Thursday, July 18, 2013

Faith and Prayer

This was written as a guest post for another blogger.  I am sharing it with you all  today.

Faith.  I have always had faith.  As long as I can remember I have had faith. Faith in myself, faith in my family, faith in the innate goodness of people, and faith in God. I was deeply involved in a youth group that taught a belief in a higher being and the basic truths of the bible. Big lessons were faith, hope and charity. I was raised to have faith.

My four and a half year old daughter asked me how do we know God is real? I explained to her that we just have to have faith, or to believe and trust in our hearts that he is real. I asked her how did we know that air is real? Because we have faith that it is.  How do we know that love is real? Can you touch it, taste it, or see it? No, we have to believe, or have faith that it is real. Even four year olds grasp the concept of faith.

My mother was a great believer in faith, hope and charity as well.  She loved her God, and was a very religious person.  We went to church when I was little, and then stopped going faithfully because of the commercialization and monetization of big religion.  Religion sells.  I was raised in a very faith filled, religious home.  My mother would give addresses to every local chapter of her state, when she paid her official required yearly visit as part of her duties of her being the state president of a particular social service organization.  People started to call her talks, "Carla's Sermons."  She was that devout, and loved her God with all her heart and soul.  She was one of those rare speakers, that God's message touched everyone when she spoke.  Often there were no dry eyes in the house. She shone with the love for her God. She grew up in church. She did not attend church regularly in her latter years, she did not feel it necessary to put on her Sunday best to impress people with their hearts in the wrong place, and she did not feel it necessary to put in her twenty bucks every Sunday, for her to feel like a 'good Christian.' She was full of love, and fellowshipped regularly with others to celebrate God.

My grandmother taught me when I was little, after I learned to pray, that you did not have to just say your prayers at night.  She taught me to pray all throughout the day.  She taught me that when you believe in God, that he listens to the prayers of his children all of the time, not just at bedtime.  She taught me that he is always there for us. She taught me to thank him for all of our blessings, not to just pray in our troubling times. They both taught me that God has a master plan, and prayers are not always answered.  Sometimes I thank God for that. Sometimes I just have to have faith that he knows best, and trust in him.

I was lucky, I  had two great teachers in faith and prayer.  A favorite prayer of both of theirs, was Footprints In The Sand.  I was tested when my mother became very ill.  She was very, very sick for a long time.  I prayed multiple times everyday to help her get better.  She had to endure forty plus hospitalizations.  It was very hard to watch her endure, what turned out to be her lot in life, her bad health.  I prayed more than I ever thought possible.  I prayed before, during, and after every surgery, every hospital, every infection, every amputation, every time her kidneys almost shut down, and when they did.  I prayed every time there was a new condition, illness, infection, disorder, disease, bacteria, and slowly but surely watched her health deteriorate over time. Praying for my sweet momma, became a more important part of my daily things to do list, than going to the bathroom.  I prayed that my work would let me take long lunches to go and be with my momma.  I prayed for her to get better.  I prayed for God to help her not be so depressed about her health, and to keep her spirits up. I prayed for her to not be one of the unfortunate ones that MRSA claimed as a victim. I prayed for no more strokes after the first twelve. I prayed for more time with my mommy, I prayed for my daughter to have more time with her gran-gran, I prayed and prayed and prayed. No more heart surgeries, strokes, polymyalgia rheumatic, diabetes, thyroid, sepsis, bladder infections, uti's, toe infections, leg infections, fungal, streptococcus, no more blood transfusions, no more surgeries, no more whacking off her dead black toes, no more debridement needed, no more equipment to suck puss out of her feet and legs, no more unbearable pain from the diabetic neuropathy, no more kidney infections and reduced function, no dialysis, no more going blind from diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, and glaucoma.  I prayed for her to have to bear no more, or for at least God to  help her bear her load. My mother suffered so much here on this earth, in her poor little sick body, that when the time came, I prayed for her suffering to end. She was the strongest person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She bore her health with a smile. And then I selfishly prayed for her not to die. I cried and prayed for God not to take her.  I prayed to take back what I prayed for. Yes, sometimes God doesn't answer all the prayers of his children.

I prayed when I left the hospital on the night that was to be her last, for God to help her.  I prayed for God to help me.  I cannot help but remembering thinking after all the hubbub died down, of all the things you go through when a person dies, that she had raised me to be as strong as she was.  She had taught me to be strong, have faith and depend on God. She had spent her entire life preparing me for the moment she was no longer on this earth to take care of me.  Then later that night, after I finished dinner with my husband and three year old at the time, I got the call. Less than two hours after I left the hospital. Her heart had stopped again. That this was probably the end.  I had been there with her for two days, and the infection ravaging her poor little body had gotten worse and worse, to the point that she crashed after an x-ray.  As I watched the countless medical personnel manually pump her heart for over an hour, upon returning to her bedside, I felt a quiet, cool, calming peace come over me.  I had to be the one to make the call.  In my morbid fascination in anything and everything medical, growing up with two parents in the medical field, I had to witness every single second with her.  I had to be there. I had to touch her, hold her hand after we made the call. 

She was there and held me when I came into this world, and I had to be there, holding her hand, when she slipped out of it.  I had to make my father and brother come in to say their last goodbyes to her.  I was poised on the edge of a precipice I did not want to cross, but yet I pressed on.  I had to be the strong one. I am my mother's daughter. I cannot begin to describe the overwhelming sense of emptiness and pain that is incomprehensible to anyone who has not lost a parent.  I have lost grandparents, and it is nowhere close to the pain I felt and still feel over losing my best friend in life, my mother.  I truly believe there was a presence there that night flooding me with peace, to enable me to be the strong one.  I have only my faith to tell me it was real, but I know it as surely as I know my own name. I believe that God was there for me after my beloved momma passed away.  I believe he was watching over me on my drive home alone, while I was bawling my eyes out, and was having trouble seeing the lines on the road in the horrible rain storm.  I believe that he helped me pick the best husband in the world, that would one day be able to give me what I needed while processing this life changing event.  I believe that he helped me find the right words to tell my precious three year old, that her granny had went to be with Jesus in heaven.  I believe that God helped me through losing my mother, just like I asked him to.  I believe, like the line in Footprints In The Sand goes, that it was then that he carried me. I believe he answered my prayers, because I could not have gotten through it alone. 

I couldn't have gotten through the death of my Momma without my faith, and belief in God.  I fully believe in the power of prayer.  I believe that sometimes, maybe just maybe, God sends you signs when you need them the most. I believe that God answers prayers, and that sometimes when he doesn't, that we just have to trust that there is a bigger plan.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Visiting Hours

Dear Mommy,
         I am coming to visit you today! I know I have not been good about coming to the cemetery.  You see, it is so very hard.  I am sitting her crying just thinking about coming to visit.  There is something so innately wrong with you being in the ground and not here with me.  I love you so and miss you like crazy.  It seems like forever since I have seen you, since you have held me in your arms, and since you last kissed my hand. In reality it has only been sixteen and a half months since you passed away.  We moved to Kentucky six months after you passed, and then I broke my leg three months after that.  I couldn't walk on both feet for almost four months, and living in a different state with no babysitters, and one car made all the difference.  Maybe I needed to insulate myself, and become stronger before I came to visit you again.  Maybe I needed to let time pass.  Maybe I needed some distance. Just like the pictures of you that I finally hung in my hallway, I am ready to come to your earthly resting place and visit again.

Why do I feel so very guilty for only having been to visit you there a handful of times? I know you are in heaven, and I shouldn't feel guilty, but yet I do.  I have thought about it a lot.  I know I should visit more often, and I will now that I am ready.  It just seems wrong to me somehow to visit a cemetery to see you, rather than driving to your house. To look at a cold piece of metal with your name on it. To talk to the air, and hoping you hear me in heaven! To bend down and touch your gravestone, instead of rubbing your warm, soft skin.  To not have you still in this life, watching your beloved granddaughter grown up with me.  You should still be here with me mom.  You went too soon! When the band aid is off, some days the pain is still so hard.  The missing, the black hole in my chest.  You are still so much more to me than a cold hard piece of metal in the ground that I come to pay my 'respects' to during visiting hours.  But you taught me well, to visit and pay respects to your dead. So I will be dropping in today. 'Cause you are my dead.  Even though you went too young, you are mine! And today I feel drawn, compelled to visit you.

I wish you were here to go with me to register my daughter for kindergarten, to see my new house, to talk to everyday on the phone, or to even visit you in the hospital.  I would give anything just to visit you in the hospital, and sit quietly and watch you sleep one more time.   I wish I could talk to you about all the crazy and crappy that has been going on in my life lately.  And the good, there is so much good mommy.  Daddy and I have become close like you and I were.  We have been there for each other, and pulled each other through the last sixteen and a half months.  I know you know all this, because you watching, but sometimes I have to have a good cry and get it all out.  Today was one of those days.  Daddy called and asked if I wanted to go to the cemetery with him, and I said yes!  I cannot wait to come visit! I am ready and I am able.

So in the middle of my crying jag, the four and a half year old comes over, and I am bawling.  I told her I was missing Granny.  So she asks me if I want her to sing a song to cheer me up! I said yes! You see that is our thing, we sing each other silly songs to cheer each other up! It went like this;

Cheer up mommy, I love you, I know you miss your mommy, but I am still here, I haven't died, I love you so so much, I love you mommy....etc

And then there was dancing on bubble wrap in the living room! My four year old definitely has a handle on keeping it real! I know you were laughing from heaven! You loved dancing, so I know you were dancing right along with us! So I will be coming to visit today. And to close, I will leave you with one of my all time favorite quotes from Steel Magnolias, the movie;
"Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion!"

Love always
              -Your loving Daughter

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Hop Libs Blog Hop Entry, Week 2

A Foolish Fox and Five Wishes Mad:)Take
A Fox named Marshall is chasing a squirrel named Corky through a forest.
Suddenly, Marshall Fox and Corky squirrel found an old Hair Gel and decided to rub it.
A genie pops up and says: I will grant you each of you wishes; three for you, Corky squirrel, and five for you, Marshall Fox.
Corky squirrel was angry with the Genies offer of extra wishes to Marshall Fox and decided to have the last laugh. Corky squirrel says to Fox: Marshall, you go ahead and make 3 of your wishes first, while I decide what I will use my wishes for.
Marshall Fox thinks that it is only natural for him to make his wishes first and begins: For my first wish, I wish all the foxes in the forest were female.
The Genie sliding his foot and *oh my goodness* it is done.
Then Marshall says: For my second wish, make me the most stinky fox in the world.
The Genie sliding his foot and *oh my goodness* it is done.
Next, Marshall Fox says: Third, give me all the pop tarts in the world to hiding.
*oh my goodness* It is done.
Then the Genie says: OK, squirrel, it is your turn to make your first wish.
squirrel says: I wish for a book.
*oh my goodness* it is done.
Marshall Fox says: I wish all the foxes in this country were females.
*oh my goodness* It is done.
Corky squirrel then says: I wish for a life time supply of garlic naan at the back of my house.
The Genie sliding his foot and *oh my goodness* it is done.
Fox says: For my last wish, make all the other foxes in this entire world female.
*oh my goodness* It is done.

Corky squirrel then says with a smile: I wish Marshall Fox to be FEMALE!
*oh my goodness* It is done.
And Corky squirrel drives away on the book silly.

Friday, March 29, 2013

First Ever Hop Libs Blog Hop

Hiya! Today I am having fun! I am co-hosting, along with another gal, Miss Cristyl, over at CHill Thoughts, the first ever Hop Libs Blog Hop, from my other Blog, The Wild and Wonderful World of Gingerssnaps! It's super fun! All you have to do is, fill out your words, click create, and read your hilarious mad-lib inspired, hop lib! No writing, serious thoughts, etc, just fun like when we were 10! Just be sure to copy and paste you Hop Lib into a blog post, copy the URL and link up so we can see your hilarious Hop Lib too!! Happy Hop Libbing!

Please follow both your hostesses on whatever social media you prefer

You provide us with 26 little words in the blanks below and we'll provide you with your very own HOP Lib, a Mad Libs-style story, you can copy and paste into a blog post.  Please mention the hop and link back to us; grab our button and include it on your blog or in your post if you can.

Then, come back here and link up your post with your HOP Libs story!  Easy peasy, lemon-squeezy!

I'll be including my HOP Lib at the very end of this post, below the link-up, so that the surprise isn't ruined for you before you complete your own HOP Lib.

Your hostesses are:



The Wild and Wonderful World of Gingerssnaps

Create your HOP Lib:


HOP Libs Blog Hop Word Game


Our HOP Lib is generated by Mad:)Takes - thanks for providing the fun!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Granny, You've Got Mail

So I finally did it! I got all of the pictures of my mom hung up in my house.  There is a family tree wall, and I finally had the courage to hang all of the pictures.  The pictures that I cherish of my mother.  I did not have the courage to hang them all until now.  It was kind of a big deal.  I have healed enough to be able to look at those cherished memories every day, without being reduced to a sobbing sack of grief. My father has been to my house to see them as well.  They made him smile!

My daughter and I have talked about them several times in the past couple of weeks since they have been hung. How she was her Granny's doll baby, and how much Granny wanted her and loved her. She went through missing her a couple of weeks ago, when she was tired, saying,"I don't remember those times with my Granny!" Shot through my heart, as I promised my mother that I would never let her baby forget her.  So we have been talking about her more, almost everyday.

So this morning, my baby was going through the pictures on the wall, and asked, " Can I pray to my Granny mommy?" I replied, "Sure you can baby, anytime you want!"  So she climbed in my bed and proceeded to pray to my mother in heaven, saying," Granny I miss you!"

Water works-check.  So then we climbed that giant lump in my throat hurdle, had a good cry, and she came up with a great idea!  She said, " Momma, I need an envelope!" I asked her why.  She replied, "I want to send hugs and kisses to Granny in heaven!" AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH. My child definitely shares my mother's and my propensity for big heartedness. And the ability to pull on my heartstrings at the drop of a hat.

So I go and get her a card, and sit her down at the table to get started.  She immediately writes I, draws a  heart, and a u. I tear up again.  She then draws herself and an anatomically correct "Granny".  She draws a line and explains that they are hugging and kissing. She then has me spell to Granny From Hayden out loud for her while she addresses the outside of the envelope.  She then puts her card in the envelope and says, "we can't forget all the hugs and kisses!" I am a mess at this point.

She then asks me to take it to the mailbox, since we are still in our jammies.  I say sure, and she watches me carry it our, and pretend deposit in the mailbox.  She said, "so Granny can pick it up!"  have a mini-breakdown en route to the mailbox! I will save this special card forever!

So Granny, you've got mail.  A very special delivery, from your doll baby! I just know that you received your special delivery to heaven!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Little Plant and I

Dear Mom,
             I wanted to share something, and you aren't around to call, so I am putting it out here on the blog.  It's about a plant.  A potted plant that I received at your funeral.  A former youth group member and her momma sent it to us when you died.  All the multitude of flowers that we received, and that filled our house after your wake, are now gone.  All but this one remaining potted plant.  It still has the original ribbon around the base that says comfort, and has grown a bit. It is beautiful, and full of life. 
  You know me, I do not have any semblance of green thumbery.  I have never kept a plant alive, that required care, more than two years in my life.  Just ask my best friend Auntie J, I killed almost all of her plants once when I was plant sitting, during a staywithhermomduringabrokenankle extended absence! The only other plant I did not kill was an amaryllis, which doesn't require frequent anything.  That plant turned into a game to see how long we could go without watering it.  It loved the abuse and being ignored.  The plant became a family joke. It was one I got for a Christmas/housewarming gift about 7 years ago! It has long since joined the plant retirement community in the sky.
   Any time a leaf turns brown and dies, I freak out.  I immediately start worrying if I have watered it too much?  Did I start the ball rolling, that sets in motion, the sequence of events that will lead to it's impending demise? I worry about this plant like I have never worried about anything green before.  It is strange to me how I worry about this plant.
   I silently look at it and greet it every morning.  In all my ridiculousness, I was thinking about why keeping this plant alive is so important to me.  I have come to the following conclusion.  I love this plant.  I love it like I have loved no other.  It symbolizes the last thing that you indirectly gave me.  The last thing that ties me to you.  I have no more mommy hugs, no more mommy kisses, no more giggles with my mother like we were little school girls, and no more fun girls day shopping outings with you, me and my daughter.  What I have, as I wrote in my last post, are Pictures and Memories.  It is the last thing that ties me to you(save all your stuff and family members).  I feel as if I fail this little plant, that I am somehow failing you.  I know it sounds ridiculous, but it's my comrade in arms.
   My little plant and I started this journey in grief together.  If the plant makes it, I guess I feel that so do I.  If I take care of it, then by living, it in a sort of therapeutic kind of way, takes care of me too.  I never 'got' plant people before, but now I kind of do.  I understand how an inanimate object can be a source of solace, companionship, and comfort.  So in honor of my plant of self realization, I will be naming it.  I will keep you posted on the naming of my little buddy!  I also may need to check out a bigger pot!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Pictures and Memories

Dear Mom,
                  it's been a while since I have written.  I have been competing in a photo contest online, and today's entry was a picture of you and me.  Taken in my early twenties when we were working in the kitchen at some Rainbow function or another.  We were happy as larks!  I had just met my future husband, you were a proud mamma, we were still involved in the youth group together, and we had each other. 
  The subject of the photo for today was suppose to 'envy'.  All I had to do was walk through the hallway in my new house, which you have never seen, or will never step foot inside of, and look at the picture gallery that I started hanging yesterday. I finally felt I was strong enough to hang all your pictures, and look at them every day. There it was, the picture of the happy little two of us. We were both so young, healthy, and in the prime of our lives.  I am envious of my younger self.  A younger self that still had time with you, and you always and forever by my side.  I miss you like crazy. 
  I called Nana this morning and caught up with her.  I was telling her that it doesn't hurt so bad all the time anymore, just when I let it out, like now.  I find myself wishing I could call you and discuss my distress at Hayden starting kindergarten, and tell you that the sign ups are next month! I just want to ask you if you could believe how quickly my baby is growing up.  I wish I could just dial your number and chat in the bathroom like we used to do, and talk about nothing in particular.  I wish I could share all the goings on in my life and my family's, the good and the bad.  I wish I still had your loving voice to tell me everything was going to be okay.
  I can still remember your voice and little things you used to say. I close my eyes and remember your spoken words, I can still hear them. I am visualizing the last hug you ever gave me on your own, I close my eyes, and I feel your arms around me, transported for a moment back to your bedroom.  Am I ridiculous for trying to remember your arms wrapped around me in love?  So much love.  I have been dreaming about you lately.  For a long time, you have not entered my dreams, maybe since a couple of months after the funeral.  I was glad a couple of nights ago when I dreamed of you.  It felt like home.  I dreamed of you the second night, and last night too.  Doing mundane 'us' things that we used to do.  Ring shopping!
  I wish you could see that daddy started the same tradition with Hayden, that he did with me when I was four.  He bought her the most beautiful Valentine's pink roses.  He bought me roses too.  The floral account is still in your name, and so your name was on the card.  I wish you were here to see. The last three days, I have fallen asleep with Hayden during naptime.  I have woken up just in time for the sunset every night.  The last three nights sunsets have been purple and pink. Coincidence? Maybe, maybe not.  I don't know anymore, but the thought has crossed my mind.
  So dear mommy, I miss you.  All the time.  I had the mother most others only dream of, and I miss you like crazy. Every. Single. Day.  I am thankful for the pictures taken and all of the memories we made together.  They are what I have now.
                                              I love you, forever in my heart-
                                                              your daughter