Vicki is my awesome older sister, by two years.

She was the first one to go to middle school,

First to suffer through high school (😊),

First to get a job,

And the first to get married.

I was never EVER jealous of her,

Because I would never want to be the “first” to try anything.

I have this pretty funny t-shirt that says,

” I’m a leader, NOT a follower. Except if we’re in a dark place….then screw it! You’re going first.”

πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

We are so blessed by those who have already BEEN to the place where we now find ourselves.

Sometimes these places are incredibly scary,

And often,

Just plain heartbreaking.

Two years ago, my church began implementing Griefshare.

It’s basically a support group for those who’ve lost a loved one through death.

I HATE going, initially.

Arms crossed, I pouted and sulked in my little chair for the first couple times.

And at first, I wasn’t sure why I felt that way…

But I guess I really didn’t want THIS to be my story.

I didn’t really expect this.

Tomorrow’s supposed to be “my day”.

I don’t have to be sad at EVERY holiday, do I???

I try.

I really do.

I try to think of how AMAZING my children are.

They totally are!

Macy and Micah are super compassionate kids, and both have a knack for sarcasm, for which I’d like to take credit.

And they both really and truly LOVE me.

Almost as much as I love them. It’s a huge competition around here…

“Who loves who more?”.

If I could let it stay right there, I’d be fine.

I could THINK about Mother’s Day without crying….

If I could….

If I could think about tomorrow WITHOUT thinking about one of the main reasons why I’m a mom in the FIRST PLACE….

If I could think about Mother’s day without thinking of their daddy,

That would be great.

But I can’t.

When I was in labor with Macy, he was my partner. His was the hand I squeezed through every contraction.

His was the face I saw, with tears flowing down his cheeks,

When he carried her over to my face so I could see my daughter for the very first time.

He said Macy had “strong legs”, because Jeremy noticed she was kicking wildly when they pulled her out of me.

He said she had fire.

And he was right.❀

I can’t think about Mother’s day without remembering how fast the contractions started to come immediately after church that Sunday, with our second child.

On the way home, Jeremy knew this baby was COMING!

And he said to me, a fellow “foodie “, “If we’re going right to the hospital, you KNOW they won’t let you eat.

….,Do you wanna get a sandwich?” πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

I love that memory.❀

You didn’t mess with either one of us, when it came to food.

Well, just a few hours later, Jeremy was holding his brand new son.

He had so much joy that day.

He thanked me for the gift of his children.

I thanked him, too.

Every Mother’s day since my kids were born, Jeremy went

ALL OUT!!

He wrote letters to me, telling me I was a great mom, and how much he loved me.

He never failed to deliver on Mother’s day.

I wish I could stay in bed tomorrow….

I wish I didn’t have to feel the absence of his love tomorrow…

Or ANY day, really.

But I have to get out of bed..

I have two kids depending entirely on me to do so!

They will have gifts and letters…

And I will love them, as always.

But it will never be the same.

And that’s GOT to be okay with me.

Jeremy is gone.

But he left me with the VERY BEST PIECES OF HIS HEART!!

Macy and Micah.

And I will truly treasure his most extravagant gifts EVER!!

On this day, and on every day we have together..,

The three of us.

We might be sad tomorrow, but we will ALWAYS be grateful.

And we will ALWAYS be

Blessed.

For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him. Therefore I also have lent him to the Lord; as long as he lives he shall be lent to the Lord.” So they worshiped the Lord there.

1 Samuel 1:27,28

Mother’s Day, Without Their Daddy

My kids are professional button pushers.

I mean, they are phenomenally good at it!

Macy can push her brother to the edge of sanity in two seconds flat.

Just the other day, she pulled out a verbal slap to Micah’s face.

( I have NO idea where she got that from.)

Well, there was nothing verbal about Micah’s response!

He didn’t waste any time, but just smacked her, and walked away.

My daughter came running to me, very dramatically (Again, I have no idea who she takes after.πŸ˜‰),

She told me Micah smacked her…

Then she paused for a second, eyes wide open, and kind of whispered,

“On PURPOSE!!”

It’s clear that Macy feels that when somebody hurts her, that it is much worse when they do it intentionally than if it had been an accident.

I guess I feel that way, too.

About PEOPLE.

When it comes to God….

I don’t ever want to think that God allowed me to go through something

ON ACCIDENT.

“Oops, Pami!

That one wasn’t meant for you.

My bad.”

That would be just awful. And I would never trust Him again.

But that’s not my God.

He makes no mistakes.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. β€œFor as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8,9

As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

Psalm 18:30

Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

Proverbs 30:5

Every loss,

Every tragedy,

Every trauma,

Every horrible thing that happens to us…

He ALLOWS,

He permits…

On purpose.

When God was just casually having a conversation with Satan, GOD BRINGS UP JOB!

God seemed to have given the idea to the enemy to test a man to which God knew He could entrust great and terrible pain.

Job trusted Him!

That doesn’t mean he didn’t have questions for God.

It doesn’t mean it was a walk in the park!

He was almost destroyed by the magnitude of his suffering.

But Job was comforted by the fact that God was in charge of EVERYTHING, and that even if Job didn’t understand the why’s or the how”s of his pain…

He could trust that God makes

NO MISTAKES.

Listen, these last few months have been…..

Terrible.

I’ve never been this sad,

Angry,

Exhausted,

Empty,

Lonely.

I felt myself these last couple of days…

Just kind of unravelling,

Spiraling away….

But this word came to me while reading the book of Job…

That what has happened all throughout my little insignificant life…

All the scary stuff,

All the painful stuff,

All the incredibly sad stuff….

It was all given to me, or permitted to me, by my Father.

He’s perfect, by the way.

He can’t mess this up!!

If He wanted to mess up my life, all He would have to do is put ME in charge!

I’d be over and done with in about a minute.

He decided which experiences I would have to walk through, and He sort of put a stamp of approval on the “final plans”.

GOD leaves nothing to chance, because

THERE IS NO SUCH THING.

There is a kind of peace that I have when I am aware that God has allowed all of these crazy things to happen in my life.

Scary things.

Sad things.

He wasn’t asleep when my husband died on that icy road.

He wasn’t distracted when we lost a baby on Christmas Day.

He wasn’t busy with something else when I was laying, paralyzed on my living room floor from a massive stroke.

They happened,

The same way ANYTHING happens to ANY of us.

God never stopped paying attention to us when the bad stuff took place.

He didn’t doze off during the worst moments of your life!

It happened….

ALL of it…….

Every last painful bit of it…..

ON PURPOSE.

Because…..

He KNOWS what He’s doing.

On Purpose

In my family, there were three girls.

I was the the middle child…which explains ALOT!😊

But the oldest is Vicki.

You know what?

I was never jealous of her, I don’t think.

She was the first to experience switching from grade school to middle school.

She was the first to start high school.

She was the first to move away from home.

Vicki was the first to get married, too.

I never WANTED to be first, when it came to any of those experiences.

I was nervous and scared, but I could look to her to get a “lay of the land”.

I never entered anything scary without some tiny tidbits of info from my awesome big sister.

Having those who have already walked the painful road you find yourself on….

It’s priceless.

I have this t-shirt someone gave me recently.

These words are on the front:

“I’m a LEADER, NOT A FOLLOWER..

Unless it’s a dark place, then screw it. YOU’RE going first.”

You see, I’m definitely not the first.

Not the first to be in this horribly

dark,

lonely,

painful place.

You won’t make it through your time on this earth without having front row seats to the worst day of your life.

That dreaded front row at funerals.

Jeremy’s was at the building we use for church services.

Every Sunday, I am reminded, when I look out at everyone from the front of the room…

I’m reminded of the seat I had to sit in with my two babies next to me.

There is a woman who sits in that spot, and no matter how hard I try, I can’t stop this bit of sadness that creeps in every Sunday and Wednesday,

Each time I steal a glance at that chair.

It’s a pain unlike any I’ve ever known.

My husband’s death has set me on a CRAZY journey!

A journey filled with heartbreak,

Filled with questions that I feel I need answered…

Filled with anger…

Filled with fear of holding my family together on my own…

I would be very lost without a special group of people…

People who have lost what I’ve lost.

These special brothers and sisters come in the form of Griefshare.

This is a program available at many churches, and we began implementing it a few years ago.

Honestly, I don’t like going.

The first few weeks, it was torture!

I was the petulant toddler, pouting with her arms folded…

As if to say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m here, but I’m not going to like it!”

I just really didn’t want THIS STORY.

I didn’t want to face that my husband, and the father of my children,

Was dead.

But…

My heart opened when I heard others’ stories.

They were so much like mine.

The group leaders have also walked this road, and their guidance…

Their constant reassurance that every crazy thing a person says they are feeling, is NORMAL….

Is so NECESSARY!!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

2 Corinthians 1:3,4

In Griefshare, we are directed primarily to the Word of God for direction,

For comfort,

For understanding,

And for TRUTH.

I am not alone.

Sadly, there is plenty of pain for

ALL OF US.

But I’m so grateful that I have this group of family members, who encourage one another,

Who cry with one another,

Who pray with one another.

It truly is the Word of God, that mystically transforms into the hands and feet of Jesus.

I’m so grateful for Jesus’s

Hands,

His feet,

And His arms that hold me…

Through people who have felt

His arms, too.

Guided Through Grief

Recently I watched the movie A Star Is Born.

Essentially, it is a story of a woman who loved this super-talented man, who was loving, a hard core alcoholic, with a ton of demons as his only friends.

He dies, unexpectedly, towards the end of the film.

A little warning that THIS was the storyline would’ve been nice!😊

But I had only heard good things about the movie, which is why I watched it.

Her story was, in some ways, very similar to mine…

Some things this man did while under the influence of alcohol and depression,

Was something I was all too familiar with, in my own marriage, too.

The character fiercely loved his wife, but the disease…

The addictions…

The demons…

Took over….

Ultimately

Destroying him.

After his death,

His wife sings this song, and the opening lyrics are these…

” Wish I could, I could’ve said goodbye
I would’ve said what I wanted to
Maybe even cried for you
If I knew it would be the last time
I would’ve broke my heart in two
Tryin’ to save a part of you”

Those are words my heart understands.

I think back to the night of Jeremy’s death.

I was soon going to be driving our kids to his parents house to visit, and he had gone out for the afternoon.

It was cold outside, and raining, and the roads looked slippery and slushy, to the point I wasn’t sure if it was safe to make the trip.

So, I texted him a question about the roads.

About the roads.

If I had only known this would’ve been our VERY LAST exchange,

It wouldn’t have been,

“How are the roads?”

And if Jeremy had only known he was about to say or write his FINAL WORDS on earth…

It wouldn’t have been,

“Icy.”

You see, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve witnessed someone lose a loved one..

It doesn’t even matter if you yourself have had a brush with death!

The sad fact is we all get too comfortable in THIS LIFE.

So comfortable, that we’re not thinking that our lives could be overturned in just the few seconds it takes to slice a vehicle in half on an icy road.

It seems to always have to be a lesson we learn

AFTER we’ve lost what we’ve lost.

That’s the most tragic thing about a sudden death, like a car accident, a heart attack, overdose, stroke, or suicide.

You beat yourself to a bloody pulp over what you said last to someone,

Or what you never said at all.

So, my point in saying all of this….

Let’s do better at loving each other,

At saying, “I love you. ”

At saying, “I’m sorry.”

At saying, “Thank you. ”

At saying, “You MATTER.”

Because, my friends,

You NEVER KNOW when

TODAY…

Is your last chance.

Come now, you who say, β€œToday or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

James 4:13,14

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:15,16

Wish I Could