Life or Something Like It, Suicide Prevention

Now What?

Now What?

Now What?

Now what?  Honestly, what am I supposed to do now?  Over a decade of friendship and now, aside from your son and the children, you are all gone.  This ache is deep and my tears flow freely at any given moment.  It is so strange knowing that you are gone because that is not what we talked about.

I Miss You

It has only been a few days but I miss you.  We would chat, most nights, until about midnight about all the things.  I would watch my car detailing videos, muted, and tell you about every detail.  Then, we would discuss the children and what they were doing.  We would fix the worlds problems and now I don’t have anyone to talk too.

 

Always Wondered

I have always wondered is it best for others left behind for a loved one to die quickly or to *know* that they are dying so you can say what you need too.  Honestly, I have experienced both ways and they both suck.  For me, they do.  The ones who have passed well, as a believer, once your eyes shut on Earth, they open in the presence of the Lord.

Instantly

When your loved one dies instantly, with no warning, there are SO many things unsaid.  That last I love you, the last I am sorry, the last smile…when did you hug them last?  For me, it has been 6 mths due to conflict.  I remember the last words spoken.  Furthermore, I remember the last words he spoke to me.  Also, I remember sitting in my car screaming at the top of my lungs just to get out the anger.

Anger is secondary to fear and/or sadness.  My fear was knowing how my husband would react at the words said to me.  My sadness was knowing what the outcome was going to be.  It as an outcome that I never wanted but was necessary in order for my husband to heal.  Yet, the pain that came in the morning was devastating.

A Small Amount of Time

This time, however, I have known of “not feeling well” since February or March.  What started out as vertigo and back pain ended in death.  Something so treatable as those 2 things.  Doctor visits yield Meniere’s disease, possibly.  Could be allergies.  Maybe it is stress.  Go to the chiropractor, get some blood work done, blah blah blah.

Those things led to not being able to keep anything down and losing weight.  Energy waning.  Speech slurred a bit.  Upset stomach and passing out.  She was “forced” to go to the ER where they said “your electrolytes are low and you are dehydrated.”  Well, lets pop in an IV and get that up.  For a moment, she was better.

Until She Got Worse

That moment was fleeting and we all tried to convince her to go to the doctor again.  This time they did x-rays, co-vid testing, and blood work.  There was bacteria in her bloodstream.  I remember her saying that.  Then she said “good news, I don’t have co-vid!”  Sigh of relief.

Then silence.  She said “but they found a mass on my pancreas.”  My heart went into my throat and I asked if it was cancer.  She said she did not know and she had an appointment with an oncologist on October 7th.  This was the day after her 61st birthday.

When I Got to Her Place

I walked in and there laid a shell of the woman I was used to seeing.  She had lost so much weight and was so jaundiced, I knew that this was serious.  I walked over and laid my head across her chest.  She patted my head and said “Brandi, I’m going to fight this.  It’s going to be okay.  I’m too mean to die.”

I snuggled up with her on the couch and we talked about all the things.  Once again, we solved the world’s problems.  I came by almost daily to check on her and the children.  At night, I would call.  Then she went to the doctor on the 7th…she said they called in hospice.

The Next Day

I came over and we started talking about other things.  Things neither one of us wanted to talk about.  Funeral homes, flowers, plans for her grandchildren and son.  She kept saying that this was all pointless because she was going to get a second opinion and fight.  This woman fought to the very end.

Most days she would ask me to “take her feet apart.”  AKA rub her feet because that felt SO good.  Then she would want me to play with her hair.  Somedays, I massaged her stomach because the swelling was so much that she said it helped her feel better.  Other days, I would just curl up next to her.  Sometimes we would nap and other times, she would nap and I prayed.

The Night at the ER

She finally could not take the pressure and swelling of her belly.  So, she asked me to call and ambulance just to have her checked.  They got there and the stress of moving her caused her to pass out.  We all thought she was gone and rushed to the ER.

Her son and I got there before the ambulance.  They wheeled her out and she cut her eyes at me and waved.  I crumpled in the parking lot.  It was like all the air being let out of a balloon.  Her sisters were there and we all rushed in.

The Beginning of the End

I knew that night, that she would be gone soon.  As I sat by her bed watching her breathe, we talked again.  She talked of her salvation, her husband, and her daughter that died before her.  David died 5 years ago of cancer and her daughter died 2 years ago by a choice that was horrific for her family.

She said they were standing up there going “oh hell, here she comes!”  I told her there was no swearing in heaven.  We both laughed a bit and then the topic got more serious.  She knew there was no fight left.  It was a matter of time and that time was up to God.

Final Words

She asked what would happen to Steve, her son.  Then we talked about Lexi, her granddaughter.  Next, we talked about Austin, her grandson.  Sierra, the precious girl that lived with them and expecting Donna’s great grandson (whom Donna named).  She talked about Kenleigh, her great granddaughter.  We got it all squared away.

Then, she looked at me and said “who is going to keep you out of trouble?”  I just sat and cried.  She said “wanna crawl up in this bed, there is room?”  If I could have, I would have.  I told her we would get in trouble and she said she didn’t care.  She begged to go home.

We Got Her Home

Home.  She was not Donna anymore.  There were moments when she would focus in, but we all knew the time was coming.  That time came…my Donna was gone.  Once again, I walked in and laid over her chest and cried.  I listened to the wails and sobs of her son and grandchildren.  Her sisters.

I haven’t even fully processed it all but today is her funeral.  Everything changes for everyone.  Life never stops moving, does it?  I feel lost and go to pick up the phone and realize, there is no one to call.  Oh Donna.  It wasn’t supposed to be like this.  We talked about that, remember?

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The Healing Process

In the last part of my guest blogger’s piece, she talks about The Healing Process.  What she has gone through and how she came to peace.  God is so much bigger!

Remembering Little Details of What Happened

 

Some people might think that I am making this too big of a deal and that women get cheated on which is normal in our society. But it’s different. And yet, I don’t think I forgave him, truly forgave him, until a few weeks ago when I attended church with my family and heard my Pastor’s sermon. I sent him a short and to the point message saying that I forgave him and that I would pray that his life will be abundantly blessed in everything he tried in life. That was hard for me to write. Especially considering that he might not have even read the message in the first place since he blocked me off everything.

 

The Healing Process

 

But for me, that is part of the healing process. I don’t hate him. I choose to remember the good things about our relationship rather than focus on the bad things. I need to move forward and be patient enough to wait for the perfect man that God has for me in the future. It could be a few days from now or possibly years from now. But I am choosing to be patient and wait for my lifelong partner. And I will continue to pray for him and that he finds his perfect partner as well.  We might not have had the best relationship in the world but he was still a part of my life and I will never be rid of those good and bad memories. 

 

Advice

 

To the girls and women who have been cheated on or are in those not so good relationships, you have to choose yourself. If you see a red flag then get out. Don’t do what I did and settle for someone who is not your person. It is not worth the heartache and days of tears that will possibly be in your future.

I might be young and my experience might not have much meaning but it is my life. I chose to not settle. And I like being single. Sure, its lonely sometimes but you truly learn who you are and what your personality is like when you are by yourself. Love you. Take care of you. Don’t settle. He is not a monster but he was not my forever.

And for the first time in a long time, I am okay with that.

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The Proposal

The Proposal

The Proposal

 

Now it is time to talk about The Proposal.  After about 2 years he proposed to me at the park with no people around because I believe that proposals should be a private thing. I had pushed so hard to be engaged because I wanted to be married and I wanted to find that love that I truly craved even though I should have been craving Jesus and his true and eternal love. We were engaged for only a few months before it happened.

Like I said, I do not believe in cheating and I think it is a cowardly thing to do to someone. One night, he and I had returned from a date and he ran upstairs to get something from his apartment. I decided to go on his phone and take some pictures. Being the nosy person I was, I went through his text messages and found messages from a strange girl. She was only 16.

 

He Had Been Cheating on Me With a 16 Year Old Girl

 

I was shocked. Just shock. I turned his phone off and set it down and waited for his return. When I questioned him about the messages, he instantly got defensive and said she was just a friend. Friends don’t ask for pictures of friends or that they wish they could kiss each other. I still remember just sitting in his car. Gripping my hands and digging my nails into my skin to keep from crying. I took his phone and immediately ran upstairs to the safety of my moms arms and showed her why I was sobbing like my heart was absolutely broken. Of course he followed and tried to make the situation better but my mom knew better than that.

 

We Broke Up

 

I was heartbroken and still in shock. Honestly, I felt numb to all things in the world.  I did not know any other pain except what I was feeling in my heart. If you have never experienced a heartbreak like being cheated on, you are so incredibly lucky and blessed. He cheated on me not once, not twice, but three times. Three different women.

I know I might be making this too big a deal but at the time I could not look at him the same. Honestly, I gave him so many second chances.  He absolutely begged for when he said he truly loved me.  He did not understand why he cheated on me. I never got a clear answer as to why. That’s all I wanted to know. Why? What did I do wrong? Was I not pretty enough, smart enough, or thin enough? The girls he cheated on me with were incredibly pretty.

 

It’s Over

 

I told him that I could not do it anymore. I gave him the ring back and told him that I would always love him and that he played a part in my life, but we needed to go our separate ways. The look in his eyes. I can still feel the pounding of my heart. Remembering how clammy my hands felt and how I heard him storm out of the house and the screech of his tires down the road.

I went and told my parents what happened and I just broke down. I sobbed like I never had before. Do you know that feeling? I almost can not explain it. Three years I gave to this man, who was supposed to be my future husband, this person who I thought was my best friend and trusted partner. My grandmother and I had already put together my wedding bouquet and my mom and I had already looked at dresses. And all I could think about is why was I not good enough for him? Why me? What did I do to him that I deserved a cheater and a liar as a fiance?

 

Memories

 

So many memories that we created together to only flush them down the toilet. I was miserable for months, especially since he lived in the same town as me so I would see him constantly. I went through the stages of grief and I was still not okay at the end. And to be honest, I do not think that I am okay with this. His mom blamed me for breaking his heart, his friends that were “friends” with me were confused and would not leave me alone, his brother messaged me as well, my ex blamed me and told me it was my fault that he cheated on me. Everything was my fault. And I claimed it. For a little while, he did not speak to me.

 

Manipulation

 

One day we were texting for some reason and he told me some very scary things that he was going to do and that I could do nothing to help him and that it was my fault. My mind spun of control and I started to have flashbacks of how manipulative he was to me when he got like this. Luckily, my mom and my pastor handled the situation and we did not speak much after that. After a few months I literally ran him out of town and I told him to never come back and to never speak to me again or he would regret it.

 

Consumed in Anger

 

The anger that I felt towards his consumed my life and that turned into bitterness. Even now, I still see patterns of him in men who try to date me. My life spun out of control and I made some very poor choices. I still do not understand how I could have been so stupid and so blind to stay with him for as long as I did. And for the longest time, I despised him.

I convinced myself that I just did not fit the mold of what a woman should look like.  Dress like.  Even act like in this modern world. I really let myself go.  Furthermore, I kept all of my emotions bottled up and stuffed deep down.  I did this so I would not have to deal with the pain. Honestly, I think that I have kept it bottled up for so long.  I have blocked out those memories so quickly that in writing this piece I am still crying.

Part 3:  Coming Tomorrow

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How It Began

My guest blogger today talks about How It Began between her and her “first” boyfriend.  In it she reveals the emotional abuse, manipulation, and pain that she endured during the almot 3 years of dating this boy.

This is Something That is Considerably Difficult for Me to Write

I still have not been able to let it go after all these years. But I feel like now is the time to write about what my experiences were like when I was dating someone. I had not been in a relationship (or at least a serious one) until I met him. Online dating is the hip and cool new way to meet possible relationships.  You can talk with random people all over the world.  I was sadly one of the suckers that got sucked into all of the fun profiles and nice looking men.

 

How It Began

 

He showed up in my Facebook messages.  Then he told me that he found my profile on the dating website.  Sadly, he did not have the premium services.  Because of that, he had to message me via Facebook. He was a nice looking man and I thought, why not? Maybe I should open myself up and see if this might go somewhere. We started talking and we talked online and eventually started texting and calling almost daily for quite a few months.

Eventually, We Met and He Took Me on a Date

 

He was incredibly tall, 6’5 which seemed like a dream come true to my 6’0 tall self. Our date went really well and I invited him to come to church with me the following day. We started dating even though he lived in Alabama and we shortly declared ourselves in a relationship after only dating for a little while. My friends, family, and church family were so supportive of us and our long distance relationship. It was so hard for him and I to only see each other every two weeks for only two short days. And sometimes I would go months without seeing him because of him working two jobs.

 

The Honeymoon Phase

 

I was in such a “honeymoon” phase that I did not truly see how screwed up our relationship was at the time. Honestly, I made it very clear that I did not want to do anything further unless we got married. I made a choice a long time ago to wait until marriage to have any kind of relations with a man since that is what God says in his Word. After about a year of dating, he kissed me and touched me even though I did not say yes or no. And from there we continued to make poor choices and follow fleshly desires rather than focusing our eyes on God and working on our relationship.

 

Being “In Love”

 

I wanted to make him happy because I wanted to be in love so bad and I wanted him to care about me like I saw in the relationships of my other friends. I had never felt that feeling of “being in love” and I did not see how dangerous it was for me to continue in that sin pattern. Eventually I told him that we could not continue like this anymore and he agreed to stop. From the beginning that we started dating I told him that if he ever laid a finger on me that it would not end well for him, which he didn’t but he also treated me in a way that is not acceptable in the way a man should take care of a woman.

 

Manipulation and Emotional Abuse

 

He would yell at me and be overly possessive over me for no reason. I told him that I was considering, not even stating I was actually going to do it, but that I wanted to possibly join a sorority. He freaked out and told me he did not want me to join because I would leave him for a frat guy that was better than him. I assured him that cheating was not something that I take lightly and that I only had eyes for him.

He would yell at me even in front of my family to the point where I had to leave the room in order to stay calm and keep my composure. Yet, I still said nothing because I did not want him to leave me. He would emotionally abuse me and refused to communicate with me when we would fight. I tried to put a bandaid on the issue or smile my way through it and say that we were alright. I refused to listen to wisdom from my church family, my mentors, and my family, especially my mom.

Part 2:  Coming Tomorrow

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You are not Hidden

Rescue Lyric Slides (PPT, PRO, TXT) - Lauren Daigle | PraiseCharts

You are not Hidden

That phrase.  You are not Hidden.  It stirs in my soul.  There are days when I feel like He doesn’t see me.  He doesn’t care or that He doesn’t hear my prayers.  I am sure other people think that, but then I heard this song.  He does hear me.  When I am silently crying, alone, He hears me.  Then, He sends His army just for me.  He doesn’t send it to Antarctica or Timbuktu.  The army comes to me, wherever I might be.  Now, He may not answer me the way I want it answered, but He still hears me.  He still answers me.  Click on Lauren Daigle’s name and it will take you to the video.  Very powerful.

Rescue

~by Lauren Daigle

You are not hidden
There’s never been a moment
You were forgotten
{You} are not hopeless
Though you have been broken
Your innocence stolen
I hear you whisper underneath your breath
{I} hear your SOS, your SOS
I will send out an army to find you
In the middle of the darkest night
It’s true, I will rescue you
There is no distance
That cannot be covered
Over and over
You’re not defenseless
I’ll be your shelter
{I’ll} be your armor
I hear you whisper underneath your breath
{I} hear your SOS, your SOS
I will send out an army to find you
In the middle of the darkest night
It’s true, I will rescue you
I will never stop marching to reach you
In the middle of the hardest fight
It’s true, I will rescue you
I hear the whisper underneath your breath
{I} hear you whisper, you have nothing left
I will send out an army to find you
In the middle of the darkest night
It’s true, I will rescue you
I will never stop marching to reach you
In the middle of the hardest fight
It’s true, I will rescue you
Oh, I will rescue you
Source: LyricFind

Important Numbers

National Suicide Hotline   800.273.8255

To Make It Easier!  988

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The Rest of my Story…Let the Tears Flow

The Rest of my Story...Let the Tears Flow

The Rest of my Story…Let the Tears Flow

The Rest of my Story…Let the Tears Flow.  They flow for the pain these people went through.  For the pain that their family and loved ones have gone through.  The lost time, confusion, hurt, and then that moment of pain…

Office Buddy

A man that I worked with was the life of the office.  We shared our office space and we had the most fun, hands down, of any other offices.  That is where he introduced me to his lovely ‘female friend’ and her son, C.  They were all so dang cute together.  We all loved hanging out and C had a bit of a crush on me.  He was like 8, so it was pretty sweet.  There was no surprise to hear that they were going to get married, soon after they met.  Then along came baby B!  Wow, what a transition.

My friend ended up getting another job, in another town (close by).  He wasn’t too far away and so he commuted.  His wife continued to work.  Both boys began school.  Life seemed to be good for them.  Until the moment when I got the phone call.

Screams

The screams of my friend’s wife still bounce around in my head from time to time.  I didn’t realize that my friend was struggling with mental illness because their family put on a very good show.  It turns out, he just couldn’t move foward and made a choice that was devastating for all of those who loved him.  I will never forget the look on her face when she was telling me what happened.  She was talking but she wasn’t present.   This is something you never get over and you always wonder what you could have done differently.  The pain does not cease with time.

All In the Family

Another family that is close to my heart.  Well, when I met this family, they were infections.  The dad was loud and in your face.  Mom was loud, loved to talk, and make friends. The kids were big.  Loud.  Boisterous.  Kids.  A unique blended family that seemed to figure out how to make it work.

Again, from the outside, life looked awesome.  Great job for him.  Great job for her.  Kids in college, school, military, money, nice house.  Then, you opened the door to this beautiful home and you see what is going on behind closed doors.

Silence, arguing, pain, grudges, fights, booze, meds, threats, screaming.  There was one person of stability in the house and he was an amazing person.  Sadly, the Lord called this person home. That’s when things started really falling apart. The marriage was dwindling, the kids were not doing what they needed to do.  Then prescription drugs and alcohol began to play a factor

Unstability

When a parent is unstable and children witness or deal with suicidal attempts or threats, it alters their minds forever.  Sadly this is the case.  Due to undiagnosed medical conditions, the struggle has been to make the conscience effort to breathe in and out every day.  So, it is no surprise when one of her children followed her in her footsteps.  Generational curses can be broken!  Thankfully, everyone in this family is doing their best in taking the next right step.

2 Families, Same Story

Drugs, alcohol, abuse, feelings of unworthiness, depression plagued 2 boys.  One was a young boy, not even a teen.  The other was a young man with a brand new baby to love.  In my eyes, both of these boys were loved, but in their eyes, they were not worthy of love.  They were useless and people would be better off without them.  Knowing the people that saw what happened, that day, and ran to their rescue haunt me.  I cannot even imagine the sight of what they saw and the strength it took them to save these boys.  The thankfulness that these, now men, are still alive does not leave my mind.

Yet, they are still struggling with the same things they did when they were younger.  The boy of the story has no ability to work, drive, or do much of anything.  He is basically confined to one space.  How heartbreaking to wake up everyday to the same thing day after day with no hope of getting out of that space.

The young man of the story is working, doing okay.  Raising children and trying to do life in the best way he knows how.  He copes with drugs and alcohol and still suffers from depression.  My hope is that boy these young men can see who they are in God’s eyes.  That they are loved beyond measure.

The Screams of a Mother

There is nothing quite like that phone call.  A mom who has given her life to raising her children in God’s light.  This mom who loves her children and has made huge sacrifices for them.  She has made decisions that no parent should have to make.  Then, her young son does the unthinkable and succeeds.  It was the most heart-wrenching thing I have ever heard.  All I could do was pray for peace.  Her voice…

My Sweet Friend

I met this sweet friend at a place that helped my son.  She had a kind smile and a loud laugh.  Shortly after we met and became friends, she was diagnosed with cancer.  She fought that battle and won.  We missed seeing her every week, but it was safer to be home and not get sick.  Treatments are hard on a body.

I was thrilled when I saw her walking towards me one day.  She had her bandana on her head and a smile on her face.  My son was so excited to see her, as well.  Again, this is a woman that I knew had some struggles but for the most part, she “seemed” happy.  Until she wasn’t.

Sigh…I just can’t even begin.  Articulate properly.  Precious human.  She is now at peace though missed terribly here.

Then There was Leigh Ann

My loud, firecracker, sailor-mouthed friend.  Fearless.  Brilliant.  Beautiful.  All of the stories I told have taken a piece of my heart.  Leigh Ann, however, has taken a chunk.  Again, the horror of hearing her mama and the words coming out of her mouth.  The useless feeling that washed over me as I held her sweet son while he sobbed.  Her daughter.  Brother.  Even her dog was mourning.

I have written about her before and I will not go into detail of her life or death on this post.  There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her.  Honestly, there is not a night that goes by when I close my eyes and I can see her staring back at me.  Her death was one of the most painful experiences of my life.  I am not okay.

Parting Thoughts

You, this whole month, I have dedicated to awareness and suicide prevention.  I have posted myths and facts on my facebook page, as well.  Honestly, I have no idea how many people even read what I write but it is healing for me.  I heard, not long ago, this statement.  If a person were in their right mind, at that moment, they would never follow through with suicide.  I say this because if they were in their right mind, they would think about the NEXT moment.  For instance, who would find them?  How would they live in or drive by the place that it occurred?  What about their children, if they have them, what would they grow up knowing?

So many questions and so little answers.

Moments are fleeting but the Truth of the Lord remains.  Your life is worth more than all the rubies and gold in heaven.  He created you in the image of His Son.  Jesus loves you without abandon and you have to do nothing to earn it.  There is help and there is hope.  You are loved.  Your life is worth living.  Please think about that next moment, after you imagine your “success.”  Think about the other person who will find you and have to tell your loved ones.

Seek help.  Medication.  Therapy.  Self-care.

Some of my friends survived and too many were lost to suicide.  I have put off writing this and posting this for a month and all day today.  It is so hard and I know that I will have bad dreams tonight.  I am always trying to save everyone.  You can save yourself by calling any of these resources to help you!

Resources

1.800.273.8255 Suicide Hotline

1.800.799.7233 National Domestic Violence Hotline

1.800.422.4453 Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline

1.866.488.7386 The Trevor Project LGBTQ? Hotline

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My Thoughts on This Week’s Story

My Thoughts on This Week's Story

My Thoughts on This Week’s Story

Well, this has been a story that I have been wanting my friend to write for along time.  Yet, she wasn’t ready.  This time, she was ready.  So many people need to understand the difference between “baby blues” and “postpartum depression.”  There is a difference.  So, My Thoughts on This Week’s Story is strength, pain, forgiveness, and mercy.

When I Met Her

She came in like a whirlwind.  I met her, her bitty bitty babies, and her 5000 dogs.  Then, I scared her husband.  What a great first impression.  I knew, from that moment, that this girl was precious but she struggled in so many areas.  Tears, heartache, pain, resilience, love, devotion…so much wrapped up into this beautiful human.  Her strength drives me to do more and to be stronger.  Even in the midst of fear and pain…she yields to our Father.

Such a Scary Time

She was walking in a time that many things began to collide.  With the premature birth and special needs of her daughters, her abuse, her familial relations, the realization of the loss of her beloved grandaddy, and so much more all landed at her feet with a thud.

She would call me and all I would hear were sobs.  So, I sat and listened.  She would come over and her emotions walked in the house before she did.  This baby (now in her 30s) needed a mama.  I became her mama.  Fantastically enough, I look awesome to have a child her age and a lot of grands LOL.

Once She Saw it, She Fought it

The realizations that she has made have been phenomenal.  Instead of be shrouded in fear, shame, disappointment, and ideations…she became a student.  A brilliant one at that.  We looked at every aspect of her life and analyzed the crap out of it.  The teacher taught the student how to read the book.  Now, the student reads the book in 5 different languages.

Once you become that student and learn, it takes fear out of the equation.  It kicks satan square in the arse out the front door.  Now, she can process events and find joy.  Manage the sadness.  She may let the bird fly around her hair, but it no longer makes a nest in it.

I Cannot Even

This is the most precious human in the history of ever.  I am so thankful the Lord saw fit to cross our paths in such an unusual way.  Blessed.  I am blessed by her presence.  Her laughter is contagious.  The fearlessness she attacks things is amazing.  Yet, when she is struck at the knees, she ever so slightly bends and has a moment.  The moments do not last.

An amazing mama who has fought the good fight for ALL of her children.  She fought for her marriage and won.  Sadly, she fought the good fight with her family and made a difficult decision.  She made this decision with wisdom, clarity, discussion with her husband, and counsel.

Her testimony is an amazing one.  I am proud to call her friend.

Resources

Postpartum HelpLine 800.944.4773

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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Postpartum Depression and Suicide

Postpartum Depression and Suicide

Postpartum Depression and Suicide are a real thing.  The girls’ first 14 months of life was traumatizing for me as their mom. They had several health issues such as,  Intrauterine Growth Restriction, Small For Gestational Age, Failure To Thrive, and many other things. The day of my 30th birthday, things took a turn. The girls were 7 months old. I hadn’t heard from hardly anyone that day. I felt as though everyone had forgotten this birthday.  Honestly, even my husband.  I didn’t hear from him until NOON.

The Plan

That is when Postpartum Depression and Suicide collided.  On the way home that day, from running some errands, I had hit my lowest point. I was going to end it. I had it all planned out.  Then, there was a moment when I heard babble. It was one of my sweet girls reminding me they are still here. It was God reminding me that He wasn’t done with me yet.

Getting Help

The next day, I had spoken to a friend and she gave me the name of her therapist. I called her and began my therapy. Therapy taught me so much about me. I learned that grief came in many forms and looked different for everyone. I learned that the grief from losing Grandaddy and the trauma from the girls had all added up.  That I was suffering from Postpartum Depression (PPD). I did not get any medication because therapy was enough from me. I began to deal with my grief, and even issues from my childhood that had gone unresolved.

Unexpected Blessing

When the girls were 14 months old, I found out I was expecting again, very unexpectedly. We also got a diagnosis for our girls at this time (just before finding out about our pregnancy). I was so scared of PPD again, but I knew I could get through it. I did well.   We had a healthy boy with no IUGR (though he did have a heart defect that resolved on it’s own by 6 months of age).  I first felt him kick about 16 weeks into my pregnancy. Would you like to take a guess at what was on the radio when this happened?

“Baby Blues”

I had a little of the “baby blues” with hormones balancing back out, but I did okay. We went on to have another unexpected pregnancy that took a turn for complications at 26 weeks, and again at 31 weeks. I didn’t feel him kick until about 19 weeks into my pregnancy, which scared me. Grandaddy’s song came on the radio while I was driving down the road, and I felt it. This little kick that gave me reassurance. It was his favorite song to kick as well.  I had been worried about it, but told that I had an anterior placenta so that could be normal. Our sweet baby was delivered and was, again, IUGR and the diagnosis was missed.

Life Got Complicated

Things went on and life got complicated for a while. After a few months, I messaged my OB and my old therapist and told them I was NOT okay. My old therapist said that meds may be a good idea. My OB called me in a prescription.  I also started the process to begin therapy again (and then COVID happened and put a wrench in THAT!).

Looking Back

It has been 4 years since that day when I thought it was all over. Two more babies have been born. Our youngest is now over a year old. I still think about Grandaddy every day. All of my babies know who he is and can identify him in pictures. They talk about him when they ask questions. My girls have discovered grape fruit, and one really likes it. I told her how Grandaddy loved it as well, so she brags about that currently.  In so many things, I see him. I know he has truly been watching over us.

All Four of my Kids Still Love that Song

They will dance and “sing” to it. Life isn’t perfect, but I have weaned off of my anti-depressant now. Every day isn’t great, as our girls are special needs and do require more care. Two days before my 34th birthday, I made the decision to end the relationship with my narcissistic mom. My 34th birthday came and went with no drama. It was filled with peace.

I. AM. A. SURVIVOR.

PPD and other postpartum related illnesses effect so many. The day I turned 30, I didn’t know I was struggling with it, but I did know that I couldn’t go on. There is treatment available and there is help. Help that will not judge you. Help that will support you and help you through. Please, please know that you are not alone and you are not at fault. You are strong and you are a warrior. You can do this, and you can survive. I have battle scars, but I have fought hard and they show that. Those scars show the fight. They remind me of where I have been, and that God is not done with me yet.

Resources

Postpartum HelpLine 800.944.4773

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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Struggling wtih Depression and Anxiety at a Young Age

Guest Blogger, Suicide Prevention

Where to Start

Where to Start

Where to Start?  I guess, if I am going to tell the story of my darkest time, yet biggest recovery….I should start at the beginning, right? My husband and I struggled with infertility for years. After testing, we were told that seeing a fertility specialist was our only option at having children of our own. We were advised there that IVF was our best option.

Beginning IVF

We began our cycle in May of 2015. June 5, 2015 was the day we were scheduled to have our embryo transfer.  An embryo transfer is where they transfer the embryos into the uterus.  Hopefully, they will implant and begin a pregnancy. I woke up to a message, from during the night, that said “taking Grandaddy to the hospital for chest pains.”  Then another that said:  “They’re sending him to Nashville.” I had tried to call as we got our day around and headed to the IVF office. I was an hour ahead, so no one answered.

Transfer Began

We made it to the office, got us ready to go into the transfer room. I’m lying there on the table as my husband holds my hand. They have an ultrasound probe pointed at me and a camera in the lab. “We are selecting the strongest two embryos in hopes that one will implant. As we talked about, this does give you a 33% chance at twins, but that is a manageable pregnancy.”

My World Began to Unravel

We watched as the lab technician drew up two little embryos into a syringe. They brought it to us as we confirmed identification. We watched as these two little babies, our babies, were inserted into a catheter and land in my uterus. “We need you to lay flat for an hour when you leave this room. You can go to the restroom, and then lay down.” I went to the bathroom, came back and laid down and grabbed my phone.
“Grandaddy has had a heart attack. We are on our way, but we aren’t to him yet.” My memory is pretty foggy after that. I know my uncle called me. “Grandaddy is going to pull through. Just like he always has. The doctors have always been wrong.” I knew. I knew the last time I had seen him would be the last time.

A Choice to Make

Our doctor came in and I asked if I could go to Nashville that night. I told him I needed to say goodbye to my Grandaddy. I needed to see him one last time. “You need to decide if you want to see your Grandaddy or if you want these babies and this pregnancy.” I knew what Grandaddy would tell me if he could. He would tell me to take care of the babies. “Grandaddy isn’t going to recover.” The moment the doctors had confirmed what God had already told me was going to happen. I couldn’t go for 48 hours.

If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away

That night, they called all of our family in. When my dad had arrived, they made the call and took Grandaddy off of life support. My brother had called me and let me talk to him before they did. “Grandaddy, it’s your Punkin. I’m pregnant. Do you hear me? I’m pregnant. There are two babies inside me right now growing. Watch over them please. Keep them safe and protect them. If it doesn’t go my way, and I don’t get to keep them, hold them while I wait. I love you always.”
Fifty hours after our embryo transfer, I was at the airport in Detroit, MI to Nashville, TN to come and see my family as we laid my Grandaddy to rest. I took a leap of faith and told everyone we were expecting. At his funeral, we played the song “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away).

June 15, 2015

The day before his 75th birthday, we got the call that we were indeed pregnant. Our first round of IVF was successful. Six weeks into our pregnancy, we found out both embryos had implanted and we were expecting TWINS!! Ten weeks into our pregnancy, we found out there was a complication with baby B. My placenta was too close to my uterus.  There was a chance we could miscarry him/her.
I was on a weight and activity restriction for two more weeks. We decided if baby B survived, we would name this baby after Grandaddy. 20 weeks into our pregnancy, I felt our girls kick for the first time. “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” was playing on the radio when it happened. 35 weeks into our pregnancy, we were told she had a hole in her heart that would need repaired at birth. 37 weeks 5 days into our pregnancy, I was told the babies were out of room and we had to induce. 38 weeks 1 day, I check in and we begin our induction with our sweet girls.

They Are Here

They did not tolerate this well, and because of their struggle, we ended in an emergency c section 27.5 hours later. Baby A was 4lb 12oz. Baby B was 4lb 3oz. One hour after their birth, baby B was taken from us and put into the NICU due to low blood sugar and issues with her temperature. Five days after their birth, they went home with me at just 4lb 6oz. and 3lb 15oz. A few days later, we were told baby B had some concerning blood work and needed to be tested for cystic fibrosis. At 8 weeks, she was tested and it was negative. You see, she has always been Grandaddy’s baby. In July of 2008, we were told not to expect to have him that year for Christmas.

Tomorrow, the Story is Continued.

Business Side of Life, Guest Blogger, Suicide Prevention

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Guest Blogger, Jenna Sherman, is writing again to help you to find ways to reduce your stress and Take Care of Your Mental Health.  Due to the subject matter of this month and continuing pandemic of Co-vid19, self-care and reducing stress is imperative.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

How Families Can Reduce Stress and Tension During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has been going on for months, but for self-isolating households, this time probably feels much longer. Keeping up with current guidelines and information is stressful enough.  Many families are also dealing with stress from being stuck indoors together. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to address household tension.  This will help your family grow closer as you ride out the rest of this pandemic.

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Before you can be there for your family, it’s sometimes necessary to take care of yourself first. Prioritizing your mental health is always important, but it matters even more during these stressful times. Following Barefoot Faith Journey and other bloggers who regularly write about important mental health topics is a great way to start your journey toward better mental health.

 

Practicing self-care is also important during the pandemic. Self-care can take countless forms, and it means something different to anyone. You might not be able to practice all of your usual self-care habits.  During the pandemic, it still helps to prioritize simple things.  Things such as exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water, and eating nutritious foods.

 

If you find that you are struggling to cope, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has great resources available to help you through these times. For example, some resources can help you locate treatment options during the pandemic, while others can help you find solutions if you are feeling overwhelmed with finances or other stressors that may have worsened because of the pandemic.

 

Keep in mind that your children may also find it difficult to cope well with the changes brought on by the pandemic. Listening to your children’s concerns, providing structure to the day and giving context to the news are just a few ways to help, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Spend Time Outside

Getting fresh air is one of the most effective ways to bond as a family during the pandemic while also eliminating stress and boosting everyone’s mental health. You might not be able to enjoy all of the same activities you did before, such as pastimes that require you to be in large crowds, but there are plenty of other ways to get outside.

 

Going on a camping adventure is a fun and socially-distant way to try something different and get your minds off the situation at hand. Likewise, visiting local parks you haven’t been to before is a nice way to explore your neighborhood and stay active while self-isolating. You can even have fun without having to leave the backyard. Try having a backyard bonfire, playing yard games or stargazing.

Keep Boredom at Bay

Boredom can easily cause tension to rise despite your best efforts. Going outside is a great way to reduce stress.  There are also a variety of fun indoor activities that are equally fun bonding opportunities. For example, having a weekly game night is a good way to pass the time. Opting for cooperative board games and video games will allow you to keep the mood light rather than having it turn competitive.

 

If you want to get serious about online gaming with each other, make sure your internet connection can keep up. Upgrading to fiber optic internet is a smart move.  Especially if you plan on playing multiplayer games like Fortnite.  Also if you are letting your kids play games while you work from home.

Fiber optic internet can handle several devices at the same time. As an added benefit, a faster internet connection also makes it easier to download or stream movies.  This is good if you want to have a family-friendly movie night.

 

Some tension is to be expected as your family navigates the pandemic and adjusts to the new normal. However, it’s important not to let stress get the best of you. Checking in with your mental health, getting outside and finding ways to combat stress indoors will help your family weather whatever the pandemic throws your way.