Thursday, November 16, 2017

The answer to problems

Just a few of my favorite miracles in my life.
I love when they all pile into my bed in the morning and giggle about anything silly.
*Bonus points for finding where I’m hiding! ;)

The name of this blog is “Moments and Miracles.” When I first began blogging as a way of updating our friends and family about Tony’s health, I didn’t want this space to be full of sorrow and emptiness. While those emotions have a place and purpose here as this is real life and life is full with true raw emotion, I wanted to share with those I love all the moments in this journey where I have seen miracles. Over the past couple of years, I hope that you all have noticed all these beautiful blessings that have been added to life despite such a terrible loss.

I miss Tony so, so much. This past year took me on a journey in discovering a lot about myself, as I’ve been able to let my grief rush into and take residence in my heart. At first this nasty grief had a strong grip on me, making me a puppet in its awful show. It hurt. A lot. Every single moment of every day. I struggled with wondering why this happened to my little family and myself. Had I not been faithful enough? Should I had prayed with more intent? Was I not selfless enough in caring for Tony? What did I do wrong?

Those questions tore me apart on some lonely nights as I sobbed into my pillow. I didn’t get anywhere while focusing on them, they just added even more pain to my sorrow. Then I had a quiet realization that I was asking all the wrong questions instead of the one right question:

Why not me?

Why shouldn’t this had happened to us? What was so special about Tony and my family that we should have been exempt from deep heartache and moments of despair? I had been looking at the situation in the wrong light. Who was I to think I was above this suffering?

As soon as I acknowledged that I do not “deserve” anything, I started to see all these miracles and moments I was blessed with. Instead of looking at my life as a list of “have nots,” the list of all the glorious beauty my family has seen kept growing longer and longer. The real sense of gratitude came from knowing and feeling that God loves me and that He has provided a Savior so that I can be beautiful and glorified like Him one day. 

That is it. We don’t need to cling to endless lists of “I’m thankful for....” (although they are great and have their place) but rather need to see how blessed we are to be sons and daughters of God. And to know that is enough for us to feel deep gratitude. We need to know and feel this so that if everything we loved and held dear was taken from our lives, could we still find that foundation to be thankful?
And if we truly learn humility, what problem can stand in our way?

Humility will grow the best beauty in our hearts and souls. We will learn to love others in a deeper level. We will want to connect more intimately so that we may share in each others burdens. We will learn to be more patient, less quick to judge, and more accepting of others. Ultimately we will feel burning in our hearts pure compassion for everyone around us. Humility can answer whatever problems we all face in our individual lives, even the loss of those we love so dearly. I know that because God loves my family that we will be made whole again. And in the meantime, God has and will continue to bless us all as we keep moving forward and changing so that we can learn to truly love those around us. And that is the most beautiful miracle of all.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Take a piece of my heart

Happy Halloween!

Most mornings I turn on fun music while my kids are getting ready for school. It helps get everyone in a happy mood and gets them up and moving for the day. After my oldest three went off to school, Sophie (who is five), changed the music to a song I had never heard. Here are the lyrics:

“I promise that one day I'll be around
I'll keep you safe
I'll keep you sound
Right now it's pretty crazy
And I don't know how to stop
Or slow it down
I know there are some things we need to talk about
And I can't stay
Just let me hold you for a little longer now
Take a piece of my heart
And make it all your own
So when we are apart
You'll never be alone”
Already in a bit of a fragile state from beginning the holiday season with Halloween yesterday (one of Tony’s favorite holidays), my heart began pumping harder and harder like it was trying to break
out. When Tony died, I really do feel that half my heart went with him, and in a few small moments I have felt him say to me that I am never alone. I’m thankful for thoughts through letters and precious memories from Tony that I do know he loves me. What I now find harder and harder as time goes by is that I want to be able to show my love to him still.
That feeling of a pounding heart occurs often as it aches to connect with Tony again. How I wish I could still show him all this love compounding in my heart. I wish I could hold him, tell him my thoughts, serve him, or even give him a gift. I once heard that the hardest part of grief in any relationship is the inability to show them your love for them anymore. Because though he is gone, I will always continue loving him, with a love that just grows deeper as time passes. Nothing will change that regardless where life takes me in the next several decades. I can’t imagine how much that ache will hurt as each year passes.
Talking with a friend this morning, I did realize the one remedy for my exploding heart. I may not be able to physically show my love to Tony but I can use all this love building up in my chest to love others. I can love my children more deeply and try even harder to be a better mother. I can be there for my family and friends who I love dearly and be a better listener and show more compassionate. I can even make better efforts to cultivate new friendships and to be even more
 kind to strangers. I’m sure all of this is how I can still show Tony my love. And I’m sure that Heavenly Father knows this is the best way for me to grow and to continue to find ways to be happy in this life.
With the holidays upon us, I am going to make a more conscious effort to find joy in the journey. Tony has been gone almost eleven months now, although it has felt like I lost a good part of him over two years ago. God won’t take this ache from me and I know there is no going back to my life with Tony. But if I ask humbly, He will help me to carry my burdens of grief day after day and allow for beauty to grow in my heartache. Only through Him can we be transformed into something more beautiful and loving than we can imagine. Thank you to all of you who are my examples and my cheerleaders. And thank you for always letting me share my intimate feelings with you so that I can heal and grow. So, please take a piece of my heart with you.