Saying Goodbye to Bryant, Joy for the Journey

Some thoughts on the road of healing after the loss of my 14 year old son by suicide

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Wife... Mother... Lover of Jesus... Freedom Writer!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I want pretty...

I started an entry on last Friday but didn't publish it cause it was all over the place. :) Since then I've been surfing the net and reading some really neat Blogs and... I want a pretty blog! One with pretty pictures and colors and an inviting, easy to read layout. And you know what else? I want a pretty house and a pretty figure and a pretty wardrobe. Shoot, I want a pretty life! In my unpublished entry I was exploring the facts of my life and the fact that I have experienced a lot of loss in my 43 years. From my mom's three divorces, my career aspirations, hopes, dreams, miscarriages and burying a parent, a sibling and now a child, my life seems filled with a lot of non-pretty circumstances, alot of loss.

And yet when I take a good long look at life around me I see that loss is everywhere. Natural disasters, crime, accidents, disease, loss is truly everywhere. I hate to sound morbid but everyday here is another day closer to the loss of this life. I was whining to God last week about all my loss. As I was washing dishes and complaining, it was as if God stood right there beside me and said," Sharmayn, I have chosen you to know Me." There is a scripture verse, Philipians 3:10 that says "I want to know Christ..." As I was standing at the sink belly-aching to God, I was reminded of that verse and how years ago I had claimed that verse. The know in this verse doesn't mean to know about. It means to know, as in "Adam knew his wife" (and she conceived). It is a deeply intimate knowing.

There is a dangerous trap in living this life. We can fill it with so much. The creation can be so beautiful, so pretty that we love it more than we love its Creator. Oftentimes it's not until the creation fails us and we've lost the thing ( or things or people or whatever) that we hoped in that we look to the CREATOR. You don't really know the love of God until the love of God is all you have, all you hope in, all you can stand on. Man, have I been there?! And the best part of the story is that God is soooooo faithful!

I am still in the mist (midst) of my loss of Bryant. I can't see clearly at all what step to take next. But I am doing well. I mean I feel so strong in my soul. Some days I just walk thru holding to the Master's hand as He leads me. Because He is ALL KNOWING and the fog means nothing to Him, we walk safely, straight through the day. Other days I need Him to carry me because the sadness makes me so weak. And carry me He does. I tell you HE is SOOOOO FAITHFUL! I'm gonna make it.

I think we've all been chosen to know God. To know that He is good and that He has good plans for us. That He will never leave us, forget about us or forsake us... I want pretty all around me. But more than that I want pretty inside me. At this very moment, my hair needs doing, my Walmart outfit could definitely use an upgrade but I feel WONDERFUL inside. I feel happy and light and full of hope for the future. Deep inside I feel downright pretty!

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed (happy) is the man who takes refuge in Him. Psalm 34:8

Thursday, July 20, 2006

On being me and Good medicine

For the most part, for as long as I can remember I have been pretty comfortable being me. I'm friendly, caring, fairly intelligent, possessing "a few" admirable qualities. Now I'm not puffed up. I've never thought I was all that but I haven't ever suffered from low self esteem either. Even though I had childhood "issues" like not feeling as pretty as my sister, I think I've always known somehow that " God don't make no junk."

But there are definitely some things I would change about myself, both inside and out, if I could. I'd change my acne prone skin, my flyaway hair and those darn overactive fat cells of mine in a heartbeat! Then there is the matter of my natural personality that tends to lean towards the serious side.

I'm not exactly a scrooge. I do know how to smile and laugh and have a good time. I think I just don't go there enough. I didn't grow up with an abundance of humor. My mom was a single parent and our life was greatly about her making ends meet. There were happy, fun moments I'm sure but this wasn't the status quo for us. And true to form I pretty much followed the pattern and became a serious mom. My hubby is the funny one in our house and I confess I've spent many a day not appreciating his humor. I don't know how many times over the years I've said the phrase "Don't be silly." My focus at home has been largely on caregiving, teaching, training, and takin' care of business. I've had it mostly covered ... except for the laughter.

I have a young friend, a newlywed ( Mrs. M) who is a riot. The girl is hilarious. I love spending time with her ; she just cracks me up. She has such a flair for finding the humor in everyday situations and sharing the smiles. My sister is also a silly one. We've shared hundreds of inside jokes but she's 900 miles away and we don't talk nearly enough. Laughter is good medicine. It's free with unlimited refills. I just figured out I want all I can get!

So today I have a new day's resolution. I'm gonna laugh! I'm gonna aim to be silly and get a big dose of Heaven's good medicine. I'm gonna get in the floor with my husband and toddlers and play tickle monster. I'm gonna make it my business to see the lighter side of life and have myself a good hearty fun-fest.

"He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy." Job 8:21

I got my first opportunity to test out the goal of the day. Travis and a friend worked all day on Tuesday to clean our pool. ( It went uncovered all winter and looked like it was holding swamp water.) They had made good progress. Last night we had another friend here to help and it looked like we were on the way to a clean pool in a few days. This morning we got up to find the pool bone dry. It's empty! A pipe came undone overnight and the water completely drained. The serious Sharmayn would have been so frustrated but what can you do about it now? So yep, I just had myself a good ol' laugh.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

happy day

Well it's Wednesday, 7-19 and I've finally been able to get connected to the blog site again. I tried unsucessfully a couple of times yesterday ( Tuesday). We have dial-up internet access. I know... we're dial -up dinosaurs. It's pretty much a small miracle in itself that we have a computer and know how to use it. haha! I mean I'm a reasonably intelligent woman. But for nearly a decade now my proverbial "plate" has been filled to the max with so much of the stuff of life that honing my computer skills & technology has been low on the priority list. But anyway, I'm back.

Yesterday was good. I think it helped a lot to start the Blog and it was good to get all the words of encouragement. I started making a new mental "Count your blessings" list yesterday. (It started out mental because I was driving when the thought occurred.) I have so much to be thankful for. One of the biggest blessings in this moment is how many of my friendships have been rekindled since our tragedy. My life has been tremendously rich in friendship over the years. But time and distance and the sheer movement of life had put a "hold" on many treasured relationships. After April 3, I heard from friends that I hadn't spoken to in years. It has been wonderful to talk to old friends, (it's wonderful to talk to all my friends), to have their support and feel their love. I was thinking about how much I used to love to write letters and send cards when I was a college student. I now have a renewed commitment to staying in touch, to reminding people how important they are to me . If I never knew it before, I know it now; WE NEED EACH OTHER!

There's nothing like a death in your village, yes in your own house, to point you to what really matters in life. I understand fully that life is about relationships, our relationship with God and our relationships with people. And if you're reading this I want you to know I love Jesus and I love you! Whether you are a close friend, aquaintance or rank stranger I love you with the love of Jesus this morning. And I hope you're having a great day.

Psalm 16: 11

There's a CD by Fred Hammond that has been a lifeline for me. Here are some of the words to a song entitled Make Time for Love.

Lately we just pass each other by
We always say we'll get together
But we never find the time
To cherish and enjoy what we have together
Make time for love
Don't make it hard
You see life is way too short
And much too fragile
We both must pitch in and do our part
Make time for love
And you'll see it will get better
Make time for love
Make time for love

We don't communicate
This is the key
You say I never really talk to you
And you, you never talk to me
I don't understand
Just how our lives got away
Make time for love
Oh for love just make time
You see life is way too short
Way too fragile
We both must pitch in and do our part
Make time for love
And you'll see it will get better
Make time for love
Make time for love

Our relationship is not what it should be
You see we've gotta turn some things around
And make our love
Make time for love
Oh for love just make time
I know it's hard
You see life is way too short
And much too fragile
We both must pitch in and do our part
Make time for love
Make time for love

Saturday, July 15, 2006

the journey has begun

It's Monday, July 17, 2006. Fifteen weeks ago today, on Monday April 3, my 14 year old son Bryant died by suicide. It has only been recently that I have accepted the word "suicide." In the initial weeks after it happened I chose to use the words, " He strangled himself." We have many reasons to believe it was an accident, but the fact remains, whether by accident or full intention, Bryant killed himself. My life was forever changed. I have a strong faith in God. My family ( husband, 17 yo son, 3 yo daughter, & 15 mo son) is part of a good local church and we have a large support system of family and friends. These two things, our faith and our faith family have been anchors for us during the most horrible and painful time of our lives.

I have journalled most of my life. I'm hoping to be able to share and process the stages of my loss here on the pages of this blog. It's been 15 weeks, that's 105 days. I know people still care. But life has gone on. My mom died in 2000, my only brother died suddenly of a heart attack in 1990. But this is totally new and uncharted territory for me and my family, the loss of a child by his own hands. We've done a bit of professional counseling. I've read a small mountain of books. But we don't really know what to expect. And I know my friends and family are at a loss too. I hope to share, to help our healing, and maybe to somehow help prevent this from happening in another family.

Today I feel a measure of joy. I don't want my blog to be a sad, doom and gloom kinda place. We are Holy Bible believing followers of Jesus Christ. My son had a saving faith in Jesus and I know I will see him again one day in Heaven. This has been the worst of times for us but in many ways it has also been the best of times. Through this tragedy we have seen, felt and known the love of God in the most AMAZING ways. These past 105 days have been awful, just awful, but at the same time God has never left us or forgotten us. He has rocked us in His arms, wiped away our tears, filled our empty spaces, and touched our broken hearts.

I think the first month or so after Bryant's death I was so caught up in the love of God that people must have thought I was crazy. I did have a friend ask me what medication I was taking. ( I haven't taken any medications.) I had such peace. But the counselor told me ( and the books too) that there is usually a big bump at 3 months. And sure enough around week 12 I hit it. And it was hard. I wanted to scream all the time. And I didn't feel free to share with anyone. I tried to keep the screams down with comfort foods. ( Not a good coping choice.) I eventually had to face the pain all over again and go back to the Great Physician for a follow up. I want to somehow describe this journey. And I want to be upbeat. But most of all I want to be honest. Honest and candid and free to share me.

Here's an entry from my hardback journal from a few days ago.

Bryant , can you see me?

Can you see me crying...
Outside and in
Can you see me crying for you?

Can you see me crying and wondering
Why? Why did you have to leave
In this time and in this way?
Can you see me crying for you?

Can you see me asking why, oh why...?
And what did I miss?
What on earth were you thinking?
And what were you going through?
Can you see me crying for you?

Can you see me wishing and wishing and
That we had another day...
To talk, Oh I would listen
And hear you...
You wouldn't feel lost in the shuffle.
You'd have me all to yourself
And be assured that you mattered...
Can you see me crying for you?

Can you hear my heart screaming...
NO! NO! NO! Please God, NO!
This is too much to bear...
Can you see me crying for you?

Can you see me crying and praying
and drawing near to The Savior,
Else surely I too would die
From the heartbreak and the crying
In my soul that will not cease...
Till that blessed day
When once again we meet... on the other side.

So until then, dear one
Son of mine for whom I cry
Hold my tears in a bottle
Hold them close and know
I love you
More than you ever knew
I love you
And every day for you I cry.

It's a little sad but this is where I was on Friday night. But I really do feel a measure of joy and peace today. I'll be back to write more soon.