Archive | December 2013

Learning to talk to people who don’t know…

I have a job interview next week. My first in years. I’m grateful that God has me in a place to be picky with what I do next. It needs to be right for me. The culture, the role. I have far less concern about me being right for them. That feels really good! I’m blessed to be able to think out loud with my husband and a few close friends who know my performance-junkie tendencies about what it might look like to move back into the working world. I don’t want my career to be an idol. I don’t want it to be where I attempt to find my identity.
I’m giving thought to what I want to know about this organization with little worry or concern for how I’ll share about my experience. I feel confident with what I bring to the table. But but but…
There’s that question that’ll be asked. I worked full time for almost 30 years (omg – when did I get old?). But I’ve been unemployed for 9 months now. I’m not worried about how to respond to the question. I’m concerned about the “transition” questions. “My son died in August 2012. I immediately went back to work then decided in the Spring it’d be best to take some time off.” Easy enough, right? But I’ve been in this situation enough now that I know “my son died” can be a conversation stopper. The person typically searches for a “transition” question… “Oh, I’m so sorry. Do you have other kids?” “No. He was my only child.” They were hoping – without even realizing it – that the answer would be, “yes, my other children are Bob and Susie.” “Oh – how old are they…” And the conversation has been successfully and smoothly transitioned. Or another one has been… “Oh, I’m so sorry. Had he been ill?” “No. He died suddenly.” Again – a conversation stopper. I’m coming into these conversations more prepared than the other person. So I try to be ready to let them off the hook. But depending on the person that’s not always easy. It’s often downright awkward. And “awkward” is not a word I want to use when reflecting on how this interview went! So I have a plan for how to keep the interview moving forward by steering the transition direction myself. We’ll see how it goes. If it flops, it flops. That’s the freedom that comes with living through a tragedy by the grace of God. An ability to live with a humble confidence because after all, what’s the worst thing that’ll happen?

Christmas #2

It feels as though Christmas may have been another turning point so to speak. Last Christmas I remember having to self-talk myself through the entire day. This year I had a few really good, hard crying spells at the end of the day. But through the day I enjoyed the people I was with in a subdued, reflective, melancholy kind of a way. I reflected on what was. I imagined what should have been. I just kinda took in each moment and savored the time. It was peaceful.
Christmas will never be what it used to be. And that’s okay. Given what’s happened how could I even want it to be the same? Yes, slowly I’m finding more peace. Peace in knowing I’ll carry this pain with me. Peace in knowing it’s become a little more manageable. Peace in knowing it’s okay that I’ll never be the same. Freedom too. Increasing freedom from worrying about the things that used to get to me. My perspective is different now. I don’t know if it’ll always be this way – if this will always be the lens I look through. And I don’t need to know. I’m slowly learning to appreciate each day for what it is without so much concern for the next. God has provided for me for nearly 17 months now in ways that I didn’t think were possible. Every tomorrow has to pass through His hands before I face it. I can live today.

Honor your memory

There are some days that can’t go by without doing something in your memory. Christmas is one of those days. People talk about lighting a candle and having it burning all day or throughout dinner at a spot reserved for you. Maybe a charitable donation in your memory. I’ve considered looking at pictures of previous Christmas’s and maybe doing something special with them.

But here it is dec 23 and I haven’t been able to do anything. No tree – can’t look at ornaments you made or picked out during vacations. No pictures. I just can’t see them yet. This Christmas hasn’t been as gut-wrenching as last year. I’m grateful for that. But I’m still not “right.” “Normal.” “Clear thinking.” Whatever you want to call it. And I didn’t realize the importance of doing something to honor you – of planning something – for Christmas Day until this last weekend. I’ll be thinking of you all day. And I plan to re-read the cards people sent with memories and thoughts of you from last year. And I’d like to do something more. Something visible.

Your Dad seems to have found his footing more comfortably than me in this arena. Does that make you laugh baby? I bet it does! Your Dad being tender hearted and emotional – deliberately planning something special in your memory. And me – the sappy Mom who overflowed with emotions and plans while you were with me couldn’t be more clumsy and ill-prepared now that you’re not here. We made our plans for my first Mother’s Day without you the day of Mother’s Day. That’s hardly planning! And how we’d celebrate your birthday was decided on the day of, too. And we decided on dinner plans after your birthday! For August 8th I got ahead of the game – there was a plan a few days in advance. I know you’d be cracking up right now! You always made fun of me for being uptight. You never used that word but it’s what you meant. Remember on our last vaca I was worked up about something stupid that wasn’t going just the way I wanted it to? We were at Islands of Adventure, remember? You were walking with me. We were behind Robbie and David. You looked at me and said, “Mom it’s okay. Just relax.” And you demonstrated this thought for me by taking a deep breath when you said it. You loved me. I always knew that but I knew it in a different way at that moment. To have my child pointing out one of my flaws in a non-accusing way but rather out of concern. Wow. I reflected on that a lot afterwards. I felt blessed. Blessed by your love and blessed by your maturity.

So this Christmas Robbie – the organized one in the family (are you laughing again?!) – will decide what we can do to honor your memory.

I miss you. I love you.

Blessed by friends and memories

I had coffee with a dear friend today.  She’s been in my life for over 20 years.  I am blessed to have so many close friends.  Like – real close.  Not just work buddies who go their separate ways when they don’t work together any more. 

She shared about her & her husband watching TV recently and they saw a little boy that reminded them of Drey.  They both said it – they both realized it.  So sweet.  So, so sweet to know this.  It is a heavy weight a Mom carries… the weight of keeping the memory of her child alive.  It’s precious as others share memories of Drey with me. I love hearing what they remember. And God does it ever feel good to smile when I think of him!

This is a picture from one of our Florida vacations. It was 2005. I love the look on David’s face – he was clearly so impressed with Drey’s cannon ball abilities! Sweet memory.

Cannon Ball 2005 - Drey impresses David!

Cannon Ball 2005 – Drey impresses David!

I miss you.

I’m missing you big time. Big time. I just want to see you come through the door. I want to hear your voice. I want to feel your hug.

We used to talk about lots of stuff. I miss those conversations.

I remember you standing in front of the mirror in the downstairs bathroom and helping you with your earrings. That’s not something I thought I’d share with my son. Who’d you get your ears pierced with anyway?

I remember you studying at the dining room table in the Spring. You were listening to Kid Cudi and I started singing the lyrics. You weren’t surprised.

We were gonna get tattoos – I told you if you got the Romans 12:2 verse on your ribs I’d get “Romans 12:2” somewhere on me. You liked that bible passage. You liked the psalm the Braun’s included in your grad card too. Who knew I’d end up with 3 tattoo’s – all in your memory. At the JT concert a woman said, “You look like a soccer Mom. An inked up soccer Mom.” I am. Even when I’m 80 that’s what I’ll be. Cuz you’ll always be 19 in my memory.

There’s a lot of things I haven’t tackled yet. Maybe next year. Still no Christmas tree… Every ornament was so special. Baby’s first Christmas. Vacation memories. Hand made ones from when you were little. Hell no I can’t look at any of those and I sure can’t look at ’em for a month straight. I don’t know what to do with your clothes, your dresser, bookshelf. The rocking horse from your first Christmas. So they sit in your room. Your retainer. Your phone. Your wallet. The lotion you used on your face. Everything sits.

I miss you so much. I always want you to be part of Christmas. I’m so glad Grandma Kathy put out pics of you and a craft you and I made together for her years ago. And the Build A Bear for Grandpa Gene. I took pics of every step as you made it. I’m so glad Grandma and Grandpa saved those. You need to stay part of Christmas.

I miss you every day. But it’s especially deep with the Christmas season. And the new year. My birthday. And Easter. And vaca week, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, your bday, July 4 parade, in August, back to school shopping, trick or treat, and at the grocery store, the zoo, seeing nice cars and 19 year old kids, soccer fields, dentist appointments, being in worthington, driving past twhs. Awesome, Drey. Just awesome.

The good, the bad, and the indifferent

Looks like The Tragedy was just a blip on your radar screen.
No card. No call. No contact. How long has it been?
Hey – remember me?
Is it easier to just push it out of your mind?
Lucky you.
See that picture of me smiling?
No – it doesn’t let you off the hook.
Nice try.
The others?
They’ve been a blessing. Even though they were on the peripheral.
God is so good in spite of you.
In spite of me…
What would I have done? Lived my happy little life.
What would I do now? Lean in – no fears.
But who knew before The Tragedy?
I’ve been schooled.
I think of you.
I wish you well. Truly.

The blame game

I am still at the beginning of my new life without Drey – my 19 year old son who took his life 16 months ago. In these short 16 months I have wrestled with God and for the most part clung to Him. And (not but) there’s a subtle, quiet undertone that creeps up making me realize how fragile my faith is.
Just a few days again my husband and I were at the downtown Columbus Christmas lighting celebration. It’s amazing I even wanted to attend! We were freezing our butts off standing in the hot chocolate line when a bundled up little boy with glasses turned and looked up at me. My immediate thought was, “Why are you mocking me God? You know it’s a big deal that I even wanted to come out tonight and this is what you allow? You know little boys in glasses are a huge trigger for me! Why would you, God?” In my rawest most impromptu moments I still blame God for my baby’s death. It’s my default setting. And I can’t help but wonder what other ways is my unbelief popping out and I’m too numb to see it?

But I won’t beat myself up for my seemingly pitiful faith. I will return again to God and praise Him for having shoulders big enough, patient enough, merciful enough and loving enough for my doubts.

I pray someday my knee jerk reaction will be to blame satan and this fallen world – not my holy perfect Father.