I still struggle with it too. I struggle with the loss of our son and I struggle with the losses of children surrounding me. But in the midst of all of the struggles, God is there. His peace and joy reside even when the circumstances tell me differently. 

My heart hurts for all who know the pain of losing a very much. My mama heart wants to just hug all the mamas out there right now and give them cookies and Kleenex and just sit a while with them, even if in silence. Just to sit a while...and let them know I care and I am sorry for their pain, their loss. So very sorry.

My love and prayers to each and every one of you tonight...may the hope within your heart shine bright enough for you to see it, to feel it, to believe it and to experience it. XO!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Nine Years Later...I Love Him Still and Always Will

  1. Nine years ago our lives changed forever.

    It started as one of the most beautiful and anticipated days of our lives as we were bringing our second son into the world.

    It ended with his death and leaving me with permanent physical disabilities that would claim much of my health and also strip away my career as a result.

    Matthew lived 25 minutes before he went to heaven. Ultimately, he lost his life saving mine. He was my very first blood donor and no one would know it before it was too late for him.

    I lived miraculously. I was on life support for four days, flat lined twice, DIC, two emergency surgeries and the list goes on. By all accounts, I should not be here.

    Life would never be the same. Emotional and physical pain would accompany me and change the dynamics of all that we did, what we knew, what was. Everything was different.

    Doctors, hospitals, procedures, meds, physical therapy all became part of our lives permanently the day we left the hospital without our son.

    Life was never the same.

    Matthew died the day before my 31st birthday.

    Tomorrow is my 40th birthday and also the 25th anniversary of my nephew's passing. My birthday stinks...I don't like to celebrate my birthday but I celebrate life. The life I was heart hurts for the lives that were taken away.

    Matthew should be here blowing out his candles and reality is he is not. I miss him and I miss him growing up and doing life with us in our home but he is in our hearts forever. This home is just temporary...and that is a good thing. One day...forever eternally is going to happen. That gives my heart so much hope.

    As much as I miss Matthew, I would do it all over again to be his mama...even bearing the physical burden of pain and disabilities. Once again, this is temporary here on earth. I would do it all over again.

    I know that the struggle of grief and pain is real, I am no stranger to it. But I also know that through it all, even on my worst and saddest days, I have joy in my heart and peace that surpasses all understanding. That is God given and I am grateful.

    So today I can wish my son a Happy Birthday in heaven with joy in my heart and the peace that I claim daily. Sure tears in my eyes...that's a given...and probably some cookies in my hand...but full of hope in my heart I am going to get through today and tomorrow...and the rest of my life.

    Turning 40 seems so overrated. Surviving the death of my son at 31 and the physical and emotional hell that I have been through gives me the ability to laugh in the face of this thing called age.

    Life is a gift that everyone doesn't get to unwrap or keep...

    Life is precious.

    Life is never the same after losing a child.

    That, that I know.

    The pain of losing Matthew has taken us many places and been messy but God has taken the mess and made it beautiful.

    We thought we had a lifetime to make memories with Matthew...

    Love those around you today, don't wait thinking you have tomorrow or the rest of your life....

    Don't wait.

    If Matthew were here today he would want us to live, to laugh and to love and that friends is just what we plan to do...

    For our sweet boy, we love you, we miss you muches! I can't wait to squeeze your cheeks and hold you and never let you day I am going do that! I am going to never let you go! So run around heaven all you can til' I get there because then you will be stuck in mama's arms and no one will tell me it's time to let you go again!

  2. Happy 9th Birthday to you Matthew! Our lives are so much better because you lived!

    PS...I loved you first, I love you still and I always will! Always!