Mother’s Day-It’s Over Already-Here is what you missed!

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whoilove “on Sundays”

a weekly blog.




What… I missed Mother’s Day?

Mothers’ Day is held the 4th Sunday of lent in UK and Ireland, so Abi’s Mum and Leah’s Mum already had their day. Here is a reflection well worth the read!


“The expectations of a grieving mother on special days”


By Abi’s Mum

Now that Mother’s Day has passed, I feel I can exhale. I have a little more breathing space (until Father’s Day which is another tough one). I posted on Facebook yesterday about how hard I find the run of ‘special (bloody) days’ I face. It feels like I’m charging at each one like it’s a brick wall and, by Mother’s Day, I simply go splat!

I didn’t need the hype and the stuff, I just needed some love. (Don’t we all!)Abi's Mum

If I’m honest, I have always found ‘special days’ difficult. As an introvert who doesn’t like ‘fuss and nonsense’ I have developed an association with attention on me being difficult. Difficult perhaps because I don’t like letting my guard down. Difficult perhaps because I don’t like showing my emotions. Difficult perhaps because I’m simply protecting myself from disappointment or hurt…

My childhood, brought up in poverty, was still a good life and we appreciated what we had, but it doesn’t create much sense of anticipation either. Never expecting much, trying to ignore what others have that you don’t, being more thankful for a simple homemade cake than a big party and fuss, keeping a lid on your emotions…. It’s a humbling existence, which I’m not complaining about as I’d much rather have this than be the type of person to cry into my drink because I didn’t get the handbag I wanted.

Unfortunately, as a result, I find myself being irritable and grumpy on special days. I will brush off well wishes and shush people who try to be nice to me. It’s not something I’m proud of at all and I do try to be more open to accept love from others, even my husband and children, but it’s always with a tinge of feeling uncomfortable and wanting it all to be over! I will find myself deliberately busying myself with chores just to avoid the feeling that I must ‘sit down and be Queen for a day’. I clearly have no idea how to be kind to myself!

As I’ve got older and a heck of a lot wiser, I’ve realised I’m not a bad person for being like this. I’m just not the type of person to court attention or expect a big fuss. So, with any special day like my birthday or Mother’s Day I almost ‘vant to be alone’… as Greta Garbo once said.

The expectations of performing a role or being some kind of ‘perfect’, special person make me cringe. For me, rather than feel awesome, days like these always remind me of my failings… of actually not being a ‘perfect’ mother, or not being the ‘perfect’ wife. And then I make myself feel worse as I’m irritated at not throwing myself into it and enjoying some much-needed attention! Attention I know, deep down, I do deserve but just can’t cope with.

Recently, I’ve come down hard on my older children (disciplining your other children after you’ve lost a child is an emotional nightmare, but it’s proven to be essential and worthy of a whole other post, like this one).

I’ve been unpopular. I’ve heard my name shouted and horrible words said in anger. I’ve beaten myself up as I feel tired and emotional, always trying to hold it together yet always managing to give way to my frustration, all the while trying to work out if I’m disciplining as a caring parent or just taking out my grief on them. Failing, failing, failing….

Of course, I’m not really failing, but since Abi died, the expectations of special days adds yet more pressure to me.

Now it’s the same but harder still, as I feel the expectations of grief on these days, as well as on Abi’s special days. I want to hide from the world and get stressed about how I’m feeling. Due to how I am, I know it’s no one’s pressure but mine. I clearly like to beat myself up!

This Mother’s Day was tricky but also revealed a lot to me about why I am the way I am and what I am thankful for – and hence inspired this reflective post.

The morning started with my hubby being taken suddenly ill in the early hours. He was okay, but it involved a trip to the doctor at the hospital in a neighbouring town – the hospital and corridor where Abi was rushed to three years ago after she collapsed at home. We’d not been back since, and now he was faced with feeling worried for his health and having to stand in the same place we stood waiting for the news we didn’t want to hear about Abi. (For the record, it was a cold-related thing and despite being poorly he was much better after a few hours and some paracetamol!) So the day I had planned for myself (because I had planned a day in my head that I could control) was quickly becoming something very different.

I had planned to have a bit of a lie in and then go to church on my own. Then I would visit Abi’s memorial and spend time focused on her while my hubby watched the kids and got the roast dinner on. We had invited his parents for lunch, again partly as a way to fill up the day and not have to go out anywhere. It was, as you can see, quite a lonely day, one where I could avoid my feelings of expectation and redirect attention away from myself. I didn’t want to be alone exactly, I wanted to be left alone. Alone to avoid the expectation, alone to enable myself to grieve, alone to feel without worrying about others’ feelings.

Even the night before I was tired and irritated at the anticipation of the day. I had to work very late, to clear the Sunday. My hubby had been feeling under the weather and hadn’t thought to get me anything from the children. I didn’t really mind (again not being able to admit to myself that actually, yes, I did!), but I couldn’t help feeling unappreciated and also guilty for being so selfish. I fell asleep with tears in my eyes, worn out, thinking of Abi.

But, after the hoo-ha of the early morning panic was over, my children gave me their cards. I was amazed. My 2-year-old had made me one at the childminder’s – his first little scribbles in pen. My 8-year-old son was very excited to give me a card he’d made at school with a felt flower on the cover that he’d sewn himself. I was very impressed. Then he dug out from behind the chair a large hand-decorated pot plant containing four herbs he’d planted. I have no idea how he hid it from me! And then my 13-year-old daughter gave me a handmade card and wrote some lovely things in it which almost had me in tears. Abi’s card was missing, I know, but seeing the mantle filled with their efforts was just the best thing!

It really was all I needed. A healthier hubby and happy kids! I didn’t need the hype and the stuff, I just needed some love. (Don’t we all!)

So, I didn’t get to church or to see Abi, but the lunch went well and I wasn’t too much of a martyr about helping out. Both me and my hubby were exhausted so we had to pull together. If anything, my grief has taught me that sometimes my days change and it’s not possible to do what I needed to do, or have the energy I thought I’d have. Some days I wake up under a cloud, other days I don’t. But when it happens I know to wind it back, simplify the time and just ‘be’ until I’m ready to be the organised ‘in-control’ me again.

I managed to get to Evensong at church and it turned out to be far more beneficial than trying to ‘fit in’ the busy morning service. With just a handful of members of the congregation and the choir it was a simply beautiful, and deeply comforting, service. We reflected on Joseph and his privileged life as a favourite son, before he was sold into slavery by his own brothers and then thrown into prison.

It’s a familiar Bible story I have known since my childhood. His story ends well, he becomes a powerful leader in Egypt, but the focus was on how, despite cruising along and having a pretty good life, he ended up in a place he wasn’t expecting, how his life changed drastically for the worse and how, despite this, God was with him, in everything that was happening to him. Through the periods of darkness and worry. Through the feelings of being unappreciated and overworked. Through the physical pains and the emotional pains of loss and separation. Not just for a day, a week or a month, but through years and years of the same tireless struggle.

It helped to be reminded of this. That I should really cut myself some slack and remember that these special days don’t define me, they are simply days. They may force me to be more reflective but it doesn’t matter if I don’t want to shout about it. My grief accompanies me through the highs and lows yes, but God carries me through it all.

I ended the day feeling a deep sense of calm and, yes, I felt loved. I was happily thankful that we were all safely in our beds, that my hubby was on the mend and that we could all appreciate a better night’s sleep. So it goes to show, special days can still be special when they are kept simple!









Tony’s Faith: Talking with an Angel

Tony1

whoilove “on Sundays”

a weekly blog.



Tony’s Talk With An Angel

Related Content: Tony Boy


There is another part to this story – a story of a little boy’s faith in God despite tough life circumstances.

Tony talked of dreams in which the angels appeared to him (Angels Michael and Gabriel – in addition to Raphael).

Just like many other young children, Tony had a pure faith in Jesus. He loved walking over to the large crucifix at our church and touching the feet of Jesus. When he was ill, he talked about being visited by Angel Raphael. We witnessed conversations Tony had with Angel Raphael.

Tony talked of dreams in which the angels appeared to him (Angels Michael and Gabriel – in addition to Raphael). Tony mentioned a time Angel Raphael visited him while he was sleeping; Angel Raphael gently picked Tony up, hugged him, kissed him, and laid him back in his bed. This image is so beautiful and comforting for us – it brought tears of joy. Then Tony went on to say that after Angel Raphael placed him back in bed, two bad guys came into the room and Angel Raphael punched them. Angel Raphael then called the police and the bad guys were taken to jail.

In Tony’s final weeks, he also talked of being visited by Jesus who came down off the cross – including one time Jesus snuggled him. (Addendum from Tony’s Mom: Prior to Tony describing Jesus snuggling him, I had an image pop into my head of Jesus holding Tony on the operating table during one of Tony’s surgeries. I never shared my image with Tony or anyone else – until I heard Tony’s description – and I knew it was true.)

We shared Tony’s faith with others through Tony’s carepage and have had many people share with us that they returned to or renewed their faith because of Tony’s story. He has had a lasting impact upon many.






See Jesus? bonkers? brainwashed? You decide.

Jesus

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Kelly continuous to be bold in sharing her faith. As she states, ” I didn’t want people to judge my faith because of my loss.”

She ask us to decide for ourselves is this Crazy? Deluded?

You can read all about what led to this here, but below is the excerpt about the encounter had while she attended an alpha class.

I didn’t tell anyone about it for some time, and I’ve only told a few people from church who I feel would understand. What could I say? I would be seen as totally bonkers! Brainwashed even! As time passed, I tried to find reasons for the vision, but couldn’t.


from, By His Light Blog

by Kelly

Read full blog at this link…

blog excerpt………… She moved on to someone else and I found myself sitting down with my eyes closed; my mind felt empty but I tried to use the time to focus. It was then that I saw the most striking vision! It was of Jesus on the cross, at a side angle. The cross was a bright blue and Jesus was dead.

It wasn’t a frightening image at all. In that instant I had an overwhelming sense of comfort.

I felt love like I have never known. Unconditional, constant love.

I felt utterly forgiven – and that I understood what ‘forgiveness’ meant.

I felt a deep and sincere sense of calm and peace. The vision was showing me that Jesus died for me and that no matter how I felt – how I had sinned in the past, how I beat myself up about not being good enough, how I held in my emotions because I was scared, how I tried to fight what I believed in – that Jesus loved me and always, always had. I felt the overwhelming peaceful ‘power of the cross’, of what it meant for Jesus to die. Ultimately, it was not sorrow, it was all love!

I found myself suddenly sobbing, to my great embarrassment! I simply could not stop the tears. Tears of love and release, fear and wonder, thanks and submission. I’m a deeply private person, an introvert, yet despite the room full of people, this still felt like a deeply personal moment. I could just as well been at home in my room.

My poor friend beside me must have wondered what on earth had happened! She and many others knew about my daughter so presumed my tears were for her. I couldn’t speak. I just needed to pour out my heart to Him, to go with this awesome vision.

Read full blog at this link…

I felt I had become the sceptic again, yet God came and literally showed me the cross. My eyes were opened. I finally understood the cross, what it really means to give your life to Christ (up to then it seemed like nothing but a phrase).

Since then, I felt it important I document my faith journey so this blog was born. I’m not expecting my experience to convert anybody to Christianity. It will be interesting to some but a relationship with God is personal so, if you have one, it will be very different to mine.


Sketch by Kelly



(This vision was five months ago, and I finally got round to drawing what I saw. It is just an amateur sketch as I’m no artist, but I always felt I should try to draw it. I still see it vividly today. Jesus was real, with blood and sweat all over his hair and body, the wood of the cross was split and bleached blue… it was a lifelike image rather than an illustration.)

Related Content:

Kelly shares about Abi




Counting the Days

Counting

whoilove “on Sundays”

a weekly blog.



Counting the Days

 
Guest blog from
the Romine Family

As I sit in a quiet house (Crosbee napping, Cooper at school and Daddy working) editing pictures from our wonderful spring break I couldn’t help but hear the blaring sound of the weather siren go off. Every Friday at 11:00 they blare the siren as a test. As I sit here listening to the siren it dawns on me that I haven’t heard that siren in a very long time…weeks, maybee months. Our lives are so different now…Crosbee adds so much excitement to our lives. I use to dread Friday’s at 11. I would wait on pins and needles to hear it…pause, remember, cry, talk to Henley and even laugh. Henley passed away at 10:58 on a Friday morning just 2 minutes BEEfore the siren would blare. It is that constant reminder of those last moments with our precious, brave, loving, sweet daughter. It is sad. Sad yes but also brings a smile knowing that only Henley would send a constant reminder to use each Friday. She always wanted to bee heard. Oh how we love that little girl. Today the siren took me by surprise. Had I forgot about that siren? Have we been so busy with Crosbee? Had we blocked out the sound? Whatever it is Henley wanted to bee heard today. Henley Hazel…I heard you! I laughed, I cried, I relished in another sign from you reassuring us that you are so very close. Thank you love!

Henley has made her self so very apparent lately! She was right there with us as we spent spring break at her favorite place…the BEEach. She sent us sign after sign letting us know she wasn’t far. Each one of those signs warms our hearts and reassures us that we will one day bee together again. This hurt, this pain, this longing for our daughter, Cooper’s sister will one day put to rest.

Signs of Henley bring joy but at times can bring on sorrow…especially for Cooper. For him, at times, the are a reminder of what is missing, what he is unfair, what is just not right! Signs and a break from routine are hard. At home we have a routine…school, work, homework, practice, dinner, bed. Each day we know what to expect. Vacation…just like for all brings much needed rest and relaxation. For our family rest and relaxation brings about a huge reminder of the gapping whole we have in our family. It reminds us of what is missing, what we are missing, what is truly just not fair, just not ok. Vacation is a time of rest, relaxation which means slowing down life and smelling the roses…well our roses at times seem welted…our daughter and sister isn’t physically with us to play with, love on. Cooper especially is very aware of the loss and pain. As Cooper enjoys every moment of no school, running around in the sand, sun and surf, meeting new friends and just BEEing a 9 year old boy that I can bee clouded by the pain, sadness, anger and unfairness. Alll those things should bee done right along side of his sister Henley. As he gets older he is realizing that his life is far from the norm. He asks so many questions…”Why does everyone else get to grow up with their brother and sisters and I don’t?” “Why did Jesus have to take my sister?” “My life can’t bee completely happy beecause I don’t have Henley!” “Why does it have to bee like this?” “it isn’t fair that everyone else grows up with a playmate and I don’t have one of mine.” As Cooper interacts with more and more families, friends he realizes how different his life is. He is reminded of what he did have, a sister close in age, a forever playmate, someone to share life with. This is BEEyond heart breaking and honestly we have the same questions and feelings. We each are able to find our blessings in all of this. We are thankful for the time we had with Henley. We know life will continue and bring many blessings and much joy our way. Crosbee, Crosbee, Crosbee!!! She has brought so much light in our lives. Such a blessing she is. We are all aware of this but that said that doesn’t change the fact that Henley is no longer physically here…we have lost a daughter and Cooper has lost his best friend, his sister.

Not too long ago Cooper asked me…”Mom how many days have we lived without Henley?” Honestly one in which I didn’t want to know, I feared to know. Today as the siren went off I decided to find the answer to his question. How many days has it been since we held our daughter in our arms? Today I will have an answer for Cooper.

It has been 1001 days, 24040 hours, 1442404 minutes and 86544247 seconds too long!









3 Blogs – 3 Books – Countless Wisdom

Capture

whoilove “on Sundays”

a weekly blog.



Pain.
3 Blogs! 3 Books!
Countless Words of Wisdom!

Each of these writers knows pain too well and have family members featured on whoilove.comThey write and read about it. The good news: ..they share incredible insight about the complex relationship with GOD. The insight is both interesting and powerful.

I hope these few blog excerpts will inspire you to read more and discover how you too can relate to GOD differently (or communicate to others differently) about GOD’s presence in the midst of pain and struggle.

ENJOY!


 Vicky’s Blog Post, : “The Struggle”

…‘time management‘ is not one of my strengths since Leah became ill and died.

…I spied a book that I bought recently but hadn’t had time to read. It’s called “When the Hurt Runs Deep” by Kay Arthur.

…on page 77 of Kay’s book, I read a passage of Scripture that Leah and I used to read frequently. It brought us such great comfort. Leah’s illness separated us at times from most of what we held dear in life, so we tried to focus on the one certainty that her illness could never deprive us of –God’s love.


 Kelly’s Blog Post, : “God on Mute: When God seems absent”

I’ve been reading God on Mute  by Pete Greig …

… why God might not appear to answer our prayers – in the time we want, the way we want or why we want them!

… Easter Saturday is the time when Jesus was dead. When God was silent for him and for the world. He went down into death like any other person. God was gone.

… Yet, at his hour of most need, his father had to step back.

… My daughter died! How can I not feel angry about that?! Yet, I have felt God with me even when He seemed silent and somehow knew He was there. But He had to let me find my way to Him…


 Matt’s Blog Post, : “Throwing Out Handfuls Of Worms (Where Is God When It Rains?)”

…  stories we’re afraid of – stories we hope never rise to the surface. And it’s these stories, the ones we’ve tucked away never to be heard from again, that we must overcome.

… was his age, I had no idea how deeply I had been affected by my own brokenness. So to see my new friend already dealing with his demons, pushing down the age of reckoning, inspired me.

… Sometimes we find ourselves in the cold and unkind rain and wonder how we got there – was it our doing or God’s?

***Looking for a book about where God is in our pain? I wrote THIS ONE. 

FINDING GOD IN THE RUINS (How God Redeems Pain)







Abigail Mariah



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Deanna would like to pay tribute to Abigail Mariah.

 

I am helping a homeless man that has no family or friends get settled in a motel and we are giving him a job and taking him out on Easter. I am grieving my beautiful young girl. She is alive but gone at the same time. I am doing this to honor families with ambiguous losses in their lives.

 


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Hannah Crumby



Hearts4Hannah would like to pay tribute to Hannah Crumby.

hearts4Hannah

 

Year #7 was a great one- Red Cross ended up with 53 units of blood that will help save lives. Thanks to all of you who were able to come!

 


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Henley



Henleys-Pic

Doug would like to pay tribute to Henley.

 

Happy Birthday, Henley! Remember me? Sure you do, it’s Doug from your church! Everyone at Northview loves you and wishes you a happy Heavenly birthday! Every day when I’m in my office, I see your picture and your favorite book. They’re right here on my desk! They remind me how special you and your family are! We love you, and your mom and dad, and Cooper and Crosby…and your grandparents too! We talk to them often. They love you so much, and we know you love them too. Someday when we’re all together again you can show us all around Heaven and tell us all about your birthday and about all of your days with Jesus! Until then, you’re always in our hearts!

 


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Henley



Kimberly Witta would like to pay tribute to Henley.

Happy Birthday BEEautiful Henney! I always smile when I think of you and today I will again light my BEE candle, remember your silly ways, your giggle, your warm hugs, holding your hand,(with your longgg fingers:) and say an extra prayer for your family 💙


“Wall of Kindness”

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