I Heard Him…

If you follow me, you know that this passion is about sexual assault, the #metoo movement, #churchtoo #pastoralabuse.  I am grateful that God has given me strength to speak up about this issue and to be a voice for many that cannot speak about their pain and abuse.

This morning I was reading a powerful article by a lady that had horrible abuse by her father and then this continued to be abused by different men in her life as she went to the different phases of life.  It spoke to me.  It reminded me that this #metoo movement is not going away.  It is gaining momentum as more women (and men) feel empowerment at the injustice that is so huge and wide spread.  I think that suddenly, those that have been abused, realize that they are not alone!  It is really a lonely place to be.  It is a place of self loathing.  It is a place of needing to forgive yourself and yet not finding that power to do so.  OK, I can obviously go on with this … but I am getting distracted about the point of this post.

I have forever said I am going to write a book.  FOREVER!  I probably have written a few version of the book I am wanting to write and then I discard it.  Now is the time.  I know this is the time and am ready.  I made myself a nook at the office so that I head to work with the family and have a time carved out to write with no household distracts.  I find that being around people is something that helps me.  So, this is where I am at.  On top of all this, I know that God is and has been nudging me to get going.  All the obstacles are out of the way.  I have the support of Sanj who is very tolerate of all my projects.  Some I complete, others fall by the way side.  So I am sitting here in my nook….

This morning as I was reading this article, I was flooded with doubt.  I mean MAJOR doubt.  Have you read my husband’s stuff?  He writes so beautifully and uses big words!  I read my brother’s stuff and there are such powerful thoughts I wonder how we are related.  I read this article, saying stuff that I want to say and found myself in a mode of panic.  I was letting God know this, as I stood in the shower ( the quietest time of my day).  I know He knows all my thought and emotions and yet in this moment I was flooded with insecurities.

I love how people come up with quotes that become well known.  I wish I could think of something cool that Toby Mac has on his sites or Maya Angelo, or Abraham Lincoln.  As I stood there, full of doubt, ready to go into a full on panic attack (well, not like before), I had this thought…

If God calls you, He will empower you.

I walked out of the shower and felt shaky (not from low blood sugar).  I felt held up.  I felt a huge WOW moment.  God just reassured me!  I am not one that will say God spoke to me… of course He has but it has been different.  This time, I know God was promising me that He is calling and He will give me what I need.  I felt kind of giddy.  (If you know me,  you know that I can get very excitable, easily).

SO…. I am writing this for a reason.  I am going into this with faith.  Maybe not as small as a mustard seed, but it is small.  Yet my excitement is full on.  So, I am going to quit stalling and DO IT.  I am writing this 1) because I am excited to really HEAR God’s voice loud and clear 2) to ask if you will pray for me and for this project and 3) please buy my book  (here is where I hear Sanj’s voice telling me not to get ahead of myself…lol).

Thank you ahead of time!

xoxo

Posted in choices, crazy pill, diabetes- type 2, faith, Family, General, God and I, love, Marriage, moments, My Book, Reema Sukumaran, relationships | Leave a comment

Happy Nurses Week

My mom told me from a very young age that the nursing profession was one that I should never consider.  I am not the kind that handles any bodily pieces or liquids that are not attached or exiting ones body well.  My boys know from that first wiggly tooth to not come to me with it.  I cannot stand to even see it wiggly much less handle that nasty phase of when it is dangling by that last bit. Just writing this is making my skin crawl.

glo nursing pic

My Mom Awarded Nurse of the Year

As you can imagine, with six very active boys, we have had our share of nasty body piece that have come detached or foreign objects piercing flesh or many times fluids exiting and not landing in places that would be appreciated.  Sanj has usually been around and done the ER trips to have things removed, attached, detached and/or any glued back. Oh the stories… but that could be a whole book in itself!

The last few weeks of my mom’s life, she slowly lost the ability to do things that we think nothing of and most take for granted.  My youngest brother was often the one that helped her over the months do things  and yet as the last weeks came, it was me that she needed/wanted to help her.  My mom commented every so often, “Who would have thought that you would do all this, “ and the voice in my head would often agree and think, “Certainly not me!!!”

We had in home hospice care and the nurses and aids would come and do their thing.  Often, even though help was there, my mom would still ask me to do stuff.  It really is amazing how God gives you the strength to do what He asks of you.

Here are some of the things I learned… what nurses do is something that no one in any other profession does.  Their jobs require skill, knowledge above and beyond the books, gentle hands, gentle voices that can be firm when needed, hearts that are huge and a true love for people that often requires them to go above and beyond.  Being a nurse for 30 plus years, my mom was truly a difficult patient in her last months.  Looking back, I realize that it was likely fear and loss of control that likely had her “misbehaving.”  I am pretty sure somewhere on the hospice wall is a picture of my mom with the award of Most Difficult Patient.

The whole time I was there, the nurses were great.  And yet, my mom’s last 24 hours, when she decided to stop fighting  and she was ready to go, the nurses that were with us those bleak, scary, horrible hours, may actually be angels.  All my mom wanted was a bath.  Not the sponge baths she would get at this point but rather the baths/showers we take for granted every day.  As she lay there, struggling to breath, as my brother and I would dose off, wondering what the next hour would bring, this beautiful nurse gave my mom a bath.  Of course it was a sponge one but she did not have to do this.  She was clean and at this point would not have known better yet she did this with such kindness.  She then spent at least a half hour massaging my mom’s legs and arms.  I am sure that at this point my mom did not really understand any of this but must have felt comfort from the touch of this nurse as she so compassionately massaged my mom.  Another nurse came into relieve the night nurse and yet this nurse still stayed.  Together they dressed my mom, combed her hair and blessed her with dignity as she was breathing her last breath.  Soon after this, they called my brother and I in and said she was going.  She took her last breath.  She left us with dignity and pride that she would have wanted.  I may not remember these two nurses names, but I will always remember their acts of kindness that the hospice staff showed my mom.

To all the nurses out there, Thank you.  Thank you for going above and beyond what is required of you.  I have often said I never understood why anyone would want to be a nurse.  I still don’t but am grateful for you beautiful people that do!

Posted in choices, faith, Family, General, God and I, love, moments, motherhood, Parenting, Reema Sukumaran, relationships | Leave a comment

My Own Grizzly Adams!!!

Over the last year, it seems that beards are in.  I should rephrase that, not the low trim or couple of days growth but the Grizzly Adams kind of look!  We used to love watching Grizzly Adams.  His look was kinda cool as he often resembled his buddies the grizzlies. grizzly adams and bearCan you spot him? lol

My husband seems to have found this beard thing a fascination.  Sanj had a beard from the time I first met him.  He shaved it off years after we were married and I remember having to adjust with his beardless face.  Mind you, his beard was always trimmed low and well-groomed.

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Love this face… and this beard is how I knew him forever.

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A day’s worth of growth… love this face!

sanj4I should have cropped this to bring his face closer… even here, as he grows it out, I am ok with it.  It is a novelty. It makes him happy.  He loves matching his clothes with his beard.  I love him so I love this face.

sanj5OK…. now…. I think I’m done.  The man is hairy.  His chest is hairy.  There’s not much distinction from where that face I love ends and his chest begins.

And yet, the boy in this man is so happy to keep growing this craziness all over him.  He loves the products that are available for this scruff.  He loves playing with it. It seems to make him happy.

sanj7

And so I cannot help but just love this face that gets such joy out of such a mess! lol

Feel free to only make positive comments.

Posted in Boys, choices, Family, General, love, Marriage, moments, Reema Sukumaran, relationships | Leave a comment

Don’t Judge A Book By His Cover

Unknown-1I have had a couple of crazy moments in the last couple of weeks where God has been showing me His presence.  The truth be told, sometimes I think He’s been waving me down to grab my attention.  I had to go to the hospital to do an errand.  Our hospital in town, I never really will understand the design of it.  It is a crazy maze that requires a map to find your way around.  The main floor, for example, is the 4th.  Why? The 2nd floor is the basement.  (Well, at least I think it is, I don’t think there is a 1st floor).  This is irrelevant but the point is that I had to make my way to a department on the 2nd floor.  This floor is not very populated and I actually always find it kind of creepy being there never knowing who is going to come around the corner or how I will find my way as I am usually lost looking for the elevator that takes me to the 4th floor.

This really all too say that the basement creeps me out.  I suppose I feel very vulnerable when I am alone.  I went and completed my errand.  I went to find the elevators that would take me back to the main floor.  I stood at the elevator only to see that one was out of service.  The other one was being entered by a cop, who was pushing a wheelchair with a man that was handcuffed.  The elevator was kind of full and since I was not sure if this was the right spot, I hesitated long enough that the door shut.  I turned around and there stood a man that looked like his face had been shot.  I suppose this was my irrational fear that took over my mind.   I figured  that the guy the police had handcuffed and this man with his face missing had an altercation.  That was my initial thought.  I only looked at this man for half a second and was so shaken that I headed in another direction that I thought had another set of elevators.  I was shaking and freaked out that I was alone in this hall with this man.  (if you have followed my blog, you likely know that I suffer from PTSD and this is a trigger).  I tried calling Sanj so that he would “be with me” but of course he chose that moment to be unavailable and be with a patient.  I was all alone.  Of course I was praying that God would keep me safe from anything bad.

I found myself back to the same spot, alone.  I entered the elevator and felt so relieved that I had escaped the bad guys.  I saw my man with the face that looked like he had been shot outside.

My heart felt something.  I will admit there was some fear and yet I felt such sadness for this man.  I named him Bob.  He is a patient.  Friends who have someone in palliative care said my “Bob” is there too.  He likely has face cancer.  He’s dying.  He had no mouth or nose from what I could see in my 2 second glance.  The space where the cancer, I’m assuming, has eaten away is a huge crater that is sadly hideous, it is something no one should have to live with.

My heart just ached and actually continues to ache for “Bob.” I found myself praying for him since I saw him.  I found myself wishing so BADLY I had said hi to him or that I could have smiled at him.  I hated that I assumed the worst and thought of him as a bad guy.  I cannot stop thinking of him.  I keep praying for him.  As I googled face cancer, if that is what is killing him, I did not see one case that was as horrible as his.  I wondered when someone had hugged him last or smiled at him?  Did he think a smile was someone mocking him?

I watched my mom die, grateful that she died knowing she was loved.  I watched a stranger die (my next post…) grateful to found out he was adored.   I find death so ugly a thing and yet as I think of my Bob, who’s likely to pass soon, I wonder if he was loved.  When was he hugged last? I really hope that my Bob dies feeling God’s love surrounding him.

 I learned a valuable lesson.  We never know someone’s story.  We can never know the pain or hurt that one has lived through.  We can only know that God loves each of us. (I won’t remind you that I am His Favourite).  🙂  I hope I never judge a book by its cover again.  And… could you please say a prayer for my Bob,” that he feels peace and love surround him?

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Different

I am such a quirky person.

I am weird.

I am unique.

I am truly different.

Now if you are just meeting me for the first time, depending on the environment, you may find me friendly and outgoing.  Or quiet and shy.  (If you know me well, I realize that the quiet and shy me, my seem a bit of a stretch).  Yet trust me, there are places where I just go into my shell.

I have often talked about my shy, nerdy, misfit self, especially in high school.  I yearned to be just like everyone else.  I hated that I stuck out like a sore thumb.  We were poor, we were minorities, my dad was shameless in every way.  I am not sure but I think being white might have been on my wish list.  Huh?  Well, in the community we were part of, the majority of people were white, educated and well off.  I felt like I stuck out like at giraffe … I had HUGE glasses.  I had no name jeans.  I was so skinny, twig like skinny.  I had huge feet.  I tripped over my feet.  There was nothing graceful about me.  I had no skills in music, art nor did I have one athletic bone in me.  I was beyond shy.  One of my closest friends now loves telling about how when she talked to me that first day, I looked like I wanted to just blend into the locker rather than be spoken too.  I was so different.  I hated being different.

It took a lot of years for me to realize that I was different.  I was special and lovable.  I mean just because I did not like me… did not mean much.  God put people in my life that loved me unconditional and over time, I saw myself through eyes of God and  learned over the years to love me.

As I have aged, I have learned to see being different as a cool kind of thing.  I have learned to see what God blessed me with, the crazy, quirky traits as a special gift.

I watch my boys embrace their differences.  We live in a town, again, predominately white, though that is changing.  They went to a school where they were they only minorities in the school for a long time, though that has changed too.  Yet I love that they are able to embrace their uniqueness.  I love that they are learning self love at an early age.  I am sure they have their insecurities, of course but over all they seem to embrace their uniqueness.

I love this song…

  Different  As I was making supper last night it was playing and I found myself so grateful for my  differences.  I am working towards being different in a way that is pleasing to God.  I love that He IS so different and that He invites me to be like Him.  I love that as I open my heart, He is changing me, bit by bit.  I want the world to see “that there is something different in me.”

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Holding On By A Thread

It is Saturday evening and it has been that kinda day that you want to put a log in the fire place, stay in your pyjama and get lost in a good book.  It is mid April and this weekend we are probably having the worst weather of the season.  It has been freezing rain, little pellets of ice showering down.  The streets are slick, with ice and snow.  This is not the weather that  I care to drive in.  Around town I see pick up drivers that seem to enjoy swerving around town, causing me stress but Sanj assuring me they are playing.  Idiots!

We did go into town for lunch with some of my favourite people (don’t worry, I have a lot of favourites).  While in town we picked up a few things to make a super delicious dinner and Sanj bought me a little something so I could hear my music from my phone.

I spent most  of the afternoon cooking my mom’s lamb curry.  The men that were home devoured it.  When it is a treat like lamb, they don’t eat to be full.  They eat to eat till they cannot possibly eat any more and then… will return a bit later to eat again.

Church tomorrow is cancelled due to the weather.  I am actually sad about that because my favourite praise team is up.  I get such a blessing from the praise part of service and I am amazed that God is slowly healing my heart to actually pay attention to the sermons. (Did I  write that)?

I am in a place right now that life is full of God sightings.  I can’t even call them God sightings because I feel they are more than sighting.  I feel like I am going to burst with the goodness of God in my life!  Ok, let me clarify.  We did not win the lotto so Sanj is still going to have to bust his cute bottom to feed all of us, much less all the  other zillion and one things that require a pay check.  I still have all sorts of the typical life stresses.  I have worries about my kids.  I have more worries about my kids.  I worry about our extended families.  I worry about… Ok you see, I am  still at the place where I depend on God for all the “stuff” I have always needed Him to provided.

Yet here is the thing, have you ever “walked through the valley of the shadow of death?”  I mean this takes on a new meaning.  After going through a very rough dark crazy year as I have blogged about a few times, I felt like I was out of the darkness.  I felt like I was going to find me again.  And then my mom’s sickness took a turn and with the ugliness of an evil force, it dragged us through a path of such … I am not even sure I know a word at this moment to describe the world we were pulled into.

See, I thought that once my mental health found it’s way back to some semblance of normalness   (for me) that life was going to be a smooth ride.  I mean did I not deserve that?  I was prepared to spend 2 maybe 3 weeks with my mom.  She was declining and we thought as I went to be with her it would be a time that was doable for all of us.  As week 3 passed and week 4 came and then week 5… I was lost in a place where I was all alone.  The daytime was ok.  It was busy.  And when I was not physically doing, I was hanging with my mom, watching all her favourite shows.  She loved the court shows… did you know there is a show called Paternity Court, 11:30 am every week day… and boy, it is a bit addicting.  My mom and I would get so irritated if the worker or nurse came at that time!  I mean was he the father of the child???  Ok, I got off track.  As I was saying, the day times were fine.  It was the night time, from 11pm to 6am that I was lost in this abyss, in darkness literally and figuratively.  I have never been apart from my family that long.  I have never been away from Sanj for more than a few days.  I have never been a good sleeper when Sanj was away.  I always had a kid come sleep with me, so his spot wasn’t empty.  I have never been in a place where I lay there every night, wondering if my mom was going to die.  I did not sleep.  I would get up when she would be too quiet and go to her room and stand there with my phone, which provided some light and watch to see if her chest was moving.   Sleep was a joke.  It taunted me with a few winks here and then I would wake and realize that I had only slept a half an hour.  I texted Sanj many times over the course of the night.  I would call him and cry my eyes out tell him I could not do this another night.  And then, in those moments when it was just me looking into the darkness, I would cry out to God.  I would cry out to Him. I would cry out and beg Him to take this cup away from my mom.  I would beg Him to please let her die in her sleep.  Let this ugly disease that had her fighting for each breath release her.  I was not asking God to not take her, because I think we accepted that but I was begging Him to take her gently.

I found myself asking God for something.  I was not sure what but I felt like I was there for me too.  I knew He was wanting me there for a reason, a reason beyond helping my mom.  I have over the years had my temper tantrums with God.  I see Him standing over me, shaking His head, maybe even smiling, saying, “Child, I have you.  I have you in my arms and you will see.”  God is so patient with me!  As I have grown in my walk with my Father, I have not had the tantrums of those yesterdays.  And yet, while I was at my mom’s, there was a time where I felt I was holding on to my faith by a thread.

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God used Sanj to help me hang on to that thread.  God used my army of warriors that were praying for me to keep hanging on to that thread.  I am not proud that I let myself get that weak and yet I know that I grew from that moment.  There were times I begged God to just end all this,  well as each night passed and slept taunted me, I became more desperate.

I know that Job in the Bible had it rough!  I mean really rough.  I guess that is why God honoured his faith.  I wondered if that was my Job moment, my lowest, hardest test?  I realize that there is a lot that could be uglier.  I really do.  Yet after coming out of my sickness, I wasn’t sure how strong I was.  I was constantly waiting for the panic attacks to come.  I was constantly telling Sanj that I was so scared I was going to break. Again.  I kept asking God to please help me.

It is actually 30 days that I have been home.  It has been 30 days of thanking God for His grace.  It has been 30 days of being grateful that my mom is at peace.  It has been 30 days of missing her.  It has been 30 days of having Sanj hold me and never ever wanting that to stop.  It has been 30 days of …. well it has been 30 days of God making good on His promise that He has me!

I am inhaling deeply, something I have learned I need to do to stabilize myself when something feels too big, either good or bad.  I feel like I am ready.  I am ready to do it!  I am so excited that God is leading me in exciting ways.  And… here’s the thing, I am just so scared that His calling and His listening is so huge.  I mean, I am realizing that I am His favourite!  (Yes, I realize that you likely feel that way too… and that’s ok…I won’t break your bubble)!!!  🙂

Thursday I speak again.  I am excited.  I am ready.  I am asking for God to use my pain for His glory.  I love that He is and letting me FEEL HIM in such a strong way!  I love that my thread, that one I was holding on to by that little piece of fibre that I could barely hold on,  I realize that I was not holding on to that thread alone!  God had His hands cupping my hands, hanging on to that thread with me!  I was not alone.  I hate that I still become so whiny!  I am almost embarrassed but I love the image of God holding my hands in His, grasping that piece of thread, know that He would not let it go.  He had me.

By the way, even though I am pretty sure I am His favourite, He is holding your hand too, if you are barely holding on.

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I Love You ❤️

C9997174-BCBE-46AC-973D-CC9963949F14Today  will be one month since my mom passed.

The lessons I learned in that 6 weeks I spent with her are ones that God obviously wanted me to learn.  Others were learned as I talked to friends and realized some things were generational and some were cultural.  I feel like I learned more in  those 42 days than in my 4 years of university.

Growing up, our family never really said, I love you” to each other.  I guess with my mom, it was a given.  She would likely have been hurt if she every thought we questioned it.  Her love language was acts of kindness.   She showered that love everywhere to everyone.  Cooking was her special gift.  She was a cook.  Period.  She cooked all the time for everyone.  It did not matter how tired she was, there would be a meal for us, regardless of if she worked two shifts back to back, we knew there would be a meal.  Amamma’s (grandma) visit to our house had my kids ready with their demands of what dishes they wanted and what she would make first.  As the boys grew, so did their appetites and amounts they would consume.  The curries that were made require prep time, especially with the meat.  The chapattis (Indian bread) would take forever to make and feed the crew. Or dosas…(my favorite which are crepes of sorts but not really) and a favorite in our house hold.  Due to the fact that dosas are thin, you could easily eat 4-5  and still eat more and then times that by 8!!! Amamma’s fish curry was a big hit too as was the lamb curry… well truth be told, anything she made was licked clean.

My mom would come and visit and our laundry would some how get washed and folded.  The fridge never looked cleaner and the bathrooms looked like it had never been peed  by boys that could shoot a ball in a basket but peeing in the toilet seemed to be a hit or miss.

Ok… getting distracted.  Back to the I love you…

I may as well interject a funny but not funny 23 years ago, tidbit.  My dad never told me he loved me.  And I am not sure WHAT exactly his love language was – maybe cutting mangoes for us or weird things which probably made his love language acts of kindness too.  Anyways, my father’s love was something I craved forever.  At my wedding, I made the decision that as I went from my dad to Sanj’s arm, I would tell him I loved him.  This seems simple enough, right?  Ummm no.  I had to work myself up to get to the that point and when the moment came, I said ” Daddy, I love you.”  That took as much energy as it took to push Sammy out after 12 hours of labor.  My dad without missing a beat, responded…. wait for it…..

“Thank you.”

OK, it took a lot of years to get over it, realize that his love was there in its weird, abnormal kind of way.  I had to accept that he was broken and yet he loved me.  He just did not love me in a way I understood.  I can laugh about it now.

As I stayed with my mom, I realized that as her death was approaching, I needed to hear her tell me she loved me.  Understand I knew she did and I am not sure why I needed to hear it but I did.  (I’m sure my therapist and I will tackle this at some point)!  Sanj kept telling me to just ask her.  Yet that is not what I wanted.  I didn’t want to have to ask to hear it.

At one point, I said, “Mom, you know I love you, right?”  And she replied, “Of course I do.  You wouldn’t be doing all this if you didn’t.”  Darn!

The day that she made the decision that she was done, she asked me to tell some of the grandkids various messages.  I didn’t think of it before but I should have.  I sat on the bed as she used what energy she had to leave messages to each of our family members.  Since I was filming, she did not add me, as that would probably have seemed weird.

Sigh.  In the end, I told Sanj that I told her I loved her.  She thanked me for all I was doing (leaving my family for those 6 weeks, doing things that neither of us thought I would do, ever), and her thankfulness was obvious.

Really, what would hearing my mom say those words mean when I knew in my heart that she did?

The last few hours of my mom’s life was not pretty.  I thought that she would pass in her sleep.  Quietly.  Or that she would have a heart attack and pass quickly.  I never really thought of a prolonged slow death.  The nurses administered the pump for the morphine.  They gave her medication to help her relax and help with her agitation.  She slept.  My brother and I took turns sitting in the arm chair we had by her bedside.  It is a scene I wish I could rewrite.  It is a question I cried out to God so many a night while there.  Why?  Could He not let this cup pass from her?  I feel such agitation right now, my heart is racing and I need to pause and take a deep breath as I write.  And yet I must share this.  It was a beautiful moment.

My mom laid there,  she opened her eyes, moving them back and forth rapidly, yet not focusing or seeing us, as we sat on her bed, her head turning  from side to side, her oxygen tube, a permanent fixture on her face providing what oxygen her body would allow as death waited to end her suffering.

It was 4:57 am, I sat on one side of her as my brother sat on her other.  I remember feeling like I was having a heart attack.  I leaned into her and said, “Mom, I love you.”  In her state of being a shell of who she was, she slurred the words in a whisper of a voice, “I love you too.”

I was so shocked!  I looked at my brother and asked if he heard it?!!  I suppose we did not think she was lucid enough  to even understand or know we were there.  I said it one more time, “Mom, we love you.”  She repeated it again, in her slurred, whisper of a voice, “I love you too.”  The beautiful thing was we were able to capture that on video.  I can hear my mom telling me over and over that she loves me.

At 8:30 am on March 15, 2018 my mother who spent her whole life showing me with her particular love language that she loved me left me, her last words, “I love you.”

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Hands That Loved-My Tribute

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As I say goodbye to my mom, I can not help but reflect on the acts of love her precious hands had over my life.

I am sure my Mom’s heart felt delight as my infant hand gripped her finger moments after she first met me.

Her hands grabbed my little hands as I tottered while taking my first steps.

Her hands wiped my brow when I was sick and needed comfort.

Her hands helped buttoned my dresses and ties my shoes.

Her hands made countless meals that no restaurant could compete with.

Her hands held mine as I timidly walked into school that first day.

Her hands taught me to look upward to a Father that is always there.

Her hands held mine as I waited in fear as the doctor stabbed my arm with that needle I so feared.

Her hands gently put bandaids on skinned knees and elbows.

Her hands reached for me when a bully from school said ugliness and held me close.

Her hands braided my hair countless times.

Her hands worked countless hours taking care of others so she could take care of us.

Her hands took care of her own mother as her mother needed care.

Her hands turned pages of her beloved books passing that love on to me.

Her hands worked so hard, to pay for the endless things she blesses us with.

Her hands clapped with pride as she watched me graduate.

Her hands held me tight before she released me into the world.

Her hands wiped tears from my face as the world hurt me at times.

Her hand adjusted my veil as she watched me leave her home into my own.

Her hand held the phone close to her ears, covering the distance between us to be part of mine.

Her hands held with joy her grand babies.

Her hands continued to be filled with babies, wet diapers and wet kisses.

Her hands made eggy rice, curries, dosas, carrot cakes that seemed to disappear as soon as made.

Her hands welcomed little bodies into her bed for snuggles and cuddles.

Her hands welcomed the now big bodies that still found their way into her bed.

Her hands clasped together always praying for protection for all the hearts her hands held close every day.

As her hands aged, their beauty only increased. Each line or scar a memory of times those hands loved. As her hands now rest in my hands, as I hold her hands, knowing it is time to let go of those hands that loved me so much, I feel tears falling that her hands can no more wipe. As I release the hands that have always been in my life, I feel strong hands from above gently wipe my tears with the promise of my hands being reunited with her loving hands, some day soon.

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Separated…

Separation.  Sanj and I are officially separated.  Who would  have thought?  He has the boys and I have moved indefinitely to Maryland with my mom.  Sigh.  Life is so unpredictable.  After surviving and thriving the breakdown last year, life seemed to be settling into a rhythm that felt good.  Of course, life has a way of throwing that curve ball and sending a storm into that rhythm.

My mom, if you know her, has always been an active person who did not know the meaning of staying still.  When she had visited in the years past, my kids were happy because they knew Ammama (grandma) is going to live in the kitchen and all the yumminess that only she can dish out will be happening. They know that she will do laundry and all sorts of what nots that their mom did not ever seem to get to keep up with.  She was someone that could clean a fridge like no other.  She can do the endless laundry and act like she was in heaven.  Ok, obviously I did not get that gene as I hate housework!!!

In the last year or two, my mom became sick.  It took awhile to get the proper diagnosis but eventually tests showed that my mom’s lungs have totally hardened and oxygen can not move into her blood stream- pulmonary fibrosis is the disease.  She is on O2 100% of the time.  She is living the last bit of her time and needs 24 hours care.  My brother who lives near her has been carrying the load.  Yet as her needs increased to needing someone 24/7, my amazing husband suggested that maybe I need to “move” to my mom’s to offer her that care.  I was flying back and forth every few weeks but… things changed.

So we are separated and life as we have known has taken a turn in a way that we never would have even thought of.  Sanj is a single parent playing the role of mom and dad to the boys.  He works the 8 plus hours a day and then comes home and does the next shift of cooking, supper, homework, cleaning, bedtime, prep for the next day among the usually 1001 other things.  I’ve turning into a “nurse” of sorts and have been doing things that I never thought I would do as someone that is not trained in the medical field or ever had any interest.

Life as we know is being redefined.   My mom’s life is in the end stages and while we do not know the exact time that God will take her, I do feel that He has called me to do this.  I believe that He has asked Sanj to do this as I would never have thought this as an option.  It was Sanj that suggested this as something we needed to do.  (I am SURE neither of us thought or had any clue what this really meant).

Over the years I have struggled with the commandment that God commands us to honor our father and mother.  He wanted us to know the significant  of this command as He included it in the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:12).  As I read about this particular verse there are many places in the Bible that command us to do so.  The one that touched my heart was when Jesus was about to be crucified, who looked at John and asked him to take care of His mother.  And John took her home.  I love that in that last hour, knowing what was coming, He thought of His mom.

I have written often enough of my childhood, growing up in an abusive household and the woes of this life.  God helped me come to terms with my dad and when he passed I had peace.  Actually I had total peace.  I am so grateful to God for this gift. I learned over the last little bit how God asks us to honour someone that is not living as God instructed.

My mom is someone God has asked me to honour.  Part of honouring my mom has been to take care of her in various ways.  She was able to leave my abusive dad because we offered her an out.  She lived with us for the first 5 years of Sammy’s life.  Over that time, I believe sharing my family with her, my children’s first years of life and making memories with them was honouring my mom.  I think honouring can have many different meaning to each of us.

This last stage of her life, God has called my family to join me in honouring my mom.  I never thought this would be her ending.  I guess I assumed that after the hard life she lead, that her exit from this earth would be a simple one.  My dad,  I realized and have come to terms with was just a bad man.  Simple words that describe him perfectly.  His end was a simple one.  He likely had a heart attack and was dead.  No real drama or pain … just seemed to exit this world in a way that had no drama.

My mom has fibrosis of the lungs.  She has never smoked or drank in her life.  If you  talk to anyone familiar with this disease, you will hear this is one of the worst ways to die as one will likely suffocate to their death.  I have been struggling with God about why this is her end.  It is heartbreaking to watch my mom struggle to breath after movement.  It’s hard to watch her body betray her.  It is hard to understand why she could not have a peaceful exit from this world.

Sanj has often said that maybe even though she is suffering and struggling, she will leave this earth never questioning  her children’s love.  Truth be told, I would rather have sent her flowers and a card!  Sanj points out that my dad had a very contentious relationship with us over the years and in the end, he died alone.

It has been the hardest thing to leave my family.  I find myself more often than not, crying myself to sleep with such mixed emotions.  Before this became a permanent indefinite separation, when I was home, I felt so strongly that I needed to be here with my mom.  And yet, here, in my new temporary home, I can not even find the words to express the emptiness of being separated from my husband and my boys.  It has been a huge shift for lack of a better word in our lives.

Yet I do know that when God calls, I need to listen or else I may be swallowed up by a big fish and truth be told, the ocean is a huge fear factor in my world.  When God calls me to do this, when He called my family to do this, there was no other option.  I cannot lie, every part of my being begged God to show me another way.  How was I to leave my family and enter a zone that was so unknown to me- dealing with stuff that a medical profession needs a degree to do?  How was I going to say goodbye in definitely to the most important people to me?

My first few days, I was petrified of finding my mom dead.  She was worried about me, knowing that this was not in my world ever!  Sanj and my brothers were concerned.  Yet it is very amazing that when God asks you to do something how He gives you that extra strength.  What I mean is that I know when my mom passes and if I am the one to find her, I will be ok.  I know that next few weeks are going to get harder and harder and add an extra harder also because Sanj is not physically here and yet I have a sense of calm that is covering me.

We are heading into week 4 of our family being apart.  It has been a lot longer since I have seen my Jordan.  This is such an indefinite thing.  My heart has complete faith in God and yet the old me is fighting a temper tantrum.  I guess I didn’t really believe it was going to be this long.  I guess I thought I was stronger than this.  I guess I have been through tough stuff that this seemed doable.  Yet, this … this separation has left a huge void – hole- hollowness- that even candy and my go to carbs are not helping except to make my sugars scream at me.

My dear friend, Penny, packed me a bunch of little gifts to open while away… (I love presents) and in each one was a little promise from God.

Isaiah 38;7 The Lord will do what He has promised.

Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Mark 11:24 Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them and you will have them.

I’m really posting this for me today.  I’m reminding myself that while I/we are riding out this storm, God is on this ride with me/us.  Guess this is where faith comes in.  This is where I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  I hope if you are in the midst of a storm, hurricane, tornado that you feel God.  Yet if there are times you are not, please know that He IS there.  Maybe we can’t feel Him beside us because He is carrying us.

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I like to remind myself I am His favourite so I know He will carry me through. 🙂

Posted in Boys, choices, faith, Family, General | 2 Comments

Do You Have A Life Verse?

Do you have a life verse? A life verse is a Bible verse that is special to you. I guess I never knew it was called a life verse but the last months as life seems to come closer to an end for some of my dear ones, I have asked what their favorite Bible text is. This made me ponder on what my favourite verse in the Bible is?
John 11:35 Jesus Wept.
When I was younger, I loved this text we had to memorize because it was simple and also the shortest verse in the Bible. As I have looked back at the last few years of my life, coming to terms with big hurts, I could only depend on my Jesus to get me through these ugly pains. Over the last year I cried a lot of tears, as I wrote in my last post. I cried because I was scared. I cried because I was so tired, physically, emotionally and spiritually. I cried because I could not be mom as I wanted and needed to my babies. I cried because I could not be wife as I wanted to my Sanj. I cried because I could not be friends to my friends. I spent a year of weeping.
As I gave thought to a verse that I loved, it came so easy. Jesus wept. Jesus felt such pain that caused Him to weep. He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead yet He still felt the pain of loss as he was surrounded by those that were hurting from the loss of their brother, their friends. I love that despite the fact that Jesus knew in a short bit, the weeping of those that loved Lazarus would be rejoicing, in that moment, He felt that pain too and wept.
As I read of others thoughts on this, many said that Jesus wept for other reasons, too. Yet, while He may have, I do not know how we know that for sure. What I do know is that He wept at the loss of His friend.
I was never a crier by nature. Well, the younger me did cry at those Hallmark commercial, at sad movies, all that kind of stuff. Then it seemed that as I had my babies, crying did not happen as easily. I am not sure if I hardened or just felt the need to be more in control as mom and defender to my little people.
Then the year happened where tears came. The year came where I wept.
I have felt God holding me so closer and reassuring me that He has it all in the palm of His hands. I know He was holding Sanj, my boys, my friends and family close, giving them what they needed to help me through this, one day at a time.
Knowing Jesus wept for His friend, Lazarus, I like to think that Jesus cried tears with me. He knew that I was going to make it. He knew He was going to see me through and yet in that moment, when my tears leaked down my face out of my heart, I believe that His tears were mingled with mine.
Jesus wept for me. Jesus wept with me. Jesus resurrected me from my pain.
So my life verse is one that is so short. Yet to me, a very powerful one.
Thank you, Jesus for weeping because You loved so hard. I thank you for loving me so much (I know I am Your favourite). Thank you for cupping my face with Your loving hands as I wept.
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Posted in Boys, choices, crazy pill, faith, Family, God and I, love, Marriage, moments, motherhood, Reema Sukumaran, relationships | Leave a comment

1 Year Anniversary #BellLetsTalk

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I miss writing.  I love the Facebook  memories as it brings back old posts and usually makes me laugh at the craziness of life with the boys in the younger days.  I wish I could write more of life with the boys now as teens and young men but … yah,  they would not like that.

There are so many things that I feel like I need/want to write about and yet how do I  chose?  I want to write about #metoo and share how God has been so amazing in answering my prayers and how healing and sharing has been so cool.   I realize that “cool” is a odd word to use here but I really can’t think of a better word.  I want to write about death, dying and watching someone you love suffer.  I am not sure HOW people cope and live again after this passes.  I want to write about other not so intense thoughts and yet today I have decided to write about something close to my heart.

#BellLetsTalk when this campaign started, it was the year that I realized that I was suffering from something significant.  I realized that I needed help.  I realized that I was suffering from something I didn’t understand and found that fear was a little bit overwhelming at the emotions and feelings that seemed to overtake me and I wasn’t sure who I was.

I have had a crazy year and this month marks the one year anniversary of a time in my life that I never want to relive.  I am sharing with the intent and hope that maybe my story can and will encourage someone that is struggling.

My story is one that I can only remember parts of and that in it self is scary and frustrating. I know this started in December 2016 sometime but only know this because I have been told.  I was having severe panic attacks, I think.  I was so bad I could not be left alone.  I had beautiful friends that babysat me while Sanj was at work.  Then the boys would pick me up after school and we would go home.  Again, I do not remember any of this.

For Christmas, we took the boys away.  I felt happy, relaxed and me.  In the plane, as we got closer to our destination, panic attacks began again.  And continued consecutively, over and over.  I was so mad.  And frustrated.  And annoyed.  And Mad.  Our week away was filled with none stop attacks.  They were mild and yet extremely annoying.  That week away was so good for our family.  The boys were hilarious and said this was probably the best Christmas.  Yah!

January came and the babysitting began again.  I just remember sleeping my friends homes and waking up and feeling scared and sad and falling back asleep again.

February came.  One day we went shopping for a prom dress for Tyler’s girlfriend, with Tyler, Alexx, Penny (her mom and one of my dearest friends, who is a nurse).  We ate lunch at a restaurant.  I was not feeling well that day or maybe I was tired so Tyler drove.  We went to the dress stores and headed to the car.  At this time, Penny noticed I was acting strange.  (No comments—lol).   Thankfully there was an exit and gas station that they pulled over.  Penny told Alexx to call 911.  Apparently I was talking to myself and then after some other nonsense  I started to seizure.  Then I became violent.

Being in Scarborough, the EMS folks assumed I was on drugs etc. and were a bit rough in their handling.  Tyler spoke up and said, “This is my mom and she is not like this, please be gentle with her.”  (Can I tell you how much I love my boys)?  After this the EMS were great with him, explaining as they went along.  Penny thought she would ride in the ambulance with me, but Tyler said he was going because I was his mom.  Here’s the thing, Sanj was in Ottawa with Zachary for a hockey tournament.  That was about 4 hours away.  Tyler, Penny and Alexx stayed with me the whole time.

Of course I do not remember any of this.  Yet they do have “funny” stories about my time in the emergency.  I was handcuffed or restrained in my bed.  I had to go to the bathroom and kept begging them to release me.  My people kept telling me they could not give me my freedom and that I could use the bedpan.  I am glad that I had enough of myself to refrain from doing so.  I am so grateful to have God given friends to stay with me through this journey.

Fast forward to being released a day or two later.  No real reason was found though testing and follow up proceeded the following months.  Obviously, I was not left alone.  My poor babies babysat me often in the evenings if Sanj had commitments.  Josh stayed away from me physically as he was scared that I would seizure again and hurt him, which broke my heart.  I felt such sadness and guilt knowing how much I was putting my men through.  I went to work with Sanj each day.  I was able to slowly work the front desk for bits of time and then I would go lay in the floor in Sanj’s office and sleep 2 hours easily.  When the boys finished school, they would come pick me up.  I would go home and sleep again.  There was not a lot that I could do as exhaustion seemed to consume me.   I am not sure how many months this went on.  The biggest factor was fear.  I could not be left alone as I was petrified.  Yes, of another seizure but worse was the panic attacks that over took my world.  I was scared of being anywhere by myself.  I could not go to the kitchen  without looking behind my back and race back upstairs.  I could not stay at the office alone as  I had such fear of the boogie man for lack of a better word.  I felt such fear.  As I left the shower, I had to race out of there, even though I KNEW there was no way that someone could be there after I just finished.

I went to my doctor so often in tears crying though my visit so scared and frustrated.  I went on some meds to help with my anxiety and depression.  I found myself praying to God to please make this all go away.

One day, as we were in church, Sanj was on  praise team, which meant the music touched me more so than usual,  the last song played,  I sat in my seat, unable to stand and wept.  I do not think I cried so hard (especially in public), begging God to take me as I could not live like this anymore.  The panic attacks were so severe, the stress on my family was crazy and I was not who I was suppose to be, a mom to my sweet boys and wife to my amazing husband.  I was not functional.  Period.  I could not stand being scared all the time.  I wept.  I begged God to please help me.  I was at my lowest.  Writing this my chest is tightening and I am pausing to breathe.  As I cried out, I  felt someone come hold me.  A friend (a newer friendship).  She came from the back where she was sitting  and held me as I wept, crying the ugly cry.  She held me.  After the service, two more ladies and my dearest Penny came, held me and prayed, prayed and asked God for my heart’s desire, to be whole again.`

There’s so much to this story.  Someday, I will be able to share the whole experience but for today, I am sharing to say there is HOPE.  It is the 1 year anniversary of my seizure in 2 weeks.  I am so grateful to say that I am able to stay alone the office, just a month ago.  I am able to go to the kitchen and take a shower without fear of the boogie man.  I am working full days and functioning as a “normal” (Ok, my normal, lol) human.  I am able to being wife and mom and friend.  I still have fears but for the most part I have found my way back to a life I am comfortable with thanks to God, my incredible husband and sons and dearest friends, all who never gave up on  me.

It’s Bell Let’s Talk today.  It is a day I actually love as we work together to fight the stigma of mental illness.  I am a diabetic.  I do not think twice about the meds I need to live.  Why would I be ashamed that I suffer from mental illness?  I need meds to allow me to function.  I have had serious trauma that makes me a person that has PTSD.  I have not always suffered from depression and anxiety but again, trauma has made this a part of my reality.  Some of us are born with mental illness and it is a way of life.  I think the word “mental” has a negative connotation to it.  Yet it is a matter of redefining and accepting mental illness as another one of life’s illnesses and being so grateful for medication and help that there is.  Counselling is a huge release for me too.  I have learned to pause and breathe.  It sounds simple but as someone that has a lot of energy and is called by society a person with ADHD, breathing, really breathing is something I have to pause and remind myself.  There are moments when I feel like I am sitting on that fence of losing myself again.  I have learned to pray first and share with those closest to me.  Sometimes, just sharing is a huge release.

As I come upon my one year anniversary, I realize that this is a time I want to celebrate!  I made it to my one year of finding myself again.  Well, that’s not true, I have changed immensely.  I have learned not to take things like family, friends and my health, especially my mental health for granted.  Every day that goes without a panic attack or fear of the boogie man is a day that I am so grateful to God for.  Sanj, be warned, a party is in order!

Let’s talk.  If you need someone, I am hear to listen.  Message me… reemasuk@gmail.com. Go to your doctor.  Call a friend.  Talking is really the first step.  My story will not be yours.  Yet that is the blessing in this, we are all different.  Yet there is help for each of us, if you just seek it.

My heart is still pounding as I write this and share.  I write this hoping that it will help someone know that you are not alone.

Dear Jesus, I ask that you reach someone that needs to know they are not alone.  You are there with them.  Help them seek out what they need.  I am so grateful for Your love!  I love you so much. 

Thank you for all those that helped me and continue to help me.  You know who you are and I love you.

#BellLetsTalk

Posted in Boys, choices, crazy pill, faith, Family, General, God and I, love, Marriage, moments, motherhood, Parenting, Reema Sukumaran, relationships | Leave a comment

#MeToo

Harvey Weinstein’s scandal did women a huge favour as I see it. On Sunday, Alyssa Milano asked people to reply #me too if they had been sexual assaulted.  This tweet started a movement that sparked over half a million tweet in that next 24 hours and continues to grow as people continue to #me too on Facebook and other sites.

Here’s the thing…  I am not sure why this is giving voice to so many but IT IS!  For this I am so grateful.  As I see friends and family #me too, it hurts my heart and yet as someone that has been through this too, I know that there is such freedom and the start of healing as we shout out that this happened to #ME TOO!!!  I see so many age groups and feel so sad when I see young ones hash tagging ME TOO.  Is there a way to make it stop?

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You know as I saw and continue to see #me too with friends and family, I feel such pride in their strength.  It is huge to hash tag that you were hurt in such an ugly way.  It is sad that often then not it is by someone trusted or loved.

It isn’t just Hollywood and those Weinstein was ugly with. It is such a common thing and I really hope this gives all of us, those that #me too and those that aren’t able too yet strength and a knowing that they are not allow.

I saw a male #me too and felt such pride that he has the strength to stand up and say it!  I know there are so many men that can’t.  I know there are so many women that are not able to do that yet either.  I hope that they will dig deep and find that super strength to yell out #ME TOO because it is not your fault.  It is so freeing to say I was hurt.  I am angry.  I am confused.  I am furious!

I can’t wait to share my new project.  It’s been life changing for me.  It’s along the same lines of #me too. More on this later….  🙂

I am putting this out there.  If you have been hurt this way and need someone- I am here.  I am here so you can say #me too.  There is something powerful about breaking that silence.  You suddenly are not alone.  I love the TOO in the #me too.  You are not alone.  It’s sad, ridiculous and scary how many TOO represents.  I really believe that change is here.  I believe that victims are tired of being victims.  Being a victim suggests being  helplessness.  I was a victim for years.  Then… I realized that I am not helpless.  I am not going to stay a victim.  I am not staying a prisoner to that ugliness that was done to me.  I am a SURVIVOR!  I am in control of me and my life.  I am fighting hard.  I am proud of me.  I am proud of you and walk along side you as you hash tagged #me too.

Posted in choices, Family, General, love, moments, Reema Sukumaran, relationships | Leave a comment

Happily Ever After

I’m back.  This year and a bit has been a brutal one.  Maybe I’ll eventually get around to blogging it but I’m back and hope to began writing again.  🙂

I always thought that once I got married that I would have my happily every after.  I felt like I had learned so much coming from a dysfunctional family and if I married a prince then my happily ever after was bound to happen.  I feel like we as a society feed this to young girls as they watch Cinderella (I know there are other movies there but I can’t think of any more right now) where the girl and boy find each other and they live happily ever after.  I admit I was foolish, I really did think that happily ever after was a reality.

I know I have your attention, well least Sanj’s as he is wondering WHAT I am going to say next! lol  Here’s the reality… as I am almost fifty (in 249 days ) the reality of life is something that just slaps you across the face.  I remember the 30s being about motherhood to babes to school age kids.  It was about the lack of sleep.  It was about lunches, homework and teaching the children to read, ride a bike, skate, ski, getting to the team sports…. the 30s was about realizing that it was all about family and sometimes you got lost.

Then there was the 40s… I think this decade is one that is a bit harder.  As children grow up and find their own personalities and lives with friends, we have more time to seek who we are or who we have become.  I think that this is where couples re-emerge.  It seems to be the time where couples seem to divorce or split.  Not always, of course. It seems to be the time that with children not there constantly to keep life a blur (in a good way), it gives time to focus that what may have been a pause or a slow speed forward.  Do you know what I mean?

I will admit that it has surprised me how many couples have split in this period.  It is shocking how much was not obvious, such as cheating, abuse or countless other things that break up couples.  There are the couples that are happy and yet life has taken over with bills, debt and the constant drain and worry of fiances.  Or the fact of health that seemed to be taken for granted in the younger years, is suddenly shouting for attention.  Or mental state that takes a shift for reasons that can only be explained by …. therapy or self analyzing … or who knows and meds  ( mine is affectionately called my crazy pill… as in if I forget or don’t take it…I easily become my alter ego and she is scary).

Here’s my point in this post… I wish I knew that life is full of stuff in my early years.  I wish I understood Cinderella was going to have days were she was not a princess and the reality was that seemed to be lost to her.   You can marry your prince charming and still life will still throw curve balls.  There is so much that this sinful world can throw at us.  I wish there was a Cinderella part 2 that shows that life can be beautiful despite all that can be thrown at us.

As I watch my friends, struggling through seperations, divorces, frustrated with the pile of bills that don’t go away, wondering what to do as the vehicle breaks down, again, wishing for a break from life… I think that if we can seek the little bits of happiness… dinner out (means no dishes or cooking), a good book (which allows to escape), a girls night ( which makes us realize we are not allow in this thing called life), or just quiet time (where, if we chose, we can hear God sending us a hug, reassuring us that He’s got us) and focus on those moments maybe that big picture called life wouldn’t be so overwhelming.

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Cinderella… she had her every day clothes, scrubbing floors, cooking and doing all those every day things.  The prince came and swept her away for a short time.  Yet even Cinderella went back to reality after midnight.

Guess we need to realize that we all may wish for a different reality at times but it’s so amazing to know that we can seek help with our own “fairy godmother” in heaven where God is always waiting and listening to us His children.

Posted in Boys, choices, faith, Family, General, God and I, love, Marriage, moments, Parenting, Reema Sukumaran, relationships | Leave a comment

Walk A Mile…

This morning I woke up extremely exhausted and disturbed.  I was dreaming of my dad being physically abusive to us and trying to figure out a way to escape his craziness.  My dad has passed on in September and I found a lot of peace for him and myself.  I have spent so many years trying to figure it out and find peace… and truth be told, sometimes I feel like God allowed my dad to live these years past to give me time to find what I needed.  Ultimately I found a peace that really does pass all understanding and God always has my back.  And yet, though I have found peace, the memories still continue to haunt.

Why am I writing…   there is FINALLY awareness about abuse.  It is not a hidden secret that abuse happens still, it’s a frightening thing for those involved and how to get help or escape takes a LOT of courage. walk a mileI just love this event!  I love the fun that comes with raising awareness to this ugliness of abuse.  I love seeing these men walk in high heels a  mile!!!  There’s a lot of  craziness in this world.  Yet events like this give hope that there is goodness, love and willingness to help.  I copied the rest of this post from the website  Put Yourself in Her Shoes website.  This is something that seems to be happening in many communities.  Please consider being a part of it as there are various ways to participate and make a difference.

Put Yourself in Her Shoes™

Each year, an ever-increasing number of men, women and their families are joining the award-winning Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®: The International Men’s March to Stop Rape, Sexual Assault & Gender Violence. A Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® Event is a playful opportunity for men to raise awareness in their community about the serious causes, effects and remediations to men’s sexualized violence against women.

First You Walk the Walk

There is an old saying: “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” Walk a Mile in Her Shoes® asks men to literally walk one mile in women’s high-heeled shoes. It’s not easy walking in these shoes, but it’s fun and it gets the community to talk about something that’s really difficult to talk about: gender relations and men’s sexualized violence against women.

Then You Talk the Talk

It’s critical to open communication about sexualized violence. While hidden away, sexualized violence is immune to cure. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get people talking. People unfamiliar with men’s sexualized violence against women don’t want to know it exists. It’s ugly. People that have experienced sexualized violence themselves want to forget about it. How do you get people talking now, so they can prevent it from happening? And if it’s already happened, how do you help them recover.

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Hockey and Racism…

This was written by Sanj… about something that happened to Zachary this week at hockey.how-human-skin-color-evolved-across-different-regions

HOCKEY AND RACISM. So as I sit in this arena on Family Day weekend, watching my boys doing something that is so Canadian, playing shinny with friends, I am reminded of what this sport is to our family. Hockey has been a part of our community and our lives in a very big way. We, as a family, in turn have given back to our community through this sport and yet there has continued to be a dark spot that keeps cropping up. My son, Zachary Sukumaran has now just turned 15 years of age and for the last several years he has played in a smaller town than the rest of my boys. Last night Zach was playing in a league game and yet again ,he had a child use a racial epithet regarding him this child referred to him as “nig nig”. As a 15 year old, Zach is bigger and stronger than most kids he plays against and this was no exception. This child that really had no dominance over Zach but was willing to use race as his alternative. This is not an isolated incident. Each year for the last several years, Zach has been attacked for his skin colour while playing hockey. Zach plays many sports, he plays football, basketball, golf etc. Yet it is only in this sport that he encounters this kind of thing. To be fair, the refs and the league have been amazing at addressing these issues and yet they continue. It is out of ignorance that these things happen and yet ignorance persists. While I came as an immigrant into a country where I had to integrate, for my children they are as much a part of the Canadian fabric as anyone no matter how many generations their families have been in this country, their skin colour might separate them but not their love for their sport or their country nor a multitude of other factors that make us truly Canadian. The message I inevitable pass on to my children may not be the best message to give but as a protective father I do it anyway. I tell my boys that by comparison, you are better than that person who has decided to insult you from a very low place. I go back now to watching my boys playing shinny with a bunch of people playing a sport in which the only difference I see is their skin colour on this Family Day weekend.

Written by Sanj Sukumaran

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The Day I Thought I’d Never See….

Today I went with Sammy to the court house.  I watched as the judge looked at my son, judging him as a criminal and what would be an appropriate punishment for his “crime” of assault and threat to assault.  I listened as Sammy’s lawyer, (who we had to pay a pretty penny  before anyone would listen to him), spoke to the judge and listened to her semi-sarcastic response to my son.  I walked out of the court room feeling a bunch of emotions and yet trying hard to suppress them from Sammy, knowing he had his own emotions, whatever they were to deal with.  Sammy walked away with having to do anger management course, 50 hours of volunteer hours, and he is to stay away from both the “victims” homes, place of work and church.Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and indoor

I am a parent that has raised my boys to be kind, respectful and understand how to treat others.  Aside from their siblings, I must say that I’ve seen them grow to be respectful to others ( for the most part).  Having no sisters, we, Sanj and I have always instilled in them how they are to treat women.  We are old school.  I like them to hold the door open for others (not just women).  They have been taught to help carry bags.  They have been taught to respect women.  They know to treat other human beings with respect.

Here’s the thing… my boys have started dating.  My heart still pounds when I say that.  Wow.  I’m not sure when girls had cooties to now being the best thing ever.  Three of my boys have been dating the last year and bit.  Sammy startled me by dating someone in California.  The whole online dating thing…. it is still pretty foreign to me.  I remember realizing this is what was happening and feeling very uncomfortable.  And yet… Sammy seemed happy and excited.  About this time, 2 of my other boys were dating too.  I must say this whole dating bit was a huge eye opener for me.  I loved watching my boys with their girls and how their interaction was something I had never seen before.  I loved watching my youngest acting totally grossed out as he watched his siblings interact with GIRLS!

Here’s the thing about Sammy’s relationship, despite the fact that she was so far away, it seemed that they had a friendship that was great which made the relationship seemingly more special.  In October, Sammy asked to go visit his girlfriend, I think for her birthday.  Then he went again in January.  Around this point, the GF (girlfriend) came to our house.  She was very shy and quiet and kept to herself.  Having been shy growing up (I know, hard to believe), I cut her some slack.  I tried.  I really felt good about my effort.  I also figured with time, we’d be cool.

Fast forward to September, Sammy decided to go to Ottawa for school and GF was to join him.  I wasn’t too pleased with their idea of living together but … it was the plan was.  (This isn’t really the issue of this post so I’m moving on)…

There were a few times when things seemed to get ugly with them.  I figured that Sammy was in school, working and being the social creature he was, this was hard on GF who moved there and for some reason I still don’t understand, didn’t get a job.  Being an introvert, she was happy with Sammy coming home and them hanging out, the two of them.  I figured that this was the kind of issues that many couples struggled with.

There was one  particular moment when Sammy asked us to come pick him up.  He was very upset and said GF and him were done.  We drove the 3ish hours to Ottawa, got a hotel and went to grab him.  Unfortunately by this time, they seemed to talk it out.   Sammy asked if she could come to dinner and hang with us.

Over this period of time, Sammy kept very quiet of his issues in his relationship.  I could see that there were issues but they seemed like most normal couples that were trying to figure it out.

I’m fast forwarding… the GF seemed to suffer from depression and was sent home.  I’m not sure what happened if anything at home.  After a bit, she came back.  It seemed that absence made the heart fonder.

They lived with us 2 months.  Every week was the move out date.  While I do not approve of this, I also didn’t want my kid on the streets, obviously.  And yet I have 5 other boys that I am teaching and …. anyways.

Over the time Sammy and GF lived with us, there was stuff I noticed.  Weird stuff.  And yet,  Sammy kept things very quiet.  I personal, did not see this as a happy relationship I wanted for my son, but at this point I also know that I can say things but ultimately, if I want us to be cool, I have to respect his decision.  Ugh.

Again, fast forward.  They  got a place, they were sharing with one of Sammy’s buddy that help with cost of rent etc.  You know, what I have learned is that a mama’s instinct is usually right.  I am not sure if this a God given thing but… I am learning trust my judgement rather than question myself.  I pray for each of my boys.  I pray for their GFs and their relationships.  I pray and beg sometimes, for God to take care of my boys as young men and their women that will become part of their world.

Thanksgiving evening, as we were literally all at the table with our family, Sammy calls me, telling me he’s not going to be able to make it.  I heard his voice was off and yet since I had the turkey in my hand, I said ok… and hoped to see him later.  THEN he asked for Jordan.  HUH?  Those two have not always gotten along so this surprised and alarmed me especially after I saw Jordan and Tyler heading out.

Sigh.  At 11:30 pm at night, my Sammy (my child that I gave birth too and love with all my heart) called, crying and telling me he had to tell me something horrible.  OF COURSE my mind went to pregnancy.  But nope… as I learned, there is something so ugly that can happen to your child that it breaks your heart.  Literally.  As I am typing this, my heart is racing and I find myself deep breathing.  And yet as I write this with Sammy’s permission, I know that this is something that needs to be shared as it is that sad and sick.

His GF had been hurting him.  Since Ottawa, this girl has been physically ABUSING HIM!  A lot.  Over stupid things, she would lose it and become so physical and ugly.  He would cover his face/head and take it.  Then after a bit, the GF would do the “I’m Sorry” bit.

Here’s the thing… I lived with physical abuse.  My mom was a battered woman.  My dad had lots of issues and didn’t get help as he didn’t see the need.  Along with physical abuse is the ugliness of mental abuse and guilt.  If this was happening to a girl… can you imagine?  I mean CAN YOU IMAGINE?  I mean if my boy was hurting a girl, I can’t IMAGINE my reaction or thoughts.

I am listening on the phone to my child, broken and telling us that this has been going on for over a year.  Then I listened to him tell Sanj and I how since moving to Peterborough, GF had been cheating on him while he was at work.  This night he reacted to GF’s physically violence of throwing a candle and salsa on him and then beating him… he grabbed her hands and begged her to just stop.

This wasn’t the end.  A guy was picking her up and taking her out.  I am not sure about why it seems victims do this but Sammy was more upset at the boy coming and taking the GF out over the GF going out and cheating on him.  Sammy texted this boy an ugly message. (A lesson learned).

GF and the boy went to the police and accused Sammy of assault to the GF and threat to assault to the boy.  This was why Sammy was telling us his stuff.  The police were there in moments to arrest Sammy.  Did you know only one person can charge … by the time Sammy got there to put his charges in… they wouldn’t listen to him.  They had to deal with this first.

My kid was bought into the police station in handcuffs.  HANDCUFFS!  We came in and had to wait as they drilled him with what he was being accused of.  Then they released him to us.  He was not allowed to go to his apartment.  He was a criminal until he was proved otherwise.

Do you get that my child did not raise his hand?  Do you get that MY CHILD was being abused quite severely?  After this was out… the truth that GF had been hurting him often and quite ugly all sorts of stories made sense.  Now I understood WHY he asked so often to go to a chiropractor because the GF was jumping on his back, slamming him against the mental bunk, etc.  This broke my heart. I thought when I had a break up in university I had gone through a heart break.  WRONG!  My child that I birth, a child that I fed, a child that I bathe, a child I taught, a child that I kissed hurts away and a child that I hugged was hurt by someone else, someone that said she loved him…that was what broke my heart.

I got permission from my child to write this.  I feel the need to write because as a mother of boys, SIX BOYS, they have all been taught to respect women.  And men.  Are we teaching our daughters (are children in general) that physical and mental abuse to a human being is EVIL.  It is WICKED.  IT IS INEXCUSABLE.  There are enough that have this kind of sickness.  Growing up with this, I can assure you there is no excuse.  We as parents, know that if our child has this issue(s), MUST seek help.  I am not even going to go there about this GF because I do not want to waste energy there.  I will say that her own mother was physically hurt by her. Enough Said.

I am so glad that the LAW keeps my Sammy away from this person.  I am so glad and sad that we all learned this lesson the hard way.  Yes, I said glad.  Why?  I would hate for my sons to be involved with someone like this, stay in relationship and then spend a life time just as my mom and my siblings and I did.

I am so glad there is help.  We’ve had Sammy seek help and I know he has found this immensely helpful.  I am not happy about the 50 hours of community service or the 2 classes he has to take (one being Anger Management… Yes I am lol at the irony, NOT).

This GF still trys to reach out to Sammy.  I would like to press charges on her, which we had to wait to do.  And yet, my Sammy wants us to just let it go.  SO I have to count on the law to do the Keep Away even though she doesn’t seem to be regarding the law very well. Again…. LOL NOT.

Since this happened on Canadian Thanksgiving 2016, months have passed.  I told Sammy I would like to write about this months ago.  He agreed.  And yet I have been unable to do so in a way that I know my God would be proud.  SO I have had to wait.  And Wait. And Wait.  Yesterday as I watched my child walk up to the judge, a judge with kinda an attitude as she looked at each person, I wanted to yell out, YOU’VE GOT THE WRONG PERSONS HERE! And yet, we have to go through this.  Sammy refuses to press charges. ( I must have done something right, lol).  We did the whole court thing.  I kissed him and dropped him off at home.

Today I am writing.  I am writing to all the parents of boys out there.  Let’s teach our boys to be kind and respectful.  Yes.  AND YET… please!!!!  Please let us teach our boys to love themselves enough to not be abused.  Let us teach them there is no shame in this, in setting boundaries.  They are not to be abused, period.  The same rules that we have for girls about being treated with kindness and respect, this is for boys too.  It is a human being kind of rule.

There is so much I can write.  There is so much that has been damaged.  There is so much that was wrong that seemed to get away.  And yet, you know, I am so grateful that my son came to us.  I am so grateful that in the end, my boys, despite all the fighting and craziness, love each other and have each others back.  I am grateful that my boys have friends that have their back.  I am so grateful for the loyalty of a small town.  I know I can’t write it all out, but I am so grateful that my boys being looked after.

Sigh.  I love my boys.  That seems like a word not sufficient enough.   And yet, I am so grateful for a God that loves us beyond.  I am grateful that God will forgive these mean people if they seek  him.

As you can see, I haven’t written in a while.  Lots of reasons and yet here I am, sharing… because as a mom of Boys to Men… this is so important.  Maybe I’m stupid and yet I never knew to express this to my boys.  I guess I trusted.  I guess I was naive.

 

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Happy Birthday to Me!

The weekend past was brutal.  I felt so low, dark and alone.  I found myself wishing that life could end.  This is a cycle in my world.  My reality.  I know that when I am feeling this low I need to reach out to the help that is my support system.  My therapist and I chatted  Monday morning— this in it self usually helps me greatly.  She helps me reframe the messiness of my mind into something that is positive and I hang up feeling better — usually I have things that I need to do to dig myself out of the dark.

Monday I called her feeling that darkness swallowing me up.  In the course of the session, we talked about my dad and how I am working it all out.  I realized that I am at a place of acceptance and know boundaries to keep myself safe emotionally.  I realized that I loved my dad and had come to accept that he loved me but couldn’t show it in the way that was needed.  I felt so proud of this progress.

Monday night I was at the mall and my cell rang.  I was paying for my purchase and took the call- despite the number being unknown.  The lady on the line told me that my dad had just died.

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You know, for months (maybe longer) I have been praying that God would take my dad.  I wanted so badly his suffering to end.  I hated his suffering, his heart was bad.  Very bad.  He lived at life where strangers where his family  and friends.  I kept praying this prayer.  Was it bad to pray this?  I guess I felt comfort that God would know best.

Tomorrow is my birthday.  It’s a day I love.  Last night as I was driving home, I felt such peace.  I know that my dad is laying sleep in Jesus.  My dad loved God, almost to an obsession.  He shared Him with everyone.  I mean EVERYONE!   He had a boldness that most people do not have no a day.  I wish my dad was able to show his love to us, his kids, with such abandonment and yet I have come to realize he was broken.  I felt that God gave me an amazing birthday gift… an answer to my prayer.  He took my broken daddy and gave him peace.  My dad is resting in Jesus.  When I see him again, my daddy will be whole, healed and happy.  He WILL be able to show me his love and it will be overflowing. As I was driving home, I felt so peaceful.  I felt peace that I have never known before.  I saw a rainbow- it wasn’t a typical rainbow but a burst of one in the clouds.  How often can you say that God gave you a birthday gift?!!!

I have always said that  I know God loves me more!!!

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Is this proof?  Hehe

My birthday present is that God answered my prayer.  My dad is finally at peace.  As a result… God gifted me a peace that passeth understanding.  I always loved that sentence but truthfully couldn’t image it… until now.  It is such a beautiful thing, receiving peace in a mess that makes no sense and yet knowing with out a shadow of doubt that it’s all good.  God’s got it.

Thank you, Jesus for loving me so much to give me the incredible gift of Your love in a way that is so special and meaningful.  BTW- Jesus, thanks that I AM Your favourite! 🙂

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Loneliness.

large_20-quotes-on-loneliness

I am walking through a very interesting time in life.  It’s a time where I have been given a gift and part of that gift is dealing with the magnitude of events that have made me who I am today.  It’s a journey and walking through this path has been scary.  It has been so eye opening and paralyzing in some ways.  I am taking a journey in which I revisit places,  events, dramas and traumas that have all made me who I am today.

As I have matured into the me of today, I have found that life can be and is a very lonely place a place where  best friends become friends and groups of girlfriends can come with such ferocity and then leave without notice.  Just a void is left.  I have often wondered what is wrong with me?  What am I doing wrong?  How can I have such a tight knit group of friends for years and then one day, literally become polite strangers?  I hate that awkwardness of bumping into each other and that weird hug that is forced.

I wonder how a community we are so blessed to have eventually dissipates and we are left just going through the motions of belonging.

Last night I found myself feeling so lonely.  This week I was in a group setting that once felt like home and found myself so lonely in a crowd.

 loneliness |ˈlōnlēnəs|
noun
1 sadness because one has no friends or company: feelings of depression and loneliness.
• the fact of being without companions; solitariness: 

This is not the definition of my loneliness.  As I looked up synonyms for loneliness I found words that just didn’t seem to fit.

One that stuck out was homesickness.  I’m homesick.  It might seem weird that but I am homesick for that period that was so comfortable and homey.  I am homesick for a period that had no time for loneliness.

I guess that means that I am not happy with the change.  Changes in life, in the boys lives, in our social circle are all making me miss yesterday.  I am missing a time when it all was like a puzzle with no pieces missing.  We had community and we were loved, welcomed and we fit.

Maybe that’s it!  I feel like life is going on with a missing piece of a puzzle.  Recently I finished a 1000 piece puzzle ( with lovely help) and at the end, when I was feeling excitement, I realized that ONE PIECE WAS MISSING!!!  It was so maddening.  I left it on the table for weeks, with the hope of finding that missing piece.  It never turned up.  I finally ended up tossing that puzzle.  It was so maddening it was incomplete and without purpose.

I guess I am now at mid life and wonder about the relationships that left me hanging.  I wonder about how they feel.  I mean do they miss me?  How do people do that?  How do people become such a part of your life and then just choose to leave?  I know, some people come for seasons… but right now, I find little comfort in that.

I love people.  With all my heart, I love people.  Then when they leave, it is weird.  There is a hole.  I hate that they have that ability to leave a hole.  The reality is that I loved them. and they left.

We were at a restaurant in town, they  whole family, having supper one night.  Right next to us what a past friendship sitting there.  I know the family felt awkward for me.  I know that they felt my pain.  I know that countless times Sanj has said it was their loss.  I did the fake wave. I sat through the fake chatter.  Then they left.  We ate.  Then I felt a hug and kiss on my shoulder and cheek. They were leaving and decided to have that weird interaction. Me… I felt discombobulated.  I felt hurt.  I felt a void.

Is it me?  I realize that we, having a large family, have kids in various stages of life.  I realize that life happens and people move on, yet the ones that you put effort into, shouldn’t they stay?

I have felt this void and loneliness as I am on this journey right now of discovery.   I realize that I am a people person. OK, I mean I have always been… but there are times now where that loneliness is huge even when I am with people.

I am realizing that maybe it’s part of the journey.  I realize that sometimes, so much more now in the past months, I find myself being still inside, I find myself listening, I find myself feeling,I find myself really ready to do this, I find myself begging God to do His will.

It’s different right now.  I know I have been living His will as best as I knew how … but it’s all changing.  I feel it.

I guess as my boys are shifting rather quickly from boys to men, as life is changing from a comfortable place to an unfamiliar place, God is getting my attention.  Change is never comfortable, especially when the change is unknown, yet it is also exciting.  I am ready.

I realize that loneliness is also a place where I go running to God.  Alone.  I love that.  Maybe it’s  not about loneliness  but about aloneness with God.  I am feeling things.  I suppose the unknown has never really been frighting to me.  I love change.  Yet in this case, I think that “Loneliness is God’s cry for intimacy. If you’re battling with loneliness, that’s God trying to get your attention.”-Pastor Jon French.

God has been getting my attention lately.  I know that I am on an exciting journey, destination unknown, and I am ok with that.  God has never let me down.  Ever.  I need to remind myself of that sometimes.  He has never let me down.  No, He hasn’t answered all my prayers and I don’t know that reason in some cases but I am ok with that. Wow.  Yes, I am actually ok with it.

Maybe there is someone else that is suffering through loneliness right now or maybe I just needed to write to work this all out!  God has been trying to get my attention.  I’m listen, Lord.  Sorry that sometimes You need to SHOUT IT OUT TO ME!

I’m listening.

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Zachary Graduates…

Zachary Thomas Sukumaran is leaving his elementary years behind!  In September it will be off to high school for child of mine #5.  Wow!  He is my very social child and loves to be out and about with his friends.

I know high school is going to be great!  He is my child I will have to keep an eye out on for sure but it’s all good! lol and that’s what he has his older brother for!

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Zach has a lot of talents and heart.  I love that he is able to see the needs of others and reach out.  I love that he is able to make others laugh and feel good.  He is my chef in the making.  I usually am internalizing a groan when I see him creating a mess, oops I mean meal for himself and then am always surprised with the delicious concoction that he whipped up.

He has always been my independent child from the start.  I never have to double check his packing because he is always on top of things.

He is a blossoming drummer.  I think he takes after his mama! lolol

I don’t know that he will be but I do know that he will shine in whatever he decides.  God has wonderful things planned for him and I can’t wait to see what will be unfounded.

Congratulations, Zachary!  We are so proud of you and love you!

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Survived.

Yesterday felt like the longest day ever.  I am not sure I can express all my thoughts and emotions, or even if that is necessary and yet I felt such acute pain that I did not know how  to make dull.

Father’s Day… it’s a day that I can usually cope with by celebrating Sanj and his role to our family, father to his six sons and the blessing he is.  Usually I can cope and ignore that dull pain of having a father that is and always has been absent.    This year, not so much and to add to it, it was suffocating.

At church, there was a panel of father and child combinations, Sanj and Sammy being one of the combos.  There was a married daughter and her father and then a married son and his father.  There were questions that were asked by the pastor and answered then by each set.

I was fine.  I was able to blank it out.  I tuned out the songs that talked about our Father’s love.  Sometimes it just hurts.  Sometimes, most times, I am ok with and grateful to my Heavenly Father for His constant love and care.  I am usually about to deal with the fact that my earthly father is messed up.

Then a question was asked of how the father showed loved to them, the child, an example of this.  The daughter talked about how her car had broken down and how her father drove the few hours to her school and switched cars with her, and took her car to deal with so she didn’t have to worry.

Seems normal, seems almost in sequential, something that most would do, right?  Suddenly I felt my tears spring up.  I felt my heart do that thing that I hate, you know, when you know those emotions that are so locked tight, start to unravel and you know you are in trouble…

I was driving home from university, with a car full of girls.  We were all heading home for break.  My car (the one my dad gave me to use) broke down right there on the highway, about 30-45 minutes from home.  Ugh!!!!  No cell phones back in the day.  I am not sure even how I phoned home but my dad told me that basically it was my problem and I was to deal with it.  He was not coming to get me.

I can remember so clearly, feeling numb and horrified and embarrassed.  How do I face these girls and tell them my dad  isn’t coming?  How do I deal with this?  I can see so clearly where the car sat, on the side of the road.  I can feel my heart as it felt then.  Heavy, loaded and sad.

I don’t remember all the details from that point.  Another dad came and got us.  And then this dad and his son went back and pulled my car home.  I remember my dad having no shame, as they came to the door.

What does it take for a dad to not be there for his kid?  The child that he brought into the world?  What does it take to turn your back on your kid when they need you?

Last night I lay with Sanj, disrupting his weird show, Game of Thrones, and cried.  I cried for me.  I cried for the friend whose dad died and her heart is so full of grief.  I cried for the little girl that realized that her dad just doesn’t care.  I cried.  I looked at the clock and was grateful to see that it was late enough that I could end the day.

I woke up with morning grateful that yesterday was over.  I woke up this morning so grateful to my Heavenly Father for always having my back.

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