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I discovered after losing my son that anything can trigger a memory of him, and quite often it occurs when least expected. The most recent incident occurred this past Sunday morning after preparing omelets for breakfast. It was simply a jar of salsa that triggered a memory of Stanley.

 While sitting at the table preparing to eat, my husband suddenly asked me if we had any salsa. After getting the salsa out of the refrigerator and handing it to him, I suddenly had an epiphany. I recalled an earlier conversation years ago with my son, while sitting at this very table and him asking me if we had any salsa. I visualized his face so clearly, capturing that sparkle he always had in his eyes and a smile came over my face. Just thinking about the joy he experienced eating his favorite foods gave me a warm feeling and I felt happy. He had a voracious appetite like most boys, and I used to joke with him saying that he was eating us out of house and home. Just visualizing his face was quite pleasing to me and the memory of him asking for salsa seemed like only yesterday.

As I sat there gazing out the window reminiscing about that particular occasion among others, my husband asked me what was wrong. I told him I was thinking about Stanley and how he loved salsa, always putting it on his eggs and other foods. His expression immediately turned to sadness and he said, “I miss my son.” I told him I missed him as well and that regardless of how much time passes, losing a child is an unending grief.  Although time allows us to live with it, the emptiness and longing for our child remains. 

That emptiness remains with each passing year, often growing deeper during special occasions.  When your child’s friend’s graduate high school and college, move away to begin their careers, or when meeting their first love, and learning of engagements and pending weddings, I am proud and happy for them, but sad that I will never share those experiences with my son.

 However, even with moments of sadness that sometime come my way, I still experience joy, Joy can arrive suddenly, and making its appearance unexpectedly by way of a memory that had been buried deep within.  Joy can come by way of something as simple as a jar of salsa, triggering a memory of Stanley eating something he loved, enabling me to see his face however fleeting, capturing that sparkle once again in his eyes. 


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To be or not to be…

The phrase “to be or not to be”, Hamlet’s greatest soliloquy in Shakespeare’s play questions “being” or “not being” or whether it is best to continue existing or not. Throughout history there has been great debate regarding the differing interpretations of this soliloquy. However, there is no doubt regarding my position on “being” or “not Being”, or if existing in this most beautiful world that God created is worth it.

A few months after my son died, for a brief moment, I questioned whether life was worth living. I had experienced what is often called “the greatest grief”, that of losing a child. For six months after Stanley’s death, I carried on with my life, going back to work a week after his funeral, not realizing that I was suffering depression.  As a Christian, I didn’t want to believe that I allowed depression to slowly creep into my life.  Wasn’t I supposed to be strong?  Shouldn’t I have simply given my burdens to God as Matthew 11:26 tells us?  However, I soon learned that depression does not discriminate!  It can strike anyone at any time, even Christians.

I had been Stanley’s primary caretaker during those final months and the stress of seeing him fade away ever so slowly had taken its toll unbeknownst to me. It was only after a friend, a clinical social worker recognized the signs, that I sought grief counseling.  However, for a fleeting moment, alone in my home one evening, desperately wanting the hands of time to turn back, enabling my family to be complete again, did I think that life had no real purpose for me anymore. How could I go on without Stanley?  My oldest daughter was away in college, my other daughter, a senior in high school was busy with after school activities, grieving in her own special way. My husband, dealt with his grief by burying himself in his work. I felt alone, with no purpose. I wanted to mother someone, but no one was available. To be or not to be, that was my question…

With much prayer, meditation, reflection, and grief counseling, I knew without a doubt the answer is always to be.  For me, that was and is the best and only answer!   I know that regardless of what we go through in life, the ups and downs, smiles and frowns, bends and curves, fraying nerves, friends or foes, worries or woes, that life is good, so good, so good and I am blessed beyond measure and highly favored. To be, simply to be, that is the answer!







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A Bend In The Road …

At one time or another, adversity comes knocking on everyone’s door. I can emphatically state that in the past 12 years, adversity has not only knocked at my door, it has pushed it in. However, what matters most is how you deal with adversity, trials and tribulation. When Stanley was first diagnosed in 2000, I chose to immediately give this burden to God, praying for strength. I needed to be strong for my son and family.

It was my faith that enabled me to deal with the heartache and pain of my son being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor that could possibly kill him. Faith is defined in the Bible as the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. My hope was for the 100% healing of my son, and I believed that he would be healed. He believed it! That is why he was able to remain strong throughout his ordeal when the growing tumor eventually robbed him of his very essence. He repeatedly would say, “You gotta have Faith.”

His Faith was remarkable and enabled my entire family to endure throughout his illness and eventual death. Yes, Faith sustained us all! In the Bible, the book of James chapter 1 states, whenever adversity or trials come our way, we must be strong and consider it Joy, because whenever we face trials of any kind, the testing of our faith produces perseverance. This proved to be so true for us. We were all able to persevere throughout that difficult time. Stanley was able to persevere, continuing to display humor and wit and having such a zest for life. He was so strong! This is what having Faith did for my family. Faith enabled us to continue having hope and still feeling joy during some of those difficult days. And most importantly, not getting angry at God when our prayers were not answered.

I once read a quote that went like this, “A bend in the road is not the end of the road, for your destination is right around the corner.” The bend in my family’s road was losing Stanley, but that is not the end. His spirit lives with us and we know as Christians that our final destination is seeing him again one day.

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Just breathe…

It’s been quite sometime since I wrote something in this Blog.  Things have been quite hectic for me since my last entry. I know, I know, that is no excuse!  Everyone has things going on in this fast-paced, busy, busy world that we now live in.  We simply must make or take the time to do what we would like or need to do!  I hope to get better at Blogging for I really have a lot to say. I have been journaling since my son Stanley was diagnosed in 2000.  I found it cathartic to journal after hearing the most devastating news every parent fears, the possibility that your beloved child could possibly die!

I needed to release my thoughts on paper, for when speaking them aloud to family & friends, I discovered many of them were uncomfortable or fearful in discussing the possibility that we could lose Stanley.  However, I had given my fears to God from that very first day in learning that he had a brain tumor.  When crying out to God, I asked Him to give me peace with what was happening, and He did!  So, writing became my way of talking about it but just not getting feedback.

Although I constantly spoke aloud to God, asking Him to heal Stanley, I found that I still needed a release, a way of letting go all of the what if’s building up inside me.  I felt as if I was caught up in a whirlwind,like a spinning wheel unable to stop.  It was then that I began to just breathe. Taking deep breath’s and slowly releasing them worked, helping to release any anxiety acquired during Stanley’s illness and eventual passing on.

I believe many people today, should do likewise. Today, with ever-changing technology, people appearing to always be in a hurry,too busy for family and friends, too busy to stop,  too busy to relax and just breathe.  I need to practice more of what I preach,  relaxing more, time to write in my Blog as I so diligently did when Stanley was ill.   Enough of the busyness!  Slow dow, relax and just breathe!

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