One definition of scrape: to push or pull a hard or sharp instrument across (a surface or object) so as to remove dirt or other matter.
I feel that God is scraping away a thick layer of pride from my heart. I don’t like it and I am also grateful for it. I’ve sensed this now for several months. I don’t usually cooperate with Him when He’s teaching me humility. That’s when the painful scraping begins… when I’m fighting against Him. When I’m not trusting Him. He wants me to hold still and trust Him – if I submitted, the scraping wouldn’t be painful at all. Instead I’d begin to see glimmers of something lovely underneath. Something I’d know was clearly not of my own making. I’d even get excited and say, “take it all! Remove it! I want to be rid of this filthy layer of pride, autonomy, and judgement!”
Two of the best books I’ve ever read about humility are Andrew Murrays “Humility” and Thomas Jones/Michael Fontenot’s “The Prideful Soul’s Guide to Humility.”
Chapter 9 of the Prideful Souls Guide says God will bless my humble response to biblically based input from others even if the input I am given should turn out to not be the best. If he/she is missing the mark, that will become evident without me having to be defensive. I would be wise to listen, pray and seek to learn something about myself.
I have found my grief and my loss are something I take pride in. Gross, right? There are many loving, wise, well-intended friends who try to journey with me but I dismiss them because “they just don’t get it.” What would it look like to respond to their loving attempts to journey with me in humility? It’s easy for me to be defensive and justify why it’s okay to dismiss certain people… they’re condescending, they think I’m weak. I’ll show them how capable I am! Often, usually, okay maybe even 99% of the time, their words are well-intended. Can I set aside my pride? Rather than dismissing them can I listen with gratitude? When needed, can I gently correct or clarify in love?
Eph 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” This scripture is for people I snap at, right? They should be patient and humble if I’m hurtful. But this scripture doesn’t apply to me, right? I’ve been wronged in a big way – my boy is gone. So that means I have “the right” to not be patient and humble with others as they attempt to journey with me? Well shit. I don’t like this scraping of my pride.
Well… it’s August again.
I didn’t start dreading it until July 27th. That’s pretty good.
I seem to be functioning “okay” today… but it’s only August 1st so I won’t get my hopes up that the next few weeks will be easy.
I don’t have much scheduled this week and I leave town Sunday – no contact with anyone again till Wednesday. I dread it and I look forward to it. Maybe I’m finally learning to walk in these big clumsy grief shoes? I don’t fall so often now. And I know a little better about when to get down on my hands and knees and crawl instead of attempting to walk every day.
I do still hate when I mess up things that used to be so simple. Being organized was like breathing before 8.8.12 but even now – 4 years later – I still get so confused over the simplest of things. But what’s cool about this grief brain is that as I’m typing and looking outside I see our grass needs mowed and the entire yard needs weeded; but the word “needs” is no longer accurate because the yard just isn’t important. I think my husband likes that grief brain also means laid back brain when it comes to many things.
I used to ask God, “Is this as healed as I’ll get?” I don’t ask that question so much anymore. The realization that I’d always carry this pain sunk in sometime during year 2. And I discovered joy more frequently during year 3. And during year 4 I stopped searching aimlessly for permission to laugh and just began to laugh. And most recently I’ve slowly been learning to let tears flow whenever they need to without apologizing to anyone.
It is possible to miss my baby terribly, to sit with another survivor and cry with her, to laugh hysterically at Angie Tribeca, to read a volunteer report about a scene LOSS attended, to pray for those left behind and to smile at the thought of seeing my baby again in heaven all in the same day. How bout that?
Angie Tribeca Trailer – Flippin Hilarious show 🙂
I exchanged messages today with a fellow survivor. She’s inspired me to take the time to write this evening. She’s a newly bereaved spouse. I ache for her.
I hate suicide.
I’ve been pleading with God lately. Asking Him for another chance as a Mom. “I know… If I just did ____, Drey would still be alive! God please please let me have another chance. I promise I’ll get it right this time.” What’s at the root of these thoughts is that God is punishing me / has punished me by taking Drey. When I take the time to share my thoughts out loud it exposes them for what they are… Lies lies lies. But left pinging around in my mind they’re dangerous “truths” that I ruminate on.
I got unexpectedly triggered this week. I’ve been shadowing Children’s Hospital the past 3 days as they do a suicide prevention training for 5th and 6th graders. I’ve done suicide prevention presentations in several high schools. I assumed younger kids would be easier – since it had been so long since Drey was that age. But I saw Drey in every little boy. Constant flashbacks of Valentine’s Day and Halloween parties. That young age when Drey would light up when Mommy came to his class. First day of school pics. The time Rudy followed him into the school. The playground. So many memories. God thank You for those memories. Thank You for not letting work consume all my time during those years.
So God what happened? When did the depression start? When did suicide become an option for him? He was a happy little kid. Was it middle school? High school? Answers won’t help so why do I even entertain these questions?
Being at an elementary school and remembering sweet times makes me wonder if I may be able to look through pictures soon. But not tonight.
I wish I could hug you, dude. I just want another chance.
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!
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.
Drey’s initials in AZ
Drey with me in AZ Dec 2015
It’s the emotional day again… The AFSP walk day. This day is fun, this day is hard, this day is unifying, this day is hopeful, this day is heavy, this day is exhausting.
LOSS will be there eager to meet new friends and share resources. I will be Mom – not LOSS leader. I will walk quietly with Robbie in remembrance of my son. I will weep and I will smile. I will thank God for my boy and lash out at Him for not saving him from himself. I will silently ask “why, what did I miss, and how was my love not enough to just chose life?” dozens of times. Living without Drey means living with pain. And on this day it’s just best to experience the pain along side fellow survivors. There’s something peaceful and safe about this walk. I am blessed to be part of other survivors lives. 💚💜
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.