Thursday, July 4, 2013

So Many Firsts

There is a constant circle of firsts. The day we are born, when we sit up, roll over, crawl, walk and our first day of school. Wonderful memorable dates that are forever in the minds of our parents.  It's like watching a miracle grow in front of their eyes. As the weeks go into months and progress into years, their miracle claims a place in their hearts that belong only to them. 

And so it is, in our own lives, we begin to celebrate our firsts- the loss of a tooth, our first home run hit at a ballgame, our first school dance, and a little later, the day we get our driver's license and moving forward, if we are blessed, the day we turn 21! Voting is in there, but it isn't celebrated as much as the whole turning 21 thing. We date, maybe we get married. 

The circle progresses, right? We become the parent and begin to experience the first set of firsts as parents, and the parents take on the role of grand-parents, which gives them a whole new set of firsts to enjoy. Life is really all about the firsts. 

So many firsts, they can be overwhelming for many of us. A lot of us who have experienced the "firsts", know the pain and the anxiety of just getting the day over with at the time. Forgetting about family and friends isn't intentional, but the pain of experiencing a special day, a memorable moment without our loved one-is too much and hurts too badly to really care what anyone else is feeling that day.

I remember, horribly counting the days until a holiday would come. I tried desperately to convince myself Shannon would want me to be happy and celebrate with family and friends-my heart would have none of it. I could only feel the earth shatter beneath me and world fragmented and splintered. How was I ever going to 'feel' again? 

I have two living daughters that I love dearly and eight grand-angels that keep my life full of joy and blessings. But I had to be willing to open my heart yet again. Who was I going to trust with a wound such as this? This gaping hole, anyone could see for goodness sake. Surely, people at the store and at the groomer could tell I was grieving, couldn't everyone tell I was grieving?!? Didn't the whole world know that Shannon had left this world and gone to Heaven? 

That is how it felt for me. So many firsts-holidays, birthdays, more holidays and then the anniversary of her death. None of it seemed fair or right to me. But I was learning how to cope in this world without my daughter. No, not everyone understood my pain. The lady at the store in line in front of me did not understand my tears when I saw a hat that only Shanny would wear. I had to buy it and I did! 

One comment I will make here-I pray a lot. For me, it helps. It gets me ready for the day and the days ahead. I cannot change the past, but I can pray for Shanny and I did at first. And then, I knew she was in Heaven and I continued to pray for strength and courage. I wanted God to know I was willing to accept His will but I needed His help to do it. The Holy Spirit has been a great comfort to me in my journey thus far.

You, too will find your voice. God is listening and hears your cries. He will not demand you call on Him. He only waits until you ask Him into your heart. You remember I spoke of a hole where Shannon had lived in my heart? Surprise!! She still lives there, she never left. Her body may have left this world, but here spirit and her love still occupy the same space in my once broken heart. God heals. My heart was never broken, only closed. I had forgotten the power of prayer and faith. I will never forget again.

God bless each and every one of you on this day of remembrance of our soldiers and their courage. You, too will find your courage and your strength. This is not a battle for us, but a journey. Remember, your heart need only be open to receive God's love and healing presence. Your child remains safely tucked inside your heart, close your eyes and listen to heart beat love.

I will continue to pray, because I remember the power of prayer and faith as a mother grieves and now, as a mother begins to heal. God bless you and keep you always!