Tag Archive | Mourning

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.

Hell

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


TWHS Rock

TWHS Rock


Choose a funeral home.
Breathe.
Write an obituary. What days?
Call dad.
Cremation?
Choose an urn.
Call doctor. Get sleeping pills.
Viewing first?
Pray.
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.
Songs.
Where to have the funeral.
Breathe.
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.
Pray.
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…

Who am I. God I miss him.

My mind is swirling this morning.  It swirls in so many different directions.  I don’t understand how I got to where I am.  It’s still surreal.  When to sit in it, to contemplate it vs when to change my questions, my mindset.  Always a balancing act.  

I look at your picture taken on graduation day.  The picture of you and me.  I’m in my heels but you’re still taller than me.  You always thought you were so short.  But not to me.   How did I get here?  Why am I left with only memories of you?

This week is intense… Survivors of Suicide Group, GriefShare, speaking at the Helpline annual meeting, a meeting with Rep Anielski about the laws around Rx meds given to minors, then the Memorial Bench dedication at the zoo.  All in 4 days time.   All important things I want to do.   I was in control of the timing for the Wednesday commitments.  When I looked at Wednesday it was open so I scheduled them.  New Lesson:  Part of my “new normal” is learning to look at the entire week’s events before making plans.  Learning to consider the emotional strain of the week is important before saying “yes” to something else.

I used to do so many things all at once.  Achiever.  Accomplisher.  I got so much done in a week.  I’d run from meeting to meeting, prepare for a home church teaching, hang with friends and attend both soccer games of the week.  I wonder what the cost was?  The cost in my marriage.  The cost in my relationships.  Robbie’s told me – and I even remember – making Drey a priority in spite of other things I was responsible for.   I didn’t do this perfectly but Drey knew I loved him.  And he knew I loved the Lord.  I won’t allow the voices in my head to tell me I failed him.  Not this morning anyway.  I delighted in my boy more than anything else in my life (not that my marriage and my relationship with God shouldn’t have been first…)

Losing Drey has meant digging deep into my identity.  Deeper and deeper.  At first it was “am I still a mom?” And how do I answer the, “do you have kids” question?   Then I realized I hadn’t – and couldn’t – look at myself in the mirror.  I would look at my hair, at each eye to put makeup on.  But never at my full image.  I knew I was losing weight, I knew the dark circles under my eyes were there.  But I couldn’t bear to look.   It took about 4 months before I actually looked in the mirror at myself in total.  And all I saw staring back was Drey’s Mom.  I saw the pain of a broken woman who loved her son so dearly that she would’ve given her life for his.   It took a few more months before I could begin looking in the mirror without becoming nauseous. 

But even now – especially now –  this identity thing keeps going deeper…  “I am a daughter of the King.”  Blah blah blah.  To know this intellectually is one thing but to really get to the root belief and meaning of who I am is risky work.

I’ve KNOWN intellectually for a long time that cookies, bra’s and panties (I worked as an Executive at Cheryl’s and at Victoria’s Secret), my ability to do 20 things in a day:  attend soccer games, teach the bible, keep my house clean, go on college visits, lead DivorceCare, call a friend, buy that book for a coworker, etc. did not define who I was.  But now that those things don’t fill up my time…   I sometimes find myself feeling worthless.  So the deeper journey into CONSIDERING who I am began on August 8th, 2012.    I didn’t know it at the time.  I didn’t know much of anything on that day or for several weeks afterwards – everything was foggy.  But nonetheless God was and still is at work.  He is the ultimate multi-tasker.  Not only was He comforting me and carrying me in my grief but he was teaching me about who I was.

Fourteen months later I don’t have a new, magical answer to the “Who am I” question.   I am a daughter of the King.  I have been since 1987 when I realized I wasn’t perfect and needed a Savior – and that Savior was Jesus.  What’s different now is that the journey to CONSIDERING myself a daughter – chewing on, meditating on, ruminating on –  that I am a daughter of the King became real on August 8th, 2012.  My supposed ability to attend soccer games, clean my house, and teach the bible, were stripped from me.  I could not breathe without God.  My journey into CONSIDERING my true identity began when I realized apart from my King I was but dust.

 

 

The balancing act of the mind after a suicide

When dealing with a difficult, challenging situation I like to have as much information as possible.
However that’s not how I’ve handled my baby’s death. There are plenty of details available. But some of them are locked away – in someone else’s mind, in an envelope, in Drey’s iPhone sitting safely on his dresser.
It’s humbling to know others know more around my baby’s frame of mind, his actions, in those final hours. As his Mom it’s my job to be the most informed, isn’t it? My ex-husband, my husband, the police. Some friends too. They all know things I don’t know. Have I failed you by not learning every single thing I could, baby? But but but but…
But sometimes guarding my heart is more important than gathering more details.
But Philippians 4:8 says “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”
But I AM the most informed about his life. His LIFE.
But I am informed about where he is now.
God, help me to rest in what I know.

Last Years journal: Sept 4 and 6

Photo collage 2 - Drey's Memorial

Photo collage 2 – Drey’s Memorial

Photo collage 1 - Drey's Memorial

Photo collage 1 – Drey’s Memorial

Reading last years journaling… it had been just 4 weeks since Drey’s death.  My writing was all over the place.  I was in physical pain, I was consumed with guilt, I was irritated, and I was aware of God’s presence.   I kept a list of when I took medicine because I was always losing track.  Excedrin, ibuprofen and a few Rx meds were my constant companions.  I could feel the pain deep down into my bones.  I didn’t know how to make the ache stop.  I thought I was going to die.

I prayed to the Holy Spirit a lot – not just to God.   Hold me, comfort me, speak to me.  Please.  I know You are here with me.  Please help me.  Please hold me.  Please tell me I’m going to be okay.  Please tell me I’ll wake up soon.  Please tell me it’s not real.  Please no it can’t be.   Please take me to heaven now.  Please – I can’t live like this.  I can’t.

In hindsight I can see where people were with me often.    I suppose they talked about me being suicidal and wanted to make sure I was safe.   I didn’t know it at the time.  I was in a fog.  I vacillated between pulling weeds and sobbing uncontrollably.   I had no concept of time.  I would sit for hours in silence without even realizing so much time had passed.   I remember doing the photo boards for Drey’s memorial service.  I cut every picture exactly how I wanted it.  I placed each one carefully on the board with just the right amount of 2-sided foam tape.  I spent hours on them.  I didn’t want help – I was disgusted by the idea.  This was my baby.  This was my job now.  I remember one of the first times Robbie made me laugh… he looked at me and said, “you know honey you’re not going to get a grade on your photo boards.”   Creating these boards with just the right pictures in just the right location was the most important thing in the world to me for those few days before his memorial service. 

I remember experiencing God’s presence,  His peace, even in the midst of the pain.  My journal captured some of it through my gratefulness… “Thank You, God, for all Your blessings.  I am able to be grateful in spite of these circumstances.  I know Your Spirit is at work in me.  I am humbled beyond words that You love me.  I am awestruck at just how big, capable and omniscient You are!”   Who has those feelings and can write about them less than a month after their baby was found dead?  No mother is capable.  Surely it was God at work in me.  I was dead to myself.  I had nothing to give.  On my own I was barely capable of a single cohesive thought.  Truly God was carrying me.

Maybe it’s not wise for me to go back and look at my journaling from last year.   It’s hard.   I have expectations on myself that since it’s been a year I should be able to look at a video of Drey, look at pictures of him that have been stored away, look at cards people sent last year.  But I haven’t been able to do any of those things.  And maybe the journal is a bit much, too.

 

You know my pain

Dear Heavenly Father I ache, I hurt. You know the battle in my mind. The battle I don’t want to write or talk about. You know the depths. God I want to thank you and praise you even in the midst of this grossness. Not for what happened. Dear God no, not for what happened. But because this isn’t the end of Drey’s story.

But God to have him back. Right here. On this couch. “Scratch my back Mom.” Just typing his name, breathing his name, opens the floodgate.

You alone know this battle. You are my redeemer, the perfect lover of my soul. You know. I’m not alone in this loneliness. Your Spirit speaks to my family, my friends and even to strangers. You reach me through them. You hear my heart. You hear their prayers. You comfort. You protect. Thank you for knowing my pain.