Feelings of Loneliness

About three and a half years ago I experienced the worst kind of heartache I have ever known. It was one of ultimate betrayal and deception, it was as if my whole reality was completely shattered and turned upside down. I wouldn’t wish this kind of heartache on anyone, and anyone that has felt this know you are not alone. Now is not the time I will write about what happened, I am still working through it myself, but I am closer to feeling healed from it each day.

I know now that this kind of heartache is one that has not been felt by many. I know this because more times that not I heard from others, “I’m sorry I don’t know what you’re going through”, or “I wish I knew how to help”, or “I can’t believe you’re having to go through all of this, I can’t imagine”. The response I remember most is when I was told, “You could write a book about all of these things, because they are almost unbelievable that one person is going through all of this”. I frequently found it baffling that I was having to go through one knockdown, knockout punch after another. It felt like a never ending trial, and also the worst year of my life (yes it was for a little over whole year).

Over Easter weekend I was reflecting on some of these things I went through as I thought of our Savior and His suffering as He went through the Atoning sacrifice. When I was going through some of the hardest times I have ever known I frequently felt like no one else in the whole world knew how I was feeling. I felt so alone, and like such a burden on so many that had no idea how to help because they had never experienced what I was going through. It was a time of loneliness and despair, as I felt I was being asked to walk through these trials. I had never felt like such a solitary being before.

After a while of feeling this way, and realizing I wasn’t going to be able to find anyone that was going/or had gone through the same things as I was, I had to look somewhere else. It would have been easy to find other things to distract me from the hurt I was feeling, but I didn’t. Instead I focused on the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He suffered so much, and did so all alone, so I would never have to feel alone. I came to understand the Atonement wasn’t just for washing away our sins (which it is that too of course), but rather it is also there for us so we have someone there for us who knows exactly how we feel. As I studied more about the Atonement and how alone and utterly forsaken our Savior felt on that cross I was able to realize I wasn’t alone, not really. He felt those feelings I was having and He did so for me, as He did for each and everyone of us.

This is so very humbling to know and to feel that comfort and that peace. I am so thankful for His sacrifice, as much as I wish it didn’t need to be. I am thankful that I don’t have to walk alone, especially when no other human knows how I feel. This life would be a lot more lonely if I didn’t have this knowledge. I hope all of you had a wonderful Easter weekend, and I hope you know you are never alone.

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Dark Days and Nights

During my darkest days it was hard to believe the sun would ever shine again.

The other day I saw the neatest thing, clouds were creeping down the mountains, and it was happening ever so slowly. While it looked eery, I was more intrigued by the sight of it. It brought to my mind  how dark clouds in life sometimes sneak up on us. While we may KNOW that hard times may soon befall us; other times difficulties arise like a smack in the face. I have experienced both types, and sometimes both types at the same time!

I had some very dark and dreary days about 4 years ago. It often felt like the storm clouds would never part. I found it hard to believe anyone who told me things would get better, it felt like the sun would never shine my life again. It seemed like one thing after another just kept beating me down. I was sure I couldn’t handle anything else, and then sure enough something else would happen. I imagine it’s how one would feel if they were drowning in the ocean.

Thankfully that was not the case, life did get progressively better. Now that I am finally on the other side of that storm I see the sun shining and it feels so good. I truly appreciate the beautiful days because I have been through some of the worst times imaginable. If any of you are experiencing storms in your life, believe things will get better. Keep pushing on, and do what you can and trust God with the rest. Even when it seems the storms won’t ever part, just know someday soon the sun will shine again.

In the Thicket of Storms

As I have mentioned once or twice before in other posts I didn’t have the ideal childhood growing up. I dealt with a lot of hardships, heartbreaks, and difficulties. I have been reflecting recently on one incident in particular, a hardship that clouded over most of my 14th year of life– my mom tried to kill herself.

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My main motivation in sharing my side of this story is the fact that I want to take away it’s last bit of power over my heart, for this causes a lot of heaviness for me to think about. Second I want others to know the affect that a decision like that has on the ones that love them. Lastly, this incident haunted me for a good portion of my life, I was severely traumatized by it for years. I was able to start healing after an incredible treatment called EMDR, which I received from my counselor. If you suffer from any kind of trauma I cannot recommend EMDR enough to help.

After a particularly hard breakup that my mom went through she became quite depressed. She started drinking even more (which I didn’t think was possible!), and she didn’t want to get out of bed most days. It was really tough situation to see my mom so sad when I couldn’t do anything to help her. I remember I had gone into my moms room to say goodnight to her before going to bed. When I walked in her bed and her were covered with blood… I had no idea what to do. I ran to get a towel or washcloth to stop the bleeding. It didn’t work, the washcloth was quickly covered with blood as well. I was worried my mom was going to die and 14 year old me didn’t know what to do or how to make the bleeding stop. I called 911 because I didn’t want my mom to die.

From that point it was such a blur. I sat with my mom trying to comfort her and to make sure she stayed awake until help arrived. As soon as the ambulance got there I started crying, and an officer put their arm around me and took me out of the room to talk to me about what had happened. I told them as best as I could my side of what had happened. They ended up needing to take my mom to the hospital, and she was put on suicide watch. She was admitted to the hospital for two weeks. During that time I went to a friends house, and I don’t remember much of what happened past that point… I was in shock.

When my mom was released from the hospital I was so happy,  I secretly hoped she would stop drinking and taking drugs (she didn’t), and things would get better. I watched her and tried to be super supportive and helpful, mostly treating her with kids hands because I thought she was so fragile. That is mostly the only thing I remember of being 14, it was a thicket of storms that didn’t part quickly.

 

Differing Points of View

Isn’t it funny how we can go through an experience (the same as others), but our view of things can be totally different?! I always find that interesting, and I love to hear others perspectives.

My older brother went into the Army straight out of high school. He was there during the Gulf War. During that time I was young, we are talking 5 or 6 years-old, but I remember some things. The few things I remember are first and foremost my mom crying- A LOT! I remember being scared because WAR is a big word. I remember worrying that I would never see my brother again, when I felt like I didn’t know him at all.

As an adult I understand things a lot better, and more differently, than I did as a child. War is still a scary word, but it seems to surround us constantly. I am thankful my brother was kept safe and made it home alive. I have been able to know my brother, and develop a close relationship with him.

Now, as I look at that time, I’m thankful I didn’t have as many worries as I’m sure the adults did at the time. I do wish I could have had a little more understanding of what was going on. I’m sure those who are older than I am remember that time differently and that’s how life works. I would love to sit down and hear others perspective of this time in our history.

Life’ s Little Moments

My grandparents are some of the most amazing people I have ever known. My goal is to be a culmination of all four of their most positive traits. I truly just want them to be proud of me. My mother’s parents died when I was about 10, I wish I would have known them better.My father’s parents are still alive, but my grandfather is dying slowly from Alzheimer’s disease. My paternal grandmother is still very much alive and feisty, we are still very close to this day. We have many long and thoughtful chats.

Some of my most cherished memories of my childhood are from when I would visit my grandparents. They would have me up for a week or two at a time. My grandfather and I would wake up early and go get donuts from this wonderful shop. My grandma made this coffee cake that is divine (I still request it every year for my birthday). We would go for walks along the beach at Lake Michigan, and bike rides in their neighborhood.

Spending time with them made me feel normal, and grounded. I always dreaded going home to my moms house. I will forever be grateful for the time I had with my grandparents, and for the reprieve I was able to enjoy from my depressing reality.

Even though my grandfather isn’t himself, I will cherish my memories with him forever. I think this is why so many people tout the sentiment that making memories is more important than making money. Those memories stick around a lot longer than any amount of money. Life goes on, and the memories remain.

One of My Doors

We all have doors that have meaning for us. Our front door to our home where we live, and all the real life that happens behind those doors. Our bedroom door where we enter to find respite from the cares of the day and a good night sleep. Doors to our past that are sometimes hard to open, and sometimes we just keep them shut. Then there are doors to our closets filled with skeletons that we hope no one finds out about (of course this may be more of an issue for some more so than for others!)

The door that is on my mind is the front door to my grandparents house. Oh did I ever love going to visit my paternal grandparents. It was the best feeling walking up excitedly to their house and being greeted with warm hugs and loving smiles from their sweet faces. I was some what timid when I would hear their dogs barking, until I had the reassurance from them their dogs were more bark and no bite! I loved walking through my grandmas door and smelling her sweet baking, usually my favorite coffee cake!

My grandfather has advanced Alzheimer’s disease. This disease has become quite bad over the last couple years, and he is now in a nursing home. There isn’t anymore baking being done in my grandmothers kitchen because she spends her days at the nursing home with my grandfather. Last Christmas my grandmother didn’t set out all of her decorations because she was too depressed about being alone for the holidays. The door that I remember walking through as a child will never be the same. My grandfather won’t be sitting at the kitchen table tinkering with some doodad. The happy faces that would greet me when I would visit have been replaced with tired and worn out souls that are living one day at a time.

They say when one door closes another one opens. In this case that really is not true. The door to the past, and all the memories is just that-simply memories. There isn’t another door that could hold those same sacred memories for me. I hold these times dear to my heart because I know I won’t be able to experience them again. I wish I would have appreciated them more as a child. I wish I would have taken a picture of those small moments so I could have them to look back on now. I wish I would have savored each and every time my grandfather would open the door to their house with the most amazing smile, because he doesn’t do that any longer. I don’t even know how much time he has left to live some days.

While we have these doors that we enter each and every single day, or the ones we pass through for holidays and special events, let us try to savor the time that we have to pass through those thresholds. Let us take a moment to appreciate the smiling faces that greet us and are happy we are entering in through their doors. We never know when may be the last time we have those moments, and before we know it they could all just be memories.

The Story Behind a Door

Losing Loved Ones

Loss, such a big word with for so few letters. I am sure many of us have lost someone near and dear to us. It hurts and there is no way to get away from it. When we lose someone we love there isn’t a way for them to be replaced, we have to just learn how to live without them in our lives. I think the hardest part of it, at least for me, is that they aren’t there. When someone we love dies we are just left with a void where they use to be.

A few years ago, 3 to be exact, my dear Aunt passed away. She was like a mother to me and I loved talking to her. I knew I could call her whenever I needed someone to talk to, and I could trust her advice. My Aunt knew me my whole life, she knew how I grew up, and the obstacles I had to overcome. I sincerely looked up to her, and always felt so much love from her. It broke my heart when she died.

As the years have gone on the loss has been easier to handle. I still miss her like crazy, and I have wished on numerous occasions that I could call her up and talk to her again. I have no doubts that she is doing well where she is, and I feel certain I will see her again. It doesn’t mean that I don’t wish she were here for me now though. I wish she would have been able to meet my little girl, and I wish she could see how well my boys are growing up. I believe she knows though, and that gives me comfort.

Losing someone we love is never easy. Whether it happens suddenly, or we know  it may be forthcoming, it is never easy. I know in my own life, that while the void my Aunt left can’t be filled, I have been blessed to have people step in to help. After the loss of my Aunt I saw many tender mercies that helped carry me through those difficult days. While the pain wasn’t taken away, I at least felt loved and like I wasn’t alone.