Encouragement · Grief · Hope · wounded Mother

True Confession: My private ride on the Grief Train

Remember all the Stops: Denial, Anger, Depression, Survival. Acceptance.

I realize my grief is a little unusual–the grief of losing a child.

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It’s against the natural order that parents outlive their children.

The death of a child is unnatural and unfair.

It never occurred to me that I would bury my son.

It came out of nowhere.

And so for me, Depression lasted for years and years(12 years).

On the outside, no one could tell.

Not even me.

I acted my way thru so much during the first 12 years: the death of my father 6 months after Ryan; the births of my third and fourth sons; and our family’s move from Texas to Alabama.

Everything was on autopilot. My Depression happened on such a subconscious level that I couldn’t recognize it or name it.

But the symptoms were there: lack of interest,  low energy, and no creativity.

So, I got off the Train at the Survival Stop, built a home and am living there now.

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When you’re just surviving, the best thing you can do is survive, while fully functioning.

On our Train, Survival is a full Stop, and Acceptance is something I’ll take up later with the good Lord.

I’m surviving, but I’m not accepting Ryan’s death.

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Tyler’s HS Graduation ’18

 

 

I just can’t get there now, besides, I know the neighborhood here.

I’m not lost.

dawn

 

Encouragement · Faith · Grief · Hope

Our Journey together on the Grief Train

Remember every STOP:   Denial. Anger. Depression. Survival. Acceptance.

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The Grief Train

 

So, here’s the first stop.

Denial.

Which means, “This is a nightmare I’m going to wake up out of, and Ryan will still be here.” Don’t be shocked at that. None of us are prepared to entertain the thought, “it never happened” for very long. You’ve thought it, now feel it. Nobody knows how long each Stop lasts.

Maybe, for some of us, the rest of our life.

rail stat eric-muhr-636819-unsplash.jpgFor instance, we build a home at the next Stop(the Anger Stop) because we ’re still mad at God, or someone else.

Of course, we are!

Don’t deny your anger!

Feel it…

The church often tells those of us in grief, “don’t be mad at God!”

I say, “Be as mad as you need to be. God can take it.”

So, spend as much time as you need there.

You might even find you need to return to this Stop again and again.

It’s OK. You’re the engineer.

There will always be the opportunity to move forward or return to this Stop.

God built that into our Journey together.

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So maybe you’ve left the Anger Stop for now, and Depression has set in. (Mine lasted twelve years.)

You’re on the pills longer than you wanted.

Don’t stew over the length of your stay.

Just survive. It is enough just to survive.

Stop at the Survival Stop. There’s a red light there. Stop. Don’t run it.

And remember God doesn’t take shortcuts, so stick as close to Him as you can.

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Where you are right now is not necessarily your ultimate destination.

 

And if you need to invent a world where tragedy doesn’t happen, invent the world.

 

Or, reinvent your world.

 

I’m wondering where you see yourself on “The Grief Train?”

dawn

 

Monday..  my personal journey…

 

Encouragement · Grief · Hope · wounded healer

Riding The Grief Train

I told you we were going to get thru this together. And here’s how.

When I was a little girl, there was a miniature train at the park. And you would board the train and it might have a Putt-Putt Golf Stop, a Botanical Garden Stop, or a Horseback Riding Stop where you can get off for a while.

Now I’m building my own railroad, with a miniature train called “The Grief Train.” And every Stop comes from the ride of my own life.

Here are the Stops this train will make:

  • Denial
  •  Anger
  • Depression
  • Survival
  • Acceptance (You will notice I never get to the “Acceptance” Stop.)

I can’t.

I cannot accept Ryan’s death. But that’s just me.

On this train, I won’t suggest you stay on it all the way till the end, without getting off, like well-meaning church people tend to.  I will encourage you to get off at every Stop, for however long you need to, including the ones you don’t want to get off at.

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None of the Stops should be confused with your ultimate Destination. But they can be.

It’s your train too if you’re up for the ride.

God might suggest we make every Stop because God is all about learning, and the way we learn is to go thru every Stop of the learning process.

Stop, unboard the train, listen and learn what’s there, embrace it as best you can, and move on whenever you’re ready. No shortcuts.

This is not microwavable.

That’s not how God ‘bakes’ a person. We’re more like God’s personal crock pot. Low heat, all day long unlike American gods (money, power).  

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God’s favorite speed is slow.

dawn

Will continue…

#myscars, #grieftrain

 

Encouragement · Faith · Hope · wounded healer

Scars On Jesus’ Hands

 

A major turning point for me came when I tied together the way Tyler held out his hands to me and the way Jesus held out his hands to his friends.

Focus on those hands for a minute.  See the holes in his hands and remember the giant hole in his side from a well-aimed Roman spear? There’s nothing he could do to make the scars go away because, just like ours, his scars are permanent.

Think about the way he honored his scars.

I’m thinking about “Doubting Thomas.” He told them that he would not believe unless he saw and touched the scars. Because somehow Jesus’ scars are at the Center of his life story.

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And my scars are the Center of my life story and I can’t get away from them.  I don’t need to tell you that people do not want to look at our scars. And they even encourage us sometimes to hide them, as if Jesus wore gloves for the rest of his natural life.

Jesus had scars like ours: Physical scars. Emotional scars. Mental scars. His scars were the proof of his single-minded Love for the whole world.fullsizeoutput_3dc4

Our minds don’t tell us the truth always.

 

But our scars always do.

They tell us what is most perfect about our body and soul.

There is a story behind every scar that we carry. 

Listen to your scars.

 

dawn

Share this freely.

#myscars #ryanshines

Hope · Motherhood · wounded healer

6 Things I’m Grateful For Today!

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Gratitude! Did you ever think we’d get to Gratitude? And I’m not talking about happiness. For me, it’s taken 17 years to make this move into Gratitude. But I’m getting closer. And so I’ve gathered a list of things that I am grateful for since Ryan’s death.

  1. I am Grateful that we had Ryan for 7 years.

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    Rr-Ry

 

      2. I am Grateful for our little boy, Tyler, who saved us all.

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Ty-Ty

        3. I am Grateful for Ryan’s brothers, Trenton and Colton.

       4. I am Grateful for the wisdom Ryan is still bringing to us.

       5. I am Grateful for all the Undercover Angels that I’ve met along the Way.

       6. I am Grateful that my faith is becoming natural to me.

Am I grateful for Ryan’s death? NO. And, by that, I mean, “Hell-No!” But, I am grateful for what God has shown me from it. It’s impossible to even say this aloud so I’ll write it–

If I had it all to do over again, I want Ryan back now.”

But I’m beginning to see Ryan’s death differently. Looking at our 3 boys now, I realize that Ryan did not die in vain. It is so like Ryan to leave living, breathing gifts to us– the gifts of Trenton and Colton. And he’s still opening doors. He’s still changing our family and our family MAP into the future.

IMG_6630It’s the most unexpected gusher of Gratitude, to see Ryan’s death as I do now, knowing that I don’t have to give up the tragic sense of it. Ever.

Have a Thankful Day!

dawn

#ryanshines #myscars #childloss #thankful

 

 

Encouragement · Hope · Motherhood · wounded Mother

The Best Gift I’ve ever received!

 

Besides offering a funny face when I was so grief-stricken, my 2-year-old son, Tyler, gave me another gift that turned out to be the Best Gift I’ve ever received in my life.

And he gave it to me every morning of every month after “the accident.” (That’s my baby boy!)

What he gave me was a new way of looking at myself and life. He saw beyond my pain. He saw beneath my scars. He saw the heart of a mother in the chest of someone who didn’t deserve to be called a mother anymore. For him, nothing had changed. Nothing. Because every time he pushed my door open,  he saw the one thing he needed most; his mommy. He saw me as a fountain–everything he needed.

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Tyler

I saw my failure at the ‘scene,’ he didn’t. I was more than the scars that came from the scene, he taught me that, and he hardly knew how to talk. He knew me ‘by heart’ not words. I was his mother, not the ‘scarred’ mother, but the mother who knew exactly what he needed, and when.

He showed me that I still had the Goods. He never bailed on me once while I was bailing on me every day.IMG_8684

How can a 2-year-old do that?

 

I think about the Little Prince and what he said, “ It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Tyler saw me rightly and I became his vision of me.

He took me by the hand into the kitchen for breakfast.

 

 

He led me to the window to show me, in a loving way, that Life goes on.

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me and tyler

It didn’t matter to him if I was ready to see it or not; it’s what he saw in me. It’s the Best Gift anyone has ever given me.

dawn

#myscars, #ryanshines, #motherhood

Encouragement · Hope · wounded healer

Beautifully You!

 

 

When I was 19, I was backpacking Europe and by the time I got to Munich I was about out of money. So, I started modeling again. Mostly lingerie and bathing suit jobs. Check out the photographs. (Here’s a magazine cover.) It appears that I was scar-less but don’t be fooled; I had plenty of scars that nobody could see. I even hid them from myself.

Modeling is about perfection. And scars are the enemies of perfection. You know our universal dis-ease is perfectionism. Look at the world of plastic surgery: $16 billion was spent last year,  all because we can not accept our imperfections, our SCARS. And we’ll do anything to appear pristine. But in the back of our mind, we know everybody has scars. Noone is unmarked.

 

About my scars from the fire… God didn’t create the fire or the scars from the fire. But God did show me the beauty of them. I’m beginning to honor them and I challenge you to do the same. Your scars are beautifully You.

dawn

#myscars #childloss