Do you want the good news first or the bad news first? In my life I have often chosen the bad news first. My thinking and actions seem to lean toward dealing with bad news first. Not sure exactly why. But, it is the way I have dealt with things in my life, it has been my way of preparing for the worst. It is the way I seem to think of life. Give me the bad news, let me deal with it. Since I was little I have always had this feeling of trying to be prepared for the worst. Comes in handy when a storm is coming and I’ve been warned. Not so good when dealing with things that hit me out of the blue.
So, today, today, I will give you the good news first. The good news is Jesus is with us. We are not alone. You are not alone. Unfortunately, there are a lot of us around. We can walk this path together. We can find our purpose, the purpose for our lives. We can encourage each other. We can help each other, sharing our stories, sharing our victories and sharing our grief.
I was asked last night if this blog was therapeutic for me. The answer is yes and no. It is heart wrenching at times to reach out to others, to tell the truth about my innermost feelings, and to be as transparent as possible. I find it hard to talk about exactly how hard it has been and is. Sometimes it is very easy, not necessarily the subject but to release the emotions. I do not take writing lightly, I pray continually for God’s guidance in my writing and responses to you. I know for some reason God has called me to this ministry. To reach out to other mothers, to encourage and to share the hardest path I have ever had to walk, and reveal as much as possible – our feelings are normal. This ministry is one of my purposes.
During this last 17 months, I have read a lot and talked to a lot of people, including Doctors, mothers who have had a child die and adults who lost a parent at a young age. The coming thread among all of it is – it takes a lot of time to grieve. Studies and my own experiences say/show that the first couple of weeks we are in shock and intense grief. It is indescribable. I see those first two weeks in slow motion at times and other times it comes to me in flashes of a scene. This morning it was standing by her casket. The next few months I grieved while trying to go along and deal with my daily life. It was like walking through mud. I was trying to “find the new normal” everyone kept telling me I needed to find. I still haven’t found it. My Doctor actually tells me, there is no “normal” to find. There is a living daily, we are not promised tomorrow – none of us. The next several months I walked through life in unbelief of all that was happening. I had a numbness, yearning and intense loneliness along with the grief. I tried to wait a year before I made any life changing decisions. I’m glad I did. There are professionals who are now saying to wait at least two years. Grief keeps us from thinking straight. We do not realize it at the time, but we say and do things that are completely from a point of view no one else has so they will never understand what you are doing or going through. Most of the time when you try to tell what’s on your heart, or try to speak your true feeling- it ends badly – believe me, I know, because I have done it. Small things become very important to you. Very. Most will not understand at all.
I have been blessed to have grandchildren. Six grandchildren. They have kept me going at times. I will remind myself often the grandchildren need me. Not that my children, family, and friends don’t need me, but they are adults and I try to help them as much as possible by helping with the grandchildren.
The young children, I just can’t imagine what they are going through. I have to help them go through this life without someone so important in their lives. Amanda was an active and loving mother and aunt. She was involved with their daily lives in a proactive type way. She dealt with life on purpose. A purpose of pointing them all to Christ, a purpose of raising adults to live abundant, loving purposeful lives. She was a determined woman!
The adults I have talked to who lost a parent at a young age have told me about the anger that burned within them. The anger, I definitely understand. Another thing they talked about was the fear. Fear the other parent would die. Fear they were not coming home when they were separated for any length of time, fear they were not going to have anyone. Being scared to talk was another thing common. Scared they couldn’t talk about the parent who died. Scared it would upset the other parent, scared it would upset their siblings, scared it would upset the grandparents. The older siblings seem to blame themselves more than the younger ones. They took on roles of missing parent in subtle and not so subtle ways. They felt more responsible for things and sometimes the surviving parent would actually tell them they had to be better and more help around the house and other children. Some children talked of being lonely and ignored. Why have I listed these things? Because, I know these are things my grandchildren are going through in one way or another. Whether they have expressed it or not. It’s one of my purposes, to be the best Grandma I can be. To talk to them about Amanda, to let them talk about Amanda. To help them express their feelings and know I am here for them. To help them feel safe. Grandma’s do that.
The mothers I have “talked” with are in different stages of grief. We all experience it a little differently. It also differs by the age of our child that died, the way our child died and the relationship with our child. The one thing we have in common is the “hole”. The missing piece. We tend to hold in our feelings mostly. It’s unusual for women, apparently death of our child changes it. I guess we think no one else will understand. But, we all have to find our purpose to continue to live life the way we should. One of my purposes is to help give a voice to our grief and to give encouragement through this life.
Purpose, Hope, Strength, Living takes a proactive mindset of FAITH. God gives us all of that and more. I do not have the faith of a mustard seed. I am so very weak. At times I am scared to death. Sometimes, I feel very hopeless. Every now and then, I want to crawl in the bed and stay there. As Christian women we talk a lot about being a Proverbs 31 woman, the Proverbs 31 woman was active. She kept busy with a purpose. “She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands.” V13 “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.” V20 “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” V27 But more than anything, she was not afraid of the future.
I do not want to be afraid of the future. When I think of being afraid I think of the Shepherds keeping watch over their flocks and the Angel appearing. “But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10&11 This is still the truth today, do not be afraid, I have good news, Christ is the Lord, He is still the Savior. Jesus sent us a comforter. I have to rely on Him. I can not do it alone. I can only live through His strength, even though I do not even have the faith of a mustard seed.
Our greatest purpose is to further the kingdom of God. To tell others about Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, His love for us and how we can have eternal life.
I am not a Doctor, Psychologist, or Psychiatrist nor do I have any training in counseling. I’m thankful I graduated high school! Please if you are depressed, seek professional help. Please do not see it as a sign of weakness. God has provided mankind with knowledge to help. Please seek help. Do not be afraid!
Love and prayers,
Manda’s Mom #APG