Tag Archive: grief



We Are Ferguson

 

Some pain cannot be hidden, I have put off writing about the Ferguson, Missouri teen, Michael Brown…as long as I possible could.

Some pain is inevitable. I watched the video of the mothers of shooting victims: Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and Sean Bell. I have written numerous times about Trayvon Martin and his assailant George Zimmerman. I have expressed my sadness and disappointment in the outcome of the Zimmerman trial. I have even written to George Zimmerman personally, in my blog.

I watched as these strong women flexed their heart muscles toward one another. I could feel the pain they are dealing with, deeply. I know, as was said by one of them, the pain never leaves you. I can understand how that would be true. These strong women are a reigning example to all of us. They reached out to one another, not because they weren’t still in pain…but because they understood the feeling of isolation that losing a child can bring. The compassion they showed was about women…just being moms. Remembering the days when their children were laughing and smiling; lighter times where such tragedies weren’t even in the back of their minds. I admire the love and unity they gave to one another.

As a mother myself, I feel deeply hurt by the death of Michael brown. I am hurt by anyone that would think, say or believe that his murder was okay. Because you see, for me, he was a child. He had a home. He had a family. He had a life separate from what we will hear about in the media. He had a unique smile and contagious laughter…even if his mom was the only one that experienced it. He is a part of humanity…and he always will be.

His death wasn’t unfortunate…for that term tends to lean toward the base word “luck”. Michael Brown was gunned down…and his assailant Darren Wilson will have to live with that fact. We may never know what the day held for Michael Brown or Darren Wilson, before they met that day. Maybe they were confronted by death already. Perhaps someone had harassed or bullied them. Perhaps they had taken all they could stand that day. Possibly, all the patience they could muster had been spent elsewhere. We may never know the truth about the events leading up to the tragic death of this angel.

But from this I can tell you two things:

Michael Brown was gunned down needlessly. And while he may be a statistic that we refer to…he is so much more. I hope that when we think of him; we remember his face. For those that were fortunate enough to have spoken to him…remember his voice and how his eyes sparkled when he laughed. Remember all the greater things about him; do not let the way he left this place be the only conversation about him. He had a soul and he touched all those who walked with him…he even touched those that walked past him. I pray that his family finds some peace. I hope that we, as a nation, can look on this angel lovingly…with respect to his memory.

The other thing I know is this:

Like George Zimmerman, Darren Wilson must learn how to live with the consequences of his actions. His family will have to learn how to move forward…for not unlike Zimmerman, Officer Darren Wilson will forever be known as the cop that shot that kid six times….dead. This will not be an easy process…it is not intended to be. I pray that Darren Wilson is also able to come to grips with the reality of his actions. It is my hope that we start setting more strict guidelines for our law enforcement officers. We are losing too many of our young black men and something must change.

As a mother, I can tell you that it wouldn’t matter to me if my child had been killed by a police officer, or a trash collector. A white man or an Asian woman. It would only matter that I have one less place to set for dinner.

There is probably nothing as strong as a mothers love for a child; I hope one day we can all learn to love in that way…intentionally. Let us not look at what happened in Ferguson as an incident…it is a pandemic.

This did not happen to a small town in Missouri…it happened to all of us; and it continues to happened all over the world. This is not a matter of them and us…no matter how the media portrays it. We must see ourselves through the eyes of our children, because they do not see race or religion. They do not see sex or money. Children only see each other for exactly who they are….which is why they smile and laugh all of the time.

We are not better; we are not worse…

We are Ferguson.

For The Love of Avonte


 

 

avonteFor The Love of Avonte

I learned about this beautiful child named Avonte Oquendo, shortly after he went missing. I had never met his mother or family, but this child touched my heart. When I saw his picture, his eyes spoke to my soul. I reached out to people about him; no one who knows me would ever be able to say…I didn’t know she felt that way. I was very vocal about him. When I learned of his death, it made my heart heavy.

I had someone very close to me, who had autism. He had many difficulties living, in “the real world”. Much like Avonte, he had eyes that spoke to your soul. You couldn’t help but to love him. His life was also cut short.

I cannot imagine the sheer hell that these mothers must have gone through. Not only because of losing a child, but how their lives had been molded around the protection and nurturing of these children. What are they to do now?

We are at an advantage, we can turn off the news. But when I searched Avonte’s name, I found no known cause of death and no article written past January. While we can just move along…as the world keeps on spinning; Avonte’s mom must try and make sense out of this.

My prayers are with her. If I could tell her anything I would say; I saw the light in his eyes too. I saw the wonder and love that you bathed him in, every day of his life. And even though he was unable to verbally communicate; your heart connected with his. I believe whole-heartedly that the love you instilled within him…remained with him throughout his stay with us here. And while I am certain that this may not ease your pain right now…I pray that your journey through this grief…is built on the grace and mercy of a most loving Creator.

I am saddened when I think of how brief Avonte’s life was…but my heart cannot help but to shine…knowing that angels are singing more loudly and Heaven became a much brighter place…all for the love of Avonte.

The Illusion


The Illusion

 

Often, I think we can take our loved ones for granted. We may even feel or think that we were “due” these relationships. While I cannot imagine what we could do to deserve or earn these crowned accomplishments…it does appear to be the case, even if only in the minds of a select few.

We were gifted moments with our loved ones. We can often become so comfortable with what we appear to have with them, that we forget that these moments were never “given” and were never intended to be permanent. Intentionally or not, we develop a sense of entitlement and this becomes dangerous.

People are not possessions and while we may love them in a very human way; human love comes with stipulations, quite often. Human love is relationship oriented. “I will love you, as long as you don’t…” It is companionship love and can also be a beautiful thing. Anytime we try to grasp something and hold onto it in that way; like most caged birds…it will long to fly away.

When the moments we were gifted become grief…life can begin to look glum. We may become angry and become withdrawn. While this happens often, it is important to try and understand that: Those moments, which have now evolved into memories, are still gifts. You see the fact that the people attached to those moments were ever within our grasp…is a fallacy. Those people, our loved ones who have passed, never belonged to us. They willfully stayed in our lives, for whatever period of time or space. They chose to be a part of our millions and millions of moments, while we are visiting this place.

While we may grow sad or angry that we cannot make more moments with their physical presence; do not allow that bitterness to cause you to turn away from life and the love that is still here for you. The moments that we have been gifted are intended to create a foundation for other relationships. I am often reminded of the very loving nature of our Creator; when I am provided the opportunity to look back at the memories that I have been gifted in my life. As humans, we can become very selfish and want those times, events, relationships to stay just as they are; but just as the world keeps moving…so must we.

We must absorb the love, kindness and joy of these moments and memorialize them in our hearts. And on days when the world seems particularly harsh…we will find that smile from our memory. The smile that we may have taken for granted, years and years ago. And the memory of that archived smile…will lay the foundation for a new smile.

In this way, the people that we grieve…never really leave us. Recently my father in law passed away, and right around the time which he either had just passed or was getting ready to do so…the radio in his van came on while my husband was driving. It didn’t just come on…but it blared so loudly that it shook our insides. Try as he may, my husband was unable to turn that radio down or off…until all of a sudden it turned off all by itself. Now we were told that the radio never worked in the van, but we both experienced it. In our hearts, we know that he was letting us know that we were going to be alright and that he had gone home. We could have made that experience negative, but even after we had learned that he had passed on…the thought of that moment made us smile.

What does all of this mean? It doesn’t mean that we should not miss them or that we shouldn’t grieve. It means that we should appreciate and embrace every moment of every day. I would not wish upon any one the hurt that regret tends to bring. Go to sleep every night with the knowledge that you made the most out of each day; and awake with the thought that today will be better than yesterday. More importantly, do not dwell on all that yesterday wasn’t, or you will bring that same energy into this day.

People that we love will, at one time or another, be called home. Do not allow that knowledge to keep you from opening your heart to that kind of love. When we shield our hearts from pain; we inadvertently shield love from our lives, as well. The most beautiful times in my family occurs when I am sharing the conversations that I had with my grandmother, as a child. It makes my heart feel warm and brilliant. I not only remember her stories and songs, but I can feel her all around me…and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

There are no guarantees in this life. We were only sent here to realize our purpose and to fulfill it. So while we are here…touch as many hearts as you can.

Exhibit what is called Divine Love.

In this, Divine Love is defined as…that without definition. It cannot be contained or denied. Divine love has no opposition…it simply is. Divine love is what our Creator, gives us. There is nothing to compare it to; it is inclusive of all things…which is where we get the idea of “Allness”. Love all day every day…it takes nothing away from you and your rewards are boundless.

If you exhibit Divine Love in all things…regret cannot exist.

And do not be troubled with the idea of hate…hate is bred out of fear. Even fear can be lessened out of existence…when it is surrounded by love and patience.

We must allow ourselves to let go of the things we are not sure of…similar to letting go of the side of the pool, when we are unsure if we trust ourselves enough to swim toward the center. The water that surrounds us is Divine Love…and if you KNOW TRUE love…you will understand that it never varies. Divine Love never wavers, it is constant and consistent. You are never alone, for you are a part of ALL.

When we allow ourselves to open our hearts to this kind of love…we understand that loss…is an illusion.

 

To Lose


To Lose

If I knew it would be the last time

I said get to say a word to you

Would have screamed a million I love you’s

Instead of assuming that you knew

If I had just a second

To redo all our memories

We would run barefoot in the grass

Just you…and me

If I knew the phone would stop ringing

If I knew the calling would stop

I swear I’d answer every single time

I couldn’t hear you enough

If I could replay our times together

So it would never have to end

I would start our record over

To be played over and over again

If I knew God was going to call you

On that one specific day

I would have worked so much less

Made more time to play

But I know it was your time

It feels like you are near

My forever safe place

Keeping me safe whilst I’m here

So when you talk to God today

Send him my deepest gratitude

For I now realize a LOSS

Doesn’t mean we have to lose

                        ~LM Young

To My Husband


A letter to my husband Akir:

 

My dearest, my love, my life,

Sometimes we take those we hold the closest for granted. I don’t think it is something that anyone intends to do; certainly nothing that I would ever intentionally do. But all too often, we take precious moments with those we love the most and feel that we may have time to express this or that; and often that is a false sense of security. Time is a fallacy. The true measure of time is not held in minutes…but in moments. And often, we spend so many moments complaining about time…that the sands in our hour glass slip away. Tomorrow is not promised, as we have been shown…in the most painful ways.

I want to not allow another moment to go by with that thought in my mind.

I can remember the morning that I received the phone call about my sister; the first phone call saying that she wasn’t breathing. I jumped out of bed…knowing I had to go to her. I remember breathing heavily as I told you that I had to go to New York. It seemed like hours later, but in reality it was only about five minutes, before I would receive the second phone call stating that she was gone. You spoke cautiously, barely above a whisper…”are you okay?” I said the only thing that I knew to say…”I don’t know what ‘okay’ is anymore”. It still brings a lump to my throat when I think of those moments. The only thing that I could compare that moment to …was another monumental day. When the first plane hit the Twin Towers…I remember just absorbing what the news had told us; and then the second plane it. The breath was knocked out of a nation…and that was the same emotion that the second phone call had on me. I was blindsided. No one is ever really prepared for that moment.

When she died, I was left with a large gaping hole in my heart. How does a person find the strength to go on, when the one constant love in their life has been taken away? I felt like a large balloon that someone had poked a small hole in. Every day I felt my life slipping away. I cried more often than I even allowed you to know. I was drowning in memories and the thought that she and I would create no more.

You saved me. You listened and held me close to your heart. You made how I grieved okay. You made my heart ache less…because you never told me NOT to talk about her. Slowly, I began to live again. You made everything that I felt and thought…okay. You breathed love back into my badly battered heart. There is no way to repay that gift. And if you or I were to ever keep score of who did what for whom…you won the game that day.

These moments cannot be expressed and acknowledged enough. While it would probably be enough that you encouraged me to write about her; your love took you many steps further. You helped me find my smile and it hasn’t left me since.

I live with an illness that attempts to kill my body every day. I live with the fact that Lupus uses other health conditions to try and slow me down. I suffer with Sjogrens and I have had multiple strokes…due to how seriously Lupus tends to lead an attack on my body. And every single day you remind me that I am blessed. You encourage my spirit…and because you show up every day…I refuse to quit fighting. While I may receive kudos and pats on the back for being strong enough to endure Lupus, Cancer and Strokes…you are my unsung hero. You simply allow my heart to melt into yours…and the stars seem to shine more brightly again.

I think the thing that people always tend to forget is that without darkness…we would never know the light. We cannot measure good…unless we have experienced evil. We have to have a measure…by which to compare these precious moments. There are some obstacles that we are simply destined to overcome. If I hadn’t known darkness…I would have never have known the light…of your love. I am truly blessed.

There simply are no words that have ever been written or murmured that could ever express all that you are to me; but I will gladly search the rest of my life looking for them. You give me something to look up to. You make me want to be a better person.

Some may look at you and see a beautiful man; and while I cannot disagree…I see more. For when I look at you…I see God. A Creator who loved me so much; that my heart was given a “forever home”.

So while these thoughts may not find the words to tell you often enough…I thank you.

Thank you for being you…and for loving me without restrictions.

I love you…for more reasons than can be counted in a lifetime.

Thank you for the gift of this love…my husband…my friend…my partner…my life

 

All my love…forever…

Me

 

What is Death


What is Death?

 

So I was thinking today…what does death mean to me?

This is important this time of year, because of the holidays that we have spent together. Anyone who has ever lost anyone due to death knows what I am talking about; we do not want to take special occasions that we spent, with those loved ones, and make them hurtful or negative to think about.

There had to be another way to think about this, I thought to myself. Holidays are physical dates; we can’t cry or scare them away with our inability to evolve our feelings into experiences. I noticed though, especially in myself, that was exactly what I wanted to do. What I noticed was, my sisters birthdate was still going to happen…whether my heart was ready for it or not. The holidays that we used to create beautiful memories…were still going to be holidays that come back around every year…even if I was angry that I was standing here…alone.

How do I make this better for myself, so I can make it more bearable for others that love me too?

Death became something different to me on January 4th. On that date death became my enemy; it was out to hurt me…and hurt I did.

I remembered thinking to myself, as I did as a child when traumatic things happened, what could I have possibly done to deserve this? This, of course was a very immature thought and my higher-self did not allow me to hold onto the direction this was going toward.

When I was reminded that this wasn’t about me; it brought back an image from TV or movies…where the actress was grabbed by the shoulders or smacked in the face…”SNAP OUT OF IT”!!

Okay, so I got that it wasn’t about me…but I felt the emptiness and blankness that this loss gave me.

I guess time was all I needed to make sense out of this. I loved my sister; and her death I felt was almost a welcome relief for her. She would no longer know pain or disappointment…and I could want no less for her and still claim to love her.

 

What does death mean to me? Death is our life “wake up” call. It reminds us how short our time on earth really is. How are we going to spend our last days and moments here? The last thing I would want to leave as my legacy is that I was angry at death…before it ever knocked on my door.

 

Death leaves a trail of grief; it has no time line. It can come rushing back into our thoughts without any notice. We all have to survive it the best way that we can. I took the bittersweet memories of my sister and created a recipe of life basted in love.

I think we all know someone who lost someone…let us be there for them. Nothing begins the healing process like a cup of kindness and a dash of laughter.

Laugh often…share memories; the place these angels had in our lives was filled beautifully…don’t let that be in vain. Spread their memories…shine their love through your laughter.

 

Upon writing this I learned of the death of actor Paul Walker. I hope you will join me in praying for his daughter and family…during this most difficult time.

 

As always…may Love and Light be with you forever.

Hello Again


Hello Again

Hello, again. Today you sped through my mind, so quickly. I could almost feel myself wanting to beg you to slow down, just for a moment. I kept wondering, if I had just one moment…what would I say or what would I do? Is there something that I would do differently or would I keep things the same?

Would I take slow walks with you, just breathing in the life all around us? Would we plant flowers and watch as they grew a little each day? Would we take more shopping trips; even if we were just window shopping? Would we go back to the beach and look for sea shells and watch the children playing in the water? Would we go camping and roast marshmallows, until it was completely dark…except for the light of the campfire? Would I gaze into your amazing eyes and just soak up the very beauty of you? Would I tell you “I love you”, a million times…like it was the very last time I would ever get to say it?

Would we save up and take that huge trip to Africa or Australia, which we never were quite able to pull together in your short life? Would we stay up late talking about this or that? Would we give life to the truth, which we both know too well now…life is too short and regrets are too abundant?

You always run through my mind too quickly and there is so much I want you to know. Oh, how I miss that smile. I guess everyone says that, but I mean that little smirk you wore…as if to say…”I know something you don’t know”. I miss how you always looked for the color blue in everything and how everything in life, seemed to make you happy. You smiled through financial worries and you smiled through divorce; more importantly you helped me smile through Cancer and Lupus. You would pick my smile up off of the floor; dust it off and hand it back to me.

So many times I am left to wonder…what am I supposed to do now. Who will be there for me…when I am not easy to be around? Who will wipe my tears when I am so caught up in my emotions? Who will love me…as only a sister can…like only my sister could?

If I could slow you down…when you run through my mind…I don’t think I would say anything. Maybe I would just hold your face in between my hands and smile at you. I would just breathe you in and never want to exhale. I think I would just tell you that you gave me the most beautiful and most heart wrenching days of my entire life…when you came into my life…and when you were called home.

Don’t get this wrong, I never want you to stop walking through my mind. I want to always be reminded of what an angel you were to me in your life…and beyond that. I want to always remember how sweet your voice was when you were singing. I want to always be reminded how very precious life is…without you even really trying to do it.

I am thankful to you for all that you contributed to in my life and I want to tell you that the strength you restored within me…over flows.

I may always ache for your phone calls and visits; and maybe one day I won’t hurt quite as much. But even on days when I just want to say “hello, again”…I am really just saying…God…how I miss her so.

Happy Birthday, Melissa…I love you!

HOW


 

 

HOW

How can you feel so far

Yet be so close to me too

Millions of people around me

Yet all seem to be you

My tears find me suddenly

Unwarranted and yet still with a cause

Giving me a reason to take a breath

The whole world seems to pause

That contagious laughter

I swear I heard today on the street

That unmistakable smile

That made life seem more sweet

The way you saw life

So wise wrapped up in a life so tender

How can my heart feel empty…yet more full

Than an explanation can render

So today and everyday

Since your first breath of light

Even my pain comes with GREAT love

From a star shining so bright

May we never forget

How a life so brief

Could touch so many souls

Giving us a moment of relief

While we miss you daily

Especially on days like today

Oh…how we envy those angels

Who lifted you away

So when you are gazing down upon us

Send us healing and loving Grace

Reminding us of all we are supposed to be

In this temporary place

So when I fall off my path

Just nudge on my heart

Where you have always lived

From the very start

I loved you then

I love you forever

No matter how or when

Thanks for helping me remember


In_The_Blink_of_an_E_Cover_for_Kindle

 

I wanted to share with you all the most recent 5 star review on Amazon and GoodReads of this very emotional book. By Cianna Elizabeth whose blog is wonderful,,,,

 

This is a breathtakingly lovely book. A woman’s struggle to come to terms with the loss of her sister, and chronicling her journey to help other people who are going through the same struggles.

She writes letters to her sister throughout the book, exposing her thoughts, feelings and heartbreak trying to work through her loss, one letter at a time.

After the letters come poems, poems about the loss, the struggle and the hurt. Poems about carrying on and about finding hope.

She writes about touching memories, and thought and discussions that haunt her now that her sister has passed away:

“You simply replied…“I’m not strong enough to live without you…so God will have to take me first ”.

We laughed that remark off…never giving more thought or energy to it; until January 4th came.”

Her book, designed to show her journey but also to guide others who are grieving themselves, with kind words, and hopeful thoughts.

“If there was anything I could say to another person about any of this, it would be to spend more time with their loved ones. Spend more time laughing at the small stuff and less time worrying about things you have no control over. In life, we will only have the memories of the laughter and sometimes…the memories will have to be enough.”

The author looks back on her life struggles, being in a coma, car accident, cancer, and remembers her sister’s wisdom and guidance during those times. Her sister’s presence in her life.

This is a wonderful book, a wonderful memoir of one woman’s struggle to come to terms with loss. The letters and poetry are so real, and heartfelt, there’s no question about the quality of the book.

This isn’t really a book you can review, there’s no real plot to this story, it’s just a person’s journey through life, and it’s wonderful that they decided to share it with the world.

If you’d like to read this book, or find out more about L.M Young check out the website, goodreads, or on Amazon.

 

You can find her wonderful blog here and I hope you visit it often

In The Blink of An Eye


In The Blink of An Eye

As most of you know; my sister passed away about two years ago. The grief which that caused has, at times, bore deeply on my soul. I want to thank all of you for being so kind and supportive of my struggle. How do we overcome such a loss? Well, I did the only thing that I knew how to do…write. I wanted to share the introduction of my new book with you…please let me know what you think about it. As always…I wish you much Light and Love!!

In_The_Blink_of_an_E_Cover_for_Kindle

Introduction

I wanted to think that no one in the world could miss her; as much as I did. I wanted to feel offended by her death. I wanted to wrap up my grief, frustration and anger; over my sister’s death, and never think about it again. There was nothing anyone could tell me; and mostly they never attempted to tell me anything…about her or how I was handling her death. I had difficulty in most daily activities.

I didn’t want to get out of bed. I was disheartened by people whose lives seem to keep going. I didn’t understand why, even the world, seemed to keep spinning. There was pain, in simply, hearing her name. I couldn’t even think of that day in January without crying. What had become worse…I had tried to hide the pain. I was destroying myself with the thought that I wasn’t strong enough to live without her. But in a moment of love; someone whom I loved, came to me with an act of kindness.

She lovingly pointed out to me that my sister’s death did not happen to ME. She said I was experiencing the loss, yes, but my sister died…I didn’t. She may have never understood the light bulb that came on, in my soul that day.

At that moment, I understood, my feelings of anger came from one place…the thought…no…the FACT…that I had to go on living. And I had to go on living…without Melissa. I had to figure out a way to WANT to get out of bed. I had to devise a plan that would help me survive this horrific loss. I had to admit my pain…own it.

I went through so many cycles of grief it was ridiculous; and then I went through them again.

This precious thing we call life…is temporary. We must remember to make the most of it. In this book, you will find the raw emotions of my journey.  I loved my sister and in a single moment…In the Blink of an Eye…she was gone.

 

“In The Blink of An Eye” is currently available in paperback on our website

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