The Pain is Worth the Cost

The pain of losing a spouse and watching your kids grieve the loss of their parent, brings a sorrow that I can’t quite put into words. It’s unlike any feeling I could’ve ever even imagined.

It is said that “it” gets better in time. Just give it time. Time heals all wounds. As well meaning as the one saying these things might be, it’s just not true.

“It” doesn’t get better and it most certainly doesn’t go away. But, you do learn to live with it. It becomes a part of you. Just as the person you grieve leaves an unexplainable void in your heart and life, the impact they had while living leaves an imprint in who you are. As you carry the pain that their loss leaves, you also carry them with you.

Deep grief is the price you pay for deep love. It is always worth the cost.

Is There Really a Choice?

I’ll be honest, there have been several times where I truly wanted to throat punch someone who said to me that happiness is a choice. I often thought to myself, “how in the world is it as easy as saying that I choose to be happy when I feel so bad?” I have even told myself several times, “just make a decision to be happy!”

Ugh, if only it were that easy!

It didn’t matter how many times I told myself that I was going to be happy, the weight of the reality I was facing and the feelings I felt weighed more in comparison to that choice.

I finally realized though, it really is as simple as making a choice. I can wake up each day and entertain all of the feelings I am faced with, all of the thoughts floating around in my head or, I could just tell myself that none of those things matter and it was going to be a good day. Now, I might have to tell myself that very same thing 20 times in that same day but, the attitude I was choosing was much better than the alternative!

Long story short, here is what I tell myself now: “Joni, you either trust God or you don’t.” So yeah, it’s not easy but I am making a conscious decision every day to put my trust in the one who actually has a say in what happens!

One day at a time. Sometimes, one hour or even, one minute at a time.

This is us

This picture popped up today. If ever there was a picture that captured our little family, without words, this would be it.

We laughed. A lot. We smiled. A lot.

I sometimes look at old pictures and see the difference in our eyes and our smiles. They’ve changed. I see pictures or think of old memories and my heart is happy and I smile. But, it makes me so sad. Not just because we miss him so much, that’s a given. I miss those smiles on my children. The real, genuine, and innocent smiles. I’m sad because of the pain and struggle they have experienced as children. It makes me mad because I feel like they have been cheated. I do believe with all my heart that God will restore their hearts and bring real joy back into their lives but, it still makes me sad. That’s how I feel today and that’s okay.

Sure, there were the normal family downs and we surely had our share of struggles but this… This is us.

Bringing Light to Dark Places

How do you start your day?  Coffee?  Shower? Excercise? Excited to get your day started?Hitting snooze 15 times? Dreading what is ahead?  To be perfectly honest (and this makes me cringe to say this) each morning starts with dread; the moment I open my eyes.  At least, it has been that way.  I would wake up and feel this terrible feeling come over me; a heaviness that I couldn’t explain if I tried.  I would drag myself out of bed, only because I had to because of the kids, and that feeling stayed with me; all day. I felt sad and anxious, overwhelmed and tired; SO TIRED.  I was walking through my day in an absolute fog.  It has been like that longer than I would like to admit.

So, if you can at all relate to what I described, you can understand what it’s like to struggle with grief and/or depression and anxiety.  If you can’t relate, I am telling you, you have something to be extremely grateful for!  I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  Whether what you are feeling is passed down from family, is seasonal, is situational, is complicated grief, PTSD, and so on… It’s a struggle and it is a very real thing that sometimes has a negative sort of stigma attached to it; which is beyond unfortunate.

Thinking on this subject, especially that part about the negative stigma, I started doing research for statistics out of curiosity.  I first started looking at numbers surrounding people affected by mental health and they are staggering!  I dug a little deeper until I was stopped at the part that just broke my heart.  Suicide.  This is the reason that the stigma needs to be changed!  Mental health is a very important thing and if not taken care of, those with poor mental health could end up in a situation where there is no turning back.  Some of the statistics I read about were relating to those with mental health issues that are left untreated.  Those numbers were just plain scary to me!  Why??? I can only guess that it’s mostly a result of unnecessary embarrassment or shame.  And guess what? I realized that I get it!!!

It took me a long time to realize that I needed help for my anxiety and depression.  Once I knew I needed help, I still didn’t pursue i.  I can’t answer why for everyone else but I can open up and be honest about myself; that will be in my next post.

Some statistics about suicide:

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America
  • 44, 965 (Americans) commit suicide each year
  • For every one completed suicide, there are 25 attempts
  • On average there are 123 suicides each day
  • It is expected that the 2017 statistics will show a significant increase
  • Children committing suicide is becoming more prevalent

This cannot be okay, it just can’t!  This is what I call a crisis.  My heart is burdened to get involved somehow but I’m not sure what that will look like.  For now, I can openly and without shame, talk about it.  We have to talk about this and bring light to those dark places so that more people will feel like they can get the help they need!

Wishing time away

This was written by my beautiful (inside & out) 15 year old daughter who has been through way more than any child should have to go through. She has a gift. It spoke to me and where I’m at in this season of life. It was too good not to share. Hopefully it encourages someone else.

Time is precious. I think about this so frequently, practically all the time. I’ve had horribly sad times, and unexplainably happy times. One thing I’ve realized is, no matter what life is like in this very moment, cherish it. I’ve spent too much of my life, sulking in sadness over the most little things you can think of. For example, looks, people you can’t control, things not working out my way. Horrible things happen in life, and it can break a person. I’ve experienced this, but nothing can ruin your life. No matter how hard the situation, you can always try and find happiness again. Find happiness in little things. If the weathers nice, if you reconnect with someone, a good workout, waking up in a good mood, talking to god, anything. Time flies by, and I don’t want to live in regret by being sad. I’m tired of thinking about all of the negatives or having a fear for the future. God is in control of my future, and everyone else’s. Everything has and will happen for a reason, there’s no need to fear anything. The whole message is, be thankful, be blessed, pray. Everything will be okay, no matter what circumstance, be happy. Life is way too short to live in sadness.

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.