Bitter-Sweet Moments

  • Hearing a song play on the radio; Remembering singing along with it with my child.
  • Preparing a meal; Remembering my child sneaking a sample of it behind my back.
  • Seeing a child’s footprints in freshly fallen virgin snow; Remembering my child trudging through a deep pile of it in his snowsuit.
  • Hearing the laughter of a child; Remembering my child’s laughter as I quickly turn to see if it is him.
  • Placing a handmade ornament on a Christmas tree; Remembering the smile on my child’s face beaming with pride that he had made it.
  • Stopping for a school bus; Remembering the day my child first boarded one.
  • Petting a white cat; Remembering my child holding his so tenderly with such love.
  • Seeing a toy truck; Remembering my son playing with his in the sandbox.
  • Watching an old movie; Remembering cuddling on the couch with my son, watching it together.
  • Going to the beach; Remembering my son riding a wave into shore on his raft.
  • Smelling an old shirt of his; Remembering how he looked in it.
  • Hearing a child call out: ‘Mom’; Remembering my son calling for me as I turn for a moment to see if that is him.
  • Looking at my child’s picture; Remembering the moment it was taken.
  • Finding an old card he had given me on Mother’s Day; Remembering him looking at me with anticipation to see if I would be pleased with it.
  • Getting a big hug from another’s child; Remembering how it felt to hold my son in my arms.
  • Going to a pool; Remembering my son’s first swimming lesson.
  • Seeing a snowman; Remembering my child’s glee when he built his first one and stuck a carrot in it for its nose.
  • Picking a flower; Remembering the ones he picked for me.
  • Going to a Graduation; Remembering my son’s humbleness in receiving an award.
  • Revisiting an old vacation spot; Remembering the wonder on my child’s face at his first moment of discovery.
  • Seeing a commercial of a car accident in which all happily survived; Remembering my child did not.
  • Standing in an aisle in a grocery store staring at an item on the shelf; Remembering how my son loved eating that.
  • Sitting around a campfire; Remembering how my child learned to roast marshmallows on that perfect stick he had found.
  • Being invited to go fishing; Remembering my son’s first catch.
  • Going to a sports game; Remembering my child’s determination to achieve.
  • Reading a book; Remembering my son’s quest for knowledge.
  • Having a picnic; Remembering my son’s last one and how he made us all laugh.
  • Seeing children playing baseball in the street; Remembering the ball he hit through our front window.
  • Sitting on a swing; Remembering my son’s plea to push him higher.
  • Attending a school play; Remembering my son on the stage gleaming as he took his first bow.
  • Going to see fireworks; Remembering my child’s awe as he beheld the beauty of a display.
  • Seeing a young couple in love; Remembering the tenderness in his eyes as he looked at the love of his life.
  • Hearing a car come down the street; Remembering waiting up nights for him to come home.

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y
Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

 

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Once a Mom, Always a Mom

In approximately two months, the nineteenth anniversary of my Son’s demise will arrive. Nineteen years, yet in many ways it feels like yesterday. There are still moments when the pain grips my heart so fiercely, I think it shall cease to beat another beat. My chest tightens as I once again struggle to hold back the tears from falling, an impossible task for sure. I have to remind myself to physically exhale.

A few years ago, when I had to undergo some outpatient surgery, I awoke with amazement afraid to move. When they brought my daughter back to the recovery room, she saw tears running down my face and immediately asked me: “What’s wrong?” with great concern. As I looked into her eyes, in almost a whisper not believing what words I was about to utter, I softly replied: “There’s no pain”. Because of the medications they had given me for the surgery, all the pain vanished. Sadly, hours later, it had returned and I later learned that it was a medication that could not be prescribed on an ongoing basis.

Until that moment, I had not realized how accustomed I had become to the physical pain I carry with me daily. So it is with the heartache I carry for my Son.

I have never ceased to be his Mom. I still will see things and instantly think: “Roddy would love that’. For the 1st half dozen years or so, I would decorate his grave site on special occasions or simply take flowers on any given day when I went there to visit him. As time passed, however, the reality gradually sunk in that he was not actually there, and that only his decaying physical remains were buried at that site. Still, visiting helped me feel closer to him. Knowing that I was at a place where other grievers also came to visit their loved ones brought me comfort, as well, knowing I wasn’t alone in my sorrow.

I still will buy a Christmas ornament from time to time that I know he would like. I still set aside something special to do for his birthdays. The past few years, I have begun to put up his miniature tree in my living room that I once placed on his grave. When I wrote my book, I did so as my gift to my Son to honor him by finally getting his poems published after waiting to do so for eighteen years. I cannot cease from ‘doing’ for my Son. I am still his Mom and that innate desire to ‘do’ for my child did not suddenly disappear simply because he had moved on in his journey.

Throughout the years, there have been some who believed I was ‘stuck’ in my grief and that it was somehow their mission in life to ‘unstuck’ me. Still, there were others who believed that if I only would take some pills, some prescribed medications, all would be better and I would be ‘cured’ of this grief. All were well-meaning souls, I suppose, but none of them truly could grasp the depth of my pain. With time, I have learned to carry it well. I smile and laugh at jokes; I’ve done some traveling when I was still physically able to do so and have even had a few suitors. But what can never be ‘cured’, medicated, nor ‘moved on’ from is the Truth that I am still my Son’s Mom… nor would I ever want that to be changed. There is nothing in this world that can ever be given to me nor offered that will alter that reality. Nothing will ever be of greater value to me in this world than having been honored and blessed to be the Mother of my Son. No one can ever take that away from me.

Every day I think of him, most days a tear will still roll down my cheek. I still experience times that immobilize me, and there are moments when a memory will make me laugh. From time to time he will unexpectedly pop into a dream momentarily with his huge grin and glowing face, for which I always thank my Lord and embrace the peace that then envelops me. Yes, I am still my Son’s Mom.. and shall always be.

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y
Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

Assessing my Grief

Some may have noticed that I have been somewhat quiet these past seven weeks. I have written little as I have been ‘Assessing my Grief’. There are times on my journey when like Elijah, I climb into my cave and withdraw from the battle. I need such times to get alone with my God and seek His Face and His direction, especially when I have become weary and have begun to get lost in the weeds. For me it is a time of contemplation, a time to reason. “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord” (IS. 1:18).

Because I am a person of Faith, I find great solace in God’s Word. It is my ‘go to’ place when I need to be refreshed and have my feet washed. I need that Rhema word for direction when I am standing at a crossroad and asking: ‘Now what, Lord?’ For decades I have done so as a year draws to a close. It is a time in which I embrace John 16:13 ‘But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.’ God has always been Faithful in His response.

The Holidays especially effectuate such a time because for me, I often pass through them alone in my grief. I use to ‘kick against the goads’ until I finally learned that by doing so, I was simply adding to my wounds resulting in more pain. I was as Jeremiah describes: ‘17 I sat not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat alone because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation. 18 Why is my pain perpetual, and my wound incurable, which refuseth to be healed? wilt thou be altogether unto me as a liar, and as waters that fail? (Ch. 15) When I read: ‘I sat alone because of thy hand’, I found relief. Knowing that God is still on the throne brings me comfort. Even my ‘aloneness’ is at His bidding. Acceptance of such comforts me and brings me His peace.

I was recently asked why it is that I believe that our children that have gone ahead of us can still have some connection with us. Shortly thereafter, I read an excerpt of another’s writings who is convinced that our children are unable to send us ‘signs’. I am unsure as to her reasoning for such, but I do know that those of us who have encountered such things are often shunned by those who don’t believe that such is possible. My natural mind’s first reaction was to ask her if she herself had been to Heaven and knew personally that such was not allowed or possible. But such would have been simply a reaction and not a response.

Those that have read some of my previous articles know where I stand in regards to ‘mediums’ and ‘psychics’. Rather than express such, however, in a dogmatic manner, I have attempted to explain and offer some understanding as to why we are not to seek out such things. I don’t wish to digress so I will simply say that psychics and mediums, those which are not fakes and view the grieving as easy prey, do have ‘powers’. However, they use the latent power of the fallen soul rather than the Spirit. Such disturb the rest of the souls who have ceased from their labor as we see in 1 Sam. 28.

In the Spirit of Christ, however, we are never separated from our loved ones who have gone ahead. For those who either doubt such things or forthright don’t believe such, I can only offer a few things to consider other than what I have personally encountered.

  • We who are in Christ are all one in the Spirit in His body. (See Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12; Eph. 2:11-22). Never is a portion of Christ’s Body severed from the rest, not even through death. We all remain one in the love of God who Himself is love (Romans 8:38).
  • Eternal Life begins when we are born again, not after we die (1 John 5:13; John 5:24; John 6:47).
  • In the Spirit, we are already seated in Heavenly places (Eph. 2:6). If our children are in Heaven, we are with them in the Spirit of Christ already. In order to grasp this, we must believe God’s Word to be Truth. We must believe that what God says is…is. Our natural minds (our soul) cannot comprehend the things of the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:14). I Thes. 5:23 makes it clear that we are triune beings, made in the likeness of our triune God, and consist of spirit, soul, and body. The distinction is also pointed out in Hebrews 4:12. When we are ‘born again’, it is not our physical body nor our natural mind that is immediately ‘born again’, it is our spirit. When Adam & Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden, they neither experienced physical death nor soul death, but rather spiritual death. Only through accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour can our spirits be ‘born again’. We then begin this new life by working through the salvation of our souls with fear & trembling (Phil. 2:12; Romans 8:1-17). Eventually, our bodies, too, shall be saved when the corruptible puts on the incorruptible (1 Cor. 15:53).
  • There are examples in Scripture when those alive in the physical saw the dead. The most prominent is Jesus. In His Spiritual resurrected body, he could eat and drink and be touched (Luke 24:30-43). He also had the ability to appear to others and then suddenly disappear (Luke 24:31). Then there were those that arose from their graves after Jesus physically died on the Cross which many witnessed (Mathew 27:50-53). There is also the ‘Mount of Transfiguration’ at which time Peter, James, and John saw Moses & Elijah (Mathew 17). One more example is the Apostle John, while exiled to Patmos. He was granted Revelation. Not only did he hear and see Jesus, he saw and heard the saints that were dead, yet very much alive in Heaven (Revelation 6:10 and many others).
  • We also are told in Hebrews 12:1 that ‘we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses’ referring back to Hebrews 11 which speaks of the dead.

So, can our deceased ones send us ‘signs’ from time to time? Can they suddenly appear and disappear in our dreams from time to time? Are we to believe that although we are with them in the Spirit, ‘no talking is allowed’? I, for one, have not yet been in Heaven so I cannot answer that question as one who knows what I may be capable of doing or not doing once I arrive. We are all given a ‘measure of Faith’ (Romans 12:3). So, I will simply state: ‘According to your faith be it unto you.’ (Mt. 9:29)

 

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y
Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com. Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

New Year’s Resolutions

Often, folks make New Year’s Resolutions that they may or may not be able to adhere to and the ramifications of such can have an effect on us, especially if we are prone to depression when we are grieving. We may beat ourselves up if we don’t follow through on them, however, setting some goals can assist us in our healing process. We who grieve are often in our darkest point of despair in our life. It’s important to not set goals that are simply unrealistic. We need to be gentle with ourselves. We have been traumatized and complete healing can take a lifetime. I’d like to simply suggest a few. If you choose only one, or choose something that is not on this list, you have accomplished a lot.

 

N-umbing. We all want the pain to simply end. Often, we attempt to at least dull the pain in unhealthy ways. We sometimes succumb to using drugs, drinking, smoking, using sex, etc. – Decide to curtail such activities and set reasonable goals for yourself.

E-nergy. Grief takes a tremendous toll on our energy level. Fatigue is common. – Decide to eat healthier foods, improve your sleeping pattern as much as possible, drink water daily, and develop some sort of exercise program even if simply taking a twenty minute walk.

W-hat ifs. We are bombarded with the ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys’. – Decide to stop playing mind games with yourself and work on accepting that ‘what is’ cannot be changed. You can only change things going forward.

 

Y-ou. We often neglect our own personal needs, especially if there are other family members that are grieving and we want to help them.  – Decide to replenish yourself when necessary. You are not being selfish when doing so. A depleted warehouse helps no one.

E-ncouragement.  Discouragement from others can lead to despair. We all grieve at our own pace. – Decide to surround yourself with folks that do not place unreasonable demands on your healing process with their personal expectations. ‘Pull the weeds to make room for the beautiful flowers’.

A-trophy. Just as our physical muscles can develop atrophy, so can our soul and spirit. We often get angry with our God and blame Him when our Loved One has passed on. – Decide to renew the Faith you once had, or seek Faith that offers you Hope.

R-emembering.  We often tend to remember the bad and forget the good. – Decide to focus more on the good memories of love and laughter you shared with your Loved One.

S-uicidal. All of us yearn for our Loved One. We can be tempted to join them. – Decide that suicide is simply not an option. If you are bombarded with suicidal thoughts, do not hesitate to reach out for help.

 

R-outine. We often feel utterly helpless in our grief and completely out of control. – Decide to establish some sort of routine in your daily life that you can control to some degree.

E-mbrace. We often want to deny or suppress the pain. – Decide to ‘embrace the pain’. Feel it and ride the wave of it.

S-elf Blame. Blaming ourselves that our Loved One is now gone is often our way of attempting to feel some control over a situation in which we had no control. – Decide to stop blaming yourself…period.

O-vert Comments. Comments from others that wound, often add to our grief. – Decide that such are simply unacceptable and disengage from folks who habitually make them.

L-ove. Love is a great healing balm. God is Love. – Decide to surround yourself with folks that exhibit Love.

U-nderstanding. Often, we find ourselves alone in our grief. – Decide to develop relationships with like-minded folks who truly understand the deep anguish of your suffering.

T-emperance. So much has been thrown off-kilter. – Decide to reinstate some sure footing back into your life with people and things that are more dependable and reliable to give you back some balance.

I-ntrospection. Some introspection and self-examining can be healthy, but too much of it can lead to isolation. – Decide to reach out more to others.

O-rganization. Because of our fatigue and inability to focus, at times, our lives can become cluttered on many levels. – Decide to set up a reasonable schedule to re-organize some things that have been neglected.

N-ever. There are moments when we fear we shall forget some things about our loved ones or that we already have. – Decide to keep a journal or diary of thoughts about your Loved One as memories do come to mind. Our Loved Ones will never be forgotten.

S-upport. Rarely can someone walk this journey of grief alone. There is no shame in needing help. – Decide to get some support whether it be through counseling, support groups, church groups, or all of the above. Even Moses needed help. (EX. 17:12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side, one on the other–so that his hands remained steady till sunset.)

 

There are no short-cuts on this journey. Yearly, monthly, daily we take baby steps. Our lives are forever changed and it takes time to reestablish the new life we now have without our Loved Ones. Again, be gentle with yourself.

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y
Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

 

 

 

Unsung Heroes

Seven months ago I wrote an article titled: ‘In Honer of the Service Moms’ to pay tribute to some of the women I have had the honor to meet in the Grief Community. Because we are about to close out another year and embark on a new, I find it fitting to once again pay tribute to these Unsung Heroes amongst us.

These are women who are the warriors; they do not, will not, quit. They come from a variety of backgrounds and on the surface most likely would never have had their paths cross. From shepherd to city gal to world traveler, their lives are uniquely different. Some have loving supportive families, while others have battled cancer and/or disabilities and for the most part fight their battles alone. Most are grieving Mommas, others grieve the parting of their grandchildren and/or soulmate. Yet, the passing of our Beloved Ones has united us on a level which supersedes all differences.

All of these women have endured and continue to persevere because of their brokenness. They are motivated by Love. They do not do what they do for fame or fortune. Rather, their desire to never allow their loved ones to be forgotten fuels their endless hours of dedication to reach out to the suffering and brokenhearted. They have chosen compassion over bitterness. They are all broken alabaster vessels that emit a sweet fragrance of a healing balm. Tirelessly, they extend an olive branch to others who are war torn. These women are not superheroes in the sense that they are somehow gifted with an inordinate ability above the rest; they are simply everyday women who have chosen to freely share their talents with others who are brokenhearted. Their forbearance is truly admirable.

None of these women are obliged to do what they do. They grow weary and, at times, angry. They all have moments when they want to quit and have a need to vent. Yet, they persevere. I, for one, am very grateful that they do. Personally, when I have thought I could go no further, they have come alongside me to encourage and support. They are the ones in the Grief Community whose self-sacrifice often is unappreciated and goes unrecognized. To them, a simple ‘thank you’ is their great reward. For them, just knowing that one person has been helped and blessed by their hard work is all the encouragement they need to get up the next day and do it all once again. They willingly place themselves on the front lines where they often face an assortment of criticisms and unwarranted expectations as if they owe this self-sacrifice to others… which they don’t.

Please remember these women in your thoughts and prayers. They are no different than you nor I; they are grieving, too.

Unsung Heroes

For those who never found it too much trouble
   To help their fellow man — nor asked the price,
For those who wield their shovels in the rubble
   While scholars scoff at building paradise;
For those who fetch and carry for their neighbours,
   Or wash the sick or sit beside the frail,
For those who earn a pittance for their labours,
   But never play the martyred tattletale:

For those for whom a word of thanks suffices,
  Or deem that it was meant, if never said,
For those who run a mile from fame’s devices,
  And hide their medals underneath the bed;
For those who slave in worn out wards and clinics,
  Or work beside the nurses, hand in glove,
For those who pay no mind to whining cynics,
  Who know the worth, if not the price, of love:

For those who give their lives to teaching others,
   Yet never learn the meaning of conceit,
For those who treat the homeless as their brothers,
   For men who empty bins and sweep the street;
For volunteers who listen — but don’t lecture,
   For coppers who would rather wear no gun,
For juries who can cast aside conjecture
   And steel themselves to do what must be done:
For friends who keep their temper, yet stay candid,
  For citizens who stand up to the yobs,
For those who bring up children single-handed,
  For companies who tailor-make them jobs;
For those who blew the whistle as they hung us,
  For those who stood when you and I would fall,
For these, the unsung heroes here among us:
  Please raise your glass to bless them, one and all.

by Felix Dennis

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y
Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

Merry? Happy?

We are surrounded and bombarded with these words throughout the Holiday Season. Every time I hear them, I feel a sting. Just for a moment, a part of me freezes up as if a pebble just hit the windshield of my car… only it’s a pebble that hit my heart.

My son left this world nearly nineteen years ago. I still think of him every single day; I still shed a tear nearly every day. Some days are even still horrid and crippling. The Holiday Season is still very difficult and I often wonder how I will survive another year, for Grief of this magnitude certainly takes a toll.

The level of pain that a Bereaved Parent travels through at this time of year is all over the map. We can find ourselves traveling from total numbness to wailing with tears and screams in a nano-second. We may even have a treasured memory that unexpectedly pops into our mind resulting in a smile and laughter. I have found it best to not attempt to control or suppress any of it anymore. I don’t care what others may think or how they may react, they are not walking in my shoes.

The newly Bereaved may be fearing the end of this year and the beginning of a new; some fear they are leaving their child behind. I assure you we are not; we carry them with us until our time here is up.

On New Year’s Eve, most will be embracing the New Year by singing: “Auld Lang Syne” which essentially means: “times gone by.”. The poem originally written in 1788 by Robert Burns begins with a question:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne*?

I can assuredly state, they shall not.

We will never forget our Beloved Children. Never!

We carry them with us in our hearts and minds as we continue our journey onward. They are forever a part of us; for Mommas, they are the fruit of our womb. One of the choruses proclaims:

We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.

And we mourn that distance.

Far, yet near, our children shall remain. For those who believe, we will feel their presence from time to time. Perhaps, they will appear in our dreams. Death is only final in the physical, for their spirit lives on.

So as we travel this global map of emotion, embracing each ocean of waves we encounter, let us also seek that stillness and bathe in the Love that we shared with our Children. For nothing, not even death, can ever separate us from that.

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y
Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

I am the author of this piece and using it without my written permission is against copyright law. Registration# TX 8-383-134

Free Book Giveaway-3 Days Left

Please visit this site to submit your entry. Five free books will be given away. It is my way of saying: ‘Thank You’ to the Grief community during this Holiday Season. (((HUGS)))

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/265727-gifts-from-the-ashes

front cover

 

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y
Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.

Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))