60 DAYS…

It’s been a week since I poured out how I was feeling in my last blog post.  Today is June 7, 2018 and today marks 60 days since you’ve been gone. Someone reading this blog post may wonder why I’m writing to you.  I’m writing because I realized that journaling how I’m feeling is helping me process my grief.  I’ve been going to counseling every other week; but something shifted in me when I put aside time to actually sit and write out my thoughts and feelings.  Although the pain is still there and I miss you like crazy….my heart doesn’t feel as overwhelmed as it did 7 days ago.

Momma, I had convinced myself that reaching a certain number of days would help the pain dissipate or lessen.  However, I have learned in the past week that it’s not the number of days elapsed that will make me feel better, it’s what I do in the space and time given that will facilitate my healing.   I have learned that each day I have a choice.  I have the option of wallowing in my sorrow and not processing my feelings.  Or I can choose to do something different.  Instead of stuffing my feelings down, I have the option of opening myself up to the healing process and allowing grief to do what only it can do.  In essence, I’ve learned over the last 7 days that there are times in our lives when healing is an intentional choice.

I’m not talking about the kind of healing that occurs when you cut your finger or bruise a part of your body.  The body is designed to initiate that type of healing on it’s own.  I’m talking about emotional, mental, and spiritual healing.  Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, loss of a relationship, house, job, or dream….this type of work often requires us to make an intentional choice to embark on the journey of healing.  For example, while visiting our family home a few days ago, I walked into your bedroom to get a t-shirt out of the drawer.  As I have done in the past many times, I didn’t want to wear the pajamas that I had packed and chose instead to wear one of your t-shirts to bed.  Well, I forgot that they had packed up your clothes.  I opened the drawer and it was empty.  I opened up several other drawers and they were empty too.  I walked over to your closet and pulled back the curtain. All your clothes were gone!  In that moment, I felt like my chest was going to explode.  However, in that moment, I realized that I had a choice to make.  

I could either act like seeing the empty drawers in your bedroom didn’t bother me or I could honor how I was feeling and give myself room and space to process the grief.  I chose to honor how I was feeling. I walked slowly back into my room and acknowledged how I was feeling.  I was hurt, numb, and unprepared for that moment.  It was as if reality had once again slapped me in the face.  And man, did it sting!  However, I simultaneously realized that honoring how I was feeling allowed me to survive the moment.  You see Momma….I’m learning that grief has a place in our lives.  It’s God’s way of helping us cope with and ultimately live with the loss in a healthy way.  So many of us don’t allow ourselves to grieve and we get stuck in that place of pain or we stop living healthy, productive lives.  We just stuff our feelings down and try to move on as if we’re okay. 

Momma…at 60 days, I understand that healing is indeed a choice and I am determined each day to open myself up to the healing process and let grief do what it came to do.

53 DAYS…

Today is May 30, 2018 and it’s been 53 days since I sat in the hospital room and watched you take your last breath. I know how many days it’s been because I count them. I have somehow convinced myself that when I get to a certain number of days, it won’t hurt as bad. So, I keep counting. I find myself hoping that once I reach 60, 75 or maybe 100….that the pain will somehow lessen or magically disappear. But as I sit and think about April 7, 2018….all I want to do is curl up in a ball and cry until there are no more tears left in my tear ducts to cry. April 7, 2018 is the day that you went home to be with the LORD. It is the day that pain, sorrow and weariness ceased to exist for you; but it is also the day that my heart completely broke into a million pieces.

Yes, I know that to be absent from the body is to be present with the LORD. I know that to live is Christ and to die is gain. I know that you are no longer tired or suffering. I know!! I am present to these truths. And I praise God every day because I know where you are and I know that you are resting. But listen here! I loved me some Janice Delcine McBride! And being present to the truth and the promises of God does not erase the immense aching that overwhelms my heart.

Momma….I miss you so much! I miss your presence, your smile and your laughter. I miss our conversations. I miss being able to come home to you sitting in the living room watching your shows. I miss eating Candy Pepper Wings with you. I feel so lost and empty without you here. Our family has certainly endured a lot of pain and loss over the years. But this here….the pain and grief that I am experiencing right now is indescribable.

You’ve always been there. My Mother was 16 when I was born. The 1st home that I lived in was your home. I lived with you the first few years of my life. Once we moved out of the family home, I still spent many weekends and summers with you as a young child. When I was in the 7th grade, I began living with you again. You helped raise me. You helped raise my own children. For the first four to five years of their lives, you were their primary caretaker. While I attended classes full-time and worked part-time, they were with you. When I graduated from college and moved to VA, you wouldn’t let me take them with me. You kept them the entire 1st year that I was in VA so I could get established. You wanted to ensure that I had a firm foundation here. I still remember the tears that poured from your eyes when I came to pick up the girls. You let them leave; but had them every summer after that.

When I traveled for work, you came to VA to be with the girls. When we went on family vacations, we made sure you were with us. You flew to Las Vegas to watch me get married. You took my girls on their 1st trip to Disney World. You came to MD to watch me receive my Master’s Degree. You were front and center when I preached my initial sermon. You were always there without fail. That’s the kind of Momma you were to me. Now, what am I supposed to do without you??

People say that time heals all wounds. It’s been 53 days and time is doing nothing for me but making me miss you more. Maybe 60, 75 or 100 days will make a difference….I guess we’ll see.