Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Somewhere over the Rainbow...

Last night, my daughter and I were driving down to Mankato and the whole day had been kind of overcast.  As we were just pulling out of town, Courty says, "I wish I could see a rainbow right now."  When I asked her why, she said (in a matter of fact, 'how dare you ask me' tone), "Because I miss Declan."  I smiled to myself and said, 'yeah, me too.'  But beings that there had been no rain, there was no rainbow.  After finished up our girls night out with a Blondie bar from Barnes and Noble,  we headed home.  As we pulled into our town, guess what was waiting for us.... this beautiful big rainbow!  Both Courtlynn and I were amazed!  It really felt like Declan had sent his sister a gift.  There are those moments when life can really get me down... when I lose my breath remembering my son and his death... when I can hardly believe this terrible event really happened to me.  There are moments when all I need is a reminder that this is not the end... this is only the beginning our journey, a blimp in time compared to our eternity... that is exactly what this rainbow did for me yesterday!  It felt like a deeply personal gift, meant just for me... Thank you Heavenly Father and Declan.  You made my day.

"O beautiful rainbow; all woven of light! There's not in your tissue one shadow of night; Heaven surely is open when you do appear. And, bending thee above, the angels draw near, and sing,"The rainbow! the rainbow! The smile of God is here." ~ Sarah Hale

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What has death taught me...

I randomly read articles from an online magazine called Still Standing, Embracing Life after Loss and Infertility.  Today I read one that I could really relate to... it was about how death has the ability to change people.   I always think it strange that people talk about death as if it is some mysterious thing that only happens to unlucky people or to people who must have done something wrong... but we all die.   I will die.  You will die.  WE all die... I have come to realize that the reason people freak out about death is because it's only suppose to be for old people.   When an older person dies, its expected and most of the time they have lived a good life.  People are comfortable with that type of death... people are not comfortable with death when it happens to children.  People don't want to talk about it, people avoid the subject... maybe because they are afraid to make me sad or more likely, they know it will make them sad... or I speculate that its the grieving after death that really throws people.  No one really knows how to respond to grief.  No one teaches us how to travel down griefs dusty, bumpy, twisty and turny roads....but over the past year and 4 months I have learned that death happens and grief happens and I know without question, it will change you.  This particular article had two sections... one about how death has negatively impacted her and one on how it has positively impacted her and although I could relate to both parts, I wanted to share only the second part.  I highlighted the parts that struck a cord in my heart!  After all this time, I can safely say I would rather have Declan here, but if I have to travel this journey, I am glad I have been able to learn from it and allow his life and death to make me who I am today.

Letting Death be Your Teacher by Rachel Lewis
"... Death has changed me. And sometimes, I hate what it has done. But it has also changed me for the better.

I know death has changed me when I study my daughter’s eyes, and savor every expression that dances across her face as an absolute gift.

I know death has changed me when I remember to loosen my grip on my little girl, and give her the chance to experience all that life can offer.

I know death has changed me when “I love you” always goes with my “good-bye.”

I know death has changed me when someone’s grief no longer scares me, and their tears feel like an invitation to share in the most sacred of moments together.

I know death has changed me when grief crosses all barriers, and binds my heart to another’s whom I otherwise never would have known, befriended, or loved.

I know death has changed me when imagining my death does not strike fear in my heart, but rather motivates me to leave my imprint on the world while I still have breath.

I know death has changed me when a baby is born alive and healthy, and I know what an absolute miracle she is.

I know death has changed me when I see heaven not as a resting place, but as a living place.

I know death has changed me when I choose to fight with God in prayer. I give Him my pain. My betrayal. My anger. And I place my bruised, bleeding heart into His perfect hands. He doesn’t heal my hurt. But He does always hold it for me.

I know death has changed me when I stop trying to be perfect. And instead, just try to be.

I know death has changed me when I have the courage to love a child I know I might not get to keep. Death has taught me that our time together will end. But love never ends. And love is always worth loss.

As often as I revolt against death, hating it for it’s power to change life — to end life — I have learned that death is not just an enemy, but it is a teacher.

Death will change you. But death can also teach you to live."

Monday, June 3, 2013

JOY no matter the circumstance...

Yesterday, I listened to a very wise man talk about joy... about what it means to live a life filled with joy and how some people just naturally seem to gravitate to it.   He said that true joy comes no matter the circumstance... that joy isn't dependent on what is happening in our lives.  Even when life has me down and out, even when I feel crushed and depleted, the joy that I have in my heart is still there.  It doesn't always rise to the surface and bubble up, but true joy is always there.... I don't function well in sorrow, I don't thrive in sadness... shortly after Declan died, I knew I needed to do whatever it would take to move through my grief... not forget it, not avoid it, but move through it with purpose and determination to not only survive his death, but become someone stronger because of it.

There are days and moments when choosing to be joyful is difficult... when it seems like it's the last thing I want to do.  Living joyfully take effort and it takes a change of attitude... but I would say for me, choosing joy doesn't mean I have a permasmile on my face and I am doing flips around the house... it doesn't mean that I am going to start lecturing you about being happy and not letting life's tough times get you down... to me, choosing joy means that I have HOPE that today's troubles and sorrows are merely bumps in the road and that I will find my happiness again.  For me, looking at the death of my little guy, I can find JOY in the promise that I will see him again...  I can rest peacefully knowing that I will hold him again, that I will kiss him again... that I will someday hear him call me 'mommy'!  Someday... until then I will take the bad with the good, I will lean on God to be my support when I am not strong enough and I will continue to CHOOSE JOY... always.  

"And my God will fully supply your every need according to His glorious riches in the Messiah Jesus." ~ Philippians 4:19

Strong Enough - Matthew West