Cover Me Christ


Flowers

 

Written last week in the midst of difficult days.  If you can relate, know that in time you will find hope and contentment and happiness once again.

It comes and goes.  The feeling of lonliness.  The one that although in my mind I know that others have felt this pain, I still feel alone. The fact that  God is with me at all times is a fact but my mind can not remember that.  I can not cover my mourning and downward fall.

At the same time I feel guilt for not being stronger.  There are those in my life or were in my life that exhibit the mindset of “push forward” or “don’t dwell” or “we do what we have to do”.   I hear these things (in my mind) and feel them in myself and at the moment of sadness it is followed by guilt.  The guilt of not being stronger when every little thing is overwhelming.   The anxiety is building and comfort is not found.  I find myself holding my tongue when I need to release grief and then yelling for no reason knowing that it’s not about the current incident.

All I can say right now is this.

Please cover me Christ with your love and hold me close.  Help me feel the comfort of your arms in this time of tribulation. I beg you.  I thank you.
Grace is a gift,
Julie

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Game Face – Under the Covers – One Month Down


Cross Upon My Wall

One month has passed since my world changed.  Yes, I’m writing about the death of my mother once again.  This blog provides a type of therapy and it’s needed these days. I honestly do not want attention, I only  hope that in some small way it helps someone else that is struggling.   May they know they are not alone, may they find hope in God, and may they reach out if help is needed.

The past couple days have been quite difficult for me, I have felt the depression coming on, and the sense of loss very present.  The moments of just sitting and staring blank at the wall across the room or only half hearing what someone is saying.  There weren’t too many tears on these days but more numbness.   It’s progressing.

Progressing to the point that I want to just not have to deal with anything that has  to do with the passing of my mother.  I am ignoring the items in my garage to go through, wishing away the messages about my mother’s estate between us siblings, and the reality of the fact that she isn’t in her recliner in her home on a daily basis.

That’s where I am for the moment.  I don’t feel guilty, I just feel I need a  break.  Yet when I try to take a break or walk away things happen that bring the reality to the forefront. It’s no ones fault, it’s just this way in life.

As I walked through a store today I noticed they had Christmas items out.  The thought crossed my mind of how we always do an ornament game at Christmas at my mothers.  Mom had no problem stealing your ornament if she thought it was the best one.  That used to bug me, now I wish she was here to do it this coming holiday season.

As I washed the dishes a few days ago that I brought home from her house I did it in a quiet manner alone.  I wondered if there were dishes from my kitchen that my daughters would see and recall memories from childhood like my siblings and I did.  The yellow bowls, yellow and white platter, and the green glass bowl just to name a few were the ones for me.

The friend or acquaintance that means well and asks the same question I have to others many times myself.  “How are you?”  For just a slight moment I think, “I wonder if they really want to know?”  Then I normally tell them I’m fine or getting by!

It’s not the end of the world that my mother died.  It’s not.  But it still hurts, it still makes me feel sad, even when I know the truth.  The truth that this life on earth is not what we are promised.  That eternal life will bring me more peace and happiness than I could ever imagine and both my parents once again.

So, for now.  Just know that I’m not myself, even if I am trying hard to be just that.   For when I’m going through the day at a steady pace, odds are I would like to crawl into my bed and pull the covers up over my head. This too shall pass.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Endurance of a Woman, Never Alone


Mother and I 2014

 

Beginning August 22nd, which happen to be one year after my Dad’s funeral, my mother went into the hospital with chest pains and trouble breathing.  I had been enjoying the evening at a church event and felt so good as we left.  I looked at my cell phone as we were driving home and I knew something was wrong.

I had a missed a call from my mother and my nephew, both of which do not call me much.  I called my mother’s phone and an EMT answered explaining they were taking her to the hospital.  I assured the EMT I would be there in 20 minutes, the amount of time it takes me to drive to town.

Upon arrival to the hospital I met my oldest sister and waited.  We waited some more and then some more.  They allowed us to go back finally and as I stepped into the ER room I saw something I had not seen before.

My mother in an extremely fragile state. 

My mother had endured a lot of medical procedures and hardships in her life.  Yet,  I had not witnessed her in this form before.  I can’t even put it into words.  I knew it was serious, as did the rest of the family.  We proceeded to visit with the nurse, listen, and try to calm our mother.

Eventually she was transferred to a bigger hospital with a cardiac staff and a heart cath was scheduled.  The transfer occurred at 11:30 p.m. and the heart cath around 2:30 am.

This would be the day that we went about 40 hours without sleep.  This is the day we thought our mother would not survive.  This is the day a lot of praying occurred.  This is the day the 3rd  floor waiting rooms were not quiet in the middle of the night.  This is the day we waited for our brother to arrive and hope he made it in time.

I feel I should give more details to show the example of endurance this tough woman really had.  Mother was on a ventilator before going in for the heart cath, where they found two arteries that were blocked 99%, and placed a heart balloon pump in. She coded for 15 minutes on the table.  They brought her back.  Then she was being cooled down (24 hours)  and then warmed back up (10 hours) to her normal temp.

That’s a lot for one person to endure.  Our mother was a fighter, and we all knew her wishes if ever in this circumstance.  But that doesn’t make it easier.  When I walked into the ICU room for the first time after the procedure I could only think the following.  “She would so be cussing us out right now if she knew what was going on.”

I witnessed my mother laying flat on her back, which by the way she hadn’t done in a good 15 to 20 years due to a back injury, ventilator in place, about nine IV’s, and machines running things.  This was so not what I wanted for my mom.

She was sedated almost all the time except after they warmed her back up. She was coherent only enough on the day before her death to shake her head yes or no and move her arms. I am grateful for this although it was incredibly hard for me to endure seeing her in this state.  See,  I was able to tell her I love you, hold her hand, wipe some tears, and just be there in her presence.  She wasn’t the mother I knew but someone who could still feel her daughter loved her and was there.

My mother passed away on August 26, 2015 at 1:41 a.m. She left this earth with her four children all around her and holding her.  Time on earth for my mother was over, she lays asleep now while waiting for resurrection.  As I prayed out loud while holding my sibling’s hands and we all held mother’s it brought me peace knowing I was not alone.  Our God was there, as He had been the whole time, but he also provided my siblings to travel this new journey with me.

My mother is no longer here but I see extensions of her in each of my siblings and their families, and my own children.  I am grateful to not travel this path alone.

Grace is a gift,
Julie

 

Endurance of a Woman, Never Alone

The Pull To The Cemetary


As I mentioned before, I am not one to visit graves.  But there has been a pull since my mother’s burial to go to hers.  Today on my way out-of-town I was near the cemetary she is buried in.  I went.

Her grave only a tad over a week old was like most.  Headstone in place, dirt piled up where she was laid to rest, and a vase of fresh flowers blown over by the wind.  I found myself filling the vase with bottled water and placing it in a more secure spot.  Then I didn’t care for the dead casket spray still upon the dirt where she lay, I put in my vehicle so as to dispose of it.  I felt the urge to “care” for the grave although I know the ones laying there are in a deep sleep awaiting the return of Jesus Christ.

No tears fell today, just thoughts in my mind on the drive home alone.  The thoughts of how my mother did what she had to do in life, whether she enjoyed it or not.  That she pushed through many times, so that is what I must do now.  So many things lay upon my mind currently, not only my grief.

The image of the early morning before the day she died came to me as well.  The one where I woke and felt an urgency to see her that morning.  There was just a pull to be in her room with her.  So I made my way over alone to her ICU room.

The male night nurse very kind, brought me up to date on mother’s status, offering me coffee or something else.  I turned him down and greeted mother.  No response from her as she lay in the bed, ventilator in place, just machines running to fill what would have been quietness.  Holding her hand, kissing her forehead, then making my way to just sit.  Sit in the dark corner of her room writing.

Even though I wasn’t doing anything for her, I felt I was caring for her by being there. It made me feel better to sit in that room, although difficult to watch her in that state.   I felt I was doing something verses doing nothing.

Perhaps today at the grave it was the same thing.   An act of caring, by means of cleaning up the grave.  Maybe it was just me trying to do something to mask the bout of grief that lay in me.

 

Azalea

Grace is a gift,

Julie

When your child is grieving and so are you.


Our seven-year old daughter is having a hard time with the recent death of my mother.  Her mindset and emotions are out of whack from her normal happy-go-lucky, easy-going one.   I don’t know why I expected my young child to be able to endure the loss of a beloved grandparent when I am struggling with the loss of my mother.

It comes out in various ways, the snippy attitude, crying in regards to something that she normally wouldn’t, and her need for more hugs from me.  I on the other hand just have a slide show of images that will go through my mind at any given moment of mother.  I will then become quiet and in my own world.  Tears will fall on occasion and other times they flow like a river.  I become overwhelmed easily.   It hasn’t consumed my daily living but it is ever-present.

Today I did just as my own mother probably would have done.  I gathered myself in strength and consoled our daughter while she wept.  I reassured her of the resurrection, of how much her grandmother loved her, and how having this pain is because she loved us so much and vice versa.  We shared memories and just held one another.

Then it was time for me to distract her with something else so the tears could stop and we didn’t wallow in our despair.  It was time to move forward, at least a little bit to accepting that her grandmother wouldn’t be here to watch tv and color with and my mother wasn’t here to call with sewing questions any longer.

mother and daughter Grandaughter and grandma

May the memories cover the mourning with each day.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Different Yet the Same 9/4/2015 Mother


I had planned , when ready, to write a piece about my mother’s endurance and her time in the hospital.  I’m not quite ready to share that, but I felt moved to go ahead, (although “out of order”) to share this piece.  I know some will relate to it and some will foresee the future for themselves.  Either way I appreciate the opportunity to work through my grief through words here on the blog.

I went to my Mother’s house today.  I had some items to pick up.  As I opened the door I could instantly tell it was different.  It was so quiet.  The television wasn’t on and the lights were off, something that never was,  even when mother was away from her home.

As I scanned the view in front of me I saw the island in her kitchen bare. The recliner where she spent most days was empty.  It’s funny (not really) how just these simple things changed can make an impact on one.  They took me back for a bit.  It seemed as if I was in my mother’s home yet I wasn’t.

In my mother's house

I started getting the items together I needed, I spent some time there alone.  I was tired of the silence.  I decided Pandora on my smart phone would work fine to cover the silence.

I was basically fine until I had to go to her linen closet to get a sheet.  I knew she would have white ones and I needed it for a backdrop.  I never have bought white sheets but that’s one of the things I knew my mother always had.  As I opened the cabinet and reached for the sheet, I saw them.  Embroidered pillowcases.   Pillowcases I knew that were once held in my mother’s hands, slowly making the smallest stitches.  I picked them up and tears began to fall.  Then there was another set of embroidery pillowcases.  Another tear fell.

This is how life will be now.  Different yet the same.

A gentleman at my mother’s visitation told me that he read somewhere that the death of your last parent is more traumatic.  Because it was your link to the past, now you are the link to the past.  I think he might be onto something.

The pillowcases are a treasure.  The memories of mother as well.  May those memories cover the mourning with each day I have here on earth.  That I shall look to the day of the resurrection and see my mother once again.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Losing My Last Parent – Mother’s Tribute


I’ve been unable to write about my latest experience in life.  The death of my last parent occurred on August 26, 2015.  One year after my first parent, my Dad’s passing.  (August is now my least favorite month I think by the way.)

So today I’d like to share what I wrote and spoke at my Mother’s funeral.

Honestly I wasn’t sure I would be able to write a eulogy for Mom.  I was struggling and I think the prayers helped that I asked for.  I am so glad God gave me the strength to get through the speaking and writing from my heart to represent my siblings and myself on this day to honor Mom.

Let me give you a picture of who she was, before I start my process of working through words as I do to grieve.

Losing My Last Parent Mothers Tribute
Grace is a gift,

Julie

As most of you know, I am Julie, Frona’s youngest daughter. Today I’d like to share with you something I’ve written on behalf of my siblings and myself.

There’s a hole in our family.  Our mother, grandmother, cheerleader, and outspoken supporter of our lives passed away. And she did it in true form to who she was.  In the last few days of her life we witnessed her biggest challenge and she performed like a champ right up to the end.  I won’t go into details but in true” Frona form” she kept surprising the doctors and nurses.

When asked to describe our mother the first word we would all say is “tough”.  Frona was a fighter and a survivor in more than one aspect of her life on earth.  Yet she knew how to have fun and loved being with family.

I believe she became tough and strong starting at a young age. Being the second to the youngest of thirteen children couldn’t have been easy in the 1940’s.  Frona endured a difficult first marriage, cared for her children as a single mother, and worked almost all her life outside the home.  Before Bob, he second husband passed away in 2009 she cared for him daily although she had a back injury herself.  This gave her purpose and she loved Bob a great deal.  After his passing her life was never the same.

In her life she represented a woman who worked (physically) hard and could compete with any man on any given day.  Even when her back injury became difficult to endure she was stubborn and wouldn’t give up.  Sometimes her stubbornness worked for her and other times not so much.  Either way, her family loved her and misses her a great deal.

When we talked about our childhoods and her place in them we found ourselves deep in memories.  There was the fried chicken she cooked in the huge cast iron skillet, to the camping trip in the pasture, her love of dancing, the loud greeting and big smile when someone entered her home.   The way Artex paints or sewing projects would be strung across the dining room table or the way she would tightly put curlers in us girl’s hair the night before school pictures.  She was the life of the party at dances and would dance with anyone, especially to country music.

Our mother, back in the day, was a woman who could bake the best pecan rolls and make meringue for pies super high; then turn around that afternoon and shovel manure or drive a feed truck.  This taught her daughters there were no limits to being a woman in the world of working.  It taught all her children strength and endurance.

Frona always loved to make the big dinners and have family over at her house.  I believe that is where I got my love for it.  The laughter and games that were played, her grandchildren laughing at something outrageous that Grandma would say, and there was always pictures to be taken.  These are precious memories for us now. Traditions we hope to continue.

In her house anyone was welcome, meaning if you brought home a friend or new to be in law or someone who might seem like the “underdog” Mom always welcomed them.  In fact, there were times it felt like she liked them better than her own kids! J

She was loved and adored by nieces and nephews. She was the crazy loud aunt.  The one that when she showed up would hug and slap you on the back or wrestle you to the ground!  If you gave her a hard time, she gave it right back only bigger and better.

Grandchildren became a great source of joy to her.  She would do anything for them. Luckily the grandkids would visit grandma’s house or text, call, or message her often.  They felt the same way about her that she felt about them.

As her children we have many memories to remember and we are grateful for them.  Growing up, Mother may not have shown her love with many hugs, because of her tough exterior, but she showed it through helping us when we asked her to.  The hugs did come, and the “I love you” every single time we would leave as we grew older.  Now we will look to the resurrection of Jesus Christ so we can all be with her again.    That’s our hope and our future as she was a baptized child of God.

I know today is supposed to be about Mom but I’d like to take a moment to say something else, that she is connected to.

I believe one of the best gifts I have ever received from my parents and God were the people I call my siblings.  I was given three people who I share a bond with and they have always loved and cared for me.  Most people jokingly say, when talking about birth order “They saved best for last.”  Remember. I am the youngest.   But I believe God knew I would need the best before me.  I love you Tam, Rick, and Elizabeth.  I am so thankful that we were together, holding Mom’s hand when she took her last breath.  You are all an extension of her and Dad and I’m grateful to call you family.

Our family would like to thank you all for coming today and celebrating our mother’s life with us.

The anniversary and where I spent it.


8/17/2015

One year ago this evening my Dad was struggling to stay alive.  He was riding in an ambulance on his way to a Wichita hospital. He died in it, probably on the side of the road or in the Kingman hospital parking lot. I don’t know.  I only saw him after, in that hospital, laying on the bed.  A life-less being.

This evening I was sitting at my computer.  I had just read the post of the speech I gave at his memorial service. I looked up at the clock.  It’s ironic.  What I just read and the clock showing only minutes before they called his time of death a year ago.

The tears are not falling.  They are not coming.  They are put away.  They are not at the forefront today.  I haven’t shared on Facebook or even mentioned to my spouse the date.  A couple cards came in the mail remembering and my sister text me sending love and I went about my day.  They were very much appreciated and needed.  My emotions were sensitive and I fell apart while vacuuming the bathroom today, feeling overwhelmed with it all.

I think that God had the best plan for me tonight.  I’m not spending it with my family or in bed weeping.  I’m spending it with a group of ladies that bring me joy and support without even knowing it most of the time.  Two or three will be gathered tonight so our Lord will be present for sure.  I will be wrapped in His arms and His love via sisters in Christ.

The Lord knows best what I need today on the anniversary of my Dad’s death. I am grateful.

Before I fall asleep I will close my eyes and remember my Dad’s hugs, his hands, his smile.  I think he would have liked it that way.

 

Dad Collage

Grace is a gift,
Julie

Haunting Images and Expressions of Grief


I hadn’t thought about it at all that day, not from what I could recall.  In fact it had been a few days since he was upon my thoughts.   As I lay in bed and couldn’t go to sleep not really feeling anything. Once I closed my eyes and  haunting images of our last days with him entered my mind.  The visuals were so real and as they each appeared my heart ached, my body wanted to express something.

The last time I hugged him goodbye and said “I’ll see you in Wichita” to the Friday before when quiet tears fell from my eyes as he held my hand to the moments I sat with him that morning on his day of death.  The images were clear, they were felt, and I couldn’t hold back what my body wanted to happen.  The crying grief came rushing out and I couldn’t stop.  I couldn’t keep the hurt in any longer.  I felt as if I couldn’t control the tears, my brain or my breathing.  It hurt.  My heart and my body.

In the darkness of my bedroom I couldn’t even speak what the issue was to my spouse.  I couldn’t say it, for if I did the hurt would come full force, and I’d have to admit that the grief was here.  It wasn’t going anywhere and it needed to occur  although I didn’t want it to.  It’s been six months, why now? What sparked this episode of unwanted heartache?

I felt alone, although I knew I wasn’t. I prayed to God  it’s good that God knows my prayers without words, for I couldn’t really speak.  Coming and going were tears of missing the man I called Dad.

I didn’t see it coming and I still feel remnants of it within me today.  Swollen eyes, downcast look upon my face, not enjoying much in my life at the moment.  No Dad wouldn’t want this but it’s here, for now.  It will get better I know but for now I will just sit in my grief and let it happen. It is part of the grieving journey I do believe.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

Hymns & Football & Dad


We sang one of  my favorite songs today in church.  The one I chose to be sung at your funeral.  The one that I absolutely love singing with my youngest daughter “your angel” as you used to say.  Only a few keys in Dad she knew it was the hymn, her eyes lit up, her face had a smile, and she waited.  She wanted for the part she loves to sing.

“Worthy is the Lamb, whose death made His own.  The Lamb is reigning on his throne.”

The tears that began to fill my eyes at first hearing the organ, they dissipated when I saw her.  It was a bittersweet moment for me.

Then the Superbowl was on.  Your Broncos didn’t make it this year Dad, it was the Patriots and Seahawks.  Oh how you loved sports, especially football.  I know if you were still on earth you would be in your recliner with the television blaring and if anyone even attempted to call or bug you during the game it would send you into irritation! 🙂

You’ve been here today, in my mind, and on my heart.  Never forgotten.  Always loved.

Grace is a gift,

Julie

PV  &DAD