Friday, June 29, 2012


I didn't want to post today. I feel like a broken record. (And if there's anything a mother of a multitude never wants, it's to repeat herself!)

I just can't wrap my mind around the fact that my son has been gone for eleven months. It's not that he's "gone," either. He's dead. He died. It's a harsh, brutal reality. (Though I know he is alive...just not here, as in here on earth.) And in just another 30 days, it will be a year. Frankly, I don't want to fathom it. *sigh*

But, as much as I would like to, I can't deny reality. I've never been one to put one a face, either. I'm not someone who can hide my feelings or pretend they aren't there. I'm not a good faker. What you see is what you get. However, grief and pain doesn't always want an audience. Sometimes the pain is too great, too private, too profane to be shared. In those moments, I withdraw. Since I can't fake it, I shut down. I hide in my "corner" and simply refuse to answer the phone or the door. Like a petulant child who covers their eyes with their hands, believing that because they can't see you, you can't see them. The driving force is the thought, "Just leave me alone." 

Yet, if there's one thing I've learned about grief, it's that it's no time to play Superman(or woman). Grief is the kryptonite in life. It saps your strength, your confidence, and your motivation. It causes you to doubt everything you've ever thought you were sure of. I've also learned that the road to recovery is a heck of a lot longer than anyone, including myself, would imagine (or even wants to admit). 

Last night, I found myself rather amazed, actually, at the truthfulness and similarities of grief while reading a free e-book (Rain Dance) I happened to download purely by chance, knowing nothing about it's storyline. While it looked seemingly as if the book had nothing in common with the loss of our teenage son, I found quite the parallel in the following dialogue between two of the main characters: (The couple are unable to have children.)

(wife) "..."What do you do with all the hurt?"
(husband) "I think not having kids is always going to impact our lives. With time and space we will deal with it better, but it will always be here."....
(wife) "I know and I hate it. Are you ever angry?"
(husband)...."Sometimes. Mostly I'm sad. I'm learning it's hard to fight facts."
(wife)"I don't want this to be our truth."
(husband)"Me either, but it is. Accepting that is essential to our living in freedom."
(wife)"Do you think that's what the bible verse about the truth setting us free means?"
(husband)"The Truth there is Jesus. I believe that trusting the One who is Truth is freeing even when we don't know why something happens in life, because we know He does, and that is enough."

It's one thing to work through this whole grief thing for oneself, let alone when you're a part of a couple. Moreover, it's downright intimidating when there are surviving children involved. There is nothing more a parent wants to do than take away their child's pain. Yet the loss of a loved one, their brother, renders me/us helpless. Grief is complicated and messy. The ride on the roller coaster of sorrow brings unexpected, sudden twists and turns that cause your stomach to lurch and your heart to beat erratically. I wish my children didn't have to grow up without their brother. But I can't change the facts. I don't profess to understand His plan or His ways, and I dare say I have more questions now than before the loss of my firstborn. But I know God is trustworthy, faithful, and true. I can keep pointing our children to the One who knows their sorrow, as He knows mine. We can model for them that "the only cure for grief is to grieve." (Earl Grollman) We can point them to the Great Physician, the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We can teach them that "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1)

Monday, June 25, 2012


Realized the past few weeks that I've been angry. Angry and again, asking God, "Why? Why us? Why couldn't it have been someone else's child? Why couldn't it have been some other family?" I really think it's been difficult because the past few weeks have been nothing but graduation invitations/announcements and hearing about their child's plans for the future. Just unintentional salt in the wound, a reminder of what will never be. *sigh* It hurts. And while they sit and plan a joyous graduation, I'm planning a one-year "remembrance." It sucks. The month of June is almost over, too, which means the 29th is coming up. I say "good riddance" to June. :(

I've had to work a lot harder at reminding myself that Matt is alive, that Heaven is waiting, and that God has a plan, even if I don't understand it. I'm trusting that God is holding on to me, 'cause I don't have the strength, or even the desire, to hold on to Him. But I know He is faithful. He will not let me go.  He will get me/us through this.

ETA:  My statement about it being "some other family" was raw emotion and pain speaking. I would never wish this horrible grief on someone else. I simply meant that I want my son back. I wish it had never happened. But the sad truth is, it has happened to other families. I know we are not alone. :(


Tuesday, June 19, 2012


ALL THINGS MATT - one year remembrance July 29

Tim and I have reserved the church on July 29th from 5-8pm to mark the one-year anniversary of Matt's homegoing. We plan on having supper (Goulash - Matt's favorite) and plain cake with powdered sugar on top. (Again, Matt's favorite) After supper, the kids (and those who act like kids!) can play ping pong and have diaper wars (throwing rolled up diapers at one another). You are encouraged to stop by McDonald's on the way and buy a Mocha Frappe in memory of Matt. We will end with throwing eggs, so please bring a dozen per person, as well, if you plan on participating.

We can't thank you enough for being there for us and would truly appreciate it if you would commemorate this difficult date with us a year later. Your support means a lot. Please forward this to anyone else you think would be interested - especially those not on FB. :)

Addendum: I plan on having a book put together with all the favorite memories people have of Matt. If you have a memory to share, please TYPE it up and email it to me. Don't forget to include your name. If possible, please put the approximate date of the memory. I would like to have the book compiled and available at a table so it can be read by everyone.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Weekend recap

I am anxiously awaiting child number 2,3,4,&5 to come back home. They've been gone for a week now visiting their cousins. It's been quite different without them. Frankly, I don't like it. However, I know they've been entertained beyond reason. :) Being left with the two youngest was challenging. And quiet. And challenging. You get the idea.

I wasn't surprised at the low levels of laundry, but found myself completely lacking motivation to even cook. Which is nothing new, but, I mean, seriously, why go to all that effort for a 3 and 5 year old who eat like birds? If they were happy with waffles for supper, then so be it. Dh and I haven't really had much interest in food, anyway, since Matt died.

However, if you had asked me about food on Thursday, that would have been a different story. Thursday was prep day for my colonoscopy on Friday. The torture of colonoscopy preparation is beyond description and I will spare myself and my readers from re-living its details. All I can say is the procedure itself is like a mini-vacation compared to the hell of the preparation. Of course, narcotics and "conscious" sedation (quite the oxymoron!) are good buddies you enthusiastically welcome along for the ride.

Unfortunately, the surgery results weren't as good as last time. The Dr. did inform me that I have diverticulitis and also removed one polyp. Whatever. I'm still blaming every health issue I have on grief. Since losing my son, I have dealt with health issues I have never had before, things like a kidney stone, anemia, and sciatic nerve pain, just to name a few.

Anyway - back to the good. I'm looking forward to seeing the kids. I've missed them, and I've missed my busy household.

Father's Day. Needless to say, the holiday isn't the same when blended with sorrow. There's no denying that one of my children is missing. It's like an amputee trying to ignore the fact that one of their limbs is missing. I can smile at the things my other children do and say, but always, in the recesses of my heart, I am cognizant of the fact that all of them aren't here.

We don't usually do anything on Sundays, but tonight was "Faith and Family" night at the local baseball field with our favorite team and we joined a large group of church friends in attending. It was fun and entertaining with a special appearance by the Zooperstars. It's always good when your team wins, too, as ours did!

I'm just so happy to have the rest of the kids back home. It was a long week without them. Having them back actually motivated me to plan the menu for the week, too! Now that it's planned, I can reward myself with some reading. I found a new author I am highly impressed with (Ray Blackston). I found his book, "Flabbergasted," to be highly entertaining and incredibly well-written, so I was thrilled when I saw he had a sequel of sorts in "A Delirious Summer." It's been years since I've read a book good enough that I had to exercise self-control in reading! (Self-control because books that I can't put down, means that nothing else gets done!) Off to read. :)


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stuff and such

I spent over an hour today cleaning off my table (a.k.a. "baking counter") in the kitchen. I usually keep it brutally clear of clutter because space is limited and I highly value my "baking counter." But then death came, and with it followed grief. And grief turns things upside down. Little things that you wouldn't expect. Like counter-tops and home-made baking. Since Matt died, however, it's been the catch-all for all sorts of stuff. It was unsightly, but I didn't care.

I was rather amazed at what I sifted through. Christmas cards, funeral programs, birthday greetings, photos, and just stuff. I tossed like there was no tomorrow! I've always been a thrower, but now before I launched each rejected article, I found myself hesitating, asking, "Is this something of value? Is it something I'm going to want if the person who sent it dies tomorrow? Is it something I want to keep as the last thing I received from them?" *sigh* Grief changes things all right.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Missing my son

The weather was so beautiful the day Matt died and it just doesn't seem right. It should have been dark and cloudy, thunder-storming and tornado watches overhead. Instead, it was beautiful. Corn fields were ripe and the birds were singing. I will never look at corn fields again without thinking of Matt. As mothers who have lost infants and long for their baby's smell and to feel their soft little body, I long to see Matt's big strapping teenage body, to hear his deep, quiet voice and see his hands that were bigger than mine reach for a glass in the cupboard.

The weather the past couple weeks has been beautiful, too, and I think I finally realized why it's been hard. Seeing the blue skies and hearing the echoes of the song birds are like re-living the day Matt died, over and over. How can I not tie those two together? The details of that day are forever etched in my minds eye. The scents, the smells, the sounds. I didn't realize it would be like this. I didn't realize beautiful days would now be associated with my son's last day on earth.

My heart is sick with longing.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Random thoughts

I started wearing make-up again. After Matt died, not wearing any was my own personal way of displaying my grief. I recall reading in MaryBeth Chapman's book that her husband, well-known Christian music artist, Steven shaved his head after the loss of their daughter Maria. Our country just doesn't acknowledge grief. It doesn't want to admit that grief lasts longer than three days. It just wants you back to "normal" as soon as possible. It doesn't want to see your horribly ugly wound or pain-filled countenance. Yet the Bible speaks of many displays of grief. Other countries allow for the expression of one's sorrow. So, in my own little way, not caring what others thought, I showed my grief. I knew it. It didn't matter if others did. I also know that wearing make-up again doesn't mean I am no longer grieving. It just means I've healed enough to allow the dressing to be taken off the wound. The scar will forever remain...and I have no intention of covering it up.

Wearing make-up is just one of the small changes that's happened this past week. I also changed my blog header. I love it because it has my favorite flowers and because the background is Matt's favorite color. I also ordered some new dishes after 19 years! I found a pattern, again, trying to find Matt's shade of blue. THESE are what I ended up with. It doesn't match his blue exactly, but it's all I could find. It took me quite a while to figure out that his shade of blue is called "cerulean" blue!!

Mr. Monkey was also thinking of Matt last week. While we were at the farm, Mr. Monkey and I took a walk down the gravel road. We were a ways down the road when I saw him "poking" himself in the sides and then heard him say, "Matt poke me. Matt give me kiss." It was the first time HE initiated a conversation about his brother. Every single day when Matt would get home from school, the first thing he would do is scoop up his little brother, give him a kiss (if he knew I wasn't looking!), and later poke him in the ribs from behind. It made me cry with gratitude because I'd like to believe God answered our prayer of giving him a memory of his brother.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The every day things

I think many people believe the "special" days are the hardest for those who grieve, the anniversaries, birth dates, holidays, etc. And while they most assuredly are difficult, it's the things in the normal, every day life that grief affects the most. As I worked around the house today doing chores and writing out bills, it was the setting of the table, the sorting of the laundry, and the planning of the menu that consistently reminded me that Matt is gone. The waves of grief have changed their tsunami-style approach to smaller, incessant rolling waves, the kind that eventually wear rock down or carve channels through the landscape. Though maybe not as initially destructive, they are just as powerful.

There are so many routine things that have changed since Matt died. I no longer fill out the entire 12 month calendar with each kids' week of dish duty. I don't assign chores in order from oldest to youngest like I used to. I don't use being too tired as an excuse anymore not to tuck them in at night, because I now know the reality that it may possibly be the last. I struggle with how to say certain things now. Things like when I'm referring to the kids, from the second-born to the fifth-born. I cannot say, "the oldest four", because it's NOT my oldest four. So how do I refer to them? I typically just say each of their names even though it takes longer. *sigh*

The past month has been incredibly difficult. I think because I've been fighting with God. Wrestling with Him because I do NOT want the death of my child, my teenager, to be a part of my story. I don't. Yet it's rather stupid, isn't it? Because I also fully know/understand that there's not a damn thing I can do about it. I can't change it. I can't make it go away. All I can do is cling to God. Cling to Him daily and trust that some day, it will be alright.

Streams in the Desert (devotional in part)
May 28
Cling to God in Faith
"I will not let thee go, except thou bless me ... and he blessed him there." (Gen. 32:26, 29).

Jacob got the victory and the blessing not by wrestling, but by clinging. His limb was out of joint and he could struggle no longer, but he would not let go. Unable to wrestle, he wound his arms around the neck of his mysterious antagonist and hung all his helpless weight upon him, until at last he conquered.

We will not get victory in prayer until we too cease our struggling, giving up our own will and throw our arms about our Father's neck in clinging faith.

What can puny human strength take by force out of the hand of Omnipotence? Can we wrest blessing by force from God? It is never the violence of wilfulness that prevails with God. It is the might of clinging faith, that gets the blessing and the victories. It is not when we press and urge our own will, but when humility and trust unite in saying, "Not my will, but Thine." We are strong with God only in the degree that self is conquered and is dead. Not by wrestling, but by clinging can we get the blessing. --J. R. Miller