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Prom, Pain and Peace

I trace the outline of your face in your prom picture. There’s a pic I remember from that day… Of you and me. I’m looking at you with overflowing pride and joy. You in your tux and me in my Mickey Mouse tee shirt from our last vaca. I’d like to see that pic but it’s with so many other memories that I can’t unpack yet.

God what happened? What the hell happened? That was a happy day. How’d we go from that to such intense pain? One decision. One phone call. One instant and it was gone. Life as I knew it was over.

Jesus God give me the strength, hope, wisdom and courage to fight till the finish. To perservere. To experience joy with gratitude. To praise You continually. Thank You for all I’ve learned and continue to learn about You since Drey died. I have faith and hope like I’ve never experienced before. Even when – especially when – I have mornings like this. The peace that overcomes me as I write, read, cry and rest is unexplainable. I know I’m a walking miracle and I say that in awe of You. You are God. I’m just a person. David wrote, “…to know that You are mindful of man…” I get slivers of understanding the awe and overwhelming gratitude and humility David may have been feeling when he wrote these words. And You preserved those words for such a time as this. Holy shit! I can’t help myself! Even in my deepest sorrow I must also praise You! And I know this desire to praise You is coming from You – not me – and that makes me want to praise You all the more! God I bask in these moments when You turn my deepest wails into peaceful tears of gratitude! 

 

AZ with Drey

I’m back in Arizona for the week. Blessed and grateful to be able to take these classes. Nice to get away from Ohio… just unplug. Still surreal  – this direction life has taken. Never in a million years could I have imagined it.

Walking through the airport I see young men in their 20’s and think of you. I see a young lady I’m sure you would’ve noticed. I see an older woman with her adult son helping her walk. Thoughts of what should’ve been are flooding my mind. I’m breathing you again. I’ve come so far in learning how to live this new life… but you’re always here in my mind, in my heart. And some days I still just ache. I’ve held it in for a while without even realizing it. But now that I’m here and alone with my thoughts the tears flow freely.

Sitting on the shuttle bus I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the window. Who is that woman looking back at me? It can’t possibly be me, can it? You didn’t really do this, did you? How am I still alive?

God, I pray for rest. I pray for clarity of mind and a supernatural ability to take my thoughts captive to the obedience of your son. Those thoughts. Those horrible thoughts. I praise you for keeping me alive. And I yell at you for keeping me alive. Sometimes it changes from minute to minute. I take great comfort in knowing you’re grateful to be talking with me regardless of my mood. Protect my mind from nightmares. And while I’m on the topic… how about you give me a nice dream of Drey? You know, one that doesn’t make me want to vomit when I wake up? I’m afraid to ask for a good dream. I’m more afraid to ask for a sign that Drey is happy, safe and loved with you. Because when it doesn’t get answered I worry it’s because he’s not with you. Forgive my fearful attitude. Change my heart towards you when I’m full of doubt. God I’m asking now. Help me trust you regardless of the outcome. Thank you that I can sleep. I am so grateful for rest. Tell Drey I love him.

christmas 4

Another Christmas behind me. 4th one. It wasn’t as hard this year. I’m grateful I am able to carry on so to speak. I make plans, think ahead. I lived minute to minute for a very long time after Drey died. So being capable of planning and following through is another outward sign of God strengthening me.

But as the day is nearly over and I’m alone with my thoughts it once again hits me that I didn’t see Drey for yet another Christmas. He wasn’t here. He’ll never be here.  I remember the first Christmas and driving home from my parents saying, “The day is almost over and I haven’t seen Drey.” Three years later I still have that feeling at the end of Christmas Day. “Wait, this can’t be right. I didn’t see Drey. He’s really dead, isn’t he? He really did this, didn’t he? How am I still alive?”

I don’t even know how I feel about it anymore. The grief waves still roll in but I don’t let myself think about it for too long. I still get knots in my tummy. Maybe I’d feel better if I’d do something in Drey’s memory on Christmas. Light a candle for the day? Set aside time to share memories of him? Give a family in need gifts Christmas morning? I don’t know. I want to talk about him but worry no one wants to listen. I guess I’m still learning how Drey fits into our family now. I’m fearful no one feels a need to find the proper spot for him except for me. And that makes me feel very alone.

Be grateful for today

Happy celebration with friends! Ed & Sue 20 year anniversary!

Happy celebration with friends! Ed & Sue 20 year anniversary!

I was visiting a friend last week and she shared this picture with me. It was from her and her husbands 20th wedding anniversary.  My immediate reaction was sorrow…

“Oh look – I was so happy.”

I immediately started calculating in my mind how old Drey was when it was taken – cuz that’s the lens life is still viewed through. He was 13.

13. Was I a good mom then? I look stress-free. Is that an indication I was a good mom?

Life was so much easier then. Ed was alive. Drey was alive. We were all so happy to be with our friends celebrating this special renewing of Ed and Sue’s wedding vows. Ed had once again set the standard very high for all the other husbands!

As I look at the picture again this morning I can see it through a different lens… Was I feeling especially grateful when Drey was 13 or was I complaining about his attitude? Was I grateful for all those wonderful friends around me? Was I grateful for Ed? Was I grateful for my job or was I feeling unappreciated – struggling to find “balance” in my life? Did I have any clue how massively different life could look just a handful of years later?

I am moving into an office space today. LOSS has outgrown my dining room. I will take pictures. It’s a big day after all! I can be grateful for today. Grateful for the blessings God has continued to pour out on me. Grateful for my wonderful family, friends and amazing husband. Grateful for the love God has given me for other people. Grateful for our dogs, our wonderful Franklinton home. Grateful for heaven.

I’m sure I was grateful for a variety of things before Drey died. But when I get my focus where it should be I’m certain that gratitude pales in comparison to today’s. I am sad. Nothing can fill the Drey sized hole in my heart on this side of heaven. But I’m also blessed to have been to the school suffering. I will see you again, baby boy. I love you. ❤️

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

That beautiful smile

I miss Drey very much. I wish I could hold him, smell him, hear his laugh.  I can think about him sometimes now without thinking about how he died. It took 3 years. And I still focus more on his choice to die than on his life but slowly I’m learning to stop asking “why.” I was thinking about the day I took him to get his drivers license earlier today. I remember him walking back in the building after taking the test with a somber look – that lasted 5 seconds tops. He broke into a huge smile – couldn’t help himself! God I’d love to see that beautiful smile.

Today in church we talked about how because of Christ we can approach the throne with confidence… Which got me thinking about Drey. Drey took his life then was immediately in heaven and could approach God with confidence? It’s hard to get my mind around. That God is THAT loving and merciful. Why do I think my sins are forgivable but have a difficult time believing my son was able to approach our Heavenly Father, too? Even after all I’ve been through I still have a shallow understanding of how loving God is and I definitely don’t have an adequate understanding of just how gross my own sins are. To think Drey crossed an unredeemable line and I haven’t is pure pride, arrogance.

I am excited to see my boy again. I often wonder if he’s the first person I’ll see when I get to heaven. I wonder why God hasn’t given me a sign? Why haven’t I had a dream about heaven and seeing Drey there? Sometimes I go to bed with anticipation that tonight may be the night. To wake up after a dream of Drey in heaven would be so amazing! I’ve prayed about it. But no dream. Some people talk about signs they see and experiences they have… Things that reassure them about their loved one being in heaven. I’m pretty cynical. I’m far more likely to chalk something up to coincidence than I am to something spiritual.

Well, maybe tonight will be the night? But if not, it’s ok. Everything’s ok. I’m still alive – and if 3 years ago you would’ve told me I’d still be alive today – I wouldn’t have believed it. I’m a walking miracle.