My Grief Challenges

Aching So Bad May 17, 2014

*** Most of the following I wrote right after  the last post. Today is Friday and I am making the final changes for the Saturday post.

This is where I am today, Friday-16th. My heart is aching so bad. I don’t know why,  I thought once the year marker for Shawn’s death was passed, that everything would be just peachy. Today, is casting a dark shadow on that thought.  Shawn’s last week keeps trying to flood my mind: the decision, the guilt and the dread- from the decision.   I wonder why God had me type most of this earlier ?   Usually, it is at this time that a new idea floods my mind.  Not today, so, I am going to buck up and see what fixing I can do and where this leads.   I hope it won’t be too hard to follow.  It is Mother’s Day. It has been a struggle-therefore, I am not talking to anyone. I will reconnect, I just have emotions that are absolutely  brutal.   I was able to Ustream church, when it was finished, I went downstairs to get a bite to eat. For whatever reason, I turned on the TV. There she was. The Anne girl-this is the scene where she was apologizing to —Diana’s, Aunt Jo.   It amazed me to watch how she smoothed out what could have been a tense conversation.               

A side-note: Anne Of Green Gables with Meagan Follows. I loved those movies.  I do not watch very many movies-more than once, but  these I have watched over and over.   I will re-watch Victor Borge and Mr. McGoo. That is my limit.                                                                                     So, Mother’s Day= tough-filled with missing Shawn.  Suddenly, my mind recalled the many helpful people God had put in my life. Many whom I never thanked,  for all their help and kindnesses through various times in my life.  I wandered down a memory path  of all that  my Grandparents went through to help my 2 brothers and myself.            Gram Million and I had a special bond because of her help on my birthing day. I do not know how Gram talked on that old phone to a nurse-regarding each step to take for my delivery.  140      It looked something like this. Maybe Dad has it in the barn ???                                                                        On one of my summer visits Gram divulged some details-I do not know who else may have known I got the impression that I was to not share the details   ???         I was in the breach position, and couldn’t get turned. The cord was around my neck. Gram had told me that  the children she gave birth to-weren’t  as difficult.  She died many years ago, did I ever thank her for EVERYTHING ???                                                                                                                                Don’t get me wrong, Gramps played a big role, in our lives. I hope I never forget how hard he laughed when it was chicken butcher time.  My 2 brothers and I really thought Gramps had told the headless chickens to chase us-while blood was spouting.  I should tell you that Gramps was small in stature, when he spoke, his voice was so soft. one had to listen to hear. He took the 3 of us  on many fishing trips. But, before we could go, we had to dig through Gram’s compost pile, for the biggest worms.    I think Gramps usually took us to Spring Valley.  On one occasion, we were standing at the waters edge, well, my brothers were. I was heading to the red bug (VW) to get ???  I turned slightly to watch Marlin, cast. The hook did not go far. It landed in my right eyebrow. I remember Gramp’s with his  shaky hands over my face, somehow he extricated the hook, then went back to fishing.                                                              I don’t know if  I ever caught many fish.  You see, I usually found something more fun to do.  On one occasion, I found Pollywogs, by the hundreds ( ???)-in ankle deep water.  This was far better entertainment—plus, I didn’t have to put a worm on any hook. I am not a good fisher person. We are not going to discuss my gut reactions when I had to help clean the  fish.              Anyway, back to current Mother’s Day.  When I turned on the TV and Anne was on, I figured out why, after all these years I had such a connection with her story. Had we known each other, in person, we would have been kindred spirits.  The following tell  is only one of the many occurrences, that took place before I was 6, that did not allow my Grandparents much rest.    When we lived with Gramps and Gram Million, it was at a time when Dad needed someone to help care for us. We were young enough, me maybe 5 at the most 6, that Gram instituted afternoon naps. I think she thought if we were in the living room, all together, she could better watch my sleeping behavior.                                                                                                       On this particular afternoon, Gram went right to sleep. So did my brothers-how could they ? When I heard  Gram’s relaxed breathing for a good amount of time,  I woke my brother up so we could go outside and explore.  The property had a creek that went through a tunnel under the road. Right on the bank, but not in the road, on the yard side, the dirt was soft for making finger twirl designs.. The reason the dirt was so soft—little itty bitty red ants lived there. I thought we could all get along. Nope, it wasn’t long before the 3 of us were covered with the little red biters. I did the best I could to get us cleaned off, and thought I better get my brothers back to naps before anything was found out.  As we approached the door—we were met by Gram. She was not happy.                                                                                                        With the ants brushed away, down for another nap try.  A few quiet moments went by.  All of a sudden Gram started moaning and slapping. Some of the little critters had not left.  I was surprised at how Gram could maneuver. My memory is very clear that this was not a chuckle moment for Gram. I wonder if we will have chuckle moments, in heaven ? Maybe this could be one for Gram ???   I find myself chuckling as I type this recall.   When I was thinking about this, I felt so sad that I had been such a challenge to my Grandparents.  My memory does not tell me how Gram conquered my no-nap nap times.                                                                                      I hope God blessed my Grandparents for their sacrifices and all the challenges that occurred.   Oh, and my poor brothers, being made to follow my orders.           You see, when we lived with our Grandparents, it was a time after they had raised their own children and were ready for a break. Then God sent them Kathy.  Like Anne Shirley for  Marilla.                                                How often do we take for granted the moments we have with those special folks in our lives ?   In my memory folder of childhood precious reminders, I remember a coat and hat Gram had made me-without a pattern. It was  turquoise, with huge buttons—I had loved it so.  She had also made me the cutest outfit in my late teens-without a pattern.  I finally,  just now realized-I do the same thing.                                                                                                                         One of my most pleasing joys, was Gram’s Apple Butter. For years and years and years, I have searched, trying to find the one right apple butter—that tasted like what Gram used to make. Bob has been with me at many events: sampling, buying and being disappointed.      I had been going to New Hope for a grief class. We had been told about the Christmas bazaar. I decided  to check it out. Maybe find a new ornament idea.  The last thing I looked at was a booth where the man was a prankster-he even made me chuckle. I saw the apple butter jar, but not one for sampling. I thought to myself, what is wrong with one more try?  I bought it. I waited to try it-not wanting to be disappointed, again.   One day, I was in one of those moods where nothing in the whole world could bring any joy. I decided to try my buy.  Delight of delights !    THAT APPLE BUTTER  WAS DELICIOUS !!!   My senses were so thrilled !!!     Apple Butter                         Not long ago, our pastor had done a message about joy. Let me tell you what. I have had a very hard time being thankful about things since Shawn died—let alone to think there is joy to find.   I will tell the truth—I hate this grief stuff. I hate not having my son alive. I so miss his calls. I so miss his needing to talk to me to figure out a solution for a situation. I loved being able to calm him. There will never be another laundry room talk-like we had a few months before the fire. So, for this Apple Butter to give me a delight……..Maybe God won’t mind me counting this Apple Butter find, a joy ???         By the way,  a few weeks ago, I showed Bob my new delight. I was hoping he would order more, for me.  He did, but in his search, he came across an apple butter that received many accolades.  No offense,  but, Grandma Candy’s still has the best Apple Butter.                                                               

This morning while reworking this post, a song came on.   This song had played, a lot, during Shawn’s time at Harborview.   I had gotten frustrated—mostly, because I hadn’t really listened to ALL the words, until after Shawn died. The words reminded me of a section of scripture I had read, many times, in my teen years, and while at NNC I had written a research paper, regarding: Luke 14:25-35.  The reason I was drawn to it, then, I am a salt-oholic.   I wonder if folks really ponder the meaning of those verses?   Do they really know, can they really do what the words say ???    The song I was referring to is: Steal My Show, by Tobymac                                                                                                                                     A co-worker mentioned that my letting go of Shawn, was like a gift to God.                                    I keep reminding God, that He made me—the weakest, most stubborn, sickly person—and that Shawn’s goneness is more than I can handle***thus my need for His sustaining grace***D*oing.  Now I am hearing a song by Jeremy Camp…  Take My Life                                                                                                                            Finally, it took me until Friday afternoon—get this—at 3:33—I had just arrived at my last school for pick up. Anyway, that morning during my devotion readings, I had read a note from my cousin; last May 18th, my dear (I called him uncle) died-the same day I had gone to pick up Shawn’s ashes from a postal place.   Had I figured things out earlier, it  might have been more bearable, rather than the dread. I made repeated requests and appeals to God-I needed His help getting through the gut wrenching blows that were happening.  It wasn’t until my mind knew the significance of the dates, that things began to settle.  My body knew, but my mind hadn’t accepted.   How does that work ?         I am still trying to figure out how to deal better with gut blows-that take my breath away, cause my heart to ache and mourn filled  tearfalls.   I am hoping to meet challenges with a quiet, calm trust in God, and His plan.   For now, I still seem to be sad, a lot,     more than I thought possible.                                                                  Sorry, so wordy.

My Grief Challenges

***Warning*** March 1, 2014

This post is completely different from the one I had been working on, throughout this past week. I guess it was just the direction I was suppose to take, for today.  This has been one of the hardest posts to write. In time, I might be able to go back and fix it, for now, this is the way it will be.   Just a different approach. You are being warned.


Mom you made through an   672dcba404b7edc25087c229351f52aa

 Shawn, barely., it was such an awful week.

 Mom, tell me what made it so challenging.

 Well, at the beginning of the week, I finally put it together, that asthma, grief and menopause make not a B.F.K.

 Okay~~~?~~~ Mom, what in the world are you talking about ?

Well, Shawn, the first 3 are pretty much awful, very wearing and I don’t have any choice of their presence in my life.. Whereas, a B.F.K. hot, on ice or blended is an enjoyable treat, while seldom had.

 Mom, you crack me up.            Did you go to work, even on Friday?

 Yes, I put my bus driverness on and concentrated on the task at hand

 So, Mom, what was so hard to deal with, this week ?

 Shawn, it was like someone slammed a brick, into my face. You see, last year, at this time, there was still hope for you to recover. Regarding this years, on a Friday-for me the worst day of the week, since your death., just plain yucky.  Then, when  I realized I will never get another phone call from you……..                              “Happy birthday”. I read and heard many times, on Friday,  I don’t think folks realize that there is no happiness, in this kind of I do appreciate their thoughtfulness, just can’t get out of this sad rut.          What do folks mean when they say it?   Sorry, Shawn I am just ???  out of sorts.

 I have an idea, Mom…….. let’s look back over this past year. I want you to see how God has brought you through some very tough moments. 

Here goes, Mom, now pay attention. It is important to me that you get this.

Remember the first time you saw me, after the fire ? All the swelling. There was not an area, on me, you could touch, so everyone thought. I loved it when you realized  I could feel your gentle touch on my cheek. Others seemed uncomfortable, when you told them. how I loved it, but you didn’t let that stop you. You found a way to let me feel your touch of preciousness. Mom, You did that !!!

  Mom, unlike me, sleep has never been your friend. I know all those early mornings when you crept so quietly, into my room and stood by my bed, in the dark. I heard the prayers and felt the tears that landed on my wrappings. I had heard your noiseless yawns. It was those times I had the best rest.  

 Remember each surgery  that happened when it was you turn to visit me ? I know you counted them.   You always followed  me, as my  bed was rolled to the double doors. You encouraged me, you made sure I knew I was not alone. You told me you would be praying.. Each time, as the elevator  doors shut, I would hear, “Shawn, I love you !!!”  I had such comfort, at those moments.     All those times, when I was brought back into my room, you were vigilant. at calming me, for hours and hours.  I remember the many times, you were so exhausted, almost falling asleep on your feet. You refused to leave my side. Melissa had said many times how I hated being alone, she was right.  Thank you, for not leaving my side, even though there were many times you needed a break.                                                                                                      

 Okay, Mom, I may be using words, the way you do-a lot of them. Wait, did I get some of your Chatty K-ness ???   

 Here is something that I totally loved. When my room was being stocked. You would do the putting away, hoping to make things easier for the staff.   I remember when I was in the cardio-chair, and what were you doing ? Cleaning my bed, frame and all. Who else would have thought of that ?

Think back when the head nurse thought it would be good  to have things in my room,  that were dear to me. Your challenge was no nails, or anything that would cause damage to the walls. I hope you took pictures, so my children can know what you did for me, and how creative your ideas had been. I heard the nurses try to tell you, but Mom, you don’t take compliments, well. I, also know the times others had been brought into my room, for ideas, the staff had been so pleased at what you had come up with.  I heard the Kidney doctor tell you, on her last visit, how great of a job you had done, in my room. She had been so kind  in coming to say “Goodbye”.   Mom, she knew, how bad  things were for me.     

What about the hours you  spent  painting the Donald Duck, on the window. wpid-wp-1445814677457.jpeg Thanks to the nurse who drew the outline for you. ~~~Side note~~~ Oh!, remember the Stretch Think drawing program we did, during our home school years ?  Melissa and I could NEVER figure out your drawings.  You were so cute- you thought you had done such a great job. You did try, I’ll give you that.~~~anyway,  I know the music, that painting night, was not your favorite, and  the volume chosen was way too loud for you, but I rested so good.  You may not realize it, but you did have a way to calm me, even when you were not by my bed but taking care of the room.

 I remember one time, in my cardio-chair, when you put up the picture of Zoro our first Chihuahua,. You said Bob had found  the picture and he thought I would love it. I did !!!    Remember how big I smiled and nodded ?  I  was remembering the day we bought Zoro. He lived in Troutdale. He was afraid of the owner’s husband. I remember the car ride—in Charmer-mom you are so silly-naming your cars. Anyway, Melissa and I were in the back seat. Zoro took  to us, so fast.      I remember a few years later, when we had moved to Oregon City, it was a very hot day. I had taken Zoro for a walk/run. He did not look good when we got home. He survived.  He was funny, how he would do sneak attacks and bite the back pant leg of visitors.     Zoro         

 Mom, just a couple more.         I don’t want you to get sad, but I need you to know, I heard your cries for me while I was having  cardiac situations. I know it was hard for you to watch my limp body as CPR was being performed. I am thankful for the times-when you were there,  You made sure you were as close to me as you could be, even though you had been asked to wait in the hall.. Do you know how much it meant to me ?     I know it was hard for you, but Mom,  I  cannot imagine you doing anything else.     

Hey Mom, something else, you did  not crowd others out. You, always made sure ALL, were welcomed , in my room for visits. Thank you.

You went through some hard talks, towards my end,. You were wanting to give me every possible chance to pull through-within your power ???—I know you had been told you were being selfish—keeping the machines going. I know how hard last Easter was for you. I want you to know that I knew you never gave up, I knew how hard you fought for me.  No, Mom.. I never once thought of you as being selfish. You were just being exactly the kind of Mom God knew I needed, especially at that time.  I do not want you to take another breath thinking I thought you didn’t do all you could. for me. 

 I know we had many years of separation, but never,  did you give up, not  then, and not during my situation, for that I am glad.  You endured many talks, about needing to let me go. I never once felt you give up.  I know what you went through. I tried to let you know. At the end I was so tired , but I knew you would figure out what I was trying to tell you, with the movement of the corners of my mouth, or the movement of my eyes-even though my eye lids were mostly stitched closed.   I, especially,  loved it when you saw my reaction, on my last Thursday-during Melissa’s kidney class, well, her detailed explanation of the kidneys. You were sad, but Mom, remember how you and Melissa,  laughed so hard, at my face twitches- no it wasn’t disrespectful. It was a special moment for the three of us. Please remember it,

 Last.  Before I died, you kissed my forehead. I knew it was you, I felt such a pleasant calm, in your sadness. I know how hard it was for you to watch me die. You knew when it actually happened, that will always be our moment, as was the day of my birth. I think there were so many goings on-probably to help the family sort of , be sidetracked.,  they may not have realized when it happened, but I know you knew when I left.

Mom, I know you have some emotions to deal with. I know there are a lot of  issues to work through, but I am going to need you to hand this pain to God. He and I need you to be a Grandma .  I know you are up to this next task.   I realize that right now, when you see my children, you are reminded of what you have lost. In time their antics will be sweet reminders of me.

Mom, as you read back over this post, I want you to see the person  I was blessed to have as MY MOM !!!   Maybe God will see fit for you to always remember the sound of my voice when I would say, “Love You Mom”.edb82c397aa2fadb0055cec13a43cc7c