What Do I Do Now?

I don’t know what to do with my hands.
I don’t know what to do with my face.
I don’t know what to do with my heart.

I feel so lost and out of control.

Some things happen in your life that you just can’t wrap your head or your heart around. This is one of those things. Although I am now 39 years old, I can’t stop thinking the thought, “I am an orphan.”

When I was 19 years old, my biological father (who I had only met 3 years earlier) committed suicide.465791_129270637231923_88648518_o

My sweet mama took her own life on October 21, 2011.

On January 10, 2016 my daddy, the man who raised me and loved me with all he had from the day I became a part of his life, had a heart attack and died instantly.

I don’t know what to do with my hands.
I don’t know what to do with my face.
I don’t know what to do with my heart.

I feel so lost and out of control.

I know what scripture says. I know that God is a father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). I know He is Abba Father (Romans 8:15). I know that I am adopted by God into his family through faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26) I know that He is near to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).

I know God’s promises, and I hold onto them daily, sometimes hourly. But right now…in this exact moment, I am broken hearted. I am crushed in spirit. I feel alone and fatherless, and so forlorn.

There are times in our walks, times in our trials and tribulations and tragedies, where we don’t find comfort in God’s words and promises. It happens to every single one of us that call ourselves followers of Christ. That is not to say they are not true. That is not to say that tomorrow they won’t fill my heart with joy and give me the strength I need to get out of bed, to take another step, or to actually get up and go to work. But that’s what faith is. Faith is holding on to the promises of God, whether we feel like it or not. We allow the feelings of pain, the feelings of grief and loss, and sometimes we do have feelings of hopelessness and despair, and that’s human and natural. God himself feels (John 11:35, Psalm 95:9-10), and He created us in His image with the ability to feel. Some of those feelings we sit with for awhile, because it’s healthy and we NEED to, and it’s just part of the journey. But those moments of hopelessness, I will not not hold onto those. They are not true. They are not what’s real, and faith is not letting my emotions drive my actions or control my life. Faith is confidence in what we hope for, and it gives us assurance about things we cannot see (Hebrews 11:1)

I know I am not an orphan. I know I am adopted in to the family of Christ, and I know that God does indeed father the fatherless…He is my Abba Father.  I am loved. I am treasured. I know these things, even when I do not feel them.

I don’t know what to do with my hands… I just may fold them in prayer. I just may hold them over my face as I despair in those moments when it feels as if I just can’t go on one more second with this pain. I just may hold them to the heavens and cry out to the God that is broken hearted for me and who promises to comfort me (2 Corinthians 1:3-4), who promises to never leave or forsake me (Deuteronomy 3:6). I just may put them to a keyboard and write.

I don’t know what to do with my face. I just may cry. I just may close my eyes and breathe in the life that still surrounds me and is such a gift every second. I may open my mouth and sing praises to my King, or I may wail in despair. I just may smile, even when I don’t feel like it (and I may not).

I don’t know what to do with my heart. It’s on its own program right now. So I will declare with my mouth and in faith that my heart is His, no matter what may come.

I feel lost and out of control, but the truth is that I am found and He is in control.

 

How is it October already?

Where did this year disappear to? One on hand it has seemed like the longest year ever, on the other it can’t have gone by so quickly. And October. Oh, October…I knew you were going to be difficult, but only 5 days into the month I can’t believe how unbearable you truly are. On October 4th, 2011 my parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. On October 21st, 2011 my mother was gone. My daddy’s birthday is also in October, and I’d like nothing more than to be with him. Life keeps on lifing, though, and I can’t get away to NM until the early part of next year.

I go back and forth between accepting my grieving process and where I am in it and then feeling as if I’m emotionally stunted–like I should be so much farther in this, and I shouldn’t be hurting so badly. There are still days where I’ll think about her and it hurts so badly I can’t breathe. It still feels like someone has punched me in the chest. Should that pain still be so tangible almost a year later? I don’t know. I just know that it hasn’t gotten any easier. I just guess the episodes of mind-numbing heartache have longer periods of  “normalcy” in between them. And maybe that’s all that will happen. It will always hurt. I know I will always miss her, but maybe it won’t take my breath away so often.

I also know that I miss her. I miss her so badly. I want to talk to her, and it crushes me to know I will never be able to hug her again, never hear her tell me she loves me, she will never call me “baby” again. I know she was always so proud of me…regardless of what I was doing, even when I was being a total idiot, she knew I would be strong enough and smart enough to pull myself up and make it right. She was proud and always made sure I knew it. I hope through all of this she’d still be proud of me.

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Day 27 – A picture of yourself and a family member

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing lately…journaling, actually. I’ve done it a little bit, but I had the notion to revisit my blog today. Then I realized I never finished my Photo Challenge. On day 27, lo and behold the topic is a picture of me and and a family member.

The picture is of my mom and me. It’s not the greatest one of her, it was on one of her “bad days”. I’m sure I’ll post some of her later on, but this is the only one I have of the two of us.

On October 21st, my mother took her own life. When I was 19, my father did the same. At 34 years old, I have no living parents, and they both chose how and when they were going to die. I go through various emotions every other 5 mins, and I’m sure that I’ll be doing this for sometime. I’m prepared for that. 15 years after my father died, I still ask questions, and I wasn’t even that close to him.

My mom, on the other hand, is almost impossible to process. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said as an adult “I want my mommy” and really meant it. I can safely say right now, I want my mommy, and I can never have her again. The fact that she didn’t just die, she left, makes that realization that much harder.

Regardless of all that, my mama was an amazing woman. She had her struggles, she battled her demons, and sometimes she could drive you insane, but when she was HER…I don’t know a more wonderful person. She was compassionate, and passionate, and creative, and loved harder than I’ve ever known anyone to love. And most of all…  I miss her. I miss her, and I just want her back.

My rose-tinted glasses

I went to a funeral today. It was amazing. Now I know that most people don’t describe funerals as amazing, but this one was truly unique. Yesterday, I would have told you that a 13 year old little girl lost her battle with cancer. Today I will tell you that she didn’t lose her battle, her work on this earth was simply completed. I’ve met this little girl, and she was inspiring, strong, and always filled with joy. I don’t want to sound cliche, but I can’t tell you this story without expressing how much I have been and continue to be inspired by this little girl and her family.
My husband works with this little girl’s, Briana’s dad. We knew when she was diagnosed with cancer, knew when she was doing well, knew when she was in remission, heard about all that this family was going through. My husband is friends with him on Facebook, and every update on Briana, while asking for prayer, was always filled with optimism and praise for God. Not once did I see this man or his family feeling sorry for themselves. Throughout their ordeal, I was impressed and pressed upon by their joy for life, love for each other, and the strength they have in Him. Every step of the way they gave God praise, even little Briana, in a video she made from the hospital said, “Don’t you worry about me, God’s in control”. That sweet baby with her big eyes, wide smile, hair gone from radiation was so focused on what is true and real in the midst of a storm many of us will never have to face–God’s in control.
When I found out that the cancer had come back this last time and that the prognosis wasn’t good, I cried. I won’t lie, I cried for a day straight. I grieved for this family. I also tried to imagine how I would react if I were in this situation–if I were losing my daughter, my joy, the light of my life, would I be able to carry myself in the way these people were? I have to say, I really don’t think so. I have a hard enough time keeping my focus when the little sandstorms and drizzles happen. But seeing this family today, remembering how they’ve handled this traumatic experience, it’s touched something deep on the inside of me. It’s funny, because at the start of this new year I made a sort of a resolution. I was going to stop being so stinkin’ negative. I was going to roll with the punches and look on the bright side of things, because really, being negative is counterproductive, and I sure was tired of being miserable. I’ve been doing pretty good, but being sick last week had me feeling pretty beat up, and just, well… tired. I even let myself have a pity party for about an hour. It wasn’t fun, even though it didn’t last long. When I was able to refocus, I was that much more sure that I didn’t want to go back to that way of thinking. It’s kind of funny, because my Facebook status last night was “Kris has found her rose-tinted glasses. They got misplaced last week.” Life is so much easier and worth living when you can see and focus on what’s really important, what’s good and worth spending your energy on. Then I go to the funeral today and see that practice truly in motion. Focusing on God, celebrating a life, praising Him for the gifts He gives us, however fleeting they may be, and never losing sight of what’s important can get you through a situation like that. I’m humbled, and I’ll say it a 70th time… Amazed.
Briana’s dad, Larry, asked my husband if he would play at the funeral. Of course Trace said yes, but Larry made it clear that this was to be unlike any other funeral–it was Briana’s Homegoing. It was a celebration of her life. He needed some New Orleans flair, so Trace played “When the Saints Go Marching In” dixieland style. A perfect illustration for Briana, because this little saint also had the privilege of becoming an Honorary Marine just 2 days before she passed away. After that honor, she got to march on home.
One last thing I’ll leave you with before I let you watch the video of Briana’s Honorary Marine Ceremony and scenes from her Homegoing. I had some friends comment on my rose-tinted glasses status. They wanted to borrow my glasses, or wanted me to send them a pair, and I had to tell them… Mine won’t work for you. Just like Larry’s or Briana’s wouldn’t work for me, and I can’t hunt down your pair for you. You have to find your own pair of glasses, your own joy, find out who He really is to you, find out what you are to Him, decide what’s significant in this life and let the rest pass on by, and then the world will really be a whole lot rosier.

Life and Death

I’m going to write right now before the emotion kicks in.
I got a very strange phone call this afternoon. It’s funny, but my mother never calls me. I tell her, you have to call me so I know you’re thinking about me! She says she doesn’t want to bother me, so I always end up calling her. So, whenever I have a call from a 505 area code, something is usually going down in Roswell.
I got a 505 today.
Many of you that know me, know that when I was 19 years old, my biological father committed suicide. He suffered from major depression, along with substance abuse (the little time I spent with him, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was actually bipolar). I guess after a few days of heavy drinking and drug use, he put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. A very traumatic experience in my life to say the least. I was not close to him, had little contact with him, and one of the few times I had with him he verbally and physically abused me. However, he was my father, and I had tried to form a relationship w/him. I actually got a jailhouse apoplogy, and he showed up out of the blue at my high school graduation. That was the last time I saw him alive.
When he died, I suffered so much confusion and devastation. He was not my dad, but he was a part of me. He was a musician, a writer, we looked alike, I had the same egotistical personality. When he died, there was this part of me that I was missing, because I didn’t KNOW him. The saddest thing was that the majority of the few parts I did know, I didn’t like. I never wanted him or needed him to be a daddy to me. I have a dad, the best one I could have asked for, but there was so much more I wanted to get to know. And I think I was pissed because he was so selfish and took that away from me. I was also pissed because I have a little brother. A brother I met at his funeral. A brother who knew him more than I did and would miss him more than I would. And I was pissed off at him for leaving my little brother without a father, or a dad.

I remember the first time I met my father, when I was 16 years old, I also met my uncle, his oldest brother. My uncle seemed everything my own father was not. Yeah, he drank a lot, but he was fun, knew how to be a dad (he had 3 little ones of his own at the time), and he actually seemed happy to see me, happy to have me around, talked to me and asked me about my life. I remember telling him (privately, of course) that I wished he’d been the one that was my dad. It was only after my father died that I found out my father hated his brother, was jealous of him because everyone liked him better, everyone always compared the two and found the younger lacking. And I found out how sad and true it was at his funeral.
Ironic…but the biggest irony, was that the demons that haunted my father also seemed to have gotten the best of my uncle. My uncle had gotten a divorce and had been living with my grandmother in Roswell for the past couple of years. He’d been battling depression and our lovely generational curse of alcoholism.
Flash forward to my 505 call.
My grandmother couldn’t find my uncle yesterday and went looking for him. I guess she went back home after awhile, went outside to throw some rubbish, and found him hanging from the railing of the apartment out back. It wasn’t a gun in the mouth, but this time he left his own mother to find him…

I’m not sure how to feel right now. I don’t think I’ve even processed it yet.

I have battled that demon of depression before–even almost succumbed once, but how does one let the demon prevail when there are children involved? However old or young, I can’t understand it. Part of me knows how deep and hopeless that pit is, but the other part of me is now a parent, and I just find it the most selfish and cowardly thing a parent can do.

I’m sure I will be sad, I’m sure I will feel sorry for my grandmother (she’s a topic for a whole other post, trust me), but for now, I’m just in disbelief.