Good Grief, Bad Grief

So, what are the rules when it comes to grief?

You might say there are none but guess again; according to some self-righteous people there are.

There are some people who feel it’s their obligation to write letters via Facebook or on paper to the grieving on how selfish they’re being. There are some who feel it’s their right to discuss, bitch and gossip about how the grieving are being dishonorable to the deceased because their actions of grief don’t measure up to the expert’s standard.

How long should a person grieve for? Perhaps a lifetime?

It comes in waves, over time. sometimes there’s anger or just deep sadness. sometimes there’s feeling of rejection. I’m not in the loop anymore; but was I ever? Sometimes it hits you unexpectedly and then sometimes you see it coming.

It’s a new way of living. It’s brings hidden inner strength. It brings an eventual breakdown. It brings a new way to do life. More is lost when the person dies. Is it innocence? You gain a broken spirit.

You think you are healed then someone else dies or you notice something on Facebook that makes you aware of the distance grief has caused.

Grief’s a Bitch

 

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I Jumped In

Today I did something new. I stripped down to my bra and undies and had a soak in the ocean. It felt exhilarating, refreshing and a much-needed thing to do at the end of a big weekend.

Prior to having a refreshing soak in the ocean my heart was a bit sore as it had been wounded by a hurting individual who had struck out at my hubby and I for our parenting style.

Instead of ranting all over Facebook, I decided to write my thoughts down in my journal, then I thought I should go to the beach and have a talk to God. When I got to my destination this is what I saw.

How could you look at that and not dive in?

I then did the only sensible thing one must do in this situation and took my clothes off and dived in the water. I floated, soaked, sang and talked to God. As I was floating in the clear water I was imagining that I was floating in Gods love, immersed in his abundant forgiveness and healing. Feeling the bitterness disappear, replaced with the peace of Gods loving kindness.

Wow, what a day.

When you get wounded the worst thing to do, would be to pick up the arsenal of revenge and fire back. I want to follow Heaven’s blue print on this one, as it makes me feel so much better than before.

The 22Q Adventure

When my son was 18 months old we were introduced to VCFS aka 22Q.dil.11. Now that was a big shock!!!! He was born with a soft cleft palate that was repaired at 6 months and a heart murmur was detected. Never would I have thought that there would be anything else to come up and bite us in the bum. Ouch!!! What the heck is VCFS????? 

He is now eight and life had been an unexpected adventure. These are some of the highlights

Orr look at him receiving an award when he was in kindergarten

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Oh look, this is a painting that I did in response to being thrust into the VCFS journey 

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Awww look at him hugging the washing machine.

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Such a sweet photo of my son and his Grandma behind him….notice how he is reaching his hand behind him so that he can have Grandma hold his hand.

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I just love this picture

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Us in the paper creating awareness

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Looking quite dashing in his specs

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Here he is picking up all of the cigarette butts from the ground. It became an obsession.

Getting rather excited with the fireworks set up!!!

Cheeky face

Too exciting…a train trip!!!!

Arh, the happiness……army clothes, a toy grenade and a trip on the elevator.

Life is good for a child with Q22

I have written a lot about VCFS and if you would like to read more of our journey here is the link 

 

Kimbo

Last month the chariots of fire came and took our pastor from us and although we are sad to say good-bye we rejoice in the fact that he no longer is suffering.

He was a kind man who taught us what a pastor really is. I have learnt that a pastor is one who looks after the people and is a servant rather than the other way around. Unfortunately in my pentecostal/charismatic background I have been taught that we, the people are here to support the pastors vision and for many years was indoctrinated by those thoughts. Jesus said “if you want to be great then you must become the servant of all”  Matt 20:26

Kimbo taught us that love never fails, that kindness is strong and humility is powerful. What a great legacy he has left for us and may we all be better servants of Christ for knowing our dear friend Kim Iredale.

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Unrequited Love

I know that the title of this post refers to romantic love but I want to ask the question; have you ever been in a friendship where you liked them more than they liked you?

When I was seventeen I met my friend who, like me was doing art, had just recently became a christian and had an equally unusual name as myself. We had a sweet bond and together we felt like we were going to conquer the world. We would pray together and for our friends, we would sing together, we loved each other.

After a couple of years my friend changed as she wasn’t able to cope with things in her life and returned to her life of drugs. This is when I first experienced outright rejection from a friend and as we were bonded through Christ the pain seemed more damaging. Although the heart ached, it was a lesson for me in love and forgiveness.

After some years she returned to the Lord, went to another church and our friendship was rekindled, yet it was never the same but at least she would talk to me. I really don’t think she realised the pain that she caused me and I don’t think she could see the wound of a broken connection that I strongly felt within my heart.

I did have an opportunity to express how it did break my heart when she “back slid” as is the christian term for one who walks away from the Lord. I explained how perhaps I had put her on a pedestal and I couldn’t cope with the disappointment of our broken friendship. I was pleased at how that conversation mended something in me….or so I thought.

Over the years I felt as though I was the one always chasing her, although I didn’t admit it to myself until a few years back. One day I phoned her to see if I could call in for a visit as I was going to be in her neighbourhood. She told me to drop in on the following Monday in which I had, however, when I had arrived she wasn’t there. When I rang her mobile she gave me some lame excuse about not being able to contact me.

I drove home furious and fed up. The reality was starting to wash over me at last.

Six months after that moment I had an opportunity to go and chat to her, however as it was my first birthday without my mum I felt fragile and said to myself “Just this once, I am not going out of my way to talk to her. She can just F#^k off, my mum is dead!” And therefore I did accordingly, I ignored her.

You know, ignoring her made me feel good for that moment but it didn’t make me feel free. Thankfully about six months later, I had another opportunity to connect with her. I approached her with a hug and asked her to forgive the contempt that I had for her. I told her how I was tired of her rejection and said “Over the years I think that I may have like you more than you liked me”.

She told me that I was brave and I told her that I am no longer angry with her. For me it was like letting her out of my angry cage where she can fly wherever she liked. I had redefined what our friendship was and decided that I no longer shall feel rejection or inferior, I shall indeed just love her for who she is and keep on moving with my own life.

A number of years later I had got word that she was separated from her husband. Although this had saddened me deeply, it came no surprise  to me. I later heard that her life was a mess, while her husband is now blooming for the first time ever.

When all of this was revealed to me I couldn’t believe how many years that I had wasted mulling over unrequited love. How could I be so self absorbent about this rejection when she was hurting the most important people in her life, her family.

What is the lesson here?

Her rejection of me was never about me!!!!

As a human being it is normal to personalise rejection and make it about oneself, however when you know in your heart that you have done nothing to provoke rejection then move on.

When I am now confronted by a persons inability to communicate well, then it’s not my fault. When someone shows contempt for me, it’s not my problem. If someone is embarrassed by me, then they need to have a rethink about what’s important to them. If a person has a problem with me then the problem is theirs!

This is a great life lesson to learn and I shall not waste another minute worrying about the lost time. It did indeed take me a long time to figure this one out but better late than never.

What a Day

Today I decided to take the morning easy, as for the past three days were a bit strenuous and I needed a bit of a rest. I watered my garden, did some reading and cooked a gourmet breakfast courtesy of the Community Garden.

However my happy feelings turned to anxiety in the lead up to my job search network appointment. Then it was tears…boo hooo.

Feelings of being overwhelmed just flooded over me, or dumped on me. I cried because my son needs his eyes checked, he needs another sleep study, I can’t get formal respite, he needs to go the cleft palate clinic, he has a limited diet, he’s not disabled enough for me to get carers payment, blah blah blah blah.

When I went in for my appointment I burst into tears. The young lady was very good and encouraged me to get a Doctors certificate and sent me up the Centerlink to chat with the case coordination peeps! By then I was feeling good again as I was able to obtain more contacts that could possibly help me.

I then went and had coffee and the girl at Gloria Jeans asked me how my day was and I explained my day to her. There was a new chap working there and he just happened to work for a disability service provider and willingly gave me yet another contact for me. I then went to the bank and the lady told me that if I opened a savings account, the bank will donate $10 to start it off.

Lets just say the day got better and better and I’m feeling the hope again. It’s like God was saying “It’s all going to be okay”.

Are The Chariots Of Fire Coming Soon?

Yesterday our church, Grace Church experienced something special and significant as our Senior Pastors Kim and Maggie laid hands on the associate Pastors Eugene and Angie and prayed that they would receive a double portion of what they have. The inspiration for this comes from 2 Kings 2: 1-15.

For the past four years Kim and Maggie with Eugene and Angie have run the church with love and grace that have caused many of us to call each other family. Two years ago Kim received the bad news of cancer and the prognosis was not good, yet two years later he is still alive, where according to doctors he shouldn’t still be here.

We are all believing for a miracle for his complete healing, however the manifestation of that healing hasn’t yet emerged. As we do not know our future we trust in God and out of obedience to the Holy Spirit the leadership heard and as a result, Sunday happened.

In the event of the worse case scenario occurring and our dearest Kim is taken, then we the church will be okay. We will miss him but as a result of Sunday we know that the transition will be a smooth one. Kim and Maggie are not going anywhere as they still will be senior Pastors but the assurance of the future that our church will be fine what ever the outcome.

Last night I was reflecting and I asked the Lord “Are the chariots of fire coming soon?”

We don’t know what is going to happen but we will not give up hope. We have a cry, grieve and believe again. Cancer is nasty but God is bigger and more powerful that what ever happens to Kim God has the victory forever and ever amen!!

My Earliest Memory of Empathy

Late one night when I was having trouble sleeping I remembered an incident that happened at school where I experienced empathy for another person. At the time I had no idea that I was being empathic, I was just feeling my thoughts and acting accordingly.

I can’t remember how old I was, but somewhere between 4th or 5th class. Age 9-10??. There was a group of girls picking on one girl who had been brought  to tears.  I asked someone why she was being picked on for. The answer; her parents were getting a divorce.

What????

I could not comprehend why anyone would be mocked for that reason and how dumb were those girls to be such bullies. Back then divorce wasn’t as common as it is today. I know this first hand as, my brother and I were the only kids that I knew who were from a broken family.

I was so disgusted in those bullies and my heart went out the victim. When the bell rang I did something that was very uncommon for me to do, I approached the girl and said “you will be okay, My parents are divorced and I’m okay”. She looked back at me with sad eyes but didn’t respond. I felt very inadequate at the time, however I realise now that it was probably the best thing that I could have done.

This is my only childhood empathy memory except when reading the Little Match Girl...that made me nearly want to cry. Oh, and watching The Champ with Ricky Schroder…..I had to hide my tears behind my hair!!!!!!

Oh dear, as I write this it is clear that there were plenty of opportunities for me to experience empathy as a child. What are your memories and experiences?

My Retreat!

For the third year running I was able to go on my getaway. You can read about my previous experiences here and here. I went to the same place and it was still lovely and as usual very renewing to my soul. This time I did a lot more walking and was able to explore the familiar. I did wonder after the third year would it still be as special and I’m please to say that not only was it special but I think it was the best one so far.

When I arrived in Kiama I was a bit early so I went and ordered breakfast and then after that I went an sat on Black Beach (where, here comes the dumb alert: I suddenly realised why Black beach was called so. And with that I got a revelation but that’s another post). I sat for hours and played with the pebbles on the beach and was lost in time.

And I collected treasures

The next day I walked and walked and found the Spring Creek Wetlands which has a bird-hide

Lovely views all around

After that lovely walk I had a rest and lunch in town, basked in the sun at the house then ventured of to another walk I that didn’t know existed in Kiama, The Bonaira Native Garden. Who knew there was a rainforest in Kiama!!!!!

The getaway for me this time made me explore the familiar, it made me slow down and it has helped to recharge and face life again with all of its challenges. May I never ever forget to this special thing as I can’t tell you how important it has become in my survival and my general happiness.

Basking in the Sun

Today I basked in the sun.

It’s not as poetic as it sounds as I locked myself outside and had no choice. Even though the southern hemisphere is currently doing winter, it was such a splendid day and the sun shone with the warmth of spring.

The most remarkable thing about the title of this post is that since my mum passed away I have not been able to say basking in the sun without some heartache involved. The day my mum passed away I was basking in the sun.

It was a cold but sunny day and we were concerned about her all day. My husband went and picked up a sample that I then took to the doctors on mum’s behalf. My husband seemed worried that day so we kept calling her to make sure that she was fine. I was going to pop in the arvo to check on her and while I waited I sat outside to bask in the sun.

My house was freezing and the sunshine warmed me but my soul but anxious as I was worried that my mum’s time might be over soon. After some time I walked over to mum’s house and let myself in as I had a key. I found her asleep and I asked her if she wanted a glass of water as she looked a bit funny. I could not arouse her so it was time to call an ambulance and the reality of my mum’s mortality was realised.

To me, the passing of mum was not the most traumatic thing of the death but its aftermath. I had made my peace with her, God, death and myself. Two years prior to her death mum let me pray for her and in that moment I introduced her to Jesus. In the last two years of her life she had quality in spite of having a debilitating lung disease. The hub of my relationship with her was sweet, therefore her passing was okay with me.

What was traumatic was everyone else’s grief. I seriously could not cope with it and just wanted to run away. One day I was so distraught that I walked through our local shopping centre like a zombie, sat at the bus stop and considered getting on a bus and taking off. Where was I going to go? Anywhere, away, far far away!!!!

Today the pain has eased and I again can bask in the sun without the accusation of false guilt. I did not know that when I was basking in the sun that my mum was leaving us. Who could have known that was to be the day??

Good bye mum and while I wait till we meet again I shall bask in the sun guilt free. I shall be full of happy memories of the life that you lived and be ever thankful that God let me be your daughter. In the meantime I have a son who needs me to be happy and teach him the great things you taught me, therefore basking in the SON is a necessity!