Reality of Grief

Reality of Grief

For the last 6.5 years I have had one main purpose; making sure my kids were okay.

Making sure they have everything they need, a nice place to live, helping them through all of the hard times that they have had to face, without their Dad.

Trying to keep everything afloat on my own. Struggling through my own grief, mostly in silence, trying to put a positive spin on everything when I just wanted to scream, “this is horrible and so unfair!”

Trying to make ends meet so they didn’t feel or see the difference, financially, of how different and difficult it is to go from two incomes to one.

Throwing the football or trying to practice baseball when it was obvious that the person that should be doing those things just wasn’t there.

Attending school functions and faking a smile when it was painfully obvious that their Dad wasn’t there.

Struggling through homework when I couldn’t even do math for myself in school, knowing that their Dad would have been able to help.

Dropping them off at practice when I saw the Dads walking to the field to stay with their kids.

Talking through times when they lost interest in things or gave up on things that were just too hard because he wasn’t there.

Scrolling through FB to see the Daddy Daughter dance pictures or the sports awards pictures. Seeing the heart warming videos of parents returning home from service to see their kids who missed their parent so much while they were gone, wanting to lose it, knowing my kids won’t ever see their Dad again.

Night after night of sleepless nights, followed by mornings when none of us could even hear the alarm go off.

Injuries, ER visits, sicknesses, birthdays, holidays…. Every single day there is something that he is missing, something they were going through and just wanted their Dad.

Answering questions about people leaving their lives, after they had already lost so much, with some generic answer that made it sound okay.

I could go on and on.

But, at the end of the day, it’s not okay. There is nothing okay about two young kids having to grow up without their Dad.

Nothing.

It’s shitty.

It’s unfair.

It’s so incredibly heart wrenching.

I found some old videos last night.

There were videos of the kids from before 6/19/2012. They were so happy. Pure joy, innocent laughter; they were just normal and happy kids.

There were videos from shortly after 6/19/2012. There were smiles and laughter, but it wasn’t the same. I heard two little voices, making me painfully aware of just how young they were when it happened. They were trying so hard to be normal, to just be kids. But behind those smiles and laughs, I could see and hear the pain they tried to hide.

There were videos that were a taken a couple of years later. They were much more serious and somber; those little voices and brave laughs were no longer there.

Then I realized that I don’t have any recent videos. The struggles over the last several years have been so hard and so intense that not only do most people not even know about, but made me wonder if we would ever be okay. There wasn’t much happiness to capture.

We have just been trying to get by.

Just trying to survive.

Then, tonight I was hit with such a raw and real picture of all that I just described. It just hit me all at once. It was like 6.5 years of grieving and pain was being felt, out of nowhere, almost as if for the first time.

I have lived every single bit of this with these two, every single day. I have dealt with my own grief and the struggles that come with being the adult left to take care of these two people. But, although I have walked through the hard times with them, I had to be the strong one. I had to make it okay. Or at least try to, the best I knew how; all the while feeling that I was always falling short. But, I hadn’t truly allowed myself to feel the hurt that a Mom feels when they see their kids hurting. That changed, truly out of nowhere, in a moment.

All of the sudden I am sobbing uncontrollably, trying to explain to them what I was feeling, what I just attempted to describe above. I could hardly talk through the trembling in my voice, blowing my nose, and trying with everything to get the tears to stop.

You know what they did?

They hugged their Mom and just kept telling me that it was okay. They wiped my tears and told me not to cry for them. They said that they were okay.

How did those two little heart broken children grow up so fast?

Now, 16 & 18, they were taking care of their Mom and saying whatever necessary to make it okay.

Here is what I realize…

There is nothing okay about what the three of us have had to endure since 6/19/2012.

We have been through hell and back.

We have struggled through things that no one else will ever truly know or understand.

Life doesn’t look the same for us as it does for others and people can judge what it might look like to them all they want, but at the end of the day…

We are okay.

We have survived what could have broken us.

We will be better, more loving, more compassionate, and stronger people because of it.

We are going to make it.

And lastly:

I have to believe that there are still great things in store for us and that we can still find joy and happiness in this life that has dealt us an extremely hard hand.

And….

Despite all the hurt and all the pain…

This is not where or how our story will end.

Love doesn’t end. Not even death can break the strong bond of true love. We may be missing an integral piece, but we are and always will be family.

The Empty Chair

The Empty Chair

Today is a day to be thankful. There is ALWAYS something to be thankful for! However, this also a very sad day for many because someone will be missing. I always remember both. My heart for today is that we all remember what today is really about. Hug those you love and don’t leave things unspoken, for tomorrow is never promised. If you are one with a heavy heart because your person is missing, I will say a special prayer for you today. Again, there is always something to be thankful for, but that in now way negates the fact that you are missing someone, that there will be an empty chair.

Wishing all my friends and family a beautifully blessed day ♥️

Kids and Grief

Kids and Grief

I was reading a post recently of a fellow widow and it broke my heart. It broke my heart for her and her child and it broke my heart for my own children.

It is a fact that often when someone loses a spouse, they lose many people that were in their life pre-loss. I’ve written about this before and given my thoughts and perspectives as to why this might happen. But, quite honestly, it is just plain sad.

This woman made a post on her personal FB page stating that she was tired of people disappointing her child. Now, normally we save that sort of thing for our widow support groups where we can freely talk about things with people who truly understand. She was brave enough to just come out and say it. GOOD. FOR. HER.

People should know that their actions (or lack thereof) have real and damaging affects on children who have already lost so much. It’s hard enough for us as adults; children should not have to suffer so much loss.

Children who have lost a parent should be shown MORE love, not experience more loss.

PERIOD

Some might not like to hear that but they need to.

I’m gonna go ahead and leave this right here.

Letting Go 2.0

Letting Go 2.0

On this day 6 years ago, I had no idea that in one short week, our lives would be forever changed. In an instant.

Some days it feels like yesterday while other days it seems like it’s been an entire lifetime since I’ve seen you.

So much has happened.

You’ve missed so much.

What I’m finally realizing?

I’VE MISSED SO MUCH

The majority of the last 6 years has been spent going through the motions, getting by each day, surviving. We have come so very far, but the fact still remains that I haven’t been able to truly live.

Why haven’t I been able to live?

I haven’t been able to let go.

I wrote a post about this very thing nearly a year ago (click Letting Go to read that post) and I have done what I said I was going to do. I said I was going to try and give the pain over to God with the intention of moving forward.

How is it that I have been working at “letting go” for almost an entire year and my hurt is still so present that I’m wiping tears as I write this?

It’s a process. A long process. It takes intent. It takes work. It’s not easy.

I feel like I’ve done the work, but now what?

I have to make an actual decision, speak it out loud, and really let it go.

I know what this looks like in my mind, but my heart just can’t do it and mean it.

But I have to.

Stay tuned, friends 💕

How do you let go of someone who was so much a part of you? How do you let go when your heart still loves them with every beat? How?

Joni Grief to Life

Gratefulness and Pain

Gratefulness and Pain

I’m thankful that I know God. Without Him, there is no hope. Even through my darkest times, He has always been with me. There have been so many times where I felt like he had forgotten me and I was alone. Grief has a way of stealing ones joy and sense of security. The enemy feeds on the sadness and uses it to try and separate you from God and other people. God is showing me that He is the only thing, the only one, who can save me from the darkness.

National Widow’s Day

National Widow’s Day

Yes, it’s a thing.

Today is National Widow’s Day

#widowedstrong

#saytheirname

JONATHAN ROBERTS

Did you know… 800,000 people are widowed each year?

Did you know… 700,000 of those are women?

Did you know… most widows live in poverty? (Over 115 million world wide)

Did you know… “death of a spouse” is listed as the #1 stressor on the stress index scale and is considered one of life’s most devastating events?

Did you know… 60% of those who lose a spouse or significant other will experience a serious illness within 12 months?

Did you know… insomnia is one of the most common symptoms for a grieving spouse?

Did you know… most widow(er)s lose 75% of their support base when their spouse dies?

Did you know… after 3 – 4 months most of the remaining support fades for a widow(er)?

Did you know… most widow(er)s lose touch with their in-laws within a year of a loss?

Did you know… it really is possible to die of a broken heart? Widow(er)s have a 30% elevated risk of death in the first 6 months after their spouse death.

Thank you GOD I beat almost every stat listed. I did lose some relationships but I gained some stronger ones as well…

Be nice to a widow today, you DON’T know what they deal with privately .

Writing Credit – Kisha Taylor from SUPPORT GROUP – Young, Widowed & Dating – Not a Dating Site

Power in Being Real

Power in Being Real

Awhile back I had finally worked up the nerve to watch one of the sermons Jonathan preached. I knew shortly after turning it on that it was something I needed to hear. My counselor once said that God knew back then what messages to speak through Jonathan, what people needed to hear. This one was all about being yourself, being real. He spoke about how God truly does create each one of us unique and with purpose. Jonathan used an analogy of how people always want to be someone like else. Like him wanting to have the gifting of teaching and knowing the Bible inside and out, like others he knew. Or, someone wanting to be like him and having the gift of being a great musician. If we are always looking to be more like someone else, we are missing out on doing the work God has for us to do. Much like a machine having many parts that need to perform a specific function in order for the machine to properly work as a whole, we as individuals are needed to use our own special gifting in order for His plan to come to pass. We are all pieces of the puzzle that are put together to do God’s work. My husband was far from perfect and he was the first person to admit that. However, he was courageous enough to often make public the mistakes he made. In that honesty, people’s lives were touched. People felt free to be themselves and know that no one is perfect. You don’t have to live in the shame that was your past. You aren’t defined by the mistakes you make. God can clean up and heal the mistakes we’ve made. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need him right?

I am reminded of the following Bible verse: 1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God…

In the darkness lies guilt and shame. The light brings grace and mercy. The light brings forgiveness and freedom.

I am still traveling through this painful path called grief. But, being able to share Jonathan’s words and stories makes me feel good. His life on this side of heaven meant something. And the revelation that his life can continue to touch others long after his eternal journey in heaven began, gives me hope, even if for now it’s just a glimmer. We may not be able to see him. We may not be able to hear his voice. But I assure you that he is not gone. And as much as I would trade anything to have him here with me now, I am honored to be able to keep his memory and powerful testimony alive until I’m with him on the other side. So, that is what I choose to do.

Be confident in yourself and who you were made to be. Know who you are, own it and be proud to be unique. Don’t hide, put on a mask or play a role. Be the same person Monday -Saturday as the the person who walks into the church building on Sunday. When you are real, others can be touched by your imperfect life and journey.