I’ll see you in the sunlight; feel you in gentle breezes. I will know you are present when thoughts come to me and objects seem to appear out of nowhere. I will hear your laugh in my head, and have sweet dreams of when you said, “I love you Mom”. None of these will replace having you here, but for now, I have no choice. I will miss our talks about God, about family, about things that make you mad. I used to listen to the sound of your heartbeat when you were so small. I would do anything to hear it again. Now it beats in spirit with the pulse of the planet. You are one of the strongest women I have known. I’m so happy I got to be your Mom, in good times and not-so-good times. I would have given you my own heart just to keep yours beating. But then again… you have captured my heart all along. I will miss your presence, Christina Reed. You were so unique, fun, funny, and a force to be reckoned with when you were mad! I smile when I say that. I love you dear one. I love you forever
There was nothing about August 12th or the week before it that was usual. Life was turning upside down before my eyes, and there was nothing I could do about it. My daughter was in the ICU in critical condition, and I could not be there to comfort her or even see her. The hospital banned all visitors the day before I arrived. Keeping the faith is most challenging when tested the most, especially when the issue surrounds someone we dearly love.
My sweet Christina was leaving her body as I was on the phone talking to her nurse. Her heart was beating its last beats. Her lungs were taking their last breaths. She was saying “good-bye,” and there was nothing I could do to stop her departure.
My memories of her 38 years are beautiful and challenging, as many mothers have regarding their children. No matter what, nothing she could ever do would take away the way I always saw her. She was strong, willful, sassy, stubborn, loving, and very generous. I guess we call that a mixed bag. It’s something we all have; the good things and not too good.
She did some wrong things, but she also did some very right things as well. Her heart was always in the right place. It’s just her heart gave out way too much of herself. Maybe it was tired. Perhaps she was tired. Maybe it was just time to leave this earth. Who could ever know for sure? All I know is that no effort could be made to keep her from moving on.
All I can do now is hope the best for her in her new spiritual life, wherever that might be and whatever that looks like. I wish she were here in person to hug just one more time, but a spiritual hug will have to be enough. I feel the same way I did when my son Jayson parted this earth. The last time I saw her, if I had known it was my last; I would have hugged her for a lifetime. Since there is no separation between time and space for love, I know she is still here. She lives on with all of us who knew her, loved her, and appreciated her crazy sense of humor. We will laugh when we think of those moments and sometimes cry because we long for more.
We will remember her smile when the sun shines brightly. We will not forget she lit up the room when she walked in and smiled. I know I will feel her in the rain, in the warmth of summer breezes, and the cool winter frost in the morning. She is my baby, my daughter, my friend, and my gift. Nothing could ever keep her love from me or mine from her. Now she is a part of God, the God Spirit that lives within all of us. I determine to allow her to shine through me every time her memory comes to me and to let God shine through me every time I remind myself that we all belong to God first and not to other people.
As someone who practices positive psychology, I’m not particularly eager to talk about the subject of loss so much. When I do, I usually do so in the context of renewal or regaining what was lost. This time I think talking about my own losses is therapeutic. I also believe in living in the moment. This moment beckoned me to release what I am feeling inside and out.
In the early 2000’s I opened a place of healing called The Lilac Center for Healing and Enlightenment in California. I needed to do the healing work I provided. After having lost my son, I needed to give myself an outlet that brought a sense of goodness and purpose in my life. I built my business from the ground up with no help.
At first, I had the adviser line I worked on from home, and later I proudly opened my office in a nearby city. I loved my business so much! My clients told me they felt like they walked into another world when they visited me. I wanted them to feel a sense of peace, and in return, I felt peace as well. The best part of my healing place was I had the opportunity to use my gifts and help my clients transition to a better life. I offered hope, healing, help, and support.
I was privileged to hear the innermost workings of my client’s hearts. I listened to their pain, sorrow, excitement, and sometimes joy. I had the honor of witnessing healing from the inside out. The work I was doing was so much more than work; it was my purpose. Not everyone understood it, but their understanding was not necessary. I knew I had God’s blessing, and the hope in the hearts of those who came to me was enough to keep me going. The spiritual work I found myself doing helped me channel my grief into other people’s healing. I know not everyone embraced my beliefs or even my presence there. Acceptance from some people did not matter compared to the healing God blessed me to bring to others.
In all honesty, I often did not understand how it happened. I don’t question my Creator. I did as I felt led. The one thing I did not count on was a sudden divorce. After being married for quite a few years, my life suddenly came to a standstill. Please don’t ever think a marital breakup does not affect other people outside the marriage. I know the hardship extends its reach far and beyond the severing of the ties of a couple.
I can’t explain it all without writing a book, but I can say that my divorce was like a slow bleed in my life. I watched myself lose one thing after another. One of my divorce terms was I had to refinance my home in my name if I wanted to keep it. I had to keep it for my children, so I did what I had to do. Yet, no matter how hard I tried, I could not maintain everything on my own. I lost the equity line of credit through the refinance that helped support my business start-up and anything else when I needed it.
No matter how hard I tried, I could not keep up with the looming needs of my home, my family, and my business. I lost the company next. I cried for days in my office before I could even tell the landlord I would have to leave. On top of losing my business, I found out my new refinanced mortgage was running backward. During the 2008 housing crisis, when so many people were being foreclosed upon, I was soon to learn I had to be one of them. My home loan balance was getting bigger and not going down with payments, and the bank would not refinance me again with a new business loss. All they wanted to do was foreclose anyway. Foreclosure was the goal, and they got what they wanted. I lost my home. Even worse, my family lost their home too. The word depression does not even describe what I felt. I remembered when God had told me once, “If I should find myself waking up sitting in darkness, then He would be the Light that raises me up and pulls me through.” I held onto this promise for a very long time. I have survived. The only thing I have not been able to recover from was my healing center loss. For over a decade, I have not been able to come to the point of rebuilding it. There is no doubt, God has taken care of me, and I have taken care of myself. I have had to jump over more obstacles than I ever imagined. Still, I would do anything to reopen my place of peace and healing physically in this world again.
I need the work I do. My work sustains my heart and gifts me with a sense of passion and purpose in life. Without it, I still struggle with an emptiness that never seems to go away. I believe in universal law, God’s blessings on life, restoration of what has been lost, and the love of a Creator who never could let me down. This is the hardest blow in my life since I lost my son. I need my healing work to resume. I need to be the spiritual guidance counselor, the life coach, the hypnotherapist, and the energy master I have always been. This is my purpose, my passion, my reason for being present. Without my full purpose played out on this earth, I still grieve…
It is an issue that has plagued relationships since the beginning of time. One day someone wakes up and realizes their love given has or is no longer going to be returned. All of the time and moments that have been put into trying to bond with someone have now seemingly been wasted. First, I want to say; nothing is ever wasted. Time well spent is a lesson well learned. (I think that should be a quote somewhere)!
I don’t want it to appear I’m stating the process of grieving an ended love is an easy thing; it is not. The painful process of severing ties with someone you thought you knew is nothing to take lightly. Breakups are just plain painful.
Eventually, we have to pick up the pieces and move on with life. Expect this to be a process. Grief is a process. Recreating life is a process. So, what do we do when the one we loved no longer loves us in return? Let me give you some starting points.
Face the truth head-on. Realize that your life has now changed; you have changed. What was once time spent with someone else will now evolve into time spent on just yourself.
Take life as it comes; this sometimes means one day at a time and sometimes one breath at a time. Don’t expect things to fall into place in one second. It took time to create a relationship, and it will take time to complete your severing of one.
Permit yourself to grieve. Cry, pray, and meditate on what your heart is feeling. Ask yourself what you need right now. The answer to all of your questions will be revealed, and you will be surprised at how much you know what to do.
Celebrate yourself and the life you hold. I am not advocating that hurting in your heart is a time for celebration, but there is a time to celebrate the brilliant creation and creator you are. Remember, you are a gift of life, a unique creation in God’s universe.
Make your moments count instead of counting your moments. I genuinely believe it is not the time we spend in life but the quality of time that makes a difference. Create cherished moments that become your own memories.
Realize your own worth and gift to this world. Everyone has a unique presence and present we give to this world and our planet. Find yours in the light of where you are at this very now moment.
Honor when your heart needs to rest and rest it well. There is so much to look forward to in life, but there is a time of rest necessary to recover from heartache.
Know you are not broken but transitioning. You might feel hurt at the time, but your life will come back together in different ways. See your transition for what it is. This moment in time is a moment to form yourself again. You will be a butterfly again soon.
Talk to those who love and care about you. Be honest about how you are feeling. Make sure whomever you talk to is wise enough and stable enough to hear your heart pain. This might be in the form of a counselor or therapist, but remember you were created for a relationship. We all need love from those whom you can call a true friend. Find those who are friends and not those who want just to hear your pain. A good listener embodies compassion for others, especially you.
Love yourself. Learn to heal, to laugh, to cry, and be human. Give gifts to yourself in ways you never did before. The gift of a spiritual awakening is an excellent place to begin. You owe it to yourself and your life to allow the process of grief to complete itself. This means honoring your love as much as your hurt and anger. A life in balance is a life well spent.
I am sure there are so many things I have missed, especially some of the details that come from walking through the severing of ties, grieving, and regaining a new life. A good life coach or counselor can help you reprioritize your life to fit the season you now find yourself in!
We have all been recently affected by a global pandemic that just about brought our world to a standstill. My heart goes out to all of those who have suffered losses during the spread of COVID-19. I know the grief and the feeling of loss. It is not easy. The news media only barely touch upon that part of what is happening because of this virus. Every single time I see the death toll go up; I think of my own challenges with grieving the loss of loved ones along my journey. Recovering is not an overnight thing. It takes time and understanding.
Our world has gone mostly virtual suddenly and seemingly overnight. Thank goodness we have the internet! What used to merely be social media is now a necessity in order to function in this world. With all of this said, I cling to hope. Hope is an extraordinarily strong motivator. My advice is to walk daily and take one step at a time but always have hope for a better day to come. They WILL come!
Biblically speaking, “hope deferred makes the heart sick.” This means without hope we become sick. The last thing we need is to become more ill. Heart sickness will kill the soul even faster than a virus will kill the body. Therefore, it is so important to keep our hearts light and shine as much light as we can for others as well. We are ONE world and together we will overcome what has been presented to us.
If not anything else, the pandemic has brought us all together in ways we never have experienced before. It has made heroes out of medical personnel and healers out of those who normally would not have ever stepped up to the plate. I believe virtually we can all be healers as well. It is why this platform is so important right now. We NEED to talk about it all. We need to vent, we need to cry, and we need to heal ourselves back into hope.
I might not know you, but I love you. Its God-given to love those we do not know. God loves this world and God will help us heal and heal the world we live in. Don’t we appreciate it so much more now? I know it is hard when we have lost loved ones. It is a tough road to walk. Will you let me be a part of your healing journey? I would be honored to walk with you through it all.
You can find me on Virtual Therapist Network at this link:
Right in the middle of a difficult move, a colorful vase dropped to the floor while unpacking. It shattered into what looked like a thousand pieces. I sat down on the floor at that point and just cried my eyes out. I had lost my home in the infamous housing and lending crash of 2008. It took a couple of years or so to actually lose it. I did all I could do to preserve it. It was a hard battle but clearly there was only one way it would go. I was going to have to lose the home that came to mean so much to me.
It was purchased with a down payment of tender money; my son’s life insurance policy from the United States Government. I kept telling myself it was only a bunch of walls and “stuff”. It was so much more than that though. It inhabited memories. Very tender and unforgettable memories. There were Christmas holidays, Thanksgivings when family was around the table, laughter I heard on the other side of the wall when my daughters were up late in the computer room. It was a place I cared for my first granddaughter for her first year of life. I heard her first words, saw her first steps and celebrated her first birthday. No doubt the house was full if first things but also full of last things too. Some hard and some a blessing.
As I picked up the pieces of glass off of the floor I wondered where on earth my life was going to go now. I found myself losing everything. I lost my business, my marriage, my dignity and I guess some respect I thought I had among friends and associates. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye I went from a perceived winner to perceived loser. That was not the problem though. The real issue was the wondering where my life would go. Where does one’s life go once we lose everything we worked for? I sat down right on the floor and stared at the broken glass. There were different colors and different shapes and fragments. My tears asked God, “What do I do now?”
Over days and days I kind of wandered around just walking through the motions of life. As with every storm, the clouds eventually clear. Mine did as well. When they did, I could hear God more clearly. He told me to not forget to dream. You see, it is our dreams that move us forward and onward. Without them we have no goal and begin to feel hopeless. With a sigh I looked around at all the broken pieces of my life. I remembered picking up all of the broken pieces of that vase and throwing them away. Like the vase, it was time to let go of all of life’s disappointments. Also, like the vase, I had to look at them as I threw them away. I thought to myself, “but God, that was just a vase. This is my whole life; everything I worked hard for, sacrificed for, and lived for.”
Suddenly, an idea came to me. It was like it came from nowhere but it was inside of me. In the process of grieving, moving, and business, I forgot to dream. God was recorded as speaking that His people were destroyed for a lack of vision. Without a dream and vision, our lives are empty. We wander like a ship without a sail. Dreams guide us through the most difficult storms. We might feel blind in the storm but the dream will be its light. Dreams are the promise of a new tomorrow. They heal the past and give hope to the future.
Dreams are the glue that put all of the pieces back together again. The colors and shapes might be different, and they are meant to be. Dreams cost only our willingness to pursue them. Other than that, what else do we have to lose? They still might cost something. In fact, they could cost everything. Meaning, letting go of what was behind us, we reach forward to that which is before us. Thank you Apostle Paul for that little chunk of wisdom.
Whatever you do, don’t stop dreaming. When one thing does not work, try something else. Keep on pursuing that dream until you have every single piece put back together again. It won’t look like the same vase, but it will shine just as beautiful and maybe even more.
Loving you from here,
Dr Jenine Marie Howry …..broken but still dreaming.
I wish I could come at this one as a professional but I can’t. I have to write it as a survivor and a mother. You see, I lost my son. Don’t ask me how long its been because time is irrelevant. Some of the sting does go away with time but the memories, the feeling of missing him, the love I have; these things remain. The Bible says that three things always remain and those are faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love. The truth of the matter is, the greater we love the harder it is when we lose someone we love deeply. Loss of any loved one is very hard, but losing a child seems to be the very worst.
My son was 20 when he died. I will spare you the details because after a bit of time they don’t really matter any more. All I know is that tonight its hard. There are times that are harder than others. I think it is because once again it is Christmas and once again I will not hear my son’s laughter. I want to hear it so much. I know some day I will, but the waiting is hard, the missing him is hard, the loving him is hard as well. I remember the good times we had, the hard issues we dealt with , and the time that went way faster than I wished it did.
I’ve been asked over the years how I deal with the loss. My only answer is that I just do. I go with the flow. When it hurts, I let it hurt. When I am thinking of fond memories and I feel better, then I am blessed to feel better. My life has gone on from the original sting but the hard moments still come and I have discovered that they always will. Tonight, while I write this, I miss him deeply. My heart goes into this aching thing, and I want to tell him I love him one more time. I think of the last time I hugged him good bye as he was getting on a plane to leave. I think of our last words on the phone and that they were, “I love you”. I know he still lives because my heart hurts. He lives in there where love resides.
I don’t want to know how to get over it and I don’t want to be a professional about grieving. That is one area I just leave as it is. I survive. I live each day as they come and usually they are just regular every day days. Every now and then my heart skips a beat because I will see someone who looks like him or sounds like him. I will stop and stare where ever I am.
Someone told me once that grief is like waves of the ocean. It washes over us and then moves back only to wash up again. I understand this concept and it does feel just like that. I’m thankful that I don’t feel as I did in the beginning. It was horrible. Now it is manageable. Sometimes I have dreams with him in them. They are always so vivid and sometimes even seem to have a message attached. Do I think he lives beyond the grave? I sure like to think so. I do know I will see him again and it will be a great reunion. I have no idea how that really works. We only know in part and when that day comes we will know things how they truly are.
In the mean time, I see him in the arms of Jesus. That’s how I like to see him. All I can do is hope he is happy wherever he might be at this moment and understand that some day I will know that answer. Those who know me have said I am strong but I sure don’t feel like that when it comes to this. It is the only thing on this earth that has dropped me to my knees faster than anything ever could. A parent will always see her offspring as a child, no matter how old they get or if they live on earth or not. When I let my love for him expand in my heart it is almost like he is here with me so I try to do that as much as I can when I miss him.
If you are reading this and you have lost a child. My heart beats with yours. I know it is hard. Sometimes I ask Jesus to take the pain away, but He has lead me to understand that I will not heal from love and missing someone who has left this earth. He is a part of me. Just like we are one body of Christ. Our children are a deep part of us and when they are gone there is a part of us that is missing as well. Our soulful body will ache for that part, always. It’s a great thing to have loved that much. Its a wonderful thing to have witnessed the breath of a child we brought into this world. God gives us such joy at the moment we first look into their eyes. Its like that little soul shines brightly right at that moment. I like to think that Jesus witnessed my son’s smile when they met once again. Maybe He got to see the light shine in his eyes and it made Him joyful. One can only imagine….
Just being Jenine
“To love is the greatest thing on earth. It will last forever, eternal. It is what we are here for; to love, to heal, to grow.”