Yep, that’s right, I’m sangry. As a widow, there are lots of days that can’t be adequately described. So what do we do?? We just make up words! So yeah, I’m in sangry mode. I’m sad. I’m angry.

Sangry started on Sunday awhile back as I was thinking back to what Sundays used to look like… I woke up beside my best friend. The day revolved around God, family, and church. We were together. The four of us.

I got to thinking about what a big part of our lives church was. It was our history, our present, and our future. We had so many plans. I had so many hopes for the future. I could see how it would play out. We would do it together.

Absolutely everything changed on June 19th, 2012 when he was taken from us.

Where does one go from there?? We went from a family of four to a family of three. I went from being a wife to being a single mother. My kids went from having a father to being fatherless. In an instant.

As difficult as it was to walk back through those doors without him, I kept my kids in church every Sunday that I was able. For me, it felt like going to the funeral again. Every Sunday. I was trying to “do the right thing.” I was trying to maintain some sense of normalcy. Trying is the key word. What was “the right thing” was no longer clear. Normalcy no longer existed in our world. After 8 horribly difficult months, I realized that there was no way I would be able to move forward while being there every week. There was too much history there.

I found the Lord there at the age of 18. I was only visiting; watching my (then) boyfriend play the drums. A year later he asked me to marry him there; from the stage, in front of everyone. That same year we were married there. Shortly after, we had two children and we raised them there. After making it through some very difficult times, we renewed our vows there. And then… His funeral was there. 

I tried, I really did, but I just couldn’t be there anymore.  It hurt too much.

I didn’t want to leave but I genuinely felt like I had no choice. I was torturing myself trying to “do the right thing.” It was painful and I felt completely out of place. So, we started going somewhere else. It was still difficult, just not in the same way. Close to a year later I decided it was time to go back. By that time I had felt much further removed than before I left. But now it was more about conquering something. Walking back into something so that I could say that it didn’t get the best of me. And that’s just what I did.

I won’t go into all of the reasons surrounding leaving for good nearly 9 months ago, but I did. I will say that it was extremely hurtful to watch what “should have been” my life, play out in front of me; a different cast while I look on from the outside.  For those of you who don’t know my history, my husband was the Praise & Worship Leader at our church.  When I thought about the future, it entailed him evolving in his ministry while I did the same with mine.  But, we would do it together.

I did some “church hopping” for awhile but never landed anywhere permanently. And now, I rarely go. Don’t worry (to any of you that gasped with **insert reaction/emotion here**) I haven’t gone to the dark side. I’m no more of a sinner than anyone sitting in a pew on Sunday. I’m just a little lost right now. I still love God. I still pray. I’m just trying to find my own way. I’m trying to examine my heart and my hurts and then search for something real.

My post wasn’t meant to be about church. I only intended to use it as an example as it was such a big part of our lives for so many years. The point is that everything changes when you lose someone that was such a huge part of your everyday life. I’m reminded of what I wrote in 2014:

“When you lose someone that was so much a part of you, you lose your identity too. Learning to live again is so difficult. You don’t know your place, where you fit anymore. Everything is different. Nothing will ever be the same.”

Here I am almost 5 1/2 years later and I’m still so lost.  Don’t get me wrong, I have done a lot of work; I have come a long way. But, I realize that there are still so many things I need to work through.  The sadness, most likely, will never go away although I look forward to it lessening.  The anger shouldn’t last if I allow myself to feel and work through it; eventually accepting things as they are.  But for now, I’m sangry and I’m okay with that.

The Struggle is Real

There are things that I hate to admit; mainly because of how I am supposed to think and what I have learned to believe. Those aren’t the things that I would typically write about. But, I realize something… If I only write about the things that would “sit well” with others, I’m not writing with real honesty. I have believed in everything I’ve put out there; I just tend to leave out the things that might make me “look bad.” Thankfully, I’m learning not to care so much about that.

I truly believe that, popular or not, it’s the things that we are afraid to say that are what people really need to hear. We need to say them out loud. We need to talk about them. In turn, others will feel freer to do the same.

Writers should inspire others. Inspiration doesn’t come from “rainbows and sunshine” writing alone. Positivity and self-help is extremely important but, so is talking about real things; what it’s like being in the midst of struggles and all that it entails.

I talk a lot about the beginning of an issue and being on the other side of it. What about the times when you are stuck in the middle of the struggle; when you can’t seem to find your way to the other side?

What’s the good in talking about the victory without mentioning the truth that is the walk through the struggle?

IMG_2922 2I say all of this to say that I want my writing to be real. My life is very real. My struggles are very real. Why hide the parts that could truly help someone? Nothing helps someone more than to be able to relate to someone going through the same thing; someone who truly understands. Good, bad, everything in between… That’s where I go from here.

We jokingly say it all the time but the struggle really is real.

Hurt n’ Church

I read a FB post about how important it is for Christians to be careful how they treat non believers; especially when it comes to correcting wrongdoing. I have to say that it is also as important to be mindful of how we treat other Christians. Just as much damage can be done there! 

I hate to say it but to be perfectly honest, I used to get annoyed when I heard about Christians getting upset and leaving church over something that offended them. That’s not exactly what I’m talking about because offense and hurt aren’t necessarily the same thing, but still… I always thought that they should be less easily offended and more understanding. Not only that but; it’s not God’s fault! But, I have a different heart these days for people who have been hurt by others who call themselves Christians. Because I’m one of them!

I love the Lord with all my heart and no amount of hurt caused by others will change that. That being said, I’m leery to fully commit to a church again. I hate this; especially because I know in my heart that the actions of few don’t speak for the body as a whole. 

Do you have an experience with Christians that has negatively impacted you and how did you get past it?

Kids n’ Grief 

As incredibly difficult as it has been to deal with pain and loss as an adult, I cannot even begin to imagine what it is like for children. Sure, I see the ways they struggle and I’ve been there to witness how the void left by the loss of their Father effects them. But, I still cannot fathom how their young minds and hearts process and deal on a daily basis. 

As their Mother, I am there for them in every way I know how and am able. I can give hugs and wipe away tears but I can’t fix it. What a helpless feeling to have as a Mother! I try to encourage them to be positive, push forward and to look on the bright side. I have to be honest though, sometimes you just have to say, this really really sucks! 

These kids get up and do life, while having to deal with something that no one else sees. They are strong and amazing. But I have to be honest, not only does it completely suck; it pisses me off! 

I don’t bother asking the question why anymore. I’m way past that; but still… It is so far beyond me how two young kids can have to bear so much. 

They didn’t just lose their Dad. They have suffered loss upon loss upon loss. Dad. Home. Relationships. Church. Innocence. I could go on and on. It’s just not fair. No, life is not fair but all of this… I don’t get it. The saddest part is that I feel like they receive more judgment than compassion. 

All I can do is keep moving forward and walk beside them the best I know how. That, and pray that they don’t grow cold from it all. 

Purpose N’ Pain

There was a time in my life as a young woman when I felt as though I had gone through more in my life than some ever would in the entirety of theirs. What gave me hope in that was the fact that I somehow, deep down in my heart, believed that God would place people in my path whom I would be able to help. I believed that as I walked through my struggles along this journey, I could be the person for others that I may not have had; that I wish I would’ve had as I was going through something. This hope gave me a sense of peace and it also gave me the strength to persevere and push forward. Hey, why not try to make positives out of the negatives?! Now, don’t get me wrong, that didn’t make the things I went through easy. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I have walked through some painful things in my life. I’m just saying that is what helped me make sense of things.

Interestingly enough, that was before the accident I was in that claimed the life of my husband and the Father of my two children. Yes, as much as I thought I had been through before, I had no idea what hell was to come. As strong as I thought I was before, I really didn’t have the first clue what strong was until having to navigate life as a single grieving Mom of two grieving children.

Over time, it became increasingly more difficult to hold onto the “roses and sunshine” attitude of believing that my struggles would be used to help others. As the days passed and I continued the attempt to acclimate to this new life that I didn’t choose, the very thought of that same attitude just made me angry. I had come to the place where I believed that pain must be my purpose in life.

I no longer felt peace in thinking that way. I no longer felt hope. I felt used. I felt cheated. I felt tired. I felt weak. I felt exhausted from trying to be strong. I felt alone!

The journey of navigating through the helplessness that I battled is for another time and another post. But, I will say that I finally got to the place where I was able to think about the way I used to view my struggles in life, in a new way.

This revelation helped me tremendously:

“My struggles aren’t my purpose but, I can take my struggles and give them purpose.”

Don’t be Scared of my Grief

Why are people so scared of grief? 

Why are people so uncomfortable with other people’s pain; so much so that people would rather stay away than actually be there when you are hurting??

I’ve thought about this SO many times over the last five years. For the longest time I have done nothing but make excuses for people. 

But let’s get honest here… 

When someone has a major loss in their life, shouldn’t people be around? Is it that person’s responsibility to reach out and try and get people to be there? Maybe the answer is yes, I don’t know. But you know what?? I think that is not only wrong but it flat out sucks!!! 

Look, I get that people are uncomfortable with other people’s pain. I get that it’s easier for people to assume that the person has lots of people around them and tons of support. I get that it’s easier to just think, aren’t they over it already?? 

Guess what??? When someone suffers a life altering loss, they don’t expect you to have all the right answers. They don’t expect you to fix it. You don’t know what to say?? Let me help you… Just say something! You don’t know what to do?? Let me help you… Just show up! 
And while I’m at it let me help you with one more thing… We don’t get it over it! Ever! 

Taking off the Mask

As a widow and a single Mom to two teenagers, I try my best to keep a positive outlook and show only the fighter in me to the rest of the world. By that I mean the encouraging posts, positive quotes, the articles that inspire me and help me to look on the bright side, and my own writings that usually end with a statement about how I’m going to just keep pushing forward no matter what. I think there are several reasons I do that besides the fact that I genuinely want to be positive and use the things I’ve been through to help others.

  1. No one wants to hear a bunch of negative stuff. I know I don’t!
  2. There is such a thing as putting too much of your personal stuff out there for people to see. TMI people! ha
  3. I don’t want to show my struggles for fear of being judged or to be seen as weak. It’s easier to “wear” a mask and put off the appearance that you have everything under control.
  4. People wouldn’t understand anyway. Even if they wanted to, they couldn’t. Until you have been through something yourself you really can’t understand.
  5. This is the toughest one to say and I’m not sure why but here goes… It’s the feeling (true or not) that most people wouldn’t care anyway; at least the ones that you would expect to anyway.

You see, when you have walked this road (mostly) alone, you can’t help but to eventually feel those ways. Quite honestly though, pretending begins to wear on you. Now I am not just talking about pretending with everyone, I am also talking about pretending with myself. Most everything I say comes from a genuine place. I have tried to be strong and push forward. It’s just that while I am doing that, there’s still a reality that is very ugly. There aren’t adequate descriptive words so I will just say that it is heartbreaking, exhausting and painful.

I’m happy to say that for the majority of the last 5 years I have been able to keep myself from allowing anger and bitterness to settle in as well as being angry with God. Yes, there have naturally been some feelings associated with those things but for the most part, they have been temporary; fleeting.

That is definitely not the case in the present. I wish it was different but it’s not. It’s like I can no longer wear the mask or pretend that I don’t have reason to feel those things mentioned above.

As I lay in bed this morning and think about all of the things I am currently dealing with, my mind is racing and going in a million different directions. I think back to what Sundays used to look like and how unfair it is that all of that is but a distant memory now. My heart hurts as I think of how the rest of the world just carries on while we are still drowning in so much hurt, pain and all the struggles that you have to walk through as a result of such a loss. The three of us have to try to live our lives and be a family when we don’t know how to do that without the one who should be leading it.

Here is the conclusion I came to:

You can’t truly work through the hurt and pain until you take off the mask and look it in the face; until you allow yourself to truly feel it. Otherwise, you can’t fully deal with it, put it down and walk forward in life without carrying it with you.

So, I have named the week ahead, “Truth Week.”  I am going to take the necessary time to get real with myself and work through the hurt that I have been pretending isn’t there.  Unless I do that, I don’t think I can move forward the way I need to.