Life Moments #56 – Losing You was a Challenge I Don’t Want to Face

It’s harder than most people think. Everyone wants to say, “I understand” or “It will get better with time” or “It will stay with you forever.”

And which do I believe most? – “It will stay with you forever.”

As for the rest – No, you probably don’t understand and No, it won’t get better with time.

Because losing him was hard. It was a life-changer, a life-changer I want nothing to do with, a life-changer that nobody needs or wants, a life-changer that I didn’t get a choice in. Many people might say it’s a life-changer that nobody deserves. However, when I hear the word deserve, my question isn’t about whether or not I deserved it or my family deserved it, but did he deserve it? It doesn’t really matter though, in the end, because deserving something is a moot point. We make choices and we live with those choices. Sometimes, choices made by others will have just as big as, if not bigger, of an impact on us than our own choices.

With that said, I miss him terribly. I miss everything about him. His kindness. His laughter. His insane belief that he must carry his burdens alone. I miss his smile and the way he played with his siblings. I miss his quick texts, short and to the point, never saying more or less than was needed. I miss the quiet way he walked through the house and his hugs. I miss his hugs so much. Not the quick, arm thrown across my shoulder kind of hugs (although all hugs are Great!), but the way he wrapped his arms completely around me and he let me do the same. I miss him asking me to make him oatmeal every afternoon after school or at some random time on a Sunday. I miss watching him interact with his siblings. I miss the wrestling matches with his brothers and watching them toss the football in the yard. I miss the love that shown so brightly when he held Zephaniah. I miss the softness that he was in his heart, his voice, his temperament.

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He was quiet. He was lovable. When he smiled, his eyes lit up the world around him. I miss him something awful and I will never get over it.

It’s only been 8 1/2 months – sad, depressing months. I can’t fathom the rest of my life without him.

Most days, like happened this morning, something will trigger thoughts of him and then the sadness starts all over again.

I miss him and I want him back. Nothing will ever change that. Not time. Not age. Not years that go by. He will always be part of me and there will always be sadness there.

~ Shannon ~

 

 

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Life Moments #55 – Eight Months You’re Gone

49896839_10213241104126984_2937278728725594112_nI sat and stared out my window, watching the snow fall silently and peacefully from the foggy morning sky to the cold, hard earth below. A cover of sparkly white now rests gently on the rolling hills outside. It looks as if it would be so soft and cuddly to the touch, but we know, it would be cold and wet.

As I sit here, watching the snow fall, it occurred to me it’s been eight months today, eight months since you left us. Eight months since I seen your smile. Eight long, hard, emotional months.

I am still just as lost today as I was that day eight months ago. The days and weeks just keep going just as they did in those early days and weeks with me stumbling around blindly, somehow trying to make my way through the mire. And of course, I still think about you constantly. It’s kind of funny, but always sad though because some days you consume my thoughts and other days, I just float along. Here, but not really here.

How do I keep going?

I ask myself this everyday. Somehow, I always find the strength, this unknown force that makes me get out of bed each morning and proceed through my day as normally as possible. I have considered counseling, multiple times, but have yet to find the courage to attend. I am making headway though. I did call someone the other day. Now I wait, Wait for courage. Wait for time. Wait for comfort. Wait. It seems to be a game of waiting all these months.

It’s silly,  I know, this irrational fear that I have. Anxiety has taken hold of me. I worry about silly things now that didn’t hardly ever get my gander up…that is before you passed away.

I see the goodness around me, my life full of chaos mixed with love, the kids arguing and playing so joyfully. You know our life. You know who we are, what kind of parents we are, about how your siblings are with one another. You know the good times we’ve had in our life and the not-so-good times. You know it all because you were part of it for seventeen years, four months and six days.

Sometimes, when I have a moment to myself, a moment to simply get lost in my thoughts, I see you. I see you with me. I think of you often, which you and everyone else around me knows very well. Our life isn’t the same without you. Your departure has left a hole in our hearts and I wonder if I will ever make it through.

I am tired, Darren.

I. Am. Tired.

And fighting to keep going is even more tiring.

As always, You Should Be Here

 

~ Shannon ~

Life Moments #54 – Your 18th Birthday

2018-05-21 11.19.58Well, I’ve made it this far.

Today, you are 18, although you will forever be 17.

You would also be graduating in a few months, but…..well we know you won’t be graduating.

You won’t be going to prom or college.

You will never marry or have kids of your own.

A whole lot has changed in your absence due your absence. I am different. Your brothers and sisters are a little different.

As 2018 rolled into 2019, I anticipated this day. It’s not a day I am yet to have, but I don’t really get a choice. It’s a day that will come every year and I just have to find some way to get through it.

You’ve been gone almost 8 months and in that eight months, my heart has broken daily a million times over. I hate it!

As hard as this day is, it will always be special because on January 11, 2001 @ 5:15 a.m., the world met an 8 lb 7 oz bounce who changed the lives of many in the short number of years he blessed the earth. I am so thankful God allowed me to be your mom. I was young, only 19 – almost 20, but you changed me then. You taught me how to love just a little bit more. Having a child changes a world completely. Somehow, it makes things more real.

When I became a mom to you, I promised to love you, to protect you, to fight for you…in general, to be the best mom I could be. 2018-06-30 17.09.55

When you died, I realized I had failed to do the things that I promised. Oh, I loved you. I love you still, very much! But I failed to protect you, to fight for you. You see, I really believed, from the time your dad and I broke up, that you and your brother would be better off with him. I was convinced, for many reasons – reasons that you probably understand better than anyone – that you deserved better than me. I thought your dad was that. Over the years, I learned how wrong I was.

And now, here we are. You no longer with us and the rest of us so brokenhearted we don’t really know what to do.

Having you, Darren, changed me. It pushed me to be better, to love more. Losing you changed me yet again. It broke my heart, but I have somehow found the strength to keep going. It taught me to never take anything for granted, not one single second of any given day because it could all be over within that second. A person can be yanked from your life for eternity just like that.

I meant for this to be an awesome show of love for you, but for whatever reason, I just can’t find the words…..or more aptly, there are no words that can describe how I am feeling right now. I mean, there probably are words, but they escape me.

But it all boils down to this: I miss you. I love you a ton and I miss you just as much. Every day that has passed since you left us has been spent wishing you were still here. i replay the whole week prior over and over again in my head, trying to make sense of it. I can’t. I can’t make sense of it. I have been confused for the last eight months. Confused, sad, and angry.

Anyway, you were a blessing when you were born. You were a blessing when you passed away. You will forever and always be a blessing to me. Happy 18th Birthday in Heaven. I know you are happier there. I know you are at peace. I know all your pain is gone and your heart feels lighter. And, that makes losing you a little easier to bear.

~ Love Mom

Life Moments #53 – A New Year – Not a Good Start so Far

I have never been one for New Year resolutions and I guess I won’t start now, but I do wonder what the new year will bring.

I am so over 2018. It’s brought heartache and joy, as most years do I suppose. I mean, how do we get through life without them!?!

As I type this, my mind is full of questions. Disappointments are ranking pretty high in my world of late. It’s hard to look at someone you love with all your heart with defeat.

I feel defeated.

I feel drained.

I feel disheartened.

I see my world slowly unraveling and I can’t seem to regain hope that my disappointments will become joys.

And as I have been for awhile, the questions about my faith seem to be coming more rapidly.

NOTHING make sense!

I look around at everyone I love. I see the anger. I see the sadness. I see the brokenness. I see the fear and concern. I see the weaknesses that we try to hide. And I ask:

Where is God in all of it?

I’ve said before, I don’t blame God for my son taking his life. We make choices and sadly, he made his. It has affected me tremendously. I mean, I really can’t even put it into words. So, no I don’t blame him.

But….

I wonder: Where is He in all of it? Where was He when my son needed him? Where is He now?

Trust God, they say.

It’s God’s plan, they say.

God gives us free will, they say.

God sees the whole picture while we only see small portions of it, they say.

And what they say makes sense, somewhat…

I am CONFUSED!

I am angry about my confusion.

All these thoughts of life, of Darren, of situations right now are roaring through my head constantly yet I have NO answers.

I am tired.

In fact, I am exhausted.

I just want it to stop.

The questions. The sadness. The confusion.

I am drowning in it…..

So, what will this new year bring?

I don’t know, but I am nervous about it.

I think I am actually developing anxiety over it, if developing anxiety is a thing….

Prayers please. Lots and lots of prayers.

~ Shannon ~

 

Life Moments #52 – A Little Joy

As many of you know, I became a grandmother a month ago. She is the most precious bundle of joy in the world. And I am one lucky mimi!

We are in the midst of the Christmas season, celebrating Christmas only four days ago. My family and I were all sick for a few days prior so on Christmas Day we were quarantined. I cancelled out plans to spend the day with my oldest son, his girlfriend, and our granddaughter along with my parents, siblings, and nieces/nephew who were supposed to come into town. My hubby and I spent the day with one another and our children. It’s been a long time, if ever, that my husband and I celebrated the holiday with only our children. It was a beautiful day. We opened gifts first thing….you know how kids can be. My husband and I prepared our Christmas meal. We watched movies and played board games. I read a few stories to the kiddos. It was just a beautiful day without any chaos, surprisingly enough.

Just this afternoon, my oldest son and his family came to the house to celebrate Christmas since we are back to good health. My husband and I made round 2 of Christmas meal, scaled down a bit, and we visited. It was another beautiful day. We gave the three of them their gifts after having Christmas meal and visited some more. To top of the evening, I was asked to babysit my granddaughter.

Of course I will!

Oh, I love the little peanut. I love babies anyway, but she sure is a blessing! And she’s not an overly cranky baby so the evening has gone very well.

I was very concerned with the Christmas season beings it’s our first Christmas without Darren. He has been in my thoughts frequently the last few days. Tears have been shed, a few nights have been sleepless, but that seems to be the norm for me the last months. The joy of the season has been flighty at best. I have still been questioning much about my faith. Some days I seem to be okay and feel pretty faithful, but other days not so much. Some days I think I am making headway, and other days I know I am losing ground — going backwards.

What a topsy-turvy existence!

But, over the last couple of days, I have seen a glimpse of my joy. Fleeting, maybe, but I seen it. I recognized it! And I want it back!

Little Miss Ivory has been a blessing through such a time of turmoil. I love that sweet, precious baby with all my heart.

She may never know Darren in person, but by the time she grows up, she will swear she did! She will hear all the stories of him. She will love him through our love for him.

As always, I ask for continued prayer for my family and I ❤

~ Shannon ~

Life Moments # 51 – I Don’t Know Anymore

Sad-Quotes-Love-Quotes-Cute-Heartbroken-Relationship-Quotes-6079As this year gets ever closer to rolling into a new one, my heart continues to break for what my family has endured.

Honestly, I don’t even know what to say anymore because it appears that this time of mourning should come to a close. Now is the time I start grieving alone and not let that grief be seen by others who are in my life.

I am so confused. I’ve never been here before and I don’t know how to navigate this area of life. I know we all lose someone eventually, but it seems I am doing it wrong. Lord, please help me. I am failing at what I am supposed to be doing which is being a wife and a mother among other relationships.

Don’t get me wrong, I know God is there. I know He is, but I don’t know where. I want to see him all around me, but it’s as if I have become blind. It’s dumb! I don’t want to have a broken heart, but I do. Can that be changed? Will it remain broken or is there some healing somewhere?

I am confused. I am angry. I am sad.

But, I still feel joy. I still feel happiness. I still feel sympathy for others. And I still feel hope for our future.

I fear those things, my feelings of such, do not matter. There is so much about life, about God, that I have yet to understand.

As many of you know from past posts, I have stopped attending church. For reasons that make sense to me and despite anyone’s understanding or lack thereof, I have. However, it is now beginning to affect my marriage. And I feel stuck. I consider myself a Christian wife, but I am left with questions about my faith. I am left with questions about how it all ties together.

If I understand correctly, our lives are based on choices by the hour, by the minute even! And while we can’t make choices for someone else, we are in full control of our own choices. When I go through my choices – some hasty, some thought out carefully – I can weigh the impact of each choice I have and then make the best possible choice. Right? The best possible choice.

But for who?

Who am I considering when I make my choices? Not only who else will my choices affect, but how.

Okay, so that part about choices, I can understand.

What I can’t understand is: Are my choices the only ones affecting my family?

Don’t worry if you are confused, I am too.

I am wrestling with the devil in a time when I want to be listening to God. I am wrestling between my heart and my head.

And I fear I am losing.

Today is not a good day. Today, I am not okay.

Please pray for me, for my family.

~ Shannon ~

 

 

Life Moments #50 – Another Change is Coming

 

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For six months now, I have been living in despair. I don’t mean so much in despair that I can’t do what I need to do to take care of me or my family. I mean the despair that is a broken heart. I am surrounded by memories of my son, but I am also surrounded by life that continues to go on.

So, go on I must.

We are very close to the season of giving. I love the holidays as it is a time when family can get together without feeling guilty about not doing this or that in their every day, busy lives. We relax. We mingle. We talk. We joke. We enjoy. So often in the midst of every day life and every day struggles, we seem to miss the little things that make up the big things. And it’s the little things that matter….

But, before I go off on that subject, I want to focus on what the upcoming season really means to me:

  • family togetherness
  • good fortune: I don’t mean material riches, but those of the heart
  • time to rest
  • a few days without running here or there, to this sporting event or that meeting
  • hopefully some sleep

These last six months have depleted me – mind, body, and soul.

However, there is a change coming. We are expecting some excitement in the very near future.

Not only will my family be celebrating Thanksgiving in the coming days, but we will also be celebrating the birth of my first grandchild. My son and his girlfriend are having a baby – which I think I may have mentioned a time or two. 1 (13)Their precious baby girl is due on November 28. As I continue to grieve for the loss of my son, I will witness a miracle as all babies are beautiful miracles. As I continue to grieve for loss of one life, – a life I loved more than my own – my son and his girlfriend will bring life into the world.

Oh, I can’t wait to meet that precious, beautiful being. It seems our blessings multiply most during the times we feel so broken.

~ Shannon ~

Life Moments #49 – His Peace is My Peace

2018-05-21 11.19.58I was lying in my bed this evening, nursing my baby girl and as I looked around my room, my eyes landed on this photo of Darren. It’s hung beautifully above the piano, positioned perfectly so that it’s the first image I see as I awake and the last image I see before I close my eyes.

As I laid there, with my baby girl all snuggled in close, my thoughts began to wander to Darren just as they always do throughout the day. Nights are different though. My mind is calm. The peace surrounds me as my children lie in slumber. Of course, the noise of my husband snoring put a damper on the peaceful silence, but I guess….well, I’ve gotten used to it! Anywho……enough rambling….

In the silence, I began to think about Darren, about how much peace he must have now. I looked at that particular picture, the way he has his hand on his cheek and I realized….that is exactly how I hold my hand when I am worried or upset. It’s funny the things we notice when we aren’t really paying attention. As a parent, I often try to look at any given situation from the perspective of my child. It was no different with Darren. I really tried to understand what he was thinking. I was often perplexed by his silence, by the false pretense of strength. He was a soft-hearted person, but he built a protective wall around his heart as most people do when trust is gone and doubt creeps into every crevice of the mind.

I started asking myself questions while I was lying there with my daughter, questions such as, “what would he be doing right now if he were still alive?” “Where would he be?” “Who would he be with?” And then, I started the inner dialogue, “He wouldn’t want us all arguing.” “He would probably be sleeping at this exact moment.” and so on, so forth. Even more than the questions and the inner dialogue, or thoughts of him as he was just before he passed away, are the memories that have been flashing through my mind lately. The memories have been specific. Today’s memories consisted of our family vacation to South Dakota! Do you know how long ago the vacation was to South Dakota? Yeah, I can’t remember either! I mean, I remember the trip, the drive, the week-long stay in the camper. I remember the activities we enjoyed, the campfires and roasting marshmallows. I remember some of our crew sleeping under the stars with Luke and some in the camper with me. I remember being 8 months pregnant, but trying really hard not to be cranky because I wanted to kiddos to enjoy the vacation.

So many memories to cherish. The loss is to much to bear sometimes. I wonder if the heartache will ever end. I worry about my other children and how they are handling the loss. It’s hard for me to understand and I’m an adult. I can’t imagine how each of them must be feeling. It’s been almost six months since Darren took his life, but I know he is at peace now and that’s brings me a little bit of peace…..not much because I still want him here with us, but his pain is gone and for that I am thankful. It breaks my heart that he saw his only option to be suicide. He is my son always and forever. I loved him when he was here, I love him now. I always have and always will.

Suicide sucks, but what sucks even more: an ugly heart. For those who can be so hateful without considering how much it hurts others….shame on them.

~ Shannon ~

Life Moments #48 – Handling Grief

mr dPeople handle grief differently. When someone we love passes away, the one’s still living go through something known as the grief process. And like any process, it’s a process that goes in steps or stages….however, you’d like to refer to it. The crazy thing is that never are these steps followed in any kind of chronological order and the chances of hitting each step more than once are quite likely.

The upsetting thing about grief is just when you think you are overcoming it, getting through it, something grabs you and drags you back into the spindly fingers of grief. The process never ends and maybe, just maybe that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Speaking as a mother who is in the throws of grief, maybe it’s a good thing that grief never ends. I mean it’s not good if grief would consume you, consume your whole being as you must find a way to continue to be present in your life. Grief simply means you have loved someone with your whole heart and when that person leaves this world, a void seems to envelope that space in which the person lived. I’ve always told my children that each one has a place reserved in my heart specifically for each one of them. When my son died earlier this year, that space that was his didn’t disappear. In fact, it is now filled with love for him that will always be and the remaining part of his life left un-lived. That space will forever remain his — Darren Wallace’s space.

The ache is strong in that place of my heart. His siblings, each with their own places in my heart – living, breathing, loving – will never replace the spot that was reserved for him. I wouldn’t expect them to nor would I want them to. You see, I never want that space to disappear. My son was a huge part of me, as are all my children. Most moms can’t fathom losing a child, but I now have to live in the nightmare. It doesn’t matter the hour nor the place, it doesn’t matter the task at hand nor the thought in my mind, when grief rears its’ head, it brings me to my knees in a heap of tears that flow freely. Recently, I read a poem about grief and the tears began to fall before I was half-way through the poem.

But, that’s how it goes. Grief doesn’t ask your permission. It doesn’t give you warning. It shows up where it wants, when it wants, and with whomever is present as it wants.  Grief is an inescapable part of life. We will each go through it, more than once, in our lifetimes. They say some deaths are harder than others. For instance, to lose a 98 year old grandmother is going to be quite different than losing a four year old son. The life lived, the influence left behind…..that will be there no matter the age of the person who passed away. Some say the longer a person is alive, the bigger (for lack of a better word) the grief will be. I am not here to say yay or nay to that theory, but I am here to say that grief sucks. Losing someone we love sucks. And that death then becomes a part of who we are. Death changes us, better or worse who knows, but you will be changed.

And then, the way the death occurred, some people say, has a bearing on how the people who are left handle the grief. Well, I have nothing to compare it to so I am talking blindly, but my son took his life. That’s a hard pill to swallow. I was able to get prepared. He was here this hour and gone the next. I mean that stands true of any death, but to live every day questioning why he’s no longer here is the hard part. Not only is he gone forever, but my mind will not ever fully comprehend why he’s gone forever. Besides the obvious, that he took his life, I will never understand what led to that decision.

And it breaks my heart.

They say the hardest part of losing someone is learning to live without that person. However, living with not ever knowing why he made that choice is equally as hard.

~ Shannon ~

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.

1-corinthians-love-is-patient-love-is-kind

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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