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Posts Tagged ‘mourning’

It’s been nine months since I got “the call”

Nine months.

I’ll never forget the moment I received word that my little brother was…gone.

NEVER.

“Penny. Penny! PENNY!” My sister kept sobbing my name over and over again on the phone, each time with increasing intensity.  That weekend, we had both been trying, unsuccessfully, to get a hold of Jay. When he hadn’t responded to our repeated texts or calls and his friends hadn’t heard from him, she decided to drive over to his house. Deep within my gut, I knew what she was about to confirm.

Her words paralyzed me in every way. I listened to what she was saying, but refused to hear the tragic truth: That our brother had barricaded himself in his bedroom, ending his pain the only way he knew how.

“No. NO!” I cried. “I don’t believe you. I’m not going to believe you! It’s not true!”

I curled up fetal on the floor, wrapping myself in the blanket my grandmother had sent me two weeks earlier.

“Wrap this around yourself when you need a hug,” she had said.

The crushing weight of my grief and sorrow was more than I could bear. I wept in anguish for the rest of the night…

As I would on many nights thereafter…

My journal from those first agonizing days contains one entry.

Nothing has been the same since December 11, 2011.

NOTHING.

But, while I never could have conceived it nine months ago, I am slowly coming to understand…

That the labor pains we must bear in death…

Are God’s passageway to birth new life.

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.” John 12:24

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I never wanted to have a blog about grief and loss. I suppose no one does. Those who have stumbled along the rocky road of traumatic loss understand how a little grace unfolding amidst the searing pain is a very, very big thing. Thank you, Jackie of www.swervingforbutterflies.com for being grace’s deliverer by nominating For Those Who Weep by a “Lovely Blog Award.” 

On most days, grief feels anything but lovely. Today, Jackie changed that. Thank you, dear one. No doubt you are a kind and beautiful soul. Butterflies should swerve for you.

I’m not good at following rules, but I will gladly do so here in order to accept this humble honor = linking this post back to the blogger who nominated me with thanks, listing 7 things about myself, recommending 15 other blogs for this award, informing them of their nomination, and posting the above logo on my blog.

7 Things About Me (in random order)

1. I hate disclosing stuff about myself.

2. I am in love with God…a sacred Romance like no other.

3. I miss my little brother every. single. day.

4. There is nothing better than being barefoot.

5. I will sit for hours to refine a photograph.

6. My yet unfulfilled dream – a publishing contract.

7. My 7 nieces and nephews are rare and priceless treasures.

For their creativity, courage, and honest expression of travail, I’d like to recognize the following bloggers as “lovely”…

www.joshua-mom.blogspot.com

http://onewomansperspective02.wordpress.com/

http://www.griefreflection.com/

http://www.widowschristianplace.com

http://www.thegriefexperience.wordpress.com

http://www.teamemmett.com/blog

http://www.thinkingaboutsuicide.com

http://www.holdingourhope.blogspot.com

http://www.mymauloa.blogspot.com

http://www.ourprecioushope.blogspot.com

http://www.brightmomentsduringdarktimes.blogspot.com

http://www.hopesjourneyblog.blogspot.com

http://www.blessedbycreativejoy.blogspot.com

http://www.avazoeg.blogspot.com

http://www.walkingthevalley.blogspot.com

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After you have suffered for a little while…

The God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ…

Will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you…

To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.

1 Peter 5:10 NASB

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When a day that has always marked his life…

Beckons to remind me only of his death.

When the hole in my heart…

Threatens to swallow me whole.

I grab a firm hold of my grief, before my grief grabs hold of me…

And, determine to do what I’ve always done on this day.

Because in surrendering the sorrow of his absence…

I celebrate the sanctity of His presence…

And, somehow…

Someway…

It is I who receives a gift.

“…that I may gain Christ.”

Philippians 3:8

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I always wanted to be the chick singer in a band. My first stab at stardom took place in the 2nd grade. I really should have known better than to form a rock band with the most rambunctious boy on our block. We called ourselves The Super II (using Roman numerals in our name somehow added an air of cool-ness). Unfortunately, we never landed a recording contract, or even a gig for that matter. I blamed my partner for the band’s difficult and very public break-up when he put a hole through the skin of my snare drum during our first front porch rehearsal. It was a shame too, because we had some serious potential.

While I’ve spent the better part of more than 40-something years still dreaming about sound boards and stage lights, I guess I’ve been booked for the one gig NOBODY wants. I find myself cast front and center on the stage called grief, playing out what looks like just another tragic drama. But, deep in the recesses of my shattered soul I know that I know that I know this one thing:

While I do not like the way this particular scene has played out…

I am in the midst of a Greater Story whose triumphant end I know.

“Let them who sow with tears, reap with rapture.”

Psalm 126:5 The Septuagint

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What’s a woman to do when…

The basket on the table contains the ashes of her brother…

 And sorrow comes parading…

To bid one last goodbye.

When she weeps as those who loved him…

Reach in for one last touch.

When words are few…

But, tears are many.

Just what IS a woman to do?

A woman must surrender at sunset…

 

And exchange his ashes…

for His beauty.

“To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.”

“In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.” Isaiah 61:3

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I wish the sun would stop setting.

If, even for just a moment, God would stop it from going down…

Right here in this very place.

Image

But, the sun will set…

And, tomorrow’s ache will come long before I’ve dealt with today’s.

Because grief waits for no one.

But, then again…

Neither does love. 

“Certainly the faithful love of the Lord hasn’t ended; certainly God’s compassion isn’t through! They are renewed every morning.” Lamentations 3:22-23a

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