Archive | November 2013

You’re still not there

I’m headed home from New Orleans today but you still won’t be there.
The depth and duration of this pain – this void you left – is indescribable.
I remembered a new memory while I was here. A memory of a joke from 15+ years ago about you and S going to college together out here. That time should be now… But you’re not here.
I find myself wishing I could crawl in bed with you and scratch your back. I can see your bedroom on Pittsfield in my mind. The piles of clothes and shoes I’d have to step over to get to the bed. You never did get too old for mommy lovin, did ya? I think of all the times I did that. I remember you’d smile just a little before your eyes would open. I’d get a pitiful little moan out of you about how cold it was as I’d tuck the blanket back around your neck and shoulders. I lingered several mornings…. Just kinda took you in and thanked God for you. I wish I would’ve lingered more mornings. But no – no shoulda coulda woulda’s. I am grateful for the times I did linger. Those are precious memories I cherish.

A few more firsts

Hi Drey.

I survived a few more “firsts” this week.
My first flight since our May vacation before you died.
You had gone to the Olentangy prom the night before and our flight was leaving at 6:00 or 7:00 am – some crazy early hour that I had booked because I wanted every minute possible on vaca as a family. You slept on my shoulder the whole way there. I was uncomfortable but I didn’t move. No way was I giving up a second of my 18 year old baby resting on me.
I lived through seeing my first palm tree. Remember it was always our contest ever since you were little? Flying into Orlando and scanning the surface for the first palm tree while we were about to land? I know you were too old for that the last couple of trips we took but you still played along – sort of. I didn’t look out the window of this flight… I’m south so I knew they were out there. But I didn’t look. I saw my first one as the shuttle bus drove us to the French Quarter. It wasn’t a very pretty one and it was in an odd place. Wedged underneath a low overpass. Alive but all brown.
So now I’m officially on my first vacation. I’m grateful to be somewhere you’ve never been. And I will have a great time. But you’re still here. I take you everywhere.
I love you baby.

Rhythm of life

I’m learning the urge to convince people I’m okay is especially strong after posting something vulnerable.
Self protecting? Man pleasing? A bit of both.
I met the cutest, most sincere and honest young lady last night… Her dad recently died by suicide. Her pain is accompanied with a desire to push forward, to enjoy the normal things a high school kid should be doing.
Suicide is so evil, so painful and gross. You have no choice but to spend time questioning. Where were you God? What did I miss? Why? What was he thinking? How did I not know how much pain he was in? Should I have… ? The questions are exhausting. Your mind won’t shut off. You replay the days and weeks prior to the tragedy. Every conversation. Then you get a break from the barrage of self-questions and acknowledge he’s gone. You miss him. It aches. So this is the grief part. Then you flip back to the questioning. It’s an exhausting, long process of emotional chaos.
Then you get a reprieve. One that lasts longer than 5 minutes. Then another. You are somehow integrating your pain into your life and it isn’t ruling you every minute. You think more about other people. You begin poking your head out for longer periods of time.
Then you meet another who’s at the beginning. And by the grace of God you ache, you care, you pray for them. You remember where you were and can see how God’s been comforting you. Caring for you. You want to give that away. You want to pray, to help somehow.
Maybe this is the new rhythm of life.
I’m okay.


Remembering is hard.
Remembering helps me see Gods faithfulness through tragedy.
Remembering sensitizing me.
Remembering cultivates gratitude.
God help me with this balancing act of Pain and Joy

Busch Gardens Tampa May, 2012

Busch Gardens Tampa May, 2012



Choose a funeral home.
Write an obituary. What days?
Call dad.
Choose an urn.
Call doctor. Get sleeping pills.
Viewing first?
What will he wear? Oh God no make it stop. This isn’t happening. I just bought him those shoes. No. Not for this. No God.
Pull weeds.
Crack jokes.
Self protect.
Photo boards.
Where to have the funeral.
Call Nissan.
Paycheck arrived. Fuck. Already closed bank account online. Cry hard at Huntington. Hate seeing people. Write “deceased.”
Pamphlet. Pictures.
Visit dad.
Write down medicine consumption.
Too many questions. I don’t know what I want to eat, who I want here, if I want the blinds open. I don’t fucking know. Stop asking so much of me.
Cancel phone.
Delete from favorites? Fuck. Not now.
Call dentist. Oh God.
Call Fidelity.
Cancel auto insurance. Explain why. Fuck.
Candle light vigil. Can I handle it? I’ll decide just before it starts.
Can’t shave my legs. Too shaky. Call mom – need nair.
Can’t answer phone.
Want to let people know I’m grateful they’re reaching out. Can’t talk. Send an email?
Read the cards or wait?
Where do we want donations to go?
People saying stupid things.
Will I speak at funeral?
Who will do funeral?
Soccer game memorial.
Don’t throw away milk carton. Drey held it.
Smell his clothes. Breathe him in.
How’s Fred?
Cobalt. Fuck.
Too many decisions.
It hurts bad.
It can’t be real.
Make it stop.
Let me die.

How do I pray?

Sometimes I am so overwhelmed by the number of people I’ve met through a suicide loss that I shut down and don’t know how to pray for them at all.   I knew maybe 3 or 4 people as of August.  But now just 3 months later I’ve met dozens, dozens. 

1 Thes 5: 16-18  “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”

I am thankful for how You’ve been softening my heart, God.  I am thankful for how You’ve shown me it’s far better to live by Your priorities than what mine were.  So maybe that’s what you mean by being thankful in all circumstances.  Your word doesn’t say to be thankful FOR the circumstance… but IN the circumstance.  Yes, thank You for pointing that out to me!  Yes!

vs 17… “Never stop praying.”  I talk to You all day throughout the day.  My problem in this season isn’t prayer in the broad sense of the word – it’s that I don’t shut up long enough to hear You.  Praying is communication.  Communication is talking and listening.   

How do I pray for so many people?  People I’ve met just a handful of times?  People with unique circumstances, painful losses.  I picture their faces.  I picture them in the setting where I met them.  Their tears.  Their anger.  Their guilt and confusion.  The look of shock on their faces.  There’s no making sense of life now.

Rom 8:26 “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”

Matt 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”  God help them grieve.  Bless them as they mourn.  Comfort them.   Help them do the “next thing” whatever that may be.  Reach out to someone else who’s hurting, get out of bed, draw closer to You, take a breath.  Whatever the “next thing” is.  I pray these things for each person.  Thank You for loving them far more than I ever could and for meeting them exactly where they are.  Thank You for knowing exactly what they need, Father. 

S who lost her son 10 years ago. C who lost her husband last month. R&N who lost their son 6 years ago.  M&J who lost their son 4 years ago.  D who lost her boyfriend last year.  W who lost both her mom and her husband.  M and M who both lost people close to them . M&G who lost their son. V who lost her sister. R who lost her son. V who lost her husband and for her two small children.  J who lost her husband last year.  The older couple who just lost their son.  A who lost her friend 3 years ago . D&J who just lost their brother.  L who just lost her husband.  The entire M family – especially S, Dad and husband who lost their dear daughter and wife K just last weekend.  J&R who lost J 6 years ago.  B who I will meet tomorrow and her 2 kids – they just lost husband/dad 6 weeks ago.  D&S and D’s family as they mourn the one year loss of D.  K as she continues grieving for her Super N.  MA for the loss of Ski.  B for loss of his father 20+ years ago.  Thank you for his servant heart towards helping others learn to live again.  For J and the loss of her daughter just 30 months ago.  C who lost her Mom years ago.  MBSS blogger.  And I pray for Fred, Robbie, David, Kris, my parents and Fred’s parents, Drey’s dear friends… Jeritt, Jayson, Austin, Robby, Max, Ryan, Alli, Morgan, Bethaney, Cary, Jenna, Kevin, Britney, Molly, Alec, Ben, Addie, Peiman, Ian, Josh, Grace, Gabe, Victoria and so many more.  Thank You for knowing everyone I’ve neglected to pray specifically for on this chilly Tuesday morning, Father.   Thank You for the crisp white snow that blankets my patio.  Thank You for filling me up yet again with Your love, peace and compassion.  Truly those who mourn are blessed and comforted.

“I’m calling to see how you’ve been doing since graduating high school…”

I got a phone call yesterday.  Thankfully I didn’t hear the phone so it went to voice mail.  The message was for Drey.  It was from a Marine recruiter… “This message is for Fred Meine – I’m calling to see how you’ve been doing since graduating high school…”  Stop.  Delete.  Not sure what else was said after that.  I talked my lunch into returning from my throat back into my stomach.  Then somehow by the grace of God I was able to thank God we don’t have a landline that Drey would’ve shared with people.  Thank You.  There are so many hard circumstances we are faced with daily.   But I can be very grateful that telling a stranger over the phone that Drey’s gone is not something I’ve had to do since those first few months.  Thank You, God! 

I so want to be a grateful person.  Truly I do.  God is it ever hard.  It’s hard not to question You.  Sometimes I wonder if I failed to meet Your expectations somehow.  What other logical explanation is there for why a good God would allow the one thing I love above all else in this world to be taken from me?  To teach me a lesson?  To teach me YOU are my God and not my son?  To teach me my husband is more important than I ever treated him?  I fight these thoughts.  At the root of them is not only a lie about You but I’m also blaming myself for Drey’s death.   I fight these thoughts with gratitude.  I fight these thoughts with the knowledge that evil does exist.  We do have an enemy.  He plants lies – accuses You, God, of wrongdoing.  I fight these thoughts with the knowledge that this is NOT our permanent home.  Eternity is a long, long, time and in light of eternity this pain will be a “light and momentary affliction.”  But God I get so weary.  So discouraged.  It’s stuck to me.  This loss, this horrible tragedy.  I physically wear it, carry it on my shoulders, my neck, sometimes my face.  It’s like a scarf.  It’s everywhere I go.   Sometimes it’s so tight it’s suffocating.  I wear it when it’s appropriate but also when it’s not – but I have no choice because it’s part of my very being now.  I wear it when I go swimming.  People look.  People wonder.  That’s odd – why not take that off?  It’s heavy and cold around my neck when I get out to dry off.  Other times it’s veil-like.  Everything I look at is muted – tinted in sorrow. Will it ever come off in this lifetime? Or will I just learn how to wear it with grace and beauty?

Wow. I am really melancholy today. It’s time to go for a run…

You look so sad.

“You look so sad.”
Do you say that because you don’t think I should be sad anymore? Perhaps you’re judging my grief?
Do you say that because you want to let me know you notice, you care? And you just don’t know what else to say?
Yes, I’m sad. The emptiness that’s left where my baby’s ornery laughter used to be will be with me until I’m in heaven. And sometimes the emptiness is on the surface for others to see.
But don’t tell me, “you look so sad.” It just isn’t helpful. I fight every day against thoughts that say no one wants me around because it’s too hard to see me. It’s too heavy to be around me and be reminded of the great loss. To be forced to consider “how would I handle it if it were my child?” I see the looks on peoples faces. And I know who avoids me. I can’t make it ok for you. That’s not my job.
It is my job to fight for gratitude. And when the bad thoughts form in my mind it is my job to tell satan to f-off. It is my job to surround myself with family and friends that recognize I’m in the fight and encourage me.
It’s not your job to say the perfect thing. It isn’t your job to always get it right.
It is my job to learn to forebear.
It is my job to say, “That was hurtful. That was hard to hear.”
Can you handle it?
These things are my job because I want them to be. Not because I have no choice. I have a choice. I choose gratitude over bitterness.