Wednesday, February 27, 2013

"Living without faith is like driving in a fog."

Facebook Post from September 2012

This morning as I was driving Haleigh Raye to school I was frustrated because my windows were so foggy I couldn't see. I literally had to pull over and wait for the fog to clear (and call my earthly father for help because it was once his car.) As we are waiting Haleigh Raye starts to notice handprints and drawings appear through the fog in the backseat windows. (You know the ones you are always telling your kids or little ones in the car NOT to do.) For a moment I couldn't look at them. I was reminded of all the days I said, "Noah stop writing on my windows." Well with tears in my eyes I did raise my head up and look at them. What a blessing to me they were this morning when I CHOSE TO SEE. Noah's drawings and initials were coming through even in the fog. What a parallel this is to my own life. I move through my hours as if I am in a fog and little things will bring me out and keep me level for a while and then off I go again. When I try to make it on my own and rely on my own strength I see the negative or what I didn't do and everything seems foggy but then I call on my heavenly Father and CHOOSE TO SEE the handprints and drawings in my life it becomes apparent all that God has blessed me with...even in the fog.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!

I did it! I finally started my blog. I am so excited to have gotten this off the ground. I have said so many times I write what is on my heart and these days there is so much on my heavy heart. For anyone that is not familiar with my story I lost my 10 year old son, Noah Dean, in a tragic lake event on July 4, 2012. To say my world came to a crashing halt would be an understatement. I have very little recollection of that month and the months that followed. All I remember of that July 4th day is leaving my house to go to the gym and have lunch before joining friends for a July 4th celebration. But that celebration never happened and to be honest I can't ever imagine wanting to celebrate another July 4th again my entire life because I will always remember getting the phone call that forever changed my world. I still have nightmares of that day and it is always the same words over and over..."Jessica has anyone called you? There's been an accident...they've been doing CPR for 20 minutes....Morristown Hamblen....." I vividly recall arriving at the hospital emergency room doors and looking in the ambulance and wondering if Noah had been in there. I can see myself walking through those emergency room doors wondering if am the mother of two living children and still not knowing what was going on. My dream continues and I see a nurse get a doctor and they try to talk to me but I never will let them tell me what happened. I remember wanting and trying to get in touch with my parents and my best friend but I just couldn't muster up the energy or even the words.  And then I look around and there are so many people literally hovering around me and then the part where I see Haleigh Raye's dad carrying her in the waiting room and our eyes lock and I know I am about to have to tell her Noah is gone and not coming home. And then...usually I wake up.  It seems like a long sequence of events but it probably only lasts a few minutes, maybe even seconds and it is definitely enough. I try not to let myself wake up too much for fear of not going back to sleep and more memories returning. It is usually at this time I get my newest staple since losing Noah - a heating pad - it is warm and makes me feel not so alone and takes me back to my last night with Noah on July 2 and him crawling into bed with me. He was warm and I was not alone. 

After Noah's death people were telling me how therapeutic it would be for me to journal my thoughts and feelings. I looked at them, smiled politely but secretly thought, "My thoughts? I don't even know what my thoughts are. They are so scattered and don't make sense to me how could I ever get them down on paper." But then there's this social media we all know as Facebook and it became such a outlet for me and a connection to a community of people who I have no doubt carried me personally through my darkest hour and made my burden somewhat lighter by thinking of us, caring for us and most importantly by praying for us. I was amazed (and still am) at the outpouring of love and support shown.  As we were making arrangements for the funeral somehow I can recall thinking, "Noah was only 10. Did he know enough people to even come? Would he just be someone that passed through this earth that no one would know or remember?" Humbly, now, I smile at that because Noah has made more of an impact in his 10 years than many people do in a lifetime and I have made it my mission for people to not only know about Noah and his spunky personality but to know where Noah is now and how I have come to somewhat of an understanding and acceptance that Noah doesn't need me now. I need him more than he could ever need me. I can mourn, I can grieve and I can cry for him but I still have to live. I have to live for my daughter, I have to live for myself and most importantly I have to live for God. I have no idea why I'm on this journey and it goes without saying it is not one I voluntarily signed up for. But I am and I have a choice to either turn away and be bitter or accept and embrace this new normal. 

And the conscious decision I've made to accept and embrace is what has led me here. To write and to share. As I was trying to create a name for my blog nothing just jumped out at me until recently when I came across the quote I have above. I didn't remember until after my heart was set on it that Nicholas Sparks has a book about a main character losing his wife titled, "A Bend in the Road." While there may be some similarities and I do enjoy Nicholas Sparks books this title stemmed more from Lewis and his writing entitled, "A Grief Observed." I also looked up the definition of bend and found these two definitions:

bend - to bring something into a state of tension or to force to assume a different direction or shape

When I asked someone very close to me who has shared much of my journey up close and personal what they thought of this blog name their response was one of questioning whether bend was a strong enough word for what I had been through. I carefully thought about and finally came to the conclusion there are no words strong enough for what I've gone through and is another reason I write. I write to give words to the bends in the road we all face, the twists and turns of fate that can sometimes bring us to our knees or having us shouting with joy. I don't pretend to know what anyone is experiencing but bottom line is we all have a road we are on. There are bumps in the road, our feet get heavy and some of us may not even know where our road is leading. But for me I know that there aren't many things guaranteed and unchanging in this world but there is one thing that is guaranteed, hasn't changed and is at the end of the road I'm traveling and that is God. And there isn't a day goes by that I am thankful that at the end of Noah's the end of Noah's road was the God of yesterday, today and tomorrow. And that same road that has ended for Noah is the road I'm on...the road to Noah Dean...the road to God...despite the road I'm traveling my destination has not changed. It's only become more inviting, more clear, more real and it has become just what my blog says..."A Bend in the Road."