Depression, Faith Journey, Medical Issues, Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome

A Breakthrough of Letting Go

A Breakthrough of Letting Go

A Breakthrough of Letting Go

Sometimes I don’t even realize I’m trying to control a situation. For a year (or more), the Lord has not moved. 

Then I sit back, and I reflect.

I think about all the phone calls, the late nights researching, the bookmarks I’ve saved, the groups I have stalked, the tests I have read and reread…..but…

Where was my Jesus?

I realized: ~ that my depression was stronger ~my prayer life had waned ~my mood was somber ~my temper was short ~my resolve was shorter ~my study life was nonexistent ~my relationships were strained, and ~my desire to go to church was void.

On June 17, 2018, I found Jesus again.

I say that knowing that I have always had Jesus. He has never left me or forsaken me. Today, He imprinted on me. He gently turned my head back around to face Him. I allowed things to happen that I would generally never let out of fear.

Fear has no place anymore.

As I wheeled my son in church, late, past 1044 people (not really, but it seemed like a lot when your baby is in a wheelchair), I kept my head down. I tried not to make eye contact with anyone. If I did, I would melt into a puddle of tears.

Then I turned around.

There stood friend #1, and before I knew it, friend #2 walked up. There was a brief moment where I explained a few things. Then I had to walk away because I was fixing to lose it. In no way did I want to release that control and let anyone see me cry. From the hallway, I hurried back into the sanctuary, and we were in the middle of worship.

I couldn’t even open my mouth or my eyes.

I just stood there, in the pew, with my head down. There were no thoughts in my head. At that moment, I was trying hard not to cry because I was with my children. I found myself walking to the altar to pray when they began another song. My feet were moving without the permission of my mind. I knelt, and still, there were no words in my head out of my mouth. I just sat there and absorbed the music.

Mamoo

As I was praying, I felt a hand, and I looked over, and Ms. Mamoo was praying over me. She is the most eccentric woman I have ever met. She is stunning with bright blonde and pink hair. Her legs are to die for, and she is about 86 years old. There is a strength in her. She kept telling me to “hold on,” that healing would happen and that I needed to hold on to that statement. I felt my body release. Then, I heard these sounds that thinking back, was me moaning in an animalistic way.

The music stopped.

I hurried through a door to gather myself, alone for a moment. I walked around the corner to check on H. He was beginning to melt down because he could not pick up a whale snack. He kept dropping it and shaking. As I went in to help him, the ladies said there was a man at the door that wanted to speak to me.

I have never seen him before.

This man was emotional, and he asked me to bear with him. He said he saw me wheel my son past him. He felt the Lord leading him to pray over him, and at that moment, he asked permission to do so. I went back into the room and scooped H up. In his next request, he asked me if he could hold H. I was okay with it; strangely, so was H. H was completely at ease with this man.

His prayer

What a beautiful healing prayer this man prayed over my son in the church hallway. I will never remember all the words he said. I do remember the stillness of H. The electricity in that little huddle, the tears that this man and I shed. I was humbled.

Faith.

Our sermon was on faith and how you must tie a knot at the end of the last thread, you are hanging onto. You must trust that you will land on Jesus’ hand if you slip. This sermon was exactly what I’ve been battling with for the last month or so. Jesus has been working on me to have faith. To stand strong, to release control because He knew H before He created the earth. He knew who would carry him, and He knew who was going to raise him. God knew that H would go through this. He already has the perfect provision if I get out of the way and stop controlling the situation.

In the end

I went to get my son. H was gently placed in his chair, and I wheeled him into the sanctuary. Looking up, I saw Richie, our pastor, and before I knew what I was doing, I wheeled him up to the altar. The Lord gave me another huge chunk of my rainbow at that moment. As I looked up, people from all over the sanctuary came forward to lay hands on H, Bart, and me. Mamoo anointed him with oil as she prayed.

There stood men and women of all ages and children. I could hear a gentle roar of prayers being spoken over our son. In the midst of that, I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was a familiar hand, with a familiar smell and a slight tremor. Ms. Jan, through the crowd, touched me. I never saw her face. I just felt the warmth of her hand, and I could hone in on her voice. H never moved. He never cried. He just sat there and took it all in.

 

Life or Something Like It

The Loss of Donna

The Loss of Donna

 

I started writing this on October 6, 2021. It has taken me all this time to finish because I have needed to grieve, process, sit in the quiet, remember, and honor those I have lost that was so dear to my heart.

I have been doing and posting a lot of reviews and having a ton of giveaways lately. It has been good to see some positive, heart-changing things on the big and small screens. Yet, it is also a way for me to dissociate and remove myself from being vulnerable or sharing anything that is truly painful.
So, here I am, not posting a review or giveaway. I am sitting in my new dining room, listening to a fan dry the mud from the drywall where we had a flood in our new kitchen, looking at my cat, who appears to want to murder me, and pondering on how this month has been affecting me.

Fall. I love this season. With the cooler weather and the changing of the leaves, the world is preparing for everything to die in the winter, only to regrow with beauty and new life in the spring. I love it. Yet, this month, in particular, brings tremendous sadness and grief.

October 1 is the fourth anniversary of my Lady’s death. That day never passed without me reflecting on our friendship and what she meant to me. How I miss her and how I have never really mourned her loss. I just push it down, push it down, WAY down. Thankfully I had a sweet distraction on that day. CM was here to love me and keep me extremely busy. I simply can’t wait until my next grandbaby makes a grand entrance next year. Grandchildren are God’s way of saying, “you survived raising children, now enjoy the fun part.”

Yet, today, I find myself struggling again. Today is my friend’s 62nd birthday and her first birthday in heaven. We met years and years ago; she was Leigh Ann’s mom, my friend that passed away a few years ago. I would not have made it through Leigh Ann’s death if it weren’t for Donna. I should have been a rock for her, which I was when she needed me. Yet, she was my rock in coping and reminding me of the fire that was Leigh Ann. A few years before LA’s death, Donna lost her husband to cancer. David was a sweet man. Quiet in nature unless you ticked him off, and then BOOM, he would explode. Those episodes were few and far between. He was the love of her life. Donna and I became incredibly close after the death of her daughter and my friend.

She was in the thick of raising LA’s kids and her grandchildren, and I was raising kids around the same age. We bonded over the silliest things. There were things we disagreed on, there were things we debated together on, yet our foundation was strong. We could love regardless of those differences. That is what friendship means.

We talked every night or every other night. I would watch Detail Geek and describe it all to her. She watched it vicariously through me. We would solve the world’s problems, discuss our day, and she would make fun of my suppers. She called me the Casserole Queen. That woman never made a casserole, and I made one every night.

Donna had not been feeling well since her granddaughter’s hospital stay. We both thought it was just stress, exhaustion, and adrenaline from what we thought was cancer which ended up being a severe kidney infection. The kidney infection led to the removal of her granddaughter’s kidney. She wasn’t eating well, drinking anything but soda, and smoking. Man, we mama’s can live off of anything in a stressful situation.

I encouraged her to go to the doctor, but she refused. She had a fear of doctors. You go in and never come back out was her mentality. We talked about her quitting smoking, which she did because the cough got to be too much. She began having dizzy spells and not being able to keep food down. All of these symptoms started in about March, I would say.

We thought maybe it was Co-Vid and that she just had a horrible case. Still, she wouldn’t go. She was just going to wait it out. Then, when it didn’t go away, we thought grief was beginning to settle in her. She never really had time to grieve her husband and daughter’s loss. Grief can, quite literally, kill someone.

She lived with the age-old question, “Is it better to know someone has something terminal, so you can prepare yourself and say all the things you need to say? Or, “Is it better for it to be quick, so you don’t have to see your loved one in pain?” She experienced both in a very short amount of time. Frankly, they both suck.

Then, she began losing weight. She had no appetite. She would say that nothing tasted good and she was just so weak. Nothing her son, her grandchildren, or I could say to her could get her to eat. She quit smoking and mainly just slept. There were times I could not understand her talking on the phone. That’s when I knew. I knew something was wrong, and I had to try again to get her to the doctor.

On her birthday, I surprised her and popped by her house. I knocked on the door (much to her dismay) and heard the dogs. Then, I heard Lexi running to the door. She opened the door, and I hugged her sweet little neck. Lex quickly disappeared back to her dungeon (LOL). As I walked in, my heart sank.

One thing those closest to me know is that I do not show emotion. Also, I’m a rockstar in stressful situations. When I am alone, that is when I process and stuff emotion. Healthy? No. What I do? Yes.
I turned to look at Donna lying on the couch. She was nothing but bones, and she was so jaundiced that the whites of her eyes were yellow. She had lost more teeth and had no strength. I stood in the doorway. Frozen. I put my head down, and the tears flowed freely. I could not hold them in.
She first asked me why on earth I knocked. Family does not knock. I still couldn’t move. Then, I heard her say, “Brandi, come here.” I walked over and sat next to her. I lay across her frail body, weeping uncontrollably. She just stroked my hair and said that things would be fine. She said she drank some that day and hadn’t thrown it up.

That moment froze in time for me. Again, here Donna is, knowing what she knew, and she was comforting me. See that day, she had called me earlier and told me that the good news was she did not have Co-vid, but the bad news was that she had stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

You don’t realize it until you see it. I knew Donna’s time was limited. She was going to fight and do all the right things. She was going to drink more water, eat more, and do whatever the doctor said, but by then, it was too late. She knew. I knew. We all knew. Yet, we hoped that it would be different.
I begged her to let me take her to the ER just to get some fluid. Her belly had begun to swell, and I knew she was hurting from losing so much weight and laying in one position. She refused. Every day I would go over there and stay for as long as possible. Most of the time, it was just us. Sometimes her grandchildren would come in and out of her son. They all lived with her.

With each passing day, she would get weaker. One day, she wanted me to brush her hair. One day she wanted me to rub her feet and legs. They were so swollen, but the pressure of me rubbing her feet made her feel better.

There were some days when her older sisters would come. One lived in Michigan and came home to be with Donna as much as possible. I tried to lift as much of the burden off of them so that they could spend good quality time with her.

Hospice had been called in, and Donna told them to get out out out. She refused them because she knew what that meant. I know David was flooding her mind in the last few days of her life. She knew hospice meant death. She was not ready for that. Her sisters bathed her, which seemed to exhaust her yet refresh her. Her great-granddaughter also came for a visit, which lifted her spirits; plus, she was expecting her second great-grandchild, a boy.

We had some excellent conversations once we were alone. A misunderstanding for a season took us apart for several years. That was the first time that Donna ever said she was sorry. It took me back because I had let that go years ago. She said that she remembered saying all those things, and then Donna looked into my eyes and saw the hurt and pain of what she had just said. Also, she stated that she couldn’t bring herself to talk to me because she was so ashamed of herself. That touched my heart and humbled me.

We talked about her daughter and all the things that come with her. It was so healing. She spoke of David and the plans she wants for her son and grandchildren. I have never really spoken to someone with such clarity towards the end of their life like that. We talked about the worst-case scenario and what we would do when she got better. Everything was covered.

Then, it was the afternoon of chaos. So many people had come in and out. I had found out some things I never knew and made phone calls I never wanted to make. Her granddaughter was overcome by it all and was acting out due to the trauma. I was called, and she was in the back of a cop car. It took me an hour to calm her down. I had to remind her of my love for her. L needed to know who she is in Christ. I am so glad the officers understood the situation and showed her grace upon grace. These kids have been through more in their lives than most adults will ever experience.
On October 15, 2020, As I walked into the trailer, strangers (to me) were there. They didn’t stay long; eventually, it was just her grandkids, her son, and her sisters. Donna was very uncomfortable. I rubbed her belly, legs, feet, head, hair, anything she wanted, but I couldn’t get her comfortable. I begged her to let me call 911 because her belly had so much fluid on it. I explained that I would go with her if she went, and she would not be alone.

Finally, she said yes because the pain was unbearable. I called, and we immediately moved things around to make it easier for the EMTs to get in with the stretcher. They got there and realized that the stretcher wouldn’t fit, so they had it out by the bus and brought in a wheelchair-type thing that she could be safely strapped to. I informed them of her bed sores and her protruding tailbone, and the discomfort that she was experiencing. They were so gentle with her.

As they were picking her up, she was screaming in pain. She was afraid she would fall out of the chair. I was holding her hand and explaining that they were going to strap her in, and I promised her they would not drop her and she would not fall. That I was right behind her, watching and monitoring the situation.

They got her down the three steps, and then I saw her arm fall off the side, and her head dropped. I screamed her name as the EMTs rushed to get her on the stretcher and get her O2. I could hear her grandchildren screaming. Her son with a panicked look on his face. Her sisters. There was no time for me to console them.

At that point, I jumped into my van with Stevie (her son), and we beat the EMTs to the hospital. Her sisters were not far behind. I parked and ran to the bay as they pulled into the bay. I feared that Donna would be gone. She wanted me beside her when she died. Donna didn’t want to be alone. She wanted to be with someone who loved her.

As they backed in and got to the back, I saw them drop her legs to the stretcher. I stood in fear with her sisters and son beside me. I looked up and saw Donna wave at me. At that point, I dropped to the ground. It was like my legs had no bones, and I wailed. That was not crying that came out of my mouth. I felt sick, scared, relieved, and like someone had taken an iron skillet to my body. I couldn’t move. Her sisters just stood there, trying to help me.

Finally, I pulled myself together, got my mask, and ran into the ER. They let me back (only because her family asked me to), and I stood/sat by her bed there. I was watching her. She looked over at me and asked me if she was going to die.

I told her yes. We talked about her salvation, and then we talked about what she wanted for each person in her family. After she had settled all that, and the doctors couldn’t do anything, they left us for a moment. She looked at me and said, “Well, we have got everyone figured out. Now, what about you?” I asked her what she meant, and she wanted to know if I would be okay and who would take care of me. In awe, I just looked at her and told her I would be fine. I would miss her every day and would keep an eye/ear out on her family and always be there if they needed me. I thanked her for her love and friendship. Without missing a beat, she said, “There’s room in the bed…I will scoot over, and you can lay down with me.” My heart. She knew that that was my comfort.

I told her they would probably kick me out if they saw me do that! Then, I asked if she wanted her sisters and son to return. She did, so I went to get them and let them have quiet moments with her without my intrusion.

They released her from the hospital because there was nothing they could do, and she wanted to go home. Stevie and I watched them pull out, and we beat them home again. We got the couch ready. By then, some people had begun to stop by again.

I was trying to stay out of the way and let those who needed to be by her side. At that point, she was not awake. Not long after I had gotten there, it was late into the evening. Bart called and said I needed to come home now. There was an emergency that could not wait. When he explained what was going on, I lost it.

I wanted him to try and explain to the person waiting for me that I was at an end-of-life friend’s house and couldn’t leave. They didn’t care. I hugged and kissed Donna. I told her I would be back shortly, and I flew home.

I can’t even with what happened at home. I do remember, after talking for what seemed like forever and completely losing myself, where I had been. I told her I had to go and she could come back or follow me. She let me leave.

As I was flying back to Donna’s, her sister called and said to hurry. I did the best I could. She took her last breath right before I got there. I walked into everyone sitting around, not knowing what to do.
As I did a week prior, I stood frozen in the doorway. I looked at my friend, and I went and laid down beside her. It was hard for me to catch my breath. She was gone, diagnosed precisely a week before. She went from okay; I’ll fight this to meeting Jesus and being reunited with her husband and daughter.

After I collected myself and the coroner came and took her body, I sat in the big chair. Her sweet granddaughter came and curled up in my lap. Grief had overtaken her, and I was the warm body that she fell on. With me, there has been nothing but love since she was 3. I had been there through it all, and I was again comforting my sweet girl.

I have been faithful to my word. I miss Donna daily. There are days when I miss her more and some days when I don’t think about it until the night. That is when we would chat. I have not watched Detail Geek again. Her son is okay, as okay as he can be. Her grandson is a father of 2 and working. Her granddaughter is living with a relative, and she is doing well now. She is working on school and has a goal for her future. We chat as often as a teenager wants to speak with a 49 yr old woman 🙂
I am ready for this month to be over. I am ready to heal. I am glad to remember the good times instead of the end. One day. Maybe when I see her again in heaven!

The Loss of Donna

 

 

Life or Something Like It

Misuse of the Word Friends

Misuse of the Word Friends

Misuse of the Word Friends

I have been chewing on the word “friend” for a while now. Honestly, I have no idea why. Yet, I feel we Misuse the Word Friends at an alarming rate. Maybe I have been thinking about this because this has just been a hard month. My Lady passed on the 1st, Donna passed on the 15th, and I miss them. Maybe the Lord is speaking to me on this subject.

Types of Friends

  • First
  • School
  • College
  • Church
  • Work
  • Fairweather
  • Fake
  • Social Media
  • For Now
  • True Blue

That’s a lot of different types of friends you will have over your lifetime. I can say, “Oh, my friend Jane, from elementary school just did this and this” according to social media.

We all know that the goal in life is to get as many “friends” as humanly possible on any social media platform. Honestly, though, are they all friends?

Have their feet been under your table? Do they truly know you now? Have they walked through difficult times with you or you with them? Even though you may not talk to them daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly. Can you still count on them?

If you can, and there are several I can, count yourself blessed.

Here are some examples from this list.

First Friend

I fondly remember meeting my first friend at Homemakers. My mom went, and Julie and I would sit on the floor and take our shoes off. We remained friends throughout all our school days. I went to her house and spent the night a lot. Honestly, I don’t remember her coming to my house, but she did come to my Smurf’s birthday party and for a sleepover one year.

Over time, we grew apart, as most people do. We know little to nothing about each other in our adult lives. Yet, I still hold her very dear to my heart. I know if I ran into her, we would quickly chat the night away and catch each other up on our lives.

Also, Terri Ann, we did not go to school together, but we did go to church together. She went to a “rival” school. We grew up together, and she was the first person I knew that had ever been adopted. She introduced me to the concept, which has stuck with me all these years. She even sang at my wedding. Again, our lives do not intertwine (she moved to another state), but if we did chat, we would not miss a beat.

School Friends

Do I even talk to any of my school friends? Did I even have friends in school? I had Julie, but that was about it. My school days were not significant. I was bullied a lot, and because my dad was a police officer, I never got invited to anything. Sadly, I would mask and try to inject myself into the different clicks. That didn’t work very well. I was just made fun of more, behind my back and to my face.

Honestly, I find it comical when people from my schools try to “friend” me on a social media platform. When I first got there, I would accept it and then look through their photos and read about their lives, yet there was no interaction. Then, I got smart. What makes you think you will like me now if you don’t like me? You treated me like crap. Forgiveness and transformation can happen, but that doesn’t mean I have to let you in my life. Does that make sense?

College Friends

I had and still have one college friend. We were so close in college; our lives took us in different directions. Once we stumbled back into each other’s lives, I counted her as a true friend. She has been one that I’ve reached out to for prayer and to share my heart, and I always get Christlike and honest responses from her. I adore her.

Church Friends

Aw, this one is tricky. You want to think everyone is a friend, the pastor and his wife. Then, you are slapped in the face with a frying pan. It’s all well and good if you stick to Sunday School and big church. Once you get involved, you see where the church is held together by duct tape and a q-tip.

The flaws, the lies, the theological differences, and the disregard of an entire group because of their age. Then there is the “looking over” the things that any age group should not do. From there, you get threatened by your pastor; your pastor’s wife says you should “get over rape and be available to your husband. Suck it up; it’s over.” I still cannot believe that woman said that to my face.

Pastor’s who say your family is too big and not to attend a program offered. Deacons forced my husband into “salvation.” They would not leave him alone and badgered the crap out of him until he decided to do what they wanted him to do.

“Friends” who told me that I was never going to be taken seriously because I was too loud, too outspoken, and my hair was pink. People threatened to turn me over to CPS because I didn’t let my daughter have dessert one night. They demanded to know their personal story. I refused. It is not my story to tell, and it is none of their business.

Luckily, I have still been able to maintain some respect and love for a few people from churches of the past. We don’t talk often, but I hope they feel they can call me if they need me. I would do the same for a very select few.

I am so glad to have stumbled on Christian Fellowship. Richie and Jenny are two of the most genuine people I have ever met…no matter where we are. The love of Jesus and the desire to make Him known oozes out of their pores. I have never felt such family, love, and support as I have felt going to this church.

Work Friends

Yep, again, I only had one. I called this friend my priest because he was going to school to become a deacon in his Catholic Church when we met. He did that. I was blessed to be invited, and I know he is one I can call. Other than that, there were none.

Fairweather Friends

These “friends” come and go like the ebbs and flow of the ocean. They get mad and step out of your life for a minute. Then, they get happy and start slowly beginning to communicate. Next up, they are all up in your stuff. Lastly, they flit off again. Several several several “friends” in this section of my life. I’ve decided to clip their wings, so there is no more flitting into my life.`

Fake Friends

I think we can all say we have had fake friends. Honestly, most of my fake friends came from churches over the years. Seeing how spiritual they are on social media makes it so funny to me now. Yet, when it comes down to slinging mud, getting dirty, and being the hands and feet of Jesus, they are entirely dismissive and judgemental.

I would LOVE to call these people out. Many people know these people and have horror stories of their behavior and actions towards others. It is embarrassing. Yet, I remember Exodus 14:14, saying, “The Lord will fight your battles. You need to be silent.”

There are days when I don’t want to be silent—just saying. My flesh gets all up in my feels, and I want to scream from every rooftop what a fake these people are and be aware.

Social Media Friends

In the world of social media, the more friends or followers, the more you look unique and vital. I’m here to say that is a crock of crap. I went a long time with all my social media deleted, but I had to open some of them back up because I do reviews.

When I do reviews/giveaways, I check to see if anyone entered to win whatever is being given away, but other than that, I am not active—on Twitter, Insta, FB, Pinterest, etc. I do have accounts, but they are linked through my blog, and I think most have my blog name. I do not follow or befriend anyone if you check (except FB and Insta). Now, I don’t necessarily do it on the platform. It may be through messaging or texts.

Over the years, outside of family, I have made three friends that I have been friends with for almost 20 years. We are all opposites; we don’t talk often, but we have mutual love and respect for each other. I am closer to one of those people than the other 2. I treasure every one of these ladies.

For Now Friends

These are in-the-moment friends. These people have been with me in so many situations, whether from adoption (for us), foster care adoption (again for us), special needs, etc. I can count on these people right now for this season. Sometimes these friends (or any friends) are for a season. They ebb and flow like the waves of the ocean. You know what, though? That is okay.

They were there for the season that you needed them. Glean what you can, apply it to your life, and then spread it to others who are in that situation.

When something arises, I know I can reach out to a few mamas raising kids from hard places. These are the ears I want because they are judgment-free and follow with prayer. I covet those friendships.

True Blue Friends

Well, this comes down to it. My college friend is a true blue friend. She is there, hopefully, for the long haul. Our paths may go in different directions, but her number is on my phone, and I do not hesitate to call. My Lady and Donna were my true blue friends. Now, they are with Jesus.

One of my social media friends can be counted in this group. We are so different and lead such different lifestyles, yet we respect each other and look past the differences to see the heart behind the human.

My For Now Friend is still hanging tight with me. I swear, we are the only two people who actually get what we are saying and don’t even think twice. She is such a friend that she stood in the gap when I had to take a break from parenting one of my more challenging children. There was never a hesitation. She just said, “you are doing this.” I was in such a state that all I did was cry and barely utter thank you. She has seven children from hard places, and she took my child for a little over a month to help my family regroup. Love her.

My pastor and his wife have my back at any time. Another couple from church we just think the world of would help us at any moment. By Steph. Forever. These are all people from church.

I could name more people, like Susan but know that my circle is small, and that is what I prefer. Slowly, I am finding more people who fall into this category that are new but hopefully long-lasting. You know, like an excellent battery.

I don’t have many (and I’m not even mentioning family), but the few I have are powerful warriors who would do anything to help our family if/when we need it. These people have seen us at our worst and still love, pray, and try to help. Lately, it’s been pretty bad!

Acquaintances

Let me sum it up with this meme.

Misuse of the Word Friends

Let’s start calling a spade a spade. A true blue friend is your friend through thick and thin. Most of the rest are just acquaintances with some genuinely extraordinary exceptions. Guess what? That is OKAY!

Oh! Just in Case You Were Wondering

My mother (my Oak) is not my friend. She is my mom.

My daddy is not my friend. He is my dad.

My children and grandchildren are not my friends. I am their parent; they have enough friends. They need a parent to guide them and not always agree with them.

My husband is not my friend. He is my lover, rock, person, husband, father of my children, grandfather of my grandchildren, stabilizer, and leader.

Friends come and go in the night. Family stays forever.

 

Depression, Medical Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

Leigh Ann Came in Like a Tornado

Leigh Ann Came in Like a Tornado

Leigh Ann Came in Like a Tornado

Ten years ago, I met a brassy blond girl at a ballpark. She had a crass mouth and a nasty smoking habit. She was loud and obnoxious. A person people moved away from when they saw her. She did not dress the part, talk the part, and certainly did not behave the part of what society deems “normal.” 

Yet, I was drawn to her. I saw myself in her—the girl that no one wanted to be friends with, the outcast. I have a deep love for those who seem unlovable. I see through the facade of what someone presents. I see their heart—that deep desire to fit in, yet the complete inability to do so.

Seeing a Bit of Jesus in Her

In my mind, I can close my eyes and see all the bright dots of Jesus throughout her. I just knew when those dots connected; she would be an unstoppable force of nature for the Kingdom.

I fell in love with this girl, her children, her brother, and her parents. We were a tight-knit group of misfits. I was blessed to be able to lead her to Christ one spring day. After she accepted Christ, I gave her a hot pink Bible. It was her favorite color. She loved Jesus with all her heart.

Mental Illness

She also struggled with mental illness. Despite her love for Jesus, she had good days and bad days. What bonded us was that I, too, suffer from mental illness. I have clinical depression. She had onset bipolar disorder. 

One thing I want you all to hear is that you can still love Jesus without abandon and still struggle with different types of mental illness. That does not mean you love Him less than someone who does not struggle.

How Did She Change My World?

She taught me how to accept those who were not “normal.” Also, she taught me to walk towards the waves instead of away from them. Live life without fear of abandonment and to hell what people thought of you.

Did I change her world? I hope I did. She made me a better person, and I hope I had some effect on her. Her mom always said that I did. I sure do love her children and now grandchildren. We were good for each other, for the most part.

Does it Change the World to Stand in the Gap?

Yes, it does the world when you brush and braid a friend’s hair for the last time? Also, when you begin painting her nails and toenails her favorite color? Does it change the world to wipe the ants off of her body while you are bathing her? What about closing her eyes for the last time?

Yes, it does change the world. It changed for Leigh Ann’s children, her mother, and her brother. It also changed me. It showed me what the phrase “be Jesus with skin on” really means. Sacrificial love and service for her and her family.

Leigh Ann, you are loved, thought of, and missed daily.

Depression, Medical Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

Pity Party Hosted by Yours Truly

Pity Party Hosted by Yours Truly

Pity Party Hosted by Yours Truly

Dear LA,

I’m hosting a pity party this year on your behalf. It is just now beginning, and it won’t end until, I don’t know, Jesus returns. I want to love this time of year. Basketball is in full swing, and oh, how you LOVED to watch your kids in sports. So loud you were so loud at the games. God bless those children.

This month is B’s bday month, Father’s Day, my anniversary, and yet, it makes my heart heavy. I wish things were different. In the end, I wish it didn’t even happen. Your children are healthy yet struggling. You are grandma times two! I can’t even fathom you and me being grandmothers! Seriously, how did that even happen? We aren’t old enough.

It’s the Month

The month. The month that changed me forever and a day. That phone call, the screams, your children’s faces. Your face. Your eyes. The smell of your freshly washed hair. It was still damp when I took it down. It had gotten so long. I don’t remember where the hair tie went. What did I do with it? I don’t know.

Honestly, that is now going to bug me. Maybe I used it to tie up the little bit of hair I snipped off to give to your mom, brother, and kids. I don’t know. I just had to call a friend and check in because my mental status is not good right now.

Hair Tie

Honestly, I went to call your mom to ask her, and it hit me. She is gone too. Your kids will only have each other, their uncle, and me. In reality, I don’t even count. I’m going to have to stop now. I can’t finish.

Be at peace, my friend. Dance with the angels. Smile your smile. Talk your loudest. I miss you, and you were loved. Your life meant something, and I’m sorry you lost sight of that for a moment.

XOXO

Suicide Prevention Hotline 800.273.8255

Depression, Guest Blogger, Medical Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

Healing Through Anger

Healing Through Anger

 

Healing Through Anger

In this piece, my guest blogger talks about how she is healing through anger. Anger is a valid emotion, as Jesus was angry when He turned over the tables in the temple. Anger is secondary to fear and/or sadness. In this piece, you can see her fear. Also, you can feel her sadness. Please pray for this young girl as you think of it.

I Am So Angry With You

I have said it a million times, but I am so angry with you. If I were in the business of hating people, you would be first on my list. The thought of you makes my blood pressure skyrocket. Why couldn’t you be a normal stepfather? Seriously, why did you have to abuse me? Why me? I was a child. What kind of man likes children? 

I wish my mom would have never met you. Honestly, I wish I did not blame myself for what you did. I know I was young, and it was not my fault. It’s yours. You are the one who abused me, not the other way around.

Tell the Truth

I have had a few opportunities to tell you the truth, to say whatever I wanted to you, but I did not. Part of me wishes I would not have been such a coward. I want you to know how much you hurt me. The other part of me knows that what I said would not matter; you would not care. You would enjoy the attention; you always like all the attention on you.

What I Want to SCREAM

I want to scream at you and tell you that you hurt me. I want to tell you that you traumatized me. I want to tell you how I cannot even change clothes in the comfort of my own home without feeling uncomfortable or like I am being watched. To yell that you took my childhood and my innocence away from me. That is something I will never get back. I cannot go back and act like a child again. Not all of that is your fault, but a big piece of it is.

I am never a violent person, but I would like to punch you in the face after a few good times. I bet that would help me release some of my anger. That sure would make me feel better. I do not understand how you can have four types of cancers and still be alive. I guess that is just how my life goes.

Papa T is Crossing the Line

I heard a phrase today that I had not heard in a long time. A phrase that makes me nauseous. “Daddy T,” I never understood why you made us call you that. Mom does not understand why that name makes me uncomfortable; honestly, I don’t completely understand it myself. All I know is the name makes me physically sick. My sister told me today that you want her daughter to call you “Papa T,” It incited some rage in me. 

Yet, That Baby is Safe From You

Luckily that baby lives far away now, so you cannot get your hands on her. I could promise you that you would never meet her if she were still around. I would go to jail before that happened, and I would be okay with it. You will never get the satisfaction of her calling you “papa T,” which I feel is WAY too close to “Daddy T.” 

You will never get the satisfaction of taking that baby’s innocence away from her, which brings me just a little bit of you. Your abuse ended with me, and I will do everything I can to ensure it goes no further.

Working on Forgiveness

I know it does not sound like it, but I am trying to forgive you. It is just a slow process. The thing is, I am not forgiving you for you. I am doing this for me. To heal. I am doing it to put you in the past and finally move on. To better myself and be the best person I can be. I know, in the end, you will get what you deserve, and I will not even have to lift a finger.

 

Depression, Guest Blogger, Medical Issues, Suicide Awareness and Prevention

The Real Truth About Death and Grief

The Real Truth About Death and Grief

In The Real Truth About Death and Grief, my guest blogger goes through her emotions of losing her brother at a very young age.  The loss of a sibling is devastating to the other children, as well as, the parents.  It is unimaginable pain that lingers for so very long.

The Real Truth About Death and Grief

Dearest Z,

A kid my age I knew from school came in, and he reminds me so much of you. He has something wrong with him medically, and he walks just like you did when you got sick. I saw him, and that made a bad day worse. Seriously, I wanted to give him a big hug. Then, I tried to crawl under the register and cry. I miss you so much. It has been five years. I can’t believe it. You deserve to be here, bub. I think that you would be married with a family now. You would be a good dad.

Honest Prayer

I prayed to God every night for years that it was me instead of you. Honestly, I prayed that I could take all your pain away. I wanted to make you better, and I couldn’t. That seems to be a recurring theme in my life. I joke about you being dead, but that’s how I cope with you being gone. 

I’m sorry we left you with mom. I’m sorry I didn’t stay with you that last year. I would have gone through whatever Tim threw at me to be with you last year. Mom told me about how you asked for me every day after your seizure, and that story hurts my heart. She told me about how you thought you saw me running around the foot of your bed every night before you went to bed. I am sorry I wasn’t there for that. I wish I were there to be running around your bed. 

Life isn’t the same without you. I missed your voice, hugs, and yelling at me when I tried to help you walk. Honestly, I miss you, dude. You were a light to anyone who knew you, and I miss your presence.

Thankful

Today, I am thankful for the beginning of healing. I have an awareness of where healing needs to happen. Also, I know the route that must be taken to walk through the pain that leads to healing.

 

 

Guest Blogger

The Things You Need to Know About Nana

The Things You Need to Know About Nana

The Things You Need to Know About Nana

In The Things You Need to Know About Nana, my guest blogger uses her words to convey the love she has for her grandmother. They had a tight bond that this young girl missed terribly.

Dearest Nana

The past six years of my life have been awful, and you not being here has made that even. You were my person, and you left me. I had to deal with everything alone, and to be honest. I am sick of it. You were the glue that held the family together. Once you died, everything changed. I wish I could put into words how much I miss you. Honestly, I know it is selfish, but I would give anything for you to be here with me. I feel like life would be better if you were here. Sadly, I miss my best friend, the one I knew I could count on for everything. I miss the person who was brutally honest with me. 

I wish we could lie together and watch one more scary movie. Or, I wish I could sleep in the bed with you one more time. I wish I could hear more stories from your childhood. I always enjoyed those. Furthermore, I want to listen to you try to pronounce “Aluminum” one last time. That was hilarious. I took my time with you for granted. 

I’m sorry I couldn’t heal you. I couldn’t make you feel better. I did everything I could. It’s important you know I did my best. I was young, and I did the best I could. When you first got sick, I prayed to God that you at least lived until I was Eleven. Two and a half months after my Eleventh birthday, you died. That has haunted me since the day you died. I’m sorry. Losing you is one of the hardest things I have ever gone through, and it’s a wound time will never heal.

Thankful

Today, I am thankful for my granny. There has never been another person like her. She loved so completely. I miss her face, her hugs, and her love. Granny knew everything. I could come to her with anything, and she would tell me what to do. When I was in the wrong, she was quick to correct me. Yes, I would cry, hurting my feelings, but in the end, she was right. Geez, I miss her.

 

Depression, Guest Blogger, Medical Issues

No Thanks to You Part 3

No Thanks to You Part 3

No Thanks to You Part 3

No Thanks to You Part 3. It was such a shock to me. It came without warning. I honestly don’t understand. Because that morning, it was business as usual. We were doing quality assurance and fixing simple mistakes on the computer. What was that you said to me? 

If you did your job right the first time, your mistakes wouldn’t be on this list? I could count maybe five mistakes out of hundreds that I could claim. And they were as simple to fix as checking a box. But you felt the need to the point that out to me. You worked me to the very end. 

 

That was hurtful. 

 

When you said that to me, I cried silently at my desk. It wasn’t the first time. I cried silently because of the stress you put me under, and this job put me under. The anxiety and the depression were insurmountable at the time. As one does, I put on a brave face and carried on. I didn’t let you see me sweat. 

 

His face, as you fired me, was that of sorrow. That he didn’t want to be in this position, he looked at me with pity while it seemed you were doing a victory dance. Was I that bad of an employee for you to find joy in letting me go? You were so callous it was almost cruel. At least he had some sense. He knew I was a good worker, and I don’t think he truly understood your decision. 

 

Jealous Co-Worker

 

Because she was always in your ear about something, she was intimidated by me. She hated me. Therefore, you had to hate me. I blame you and her. I do not blame him. He did nothing wrong. He was just a poor, unfortunate person to be in that situation. 

 

I can’t believe that you joked and laughed as I was cleaning out my desk. I was crying, and you were laughing. That is unbelievably cruel. He walked me out, and he was genuinely sorry for the situation. But you, you were cruel. 

 

What Happened Next

 

So, I need to educate you on what happened to me after you fired me. What is the aftermath of your decision to let me go from my job? No wonder people hit such deep lows when they lose a job. That hurts if you put 100% of your efforts into a career and are just dumped. 

 

I had very little money. What money I did save went to get a new apartment. I had to move. I couldn’t stay where I was anymore. It took everything I had. I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. I felt like such a failure. Even with the meds, I was depressed. I didn’t know how much longer I was going to be able to live with myself. 

 

Choices

 

Choices are a funny thing, and we make them every day. But our choices affect those around us. Your choices affected me negatively in a bad way. I was already depressed, and your choice made it so much worse. When it rains, it pours, and you were the last thundercloud. The straw that broke the camels’ back. 

 

I was a broken human. Frankly, I didn’t even recognize myself anymore. I remember being so sad. So numb. I didn’t feel anything anymore. Nothing made me happy. I was in such a bottomless pit I didn’t think anyone could save me. Honestly, I want you to know that. I hope my life will be a lesson to you, what man meant to harm, God intended for good. 

 

It wasn’t good for a long time. 

 

God knew that it was only by His grace that I survived that period of my life. He knew that was the worst possible job I could be in. He knew that was a bad fit for me and my personality, though I was good at it. So really, it became a blessing. But don’t think for one second that I don’t still hold resentment towards you. Even my ex-co-worker can’t stand you. No one can. Because you are rude, you talk over people and rub people the wrong way, not many people like you. 

 

Without your poor choice

 

I would not have made it to the job I have now. I wouldn’t have met my forever love. My job now is awesome, and I am very good at it. I am highly respected by everyone that knows me. And well-liked by many in my profession. I tell people how it is, I do not judge them, I do not micro-manage, and I am not micromanaged. 

 

I am free to do things my way. And my way works. I am still medicated, but I am medicated for the best. It helps me cope with those dark days. Those days are so uncertain, and I never know when one will come up. But they are manageable now. 

 

My life is better now, no thanks to you. 

 

 

 

Depression, Guest Blogger, Medical Issues

No Thanks to You Part 2

 

 

No Thanks to You Part 2

No Thanks to You Part 2

I didn’t do things the way you wanted me to. Honestly, I like to make notes. I don’t shred things as often as you would like because I fear losing something important. Frankly, I still do that to this day. I am good at returning phone calls, but you insist that I write down every number and every message, so I don’t forget to call them back. Lastly, I can do several things at once, and you didn’t like that. 

 

You are very controlling, too much micromanaging my work. Honestly, you knew I did a good job, so why didn’t you let me do things my way? You told me everyone does things differently and gets their rhythm. I had my rhythm, but you wanted to change who I was as a person and employee. I took issue with that. 

 

Depression Over my Job

 

I got so depressed at this job and anxious over doing a good job that I had to get medicated. Every time you walked into the room, I wondered what I had done wrong now? You started making a point to notice every tiny detail of something I missed or got wrong. That is not how a boss should be to his employees. You didn’t praise me anymore. You didn’t show any sign that I was enough for this job. 

 

You expected more and more from me. When I needed help, you were conveniently not around. I tried to get your help with a matter, and you were not available to help me. I made a mistake. I acknowledge that. But your biggest mistake was not being around when I needed you—and not training me as you should. 

 

Another Low Blow

 

I cannot believe that you tried to take my unemployment from me. That was one of the lowest things that you did to me. I was mortified. And when I explained this to the woman at the unemployment office the situation, she quickly understood that it was not me but you. I am glad she saw it my way. 

 

You kept meeting with me with a disappointed look in your eyes. And you dragged him into this? The look on his face was regretful for having to deal with your misogynistic, sexist, backward, lying actions. Telling me we can fix this, and if you get yourself medicated, it will be fixed. You made me feel like the problem was with me and not you and that it was all my fault for the very few mistakes I did make. 

 

You made me feel less than human. 

 

I was just a troubled, sad person who couldn’t perform well at my job without being medicated. Do you have any idea what I was going through at that time of my life? That I was going through a break-up months from getting married? My grandfather almost died, and you didn’t bat an eye. I was so sad. And you made me feel like, at least in the beginning, that we were a team and you would help me through anything. 

 

But you didn’t even bother to ask. You just assumed I was okay and moved on. Frankly, you didn’t care what happened to me. You didn’t watch. And that was hurtful because you said I could trust you. 

 

Smack in the Middle the Lies Began

 

Then, you let me go in the middle of all the shit I was dealing with within a week of the end of my probationary period. I had nothing. Nothing. Nothing to live for anymore. You were the last straw in my life. I was already dealing with so much pain and agony, and you treated me this way. After all the work I did for you. All those extra hours I worked. 

You told me that I was rude to inmates and that I talked over them. That was all a lie. You said to me that a clerk filed a complaint against me. That was also a lie. I don’t even know what I did to offend her, but life continues. The judges liked me. They still do—funny thing how lies work. I have never had a single issue in that courthouse in my job now. I am respected and well-liked by everyone. 

 

You told me that I wasn’t a good fit. 

 

Then why waste my time and yours? You could have let me go a lot sooner. If I were that lousy employee, you would have cut your losses sooner. Isn’t that what you told me about Charlotte in Frankfort? That you should cut your losses and fire me. 

You told me that to scare me. I don’t even think that woman knows my name or anything about me. I was a week from being a tenured employee. And you decided to cut me then; you milked me for all the work I was good enough for. Then you dumped me on the curb like yesterday’s trash. I was no longer your prodigy.