Friday, May 22, 2015

Friday, May 22nd~God's Merices after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother's Heart~A Mother's Memories

photo by Jean Ann Williams

Joshua thought he’d left home when he rented a studio eight months before he died.

He stayed at his apartment as much as possible at first. Soon, though, he began eating supper with us. He sometimes slept on our couch. Then, more often than not, he spent the night at our house. I never knew how much he needed us until I read one of his journal entries after his death.

Joshua wrote in his journal: “I tried to be independent. I wanted independence, but I failed, for I felt so alone.”

My young son attempted to live in somewhat normalcy, but life slid sideways on him.

At first when Joshua came around after moving out, I felt glad to see him for it had been awhile. Later when he stayed at our home more than his own, I knew he hadn’t adjusted. 

That dampened my joy for him.

I’m grateful I never berated him for his long visits. I understood he had no social life and no job because of his disability. 

My husband and I would take Joshua out for supper, and afterward, we’d rent a movie to watch at home. My most treasured memories of that last year with Joshua were when he and I went to lunch at our two favorite restaurants. He loosened up a bit and talked about politics, his nieces, or the next project we had planned for the house.

Oh, Lord God, I miss my son. I’m sorry Joshua could not live independently. I’m glad he knew he could come back home. The empty nest we now experience daily will always feel just that—empty. In Jesus’s holy name, please continue to comfort us. Amen.

Reader Journal
~Your Mother Memories~
~Your Prayer of Praise~
~A Scripture of Encouragement~

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesday, May 20th~God's Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother's Heart~Devotion~First Overnight with a Granddaughter

Lynsey, all grown up and ready to receive her highschool diploma

“For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.”
—Psalm 71:5

Our granddaughter, Lynsey, asked repeatedly to spend the night with us.

It was her turn in the rotation of Jami’s three daughters. I held off because of my ever-continuing tears. Jami and I spoke of it several times, and I said, “Honey, I don’t want to expose Lynsey to my crying spells. All it’s going to do is upset her. She’s already distressed enough over Joshua’s death.”

Later, Jami called me back after giving Lynsey my message. “Mom, Lynsey told me, ‘It’s okay if Nana cries. It won’t bother me.’”

I agreed to have her spend the night, but was still unsure of how it might affect her.

Lynsey settled into our home for her overnight with Nana and Papa. When I prayed with her at bedtime, I began to cry. Ignoring the innocent response she had given to her mom, I shook my head. “I’m sorry, Lynsey, I’m such a crybaby. And I don’t want to worry you that I’m sad.”

Lynsey’s eyes grew determined, and she cupped her hands over mine. “Nana, it’s okay. I always feel better after I’ve had a good cry.”

From the mouth of an eight-year-old.

I became even more determined to shield her from my sorrow. For the rest of the weekend, I prayed for the Lord God to make me strong and to help me not to cry within Lynsey’s hearing. He honored my request.

After a few false starts, I learned to stay in the present when our three granddaughters took their turns for overnights at Nana and Papa’s. We laughed, played board games, and made their favorite foods. Those times with them blessed my husband and me. The children gave us hope for the future—their future. We found in the process that the grandchildren needed our company just as much as we needed theirs. They mourned the loss of their beloved uncle Joshy. I believe the girls saw our sorrow and knew that it was okay to feel this raw feeling of loss.

Father, thank You for giving me a wise granddaughter. She understood tears could cleanse and heal the heart. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Monday, May 18th~God's Mercies after Suicide: Blessings Woven through a Mother's Heart~A Mother's Memories

My Box that Holds some of  my grandmother, VaVa's, Recipes

Joshua, a freshman in high school, placed an oblong gift-wrapped present on the table in front of me.

His eyes hid his feelings, telling me he worried that I might not like it. “Happy Mother’s Day,” he said.

I smiled up at him. “Oh, thank you, Son.”

As I tore open the paper on top, Joshua rubbed his finger and thumb together in anticipation. “I made it in woodshop.”

My own fingers worked faster in my accelerated excitement. “I love crafted gifts.” I gasped. “Oh, Joshua, what a nice job.” In blue paint, Joshua had printed “MOM’S BOX” on the front below the hinged lid. “You made me a box to store things in.”

“Actually, Mom, it’s for your recipes.” He pointed. “I measured with a recipe card to make the box the same width.”

“Well, what a great job you did.” I reached over and gave Joshua a hug and a pat on the back. “You’re a fine woodworker. Thank you.”

He bowed his head, and a soft smile creased his lips. “You’re welcome.”

I love my box for many reasons—one being that it has a flaw. Below the lid, the front has a crack about one-third over. To compensate, when Joshua wrote “MOM’S BOX,” he had to begin his letters to the right of the split in the wood. He wrote “MOM’S” and below that, “BOX,” so the letters are neatly to one side.
Dear Father, after twenty years, MOM’S BOX still sits on my counter in the kitchen. The bright-blue letters, and the ease with which the lid opens, reminds me of Joshua and his handiwork. How blessed to have been loved by him. I’m honored that You chose me for his mom. In Jesus’s holy name, I’m grateful. Amen.

Reader Journal
~Your Mother Memories~
~Your Prayer of Praise~
~A Scripture of Encouragement~