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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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.
A few months ago I shared some tips for slowing down and finding rest. I’m still working on that. Really, I am! The problem is that there are bills to pay, dishes to wash, laundry to clean, kids to take to therapy and dance lessons and church activities and playdates, laundry to fold and put away, meals to prepare, grocery shopping to do, more bills to pay, and lessons to teach!
It’s so easy to get overwhelmed and sucked into the dailiness of life, to get caught up in the stress of having too much month at the end of the money, diapers to change, bottoms to wipe, puke to clean up, floors to mop, bathtubs to scrub, and trash to take out.
We need some perspective. We need to focus on the eternal. I have been convicted of that as I watch the news reports of the Arkansas tornado that devastated communities a couple of hours north of us on my younger daughter’s birthday. Foundations are bare. Piles of debris are stacked around what used to be neighborhoods. Families are attending funerals instead of birthday parties. The communities ache. Actually, the whole state is heartbroken. I have prayed for peace and comfort, for strength to rebuild.
And then I was rocked by a mama named April. April has a bare foundation. April’s possessions are in those piles of rubble and strewn across central Arkansas. April is in a hospital room, and she has two funerals to plan. Her boys are gone, and it looks like God planned it that way.
But April has what I don’t have. I would be angry, like the person who shared April’s story. April, on the other hand, while she still has a lot to process, has unshakable faith in her God—that He is good and has a plan, even when she can’t understand it. She rejoices in her children’s freedom from the brokenness of this world and in the fact that she will see them again one day.
I need that kind of faith. I want it. I’m tired of fretting and being anxious about everything. There is something beautiful in complete surrender to the Father and His will, even when it makes no sense to us, even when it’s painful.
To get that faith, to come to complete surrender, we have to keep things in perspective. This world is not our home. God is working behind the scenes, doing things we can’t begin to imagine. And He’s preparing us for eternity.
Mamas, why don’t we give ourselves a gift this Mother’s Day. Let’s give ourselves the gift of perspective. With it, we’ll get a peace we never dreamed possible, even in the darkest of times.
There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting. From Philippians 1:27-30 MSG
With Mother’s Day approaching, I find myself struck (yet again) with the same feelings I’ve been experiencing for several years in a row now. These feelings invoke deep gratitude within me, mixed with a touch of sorrow.
I can’t help but appreciate the beautiful women I consider the true heroes of Mother’s Day— also known as the mothers who have been forced to find the strength to continue living, even though their child’s life has ended.
Be it from miscarriage or born silently, to sickness such as cancer, war, an unforeseen accident, etc.— whatever the circumstance, there are precious women all over the world that have had to endure this heartache.
Each year, we have a Mother’s Day service in our church and honor all the mothers. And each year, I take notice of the many moms in our congregation who have faced the severe grief and pain of losing a child. These women hold their head high with a smile on their face. These women continue on in their everyday lives, operating in the strength only God can provide.
You may be one such woman. If that’s so, please know that I admire you. I admire your ability to carry on. I admire the strength you display. I cannot imagine what you have been through, and in complete honesty, for that I am grateful. All I know is that it cannot be easy. You inspire me to be the best mother I can be, to appreciate the time I have with my sweet daughters and know that every day and every moment is a blessing that is not to be taken lightly. And please know that you are in my heart and prayers.
For all you moms out there— I pray that you would take the time this Mother’s Day (and everyday) to celebrate the job God has entrusted you with and enjoy the day with your children. Embrace the gift you have been given and never, ever take it for granted.
In March my Nana was called home. She lived a glorious God filled life. I know where she is, and I know I will see her again. The following is mostly how I felt & what my emotions were.
Today I heard the doxology.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow! Praise Him all creatures here below! Praise Him above all ye heavenly hosts! Praise Father, Son & Holy Ghost!! Amen!
The doxology was one of the first “Christian” things I learned. It holds a special place in my heart. I want to praise God for everything good & bad.
Today my Nana died. For awhile I was angry at God. I didn’t get home in time to be with her, to say goodbye, to tell her I love her. It took us 22 hours to get home. I thought a lot in those 22 hours. I cried a lot in those 22 hours. I praised God a lot in those 22 hours. The phone was put on the speaker and I said my final words to Nana. I told her how much I love her, how much I would miss her. How much B,M,S & E love her & will miss her. I told her to hug Jesus for me when she got to Heaven & hug my Gren (grandfather) I told her how sorry I was I didn’t make it home. I remember just telling her how much I love her, how sorry I was & I would see her in Heaven.
The days have been long, but they have also been encouraging. I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with family & remembering Nana. It’s been difficult. I get overwhelmed & cry easily. I am selfish. I live 22 hours away from all of my family. I miss living near my family. I should have been here to help care for Nana. I should have been there when she died. I should have been there for my dad & sisters…. I should have….
Monday is Nana’s wake. Tons of people will come through offer condolences & cry, laugh & tell stories.
Tuesday is her funeral. I will cry. I will think how unfair it is. I will know she is in Heaven, with Jesus. I will rejoice & praise God knowing she is not in pain, she is with her Savior.
On Easter we didn’t go to church to celebrate the joyous resurrection of our Savior Jesus. We went to the ocean and talked about Nana. It was cold and windy. I don’t really remember exactly how cold it was, looking at the pictures I see how cold really we were. Nana has always known where she would go when she died. I believe God gave me (us) this time together to cry, live, understand each other just a little more.
As sad as I am, I also rejoice.
Flash forward a week….
Nana’s wake was beautiful. 200 people came to offer condolences and morn with us. I grew closer to my aunt & understand my Dad a little more. Watching my children mourn was very difficult. Emma was very emotional. Sophia was emotionally shut off. Melissa, my oldest daughter, took on a mom role for her younger sisters. I was taking care of my dad & aunt. I also have a son, Brian, he is 25 & he is lost.
I don’t remember a whole lot about her funeral, here are a few memories I will cherish…Before Nana’s funeral we prayed as a family. My Dad, who does not believe, led us in prayer. It was such a beautiful moment that my family shared. My Dad, my Aunt, my children, & sister stood in a circle holding hands & praying. Funny, I don’t remember the words he said, but they were Godly.
Once we got to the church and the men in our family carried Nana’s casket into the church & we walked her down the aisle, the church organist started playing “How great thou art”. My Sophia finally cried. She held onto my arm and we walked, tears freely flowing. We sat down and the priest spoke of Nana, told stories, remembered how if anyone needed prayer Nana was the one to ask, she prayed faithfully everyday. Then came time to read the prayers of the faithful. That was my job. I can hear the priest saying Lou’s oldest granddaughter, Danielle. I can see myself walking up to the pulpit. I feel myself taking that deep breath and looking at the paper I am supposed to read. I look down and I see that whoever typed the prayers out has written the wrong name on the paper & all I can think is please don’t say the wrong name!! I take a deep breath, all that comes out is my tears & my grief. I cry through the first prayer. I paused for what seemed like hours, which in fact was only maybe 30 seconds and I hear footsteps. I look up & Sophia is standing by my side holding my hand. I continue reading the prayers, crying & at that point, where Sophia is holding my hand & I am crying & reading. I no longer care that I’m sobbing while reading. I would not have been able to get through reading if Sophia hadn’t been there holding my hand. We walk back hand in hand tears in our eyes. It was a beautiful bonding moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.
My Dad walked up to the pulpit to speak about his Mom. I remember him talking about growing up and Nana always cooking. I remember him talking about Nana’s last night on this earth. Nana was partially in a coma at this point and one of my aunts or my step mom made her a drink, a highball, they put some of it on a sponge and she opened her eyes and smiled and said yum. My Dad talked of how much love nana had for everyone and then he too broke down, he came back to his seat.
After the funeral there was a meal, after the meal we went back to my Aunt’s home & talked more. There are so many more things that happened in those 2 weeks we were home. I am comforted in knowing that someday I will see my Nana again & we will be with Jesus next time.
1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
Grace & Peace to you!
My boys LOVED their Poppa C! They were his side kicks. He got them hooked on Kentucky basketball, introduced them to pork rinds, tried to get them to drink tomato juice, and told them how to plant, weed, and harvest a garden.
Poppa bought Isaac his first bass guitar and couldn’t wait to hear him play his first “real” notes on it. He let Creed spend countless, wasted hours in front of the television, just so he could get out of doing anything…
He was their Poppa.
He had nicknames for the younger grandgirls. Stinkpots 1, 2, and 3. He loved to tease each and every one of them and they ate it up.
It’s been a few weeks now since Poppa C passed away. Needless to say, the kids were crushed. Everyone’s lives have changed, but the change is different for the younger ones. No one will ever understand death, but explaining it to a child, impossible. It’s an unquenchable curiosity. The answer is never right or enough.
My boys were honorary pallbearers. They dressed in their very best suits, combed their hair over in the way that Poppa had so many times before, and walked behind the casket like little men. He would have been so proud of them.
Questions and comments still come everyday. “Momma, why did Poppa have to die?”, “I miss Poppa.”, “I wish Poppa didn’t die.”… I don’t always know what to say. The other day, Creed, my eight year old son, said, “Mom, if I call Poppa’s cell phone, will he answer it?”… That is how hard it has been on them. He just wanted to talk to his Poppa.
Our children do have the peace of knowing that Poppa C is in Heaven. He was a Christian man who shared the faith of Jesus Christ every where he went and with anyone. They know that they will see him again when we all get to Heaven.
Do you know how blessed I am? I am very blessed. I have had two healthy pregnancies with easy labor and delivery, resulting in two perfect and beautiful little girls. I am so thankful to have never had to know the gut-wrenching pain of a miscarriage or loss of a child, and I selfishly pray that I will never have to. Yet, I have unfortunately witnessed many friends and family members, even acquaintances, endure such heartbreak. I have seen the tears and hurt, while many others endured silent sorrow. Some never seeing their precious baby outside of the womb, others able to meet their sweet baby, only to have to let them go. In fact, one of the saddest funerals I have ever had to attend was that of a darling little girl who lived a meager 19 days. Parents, family, and friends were overcome with grief and there was only one pallbearer needed. I watched as her Daddy carried the smallest casket I’ve ever laid eyes on to a grave that had been dug much too soon. We may never know or understand why God chooses to allow these things to happen, and the only bit of comfort I’ve ever been able to offer to those in mourning is the realization that they will be able to see that loved one once again in heaven.
I’ve always heard people say, “You have to go through this trial, because one day you are going to help someone else having to go through the same thing.” I know there are many of you out there who have probably dealt with the grief I’m talking about, possibly even dealing with it now. I went to high school with a girl named Krystal. Krystal is now married and has a daughter, Lyla, and a son, Wyatt. Wyatt, however, was silently born and is now with her only in spirit. I don’t even want to imagine what I would do if I was in the same situation, but I admire Krystal and the way she chooses to get through this chapter of her life in a positive way by honoring the memories she has of her son. I believe she will truly be able to help someone that may have to go through the same thing. She inspires me to make the very best of what my life is and not take anything for granted.
Krystal has recently started a blog in honor of Wyatt and this journey she has had to face. With her permission, I am sharing a link to her blog, because I feel it may be of help to some of you who understand exactly how she is feeling. I am also asking for all of our readers to help us pray for Krystal and her family as they cope with their loss. Feel free to check out Krystal’s blog here http://www.kdforgey.blogspot.com/
1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;4 time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;7 a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NKJV
For some reason, many people (not just men) are afraid to admit that they are not experiencing any emotion other than joy. Especially Christians. Some feel that it is sinful, or makes them not as good as the next person. However, as the scripture above points out, (Turn, Turn, Turn… Ha, you know it’s stuck in your head now too…) there is a time for everything.
To mourn and grieve is very important to the healing process. Without embracing the truth, acknowledging it, dealing with it, and accepting that something happened you may not ever truly move on. Sure, you can be all happy/smiley and say “Praise the Lord!” after everything everyone says, but that doesn’t mean you’re happy. The body, heart, mind, and soul need to grieve in a healthy matter for a healthy amount of time. It should not be rushed or dragged out.
Unfortunately, really horrible bad things happen in this world: Death, natural and unnatural. Rape. Miscarriage. Child abuse. Illness. Job loss. Divorce. Infidelity. Break ups. Infertility. Muggings. Robberies. Car accidents. Etc, etc, etc… After any of these situations, it is normal to grieve and expected. It is even normal to “mildly grieve” over much smaller less upsetting situations. Anyone who’s had a bad hair cut knows what I’m talking about. (I forgive Karen & Emily for butchering my hair when I was 16, really… but that doesn’t mean I didn’t mourn it for a few days.)
Yes, as Christians we should have joy. Yes, we should see the positive and not the negative. But we are also commanded that there IS a time to mourn. That means it’s accepted. Should you not allow this process, you may miss out on a complete healing.
Just remember, it’s called GOOD GRIEF for a reason. And that prayer is NEVER a bad thing. The more the better!