Monday, March 30, 2015

A Grieving Momma's Heart

Life seemed a mess and the world was a struggle. She felt alone in every way. Then the day came when she woke to feeling queasy. Life was no longer empty. It was about to be full. That first little kick made her stop and place her loving hand on her tummy. No reason for maternity clothes yet. She's still too tiny to show, but she goes out and purchases that first top that catches her eye. She puts it on and even though it swallows her she wears it with such momma love. She's so proud of this little one growing inside of her that she must show him off to everyone. 

Those nine months seemed quite long at first, but then once those contractions began she knew those nine months flew by in a hurry. This little one was ready to make his entrance into the world and she was ready to greet him with a kiss. His finger wrapped around her finger. So tiny and perfect. Eyes looking up at his momma and she looking at him with such pride and joy. Love that began nine months ago and has now increased by leaps and bounds. 

The day of his birth she would celebrate for a lifetime. What joy. Who knew love could be this perfect? She dreamed of being a mommy, but never imagined it to be so beautiful. She would protect this little one, love him all her life, and they would grow together, each day being more blessed than the next. 

Oh, all of those firsts that each mother adds to the baby book. The first time she held him, the first feeding, the first time he would try a vegetable, crawling, standing on his own, that first baby step, each moment an intricate part of this precious baby's growth. 

Her eyes shine  with such pride. She counts all those firsts and continues to add to the list. That first year carries such change in a mother's life. She learns to let go of self and make this little one first in her life. Nothing even comes close to comparison.  

That first little tooth that pops through and that first little bight on the shoulder when she knows she's in store for some antics. She sees his personality developing. She knows without a doubt this one will be a character and will charm the ladies and all the guys will want to be his friend. This momma will guard over him, teach him, mold him, and most of all, love him all her life. He will forever be her first love. 

The first time she hears him say, "Mommy", stirs her heart. "I'm here, little one. I'm here. Mommy loves you." I love you was said with such passion. Never just thrown out there. Each time spoken with the love only a mother knows. 

Every day of her life was brightened and changed by this little man, growing and changing just like his momma. An unbreakable bond. At home with his momma until the first day of kindergarten. With each passing year, more firsts and a friendship that grows that is immeasurable. 

She watches his blond hair bounce in the wind as he plays outside. Muddy feet and skinned knees. Toy cars and army men cover his floor. She watches how he plays. This little one will change the world with his smile and gift of laughter. She already sees it so early. 

She dreams of all he will do in this life. The first prom, getting his license, his first job, his first girlfriend, what classes would he take in college, watching him wait at the end of the aisle on the princess that would make him the wife of his dreams. The grandchild that would make her think of him all over again. A momma dreams of all her baby will accomplish. She's proud of him no matter what, but she knows he has something special.

Every day of her life, breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. She cooks his favorites. They share talks over each meal. Some nights it may be a big spread and others it might be shared cereal. Snapped photos and videos to capture all those precious moments she never wants to forget. From waking to giggles to nap-time in the afternoon, to bedtime stories. 

She goes to bed thinking of her little one. Checks on him through the night. She wakes and he is her first thought. There is not a time in her life that her son isn't present in her mind. Their time shared together was something that most parents only dream about sharing with their child. She wanted him to have everything she didn't. She would live her life making sure he knew he was loved. 

She taught him about Jesus. He fell in love with his Savior at an early age and from there he only grew deeper in love with his Lord. There would be church Sundays, Bible school, youth trips, and so much more. He would share every moment with her leaving nothing out. They talked about everything. 

Special moments they would treasure forever. She could never choose a favorite. They all meant something. They would find a love of the night sky together and under the crescent moon they would dream of what was beyond the stars. 

They would laugh together and share simply goofy giggles that no one else would understand. He would be her world. He would hug his momma even if his friends were surrounding them. That's the kind of young man he had grown to be. Love in his heart, mercy and grace in his words, a boy ready and believing in second chances. He would laugh you right out of your bad mood. Never a stranger at his side. You would soon be his friend and he would quickly make you feel welcomed. 

September 12, 2014 everything changed. This momma would hear her own screams as she rushed to her fifteen year old son who had just been hit by a drunk driver. She heard the crash and as she ran out the door she knew. She couldn't see her son standing in the drive way where he had just been waiting on the bus. The mail box was missing. She sees the crash in the trees. She runs with screams escaping her lips. You don't need for me to share the rest of this morning to understand that the life she knew was gone forever. 

They said their goodbyes that morning without thinking it would be the last time. She would never hug her son again. She would never hear him say, "Love you, Mom". There would be no more firsts for this momma. She will now spend her lifetime remembering all the lasts. The last kiss, the last hug, the last time he made chocolate milk. 

Days would come that she didn't think she would live through. This momma would bury her son, pick out a memory stone, and now live an unexpected life that was never imagined. She now awaits for four men to be prosecuted for the death of her son. 

Friends, this momma didn't just lose her child. She saw him broken. She heard the crash. She tried with all her might to breathe life back into her son. How does she live her life and not see this in her mind every day? How does she wake up and get back into a schedule? How does she go to sleep and not think of her precious son?

Holidays have come and gone since September. Donnie's 16th birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve. Easter will soon arrive and then Mother's Day. These days are extremely hard for Bobbie, but not any more difficult than the daily life she lives without Donnie. 

She can't walk out of her door without seeing her baby, broken in the trees. How do you just get over that? How much is enough time to grieve? I really want you to tell me. We don't need to be telling her where she should be. We need to be embracing her right where she is.

How do you now enter your son's room? All of his things are just as they were that morning. Just walking through the living-room brings her mind back to just months ago when all was ordinary. Setting the table is a challenge. Washing dishes and knowing which cup was Donnie's favorite. It's not always those big moments, it's the tiny moments that us back and long for one more time. Just one more hug. One more laugh. One more pizza night. Just one more movie together. 

I have heard people say, "She should be over this by now". That makes me want to scream! How do you have a child for fifteen years and get over it? It has been almost eight months. As I count the months, she counts the days. 

I've heard people say, "Why doesn't she get professional help?" Oh, friends, the stories I could share. No one knows the depths she has gone, nor do they know the lengths she has gone to try to breathe.  To try to live a life she never dreamed possible. She's living every mother's nightmare every single day of her life.

We so need to be careful with our words and our judgments. Sometimes all that needs to be said is, "I'm sorry". "Just remember the good times", and "Just hang on to knowing that he's with Jesus", are not words that needs to be said to a grieving momma. "I love you", and "I'm praying for you", is enough said. 

"Oh, she just needs to focus on her daughter, and love her husband." Really? Is that all she has to do? It's that easy, huh? Would you want to trade places with her? She wouldn't want anyone to go through the terror and horrific days that she has lived for eight months now.

This beautiful momma was present when her son took his first breath and there when he took his last. Children are suppose to outlive their parents. Not this way, friends. Tell me, is that going to be easy to get over? Should she be at a certain point in her grieving? No one grieves the same. There isn't a set of rules to go by in grieving. Oh sure, there's text book grieving, but friends, that's not real.

I have heard people say, "She just needs to get a new routine going", or "She needs to stay busy and find a hobby". Even, "She just needs to get out of the house." Do we seriously hear ourselves when we say these words? I'm her friend, and I even catch myself trying to make things right with my inadequate words. Nothing can make it right. She knows he's with Jesus. She knows scripture. She knows all that stuff, but when you are grieving, friends, we just have to allow people time to grieve. We can't fix what we truly cannot understand. Only Jesus. Jesus is the mighty Healer.

It's easy for us to give advice, isn't it? We want to help in some way so we share words that we think will comfort, but they don't. They are words that simply make no sense to a grieving momma. We just cannot understand the pain she is experiencing unless we too have experienced the death of a child. Nothing compares. All I can do is imagine and just the thought of me losing a child or a grandchild brings a fresh stream of tears. That's why I sometimes just say nothing at all, except, I love you.

She is blessed to have family and friends who lift her in prayer each and every day. I can tell you that the Lord is healing her. He is giving her breath and one minute at a time, He covers her in grace and strength. The Lord is truly her strength. 

I simply text her and say, "How are you doing right now, Bobs?" I tell her, "I'm sorry", and "I'm praying". For her, it's moment by moment. Imagine being able to laugh and then feeling guilty because how could a mother who lost her son be laughing? Imagine being okay and going into a store only to have something remind you of your son and then everything comes crashing down on you again. Imagine every time you hear a siren and it brings you back to that moment so very clearly. Just a wisp of air, a sound, a smell, all bring her memory back to her sweet and precious boy. Imagine all your emotions on a roller-coaster and you're experiencing them all at one time. 

Time is passing, but friends, time isn't what heals all wounds. It's the love of Jesus. It is the precious love, strength, and grace of our sweet Savior. He is the healing. She knows her son is with his Savior and that gives her peace and comfort, but it doesn't make her miss him any less. He's still gone. All the dreams she once held for Donnie are now replaced with dreams of him being gone. 

She has had to learn the legal system and let me tell you our laws are a mess. She isn't seeking vengeance. She wants justice, but let's think about that for a moment. For us it's a moment. For her it's every day. How much time is enough for killing her son? 

She now holds tight to memories of her son. She longs for the day they meet again. But for now she must hold on and learn to live a life without him. She and her family grieve every day. There isn't one day that's easier than another. They may be further away from September 12th, but they will never be so far away that they no longer grieve for Donnie. 

Spring has arrived. Flowers are blooming and trees are budding. God is healing. But her heart is broken. Life has halted from the normal and is circling in the unimaginable. My friend use to love rainy days. Now they make her weep uncontrollably. Everything she once loved was because in some way it expressed the love that this momma and son shared.

Court dates continue to come. One might think that would be the hardest part, but friends, the hardest part of every day is knowing her son is gone from this earth. Please continue to pray for Bobbie and her family as they learn this new life without Donnie present in their lives.

"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief...and unspeakable love."
Washington Irving

You can read more about my friend, Bobbie and her son, Donnie, by following these links: "Lord, Please Heal My Friend", and "My Letter To My Friend, Bobbie". I too encourage you to {LIKE} Justice for Donnie. It is a page that Bobbie set up to bring awareness and to share from her heart. 
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