When all else fails, pray…

There is nothing worst in this life than regret. Of course, I have, as many of you do, many regrets. What is worst, actually, is emptiness. When you no longer have the faith, will or energy, that emptiness in our stomach fills your soul, well that is the worst.

Despite all my blessings (and I still have sooo many), I linger on my daughter’s absence. The emptiness and longing gets overwhelming. I can sit in one place all day and just be empty. I would be ok with that if I could, but God is merciful in giving me my other kids and husband who keep me moving.

When that emptiness hits, and I just want to sit and cry, I also lose my hope and faith. I believe in God, Jesus, Mary, et al, but I wonder at the hope of seeing my girl again. Where is she? I felt her so strongly right after she passed away. Where is that feeling now?? Was that just my mind playing tricks? Am I becoming psychotic thinking about this all the time??

I’ve been in a rut for a couple of weeks. I have questioned the resurrection of our souls, and I reverted to plain human science to account for my thoughts. I turned my face away from what I know about God and His love. I thought I would never see Allie again, and life is just life – when it’s over, it’s over.

This morning, I was, as usual, awake way too early than I wanted. I was sitting on the couch with the dog, just thinking of nothingness and feeling empty. I heard some plates clanging in the kitchen nearby. I thought that unusual since everyone was still asleep, and the only person who would do that is Allie. Then I hear a voice, ever so clear, say mom. Just “mom”.

I can excuse that as my mind playing tricks, etc. I am crying because I know it’s her. I know it’s God telling me it’s her. I know it’s a sign that there is hope and to keep the faith in Him. I don’t hear voices, believe me.

And while it could very well be my mind wanting to hear this, I will run with this and keep it to heart. I don’t get many signs anymore from Allie. In her first year away from us, I saw clouds shaped like the letter A. I heard my husband talking in his sleep in a voice so unfamiliar from his normal tone, saying “momma, I love you” over and over again. I would see yellow butterflies everywhere I looked. I don’t see those now really. It’s all very strange, yet it’s all so spiritually uplifting to think about how she makes her spiritual soul known to us. I can still hear her sitting next to me telling me “I’m sorry momma”. I can still feel her wrapping me in an embrace so powerful and all-encompassing as I’ve ever felt in my life just before we laid her to rest. It felt like she was giving me her one more big crush of love before she flew up.

It’s incredible if we connect to our faith and love. It’s imperative that we find our spirit in God. It’s the only real thing to keep us moving and encouraged. I am glad I didn’t give up and wallow in the emptiness. It is all to easy to do that. Evil makes it easy for us to give up. Evil also makes it hard for us to find the good. I’m going to keep fighting for that good, because I want to see God and my baby girl again someday.

Whatever it may be, it can be better…

It’s been a long time since I’ve written. In the last few weeks, I’ve lost two dear friends, in particular, a dear close friend to cancer.

My sweet friend died from cancer after battling this beast, as she called it, for almost three years. Elle, as I will call her, and I didn’t really see eye to eye for most of the 13 years I’ve known her. She and I are much too alike. We have much in common, but we have learned to manage our friendship through the years.

She was diagnosed with cancer just a month or so before I lost my daughter. Thereafter we found solace in each other’s pain and despair. She has learned to hear and feel my pain. I have learned to marvel at her strength and determination. Near her end of life, I would offer her prayers and encouragement, hoping it would give her peace and comfort.

When she passed, her sweet family told me I was brave. I’m not sure what they’re referring to, but it’s likely because I lost Allie and I’m still walking. I don’t feel brave; I only wanted to help Elle.

The truth of the matter is that Elle has been helping me with my grief. When Allie took her life, I was so lost. I was looking for a purpose, and Elle reached out just when I was searching for something. I know I felt guilty I was not there for Allie. I know I regretted that Allie didn’t know I was there for her. My friend gave me a purpose. She allowed me to pour my energies of wanting to help Allie into helping her navigate this cancer beast.

Now that Elle is gone, I’ve been bereft. I’ve felt lost because I’m not purposeful to anyone. I am still involved with our diocese, but that is going much too slow. I have had to look at my grief again, and I just hate facing something so awful.

I’ve found this past Sunday a path back to my faith. I found He is still there, just waiting for me to find. I’ve allowed anger, fatigue and discouragement overwhelm me. The rosary and the prayers that have lifted me for a while had faded when Elle faded away. I allowed these beautiful and uplifting gifts to fade away, and I became jaded.

I know it’s easier to wallow in our despair. I talk about this often here, yet it’s taking me a while to dig out of my hole of self pity. I’m still trying to ride up from the despair, hence it took a while to go back to my writing.

I’m still not fully inspired. I’ve been crabby. I’ve been impatient with myself. It hasn’t been fun for my poor family. I saw this, so I’m trying harder.

At mass yesterday I saw a glimmer of hope. It was a song that was sung that tugged on my heart. I don’t remember the song, but it was beautiful. In that moment I felt my faith again. The feeling of being deeply comforted was there once again, the same feeling I had when I was talking with Elle and other people I’ve met in this journey.

I miss my friend, and I miss my girl. Elle’s passing brought back all the sadness knowing my sweet baby girl is also gone, forever gone. I will miss my friend and hearing her laugh and cry. I remember all the beautiful things she told me about my girl, how Allie came into her dreams to tell her that it was all going to be ok, her family would be ok. Elle told me what a beautiful angel I have, that my husband and I raised an amazing soul, and that she is making her love grow in so many people.

I will forever cherish my time with Elle. I will forever hold her and my sweet baby girl in my heart. God is good, God is merciful, and God is loving to allow me the chance to have these two beautiful souls in my life.

How to keep going…

I have a dear friend who is basically buying time to keep living. Stage 4 cancer isn’t pretty, and I cannot imagine what pain they must feel physically and emotionally. I lost my father to colon cancer years ago. He was given 3 months once he was diagnosed, and he passed away exactly 3 months later. My friend told me recently she was tired of the fight. She said she’s tired of the pain. She laments that she’s leaving behind her family.

I frankly couldn’t tell her to keep fighting. I know that sounds inexcusible, but I cannot make someone who no longer wants to fight to keep doing so. What I did tell her was that God loves her, without judgment or strings attached. I told her God is walking with her in her journey, as many of our friends are, and He is holding her hands, soul and body in prayer and comfort. She couldn’t see what the purpose of this disease could be, but I just said we always have to have faith. Faith in Him and in ourselves is paramount. Without Him, we have no hope. Life becomes just a monotonous journey with no purpose. Each hurdle that comes our way is just part of life. Our response to these hurdles makes our life colorful and full of purpose.

Everything we do has purpose, if we try to find God in each step of the way. Regardless of the banality of your activity – gardening, driving to work, calling on the phone – there is always a purpose tp it. To add faith in each step – gardening to share the fruits of your labor, driving to work to make money for your family/self, calling someone just to check in on them – makes our lives meaningful and purposeful. With my friend and her fight against cancer, it calls for her family to have faith in God, to make each moment with her so momentous. To give up ourselves to the whatever the fate may be is not resignation; rather, it is faith and acceptance that God will make things right. God will ease her pain. God will ease her family’s pain. God will cover their wounds with love and comfort. I believe in all this, because it has happened to me and my family.

It sounds like a leap to suggest my friend and her family will react the same as we did. I don’t purport to know what their reactions or feelings may be. I do know that God is merciful and kind. God loves us unconditionally. Our bodies are not perfect, but in His almighty mercy, he elevates us with his love. Eventually we join Him in glory in heaven where we can finally feel his eternal grace, where we will no longer be in pain. Only love and peace will exist.

This may sound incongruous to what my friend is going through or what we have gone through. I just know that in believing in Him and believing in the fact that we will all be together again with Him and our loved ones again keeps me from being despondent. After losing Allie, I no longer cared about the little things in life or how my body aches and pains. I take care of what God has given me. When there is something of which I have no control, I leave it up to Him. I offer Him my soul and prayers to give me comfort and strength. I pray and hope my friend will continue to find Him next to her at all times, especially when her body and mind are at their weakest. I pray that we take time each day to seek Him for comfort and peace.