Category Archives: Grief

A Poem for Eisley and Noelan and Ava

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Sweet Grandchildren lost to me

for a season, but not forever

My arms are full, yet empty

because you are missing

Last night I saw you

in the eyes of another

running with play, squealing with delight

cooing, crying, alive with being

Know you are missed

Know you are remembered

No-one could ever replace you my darlings,

my little ones who still live in Grammie’s heart.

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The loss of another child…

My life took an abrupt change in 2012. In January, my oldest daughter and family moved to Eastern Europe to work with unwanted children. In February, my mother diagnosed with Alzheimer’s came to live with me. God used both of those events as a catalyst for change in my life. Part of that change has been to embrace how I feel and to be perfectly honest, I feel very deeply, so this is hard for me. I have had a lifetime of denying feelings, so it’s always hard to choose to embrace and move through them.

sadness  sadnessquote

Right now I am feeling very sad. Our family is experiencing child loss again. It’s only been 13 months since we lost Eisley. This time it is a failed adoption, because the family that begged so desperately for our help to readopt this child has now changed their mind and refuses to sign the relinquishment papers. It’s a situation ripe for bitterness.

noelan and pops  dress up

Our family has spent countless sacrificial hours and monies on behalf of this sweet little boy, only to be led on and used. Sarah and Tanner, Danny and I all together did emergency respite for eleven days. Marie and Christian hurriedly came to the states to come and start the expensive adoption process. Some would think them trusting and foolish, however this couple asking for their help were their close trusted friends. It’s a situation ripe for bitterness.

Library day  Processed with MOLDIV

We will have a long road to healing. Betrayal begets hatred and cynicism. We will have to go through the pain of watching Addy and Mercy devastated when on Sunday they are told that their little shadow affectionately called “bro bro” will be leaving for good on Monday. When someone hurts your children or your grandchildren it’s hard to think straight, the anger is so intense. It’s a situation ripe for bitterness.

uncle Aaron  tim and tia

Probably what hurts the most though, is what this selfish choice will do to a little boy whom I have come to love and call my grandson. In late January he came to this country from Africa, from a secure foster parent situation, into an unstable home, where after two weeks they demanded for him to be removed from the home.

with Cacey and Tanner welcoming teddy

So we took him and loved him and he has thrived. He loved being the youngest with sisters Mercy and Addy doting on him. Marie and Christian were loving, sacrificial parents to him and he has indeed attached to them. We know this by his desire to be close to them and his interaction with them. Whenever one is gone he is asking- “Where’s mama?” or “Where’s daddy?” I can’t think too much about how it will affect him, my righteous anger quickly morphs into losing it. It’s a situation ripe for bitterness.

uncle andrew  train ride

This morning I wrote in my grateful journal – “I am grateful that God’s power and willingness to answer prayer doesn’t depend on me in my weakness.” This recent journey has been an emotional roller coaster of being led along and lied to and to be perfectly honest I’m exhausted. I believe in miracles, but I also believe that God has given mankind a free will on this earth for a season. So sometimes we see horrific things happen to children because of mentally unstable people consumed by their own selfish desires.

Noelan and Taylor

This doesn’t mean I don’t believe in the sovereignty of God, I do. However, God is not the author of evil as so many try to make Him out to be. He is the one who brings beauty out of ashes…He is also the one who will rightly judge each one. In this I will choose to rest. Each day, as I wade through my sadness and bitterness I will also cling to the words of the Lord Jesus in Luke 6:36 where He tells me, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Frozen yogurt   snuggles with Doh

I also will pray that God would have special grace and mercy upon Nolean Truth Klein Burtt, my sweet grandson for three whole months. Please join me in that prayer when you think of him.

Walking WatsonProcessed with MOLDIV

 

 

 

Dear God, I’ve become my mother…

Why is it that women fear we will become like our mothers? I’m not exactly sure why. Perhaps it is the struggle for identity as we are growing up that we try so hard to be different.

We look at things we missed in childhood and desperately try to make sure we give our children these same things we feel we lacked…yet we don’t realize the things we had.

mama wedding

I feel like I’ve taken a lifetime to grow up… Or perhaps it is better to say a lifetime to shed my cocoon. And in shedding it I’ve discovered my mother in me.

At first I was appalled and now I’m delighted. I always thought I looked like my dad. I did get his nose and larger frame but as I’ve aged I look in the mirror and at pictures and I see my mother. I have her eyes, both shape and color. Her best friend saw this photo of me helping Spencer drive our boat and commented, “I see Bethany there.”

mama driving boat

Not only do I also see her, but I hear her too. Words come out of my mouth that I swore I’d never say. Thoughts go through my head that I remember her voicing when she was sixty. Its just plain weird. So on the brink of my sixtieth birthday I’ve decided to embrace it because my mom is a part of me, a very good part of me.

I’m grateful for her instilling in me diligent hard work. I’m grateful for her smile and ability to laugh, even at herself. My silly sense of humor comes from my mom. I’m grateful for her example of devotion to her family and friends when they were sick or hurting. She gave me that and people admire it in me. I learned it from my mom.

mama and me

However, she also gave me her moaning gene. I think it came from her mom. I think one of my daughters got it. Every time I moan, I think, “Oh my goodness! I swore I would never do that like her!” My mother also taught me to be a strong woman, and I in turn raised strong daughters.

One of my favorite adult movies is Spanglish with Tea Leoni, Paz Vega and Cloris Leachman. The main reason I like it so much is the mother/daughter dynamics throughout it. They are so complex and it shows how these dynamics can be so confusing.

The movie ends with an adult daughter writing on her university application essay about a crisis moment with her mother when she was young. Her mother said she had to ask her a very difficult question even though the daughter was such a young age. The question was this – .

“Is what you want for yourself is to become someone very different than me?”

mama spanglish

In hindsight, I realize that for most of my life I did want to be very different than my mother. We had a hard time connecting for a variety of reasons, one being my lack of understanding of who God created me uniquely to be.

At the end of the movie Spanglish, the daughter concludes on her university application essay that she hopes she is accepted but regardless of acceptance or rejection she knows this one thing- “My identity rests firmly and happily on one fact, I am my mother’s daughter.”

I get this now. I still miss my mother, I have days that I ache for her. Next month will be two years since she left this earth. I feel like I understand her better each day. She told me I would understand her when I’m older. She had made the same discovery with her own mother.

mama

I’m thankful for the thought of a future opportunity to really get to know my mother better and to listen to her without any of these earthly struggles. I’m thinking that we will have a chance like never before to connect and understand each other.

All things will be made right, because that’s the promise of heaven.

And because I am my mother’s daughter.

mama quote

The Dance of Grief

Eisley eyes opened

oh the dance of grief

it’s music washes over me like a wave from nowhere

i am compelled to dance or die within

i’m scared i’ll forget you sweet baby

as much as i’m scared of being forgotten.

i dance alone, as those i love hear their music at different times.

it is a solo dance.

i look at your picture, sweet eyes open

and realize i missed this

as I was on waves of another kind…

dancing another type of grief

of missing your first moments,

moments like this, eyes opened peeking

at the unknown world beyond your mama’s womb.