A dear neighbor dropped a package off in my mailbox several weeks back. She had been introduced to a nonprofit group, “Parents Left Behind.” It made her think of me so she picked up a tshirt, wristband and postcard about the organization and delivered it to me.
I love surprise gifts of thoughtfulness. We as her family, I as her mother, Jonnae as the warrior who was impacting many through her cancer battle, got to experience surprise gifts of thoughtfulness, support and love abundantly during her final days on earth.
Although I truly felt the love being offered through the thoughtfulness and support this special woman gifted me, I tried several times to put that tshirt on and could not. It was like kryptonite to Super Man.
It’s not that I can’t put them on because of the pain they feed, I will not put them on because I don’t think them, believe them, feel them or speak them; quite the opposite actually. (This is my feeling. I’m not suggesting any parent who feels differently is wrong.) We’re differently wired people; we see things in different ways. I choose to see from a perspective that is empowering. That’s where my experience in perspective training kicks in. I’m a “words of affirmation” being. (I learned this about myself through reading ‘The Five Love Languages”- short read, simple concept and life changing enlightenment) I’m compelled to love through affirmation with my words. I love life, myself, my daughter and God in such a way that I affirm through my words that I embrace the gift of all experiences in life, including the parts that were painful in Jonnae’s and letting her go. Not every gift comes in an attractive package. I’ve certainly taken my time with the difficult embrace of some of those gifts. When it comes to the gift of Jonnae’s life, I choose to emphasize what was gained through it, not what was lost. I choose to emphasize the blessings born of her journey. What was lost was a physical being. What was gained and continues to live are memories, lessons, legacy, her spiritual presence (which will be with me forever) and Mercy and Grace! I do not believe I was left behind…
I go through periods where I feel like a mother left behind…not by a child, or by God, but by a community that was present and no longer is in the same way. I have struggled with this most viciously, wrestling with it to the point of being on my knees in tears and completely exhausted. This turmoil of emotions, wanting help in furthering the mission that began through Jonnae’s leukemia battle and feeling like the help will never come…like the help that was present is what has left me behind, became most evident when I witnessed a nation rallying to support a local mother who’d lost her legs and more recently as a world holds up a family who’s son with cancer inspired many before his ‘Heavenly Birth’. The support my spirit craves appears it’s left me and I see it happening elsewhere. I’m grateful, truly, my empathetic heart cries tears of joy when I witness the love and support others are experiencing and then it seems as those joyful tears turn to sorrowful, tired ones. Earth School can be excruciatingly painful and beautifully humbling at the same time. Not just for a parent letting go of limbs or a child…for EVERYONE!
Sometimes I feel as if I’m out in this vast ocean of water and can see ‘heaven on earth’ on the coast at a far far away distance. Even though I have a life saver to cling to, I wonder if I’ll ever make it to solid ground, where I can stand and play or lie down to rest and not fear I’m going to become too tired and drowned. Sometimes it feels as though big boats are pulling up to others to tow them in or pull them up on board so they coast the rest of the way in with a team of people to take care of them, play with them and keep company with them and I’m being left behind…Not a parent left behind...a community/family member being left behind. That’s just where I am.
I get to work my perseverance muscles, my fortitude, my faith, and my focus multiple times a day. There have been innings where I lasted a long time, with several hits including grand slams, and innings where it’s 9 strikes and over. Lately, there have been more of the latter kind. I’m in a bit of a slump…and those happen in the ‘game of life’ I’ll recover and be back to my mojo game in due time.
I’ve been hosting a radio show that airs daily at www.newstalk 1570.com. Just today I admitted I dance through the storms of my life just fine. I grow weary during the droughts to the point I’m not sure I’m going to make it through.
I’m a player in this ‘game.’ I’m not the coach, manager, or owner. Those positions and the rest of the ones on the field get to be filled before the game can actually even get started. The drought has occurred in me trying to do too much on my own, as I’ve not got the team necessary to play, to grow this mission, nonprofit, and We GET To programming. The vision is so grand; the partnerships and participation to make it happen is absent.
As Jonnae with her leaders of Mercy and Grace continue to visit me and prevail, they paid me a visit early yesterday morning as I stayed up through the 2nd hour of the day. 2a.m Thursday morning was when The Crucible began for the “Mike Company” of the 3rd Recruit Battalion of Platoon 3086 at the Marine Bootcamp of Parris Island. My middle child and middle son, Austin began the 54 hour grueling final test of his experience as a recruit at 2am with his platoon and I wanted to be up praying for him (them). With a rush of awareness and perspective, the Holy Spirit began breathing new life into me. I wept tears of sorrow for taking my eyes off the Coach and forgetting the promises He’s made me. I wept tears of amazement and joy as I found myself back on the Rock and no longer on shifting sand. I inhaled long breaths of all that is love and exhaled everything else that is not. The dark clouds blew away instantly! It’s predicted to rain today…I’ll receive the ‘Living Water’ and proclaim the drought is coming to an end.
It’s quite possible another will happen at some point. That’s the law of nature. Prayerfully, I’ll remember what I offer others…the SON is always shining even when we can’t see Him above us or through the darkness the clouds create. Even when I feel left behind by a sizable community that was there to support me in every way possible, I still get to experience help in other ways. I get to be reminded, as I have been in the last 24 hours, I am never alone, I’ll never be left behind!