1, 825 days. The day that has compartmentalized my life into a before and an after. What has these 5 years taught me?
- That grief changes over time. Praise God for that! We could not survive the intense pain forever in those early days of loss.
- You don’t ever get over it……and I don’t believe we are suppose to. Because if we were to go back to “normal” and nothing changed in us or through us, what kind of love is that? When we embrace the love of Christ, it changes us. In a way, that is what happens when we lose a child. Their love and their loss transforms us. For me, my Jesus and my grief intersect and I let God do what God does. I will grieve the absence of them in my life until I am with them. Now, that also doesn’t mean that there isn’t joy and happiness again. Because there is and I am so thankful for that.
- There is healing. It’s really hard work. I think the hardest work I’ve ever done. I have always told God through this, he is the potter and I am the clay….make me and mold me, transform me into who I was suppose to be in his kingdom. I have also learned that healing is not a destination but how we handle the journey. Healing in loss is not like you have a disease and are healed. It is a continual process and how we use that catastrophic event to change us. I always prayed that God use it for his glory and claim his promises that he will bring beauty from the ashes. I just prayed he would let me somehow be involved in his work to use their loss for his glory.
- Lots of folks are uncomfortable with death. Especially with the loss of children. I was told early on that “your address book will change.” And that is the truth. I have been blessed to know other bereaved parents and I admired how they handled their grief. I have friends that are further down the journey that gives me hope and admiration in how they have handled the death of their child. My hope is that I do the same. Through my wreath business, through this blog, through the people that God sends my way. I am also thankful for those in my life that are comfortable and are vulnerable to share this phase of life with me.
- There are a lot of physical impacts with grief. I’ve had teeth issues, bad gums, a tooth abscess, weight gain, low energy level and even toe fungus! All of that grief you carry does have an impact on your well being. So, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! I have learned that lesson the hard way.
- As I told my mom who died on June 10 of this year and now is with Lizz and the boys in heaven……there is not a day I don’t think about them. All 1, 825 of them. I don’t expect that to change. And I don’t want it to.
So, I will do what I have done for the past 5 years. I will go to the earthly place that honors their life and clean their headstones, place sunflowers in the vases and lay their wreaths. I always use sunflowers for this date. Because I will never forget their beautiful flowers that hot Texas day in 2012. Fischer with his hulk hands and Ben with his Spider-Man. Here are their 2017 memorial wreaths:
I will spend time today thanking Jesus for his act of love that gives us eternal life and his promise of eternal life. I will ask him to hug them for me today and tell them how much I love them. And to save a place for me because I will join them one day and oh what a wonderful reunion that will be!
Thank you for following my ramblings over these past 5 years and following Elizabeth’s memorial page, sharing your memories of her and the boys. There is great joy when other’s talk about them and the difference they have made in your lives and for that my heart is full. To those that have supported my wreath business to help me provide scholarships at MCH and Salado High School there are no words other than to say “Thank you” for being an important part of this story and their legacy.
Lastly, I also can not leave this post without saying something about the great joy and blessings in my life (yes there is great joy!). Elizabeth’s nieces and nephews. Ava continues to grow into a smart and caring young girl. She has a tender heart and I love seeing God at work in her. Eli keeps all of us on our toes…he is always moving, but I love his spirit. Lauren has her hands full channeling that spirit at times but he always makes me laugh. And what can I say about Marshall? Our Marshie, our Marshmallow. Such a joyful child and reminds me of Elizabeth in her personality and oh how they resemble each other so much as babies. And we are all head over heals in love with this little girl Camryn Elizabeth! Camryn looks so much like Jennifer as a baby.
What does the next year bring? I have a strong feeling more change and transformation. Weight Loss, retirement and travel. That probably means this blog will change it’s focus somewhat just as my grief journey has changed and evolved.
If you still have random acts of kindness cards from last year (and even if you don’t), please join me and use one today to share some kindness to honor them. I would love for you to be a part of their story…..to share the love of Christ with others that God puts in your path today.
Lastly, I thank you for all your thoughts and prayers on this day and the wonderful notes and messages.
Bless the Lord, Oh my soul…….