I Visited You Today

I knew upon waking today that something felt differently. The eclipse was slowing moving toward me and it was as if a darkness was descending upon my heart, as well. I stepped out onto my upper deck to embrace the eerie silence that was in the air. As I looked down upon the River, I watched as numerous bugs made rings of circles upon the water. It looked like small and scattered rain drops only they remained close to shore.

As the colors began to change and the darkness became more pronounced, some actual rain drops began to fall though there was not a rain cloud in sight. Had the eclipse had some unusual affect on the humid atmosphere in the Valley? The silence engulfed me momentarily. The stillness consumed me. As the eclipse slowly passed, the birds and sounds of insects became more vocal; the brightness of the sun said all is well. The impact of it all affected me more deeply than I had realized.

I soon found my thoughts being flooded with memories of you, my Beloved Son. I felt as I once felt so many years ago. I was in this world but not part of it, a stranger in a foreign land detached somewhat from my immediate surroundings. I was here but I wasn’t here as my thoughts carried me away to a time long ago. I tried to return, but seemed unable to find a pathway to do so. I recalled sharing with others a few days ago that I had sensed a ‘shift’ in the air. I described it as a ‘shift in plates’ similar to what may occur before an earthquake. I still am unable to shake off that ‘silence’…that stillness…as the quiet before a storm.

What it all means I do not know, yet a sense of foreboding remains; a riddle is at play. I am at peace in the stillness of an eye of a storm. Whatever lies upon the Horizon is as red as the rising of the morning sun…a sailor’s warning. It’s time to batten down the hatches. No time nor reason will make sense of any of this. Whether it be an enigma or conundrum I do not know. Yet in the midst of it all, I visited you today.

Luke 8: (NKJV)

17 For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.

(((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)))

Homesick

What a horrible day this has been…absolutely horrible. I was so extremely blessed by some beautiful ‘Gifs’ that were made for my Son, and the tears began to flow. Before I knew it, the tears transformed into sobs. One of those days when I run out of kleenex and have to grab the back-up toilet paper.

I am writing because I simply cannot focus. The ‘Grief Fog’ is so thick that for hours I couldn’t even do my daily posting. Any leftover perfectionism has been burned out of me. Another gal’s article arrived in my email and it described things I sooo identify with like sticking with the same store to shop in so I know where to find things I need to buy. After 18 1/2 years, I still park in the same row in the parking lot so I can at least narrow down my search for my vehicle when I exit the store. I use to write the aisle down, but then I would forget where I wrote it so I chose to simply stick with the same row.

‘Grief Fog’ days are horrendous. Some are more mild than others, but today was one of the worst. There were a couple of times in which I even mixed up what site I was on and who I was responding to in making a comment. I just want to go back to bed and hopefully start all over again tomorrow.

On such days, I become terribly ‘Homesick’. I have so so many waiting for me that have gone ahead… my son, my 4 unborn, my sister, my Mom, hopefully my Dad, a niece, a nephew and over a dozen friends. It will be like going on the best vacation ever, only for Eternity, to go Home. I miss my son…I miss everyone else, too. Yes, my grief is ‘compounded’. I don’t like these days…not at all. No matter how much I try, I can NOT focus. My mind is so preoccupied I don’t even know what I’m thinking about. It’s a tsunami of thoughts and emotions.

Tomorrow I’ll start over; tomorrow things will be different…I Hope.

Perhaps the eclipse caused this…YES!, I’ll blame it on that.

Image result for tsunami photo

(((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)))

Theft in Grief

I am truly hoping that the folks that need to read this…Do.

There is an ongoing problem in the Grief community that needs to be addressed so I will stick my neck out and do so. It’s in regards to theft, plagiarism, and from my perspective a distorted illness. Thankfully, it does not occur very often, but when it does, IT HURTS! 

There are many Grieving Mommas who have found a ‘niche’ for themselves to work through their own personal grieving process and honor their Beloved Child. Some write as I do because we have found it helpful for working through our own grief. I have great difficulty expressing my pain verbally. God led me down this unexpected path as a way for me to express what I cannot otherwise. Some make beautiful ‘Gifs’ for hundreds…truly hundreds…of other grieving parents. They write out beautiful brief expressions and search for the appropriate background and then post them. Others will use the name or picture of our child for the ‘Gifs’. Still others, will pour out their hearts in prose or poetry. Many of us spend endless hours, well into the night, working on such things. Many tears are often shed in the process; we are baring our soul, our heart. It often takes a lot out of us to dig deeply within ourselves to accomplish such tasks. But, it is always worth it in the end.

Then there are the rewards. We sit back afterwards and review what has come forth after much soul-searching, and often discover things we have expressed to be that which we were unaware even existed within. We didn’t know the pain it would cause to surface when we began. But we are grateful that it has been uncovered and revealed. When folks respond with hugs and tears and by making statements of how much what we have labored to do has blessed them, spoken to them, enlightened something that was within themselves…we often shed tears because we then know that we are not alone. We then are reaping the fruit of the harvest. We then feel very blessed that we did not labor in vain and that somehow expressing our pain has blessed another.

Then there are the thieves…Yes, thieves! There are some…not many…but enough that will take our work and copy it. Some will take what one has labored over for hours and simply change the name of our child to theirs…or take our child’s picture and replace it with theirs. Some will take a post or a ‘gif’ and remove the name of the artist and replace it with their own…or with the name of their site. Not only is this thievery, but it’s outright disrespect. What hurts the deepest, however, is feeling as if one more part of our child has been stolen from us. I cannot describe the deep hurt this causes. It’s a wound that reopens other wounds, tearing off any healing scabs that may have had a chance to form. It’s cruel, selfish, and clearly sick behaviour on the behalf of those that would stoop so low to do such things.

When I first began on Facebook in search of support in my desperation, I was one of those folks that didn’t like ‘articles’ and such that were presented. I thought they were doing such things for personal glory and I wanted God to be glorified in all things. I still want Him to be glorified in all things. I had no understanding at that time as to why these people were signing their work. I was blessed by most of what I read to one degree or another, but it still troubled me. I wasn’t envious as some sadly are, I simply lacked the understanding because all of this was so new to me. Then, I began to write an article here and there. Eventually, I found it easier to write things out here on WordPress. I could add pics and write longer articles than what I could simply post. In addition, I could somewhat detach myself a bit personally from the ‘comments’. To those I unwittingly judged through my ignorance, I sincerely apologize and ask your forgiveness. I understand now ‘why’ our work must be signed. It’s not simply because an artist, author, poet, etc., has a ‘right’ to sign their own work…but it’s because of the thieves that exist. My personal work because of my book is copyrighted. Yet, because I do it to give Glory to God’s redemption and to honor my son, I freely share it. Receiving the feedback that it has in some way assisted another on this journey of grief is my humbling reward…and it is truly humbling.

So, this is for the Thieves…CEASE & DESIST!…your sick behaviour!

This is not at all for those who ‘share’. Those that share our work doubly bless us. When you ‘share’, we feel honored and cared about. We know our child is being honored and his/her legacy lives on. We do this because of our child and those that ‘share’ are helping us to keep our child remembered.

It’s the thieves who remove our child’s name, our name, the source of our work that is adding to our grief. They need to be called out and exposed! We can show them the respect and address the matter privately at first, even though we were disrespected. Sometimes, things are simply oversights, too. I recently posted an article, and I take great care to post the name of the source, but because I had been distracted in the process I left off the name. Another grieving Momma asked if I had written it. I was very grateful that she pointed out my clumsy oversight and immediately corrected my err. Days on which we are very busy or lost in our own personal grief fog can cause such things to happen so I like to give the ‘benefit of the doubt’. However, when someone is repeatedly doing such things and a pattern becomes evident, it needs to be confronted.

When I happen across something I recognize as another’s work that was posted elsewhere that does not give the proper and appropriate recognition to the source, I contact the source. I let them know what I found. When I see a post and I know that the person who posted it did not give recognition, I will search for the source and place it in the comments. I don’t do it to embarrass the poster, but rather to acknowledge the labourer. So if ‘Jane’ posts something that I know was written by ‘Martha’, I will simply post: ‘I’m so glad ‘Martha’ wrote this’…or something similar in the comments. Others may not notice it, but I know the ‘poster’ will. I attempt to show Grace and give the poster the benefit of the doubt that it was simply an oversight on their part. In the past, on occasion, I have also contacted a moderator of a site when I have seen a ‘poster’ share something to which they are receiving numerous praising comments as if they themselves wrote it, when they had not. That way, the moderator can then keep a watchful eye for any patterns of the poster.

I reiterate, it hurts and feels as if another part of my son is being taken away from me when such things happen to me. It royally ticks me off when I see it happen to another. I’m not attempting to be the ‘policeman of the internet’ when I do such things. I simply believe that if I happen to run across such violations, God brought it to my attention for a reason therefore I cannot turn a blind eye to it and simply shrug my shoulders and ignore it. As I have stated in the past, I believe Albert Einstein’s statement that: ‘Coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous.’

1 Timothy 5:18

“For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.”

Image result for a laborer is worthy of his hire photo

(((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)))

 

Socializing in Bereavement

Is it even possible? I stayed off of social media today and off of my computer because I felt as if I was in ‘burn-out’. I needed a break. I began to think I was being overwhelmed by the pain and suffering and it was robbing me of something. What…I wasn’t sure. So, I ventured out into the little corner of the society in which I exist. I went to the store and ran some brief necessary errands only to return to my list of things which needed my attention. In the process of these activities, I was invited over to the neighbor’s to visit for the evening. I call this ‘my annual summer outing’.

Conversation metamorphosed from one topic to another, and then I was asked to update my life and its circumstances. My topic was death. LOL! Not the most jovial of those being presented. I freely spoke of the site I operate for bereaved parents. There was an exchange of experiences with those that were facing death through illness or simply old age. It became quickly apparent who wanted to speak of such things, and who wanted to quickly find an excuse to ‘call it a night’. Though I was a participant in the interchange, I also remained an observer as I so often do. Having facilitated numerous groups in the past, perhaps it is simply an ‘occupational hazard’, but it works for me.

Though death is something no one escapes in life, folks for the most part would prefer to ignore its existence. This intrigues me. It was readily evident who feared death and who considered such a topic as ‘negative’. Well, guess what? Death is a reality which no one escapes. One may not want to ‘face it’, but ‘face it’ they shall at some point. I would rather be at peace with it then pretend as if it will never happen to me. Why not talk about it? Why not explore what is inevitable in a conversation amongst others who will also experience it? Why does it have to be perceived as something horrible and that is taboo when all will pass through it?

I found myself desiring to get back on line and be in the company of those who have embraced their worst nightmare…the death of their most beloved child. These are the folks that have stared death squarely in its face. These are the people that have embraced the excruciating pain of grief. These are the people that have declared:

1 Corinthians 15: (KJV)

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

These are my heroes!

One of the most valued gifts I have received after burying my own child is the diminishing of the fear of death. I admit, I retain an apprehension in regards to my own personal ‘dying process’, but death in itself I no longer fear.

Hebrews 2:15

“And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

The fear of death keeps one in bondage. The ramifications of fearing the inevitable are numerous. Decisions and choices are made as a result of such a fear that are often unrecognized. Being freed of such bondage is a gift. Such freedom is often what differentiates the grieving from the non-grieving. It truly is a ‘Gift from the Ashes’.

My love for the Bereaved is renewed and refreshed. The courage of the Bereaved is admirable. I thank God for my grieving friends. Stepping outside of the grieving Community for a day was enlightening. The elderly in the group who are facing the reality of their own demise were more engaged. Those that still entertain an idealism that they are ‘immortal’ would not, could not, engage. I understand both. Yet, I am still grateful that the fear of death no longer keeps me in bondage.

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Image result for freedom of fear photo

(((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)))

 

Grief is Exhausting

Another grieving mom once shared with me: “I was trying to be strong and brave and what I was really doing was just asking for some band aids after I was hit by a bus and dragged down the street for a couple of miles”. These were such wise words that I quoted her in my book. They so aptly describe how I feel, at times. Grief is truly exhausting and simply getting a good night’s sleep from time to time does not relieve the weight of it.

I haven’t felt this weary in some time. I wasn’t even aware of the weariness until I read an article by another who shared a quote by someone long ago whose child had passed on. I thought she was sharing that her own child had just died and was concerned. That was a signal to me that I am not functioning as I should be; it alerted me and raised my awareness that once again I am exhausted.

This past week has been unlike anything I have ever seen before. So many have been senselessly killed or injured. There has been so much hatred, so many lies, and so much deception. Violence has ramped up and I find it to be adding to the weight I already carry in my grief. The anger and the fear seems to be escalating at an alarming rate. When will it end? How will it end? Threats and accusations are without restraint. Some of the verbal attacks have been outright vicious. Very dangerous and manipulative games are being played by opposing factions unashamedly. I once again find myself searching for my security blanket of denial; I long for the comfort of my cave. The stress from it all is draining me of any energy I can muster up. It all acts as triggers to my own grief. How very sad it is that so many more are now suffering. It seems that the entire world is spinning off its axis uncontrollably.

For too long, band-aids have been applied when surgery is necessitated. The world needs the loving hand of the Great Physician. Sadly, however, His care and expertise is rejected.

Time keeps advancing, the world keeps spinning even when it’s spinning out of control. But in my grief, a part of me forever stands still on ‘that day’. It all grinds away on an axis that is locked up. Part of me keeps spinning forward; part of me is standing still on the night the officer announced: “Your son is dead”. I know this tiredness will pass; I know it’s just another phase along this journey. I also know what I need to do; I need to rest. Fighting against the weariness will only add to the exhaustion. It will not magically disappear if I ignore it. I have to embrace it and take the time needed to refresh. Even Jesus grew weary (John 4:6).

Matthew 11: (KJV)

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Weary

(((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)))

 

Humpty Dumpty

Food for Thought

What became known as a horrid, in my opinion, nursery rhyme actually began as a riddle. Obviously, once the riddle was thought to be resolved, the answer to the riddle was depicted. Humpty Dumpty was an egg.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again

There were other versions of this riddle, but this one became the best known and most popular.

What a hopeless sounding nursery rhyme it is. As a child, I perceived it as quite sad. There was no hope for poor little Humpty Dumpty; he was broken beyond repair. Why this became a very popular nursery rhyme for parents to read to their children is beyond my understanding.

As I was attempting to research its origin, I came upon this explanation:

Who was Humpty Dumpty?
Humpty Dumpty was a colloquial term used in 15th century England to describe someone who was fat or obese – giving rise to lots of theories pertaining to the identity of Humpty Dumpty. However, in this case the question should be not Who was Humpty Dumpty but What was Humpty Dumpty? Humpty Dumpty was in fact an unusually large canon which was mounted on the protective wall of “St. Mary’s Wall Church” in Colchester, England. It was intended to protect the Parliamentarian stronghold of Colchester which was in the temporarily in control of the Royalists during the period of English history, described as the English Civil War ( 1642 – 1649). A shot from a Parliamentary canon succeeded in damaging the wall underneath Humpty Dumpty causing the canon to fall to the ground. The Royalists ‘all the King’s men’ attempted to raise Humpty Dumpty on to another part of the wall but even with the help of ‘ all the King’s horses’ failed in their task and Colchester fell to the Parliamentarians after a siege lasting eleven weeks.
(Famous Quotes)

If this be true, good old Humpty was not an egg at all, but rather a fallen canon. As a rhyme developed, Humpty was transformed into an egg.  Canon or egg, the outcome of this rhyme still wreaks of hopelessness. It relays that once broken or fallen, all attempts at repair are fruitless. No matter who comes to help, even if it be the King’s men with all the finest horses, the matter is fruitless. There is clearly no Hope for the broken Humpty Dumpty. “The character (Humpty Dumpty) is also a common literary allusion, particularly to refer to a person in an insecure position, something that would be difficult to reconstruct once broken” (Wikipedia). However, if in fact Humpty was actually a canon, he himself was not broken. It was the wall beneath him that was. This is more like having the rug pulled out from under you.

In the Grief Community, many feel like Humpty. We often feel hopeless and beyond repair. Image result for broken egg photo

But is this true? We know that ‘feelings aren’t always facts’ so are we to believe such feelings? Once again, I must turn my eyes toward God. He is the Creator of all things. If One so magnificent could create all that we see, as well as, all that we don’t see…am I to believe that He is incapable of putting back together ‘me’? Perhaps all the King’s men and horses could not, but God’s word states: PS. 20:

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

Go down to the level of the molecule, then the individual atom, and science will tell you that it is a mystery how atoms and their particles hold together. But they do. (Mel Lawrenz)

If God is capable of holding together the smallest of molecules and atoms, am I out of His reach?

Jeremiah 17:14 (MSG)

    God, pick up the pieces.
    Put me back together again.
    You are my praise!

 

(((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)))

If There’s a Reason, Why Can’t I Handle It?

There are actually two matters to address in this question: ‘Is there a reason?’ and ‘Can I handle it?’.

To address the first, I will say that I am of the opinion that the belief that there is a reason for everything that happens stems from a misinterpretation of a Scripture verse: Eccl. 3:1 says: ‘To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven

This does not say ‘there is a purpose/reason for everything that happens’. That is twisting the words in that verse to say that there is. To me, it says that ‘for every purpose under heaven’…there is a time for it. Huge difference. There may be a ‘purpose’ for my son’s early demise, most of which I will not understand until I also cross over. But to blatantly state that there is a specific purpose is an overreach. I will say that I do personally believe that my son was ‘saved’ from something much worse to come, which is unknown, based on the comfort I have received in IS. 57:

The righteous perishes,
And no man takes it to heart;
Merciful men are taken away,
While no one considers
That the righteous is taken away from evil.
He shall enter into peace;
They shall rest in their beds,
Each one walking in his uprightness.

When my son passed away, I didn’t want any ‘reason’ for no reason would be good enough for me. I wanted my son back.    Period.    I didn’t care what the reason might be or if there was one. The ‘Whys’ did not matter. My son was gone…and no reason would be acceptable. Now it does say in Eccl. 3:2 ‘a time to be born, and a time to die‘. I can accept that. It is consistent with other Scripture that states in Hebrews 9:27a And as it is appointed unto men once to die’. We all have an ‘appointment’ we have to keep. I also believe that God can and will use anything and everything that occurs in our lives somehow for good ‘if’ we turn it all over to Him (Rom. 8:28). But it does not say I will be happy about it here on earth.

With that said, I do believe that God is Sovereign. I wholeheartedly believe that He knew about my son’s early demise long before he was born. I write about the 7+1 signs God gave to me under the Topic: ‘Hindsight’ in my book. Those signs which I did not understand at the time they were given, but never totally forgot rather placed on a back-burner, did bring me comfort after time in knowing that God knew. He was not surprised or caught ‘off-guard’ when my son was killed. I can relate well to Luke 2:19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.’ Nevertheless, I still grieve. I Thes. 4:13b states: ‘that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope.’ It does not say I will not grieve. It does say I will grieve differently from those who have no hope. I thank God beyond words for that Hope.

So to answer the first question, I would say there may be or there may not be a specific reason. If there is, I must trust God that He knows what I do not and that He loves me and loves my son more than I do. I have to trust Him that my son’s demise will somehow, some way, be used by Him for my good no matter how excruciatingly painful it may be in the present. I do believe that all that I suffer now is temporary, and that I will see my son again in Eternity. If there is not a specific reason, if my son died because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and the enemy swooped in opportunistically and robbed me of my child, I still know that God knew it would occur. He still is Sovereign. It does not mean, however, that it was part of His Divine Plan. We are not robots. Freewill must not be discounted. God’s will is that all be saved and redeemed (1 Tim. 2:4). Jesus suffered and died an excruciatingly torturous death to make that possible. Yet, we know that all will not be because of decisions and choices made. We live in a broken fallen world. Bad things do happen to good people, at times.

As for the second question, God does not expect us to handle everything that happens to us. Those expectations usually come from folks that have not buried a child or known intense tragedy. Such a belief is also based on a misinterpretation of a Scripture: 1 Cor. 10:13 which is addressing temptations in which we have a choice, not tragedies in which we do not. Jesus cried out in the Garden of Gethsemane: “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Mt. 26:38). He was essentially telling the Father: ‘I CAN’T HANDLE THIS!!’. He needed His Father to get Him through the torment He was about to endure. We are not expected to handle tragedy without God’s help. God is mindful that we are ‘but dust’ (PS. 103:14). Jesus endured ‘for the joy set before Him’ (Heb. 12:2). He had to keep His eyes focused on eternity, not on the pain and suffering. We can not handle it, but God can. He will not forsake us in our darkest hour (Heb. 13:5). Nothing, not even death, can separate us from His love (Rom. 8:38). He will handle what we can not; He will sustain us (PS. 55:22; IS. 46:4). Such horrific times are not the times to abandon our Faith; they are times to dig deeper and grow in our Faith. Image result for dig deeper photo

(((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)))