Life Moments #47 – All the Brokenness

I look around me to see all the brokenness.

Broken homes.

Broken hearts.

Broken spirits.

It’s a broken world we live in and it’s scary.

People speak of rights: personal rights, civil rights, basic human rights, universal rights and the perceived list of rights goes on. Perceived because everyone has their own version of what’s right. Some people’s version align with others and so on and so forth. We fight for the right to choose what we believe in. We fight for the right to enjoy life how we see fit. We fight for the right to choose what gender we are. We fight for the right to bear arms and to what school our child will attend. We fit for this and we fight for that.

Are we wrong to fight for or against one right or another? No, not really. But, in the end, what are we really fighting and what right are we really possessing? Yes, I know the arguments: freedom of speech, right to protect ourselves and our loved ones, right to education, right to be liberated or not, right to choose life or not…..

Take a wife for instance: doesn’t she have a right to feel safe in her home? Well, sure she does. A husband, a wife, and a child all have the right to feel safe in their home. Does a child have the right to express himself without fear of reprisal or degradation from those he loves? Certainly. Does a husband have the right to sit in his home, enjoying his coffee, and his peace? Of course. However, each of these rights stems off one very important, but often overlooked basic principal: Respect.

We, as humans, have lost the ability to respect other humans. We often take the guarded, but misinformed stance of

I will give respect when I get respect.

Lack of respect for oneself and for others has surely led us into the self-serving abyss that we now live in, not to mention the lack of morals, lack of integrity, and over-abundance of uneducated liberalism that has become so prevalent. The respect we give another is not based on merit or whether the individual has earned it. We give respect because we are all God’s children and for that reason alone, everyone should be shown respect. It’s our human nature to rely on the ‘you want respect then earn it’ theory. However, human nature fails. A lot.

Suffice to say: We do not live in a free-for-all world.

However, what we lack the most, but need the most is Love.

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We love others because God loved us. We don’t have to agree with everyone. We don’t have to accept their choices. We don’t have to see the world as another sees it, but we are called to Love.

And love requires selflessness.

Ahh, it’s a hard world we live in and it’s only getting harder.

~ Shannon ~

 

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Life Moments #46 – Standing on the Edge

Darren, it’s one hundred fifty-three days since you left and this is what it’s like:

As I stand there, on the outside of my body, watching….just watching, the darkness closes in around me.

All I see in the darkness, is me pulling, pulling with all my might….trying to get that night back.

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Just imagine, a sheet lying on the floor. You reach in to grab the center of the sheet and lift it from the floor. The soft cotton gathers at the center where your hand grabbed hold but the creases get bigger as the sheet lifts from the floor, finally gathering in a flowing mass of fabric as your hand lifts higher and higher. No longer flowing, the sheet now but hangs in one thick mess in your fingertips, dangling above the floor.

That’s what it’s like for me while I’m pulling to get that night back. I’m tugging and tugging at the center of it, pulling with all my strength. All I get for my struggle, is a mess of memories surrounding that night…the couple of days prior and the couple days after.

The memories are there. The words. The texts. The actions. All there, but all in a tangled mass. The visit from the cop and chaplain. The days after, wondering what happened…not knowing….the questions….the fears….the doubts….sleepless nights and groggy, tear-filled days. It’s all there, but to make sense of it all, I have to open that wound again….that wound that gouged so deeply into my heart. Can I do that? Can I relive those moments again?

I stand here now, visit his grave, and know he will never be with me here again, but the questions remain. The memories haunt my mind. The tears threaten so easily, escaping not quite so much…..normally at the most inopportune moments – in a meeting, watching a movie, driving down the road, talking to my children……..

My mind wonders:

  • Could I have saved him if he were with me?
  • If the courts would have handled things a little differently, would he still be here?
  • What word could I have said to make him feel differently?

And then the doubts, the could haves, the should haves:

  • I should have been with him that day he talked to his attorney.
  • I should have tried harder to make the court officer listen to me.
  • I should have tried harder to get others to listen.

I am currently reading a book, Dying to Be Free: A Healing Guide for Families after a Suicide, and I know it’s normal to feel this way. Confusion, heartache, anger, anxiety….it’s all normal albeit not something I want to go through.

The other day, in one of the many thoughts of Darren, I felt an internal struggle. The struggle that tells me two things…..(1) He’s gone. He’s not coming back. It’s time to get over it because all the thinking of him doesn’t change what is and (2) He’s gone and my heart is broken. How do I continue to live without him? I don’t want to be here because he cannot be here, but I do want to be here because I am needed here. I am here and regardless of how I feel or how much I want Darren to be here too, I have to continue on.

And it saddens me…..I feel guilty for living.

I only have one question:

When does it end? Not life, but the pain.

When does the pain end?

I am confused. I am lost. I am clearly different than I used to be, but who am I now?

~ Shannon

Life Moments #45 – Tell Me I Was Dreaming…..

My favorite music is country music. Most of the time, if I am listening to music, that’s the station I have on….Country. Some how, there’s always a song that will go along with any mood. Yes, I know all the silly comments about country music and dogs and wives, etc. etc. I know it’s not the most popular genre of music, but it’s my favorite.

Anywho, there’s a song by an artist that was pretty popular when I was growing up…..

Tell Me I Was Dreaming by Travis Tritt

That tends to fit my life for the last almost five months. When I heard about my son, I wanted to believe it was a dream…..and I still wish it was. Every single day.

So, with that said, please tell me I have been in the middle of a nightmare for the last five months and please wake me up.

I know. I know, Unfortunately, I know….there is no waking up from this nightmare.

My son is gone. Forever…..

So, if I must dream now, let them be good dreams.

I pray each night that I will dream of my Darren. Pictures of him surround me. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, he shared a hobby of mine: photography. One of my favorite photos that he took sits on my nightstand:

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It’s not the best quality as it was, but definitely not as seen above. That’s a picture of the picture in a frame. To see the actual picture out of the frame is much better.

But it doesn’t matter to me. The quality of the photo doesn’t matter. What matters is that he was with his three best friends. Amigos. Buddies. Pals. Bros. No matter what you call it, it all means the same.

They stood, facing the setting sun so bright before them. And he seems to relaxed. So free.

And that’s how I want to remember him. I don’t want to think of his broken heart. I don’t want to recall the tears he shed. I don’t want to picture the sadness I seen in his eyes.

But I do. I see it all.

And my heart breaks one more time every time I see those particular memories.

So, please tell me I’ve been dreaming…..

~ Shannon

Life Moments #44 – How I Have Learned to Deal with Disagreements with Someone Else or Stress

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Does anyone here ever talk to themselves?

I am constantly having conversations in my head. Sometimes that results in me talking to myself.

I mean, literally, I will have a complete conversation in my head and either talk out loud or answer myself out loud.

That’s a little crazy. Right?

No, not really. I’m as sane as anyone walking around, which may not being saying much…..

Anyway, there’s an old adage that I’ve heard said a thousand times, at least –

It’s okay to talk to yourself, it’s when you answer yourself that you should be worried.

Haha….

Okay, I am not crazy and I am not worried about my mental state. I talk to myself and I might even answer myself, but such is life…

Anywho, one thing I’ve recently learned about myself is this: If I feel frustrated about something in my day or at someone, I quite simply mull over what I would say if I could, if I had the chance.

And that’s probably what saves me from doling out a ton of tongue-lashings at people. To explain, I recently have felt quite frustrated at one person in particular. It’s not someone I talk to very often, in fact if we even talk at all. As I was going through my day one day, getting ready for an upcoming event, it made me think of this particular person. She has made me angry. She has manipulated and played games. She has tried to take control where it’s not hers to take and I am done with it. I am done with the stupidity. I am done with the childishness. I am done with the disrespect and inconsideration. I am done with the high-horse she sits on. I am done.

And the thing that has gotten me through the frustrating moments without losing my cool is that I have conversations in my head, telling her exactly what I think and holding nothing back.

Let me explain myself….

I am a nice person. I don’t like confrontation. In fact, I try hard not to hurt people’s feelings or cause upset because I just don’t care for the stress it brings.

But….

Even though, I truly do just want to be nice and not cause disruption, I am blunt. When I get fed up with people’s crap, I can be mean. But, it’s not just mean, it’s brutally honest mean…..I don’t even really know how to explain, but I know that I don’t like to be that way. I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. I don’t want to get into big arguments with people as most of the time it ends up just trading off insults, each one getting meaner and meaner while accomplishing NOTHING.

So, these conversations in my head that involve me giving a good tongue-lashing to those who really deserve it accomplish at least that – the ability to tell someone off without using a filter. Once I have these conversations in my head, it’s done. I’m done and the next time I come face to face with the individual who’s stressing me out, I can speak to him/her cordially.

See?

There really is a method to the madness.

~ Shannon

Life Moments #43 – The Down and Dirty, the Grimy and Raw, the Sticky and Gross…..

Life has a way of really tossing us a lot of dirty stuff at us. Although we make our own choices, many never learn the art of take responsibility for said choices. Sadly, their mistakes are always someone else’s fault. And so life goes, always living with the shoulda, could, woulda perception because they never really understood what it meant to take responsibility. For anything. Their words. Their actions. Their selfishnesses. Their wants. Their needs, so on and so forth.

Nineteen years ago, I gave birth to a beautiful, happy, bouncy baby boy. baby-dylan2

He weighed 8 lbs and 3 ozs (or 5 ozs). The pregnancy itself was a topsy-turvy affair. His father and I were young and selfish, mean and stubborn which caused me to be an emotional wreck the whole pregnancy. Well, that played havoc on my Picadilly as now he’s a very anxious person.

Soon enough, his father and I welcomed another little beautiful, happy, bouncy baby boy into our lives. He weighed 8 lbs and 5 ozs (or 7 ozs).

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Seventeen years ago before hurt filled his heart

By this time, it was apparent that their father and I shouldn’t be together. We fought all the time. Yelled and screamed and cursed and called one another names. But, speaking from my own perspective, I lost any bit of self esteem that I had through that tumultuous four-year relationship. Maybe he did too and maybe he didn’t. I’m not sure, but I was sure that we didn’t need to be together. Eventually, we broke up and went our separate ways.

Through the years, he and I have made our mistakes. However, when he and I broke up, my self-esteem was so shattered, I really believed I wasn’t good enough for those two beautiful baby boys.

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Fifteen years ago when squeals of delight rang through our home

And if you can’t see where that’s going, then here it is: they lived with him. I really believed they deserved better than me so I believed his lies. As they got older and I matured, my self-esteem slowly healed. My heart breaks, though, because while my heart was healing and my self-esteem was growing, my ex was destroying our two children, those two beautiful baby boys who soon grew, as babies do, into toddlers and elementary children and finally into teenagers.

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Two months before my son took his life and our world changed.

Just to clarify, he and I broke up fifteen years ago.

And now, even after my seventeen year old took his life because of all the heartbreak, my ex and his family continue to manipulate my nineteen year old’s mind. He and his girlfriend are about to have a baby, in November actually. We buried my son in May and will be welcoming that beautiful baby granddaughter in November.

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Three months ago when we found out they’re having a girl.

This pregnancy has been such a beacon of hope in a world of sadness. As the grandmother, I was excited to hear the news and with excitement, ask if I could throw a baby shower. Well, through some misunderstanding in the beginning about it, we finally made it here. The baby shower is in two days.

But…..

My son’s heart is broken. It was his brother we buried almost five months ago. Just imagine, a nineteen year old carrying his seventeen year old brothers’ casket for the funeral. Yes, with honor and heartbreak, he did that. As you can imagine, the heartbreak didn’t stop there. He, like the rest of us, live with that ache in our chest that will never go away.

And now, at a moment in his life where he should be feeling the love of his family not only for the heartache that we have all endured, but also because he and his girlfriend are bringing life into the world in a time of darkness. But, he can’t feel the love because his father’s family is making him feel shitty about a baby shower in which I am hosting that they were invited to, but refuse to attend. I am not sure that his father is saying anything to him, but some people in that family are certainly making him feel like crap.

He’s asking for one day……

One day for his parents to celebrate …………

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Their baby girl. My son  wants his parents to celebrate this meaningful moment in his life, but his dad refuses.

His parents to celebrate – together – one of the most precious moments in his adult life  and his dad or that side of his family won’t even give him that. Through those two boys’ lives, their dad has said he’s given them everything they’ve wanted. Just about anytime they asked, they got (according to their dad), but he refuses to give this to our son. It breaks my son’s heart which breaks mine. He refuses to stop being angry at me long enough to give our only living son the only thing he or his brother ever wanted….their parents not fighting, not to be put in the middle of adult squabbling.

I always try to be positive. I always try to see the good in people. I always try to forgive others even though my heart is still breaking.

But right now, after what my ex has done to our children, I am finding forgiveness not so easy come. It’s a daily battle…….

~ Shannon

Life Moments #42 – The Biggest Question: Why?

Yesterday, I called the sheriff’s office once again to get answers about my son, to no avail. The questions about what happened linger in my mind.

But then the biggest question of all constantly hovers in my mind like a vulture hovering on its’ dead prey:

     Why?

Why?

It lurks in the corners of my mind.

Why?

It steals away fleeting joy in only a single moment.

Why?

It disguises itself with anger that lingers inside of me, not really waiting to explode, but holding as a leak, draining out slowly.

With the question of WHY, comes all the questions surrounding my faith, my belief or lack thereof in a broken system, and trust – knowing who the enemy is and who is not.

One funny thing I recently found out is that in perceived moments of crisis (imminent threat of violence or self-harm), law enforcement responds ASAP.

However, in moments where only a concern is present, law enforcement does NOTHING.

If one person had listened, just one, Darren could still be here.

If one person had listened, just one, Darren could have seen a better way.

If one person had listened, just one, Darren could be in the room next to me rather than buried in the cold ground.

If one person had listened, just one person…….

I ask you: Be The Person Who LISTENS.

Life Moments #41 – Battle Between Heart and Head

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It’s not easy to move forward even though I know I need to.

I am scared to admit when the days are easier so I don’t let myself say it out loud. I don’t ever say, “yes, my day has been good. I have felt happiness.”

Why be scared, you may wonder?

Because Darren was one of my children and he always will be. To move forward, after he’s no longer here on the life journey with us, feels like I am betraying him in some way. Also, because I’ve may have gotten comfortable with the pain of losing him and to go back to happiness feels like I am betraying him.

It’s a crazy thing that mothers feel about their children. I have spent many years as a mother trying to take advantage of every second of spare time we could all muster up trying to be involved in his life. He didn’t live with me so time was a luxury I didn’t want to give up when it came to being with he and his older brother.

But, as it stands, seventeen years was all I got so looking back, time was more of a luxury than I truly understood.

Now, as I rebuild the pieces of my life, my family’s life, that Darren’s death shattered, my new normal is living with the constant heartbreak of him not being here.

How do I move forward with that?

~ Shannon