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A poem written 1 month before Drey died

July 8, 2012

I’m not the person I thought I was.

I’m so fragile.

I’m not the person I thought I was.

I’m so unsure.

Please affirm me.

I don’t speed any more.

I’m unsure where to get my motivation.

I’m supposed to slow down and be relational I suppose.

I have slowed down.  But I don’t know what to do now.

Please direct my path, Oh Lord.

Note written in 2013: It’s hard to believe that was how I was feeling a year ago.  Moving to a new neighborhood, leaving my job, my son’s graduation and entrance into adulthood… so many changes I was struggling to adjust to.  Then the bottom fell out just a short month later.  And still God was there.  Loving me, holding me, carrying me.

Blessed

It doesn’t quite seem possible. A year.
What have I done this past year?
Here are some highlights…

Aug ’13: ran a zombie 5k.
Jul ’13: celebrated dreys 20th bday.
Jun ’13: bought a bench at the zoo
May ’13: planted a garden
Apr ’13: quit my job
Mar ’13: saw Maroon 5
Feb ’13: turned 47
Jan ’13: had my first day of not crying since 8/8/12
Dec ’12: changed home churches
Nov ’12: it’s a blur
Oct ’12: it’s a blur
Sep ’12: it’s a blur… Hey – I know. I started attending the Grief Share support group. There’s something I remember from September.
Aug ’12: planned my sons funeral

Nope – I’m not beating myself up for not “doing” more. I’ve found a healthy pace for me. I haven’t shut down – I’ve stayed engaged with friends and family, read a shit-ton of books, I’ve had some sweet time with God. But I haven’t gone to the extreme of throwing myself into a busy, busy lifestyle either. Yep, a nice healthy pace.

I’ve learned so much this year. So much about God, about this world, about friendship, about love, about sacrifice, about what’s important. Most of all I’ve learned humility (okay – I’m still learning humility). I’ve had nothing to give. I’ve accepted meals, $ to help pay for dreys funeral, books, cards, flowers and gifts. I’ve not written a single thank you note. I’m so grateful for so many people. I’ve dominated many conversations with Drey and my pain – go figure – as the main topic. Would I be able to be the friend that so many have been to me? People tell me they don’t know how I’m surviving this horrible tragedy. I often wonder how my family and friends are surviving me!

Have I told my husband lately how amazing he’s been through this year? He has helplessly watched me in so much pain. I only use the word “helplessly” because I know that’s how he feels.

I am truly blessed.

One year. 8/8/12

Race-ready

Race-ready

I believe there are a lot of people – maybe even a few hundred – who are remembering Drey especially now. Last conversations, last looks, last songs, last restaurants, last hugs. The last time I saw Drey was for lunch on August 3rd. I just spent the anniversary of that last lunch with his Dad, his Grandma and 8 of his close friends running a 5k zombie race. Probably not the “normal” way to grieve – but what’s “normal?” There is no rule book for how to grieve. Drey’s friends have been so good to stay in touch and to celebrate his life in a variety of ways. It’s meant a lot that they’ve included his Dad and I.

Somehow I’m still alive. I’ve lived a year without seeing my baby. It’s still so surreal.

I have one favor to everyone reading this:

During this month especially please take the time to check in with friends. Don’t make the mistake of assuming laughter, fun and smiles = happy and healed. Ask if Drey’s on their mind. Then listen. Don’t try to fix anything. Don’t try to make it better. Just listen. Please re-post. I want all of Drey’s friends to see this.

Race done

Race done

Re-blogged: It’s Been 3 Years…

Really like this post so thought I’d share.

My Spiritual Walk with God

AngelSketchAs I sit here, I reflect on these past few years and the culmination of the years that brought me to the great divide—that unmistakable point in my journey when everything changed. This review exposes the man I was and the man I continue to transform into. This is not a story of flawed to perfection; but rather one of presumed perfection to humbly-flawed.

When this review settles on me as a father, I pause and think of my Angel Girl. I loved her as any father loves his daughter. With Angel, I was taken by her gentle confidence. She appeared shy, yet had a strength that grounded her in independence and her caring spirit was her gift.

I was blessed that God prompted me to write her the following letter to fulfill a school project of hers. This was written just one month before that fateful day…

AngelLetter

God’s providence…

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Jars of Clay – No One Loves Me Like You

God I put on my helmet of salvation, my peace shoes, my truth belt, my breastplate of righteousness. I choose to pick up my sword and shield. Thank You for giving me these things. I am fully equipped for what sights, smells, sounds, memories and thoughts will come today. Nothing makes its way to me without Your awareness. You have perfectly prepared me. I love that You care about the little things, God. I love that You grieve with me and understand one seemingly silly little thing can cause my breathing to get fast and shallow, the knots in my stomach to tighten, can cause me to become disoriented. You are not the voice in my head telling me to “toughen up.”

No one knows me the way You do. This is such a lonely, lonely grief. No one else carried my baby for nine months. No one else held him and fed him like me. I was Mom. I am Mom. God thank You for being with me in this pain. Thank You for loving me the way You do.

“Good” days and bad days

Today is a “good” day. It’s hard to say that – what kind of Mom has a “good” day when her son is gone? But for now the definition of “good” is different from what it used to be. In the beginning I had horrible minutes and barely survivable minutes. Then that changed to hours – then it changed to “okay” hours and now it’s days – even “good” days. A good day means I am able to smile, to find joy and peace in running, reading, or hanging with friends. It means I’m able to eat. It also means I thought of you all day, Drey. That’s still the common denominator in every day… good and bad. When I hear songs we used to enjoy together and when I hear new music. When I look downtown and wonder if you would’ve worked here in Columbus. When I see girls your age, guys your age, and nice cars. When I see little blonde boys with glasses. When I eat raspberries. You’re always here in my mind. I’m learning to have “good” days even though the pain is here, too.

I remember the first time I went for a few minutes without thinking about you… It was several months after you died. I woke up one morning and went to the bathroom. While I was in the bathroom I realized I hadn’t thought of you yet. Wow did I ever feel guilty. I’d been awake for all of 3 – maybe 4 minutes – and hadn’t thought of you. It’s a lot of responsibility being a parent to a child who’s gone, kiddo. Thanks for that! I don’t know who told me it was my responsibility to keep your memory alive, to make sure your legacy continues. But it’s something ingrained in my thinking. I wonder if it’s like that for every grieving parent? I don’t want anyone to forget you. I don’t want people to stop saying your name. I’m slowly finding ways to honor you and your life, baby. And as I find those things it takes a little bit of pressure off of me. It’s like a beach ball… trying to swim the length of a pool while keeping it completely immersed when it’s fully inflated is exhausting. But little by little when I let some air out, it’s not as exhausting to do laps with it. It’s still with me, I still hold on to it tightly and I always will. A bench at the zoo, a walk to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention, even a zombie 5k with your friends. All these things let a little air out of the ball. Do you see how many laps I can swim now, baby? In the beginning I couldn’t even pick up the beach ball let alone get in the pool with it.
I love you.

I want him back

“Surely Your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”
I don’t know how to reconcile Drey’s death with this bible passage, God. Sometimes I am at peace with You. I trust You and I FEEL Your peace. But sometimes I don’t. I have my head knowledge about You and Your goodness. But it’s one thing to KNOW a thing. It’s a whole ‘nother thing to experience it, to FEEL it. And I ain’t feelin it.
I don’t understand. I don’t understand how I got here. I don’t understand how life keeps going. I look at Facebook and see what my friends are up to. So many family pictures and joy. Why me, God? Why can’t I still have my boy?
I’m enjoying quite the pity party this morning. I imagine people reading this (assuming I even post it) and thinking it’s been nearly a year… she should be further along in her healing. I can hear the well-intentioned comments that come across as shallow platitudes when I’m in a mood like this one… “you should be grateful for the 19 years you had him. He always did belong to God.” When I’m in a Spirit-filled frame of mind I know I am blessed. And the peacefulness of knowing I’m blessed by an amazing God can co-exist with the pain. But sometimes I just ain’t feelin it.
Today I throw a big temper tantrum and proclaim my life sucks. I want Drey back. I want to see his face, touch his ears, see those muscular soccer legs, see that smile, hear him say, “Hey, Mom?” which is how so many of his sentences started. I want him back.