HUMOR

The Rat Killin'

This is a true story.

Photo by Eternal Seconds on Unsplash

You can choose to believe it or not; that’s up to you. It was funny to me at the time, and God knows I needed some humor in my life. Things weren’t that great.

The first man I married—I have to number ‘em because there’s been so many—maybe wasn’t a great choice for me. I’m tryin’ to be nice here.

The rest of his family is pure gold. He just came out wrong. Wasn’t nothin’ you could do about it, and I didn’t know to try. I was as naïve as a girl could be back in those days. I’ve learned a lot since then, and not all of it’s good.

My education has come with a price I’d rather not have paid.

At first, I thought Bubba Jr. hung the moon. He could do no wrong in my eyes. It’s like God sent him to rescue me from a life of normalcy.

By the time we got a divorce, I realized he was the devil and could make you think anything he wanted you to. If anybody was a rescuer, it sure wasn’t him. He got me in more messes than I knew a person could get into.

That ain’t really part of my story though, at least not this one.

I can’t name too many good things that happened while I was married to Bubba Jr. Most of them were pretty dang bad. Of course, there ain’t no sense in bringin’ all of that up right now.

What I want to tell you about is the rat killin’.

That first husband of mine wasn’t very good at workin’. Well, that ain’t exactly true. He might’ve been good at workin’, but he sure wasn’t good at showin’ up to do it. I didn’t know that at first. I thought he was like all the other men I’d known in my life, strong and steady and a hard worker.

He wasn’t any of that. Lookin’ back on it now, I can’t see how I ever thought he could be. It was like I just fell off the turnip truck right into his arms. I didn’t know any better back then. I sure do now.

I was big and pregnant til the baby (I ain’t gonna say his name. He’s still my kid, even though he’s grown.) was born. I didn’t really know how to be a good wife, it being my first time and all.

I was determined to give it all I had.

That’s why I got up at four o’clock every morning to make Bubba Jr.’s lunch in those early days. I made his breakfast too. He just laid there, sleeping through my wifely duties.

Biscuits and gravy for breakfast; 2 big ole’ sandwiches for his lunch. Yes, I made my husband sandwiches. I know I oughta’ be ashamed. I haven’t done it since though, and I probably won’t ever. He ruined it for the other three.

I’m thinking now that the reason all my marriages went to hell may’ve had something to do with the way I got tricked in the beginnin’.

I had a hard time trustin’ anybody after him, and it wasn’t because of anything in this story. Well, maybe a little bit.

After I cooked, I’d go put his socks and pants on him while he was lyin’ there. He still wasn’t tryin’ to get up. Finally, with me naggin’ him ‘til I was blue in the face, he got out of bed and rolled on to work.

At least that’s what I thought he was doing. Why else would somebody get up that early in the mornin’ and let his wife cook and make sandwiches for him?

Well, two weeks later, I asked him where the paycheck was. We needed some more sandwich stuff, and I didn’t know how we were gonna get it.

That’s when I found out the truth.

I can’t remember if he told me or if the lightbulb finally came on in my brain. Either way, the gig was up.

Turns out he never went to work at all. I don’t know if he didn’t show up or if he just never had a job to start with. There wasn’t any paycheck coming in though. I figured that out pretty quick.  

We had to move out of his grandmother’s house.

When your own grandmother throws you out ‘cause you’re no ‘count, you do the only thing you can do.

You go live with your other grandmother ‘til she puts you out too. And that’s just what we did.

He didn’t even pretend to work after that. Oh, He might keep a job for a week or two to get the first paycheck, but then he’d quit. It was a hard life for me and the baby. I never knew how we were gonna eat. I didn’t, a lot of the time. I always managed to take care of my little boy though.

We ended up having to move every time the rent was due because we couldn’t pay it, being that Bubba Jr. chose his bed and a whole lot of other stuff over a job.

I don’t know how, but he could charm the skin off a rattlesnake. He was able to talk many unsuspecting people into letting us stay in places that needed work. He get a cheap deal by promising to fix everything good as new for ‘em, only he never made good on those promises.

He’d start out strong by tearing everything up pretty good. Hardly ever put it back together. I doubt if he even knew how.


That’s how the rat killin’ came to happen.

We were “renting” an old house in exchange for redoing it. The kitchen was the only room that showed any improvement when this all went down. It was painted a bright yellow color. It almost hurt my eyes walkin’ in the room, but I complimented Bubba Jr. just like a good wife should, even though by this time I was pretty much over bein’ his wife at all.

The old house was filled with rats.

They probably came through the holes in the floor, but I’m thinking they’d been there long enough that they thought we were intruding on their territory, and I wasn’t about to argue with ‘em.

These weren’t little mice, although those are scary enough. I ain’t ever seen anything move as fast as those, unless it’s me tryin’ to get away from one of ‘em!

These rats were huge, what we call wood rats.

We set out on a campaign to rid the place of the evil vermin, or at least he did. They were bigger than my sweet baby, who was about three months old at the time, if I remember right. I wanted no part of ‘em.

I kept telling that stubborn man there were rats living in our stove, but he didn’t believe me. Every time I cooked, I could hear somethin’ moving around in the space beside the oven. I was scared to death it was gonna jump out and get me!

That night, I was cookin’ with one arm and holding the baby in the other. I heard somethin’ movin’ again, so I called Bubba Jr. to come listen.

He said, “There ain’t no damn rats in the stove,” which started an argument, because I knew dang well somethin’ was in there makin’ noise. He always had to be right though, so he said it again.  “There ain’t no damn rats in the stove, see?” And he shook the stove to prove it to me.

Photo by Brendon Thompson on Unsplash

That was his first mistake.

He made countless others, but that right there was enough for divorce court.

The biggest rat I’d ever seen (and I still ain’t seen a bigger one to this day) was living in there after all, and that shakin’ stove made him MAD.

He decided to make a grand entrance into our obnoxious yellow kitchen, and not in a graceful way.

He came out of the back of the stove, ran up the curtain, and kind of hurled his body across the room. Straight at old Bubba Jr.’s stubborn ass head.

I ain’t ever heard a grown man sound so much like a girl, before or since!

He screamed, I screamed, and the baby screamed! I ain’t too sure the wood rat didn’t scream. Hell, he had a right too. We probably scared him just as bad as he scared us.

Well, I took off running with the baby and jumped up on the dining room table. My mentally deficient husband grabbed the broom and took off after that maniacal, jumpin’ rat.

He chased that stupid thing for an hour at a hard run. It might’ve even been longer than that. I was up there on the table, hollerin’, laughin’, and dodgin’ the slingin’ broom.

He was as determined to kill that rodent as it was to stay alive.

I ain’t ever laughed so hard and screamed so much in all my life.

Finally, Bubba Jr. caught a break. The rat ran up in a piece of rolled up carpet we had ready to use on the bedroom floor. Bubba Jr. was yellin’ like a Comanche. He hollered “I’ve got you now, you spineless devil!”

It was a foolproof plan.

I can’t say I found any fault with it. I sure thought it would work.

When the varmint ran into that rolled up piece of carpet, he stood it straight up on end, trappin’ what had to be a terrified and exhausted rat at the bottom.

Bubba Jr. motioned for me to grab the sledgehammer leanin’ against the wall by the door. I reluctantly got down, gave it to him, and dragged a chair over to him too. He stood on the chair and dropped the sledgehammer straight down toward the rat in the rolled-up carpet.

Like I said, it was a perfect plan. There wasn’t anywhere for the rat to go. No way he could miss.

Except he did.

Smilin’ like the demon he is, he laid the carpet down to look at the rat’s dead body.

That rat just screamed with glee and took off runnin’ again.

I darted back to the dinin’ room and leapt back up on the table. Bubba Jr. was madder than I’d ever seen him be. He grabbed the broom and started cussin’, runnin’, and swingin’.

About an hour more of solid runnin’, and the rat raised up on its back legs and fell over, dead as a doorknob.

I guess he was just worn out from tryin’ to save his own miserable hide.

I ain’t sure, but if I had to guess, I’d say that’s still the most honest work Bubba Jr. has ever done in his life.

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grief, RECOVERY

Side Effects of Tremendous Loss

Grief sucks.

Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash

I’m going to go over a little bit of what happens when you have to say goodbye forever to someone you love. First, a bit of context.

Shock.

I lost my kid.

Well, I didn’t exactly lose him.

Horror.

I know where he is. I hardly ever go there. There’s something disturbing about standing on a bit of cold ground while your flesh and blood decomposes beneath your feet.

Unrelenting Pain.

Even more devastating is the crushing sensation in my chest when I drive up to the cemetery. It doesn’t just happen in that moment though. It comes unbidden in unsuspecting scenarios for the rest of your life.

I mean, you know the holidays will be hard. That’s expected. And birthdays. Dates of departure are devastating, but you know those days are coming and can kind of half-ass prepare for them.

It’s those other days, days when things are good. You’re happy and laughing and….

Guilt.

How the hell could you possibly laugh when your child is dead? What kind of monster are you, anyway? Thoughts like these come to your mind and even though you know they’re irrational, you think them anyway and you can’t help it.

And it hurts so bad. Worse, you know it always will. The lump that you keep choking back in your throat is always going to be there. You’re never not going to cry when you hear the song that YOU chose for the funeral because it was a favorite.

Hopelessness.

You can’t fix this. The very idea of that is overwhelming. You feel helpless because you ARE helpless. Looking down the road at life you wonder if you even want to go on at all. Several times you decide that you don’t.

Sometimes you can count on one hand the reasons to stay. I’ve been there.

A few years ago, a young man in the town next to mine committed suicide. It wasn’t long after that his mom laid across his grave and did the same.

Heartache.

I spent an entire day grieving for her, even though I didn’t know her. Or maybe I was grieving for me. I knew what drove her to it. I live it every day.

Isolation.

When it’s your kid who dies, you separate yourself from other mothers. The ones who have never lost a child. They don’t know. You don’t want them to ever know.

You can pick out your worst enemy on earth, and you won’t wish this on them.

This grief is something you hold close.

But you DO want to talk about your loss. You want to talk about WHO you lost.

It doesn’t take you long to realize that people are tired of hearing it. They’re also AFRAID to hear it.

It’s as if the whole world thinks that talking about death means it will come to call.

Maybe it does.

Cold Loneliness.

I always hear the gravel fly from under my truck tires on that final stretch to the stone. I remember walking that road a hundred times. I also remember always ending at the cemetery and not being able to walk back. Someone always had to come get me.

Numbness.

How can everything be so intense when I’m so numb?

It’s like standing under a tree hearing a leaf fall without being able to move to try to catch it.

Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash

Reality can’t be real when you bury your baby.

Insanity.

Looking back, I realize I’m lucky. I walked through the woods so many times with a gun in my hand. Utterly crazy. Hunters would come down from their stands and lead me out. They didn’t seem to mind that I interrupted their hunting. I don’t know for sure. We never talked. I only talked to Mikey.

One day I stumbled upon a skunk. I was carrying a .22 rifle that day. No matter how crazy a person gets, you always know you don’t want to smell like a skunk.

I realized it was either him or me. He fell over like a cartoon character. I walked around him, probably giving him more space than he needed.

It felt good to kill something.

Then I found the couch. It wasn’t hidden very well. I would have done a better job of it myself. Something like that, you don’t leave to chance.

We called those woods the “forty.” It was forty acres of good hunting land. Full of deer, squirrels, and mosquitoes. Apparently, it had the occasional skunk as well.

The first thing I saw when I came through the pine sapling thicket into the clearing was that couch.

 It had been in my living room just a month before when I found my son on it, face down and stiff. Already starting the rigor process.

Anger.

I unloaded my gun on the couch. Killed it dead, the way it killed my son. My thought process wasn’t lining up with reality. After I shot it, I laid on it and cried myself to sleep. That’s how they found me later.

The couch was burned and buried after that. I never saw it again. It’s a good thing. I would have killed it again.

Disbelief.

You should never have to find your child’s body. It should never be cold and stiff. Your child should not die. It’s a travesty. It’s an injustice. It’s the worst thing that can ever happen to a Mama.

I feel all of this again as I pull up to the cemetery.


Tinnitus.

My ears have been ringing since the day the keening started. The doctors call it tinnitus. I know it’s the echo of my own voice screaming for the life of my child.

Another side effect of a morphine overdose I didn’t take.

Flashbacks.

Call it PTSD or call it whatever. I have flashbacks. Who wouldn’t? Not as many as before, but they still come. Usually when I’m driving, which is inconvenient at best and life-altering at worst. I don’t drive to the cemetery much.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

It triggers me.

Anxiety.

I doubt it will ever go away. Terror has a strong grip on me. I wake up at night with my heart pounding and all I can do is call out to Jesus. No one else can help.

I’m afraid when my kids are out of my sight and I’m afraid when they’re with me.

He died on my watch.

My watch is scarier now. I will never not check to see if my kids and grandkids are breathing. I always think about it.

All night long.

Insecurity.

As a Mom, you think there’s an instinctive way that you’ll know when your kids are in danger. It’s hard to wrap your mind around the fact that instincts can fail you. I didn’t know. You don’t always know. I question my ability to be a parent and keep my children safe. I question my grandchildren’s safety when they’re with me.

Children can die. The headstone in front of me is proof of that.

Side Effects.

I’ve only gone over a few of them. I wish that life and death were an easier process, or maybe I don’t. What makes it so hard is also what makes it worth it.

Love comes with a potentially high price tag.

We don’t know how things are going to turn out. It would be less risky to never take a chance—refuse to love—but life wouldn’t be worth living.

It would be a simple choice to never have children or truly love another human being because of the chance you may have to bury them one day. To make that choice is to choose to live without the greatest gift of your life.

Even knowing what can happen, I will always choose to love. It’s hard to say it, and hard to know it, but it’s infinitely worth the pain.

RECOVERY

Hell In A Handbasket

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

That’s where the whole world is headed.

I was standing in my bathtub hanging curtains that didn’t quite match my newly painted walls when I realized I’m scared. Don’t try to reason that out. It is what it is.

I don’t know what’s wrong with people today, but I know for sure something is. It’s possible that we’ve all just gone crazy. Maybe we’ve always been crazy, or selfish. 

Whatever it is, it’s getting the best of humanity.

I’ve never seen so much bickering before over things that don’t matter at all. The things that do matter are just being ignored.

Meth is killing our country.

It’s for sure not the only drug that is, but from all that I’ve read, it’s doing a hell of a lot of damage right now and there’s very little chance that those addicted can even recover. Think about that for a minute.

Mothers are killing their babies all over America.

What the hell?

Everybody’s killing everybody. And no one cares.

Australia almost burned down recently. Earthquakes and volcanoes are happening across the globe. So are terrorists and missiles.

Our children are being stolen and sold into slavery.

In some places, parents are willingly pimping them out for drugs and money.

America is full of resources, but people are starving, both here and abroad.

Refuse litters our streets. Hatred abounds. Racism is back in full swing.

Hell has come calling.

It seems there’s barely a shred of humanity left on this earth.

You don’t even have to be a believer to know that a day of reckoning is near.

RECOVERY

How do you handle life when everything goes wrong?

Sometimes I wonder if it’s even worth getting out of bed.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Two flat tires.

That’s how my day started. I was driving to work on these fantastic Louisiana roads, and the best I can tell, I went in a pothole.

I’m not sure why it took out two of my tires on the sidewalls, but there were a couple of huge holes looking back at me. This is certainly not how I meant for my morning to go. I had higher hopes than that when I crawled out of bed.

It seems like bad luck comes in waves. First, I caught the hubs cheating. Okay, that’s awful—maybe not even comparable to a flat tire or two. In the end, that one will cost me a whole lot more.

This tire thing was just like icing on the cake.

For a few minutes, I thought about hurling myself into traffic and taking my chances with one of the eighteen wheelers barreling down the road. Luckily, I gathered my wits together and called a tire store instead. $421 dollars later, I was fixed up. They even gave me a ride to the office while they worked on my vehicle!

So, what DO you do when life gets crazy and overwhelming?

One answer (and not a very good one) is to isolate.

Isolating means to withdraw from other people and try to get through everything on your own.
It can also mean to withdraw from other people and AVOID dealing with anything.

Often when we isolate, we use distractions or substances to keep us from acknowledging our mountains and doing the work it takes to overcome. This causes more problems to pile up until our lives become completely unmanageable. That’s 12-step talk, for anyone who hasn’t been through it. Recovery is an amazing thing.

Isolation is NOT the preferred solution but it’s something I’ve tried and made bigger messes with before.

Another choice that you could make (and I’m guilty of this one as well) is VENT.

Everyone knows what venting is, but here’s an explanation anyway.

Venting is when you seek validation, approval, or sympathy by telling your side of a story (often with dramatic emphasis) on social media or to another person or group of people. This is my own definition, just like the definition for isolating, but it’s basically what venting boils down to.

Here are some ways that venting can be damaging:

  • Feelings often change, but once the spoken or written word is out there, it’s out there. You can apologize, but you can’t unsay it. Someone can forgive you, but they’re unlikely to forget.
  • You can hurt someone’s feelings. Maybe you mean to rage about someone and at the time, it doesn’t make you feel bad (even though it should). Collateral damage happens. That person may have children, parents, grandkids, or other individuals in their life that you just victimized unintentionally with your words. It hurts to hear bad things about people you love, whether it’s true or not. It isn’t fair to throw shade on everyone even if a certain person is shady and you want it known. Please think twice before venting!
  • Venting often damages the venter more than the ventee. I don’t think that’s proper terminology, but you get my meaning. It makes you look bad. JUST DON’T DO IT.

It’s okay to cry.

It may be hard to go through a bad time without crying. So, don’t. There’s a lot to be said for the cleansing and healing effects of a good, blubbering, crying session!

Get it out of your system.

Just don’t make it a long-term event. Cry, then stand up, wash your face, and move on with life!

Community.

Photo by Phil Coffman on Unsplash

I find it useful to plug into a community of like-minded people when going through the rough times of life. Ideally, you already have a group like that. If you don’t, seek one out. Look for people that you know or know about who believe like you do, worship like you do, and who will hold you accountable for getting your life back on track.

The truth is it’s YOUR LIFE!

How you live and whether you end well is ultimately up to you. You can hang your head in defeat and quit trying, or you can shake it off and get back behind the wheel.

For me, the most important thing I can do is lean on God.

He’s my constant whether things are going good or not so great. He’s my shelter in a storm and the rock I’m standing on. No wind will blow me away, and no waters will drown my soul if I cling tightly to His hand.

My faith isn’t what gets me through; it’s the One I’m faithful to.

This is why two flat tires and an impending divorce didn’t defeat me today.

There will always be potholes. And there will always be God.

RECOVERY

Cheating Often Leads to Drastic Decisions

At least I didn’t cut my bangs.

Photo by Cata on Unsplash

I also didn’t burn all his stuff in the front yard, although the thought did cross my mind.

Radical things happen when I’m upset, but so far, I’ve avoided any major destructive action.

I just got out the paint.

Breakups are hard. It doesn’t matter if they’re “what’s best in the long run” or not. They’re freaking hard.

So much to consider.

Who gets what? What to do about this and that. Hiring a lawyer when you just found out you’ll be broke for the rest of your life. Yep, they’re hard all right.

Especially when you get to the age where you think all that’s left is to ride out the status quo until you skate into glory.

I’ll even venture a little further out on this limb and go ahead and say breakups suck even when you have quite a few under your belt.

More than a couple decades of life ought to be enough to prepare you for the devastation divorce brings. Sadly, it isn’t—especially when it all kind of came out of the blue.

I’m not saying I’m not ready to move on. Truth is, I’ve already cut the ties, both in my mind and elsewhere.

One day I was married and losing my mind because I discovered he was cheating on me. I was mourning the loss of trust and love. 

The next day I woke up DONE.

It happened just like that.

I thought we would work it out. I was searching for answers, reading everything I could get my hands on about how to “get over” your spouse cheating on you. Angry and hurt, I felt helpless and lost, even asking myself what I did (or didn’t do) to make him cheat.

And I prayed. I prayed for myself mostly, but I also prayed for him and for us. I looked EVERYWHERE for answers and there weren’t any to find.

So, I quit.

Maybe because of the silent treatment he was attempting to use to manipulate me into doing what he wanted me to do.

It had always worked before.

I’d get enough of it and apologize to him for everything I could think of that I’d ever done wrong in my life. I’d be so relieved and grateful when he would suddenly act as if nothing was wrong.

This time, the silence was nothing but a welcome relief from all the lies. He tried using the same worn out technique to control me AFTER he CHEATED on me!

It’s possible that he genuinely didn’t realize that I had proof of his infidelity. The lies were the same. I just didn’t believe him anymore.

He thought it was “business as usual.” I wondered how he could still try to manipulate me after what he did.

How do you even dare?

For the first time, I could see his disrespect was intentional. Sounds moronic, I know. I was just so used to making excuses for him that I believed them myself.

It’s so obvious now.

What a delicious game he played with me for so long! But to what end? What did he hope to gain? Did he set out just to hurt me? What would be the point of rendering our entire marriage obsolete?

Instead of ending up with a devoted wife, he will likely end up alone. If not alone, he will surely settle for less than he had.

I loved him.

And I trusted him. I wanted the best for him.

Then, I caught him cheating and I LET HIM GO!

And painted my bathroom.

Photo by melissa mjoen on Unsplash

Looks good too.

RECOVERY

I Don't Love Coffee

An Introduction of Sorts

Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

I realize that I’m not in the majority here, but there it is.

Being different is not a character flaw, although I used to think it was. It’s hard when you don’t fit into the norm (or whatever they’re calling the norm these days).

I realized a long time ago that there was a possibility that I didn’t think like other people. My way of looking at things is not always the same. Even when it pertains to the physical aspects of things.

Take color for example.

Have you ever wondered about color? I mean, how could you not have wondered? Does the green that I see when I see green look the same as the green that you see when you see green?

That kind of thing.

I mean, HOW DO WE KNOW?

I can’t see out of your eyes, and you can’t see out of mine.

Photo by Liam Welch on Unsplash

I believe that a great deal of life centers around our own perceptions of it, and that we are limited by our own realities.

I also believe that to a point, we create our own realities or live in realities that we allow others to create for us.

When we’re children, we haven’t been talked out of all our abilities yet. There are things we can see and do that are unexplained but still true. The following illustration is an excerpt out of a kid’s book I’m writing, but also a true story from my childhood:

“I see things that other people don’t see sometimes. Like that time the tree fell down….

There was a whole bunch of us kids outside playing in the yard. I guess I should have told you that my name is Gypsy, so you don’t get me confused with anybody else while I’m tellin’ my story.

It ain’t my real name, it’s just what people call me ever since I wore my Halloween costume to school. I told everybody’s fortune and I guess I got some stuff right. Mama sure doesn’t call me that, especially when she’s mad at me or shocked by something I say. My whole name rings out through the neighborhood then, and I don’t know anybody’s future but my own, and it ain’t good, nor one you’d be wantin’ to share.

Our neighborhood is just plumb full of kids—at least 17 of us live right here all together. I don’t know what keeps us from drowning or getting hit by a car, because it seems like there’s so many of us that we could stand to lose a few, and the odds are stacked against us. I guess we’re pretty safe though, cause we ain’t died yet, even though some of the boys have broken a bone or two, and Sally almost choked me to death once when I walked to the store with Mindy.

Anyway, it was Mindy and me sittin’ on the lawn chair, one of those long fold-out kinds that leaves a crisscross pattern on your butt if you sit down too long, and Big Jack and Dale were just running around aggravating us.

Big Jack is what we call my big brother, because Mindy has a brother named Jack too, but he’s younger than most of us so we call him Little Jack. Everybody does—practically the whole town—and I don’t even know if they realize why they call him that. We just made it up one day so we would know which Jack we were talking about.

We were just lying on that lawn chair, being mad at the boys but laughing at them too, when I looked up and said, “Y’all, we gotta move because that tree is fixin’ to fall!”

I really don’t even know why they listened to me because they sure didn’t make a habit of it, but Mindy and I both jumped up and Dale and Big Jack grabbed the chair and we took off running. No sooner than we got out of the way, we heard a tearing sound, and that tree uprooted itself and came down with a swoosh and a thud right where we’d been sitting five seconds before!

If anybody would have seen us at that moment, they’d have sworn they were looking at a bunch of ghosts, because I know for sure three of the four of us turned the whitest I’ve ever seen a person look. Then we all started yelling and running in to tell Mama, who said, “God must have told you to tell everybody to move,” and I know it’s true, because I never would have thought of it in time myself. That was one time that being a frog would be less of an advantage than being a bird, because we all could’ve been squashed like one. Mindy and I still talk about it every chance we get, but the boys try to act like it never even happened. I guess that’s because God didn’t tell THEM to get everybody out of the way or if He did, they weren’t listening.

That ain’t the only time something like that has happened, but I’ve figured out that the older I get, the more I talk myself out of listening. At times like those, it’s only grace that saves me because it sure ain’t because I’m doing what I’ve been told to do. I don’t know if God punishes you for not listening, but I figure that He just stops talking to you if He sees you ain’t paying attention anyway.”


That’s just one example of seeing something that no one else can see. If it’s possible as a child, surely it’s possible once you’re an adult!

We all have gifts and abilities that we’re born with. Whether we keep them to adulthood largely depends on whether we have the opportunity and the guts to use them.

To me, it seems as if the world is put together in bits of color.

photo by A Bridges

If I could be a true artist, I’d grab those bits of color with my paint brush and put them to canvas. I do the best I can with the abilities that I have.

I wish everyone could see the way I see.

I’m also different than most in how I show my feelings.

I cry over sappy things and serious ones. I cry the hardest over happy endings because I know in my heart that those rarely happen.

For a long while, I let myself become hardened and wouldn’t show anyone who I really was. It shamed me to have real emotion. Catastrophe has turned my world upside down though. Instead of hiding my tears from others, I cry with them through their own pain. Not usually on purpose—it just happens.

People with heartbreak seem to gravitate to me. It’s like they know they’re safe to cry with me. I find that one of the biggest blessings of my life, and one of the hardest burdens to carry. Grief was never a ministry I wanted.

I’ve found that the most imperfect things on this planet are often the most beautiful. That goes for people too. What a man (or woman) is on the outside doesn’t always correspond with who they are on the inside. A pretty face doesn’t mean a pretty heart.

It’s okay to be you. I’m good with being me.

It’s taken me a lot of years to become who I am. I’m not saying that I’ve arrived at the place I need to be. It’s still a journey. I’m good with the path I’m on though.

And I have my own style—the way I talk and dress—those things are all me!

There’s nothing wrong with fashions and trends, I’m just not a crowd follower. I like what I like and I don’t like what I don’t like.

And I don’t like coffee.  Not even a little bit.

RECOVERY

Today the World Became a Lesser Place

But it didn’t happen without a fight.

I didn’t know Brenda very well. I saw her only three times in my life, twice at church and once at her father’s funeral. But if you ask me how I can speak with authority on this, I have an easy answer. She was LOVED by so many people that I love.

It took quite a while for the cancer to take her body. It never beat her spirit. She fought a hard fight, and she did it her own way.

She was a warrior.

When you’re a kid and you have the whole world in front of you, death seems so impossible! If it’s even a thought in our minds, it’s fleeting. And even then, it’s about something besides US, like maybe a frog that that got run over and fried on the pavement. Never a human, never ourselves. We’re damn near invincible, or at least that’s what our hearts would have us believe.

I can imagine Brenda skipping down the sidewalk, blowing bubbles with gum that cost a nickel at the little mom and pop store up the road. Cancer never entered her mind. She believed in love, life, laughter, and possibilities. The very idea that she would one day leave her own children motherless wasn’t even a tiny consideration.

Photo by Anita Austvika on Unsplash

Yet now there is this gaping hole where Brenda used to be.

Even though she was equipped with guts and strength and FAITH so strong, there finally came a moment when she didn’t have enough of herself left to stand and fight the war that was waged against her body. She accepted the freedom that eternity offered. Her heart was right. Her mind was good. It was her body that failed her.

Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash

Even though everyone fought to keep her here, when it got closer to the end and pain wracked her small, exhausted body, her family prayed she’d just let go and stop the fight. She wasn’t going to win it. There was obviously a plan bigger than ours. A kingdom stood ready. Her king was waiting elsewhere.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the value in the glass you’re looking through.

In fact, it would make more sense to hurl it to the floor and watch it shatter. To rail at God and ask Him, “Why?” This was no ordinary life you took this time, God! This one was full of hope, promise, and joy. She was a MOTHER, a DAUGHTER, a SISTER! She TRUSTED you! Her whole FAMILY believes in YOU.

I hear the faint sound of wind blowing. Beyond that, there’s only silence.

And Jesus walked on water.

He healed the sick, made the blind see, and turned water into wine. Yet Brenda slipped away from here.

UNHEALED.  

People do, you know.

They die.

And I know that even though the world is a lesser place, Brenda is free.

And if she ever skipped, she’s skipping now. If she blew bubbles, she’s blowing the biggest one ever! I also know she could probably catch that frog that’s hopping by if she wanted to. She’s safe now. It doesn’t hurt. CANCER didn’t win.

Photo by Andressa Voltolini on Unsplash

I just don’t know how to say all that to the ones I love, who loved her so much. They will grieve—pain is part of life in this broken world. It’s all just temporary.

Death will come for us too—then life and eternity!

I can hear my own footsteps as I walk through my silent house. I think about life, cancer, and death. My heart hurts, and there’s a lump in my throat. All the words I could say keep running through my head.

The last time I felt like this, I thought I was dead.

Today the world became a lesser place, and there was nothing we could do to stop it.

RECOVERY

The Day I Chose to Live

The day I chose to live was easily the worst day of my life. I guess it happens like that sometimes. Finding my son dead was a horrific experience that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Mr. Main (my husband) says that people don’t even like to hear or talk about losing a child, because they’re afraid if they do then it might happen to them as well. As if talking about it is inviting the devil in! So I don’t say much about that part of my grief. I keep the horror to myself most of the time.

Most things that happen in this world have a definable reason. Maybe the only thing that we can never get a full understanding of is death. One thing you do grasp rather quickly is the absolute FINALITY of it. And it’s that knowledge which forces you to confront your own mortality, whether you’re prepared for it or not. Then, at some point in the consideration of death and all that it means, you realize something that you may have never thought of before. You, as an individual who lives and breathes on this earth, have control of your own life. You can choose whether you can live with the loss or die yourself, alleviating all of your mortal suffering.  

Losing Mikey was a deal breaker for me. I was finished. I looked at the world and what it held for me. I looked at my life as it was and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was not willing to be on this earth anymore. I had spent most of my life grieving anyway, and I was sad before that, as if somewhere in my innermost being I knew what was coming.

My entire childhood was spent longing for an elusive place that I called “Happiness.” I knew I couldn’t find it and thought somehow that if I did, all things would be made right. I wrote songs and poems from a very young age about death and suicide, even though I wasn’t consciously contemplating either one. It was a part of me from the beginning, this grief that I carried in my heart, like a foreshadowing of things to come.

So, when tragedy after tragedy struck, I wasn’t even surprised. It was as if I expected it. Like that was my life, and I better learn how to live with it. And I did okay with it, to a point. I won’t pretend that at any time I came to an understanding of death or even life. I didn’t know why I always seemed to be a target. I thought I must be receiving punishment from God for my sins or someone else’s.

The human mind is incapable of providing a rationale for death. It just is. We are broken people living in a broken world where we have no control of things as small as the actions of others or as big as death. We are only humans after all. We were forced out of the garden so that we could not eat from the tree of life, even though we could finally understand the existence of evil and how it seeks to destroy both the guilty and the innocent. How unfathomably unfair!

So, I looked at my future, and I could not accept what I was seeing. Life without my son was incomprehensible to me. I had already buried so many people—2 babies, my father, my precious aunt. How much could a heart take before it shattered completely, and for that matter, how much could a mind take before it did the same? Now God was asking this of me, to live my entire life without my child, and I said, “No.”

I woke up from a necessary drug-induced sleep and said the words aloud—to myself more than anyone else. Just to have them out there. Whether I said it to state my intention or my certainty, I don’t know. I just said it. “I don’t want to be here anymore.” And I knew I had made the decision to end my life. To not face the future without my son. It was over, and I was okay with that. I didn’t have to deal with death or life anymore. I was done.

I was done.

But I didn’t consider the other people in the room. Of course, I didn’t! I was alone, locked inside myself with my pain and the loss that I knew there was no escaping. When I said the words, I wasn’t talking to anyone but myself. And maybe God.

But Nic heard me. Nic was my first son to take a breath as a living person in this world. I had a son before him, but he died before he was born. And when Mikey was 8 years old, I buried my second son, Samuel. Now three sons were gone, and Nic was in the room with me when I realized that I had reached the point of no return. So was my daughter, Tiffany. And my best friend, Martha.

And when I said, “I don’t want to be here anymore,” without hesitation, Nic said, “You go, I go.” Silence roared in my ears and all other noise stopped at that moment. I was in shock. There was nothing else in my life but that statement, and the realization that he meant every word of it.

Then Tiff said, “You go, I go,” and Martha said, “You go, I go.”

And I became angrier than I had ever been in my life. Angrier than the angry of losing my babies, and my father. Angrier than I was at God for taking them. Angry, because in that moment, everything changed. I was ready to die. I had no desire to stay.

But I had no choice. Not then, not now, not ever. And it hurts, but not near as much as it did that day, the worst day of my life.  

That day, I chose to live.

It would be a long, long time before I chose to have a life. That day I was only capable of making one choice.

There is only one thing that trumps grief. Only one thing that’s bigger than the worst loss. One thing that is undeniably monumentally ENOUGH, even in the face of the most insurmountable tragedy ever to befall a Mama—the loss of her child. That one thing is LOVE.

The day I chose to live, I chose their lives over my own. Knowing that I would never smile again until I drew my last breath on earth, the time God set aside for me to die, I CHOSE LOVE. To choose love, I was forced to choose life. I chose to keep my remaining two babies alive on this earth for as long as it was humanly possible for me to do so. My selfishness was not bigger than my love for my two children and my friend. I was forced to make the choice to stay on this earth for them.

Regrets? NO. Not even one. Amazingly, life went on, and I did smile again. And I learned that even though happiness is temporary, joy is eternal. I learned to walk this road that God placed me on one step at a time.

For more of what I learned from grief, click here: https://moodyoops.com/12-surprising-things-that-grief-will-teach-you-that-you-actually-need-to-know/

Now, I look at the faces of those I love more than my own life and more than my own death, and I know I made the right choice.

And now my family has grown much larger than the three people it had suddenly become! There have been more losses, but also more births. It has also grown in other natural ways, by adding children and adults through marriage and through deep and abiding friendship.

No one can replace Mikey, nor anyone else who is lost to me, but no one needs to. Mikey had his own space in my heart, and it’s still occupied. He didn’t leave me forever. I will touch his face again.

But here on earth, I get to watch my grandbabies laugh and play. I get to teach them about life, and sadly, about death. Sometimes it’s a bittersweet joy and sometimes it’s a full-on beautiful, boundless joy that doesn’t exist because of my decision but despite my having to make it. And I enjoy more fully the moments that I have with all the ones I love, and those who love me back—especially the ones who love me enough to be willing to sacrifice their own lives if I cannot be in them.

When I wake now, sometimes I can’t help but to think about what I would have missed if I did not choose to live. When I look at my life, it is full of joy—and sadness too. One does not exist without the other. You can’t truly know the joy of life without experiencing the pain of death.

I don’t know what my childhood would have been like if I had known joy instead of the darkness of sorrow and depression. If I pass down anything to my children, I hope it’s not the despair that I was born with. I hope it will be a legacy of life. I hope I will have taught them to love as fully and deeply as possible for every single moment that God allows us. I pray that they will know always that He has a plan that ultimately leads to infinite joy. There’s no time to be searching for a place called “Happiness.” Life is way too short for that.

Happiness is a lie anyway.  In this world, it’s fleeting and superficial. Joy, however, can be had now (even amid grief) and experienced eternally. If you are going to strive for anything, strive to find joy. If you are going to choose anything worthwhile, let it be life.

Choose Life.

As for me, I am forever grateful for the lessons learned and blessings received because of the day I chose to live.

RECOVERY

12 SURPRISING THINGS GRIEF WILL TEACH YOU THAT YOU ACTUALLY NEED TO KNOW

(With One Bonus Lesson at the End)

Joy and grief grow in the same garden.

My first introduction to death was at the tender age of 18. This was before I knew the first thing about living, so I sure didn’t know how to process the fact that people could just stop doing it. Especially important people, like my Daddy.

He was bigger than life to me, and his life seemed way more important to me than mine. I threw myself face down on the floor and began my first attempt to barter with God.  Apparently, God wasn’t interested in reversing the process and taking me in Daddy’s place because I’m still here, and writing about it after all these years.

God has a way of giving us just what we need to survive at the time, and sometimes scarcely more than that. Somehow, I managed to get up off the floor and scrape together just enough of whatever it is that it takes to survive.

I had to make a lot of hard decisions that I wasn’t ready for back then. It was like going from zero to sixty—I grew up fast. I didn’t have much choice.

The tragedies in my life have continued. I have not only buried my father; I have also buried three sons. Two of them were infants, one was almost 17 years old.

I am forever changed. Some days I find the courage to talk about it and some days I don’t. It would be easy to wallow on the hard days, but today I choose to honor life by talking about what grief has taught me, in the hopes that it will help someone else when they go through the darkness.

THE TAKEAWAY                                   

  1. PEOPLE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THINGS.

This seems like a no-brainer. I can’t elaborate too much on the obvious, but if I have learned anything it’s to put the people you love and your relationships above material possessions and the pursuit of them. The Bible, in Mark 8:36, asks, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”

Don’t sell out your family for money or recognition. Don’t trade your time with them for anything that seems glittery and beautiful. You can’t get the moments that you lost back again. You can’t even get the moments that you spent back again, but at least you have the memories of those. Let your memories be full of laughter and joy when you can, but also go through the hard stuff with the ones you love. The darkest night spent with someone you care for is better than the brightest morning alone with your things.

2. WE ARE NOT IMMORTAL.

Surprise! Life here on this earth does not last forever. We die. Our forever is not going to be spent here in these bodies, doing this stuff. There’s really no need to save the best for last! Don’t keep your ideas to yourself. Use them! Get out your best dishes, wear your best clothes. Have dessert first if you feel like it (I don’t recommend this all the time though. It’s not that great for your waistline).

3. TAKE YOUR MOMENTS WHEN YOU CAN GET THEM.

Embrace the precious times of your life. You don’t know what the future holds! The Bible talks about this too (a very wise book), when it says in James 4:13 “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit’ yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.”

Love on your family. Stare at your children. Watch them breathe. Take a moment to revel in their smiles. Say all those words you’ve been holding back. Just in case this is all you will ever have; make it the best moment it can possibly be!

4. IT’S OKAY TO LIVE AGAIN.

You are not betraying anyone by going on with your life. Continuing to breathe is not a curse, and you have no reason to feel guilty for it. God has appointed each of us a time to be born and a time to die (Yep, that’s from the Bible too).

If you are reading this, it wasn’t your time to die. It’s hard and it hurts and it’s unfair and all of that. But it’s the truth. Oh, and you aren’t God. It wasn’t your choice. You can let go of that now.

Keep breathing. Keep going. Keep trying. Make it a great life! Do you know what the absolute best thing is that you can do for the ones who have stopped living? For you to keep on living, and to lead a victorious life.

5. LAUGHTER REALLY IS GOOD FOR HEALING.

Don’t feel guilty for finding enjoyment in your life. Let the joy come back. It doesn’t mean there isn’t still heartbreak. It doesn’t mean you have forgotten. Joy and pain can inhabit the same house. Let them.

6. GOD KNOWS YOU’RE MAD AT HIM.

He can take it. This is His world. Nothing happens without His knowledge and permission.

It’s a hard pill to swallow. Everyone dies–also hard to get down, especially when that someone is your child or parent, spouse or sibling. Or grandparent.

You are insignificant to God because He allowed it to happen to you. It also is not a small thing that He gave His Son to die, knowing that He would ultimately beat death. I mean, that was the point.

He kicked death’s ass so I could see my kids again someday. Yeah, I was mad at Him for a long time. Sometimes I still am. Then, I remember the cross, and I get through. I know where my hope is.

7. WE AREN’T MEANT TO DO THIS ALONE.

Don’t isolate and expect to get through it all on your own. There’s no need in it. If you don’t have friends or family who will walk through your grief with you, find a recovery group.

There are moments when you need to shout, cry, fall apart, and vent. You might just want to share some funny old memories. Maybe you don’t know what to do with your anger and unforgiveness. That’s what these groups are for. People are better than things and substances for helping you to get through. They need you too.

8. LIFE IS A MIRACLE.

Do you know why you are still here? Neither do I. It’s a miracle. Treat each breath as the gift that it is. Embrace the fact that you are alive and go dance in the rain.

9. ALL WE LEAVE BEHIND IS WHAT WE GIVE TO OTHERS.

No accomplishment, no amount of money, no possession will matter after you are gone. When people think of you, let it be because they remember what an impact for good you made on their lives.

Stand up for what is right. Fight for those who can’t fight for themselves. Love everyone the same. Don’t discriminate because of color, social status, or wealth. Give everything you can give to other people. You can’t take one thing with you where you’re going anyway (no matter which direction that is).

10. IT’S OKAY TO CRY.

You can grieve for as long as you need to grieve. I believe that there are some losses that you will always grieve for on this earth. The loss of a child is one of those. If you need to cry, don’t let anyone tell you that you should be “over it.” Your grief is your grief. Feel it and live your life anyway.

11. YOU DON’T HAVE TO SPEND YOUR LIFE TRYING TO MAKE THEIRS MEAN SOMETHING.

Their life was not in vain, and neither was their death. It has already taught you so much! You have precious memories to hold forever. Their lives already had meaning, and they always will.

Don’t spend your whole life setting up foundations in their name, donating to causes in their name, furiously trying to immortalize them. Let them rest in peace.

You don’t have to make their life mean something. The best thing that you can do to honor them is to make your own life mean something! Work on that. Take responsibility for you. Get better so you can help other people.

12. THE NEXT “YOU” WILL BE DIFFERENT.

This journey that you are walking through grief will change you. That’s okay. You might think that you were meant to be that other person who was never touched by loss.

Things would have turned out another way. Perhaps you can make a case for that, but I doubt it. Life, death, and God did not steal anything from you. Remember that everyone’s time is appointed to them! That means that you are meant to be the person touched by loss. The question is “why”?

Use the things you have learned to help other people. Sure, you are different, but you’re not lesser than. You have a world of experience now that was very hard-earned. Don’t let it go to waste. Use it for good. When the opportunity comes, take it.

Bonus: SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO SWIM THROUGH THE RIVER

There are times in your life when you need medication to get you through the hard stuff. There’s no shame in taking it when you do. Other times we try to self-medicate by using all kinds of things–alcohol, narcotics, sex, food, distractions–just about anything you can think of that we believe will take our minds off the hurt.

They all work for a little while. The problem is, when you step back from all you have done to numb the pain or forget the hurt, it’s still there. Not only do you find the loss and grief is still right where you left it, but you have often piled a load of guilt and remorse on top of it through behaviors and addictions that you wish you could change.

It’s hard to turn your life around when you find yourself in a situation like that, but it can be done. You have to make the decision to embrace the joy and faith that are still in your life and turn around and swim through the river. Sometimes that’s the only way to survive, and then you can turn around and help others across too.

These are some of the surprising things that grief will teach you that you actually need to know. Somewhere down the road, you will have the chance to share them with someone else in a way that helps their heart. Doing it will help your own.

just a doll that looks like Samuel…

RIP Samuel Allen Dowden, born dead, July 17th, 1998

Happy 21st

Here’s a link to this post in Medium if you’d like to pop over and see it! There are lots of other things to read from other writers as well that I think you would enjoy and benefit from:

https://medium.com/@allisondivinebridges/12-surprising-things-grief-will-teach-you-that-you-actually-need-to-know-2f62f64430fe?sk=c59e4995417409aa533fb3ae5dd2a05d

grief, RECOVERY

CAPACITY

Sometimes we’d rather believe the worst possible lie than face the truth.

The thing about the world is, you can’t change it. No matter how much you want to. It doesn’t matter how much you wish it were different—or easier—or less frightening and ugly. You just can’t change it. It’s like an out of control freight train on a track that heads straight to hell.

To love, to live, to forget, to pretend, to dream, and to die—human beings have so damned much capacity, even in a world that we can’t do anything about.

Sometimes I wonder if we actually have the capacity to draw the line between what is real and what never was—to distinguish between real life and fantasy or even dreams as we hold on for dear life, speeding through space, darkness, and time.

  • Do we ever really know what reality we’re living, or what even constitutes reality?
  • What is it about the truth that makes us lie so desperately to ourselves?
  • What keeps us yearning and trying so hard to reach for something more than the actuality that we face?
  • Why do we constantly strive to get to a place—any place—that is different than the one we are currently in?

I have a lot of questions like these, and by rights, I should have. I can’t think of too many people who should ask them more than I should. Because I’m dead. Lifeless.

All this time—all this time! I believed that I existed! That I woke up unprovoked one morning and found your cold and stiff body. As horrifying as that was, I could make some sick and twisted sense from it.

The very idea that you had left me had my mind reeling in shock—oh, but hadn’t you prepped me for this very moment by asking me in advance to forgive you? “Will you forgive me, Mother?” you said. “Will you ever forgive me?” And in my innocence, I answered you with a mother’s true love and said, “You’re my child, I’ll forgive you anything!”

Mikey, fishing

I, in my small mindedness, had the audacity (or you could even say, the CAPACITY) to believe that was true! That I would forgive you for anything! I wasn’t thinking about the comment you had made earlier in the week, when you said that you’d often thought about sneaking into my room at night to kill me. I knew you were just talking—of course you were! You’d never do such a thing. But you did, didn’t you, Son?

Never would I have believed that you would follow through on your casually spoken words! No one could have ever made me believe that you would be a threat to me! I brought you into this world—I did! As your mother, I loved you so much more than anyone else (past or present) that you might purposely or accidentally encounter. I’m your Mama—you didn’t mean it! You could not have, because that would mean that you were someone that I didn’t know—had never known—and that just is not possible. You’re my baby. I love you more than my own life.

I wish that clarity could have come in some other less unforgiving way, that on the day that I was destined to find the truth there would be a laughing acceptance and the flippant toss of the head and “I knew it all along,” spilling out of my mouth.

Oh, if only I wasn’t standing here invisible, looking at you, and what you have become in this world and screaming, “NO, NO, NO, NO!!” This is my BABY!! It cannot be the way it is and yet—my mind knows now, and I do not have the ability to make it any other way. You have done what you threatened to do—in fact—you reached that goal long ago. I thought I found you dead, instead they found me.

How can the dead refuse to be dead and even insist that there is life and recovery and all the things that most human beings strive for after a loss so complete? How did I get to this place where I thought that the worst that could happen had already done so? Capacity. I lost the capacity to snatch the truth out of the swirling particles of reality and fear in front of me. When you are dead, you cannot know the truth.

Proof of Life

What about those babies that I love so well? They scream my name and run into my arms when they see me! They grab my leg when I try to walk and say, “I don’t ever want to let you go!”

Proof of Life

None of this seems odd to me. I have been there! I have! I have lived! You did not kill me! You could not have! You are my Son! I cried for you, for years on end—how can the dead just not stay dead and slip into the infinity that we claimed would be consumed with our love for each other?

Even more—how can I not now find that my greatest wish has come true—that YOU are alive?? Because if I am the one who died—then YOU LIVE!! You live! My baby lives! I know this must be true in the same moment that I realize that I am not alive, and do not live, and indeed, have not for many years.

Can the dead be crazy like the living? Does the mind just continue to fabricate an existence to protect us from the things we cannot face? But—maybe I am wrong! I must have found some OTHER way to die—some accident that no one saw coming and never thought to warn me about—That has to be true. I could NOT have died BY YOUR HAND! Not the hand of my Son—the hand that was once so tiny and fragile and the only thing of you that I could hold when you first made your entrance into this world.

The Truth

The truth is such an elusive (and in some cases, abusive) creature. We can tell ourselves anything—we all have the capacity to believe our own lies and act on them. Somehow though, if our foundation is steady, we make our way back to the truth eventually. Whether we like it or not.

I did, indeed, die by your hand. I died a million times inside, remembering what you said, and knowing you could never take it back. I died when I found you asleep forever, lying as if you might get up any minute and argue with me about who was going to cook supper or wash dishes.

I died as they tore your body away from your Mama’s hands and loaded you up to take you away from me forever. I died with the flood of memories which took me back to every single thing that I had ever done to hurt your heart—each time I yelled at you—when I snatched your cap off your head because it annoyed me—when I gave it back to you because it annoyed someone else.

Mikey, with his cap pulled over his face

You Killed Me

I died when I realized that I could never make it right. I died when I remembered telling you that I would forgive you anything and realizing that it was not true. I died a million times and in a million ways and it was by your hand—because it was your hand that held the pills. Your hand that lifted them to your mouth to swallow them. YOU killed ME in that moment, more effectively than if you had actually snuck in my room and cut my throat.

I have so many memories of you, my son. So that one statement that you made to me in that one moment shouldn’t weigh so heavily on my heart—and if you were here now, laughing with me over something silly that you said almost 13 years ago—it wouldn’t be significant at all.

The World is a Heartless Place by Mikey Black

Instead, you are not here, and I am alone in my room, my pen moving across this page so fast that I can barely read the words while my mind tries to make up ANY scenario that keeps you breathing on this earth—EVEN IF IT MEANS THAT I AM NOT.

The Capacity to Love

Because Mikey—I love you. Whether you are dead or I am dead, that does not change. I love you even though you killed me by killing yourself.  Even though it wasn’t an intentional act on your part, it forever changed things. Still, it did not even remotely touch the fact that I LOVE YOU. I loved you then, I love you now, and I will love you forever. God gave us the capacity to do ONE thing eternally—to LOVE.

He also gave us the capacity to forgive, and I forgive you—on most days. I forgive you for killing us both that day, and for not killing us both that day. Regardless, I know that God has resurrected us both, but not in the same way. You are in your place that God had ready for you, but I am here in this one—struggling to overcome and live a life of purpose. You left this world, Son, but not in vain. Because God always has a plan. He alone has the capacity to turn destruction into beauty.

LOVE YOU AN INFINITY OF INFINITIES

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound–that saved a wretch like me…

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, And mortal life shall cease,

I shall possess within the veil, A life of joy and peace.”   John Newton