A Piece Of Heaven

Five years ago my Mom breathed her last breath here on Earth to make her journey home to Heaven. Those who have walked a similar journey understand the longing for that person. Some days Heaven feels far.

Many have followed the journey the past five years and I am grateful for you. Today, I am opening myself up a bit. I miss my Mom dearly but I have hope and joy. Please read my raw processing of the fifth year anniversary of her passing:

All I want is to experience a piece of Heaven with you today. I see you, you’re young and radiant. I thought you were beautiful as I grew up but today you radiate the light from the son and you’re breathtaking. You even smell good. I never saw you so healthy and your hair so thick. Aunt Shorty is smiling as she stands by your side. Michael is in your arms and your other grandkids are running around your legs giggling. My oldest sibling cannot wait to meet the rest of us as I see them waiting with excitement for our homecoming. The joy is indescribable!

Just a piece of Heaven.

To my Dad who saw your slow death from the beginning and battled on your behalf, will a piece of you come visit him in his dreams tonight? Just a piece of Heaven, a glance of your eye and your smile that radiates such love. Just a bit of your presence to touch the ache and bring a little more peace than before.

Just a piece of Heaven and I can tell you face to face how so many of your prayers for me have been answered. The horors of your childhood, a piece somehow did not elude me and it tore your heart to pieces. If only you could see me today and know I’m free, healed and whole. I know now that you prayed dreams and hopes would somehow be restored and the joyful spark would return to my eyes. Just a piece of Heaven is all I ask today, so that we could laugh a bit more over coffee. I could give you a hug and you could see the dreams that are unfolding in my life.

Just a piece of heaven, it is all I ask for my siblings who miss you too. You could be with all of your grandkids, some of whom you could kiss for the first time. Swingset swinging, going down slides, dancing, and laughing together even for a moment.

Just a piece of Heaven, it is all I ask.

Just a piece of Heaven for everyone.

Mom, I love you!

Mother’s Day…

Sigh.

This day is full of many emotions.

When we were children we never knew what our Mommas were feeling or going through. But the truth is that they often were grieving or struggling in some way. Sure, many years were great when this day came but so many brave souls overcame a day feeling less than, forgotten or were without someone they loved.

For those who have lost their Mom and/or sweet children of your own, rest in the fact that God loves them even to this day, more than you. I say this phrase as a blessing to you.

Today after church I was able to take a deep breathe in the car ride home. As I allowed myself to soak in all the love, hugs, and notes I had received, I saw an image of my Mom holding my son in her arms in heaven. How perfect they looked!

I realized in that moment how well taken care of both of them are. I know this but to “see” it and to see my Mom loving and holding my boy so close was exactly what my Momma heart needed. This would have (should have) been my first Mother’s day with a baby in my arms.

Despite the hint of sadness from loss, my heart is so full. I am one blessed woman. I am loved. I am lacking nothing because all of God’s promises are yes and amen.

The same goes for you. You are blessed. You are loved. You lack nothing because all of God’s promises are yes and amen.

Honorable, virtuous, strong woman, shed a tear if you need but arise and lift up your head for you are victorious!

Thanksgiving: my thoughts on grieving and why I am thankful

This week has been interesting. The anticipation of the Thanksgiving holiday has been an up and down journey. By now I have become used to the interesting face of grief, even if I wish it were not there. Any writing that I do is normally a healing form of processing every feeling, and thought. These run rampant and can often change without a moment’s notice. From the grief books as well as talking with others who have had their own loss, this is all normal.


In light of Thanksgiving, I truly wish the best time for each of you. There is so much to be thankful for. If you find yourself struggling through the loss of someone dear to you, know that you are allowed time to grapple and struggle. If the holidays bring pain from a loss, know that there are many who pray for you. I know that I am. Even though there are some days that may seem so hard that I wish the day would just end, I am thankful for this journey. This journey helps me to understand those suffering losses so much better. It provides an instant connection with someone else that I may have only met that day. We can come together in the loss and pain, with the understanding that there are no words needed since we are going through the same journey, separate, yet together. How beautiful is that? When half the nation seems torn right now, rioting against brothers and sisters, we can still come together, even amidst our differences and just be present, praying for our hurting hearts.


Beauty often comes after a harsh, long, and tiring journey, where victory comes from endurance, faithfulness, and remaining true to Gods calling on your life. The journey of grieving has beauty written all over it, especially when one is willing to face it head on, walk through it, and acknowledge that it will be there for a lifetime. This does not mean that you lack faith. If anything it acknowledges the great faith you have to be able to endure such heartache and still trust in God. Keep your eyes to the heavens. God is there while you cry. He understands a life of sorrow. Jesus lived it. If you do not believe me, look up the prophecies about Jesus, as well as his time in ministry. He wept. He suffered the loss of his own earthly father. He let grief go, which meant that he felt it, worked through it, and continued to live life through the heartache. He just understood eternity and heaven much better since he was also God in human flesh.


This then makes me think how much grace and understanding God gives to us during our time of grief. I know that I am much harder on myself. This comes partially from the lack of understanding from others, so I feel like I should be doing much better than I am. I am thankful that God understands. I am thankful that God knows my heart. He knows your heart as well. This Thanksgiving, I am so thankful that God is trustworthy. He has carried us all through some of our hardest, and darkest moments. When we are at our worst, he still loves us so much. I am thankful that he holds me when I feel like giving up on everything just because the pain in my heart is overpowering reason. I am thankful he never gives up on me. He is always there. He has never left me when uncontrollable tears start to flow.


Yes, there is so much to be thankful for.


Happy Thanksgiving!


May you know how loved and valued you are.


Meeting with the Doctor.

In the past week and a half I have felt like all the words and emotions have been stuck inside of me. I have realized that I have had a difficult time putting all of the pieces together of the past several months. Because of this I must apologize as time literally has taken on a whole new meaning. I feel much older than I actually am after these past 4 months. Exhaustion has become a steady part of life. Swollen eyes from crying for hours and headaches to follow are all normal. I am uncertain of what my soul will look like after the brunt of this pain has dulled. I know that I am a daughter of the King and He is teaching me how to learn a new dance. He is using every ache in my heart to mold me and to teach me more about His great love. He is making me stronger.


The days in the hospital at Fort Pierce seemed much longer than they actually were. My accounts are pieced together and are somewhat difficult to filter through. The meeting with the Doctor finally happened after waiting for several days. Some of Mom’s nurses and care team were a part of this family meeting. I have to point this out because these people were rock stars. The love and care that they gave to my Mom was phenomenal. I wanted to hug them so tight in gratefulness each time that I saw them. We could not say thank you enough. They were caring for the most amazing woman we had known as Mom, confidant, friend, counselor, doctor, and comforter. They were caring for her in ways that we were unable to.


The air was thick with tension. There was a lump in my throat the size of a golf ball (at least it felt that way) and I had to tell myself to breathe. I did my best to put on a brave face, although, I have often been told that my face looks angry even when I think that I have a smirk on. My face is a horrible liar of what I attempt so hard for it to portray. I really do not know why this is and it can be very frustrating at times.


The Doctor had finalized looking over all of the recent test results, and brain scans. He came into the room and summarized what had happened to Mom’s brain and what was currently going on. To sum it up, Mom’s brain had such a big clot in it that her brain matter had literally been moved over. The stroke was likely due to her Lupus attacking her brain. Any small bump to her head that would move this brain clot further would kill her. She would never regain the use of her left side, as the damage was already too severe. This news was not of any alarm to me. I had enough education about the body to see and understand what was going on. I saw the swelling in her hands and the drooping of her left side, as well as the awkward position she was in, and knew that if there was ever a chance she came back awake, she would never, ever be the same. The Doctor confirmed this when he gave us our choices for what was to come next.


Because he saw how much my Dad loved and cared for my Mom, he knew that she was deeply loved. He said that sometimes scenarios would come up where he has to look at other reasons for procedures other than just for the patient. He saw how much we loved our Mom and that he was willing to do a procedure to remove the blood clot in hopes that the bleeding would stop, and the swelling in her brain would go down enough that her brain matter could heal. The chances of her surviving this procedure were very slim as her other brain cells were very weak and could cause another cataclysmic stroke in a different area of her brain. If she did survive this procedure, the best scenario was that she would be paralyzed. She would most likely not even be able to speak. She would need constant care for the rest of her life. Rehab would be very difficult.


Anyone that knows my Mom knows how much she never let her illness define her. She had been diagnosed with Systemic Lupus for over 20 years and had lived in immeasurable pain everyday. Each year I would say that the pain and issues worsened. Many times she would have to go on special medications just to be able to have the energy and endurance to enjoy family events and important outreaches. So many people never fully realized the sacrifices that she would make to her health and her body just to be given the honor to serve them. She never wanted a handout. She always wanted to do for others.


For those of you who took her for granted and talked bad about her; to those who judged her on the sidelines because you justified your apathy; to all those who abandoned her when she needed a cheerleader, know that she loved you despite it all. Might I also add that I need to say this: I forgive you. It is one of the most painful things to see such a hardworking, loving, tough woman who made the sacrifices that she did, get beat up by backstabbers, gossipers, and slanderers who masked themselves as friends and leaders. I pray that someday you will be known by another name. I pray that you will understand that my Mom only wanted you to know how much Jesus loves you. I desire this for you as well. I need to tell you again: I forgive you. Please do not be held back by any shame or guilt. None of us want that for you. Embrace forgiveness from Jesus and change. Be like Jesus. Be love to the world.


To all of those who prayed for her, bought her coffee, gave her an extra sweater, or turned up the heat in your house because she was cold; to those who baked a meal, gave her candles, and told her “thank you”, know that she never took your simple gestures and kind words for granted. She loved so many of you. It was this love that somehow was still shining even  on the hospital bed. It was this love that motivated her to give her life for Jesus as she did.


For that love, we knew that she would suffer even greater knowing that she could not do anything on her own if she survived the procedure her Doctor offered for her. We were devastated. As I was holding back tears, I realized that I was also holding my breath. My younger brother started to cry, the pain evident on his face. Then my older sister started to hand out Kleenexes. By that time I could no longer keep the tears inside and I had to remind myself to breathe. As reality hit each of us differently, my older brother started to ask questions that I could not even think of at that time. These questions helped lead us to talking out the next steps for our beautiful Mom.


The conversation that followed made the Doctor and nurses cry. They knew what this meant for us. They saw our struggle. They wanted our Mom to get better. Every little thing that they did was in an effort to restore our Mom back to us. So, in those minutes, each one of us was unified. Love was in that room. Love for a woman that each of us had known in our own personal way, whether she was wife, friend, sister, Mom, Mother-in-law, or patient.


Yes, Love met us in the room that night. In the mess of us, love was what made this night beautiful. Love was still alive. It was what helped us make the decisions before us.

The Journey Continues: My prayer the night of July 30th

I am not yet ready to write out the next part of the journey where we talked with the Doctor. What I would like to share is a journal entry that I wrote on July 30th late at night when I was unable to sleep. Journaling is a process. I often write down many different thoughts as well as what God shows me in that moment. This night was a special one as I was able to see just how much God longs for our complete healing and reconciliation with Him in the physical sense of entering Heaven.


Please note that my journal entries are unedited. Anything that you read is pure, raw emotion and an honest portrayal of how my mind often works through everything that I am going through.


Here is my Journal entry to God July 30th in Fort Pierce, Florida Holiday Inn:



“I really don’t have the words enough right now to say what is going on inside of me. Seeing Mom in the hospital bed all hooked up makes my heart hurt. She doesn’t deserve this. She hasn’t deserved such pain that she has endured for so long. I understand that many do not view death as a positive thing but you oh Lord see it as a glorious beginning to eternity with you! It is selfish of us to want to keep her here in a state of pain and hardship, especially when Heaven is our true home. You also long for us… You are selfish of us… You want us to be with you.


I know how much Mom loves you. I know that for many years her longing for Heaven has grown. It naturally should for any follower of you. Now, Lord we ask that you would guide us in these moments. If your will is to heal her here on earth we ask that you would do so. Please have her awaken, brain healed, lupus gone and body fully functioning. Essentially we are asking you to raise her from the dead. If not on this earth at this time Lord then please take her peacefully home into your arms. And may those who are a little distant from you come to an understanding of how much you love Mom! And just because of this separation it does not mean that you do not love us.


Oh, Lord please meet her in her sleep. Walk with her, talk with her. Please come to her aid. Help us to let her go. She has been beaten and broken down for so long. Please rescue her! Please pick her up and take her home… Right now that is what looks best. It is what is least selfish unless you reveal to us that you still have plans for her here. Please guide us… Show us your will.


“Through the process. Through the waiting. You’re making melodies over me.” Oh Lord, you love us so greatly. Each of us is special to you. Thank you for your promises! You long for us… You long for us more than I ever fully realized until today. It’s more than just giving a part of ourselves to you but our entire being. That will never be fully complete until we joyfully run into your arms in Heaven. You long for that day we enter Heaven, our home that you prepared for us! It’s crystal clear to me now… Wow, such love! Such love!!! Why on earth would we keep your children here so long? We do everything we can to make them stay on this earth. Yes we will miss them but honestly, who would ever keep a child from going home who truly loved that person? Heaven is our home.”



As you can see, there are thoughts here that are in pieces. Currently, I am thankful that God longs for us as He does. I am glad that my Mom no longer suffers but the separation seems so far. I have been angry that she had to be in the hospital like she did. I do not understand why she had to go through that part. But I also realize that sometimes the process is needed for multiple reasons. These reasons I will probably never fully know until I enter Heaven. By that time, the only thing that will matter is meeting the several nurses and doctors that may have come to Jesus because of that time.


As the holidays are starting to loom before us, and life goes on, the ache for my Mom only deepens. It has not yet been 3 months since she entered Heaven and somehow I expect myself to not feel such a deep ache for her. There are some days I do not know how to make it through the next hour. But God is always there to give me the strength that I need in those moments.


If you are currently going through your own loss please know that there is hope. God understands your grief. He is more gracious to you than you probably are to yourself. Go ahead and cry. Give yourself permission to grieve. Cling to God as He carries you through this journey. Never give up. He will show you the beauty in this mess.