Category: Loss of a child

Mindset & Purpose – My Sticky Note Collection

 

In the weeks before my son Died, I had been reading a book called Mindset by Carol S Dweck, a PH. D. and leading researcher of motivation she is a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University.

The book was brought to my sister’s attention through work related training, but after spending some time digging deep into the well-researched concepts, she wondered if the principals would benefit our kids.

In early April she introduced the book to me, and I began reading one of the very crucial tools in my recovery as a suicide survivor (one who lives with the loss of a loved one who died by suicide). Reading the book helped me to become aware of my fixed mindset.

Unfortunately, I was too late in understanding the role my son’s mindset played with dealing with his depression and anxiety.

I believe had I introduced these principals early on in my parenting style they could have aided my children in coping with challenges, helping to significantly change the way my son grew up and perceived himself and the world around him. Had I introduced them even later in my parenting I am confident there still could have been a significant change. I base this on the short term knowledge I have of  Dweck’s  insight on mindset and the enormous gain I see in my own life.

Dweck explains in the book there are two main types of Mindset in our brains, Fixed and Growth.

In a fixed mindset, people believe their qualities are fixed traits.

Intelligence and talent are what they are. Individuals with a fixed mindset spend their time documenting their intelligence and not developing what they could do. They see talent as the only indicator that leads to success. Effort plays no roll in achievement.

In a Growth Mindset, Dweck explains people believe their basic abilities developed through dedication and hard work.

Brains and talent are the beginning. A growth mindset creates a love of learning and resilience that is needed for great accomplishment.

Taking the mindset test found here ( Fixed or Growth Mindset? Find out here) I discovered I was a mix of a Fixed mindset with a Growth mindset wanting to shine. Why I have a fixed mindset does not matter unless of course, I choose to let the Fixed mindset take over my days and mind.

If I want the Growth mindset to rise to the top, then I will pass on dwelling on my hold ups and hangs ups and put the focus back on what next.

You see in a Fixed Mindset it’s the internal conversation that says each day I am not good enough. I cannot get a better job. I am not a good wife. My Job is terrible, and it is my bosses fault. My kids are always going to make poor choices. My wife and I will never have a happy marriage if she does not do – A fixed mindset can come with judgment and blame.

A Fixed Mindset is like a little monkey who lives on your shoulder whispering the negatives in your ear, reminding you that nothing more can be done.

For a teenager or a child, it looks like this. I am not popular. I will never have any real friends. Those kids are always doing things without me. What did I do wrong? I cannot get into that college; I am not that smart. I am not good enough for that team. A fixed mindset is one of judging oneself.

It is not just suicide survivors and children that mindset shapes, Mindset affects us all; in the work place, our kids in school, the way we work with in our relationships.

A growth mindset differs in that the internal conversation is still present, even sensitive to the negatives around but rather than judging they take the information and ask questions to learn and take action to make a change.  A Growth Mindset is more solution based. What Can I learn from this? How Can I improve? What can my spouse and I do change where we are in our marriage. What classes do I need to take to get into the school? What steps are needed to get on that team at work?

Recently, I was sitting in a suicide survivor support meeting. Going around the room, I noticed that the mindset of many (not all) of the people was that of being in forever pain and loss. It seemed they were fixed on never getting past the deep hurt and loss they were in. Fixed on the death of their loved one paralyzing their minds and hearts.

  I understand that pain and loss all too well.

Three months ago my eighteen-year-old son took his life. He died by suicide. He had a disease called anxiety. I know the raw feeling of hopelessness, physical heart pain, and self-judgment as I think of all I should have done for my child and did not. The real reminders come each morning when I wake. It is the first thing that enters my mind as I come out of sleep and see a new day ahead. The feeling of sorrow still the last thing on my mind as I fall asleep at night. In my sleep, my loss runs my dreams and nightmares. Pain and hurt are not going away.

My son is dead. I can not bring him back. I can not change our past.

I was fortunate enough to begin to see the concept of Mindset at play in my own life in the few weeks before my beautiful boy’s death. I had decided I needed to rewire my brain. I needed to change the parts of me that thought with a fixed mindset to one of growth. My internal conversations had to change, and that has that made a huge difference in the weeks following my son’s death.

I know too, that beautiful boy of mine could have benefited from this mindset change. I will write more about my thoughts on this in my future post PARENT PRESSURE AND SELF ESTEEM: A KILLER MISTAKE. I am not implying that one factor took my son’s life. I am in no way saying he did not have a chemical imbalance. There are many factors that led to his death.

I am saying I believe his mindset played a role in how he handled life’s challenges.

His Mindset was fixed. He decided he was not successful enough. He saw himself as disappointing those around him. His mind was set on what he was not. I wonder if he had the tools to change his mindset if to one of growth if I would be writing a different post right now. That, I will never know. I did know even in the moments soon after his death that I had a choice to wither up and be parlayed by the loss of my precious boy or move in the direction of healing, helping and hope.

My mindset had already shifted toward the fixed side in my first forty-four years. Age alone would have been a challenge in turning the parts of my fixed mindset to one of growth. Now I was facing the suicide of my son along with all of the grief, blame, the stress of helping my other children through all of this and the pure mental and physical exhaustion.

It seemed impossible unless this mindset thing worked.

I knew early on I could not take care of my kids, keep my marriage or my mental health if I became FIXED on the constant hurt in my heart. I would not survive my child’s death. I had to work hard to rewire my brain. I had to be intentional with finding my Growth Mindset. I knew there had to be a way to find Joy once again.

Here are the steps I took and continue to take to change my FIXED mindset to one of Growth

  1. I have to listen to my inner voice.

I have to listen to what I  am saying to myself.  What was the monkey on my shoulder saying? Mostly it is saying “You are a bad mom.” “You did not do enough for your son.”  “Maybe you are not good enough to be a parent.” There are a thousand other things that devil of a monkey is saying as he sits on my shoulder beating me up with self-doubt.

 

  1. I have to recognize I have a choice

I have to recognize I have a choice, Fixed or Growth Mindset. A fixed Mindset would keep me in bed, under the covers, crying about all I have done wrong. A growth mindset would recognize my pain, my sorrow and decide I want to heal and turn the pain into more.

 

  1. I have to use a Growth mindset voice to settle down the Fixed Mindset voice.

I have to remind myself intentionally with affirmations that I can take steps to heal, grow and help others through the loss of my son. No, the hurt would not leave my heart nor will the sorrow ever go away. Time will not heal my wounds or those of my children and my son’s loved ones. My son is gone. That is a forever pain. What I do with that pain is a choice.

 

  1. I have to take action-

Writing myself uplifting notes about serving others make a daily difference and remind me of purpose. Sometimes Purpose is just doing one kind thing for one other person in my day. Often purpose looks like a prayer for those who need help as much as I do.

 

I have to take responsibility for these steps. I write myself notes of encouragement before I go to bed each night so when I wake up faced with the unbearable loss of my son I  see I have a purpose and move towards growth and not stay fixed on the hurt I am feeling.

 

 I recognize the grief I am in. It’s healthy to grieve. It’s healthy to acknowledge my forever loss. It’s healthy to say now what can I do with this pain? What can I do to forgive? What can I do to let go of the should have’s, what if’s and could have been?

 

Action means taking care of myself to better care for my family. It means eating well, sleeping more and finding stress reducing activities in my day. Sometimes because life goes on I have to work harder to add these simple things in my day but the payoff is great. Self-care keeps me sane.

 

Action in Mindset rewiring is also prayer. There are times that this Loss business is very isolating and lonely. I know my kids have felt the same way as they grieve the loss of their brother. Keeping God at the forefront of my day is the greatest action and support in my mindset change.

 

I am a suicide survivor. My son is gone and that is an incredible burden. Unexplainable pain.  However, this mindset rewiring is not just for suicide survivors but for anyone who can benefit from moving forward. Don’t let my tragedy prevent you from seeing how MINDSET can change your life. Where ever you are in your journey, write yourself a few sticky notes and see the potential in mindset growth! It might just make a difference between joy and pain. Life or death.

 

I can do this!

What Can I do to make a difference today?

Lord How Can I bless someone today?

I will get up and find purpose in my day!

I am Thankful for ________

 

 

 

I have offered only a glimpse into the gift of mindset. Click here to learn more.

Good Mourning In Heaven – Three Month Day

Good Mourning in Heaven My Angel Boy-

It sure is hard to be your mama today.

Too many thoughts of yesterday. Days when you were little, curls hanging loose and eyes so blue. Smiles bright and healthy. This is the time of year where we lived barefoot and in bathing suits. Remember, the good old days? Let’s swim again on North Lake, let’s hang around a campfire with family and friends. Angel love want to go for a walk and talk about silly things? I do. Oh baby boy, gone so fast. Take me back to a time of happiness. I feel incomplete without you.

This day one of the hardest in a while.

Today my angel boy is the reminder of three months without your smile. Today, we see Monday the 17th on the calendar. You took your life on Monday the 17th, Three months ago.

Three months today since we heard your laugh. Three months since you called my name. Three months since you wrestled your brother or a told a random joke to your sister.

 I really can’t comprehend it all. You are gone.

You will not ever show up except in our memories. I still want you to walk in the door.  My mind, it knows the truth. My heart cannot seem to catch up to what it should.

You have missed all the stuff we dreamed up right when you were small. Graduation, celebrations and college orientations. Yes, little boy, I love so much. I finally called WMU and let them know you would not be there. I was transferred all around; I guess this kind of thing does not happen often. Finally, they put me in touch with the head of some department, and that poor woman cried along side of me when I had to explain why you would not be attending with all of the other freshmen. They wondered if I wanted my deposit back. No, I cried to a stranger on the other end, I just want my boy to live and see his dreams complete.

She said,  “I am so sorry.” I said “Me too.”

I told her how you wanted to be an accountant. How much you loved Hayworth College of Business when you did your tour of the school. I explained to this stranger on the other end with a tear filled laugh how you begged us to pay extra for a dorm with air conditioning, and we simply agreed because you are you and we wanted you to feel comfortable. I do not know why I told her those things; it does not matter now. Except to me…To me, you are my every day. You are my morning and my evening. You Angel boy are everything. When you were born, I felt complete.

I am writing about us beautiful boy.

I started to write what I think will become a book. I have so many words all pent up. Blog posts do not leave enough space to get it all out, my journals stacking up. Now the chapters do.  I think also, The way you are, I mean, the way you were. I think it might help another parent to know what we did not. Maybe they will see our bumpy road and stop them in their tracks. Maybe, Angel, there is a boy like you who will live his life complete because his mom will read the horror of our travels and take another path.

 

Three months brings quieter times.

We do not hear from others as often. Some still know the valley we are in and throw a rope and remind us to climb high. I am forever humbled and grateful for those friends and even strangers who remember your name and our hearts cry. Those who reach out and intentionally hold our hand in the chaos of their own lives.

.

The other kids, well that is the hardest part of all.

Some days are normal. Normal being a shadow of what used to be. The kids, they plug away at all of the things they did before. Some days I see smiles and laughter. Those are good days. Some, well, this is the part where I still hold anger at you although I know in my heart you completely lost control that day. I know the anger has to go.  When I see their hurt and the way it comes out. I want to scream at you; I want the kids to have hearts that don’t carry a burden of losing a brother this way. I wish you could have seen the ripple of pain that is the gift you left in your absence. Had you thought that out Angel boy you would still be here today.

We have had to go on vacation without you now. It is the worst to sit around a place where everyone should be,  your seat sits empty. When I see the beautiful sights of our travel, I think of you in  Heaven and remind myself you are free.

I am fighting the ongoing battle of heart hurt and normal life.

The day to day must get done, and I work hard at finding joy. I know the only way to heal this hurting heart of mine that feels a mess with you gone is to serve those who need more. That helps, it does. To look out at all those who have less and think of what we still are gifted each day and share a bit of what we have left.

 Angel boy if I could do anything I would bring you back to Earthly life.

I know it’s a silly dream and not the plan for this mom.  So I pray that God uses you to make a difference in someone’s day. I pray that your death brings reality to a kid who hurts in your same way. I think back to the angel of goodness you were here on Earth, and I know without a doubt you are a gift in Heaven.

You are so deeply missed, I hope in Heaven when you met Jesus, he played a movie of life and death before your eyes. First reminding you of the ones you left and should not have, and then I pray he washed the mistakes away with love and insight.  I pray it swelled your heart a million times it ever was here, I pray the light of Jesus took all your pain away and replaced it with gifts and joy to share in Heaven.

Angel boy, I know a friend who is not doing well here on Earth. Her time is near, and soon she will find her way to where you are. If you see her, guide her to the right place to go. Let her know that all will be ok.

Remind her of the love of Jesus and that the most beautiful forever is about to begin.

Angel, my sweet love, I cannot ever seem to end my notes to you with our tears in my eyes. Three months is too long for a mother to not have her boy. I love you, Angel. Sing praise to our King for the gracious gifts he gives us in eternity. One day, when our story is done, I will see you, sweet son.

I love you forever, I love you for Always, forever my baby you will be.

 

 

 

Freedom Road

 

I am trying to decide if this July week was better than the same one this time last year. That is most likely not what you would think a mother  grieving her son would write. I am a bit confused myself, to be honest. It is a confusing concept to find a bit of relief in my week when most would think I am hiding under my covers and crying myself to sleep each night.

Let me explain that a bit, by sharing last July at this time.

Last July this week was an up and down battle, an anxiety attack for any mother and father. A blended family nightmare. It started with a phone call. The father of my children gave me a late night call. “Your boy is in trouble he said.” “What”?  I am confused. He was to go home and spend time with his girlfriend and work the next day.

A simple plan and a chance for independence.

My Mr. and I along with our blended family of ten had spent the week at my sisters on the other side of the state. All should go well with my far away family in town. That is what you would think; it is all I had hoped in my naive parent heart. That all of my teenage kids and two that scream not just there at under twelve would be one big happy family celebrating the stars and stripes with Grandpa and Grandpa and Aunts and uncles. The hot, warm sun and lazy river we floated down would be enough for our kids.

The poolside laughter and potluck dinners the very icing on the cake to have them see the good life they live each day.

That same week on the other side of the state even brought the first visit to the school my blond haired boy of seventeen would ultimately choose for his college education. The dreams I had for him that day. As we toured with the other families. Looking at the dorm, we would sign him up for, thinking of the business man he would one day be. Thoughts they drift for a mom like me. I often dream of life for my babies, even now that they are teens.

 

My dreams all made up in my mama’s head differed from my teenage child that week.  Our oldest boy at seventeen and a half had other plans. With his Dad on the east of the state and close to home we agreed to let our oldest boy drive the ninety minutes in his car and head home to his dad’s house for the night. His dad would not be home, near but not in the house. Our boy would stay alone that night.

He left our family celebration, and with a kiss and hug and assurance, he would behave. I watched him drive away.

Why I let him go, I do not know. I think because I had learned that a few of my friends had successfully left their teens on their own. Also, I think because I remember the days of seventeen when I wanted to be free pretending independence was complete. Maybe too, the fact that he was soon to be eighteen. One more school year and he would be off to college and dorm life. The time now to start to grow up and prove some independence.

He had been doing great, working hard and no issues of late.

Moms know that sinking feeling in the pit of your heart that says something is not right. When the phone rang, it was not a shock.  My boy’s dad said our boy had been caught with friends that differed from the original plan we were told. The other boy had snuck away; his parents came across the lies that were all behind our back. Worst yet was the light. The light from the parked car they found our kids in as they drove by. That light was the scent of sorrow. The drug that some think should be legal. I think not.

Our boy, who had been given a chance at freedom was caught in a lie, where and who he had been with and the reason why.

Some will say big deal; my kid too has done these things. Others will question, why I let him leave a family gathering. What kind of parent chooses to let their child go? The sides will be torn and it does not matter what is said in the end my child is not here this Fourth of July Weekend.

Last July was the start of our decline.

It was embarrassing at the time. The choices my boy made. I was humbled by the mistake I had made as well. Letting him go that hot July day.

My family knew of my boy’s antics as they overheard the late night call. My husband who still has children young enough to not deal with teenage things just yet, listened quietly as I had hashed things out and came up with a plan with the man I was married before. The patience of a saint my Mr. of now, as he listened often to the husband of before and I figure out our first born. We did not raise our boy to lie and hide. Why would he do this?  I wanted to trust him.

Now he turns our week of family time into turmoil and deceit.

 

The next week was our annual Up North Family camping trip. We were all together. No tricks to separate. That week was hard. I am writing this post in the very same campground just one year, and one week ago my party of ten camped …our blended family vacation.

 My oldest boys’ demons set in.

 

There is no space or time for him to be alone when your home for a week is a pop-up camper.  He would ask to run to the store; he would take long walks to get away. I get that, the need for solitary space. To think, to read, to write to just be. That part of my boy is just like me. His dad too always needed that place of escape. So when my boy of almost eighteen leaves for a walk after a rough past week I let him go. I keep a close watch, but I try and let him heal his demons with space.

I made a poor choice my heart pain reminds me. Letting him be.

He hated this vacation one year ago. I know he tried to make the best of it, but it was there, the dislike of our company. His mood was down I could see. His girlfriend had just broken off their new found relationship. It came to an end much faster than he had hoped. He was hurting. I could see. How do you know as a mother where to step in? He has to learn real life somehow someway.

Today, my heart wants to cut off the world and protect him once again.

I hated the hurt he felt. It was a pain that in most kids at this age would give him experience and then would go on to other things. Not this boy. He thought hard and deep and was critical of himself and others that were not like him.

His sulky ways and overwhelmed head made it difficult for him to enjoy anything we did that week. This boy of mine, deeper than most. His head works like a faucet with a constant drip of remembering; he cannot shut things out. He cannot turn the faucet off.

Normal teen experiences were a trigger to something darker we can now see.

 

It was hard to even like him those days if you want to know. He was short with me, soon came the walking on eggshells to keep things smooth. There are ten of us after all. Seven more kids who want to have fun. Three of them my step kids, whom we have limited time, only summers and holidays to enjoy. I went back to some old habits to keep things even. Letting him get his way with his mood to keep things cool. He was sometimes mean to his brothers, Moody, up and down, high and low. It was a rollercoaster that changed all of our moods. It was tiring for us all. If you have a child with anxiety and depression than you know the crumbly road of crunchy shells I walked those days just being a mom.

In that moment, I still was not sure if this was normal teenage behavior or something more.

 

When the rain came in droves, we packed our family camp trip up and shipped him on the road home. I was so thankful that day, to pack up our kids and get off the eggshell road of camping with my son. I felt a freedom and some rest on the drive back. He in the other car and us in the van of peace.

The regrets are there. Today, sitting in the same space as a year ago.

I wish it back again. I’d take the eggshell road and stomp my way through that mess to love on my boy just for a moment again.

I would sit in the rain as ten, huddled in one pop up camper playing cards and listening to bickering kids just to touch my first born boy’s shoulder again, to simply remind him he was loved.

I would give anything to teach him hope.

 

This year, this week of celebrating time, my other four…oh so hard to say, when it should be five. They are with their dad this year. I am glad. A new place to visit to keep things different. Time with family and not a reminder of here. A reminder of the sand and water play, a reminder of dinners on summer nights around a campfire. Change in space to escape the horror of our boy’s death. I am glad my four are with their dad, sunning themselves and boating on the big Great Lake.

 

I am filled with gratitude that this week there is no Parade of eggshells on the street for my far north three. Eggshells are no walk for the other kids.

So little time I get to be stepmom in their day. Only the summer and vacations from school. Never enough to be complete. So this week, the eggshells are swept away. We ride our bikes to this summer town for fun. We paddle boats in the Hidden Lake. Pancakes and bacon outside with the birds chirping above. Sandy beaches and Mackinaw Fudge. New memories to make.

 

Regrets, yes. Looking back is hard when you start to see the beginning of the end. The tears still come. Almost every day at some point. Most often when I am alone or late at night. Daytime brings our new normal. My oldest boy is not the only one. There are seven more to love each day and our adopted adult that lives in her own home with the support of staff. That does not take it away, the sorrow we hold. It makes it impossible to not go on. Seven more kids, three this week in a place that once held so much distress, it is more predictable than last July. We work towards each new step. Looking forward to the hope God brings. Praying our boy has found freedom from all of his pain.

We picture our angel walking the path of light with Christ not the eggshell road of depression and anxiety.

 

The smell of bacon and coffee run through my quiet site sneaking over from the tents to our right. I take in the sounds of this place. The quiet chatter of people waking. The nature sounds of outside that make me think of Heaven. The rest are still asleep. I pray often that God hears my cry to help us heal from this pain. The heart hurt that is a constant beat. The last months my mama bear fight to not curl up in my den all day and sleep if I could not save my first born bear than maybe this is not the job for me, I wonder late at night when no one sees my tears and my internal head heart fight.

A little blond girl walks out the camper door. She needs step mama closeness this morning. The chill and dampness are still in the air. She looks up with freckles I did not create and her far away north mama’s face.

I am overcome with hope for all we already have. Once again I am reminded I am gifted a chance to raise up children even if for a short time. That my day is a choice, how I choose to live it will serve or take. Although, I never imagined stepmom as my name. Never dreamed my other four on a separate vacation. Wishing more than anything I could change our reservations in life back to a party of ten, not the five we are now today. I am warmed in my heart to the very core by God’s grace when my stepdaughter sits close and needs me just a bit. Enough to remind me to get out of my mama bear cave and do the job God created for me.

No, this July is no better than the years before. It is different. I know more. Hurting deeper. Now, seeing things with a slow awakening of purpose.  This July makes me want Freedom. Freedom for the kids like my son, the ones fighting the hopeless war. The ones that battle depression and mental illness. This year the fireworks shine a light on our boy’s absence, a brilliant glare and searing bang that make me realize we do not have our son but we have his story.

We are walking the slow going Freedom road this July.

 

I cannot see it all just yet.  The good that will come of our hurt. The purpose that will come from the pain that plagued my son.  My hope is there. My faith in one who created all. A love so great.

 

 

Romans 8:24

For in this hope we were saved. Now Hope that is seen is not hope. For Who Hopes for what he sees? However, if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Mourning Son- Month Two & the Rope I stole From Francis Chan

Good Mourning Son- Month two, and a few

 

Good Mourning Son,

I miss you so very much Ethan; It has been all too consuming this void in our lives. Life without you.

We are in a season of new. Saying goodbye to the old and hello to change, hello to something we do not want to greet. You, Sweetheart, have been gone now two months and two days. Months, I hate to say that word. It tells me, even though I know, you are not coming back. This life here on earth no longer holds your soul.

You see, maybe, somewhere inside my heart, I held hope you would still walk in the door. The nightmare of losing you would be over, and I would wake up. Month two reminds me that will never be true.

So much has gone on since you left us since you parted ways with life on Earth.  I pray and feel in my heart you are welcomed into your eternal home in. I have been studying this place you now call forever. So much more than I can ever even imagine.

 Most of what has gone on here means nothing in Heaven.

Here on earth, we put great focus on things of today. I think it’s because most often we are confused about what the end may bring. We think of today forgetting our lives past this place. I do, put so much pressure on myself, worrying daily about today when it’s forever that matters.

One hurdle we had to cross was getting your brothers and sisters through the last weeks of school. I am so proud of them Ethan. It was hard. What you did to them. Ripping away their ordinary and forcing them to live their days with you gone. Sometimes, they craved the simplest of times and other days overcome with how ridiculous average sounds.

Your death, you took your life, which sets us all apart. It puts us in a place where people look and wonder.  That is hard, for us all.

What you wrote kiddo in your goodbye letter, well they took that to heart. The thing is dear boy; it is much responsibility. When you take your life and leave behind traits, you want others to be. You left behind a ghost of what they need to be. Pressure to live up forever to what you wanted and felt you could not be.

They are already amazing on their own. Growing strong and in God’s time without added pressure here on earth.

Graduation was the best, and the worst. We were able to watch your sister walk the stage and feel a part of everything she has worked her last ten years here as part of our family. She felt she belonged with her peers, her smile melted my heart. That was the best, you gone, the worst.

Your dad and I too walked the stage.

Ethan, I cannot tell you how long that walk was. The silent of the crowd, so thankful it was not them down below walking up to accept their child’s diploma. I have never had so many eyes on me at one time. Those were the hardest steps of my life, walking in slow motion to take that simple earthly paper that you should have touched. It was not ours to take; you earned it my boy. Ethan, I wish you could have finished those last weeks of school, walked that stage and felt the pride in yourself.

The pride we always felt for you, my beautiful boy.

I have had to take a break from facebook at times, reading the posts about other graduates is hard. It is a bittersweet feeling. I want those things for you, and if I am honest, for me too. So many kids are off to their college orientations. Yours was that first week in June. Dad was going to take you. It hurts, all of our dreams for you gone. The pain in that place in my heart that still to this day two months and two days later can not be explained. It hurt to know you are not going away to school. I have not even called to cancel your spot. Somehow, I cannot. The emails come reminding me often of what needs to be done, and yet, I just can’t make that call.

What does a mother say to her son’s new school? “My son took his life a few weeks ago. He forgot Gods plan for us all and didn’t put his faith in him, go ahead and take his name off your list WMU. My boy will not be there. He is gone from this life too soon.”

I guess that is what we need to say, Goodbye WMU, a parent’s dream for their child means nothing when they choose to take their life.

 

I adore your lady friend’s son, that is what you used to say. “Mom, Can I go out with a lady friend tonight?”  We have had the true joy to see that you made some wise choices, that you were a good kid. These girls that are your friends, well sweet love they are true beauties, not just on the outside but full of amazing grace and heart. When we search for something in our day to bring joy and thanks, many times it has been the smile and hope that these young women give. A few have reached out and lifted your brothers and sisters up.

We are thankful for their support. The gifts they send, and the fact they stay in touch.

The other thing….in your death, we see the good of so many students. Not just your lady friends but some you just passed in the halls, some from years before, some who you just touched because they relate to your hurts. It is through these kids, almost adults that we see seeds of hope. The good in them, Ethan, We know these are the kind of kids who can make a difference here on earth. It is these kids that are now my friends on Facebook that I add to my prayers each night.

Praying for them to let God guide their way and bless them on the road to adulthood.

A gifted dancer raising more money than most to make miracles happen,  the neighbor’s times three, one that stood tall giving a message to all on graduation day, the girl who once contemplated taking her life, now stands strong gifting life to others through her story. The junior who steps up to her senior year of leadership. A love of Christ that will lift her up along the way. These kids, you once knew and a few that you hardly did, they remind me of all that is good. They took the time to reach out. They and so many more I did not mention took your death and now have a chance to use it to make a difference in their lives. Life has meaning if you choose to go on.

If you decide to work past the issues of today and create purpose. Serving others is key…they find this secret most do not.

There have been times my sweet EE that I have wanted to close the door to my Father in Heaven.  A few passing thoughts of anger have caught up with me in month two. The emotions are not to be described. No words explain what grief brings. I have had moments where I am numb. Hardened to protect the soft that once was my normal. You know, my boy, how my heart has always been. A bit like yours I think. Full of feeling with deep thoughts beating inside. Processing you being gone became too much, there are days I just shut off the world to protect that place. That hurting spot of love and regrets.

 

When I do that, shut off my feelings and turn away that is a bit like you, isn’t it? I may have forgotten in those moments of hurt that this life on Earth is short. God is to choose when it is time to go. God has a plan for our days. So, taking one’s life is not ok for a son. A mother shutting off her feelings and letting numb takeover is not the way to go either, I now see.

 

Remember Easter Sunday? You were gone to work, and I was feeling bummed that you had not prioritized a day I love so much. The Day we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, all he has done for us. I sat in the living room giving a bit of a lesson to our crew. I told them about a rope. I had Zach grab one from the basement in fact. I took a sharpie and marked off in solid black a section of that rope about an inch long. The long rope I had laying in my lap was showing a few feet or so, the rest coiled up with no end in sight. A few days before I had listed to a Francis Chan sermon on u-tube.http://The Rope Sermon by Francis Chan

I had written myself a sticky note and put it on my desk it said: “The Rope I stole from Francis Chan.” I had a blog post in mind.

The message is pretty clear, This Life here on earth is short in comparison to Eternity. That is what God has planned for us Eternity. A forever place. A place far beyond the joys and physical things of this earth.

God does not promise a world free of pain and danger, but he does promise us help when we face fears, hurts, and pains. The life we live today is just a short inch or so marked off on a Rope of eternity. God will rescue those who live in the shelter of the most high. I find rest in the shadow of the Almighty here on earth so that in my eternal life I can see the glory that should be. I will place in him sweet boy of mine, the hurt of my heart and the fear for your siblings as they grow through this pain of not having you here on earth.

 I will not turn away from the one who wants to comfort me if I let him.

 

Ethan, sweet love, my first born son. I miss you so much. The tears remain. The heart hurt beats away inside my soul.  Month two and two days, it is the place where we go about our day, normal, yet never normal again. We carry our loss with us where ever we go inside our pockets of grief and sorrow, hidden now more and more to not scare away those we know.

Month two and a few days is the place where I remind myself to live for more than today. To remind our family and friends, your brothers and sisters that God’s plan for us is great. That, this earthly life, if lived well, if served with grace, if we see what others may not then we get a long rope, endless in fact.  That each choice we make is not for today but a far greater gift.

 

Month two and two days of mourning you in Heaven brings the memory of the Rope I stole from Francis Chan, Earthly life is small in the length of Eternity. I will live it with thanks, gratitude and serve my Father in Heaven letting HIM guide my life on earth. I rejoice that one day I will get eternity. All my heart aches of today are a mere sharpied out spot on a forever rope with God. I wish you could tell us love how wonderful it would be if we could all live this life knowing how much more we get in eternity.

I wish you would send down a ray of sun with angel love, warming the hearts of all who need to be reminded there is so much more if we just believe and have trust in God each day.

 

Loving you more than ever, more today than even yesterday. My sweet angel boy, pictured in my mind, surfing the clouds of Heaven with a smile wide. Your curls blow in the winds of love and your hugs welcome children who enter the beautiful gates of Heaven. Your image on Earth is more than enough but the picture of you in Heaven makes the hair on my arms stand straight and the hurt in my heart lighten.