The Paralysis of Analysis

Those who have read my Book: ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ already know of some of the tragedies that occurred in my life in the early 80’s. Over a two-three year period: my adopted son was raped at age twelve by a caretaker; my brother-in-law who was only six when I first met him had driven out to Death Valley at age nineteen and blew his head off with a shotgun; my then husband began to confess a multitude of infidelities which I coined: ‘True Confessions’. These three combined nearly destroyed all Faith I had in God; they had nearly destroyed me. It all had sent me spiraling downward into a very dark pit of despair. Upon going to a counselor for the first time as a result, she gave me a packet with what seemed like endless pages of questions to answer to give her a better understanding in her evaluation of me. After this evaluation was completed, I went to see her for a follow-up appointment. Normally in our visits, she would sit in a chair across from me and we would converse. This appointment was different, however. I sat down on the small two-seated couch as I normally did, but this time she came and sat down next to me. As she began to relay to me the outcome of those answered questions and the conclusive evaluation, her eyes began to tear up. She told me she had been in ‘the business’ for a couple of decades and had many clients who had gone through this same process of filling out all of these papers and answering all the same questions. The conclusion of mine was unique. She informed me that in all her years of practice, she had never had a client that was ‘so far off the charts’ in despair. I had gone far beyond ‘depression’; I had surpassed ‘despair’. The topper was that I thought that all I was feeling, or not feeling, was ‘normal’. This began a long desperate search on my part for answers.

I began to attend eight meetings a week, two on Sunday, in an attempt to reevaluate everything I believed in. Up to this point, I was a stay-at-home Mom raising four little boys; I made up to three hundred calls a day to businesses in order to ‘open the door’ for my husband and make appointments for him to sell his service business; I would also have a brief Bible-study with other gals daily mostly by phone. My ex had been a Pastor of a small non-denominational church and though he had essentially ‘retired’ from that position, there were still many women that I remained in contact with as having been a Pastor’s wife. In addition, I was attending college classes. I drank fourteen cups of coffee daily to keep up with things. I was a ‘good Christian girl’ and believed I was doing the right thing in meeting all these demands.

Of the many meetings I was attending, most were in 12-Step programs or at least affiliated loosely because many members in those not officially so designated were also ’12-steppers’. I had believed before these three tragedies occurred, that if I was a good Christian, bad things would not happen to me and my family. I held on to select  promises in the Scriptures and fully embraced them, completely trusting God based on my understanding of my ‘cherry-picking’ way in which I approached God’s Word. Suddenly, all that had been shaken…down to the very core. Doubts flooded my soul; questions upon questions presented themselves…and I wanted answers. How could such bad things happen to someone like me who had been so ‘good’?

One Sunday, as I was driving home from one of my meetings, it was as if the sky had opened up. I was driving probably 70 MPH on the freeway when I momentarily looked up at the sky and literally saw the clouds parting. It was then that I heard that ‘small still voice’ spoken into my heart. God told me that He had not done these things, but that He was there for me and would get me through them. Suddenly, I was then back behind the wheel driving home on the freeway. I know many today do not believe in visions nor believe that God interacts with us in such a personal and direct manner. But, He does. He is truly the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has sent us forth into this fallen world as His ambassadors. Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, and told us that once the Holy Spirit fell upon us we would do even greater works than those.

I have spent the past seven+ years in the wilderness, literally, for a good part of this time. I have had to work though a number of things with my Lord; I have fought often against the goads. That Sunday is when my questions were answered. That Sunday my foundation which was in shambles began to be rebuilt. I then understood that we live in a very fallen world. I learned that although God is Sovereign, He will not always intervene in man’s lives and choices because to do so would violate the gift of freewill which God gave unto all of us. I learned that although well-intended, my Faith had been based more on my good works than on the Goodness of God.

When my son was killed in ’99, my Faith was now well-established; my foundation could no longer be shaken. It had now been built by God, not me. It stood on a Rock…The Rock. I still struggled with times of anger; trust did become a great issue, but not an insurmountable one. I had learned to listen for that ‘still small voice’. I had learned to not read the scriptures as a textbook in which I was studying for some sort of exam that I needed to pass. I learned that my Faith is rooted in a relationship with my Creator, a very living and powerful God Who is my Saviour, my Lord, my King. I no longer had to succumb to the ‘paralysis of analysis’. I had to learn to tell my soul to ‘be quiet’ as King David did.

None of this dissolves the excruciating pain of my grief nor diminishes the ‘missing’ of my son’s physical presence in this world. What it has done, however, is allow me to grieve with Hope…and that Hope makes all the difference in my grief. I don’t simply ‘believe’ that I will see my son again; I KNOW I will see my son again. He is in God’s Kingdom now, and Jesus made it clear that His Kingdom is not of this world. I thank God it is not. I thank God that I belong to His Kingdom. I thank God that this place is not my Home and that I am only passing through for a season. I will be here for as long as He chooses, and will go Home when it is His time for me to do so.

1 Thessalonians 4: (NIV)

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: Xulon PressAmazon, Barnes & Noble and DeeperShopping. Additional international retailers: http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/biography/gifts-from-the-ashes,jude-gibbs-9781498496728 http://www.upliftvstore.com/product.asp?sku=9781498496728   Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

Also, see a more complete list at: http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

Childhood Emotional Abuse

Childhood Emotional Abuse

by Jude Gibbs     Friday, 16th June 2017

Normally, I write articles in regards to the Grief I live with daily because of my son’s demise. Childhood Emotional Abuse is a different type of grief, but grief nevertheless. Quite honestly, I don’t know where to begin. Should I tell you about getting the belt swung across the back of my legs? No, that would fall more under the category of physical abuse, though it harmed me emotionally, as well. Perhaps, I should speak of the times I watched my brother being thrown up against the wall because he was unable to spell a word correctly. That most definitely caused me emotional abuse. It left me with feelings of unfounded guilt. However, for the sake of brevity, I will speak of two that caused me the most long term harm.

My dad was a LT. Detective, as well as, a teacher. He was a brilliant man who accomplished much in his careers. As a teacher, he taught eighteen subjects and his students highly praised him, even as adults. As an officer, he was a hero. His picture once covered two-thirds of the front page of a newspaper in a major city. He had walked down into the middle of some riots that were taking place, unarmed, and simply began speaking with folks. He essentially put an end to all the chaos and violence. In doing so, he was widely honored, as a result. However, because of his profession, he was extremely over-protective of me to my detriment. I never learned to establish my own healthy boundaries; I never learned to defend myself. There was never a need to do so because he was always there to establish such things on my behalf. The ramifications, however, left me vulnerable as I matured.

The most damaging began when I was ten years old. One day, I awoke and walked out into our living room to discover that all the furniture was gone. I soon learned that my Mom and three siblings were also gone. In the midst of this new void and emptiness in my life, as well as, in my home…there was a note. It had been written by my dad informing me that they had all moved out, he was at work, but he’d call me later. Apparently, I somehow slept through all of the ‘moving’. No one had prepared me in any way for any of this. I was never told the reason ‘why’; I only assumed they felt it to be unnecessary or not beneficial because of my young age. This was how I learned that my parents had divorced; my mom took with her my three siblings from her previous marriage; my dad had obtained custody of me in the negotiations.

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I, for the most part, was now on my own. My dad was rarely around because he was working his two full-time positions. Often, two-three days would pass before I saw him. I did visit with my Mom on the weekends, but during the week it was just me in this three-bedroom typical suburban house…which was no longer a home. I got myself up in the morning, made breakfast some days, and walked to the bus stop to catch the school bus. However, there were some days when the weather was nice that I would not take the bus home. Instead, I would walk the five miles alone. I knew I’d be going to an empty house so I wasn’t in any hurry. I spoke of this to no one. I had been warned not to by my dad. He told me if folks found out that I was in the house alone, ‘someone’ would come and take me away from him. He definitely made that option sound like it would be something I definitely did not want to occur. So, I had only one other option: to raise myself. I was forced to be ‘the adult’ in my life at age ten. Once, I had a kitchen grease fire when I was attempting to cook up some bacon. Though quite frightened, I did handle it myself by throwing the pan down onto the linoleum kitchen floor that left quite a large burn mark in the center of the room.

Living like this, and being told I must not speak of it, caused me to withdraw from my friends. Secrets cause isolation. However, this only compounded my ‘aloneness’. It opened a door into a world of ‘silence’ in which I would abide for decades.

I will be sixty-four this year. After two failed marriages and raising six children, I am once again alone. It’s as if my life has come full-circle. It is not my preference for sure. Yet, in some odd way my early life prepared me for the latter. I’m still sad that this was the way my life was orchestrated by my parents when I was such a young child. As much as I would prefer to not be alone, I am also grateful that I’m not afraid to be alone. The good that came from all of it is that I learned to be very responsible at a very young age. However, I do find it sad that my childhood ended at age ten. I, however, had no say or choice in the matter. I learned at a young age to pray and depend on my God. He became my best Friend, and for that I am now grateful.

Rarely, do I ever think of those younger days and even less often do I ever speak of them. Such things were not really considered ‘abuse’ at that time in History. Neglect, yes…but not abuse. But it was…and thinking about those days still brings tears to my eyes. It was a different world, a different time. Few of my peers had divorced parents so few understood. I was ostracized by many and most parents would not allow their children to befriend a child of a divorced family. The stigma that existed brought me great shame, so I learned to keep my head down.

I have chosen to allow God to redeem such things in my life. I choose to dwell on the strengths that developed within me as a result. It made me more resilient. It developed in me a quick response in an emergency situation since it was necessary to have one. After all, there was no one else to turn to for assistance. I developed the ability to be independent, looking only to God for my help. People’s negative opinions of me, though hurt deeply when first encountered, I quickly bounce back from… so they do not have power over me. Obviously, I would not have chosen this childhood abuse as my preferred teaching tool. I am glad to know, though, that good can come from bad. It has fostered a Hope deep within that something good can come from even the worst circumstances. It rooted a Faith in things not yet seen.

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author
of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:

Barnes & Noble and
DeeperShopping.
Additional international retailers: http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/biography/gifts-from-the-ashes,jude-gibbs-9781498496728
http://www.upliftvstore.com/product.asp?sku=9781498496728   
Also, see a more complete list at: http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y
Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/
Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

Grieving Mom to NON-Grieving Mom

No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear. - C. S. Lewis

When my boys were little, we had a Motor-Home that we frequently took trips in. Even if we could only get away for a weekend, it was good family time to simply drive less than an hour to a camping ground. One time, we took a week to enjoy a longer vacation time together. Friends lived about twelve hours away so we went to visit with them. Once we had arrived in their city, we needed to stop at a local store and pick up some basic supplies.

My youngest son was less than one year old, the next just under three, the eldest less than five. I decided to stay in the Motor-Home because the baby was sleeping and I knew he might wake up now that we had stopped driving. The ‘just under three’ son wanted to go into the store. He was always the inquisitive one.

It wasn’t long before my then husband came running out to the camper looking quite frightened and frantic. He started yelling as he approached us: “I can’t find Roddy!!!”.

Dear Non-Grieving Mom, has that ever happened to you? Have you ever been in a store, at a park, in a crowded area filled with strangers and turned around to suddenly realize that your child has disappeared? Do you know the feeling of panic that ensues? Are you familiar with that terror? That ‘aloneness’? That horror? The utter confusion that envelops you? The trepidation that is felt in every fiber of your body? That momentary feeling that your heart simply forgot its next beat? The initial denial that is suddenly transformed into terrifying anguish?

I yelled at my husband to ‘watch the boys’ and ran as fast as I could into that store. I started yelling immediately as I went through those doors: “RODDY!  RODDY! RODDY!”. I went from one end of the store to the other, and it was a large store like a Walmart. In-between yelling for my son, I would periodically implore a passer-by: “Have you seen a little boy…he has blonde hair…he’s little????”. 

Please, Non-Grieving Mom, if possible…just for a moment…walk in my shoes if you can. If you can relate to this, then imagine it continuing on for hours, days, weeks, months, years…. Imagine being forever lost in this endless torment of crying out with every fiber of your being for your child that has disappeared. If you are able to relate to this for even a moment, you have for this moment, tried on my shoes.

Some kind elderly gentleman heard my pleas and located my inquisitive little boy that day. My son was checking out something that caught his eye which for the moment fascinated him. I use to call him my ‘space cadet’ because once something of interest grabbed his attention, 100% of his focus became absorbed in that object. His quest for knowledge was insatiable. All worked out well on that day, except for my anger toward my irresponsible mate.

My son, my space-cadet, is dead now. I still, after all these years, sometimes look for him in once familiar places. That ‘moment’ of terror I can still taste, and it is anything but pleasant. There are still days when my heart is in my throat and I cry out: “RODDY, RODDY, RODDY!!!”. I know where he is; I know I will see him again; I know we will find one another. But until that time comes, I will have those moments of tormenting panic.

That is the best I can do to attempt to help you understand what I live with, and who I now am.

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: Xulon PressAmazon, Barnes & Noble and DeeperShopping. Additional international retailers: http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/biography/gifts-from-the-ashes,jude-gibbs-9781498496728 http://www.upliftvstore.com/product.asp?sku=9781498496728   Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

Also, see a more complete list at: http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

 

 

“All the world’s a stage”

All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

(William Shakespeare’s As You Like It)

“The word “hypocrite” is an interesting word. Literally and historically it refers to “play actors;” that is, actors on a stage who changed masks to become different people. When the word is brought into the religious realm, as Jesus uses it, it becomes a negative word. When we put on masks—pretend to be people we are not—we are hypocrites.” (Tautges)

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Those of us who have lived in a world of grief are often the ‘Great Pretenders’. We are not ‘hypocrites’ in the negative sense; we are ‘play actors’. We don’t feel ‘safe’ being ‘real’, being who we are. We feel the need to hide, mostly because of reactions we have received from others when we dared to be honest and straightforward with how we really feel. There are days I take on an ‘attitude’. Yes, I’m human, too. I don’t want to deal with any ‘crap’. I don’t feel like smiling. I don’t want to put on the mask. …And those days ain’t pretty. I don’t have the energy to dance the dance. Instead, I cut through the mustard ruthlessly and relentlessly without blinking an eyelash. There are days when I see a spider and “EEK!”. Other days, I take my hand and smack the living daylight out of it. I actually prefer the latter, but it is unacceptable to those around me…it’s messy.

I have a friend I met over a year ago on a grief site which removed us both for completely opposing reasons. I was removed for sharing Scripture; she was removed for her bluntness and choice of vocabulary. Whereas others perceived me as a ‘religious fanatic’, she was perceived as a wild crazy woman. For whatever reason, we seemed to take an immediate liking toward one another and have remained friends. Both of us are straightforward, but we choose different venues. Yet, we both where masks periodically. We know that many cannot handle the real ‘me’ we have inside of us. There are days when I know I am surrounded by others all wearing masks, and having a person in my life who is willing to bear face it is refreshing; it’s a stabilizer when my ship is out on a very choppy sea.

Next month will be the 24th anniversary of when the man I was married to for 24 years put a knife to my throat. Thankfully, my eldest (16 at the time) ran in and saved my life. After the ex was then permanently out of the house, myself and four children were strapped financially. Myself and the three teenage boys all went to work…and we worked hard. We were determined to survive because our lives centered around my little girl who was only three at the time. She was our motivator; if not for ourselves, for her we had to survive. She became the center of our universe. In addition to working 60-70 hours a week, I knocked on doors for whatever assistance we could get. A kind woman took up a donation for Christmas gifts for our family. One day, she turned to me as we were standing in my house chatting, and leaned into me to whisper: “Don’t tell anyone that you’re in need”. Shhh! It’s a secret. I didn’t understand ‘why’. Later, I did. Folks have ‘clicks’. One is either ‘one of them’, or they are an outsider. If you happen to be an outsider, you are often treated as ‘less than’; and by some, disdained.

I love Jesus for many reasons. Mainly because He first loved me and chose to willingly suffer and die for me. In addition, I like Him. I look at who He befriended and how He lived while on this earth as the Son of Man. He never wore any masks. He called it as He saw it every time. He was gentle and kind, yet bold and forthright. He was impeccable in the balance. He did not hesitate to confront the religious leaders of His day and boldly called them: “Hypocrites!”. He ate and drank wine with prostitutes, tax collectors, and everyday fishermen. He put on airs for no one. He reached out to the despised and rejected lepers. He healed the lame, blind, and deaf. He even raised his friend from the grave. Fearless and bold, gentle and compassionate. Yes, Jesus is my Hero in more ways than one. I’m not like Him, but I want to be. I can’t be like Him through my own strength, but I can permit Him to be Him through me. Because He is Who He is, they crucified Him.

Isaiah 53: (KJV)

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

He warned us upfront that if we choose to be like Him, we will be hated as He was hated (MT. 10:22; John 15:18). Yet, when we are, He calls us Blessed (Lk. 6:22). It doesn’t ‘feel’ that way, though. So, we resort to putting on our masks. We desire man’s acceptance over man’s rejections. We want to ‘fit in’, rather than ‘fit out’. We fear man more than we fear God.

I, for one, have chosen to take off the masks…most days. As a result, I have made myself a target of sorts. But I’m learning to find my comfort zone in it. I’m learning that the more I am attacked for not wearing my mask, the more I take comfort in the One Who went before me. I am learning to draw on His strength. I am letting Him fight more of my battles. I am finding that when someone ‘takes on’ me, they are taking on my God. Not because of who I am, but because of Who He is. I will not place my trust in man.

Psalm 20: (KJV)

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.

So, I will make a point of taking off my selection of masks that others prefer before I enter Shakespeare’s final stage. I freely give them all away to anyone who wants them.  If I need to cry, I shall; if I need to yell and wail in my grief, I will. Yes, I will pray for Wisdom when I do; I won’t intentionally offend. At the same time, I won’t pussyfoot around when it comes to honesty and Truth. However, I will attempt to do so in Love (Eph. 4:15), for the Truth does set one free (John 8:32).

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: Xulon PressAmazon, Barnes & Noble and DeeperShopping. Additional international retailers: http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/biography/gifts-from-the-ashes,jude-gibbs-9781498496728 http://www.upliftvstore.com/product.asp?sku=9781498496728   Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

Also, see a more complete list at: http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

 

Grief is NOT Contagious

When a tragedy first strikes, and we feel as if we have just been run over by a Mack Truck, many often gather to our side to support us. They drop off ‘gifts’, send flowers and cards, cook us meals, let us know how sorry they are that such a thing has occurred, and attempt to console us with words which are sometimes helpful…sometimes not so much. Whatever manner they choose, they are there for us. We are completely dazed and in shock. We feel as if we are floating in an episode of The Twilight Zone. Often, we are led around by others as they tell us where to stand, when and where to sit, etc. We have to be reminded to eat. We become the Walking-Dead…the Zombies. Thoughts are shooting so rapidly through our brains that we feel as if our minds have gone blank and that we are incapable of thinking at all; it becomes nearly impossible to focus on anything.

However, usually around three to six months after our child has passed on, others gradually are returning to their own lives. At about six to nine months, when our initial blanket of denial is whisked away and the harsh reality begins to make its existence evident, we often find ourselves alone… for the most part. At such a time, it is quite common to feel as if we are going to lose our mind; that the guys in the white coats with straight-jackets in hand will come knocking any day to take us to the ‘funny farm’. We begin to notice the absence of friends, and even family. We feel as if we have come down with the Bubonic Plague the way in which some begin to avoid us. This only adds to our grief, and doubts of our own sanity.

This is normal!

Yes, you heard me correctly…this is normal. It is part of what has been coined the ‘New Normal’. We are learning to walk again with a severed heart. We appear ‘different’ to others, and even to ourselves. Why? Because we are different. But, here’s the thing, we’re not ill…we are grieving. In addition, we are NOT contagious! Though we certainly begin to feel as if we are, based upon our observations of avoidance by others.

When my adopted son was raped at twelve years old, I was in a state of shock somewhat similar to the shock I felt when my son died. Only, there was no funeral, no gifts, meals, condolences. No one gathered around me and asked if there was anything they could do to help. I mentioned it to few, except for those I pursued for justice. One day, however, while at my children’s school I, for whatever reason, spoke of it to another Mother. Within a few days I was called in on the red carpet (literally) and told by the Vice-Principal that I mustn’t speak of this again at the school because it was upsetting to some of the other mothers; they couldn’t handle it. I was stunned. The only thought that ran through my mind was that they can’t handle hearing about it, but I’m living it

Folks don’t like their boat to be rocked. They prefer to live in a little bubble filled with ‘happy faces’. After all, they have their own problems. The dog peed on the rug; the coffeemaker wouldn’t work this morning; they got a flat tire; the mail arrived late. Yes, everyone has problems. As a matter of fact, after my son died and I had to return to work, my boss turned to me one day and stated: ‘Everyone has problems’.

EXCUSE ME!!!

Burying a child is not a ‘problem’. It’s not even close. Burying a child is an extremely excruciating and anguish filled traumatic tragedy! The reality of such an event may frighten you, but could you all that have been so fortunate to not have had to walk this journey please not treat us who grieve like we have a contagious disease? It only adds to our sorrow; it makes our burden heavier. Avoidance is not support; it’s unkind. It causes additional wounding. I promise you as one who values integrity that you will not catch something by being around me. My child dying is not going to cause your child to die. What has happened to me is not

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It’s not even mildly contagious. Our world has been turned upside down and inside out. We need ‘normality’ around us. It helps ground us when we are feeling like a lose live wire. No, you can’t fix us. No, there really aren’t any words to speak that will make us ‘feel’ better. We may be terminally ill with grief, nevertheless, we won’t make you ill, too. You can hold our hand, give us a hug, allow us to cry on your shoulder…but you still won’t be infected with what we have. Please don’t allow your love to wax cold toward us. We do need you. We do appreciate your presence. We have lost our greatest treasure; please do not add to our loss. One day, when we have regained some strength, we will be able to express our gratitude. We will never forget those who ‘stayed’.

(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: Xulon PressAmazon, Barnes & Noble and DeeperShopping. Additional international retailers: http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/biography/gifts-from-the-ashes,jude-gibbs-9781498496728 http://www.upliftvstore.com/product.asp?sku=9781498496728   Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

Also, see a more complete list at: http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

The NOT-Newly Bereaved

Earlier this evening, a gal asked some questions for a group discussion she will be taking part of this week. It stopped me in my tracks momentarily because, quite honestly, I’ve never been asked such questions. Those of us that have traveled this journey for some years are ‘expected’ to have ‘gotten over it’ by now. In the world of psychology, if your grief has continued on past one or two years, they consider it ‘compounded’ or ‘dysfunctional’ grief. They speak of things in which they have no true knowledge.

Nope. It’s plain and simple grief…and all grief is complicated.

We do move forward on this journey and it does change over time, as most things do. However, IT STILL HURTS! No one outside of grief groups asks me about my son. Or, if it’s the first time they learn that I have a son that died, they ask how long ago. Once I inform them that it was eighteen years ago, they immediately ‘move on’ in the conversation sort of with the unspoken words of: ‘Oh, well if it was that long ago it’s not important’.

Nope. It’s still important to me.

The same gal asked: “What do people need to know in order to help/support the NOT-newly bereaved?” At first, my mind went completely blank. I was taken back by the question because I don’t recall ever being asked this before, at least not in this manner. What do I need in the form of help/support? I honestly didn’t know how to respond. When my brain began to slowly kick back into gear, I told her this:

I’ve been on this road 18+ yrs., longer if you include my 4 pregnancy losses, the 1st 48 yrs. ago. I want folks to know I STILL HURT!!! I still miss my babies…all of them…who they may have been, could have been. I’m older, getting closer to seeing them soon. But I have noticed something new taking place. The ‘missing’ of them is being replaced with an intense ‘longing’ for them the closer I get to seeing them again. The feeling is similar, but different. IDK that one is worse than the other..but different.”

She then proceeded to ask three more questions: “If you were to have the chance to “teach” someone how to support you, what would you say?
Would you want them to ask you occasionally how you’re doing in regards to missing your loved ones?
Or would you want them to notice when you are mentioning them, and be intentional to ask questions and let you talk/share about them?

To which I responded:

Hmmm..lots to answer here…1- I would want them to validate my grief…not minimize, not ‘diss’, not making me feel as if I ‘SHOULD’ be feeling other than I do. Simply ‘accept’ what is and be a friend. 2- Yes, I would love for someone to ask…to know that they care…to know that they acknowledge the existence of my children. 3- Yes.

Those of us who are ‘not-newly bereaved’ get lost in the weeds. We have lived with the heartache daily for so long that we become ‘accustomed’ to it in variant degrees. However, we never forget. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of my son. I still have pictures of him hanging on the wall as I do of all my children. He is still my son. He still exists. His time in this world still matters. His life still affects every member of my immediate family. He’s still my other children’s brother. His legacy lives on. I still can picture him smiling in a multitude of settings. I have no desire to have those memories erased or rearranged by some EMDR Therapy or any other. I neither want nor seek a ‘cure’. I love my son. Why would I want to forget him or permit some hocus-pocus to rearrange the way I remember him? Often, with great Love comes great sorrow. I don’t want to pop a pill so that I can’t ‘feel’. I prefer to embrace the pain.

I will add what I have often told others who are newly-bereaved and fear that they will never be able to come up for air. The moments of excruciating pain occur less often over time; the duration of those moments shortens; however, the intensity of the pain remains constant. So, overall, it does get easier. We eventually do laugh again, though we are often hit with some unfounded guilt when we first do. We do move forward with our lives and learn to ‘function’ again and be productive. We go on to build new relationships even though we may have to establish some boundaries in which we ‘pull the weeds to make room for the beautiful flowers’. We don’t leave our deceased children behind; we carry them forward with us. Some may have hardened their hearts with bitterness to block the pain, but those who have made such choices will hit a brick wall at some point and will have to eventually embrace the pain. Escapism which can take many forms on the spectrum from the negatives of sex, drink, drugs, etc., are a downward spiral. In the positive form of working longer hours or becoming enmeshed in ‘good works’ are obviously healthier choices, but can still be escapism. One way or another, we have to walk through this grieving process tunnel. As my readers know well, I have found my only Hope in Jesus the Christ, the Resurrected One. Because of Him, I know I will see my children again. Without that Hope, I would not still be here.

My heart, and I believe the hearts of most that are ‘not-newly bereaved’, often break for those who are just beginning this journey. We have traveled the many twists and turns, peeling through the multiple layers of the onion skins, and do know some of the pitfalls. There are days I simply cannot read the great sorrow of the newbies. It opens up Pandora’s Box for me and there are simply times I lack the strength to go there. It’s not that I don’t care, quite the contrary. I care too much. I know there’s no ‘fixes’. All I have to offer is the Hope and comfort I have been given and what has brought me peace. I can help you carry your burden momentarily, but I can’t carry it for you. No one can but God. He’s the only One Who truly understands grief and also has the strength to carry it.

So, for us ‘NOT-newly Bereaved’, we simply request acknowledgement. We still fight battles, perhaps lost a few along the way, but we have won the war. We’re still here; we have survived.

…And you shall, too.

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: Xulon PressAmazon, Barnes & Noble and DeeperShopping. Additional international retailers: http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/biography/gifts-from-the-ashes,jude-gibbs-9781498496728 http://www.upliftvstore.com/product.asp?sku=9781498496728   Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/ Also, see a more complete list at: http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))

 

 

Grief’s Coast

I have an array of emotion which I need to get out so I, perhaps, may be granted some peace today. Yesterday, I was once again attacked by another grieving Mom who was upset that I posted an update on the distributors of my Book. She complained, and as a result I was contacted very graciously by a Moderator. I’m only going to say these things once, and then I will forever hold my silence. I am only at peace in doing so because Paul once felt that he, too, had to speak of such things in 2 Corinthians 11.

I am perplexed by it all. Others post articles by Authors which clearly list books they have written, yet those are not objected to by others. I was up all night…again…and at 5:47AM another Vilomah PM’d me and said to call her, which I did. We spoke, I vented, for 2 1/2 hours. (TY!! my dear friend). I have a lot on my plate and many painful issues that folks know nothing about. I must say I am quite weary of being judged, especially by other grieving Moms with whom I have often not even spoken with…ever. Last night, another gal posted this and I, with sadness, had to admit it was exactly how I was feeling:

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I don’t want to feel such regrets; I don’t like feeling such regrets. So, for a moment I will vent and partake in what Paul referred to as his ‘folly’. He saw a need to do so, and I also see that need. I simply do not understand how it is in this world of pain we find ourselves in, that some simply cannot, or refuse to, be happy even a little for another when something good happens in their life. I don’t know ‘who’ folks think I am, but if their opinion is based on gossip and rumors, it is straight out of the pit. If you want to know something about me, all anyone has to do is PM me and ask. My life is an ‘open book’ as anyone who has read my Book can now attest to. Though, there is much more that I haven’t yet revealed about the abuse and grief I have encountered on my journey. I wrote my Book out of an act of obedience to my Lord. It was a big step of Faith for me financially because my income is below the poverty line and I may be having my house foreclosed on next year. I am soon to be 64, am crippled, and alone. I live under the constant threat of a man who put a knife to my throat, told my eldest if he ever had the opportunity again to kill me…he would, and I’ve had to set up ’emergency signals’ with neighbors to immediately call 911 when sounded. So, yes, my profile says ‘he’ and I will not change that for those who demanded it of me and kicked me off their site because I would not. You all have no idea what risks I have taken in even writing my Book. You’ll just have to believe me when I say I have neither desire nor motivation for ‘fame & fortune’ at this phase in my life. My only desire is to go Home peacefully… to my Lord, my son, my 4 babies who never saw the light of day, my Mom, etc. I pray for these things unceasingly. For those who think otherwise, please just go away…leave me alone. I do not need the additional pain of rejection and judgement that you lay on me in your attacks.

For over a year, I have spent numerous nights up all night working on sites, often neglecting to even eat for over a day at a time. I have attempted to break through the lies, warn the vulnerable of the wolves, repair sites that were sabotaged when I am not at all ‘tech savvy’, and have spent months in writing articles, the Book, and commenting because my heart broke for the pain that so many, especially the young ones, were suffering. I profit from none of this monetarily. I cannot tell you the endless tears I have cried for the wounded, the prayers I have prayed. I am mostly bedridden because of the physical pain, and I’m not very good at ‘chatting’. God gave me this release in my writings after bottling things up for nearly 18 years in regards to my son, and decades in regards to the abuse. I became determined to ‘break the silence’, be an advocate for the abused, and hopefully educate the ‘outside world of grief’ on what it’s really like for us who travel this journey.

I will continue to write as long as I feel led to do so. I have no interest in winning any popularity contests. There will come a day when I will simply disappear. I’m not good at saying ‘good-byes’, so I won’t. When that day comes, please know that I have loved you all greatly and most importantly, I cared…and will continue to do so even after I’m gone. But for now, I will write. I will be there whenever possible for those who need a shoulder; and for those who have been a shoulder to me and have extended kindness toward me, I cannot find the words to express the depth of my undying gratitude.

As for those who have ‘issues’ with the fact that I felt a need to write a book, to give God Glory, to publish my son’s poems he left behind…deal with it. I am so wearied by your grumbling and complaints. Some have told me it’s envy, others have simply called it ‘meanness’, and others have called it anger and bitterness that is coming through in their own grief. I don’t wish to know the ‘why’. I just pray it will stop. IT HURTS! I do not feel at home in this world any longer. For the sites on which I do not feel welcomed because of the manner in which I express myself, I once again am consoled by the Word of God:

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Matthew 10: (VOICE)

12 When you enter this home, greet the household kindly. 13 And if the home is indeed trustworthy, let your blessing of peace rest upon it; if not, keep your blessing to yourself. 14 If someone is inhospitable to you or refuses to listen to your testimony, leave that house or town and shake the dust from your feet.

I will continue to coast on all the valleys and hills of this grief Journey until the day I am called Home to rest upon the coast of the River Jordan. Until such a time, as the Lord wills it, I will continue on with what He has called me to do…to reach out to the brokenhearted and offer them His Hope, His Peace, His comfort and promises from His Word. I do understand that those who reject what God freely offers them is between them and Him. I do not take such things personally. As for those who reject me personally, I will obey my Lord’s instructions in Mt. 10:12-14…for I, too, desire to be at peace. I won’t address this again. I will simply turn away and shake the dust off my feet.

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(((HUGS)))  Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: Xulon PressAmazon, Barnes & Noble and DeeperShopping. Additional international retailers: http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/biography/gifts-from-the-ashes,jude-gibbs-9781498496728 http://www.upliftvstore.com/product.asp?sku=9781498496728   Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/

Also, see a more complete list at: http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))