It’s been 17 months since my son went to Heaven.
A piece of my heart left my body and went to Heaven with him. I’ve learned so much these last months. I’ve learned the goodness of our great God. I’ve learned to be still and listen and more importantly hear. When Brian first died I was angry, no angry doesn’t cover it. I was livid. I could not understand how God would let this happen. That 1st Sunday back at church we sat in the over flow room and I cried the entire time. In my head I was screaming at God. At one point I stopped crying. I clearly heard God say my Son hung from a tree too. Brian is with my Son. You will always know where he is now. (There were many months I did not know if Brian were alive or not.)
I started hearing God’s voice saying small sweet loving things to me. Friends telling me how Loved I am. Telling me that our God is not a God of confusion, He is a God of Love. I hadn’t opened my Bible in a very long time. I opened my Bible 2 weeks ago, I read the book of John. I see things differently now. My faith is much stronger and I confidently know where my son is. Brian and I had a conversation 8 weeks before he died. I hadn’t talked to him in almost 2 years. (Drugs, alcohol, bad life choices, his choice to not have me in his life) He called me. He was at rock bottom and wanted a new start. He was willing to get himself here and go to a Christian mission to recover. We had a conversation about God. I said to him I know you say that you don’t believe in God, but I really think you are just angry with Him. My boy broke down and said he was so angry at God that this isn’t how his life was supposed to be. We talked everyday, several times a day before he died. My son knew God & knew how loved he is. In his death he has accomplished what he wanted to in life. Brian would give anyone anything they needed, whether he could afford it or not.
My family has some things in Brian’s memory. Our church has been going to the public servants of our town to thank them for all that they do. I was asked if I could help with the police officer luncheon. I have been wanting to find a away to thank them for their kindness on that night they had to come tell us. It blessed me so much to bless them. My youngest daughter walked the suicide awareness walk.
I can listen & hear people. I can listen & hear God. Now don’t get me wrong, God still has to show me things several times before I get it. I get it much sooner nowadays. Now don’t get me wrong, I wish my son was here with me. I don’t want any family to feel this grief, to feel this loss. It is horrific! Mental illness is a taboo subject that no one wants to talk about, that no one wants to ask for help.
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Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.
After 2 years of a very long, life changing estrangement for my oldest child, Brian contacted me. At first he wanted me to know how angry he was that we didn’t have a typical mother/son relationship. He usually never comes out to say what he really means. We were estranged because he was a drug abuser and honestly he told me if I didn’t lie for him he no longer had a mother. I told him to make very sure this is what he wanted. It sadly was. Flash forward to that phone call 14 months ago. Brian hit rock bottom. He wanted help. In those short 8 weeks he and I reconciled our damaged relationship, more importantly he reconciled his relationship with Jesus. We texted everyday for hours, talked on the phone.
My family’s life changed on May 28, 2015. My oldest child, my only son, committed suicide. Brian and I had been estranged for 2 years. 8 weeks before he died he reached out. He wanted help. He’d hit the bottom and wanted to be off drugs, find his joy.
In those 8 weeks before Brian died we talked about everything. The one thing that sticks out for me was the very 1st conversation. We talked about God, about Jesus. I said to him you say you don’t believe in God, but I think maybe you are just mad at Him. Brian started to cry. He cried hard and told me he was so mad at God. His life wasn’t going how he wanted. He told me of how he had been playing bass at church since Easter. We talked about everything in those last 8 weeks. We texted several times each day. I told Brian I loved him every morning and every night. Brian’s last words to me?
I love you Ma.
We were on the East coast for 15 days. We spread Brian’s ashes in the ocean. The ocean brought Brian peace. I also have a small urn that I keep.
That 1st Sunday back in Iowa, back in our church was hard. We sat in the overflow room in hopes no one would see us. I cried through the service. Pastor was preaching about the beatitudes- Happy are those who morn. Friends saw us, they hugged us, they cried with us. I cried every Sunday for several weeks. I couldn’t get past Brian dying. Living in a world where he isn’t here. I didn’t lose my faith. Was I angry at God for “letting this happen”? No. The enemy had Brian. Brian listened to the wrong thing. Brian died.
For the longest time I focused on my grief. How hurt I was. How angry I was that some friends didn’t really reach out to me. I can’t even tell you what I needed, or, what would have helped.
One Sunday I was sitting in the back of our church and I was silently crying, praying, listening. I could only picture Brian hanging. I could only see his hurt, his pain, his anger. I doubted he was in Heaven. God spoke to me and said Danielle, my Son hung on a tree too. Don’t worry about Brian, he is with me and my Son and his pain is gone. You don’t have to worry about where he is anymore.
I was blown away. I cried. And thanked God. In that pain in my heart there was a small flutter of joy. Brian has Glory. He is in Heaven.
I see things differently now. Joy comes in a different way now. There is this ache in my heart that will always be there but every so often I feel joy. And for that little bit of joy I am blessed.
In this last year my life has changed so much. Before our son died I was able to reconcile our relationship. We had honest, loving talks. We texted each other several times everyday. I had 2 months with him that were a wonderful gift. We talked about life, God (I believe Brian is in Heaven) he knew Jesus, he is with Jesus now.
The outpouring of love from family, friends & people we didn’t know was overwhelming. We were on the east coast for 2 weeks, our families drew together and helped us. My husband and brother and sister in law took care of all of Brian’s final plans. We opted to not have an obituary put in the paper, mainly because it was $300 to do so & we weren’t even sure how we were paying for Brian’s cremation. Again our family and people we didn’t even know made sure everything was taken care of. It was a very small gathering at Plum Island, about 20 of us, just family. We laid Brian’s ashes in the ocean, a place I know he always found peace.
When we returned home family and friends called me almost daily, friends from church brought us meals & words of encouragement. I’ve made some new friends who are a part of this loss of a child, some very good friends, friends who get it. Along the way this past year I’ve withdrawn myself from a lot of things. Sometimes seeing the constant happy made me sad. Sometimes I feel like I am drowning in sorrow. I tried many wrong ways of trying to cope with this grief, I drank almost everyday since Brian died, it took away some of the pain, in turn it scared my living children, so I’ve stopped drinking. I’ve tried pretending everything is just fine, didn’t work. I’ve cried and I’ve remembered happier times with my family. I’ve learned that I’ll never “get over it” as some have said I should. I will always grieve and a spot in my heart will always have an ache for Brian until we see each other in Heaven. I’ve learned that sometimes people are in your life for a time and that’s ok. There are days that I am still paralyzed in grief and there are days that I’m not.
I’ll honor God and Brian’s memory by loving. I’ll miss you Brian, I’ll miss you forever. I love you my dear sweet Buddy.
Since this happened I’ve lost many friends. Some because I have totally withdrawn and others because seeing me and my sad, pain filled eyes makes them think of their own child’s life.
For the last 2 years Joy has been my focus. In joy I find love.
Finding joy after my son died.
Is there still joy? Can I ever feel that joy? I am afraid to feel joy.
Joy hurts right now. I still try to find one thing a day that brings joy.
To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
I can almost see your baby fingers.
I can almost taste your baby toes.
Gone in an instant it wasn’t slow.
It went by too fast.
A blink of an eye.
I wish you were here.
Oh how I wish you were here.
Gone too soon.
Loved so much.
Now you know
How loved you are.
How loved you are.
If you follow us on Facebook, you may already know of the tragic loss that struck Danielle’s family last week.
Thursday night, Danielle was notified that her son, Brian, had unexpectedly passed away.
I don’t have to explain to you how devastating this has been for Danielle, her husband, and their daughters. Having never lost a child that I have held and nurtured, I cannot even fathom the pain. My siblings are living, so I don’t know the anguish that the girls are tormented with. We do all know that it is a horrible thing to have to experience though, even if we haven’t been there.
All of us at Raising Sticky Hands to Heaven consider Danielle a dear friend. She is known for stepping up to help others in time of need. Just a few months ago she rallied others together to donate crafts and activities to a hospital where one of her daughters is receiving treatment. They were running out of supplies for their children’s program because their funds were low. The Borrelli family made sure that it was taken care of though and was able to bless the program with an abundance of items, thanks to many that were able to give.
If it were one of us in this situation, we know without a doubt that Danielle would go out of her way to help the one who was hurting. I can’t even count how many times she has reached out to me during hard times, just to let me know I was loved.
More than anything, the Borrelli family needs prayer during this difficult time and the journey ahead. Please please PLEASE, keep them in your prayers.
If you feel lead, we have created GoFundMe page to hopefully help offset the burden of the expense that has come up. On top of the cost of arrangements, the family has had to travel and spend time away from work. No gift is too small as anything is a blessing. We do not have a set day to close the page, so if you are unable to help right away the page will still be open. The family is set to be the ones to withdraw the donations, so you don’t have to worry about anyone filtering anything out.
I want to emphasize that none of them have asked us for help. This was something that we decided to do behind the scenes. (We did ask her if it was okay first, though.)
Again, please only give if you feel lead. We know that many are unable, and that is why I want to highlight, again, to please keep them in your prayers as that is what the Borrelli family needs most right now.