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The Gift of Tragedy

by Veronica 29. August 2012 07:37

From the Depths of Sorrow is a series in which I reveal my heart and personal journey through my grief. Our son, William, passed away at age 11 months and 10 days on April 24, 2012. He is dearly missed by everyone in our family and we hope to live a life worthy of reuniting with him and our first child that we lost through miscarriage.

 Tragedy A Gift?

 

When I am brought low and hurting beyond my imagination, I can have radical thoughts.  At least I consider them to be in that category. 

In eternal life when all is revealed, I will see how great it is that God changed our family in this way.  How He saved William from sin and death.  How it makes me want to live a holy life.  How we were given a gift and allowed to share in the Divine experience of Good Friday.  I know it is not the same, but we too witnessed a pure soul that brought love into the world die.  My husband and I held our son in our arms as his heart took its last beats. 

At this point, I don't have any words of wisdom regarding tragedy.  It happens in this life and again a choice is to be made by those involved.  One can say that God is cruel to give us any sorrows or one can say God loves me and so I am given this sorrow. 

My tragedy is a gift from God.  A gift that I don't understand, a gift that I am only beginning to explore, a gift that doesn't feel like a gift, but I know that it is one to treasure.  Fortunately God has given us a guide, a crucifix that bears witness that tragedy is a gift.  One can take a good time meditating and looking at a crucifix in thanksgiving for the price that has been paid for our souls.  Now imagine yourself right up there on that cross; are you still thankful?  I hope you can be thankful.  It won't lessen your pain or make everything "right" but it will give you something.  It will give you something to hold onto and something to share with Him who went before you.

Embracing the cross is a challenge.  It becomes even more challenging when that cross feels bigger and heavier than you think you can carry.  It may even feel like it is crushing you and you can't bear its weight.  My advice is to allow it to crush you.  Allow it to be the gift that God wants to give you and don't fight it.  I don't want to run away from mine.  I want to learn to love it.  I'm beginning to see a small glimmer of what it means to love this cross.  I have a lot to learn.  There is a joy in suffering and a gratitude when we look at our crosses as a gift and not a burden.  The cross will still be a cross.  It will still be pain, hard, suffering, and more.  Carrying it or in my case lying underneath it will be my cross that I call my gift.

God makes lots of gifts.  Some of those gifts we get to cuddle and call them our friends and family.  Other gifts cuddle/crush us and make us part of another family- a heavenly communion.  Tragedy is difficult but when it is abhored it is wasted, when it is embraced it becomes a gift.

 

 Heartache

by Veronica Wallace

 

There's nothing God has done to me

That he didn't do first to Mary

No pain I suffer that is my own

Or sorrow that I bear alone

I see her heart encircled in flames

I feel it in my own the same

I know the tears that she has shed

I cry them to myself in bed

And yet I do not have it all

The grief she endured for the fall

A taste is what I have to share

Of her great love to not despair

For sadness great though it may be

God will bring joy eventually

 

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Grief

Fruits of Sorrow

by Veronica 3. August 2012 06:23

From the Depths of Sorrow is a series in which I reveal my heart and personal journey through my grief. Our son, William, passed away at age 11 months and 10 days on April 24, 2012. He is dearly missed by everyone in our family and we hope to live a life worthy of reuniting with him and our first child that we lost through miscarriage.

Fruits of Sorrow

 

There is fruit from sorrow and suffering.  When a person chooses to accept the suffering as God's will, then a fruit of holiness lives within that person.  I am by no means declaring myself to be holy; rather that the potential for growth in holiness is made available to all of us when we accept God's will.  

One need not suffer from a great catastrophic event to tap into this desire for holiness.  It means accepting the daily mishaps, inconveniences, and difficulties that are present to us all.  Each moment we are given a choice to respond to events that are not our choosing or ideal situation.  Choosing holiness will be easy sometimes but when it is hard then the greater growth in our spiritual lives can occur.

To stop living for the desires of oneself and to live for the desires of He who created us sets us on a path to holiness.  Holiness is not something that is achieved and checked off the list in this life.  It is a journey that leads us closer to our Heavenly goal.  Sometimes we take steps backwards in this journey and this should always be a learning experience. 

The great thing about suffering is that it reminds us of our dependency on Christ.  We need His help to resist the temptations that come so easily.  The temptations to complain about how life is not fair, or that we deserve better, or we've worked so hard and it seems to make no difference- can turn us towards our self and away from Christ.

He is a model of suffering for us all and we need only look at a crucifix to see that there is great fruit to be found in suffering.  In my deep sorrow, when my heart aches in pain, and I can't imagine anything hurting worse than I feel at that moment- then I am given a choice.  Do I rebel and get angry or do I let suffering cover me completely?  In that soaking, that drenching of the soul in agony, I am cleansed.  I feel an outpouring of all that is me with sin, ugliness, and vice and I am left weak and dependent only on God.

Sorrow has brought me to a closer relationship with Christ.  I am thankful for that fruit.

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the broken hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. 

Suffering in whatever magnitude will occur in your life, use it to grow in holiness and for the good of others.  Don't miss the opportunity to offer your spilled milk, wrecked car, or injury, to unite yourself with Christ.  You will taste the fruit. 

2 Timothy 2:3 Share in suffering as a good soldier for Christ Jesus.

 

United With Christ

by Veronica Wallace

 

I walk into Gethsemane

To take my place in agony

Sorrow comes so readily

Embraces my fidelity

 

My turn to spend and take my share

Prepare my soul for cross to bear

Lay down my heart for him to tear

Eternal life to give repair

 

 Gethsemane

by Veronica Wallace

 

Today I went down to the Garden

To cry for my soul

I joined with Him who sorrows

For whom the bell tolls

 

He brought all humanity

The agony was crushing

I brought just my one

My misery was nothing

 

The blood came from the anguish

My soul laid out dead

He mourned the lost souls

My soul safe in heaven

 

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Grief

Ministering to the Grieving

by Veronica 17. July 2012 05:28

From the Depths of Sorrow is a series in which I reveal my heart and personal journey through my grief. Our son, William, passed away at age 11 months and 10 days on April 24, 2012. He is dearly missed by everyone in our family and we hope to live a life worthy of reuniting with him and our first child that we lost through miscarriage.

 

What You Can Do

 

When a child dies, family and friends are at a loss for words.  What can I say that is comforting?  Do they want to be left alone?  I want to call, but I don't want to cause them more pain.  These are some of the thoughts that come up in the minds of others.  Many choose to stay silent, avoid eye contact, and keep to a distance.  Others choose to make contact, send emails or calls, and let those grieving know that they are available.

I would like to address this blog to those that feel they don't know what is the right thing to do.

1. There are no "right words".  There are no magical phrases that take the pain away from losing a loved one.  Words are still important to let others know you are thinking and praying for them.  When you speak, "I am praying for you today," it makes a connection from one heart to another.  Keep it simple and just be yourself.  It is okay to say, "I don't know what to say."  Don't worry about making someone cry because the hurt and tears are already inside of them and they will come out whether you reach out or not.  You can't make anyone hurt anymore than they are already hurting unless you just choose to be cruel. 

2.  It is nice to ask how you can help the family.  Sometimes the family won't know how to respond or what they need.  Try to give concrete examples to make it easier on them.  Can I set up a meal schedule for delivery to your home?  Can my boys come on Saturday to mow the lawn and do yard work?  Is there a day or days you need someone to babysit for you?  I'm going shopping this afternoon, what can I pick up for you?  I cannot stress enough what a huge help this is for a family.

3.  Stopping by their house to drop off toiletries, pantry foods (granola bars, cereal, crackers,) or other helpful items are a huge blessing.  Even if the family isn't home you can leave a note with the items on their doorstep and make their day a little brighter. 

4.  Sending cards, emails, phone calls etc... are just a few ways to let others know I am here for you.  Add a phrase that lets them know they don't need to return the call or reply to the note; it is just a loving gesture to say that you are thinking of them today.

5.  Follow their lead, which means if they let you know they want space and alone time then be respectful of their wishes.  When a grieving family shows up to an event they are letting others know that they are trying to reach out to others.  Meet them halfway by acknowledging their presence and making them feel welcomed. 

6.  There is no time limit when grief is completed or plan to grieve correctly.  Honestly I don't think I will ever heal but rather be transformed in an ongoing process.  Allow those grieving to grieve.  There is a desire for others to want the grieving person to get over it and get back to normal.  You can't tell someone how to grieve because everyone has their own journey.  Supporting the hurting heart is a beautiful work of mercy so don't rush anyone through their pain.

There is so much more I could say, but really it just boils down to being a good friend.  When you are a good friend, you will be loving those in need.  There are many families out there that are in need of this gift that you can provide.

 

There Are No Right Words

by Veronica Wallace

 

Oh there they are

I'll stand afar

To give them space

Won't see their face

I'll look away

Stand here and pray

I just don't know the words to say

 

Oh here we are

We've come this far

It's hard to stand

In a lonely land

We'll wait and see

Can you come to me?

A hug, a touch, is comforting

 

Everlasting

by Veronica Wallace

 

Get over it

Time has passed

Just how long

Will your grief last?

 

Move on ahead

Don't stay behind

Stuck in memories

Left in your mind

 

Say what you want

You just don't know

Love does not end

But always grows

 

My heart will ache

Each passing day

Love does not stop

Nor waste away

 

Gone from my touch

We are apart

Forever my child

Within my heart

 

Thank you to all my friends who have blessed our family over and over again with your loving gestures.  We are supported by your loving prayers and friendship even when some of you are miles away.  We would not be able to endure without each of you lifting us up.

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Grief | Grief

The Question of Why?

by Veronica 11. July 2012 05:14

From the Depths of Sorrow

 

From the Depths of Sorrow is a series in which I reveal my heart and personal journey through my grief.  Our son, William, passed away at age 11 months and 10 days on April 24, 2012.  He is dearly missed by everyone in our family and we hope to live a life worthy of reuniting with him and our first child that we lost through miscarriage.

 

The Question of Why?

 

Shortly after William passed away someone asked me if I had asked God, "Why?"  I hadn't asked the question nor did I feel compelled to ask.  I don't think it is a question to be answered.  It is not for me to understand.  It is just for me to accept.  I categorize it like any other mystery of faith.  Something for me to understand fully later but for now just to accept.

God knows what is best.  He knows what HE is doing and so I need not ask "Why?".  I just ask Him to help me to accept His Holy Will.  I ask for strength to accept that which has happened.  I ask Him to help me to submit myself completely to Him.  I ask for help so I can trust Him completely. 

I have felt tempted to ask "Why?" in the past but I didn't.  I feel to ask God "Why?" is futile.  For me it means not trusting and needing some other answer than- God loves us all.  He does what is best for us all so that is the answer to "Why?".  For me, to expect anything more to that answer is to not trust my Heavenly Father's decisions/actions/will.  I think of it in these terms and so I don't desire to ask the question.

Sometimes I want to say, "No Thank You".  I don't want this situation, it is too hard.  I want to step out and away from it but I can't walk out- I am in it.  It is mine, it has been given to me.  It is real, no matter how I would like to say this is not for me- it doesn't fit.  Nevertheless it belongs to me.  It is who I am.  I have lost a child, it is real.  It is not a dream; it is not a misunderstanding.  It is not something I have any power to change or control.  It is true with or without me.  It is mine whether or not I accept it. 

 

Indisputable

by Veronica Wallace

 

This is not a choice but real

The pain I feel

This is not a dream but today

My life awake

This is not an offer to permit or deny

All is mine

This is not for consideration or debate

Truth will wait

This is not to change or control

Nowhere for me to go

This is not something to refuse or reject

I pray for the strength to just accept

 

 

I choose to accept.  It is not a one time choice but a recurring one.

 

 

 

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Grief

"What Could Have Been" Dilemma

by Veronica 3. July 2012 15:35

From the Depths of Sorrow is a series in which I reveal my heart and personal journey through my grief. Our son, William, passed away at age 11 months and 10 days on April 24, 2012. He is dearly missed by everyone in our family and we hope to live a life worthy of reuniting with him and our first child that we lost through miscarriage.

 

What Could Have Been Dilemma

 

When a loved one dies it is quite natural to ponder the experiences and life events that will never be accomplished.  It can be a source of great pain to dwell on missed opportunities.  One night my daughter was feeling this pain as she considered all that William did not get to do in life.  I shared with her my two thoughts on this dilemma.

1.  It is true there are many things he will never do.  He will never get married, graduate from high school, play a musical instrument, or make a scientific discovery.  There is also a list of things I am grateful that he will never do.  Here are a few:

Use his hands to pinch, hit, or push

Disobey his parents

Argue with his siblings

Say hurtful words to another

Offend God

Lose his faith

 

We smiled as we thought about all the things that we were glad William would never do! 

2.  My son lived 11 months and 10 days. I feel he lived his entire life-all that he was given.  I don't feel cheated. He was never meant to do any of those things. You can't miss out on something that was never meant to be done.

I described it to my daughter this way-  When a dog dies the owners are sad.  They don't lament the fact that the dog never climbed a tree, had kittens, or meowed.  He was a dog and was never meant to do any of those things.  I feel the same about William.  He was a baby that lived less than a year out of the womb and did everything he was able to do with his God given abilities.  When his time was over he didn't leave anything behind undone.  There isn't a woman out there that he was supposed to marry or a vocation that has an empty spot he was supposed to fill.  He lived his life completely! 

Psalm 139:16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them the days that were formed for me when as yet there was none of them.

 

You Lived Every Day of Your Life

by Veronica Wallace

 

No need to ask what you would have done

No need to consider things left undone

You did it all from beginning to end

Each moment you had, God did send

And now that there are no more days

Left in your earthly life to stay

Your task complete, your mission done

Your eternal life has now begun

 

I will celebrate William's birthday and I will know what age he would be as time passes.  I will wonder what he would have looked like as he grew and what would have been his favorites.  I hope to not dwell on "What Could Have Been" but rather enjoy the memories of "What Was". 

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Grief

Inside My Heart

by Veronica 28. June 2012 03:18

From the Depths of Sorrow is a series in which I reveal my heart and personal journey through my grief. Our son, William, passed away at age 11 months and 10 days on April 24, 2012. He is dearly missed by everyone in our family and we hope to live a life worthy of reuniting with him and our first child that we lost through miscarriage.

Inside My Heart

 

Sometimes the sorrow is crushing.  I find it hard to imagine anything hurting more because this is the most I've ever hurt.  My sadness weighs on me like a ton of bricks crushing my spirit.  I feel in the depths of sorrow.  Sometimes when I am here it is painful beyond belief.  Sometimes when I am there it is enlightening.

I go down deep to a place that has stripped me of everthing.  I feel completely barren and the only thing I have to cling to is faith.  When all is gone only God is left.  I think of Him like this rock that is strong and I thrust myself upon Him.

I realize just how little I am in this universe.  I realize how nothing matters but loving God by loving others.  I feel completely emptied of the cares of this world.  I liken it to being on my death bed.  Does anything really matter at that point?  All that is left is to go out of this world. 

 

From the Depths of Sorrow

by Veronica Wallace

 

Locked away in darkness

This is where I want to be

Gloom can encompass me

Sorrow can envelop me

Pain can consume me

Heartache can discourage me

Suffering can become me

 

 

I remain among the living and my vocation calls me to be in this world of needing to do stuff.  I am called to care about the little things that seem so unimportant.  I am called to care about the big things that do need my attention.  I am called to continue despite my grief.  I struggle to continue and go very slow, clinging to my rock.

 

Never Alone

by Veronica Wallace

 

I do not cry in secret

Away from God's eyes

I do not suffer by myself

 

No, He is not standing by me

Saying everything will be okay

 

He is not comforting me

Telling me to be at peace

 

When I am in the depths

In the Garden of my agony

God sorrows with me 

 

 

 

We sang the following verse in Church one day and I identified with it so readily that I wrote it down when I got home.  "And when human hearts are breaking under sorrow's iron rod, Then we find that self-same aching deep within the heart of God."  Timothy Rees hymnographer

Remember when you are suffering, God sorrows with you.

 

 

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Grief

From the Depths of Sorrow

by Veronica 22. June 2012 08:49

A New Series to Begin

 

When we were at the hospital with our son William, a wonderful friend came to the hospital bringing a box of goodies.  In that box was a 3 ring binder filled with blank paper and this has been one of the greatest comforts to me.  Starting that day, our family took turns writing to William, to God, our thoughts, etc...  I have kept writing and have filled many pages in that notebook.  It allows me to pour my emotions and insights out of me and onto the paper. 

The binder has gone with me pretty much everywhere I go.  I write in it almost everyday.  I've revealed my heart in a very personal way.  I have written and talked with friends about William's death and a few have mentioned that I should blog my thoughts or share with others.  At first I took these requests lightly not thinking anyone would really want to read the musings of a grieving mother.  I prayed about it and gave it to God.  I told Him in prayer that if I was asked again to share or someone told me that it benefited them that I would share it publicly.  Weeks have past since then and today on the phone a friend told me how much they liked reading my emails and knowing about how we are doing.

So I've decided to dedicate a series to sharing my grief and revealing my sorrows and thoughts to others.  I am no expert in bereavement or theology.  My words are just my words and are not meant to be anything more.  If you find it helpful to your life, great.  If you find it depressing, then my apologies ahead of time and skip this series entitled "From the Depths of Sorrow". 

 

Subtitles in this series include: 

 

The Question of Why?

The Gift of Tragedy

Fruits of Sorrow

Ministering to the Grieving

"What Could Have Been" Dilemma 

 

Please keep in mind that my posts in this series are my own thoughts and feelings and are not meant to criticize nor extol others feelings or beliefs.  They are simply my viewpoint which is one among many.

 

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Grief

When Things Are Difficult

by Veronica 24. May 2012 01:40

 

In The Trenches

 

Each day seems to be more difficult than the previous.  Each day seems like this trial will go on forever.  Each day we have to strive to persevere.

In particular I am referring to my grieving for my son, but I realize that the words above can apply to a variety of situations.  Whether it be discipline issues, health problems, or homeschool challenges, we have to pull ourselves up for our family and for ourselves.

The family is a wonderful gift.  Yes, it can cause pain and we can respond in frustration.  Yes, we can experience the pain, and respond in a loving manner.  This is hard.  It is easier said then done. 

 

Change Our Perspective

 

We can look at the struggles we are in and complain.  Once we are done nothing has changed and we might even feel more self-pity.  How about seeing our struggles as a blessing?  Asking ourselves questions like:  How can I learn from this situation?  What virtues can I put into practice?  How can I be a better person?

For some we might think that the problem lies with our child, husband, neighbor, or something else outside of us, and they are the ones that need to change.  We can all use improvement- there is no denial about that fact.  While we cannot change another persons behavior we can change ourselves.  We can change how we respond to that person or situation.  No, they probably will not see you being loving and think I need to amend my ways.  It may take a long time and they might not come around to seeing things your way.  In the meantime at least you are making sure to be loving on your end. You are striving to be a better person. You are growing in virtue. You are persevering through the difficulties.

For me, accepting my son is gone (which is difficult to do) does not make the pain go away.  I can fight the pain and be angry or thank God for it.  I have chosen to be thankful.  Every tear I shed represents the love in my heart.  I think of all my tears being collected and one day being returned to me as joy.

No one asks to be challenged with troubles but they come.  In the midst of it all it is easy to see life as overwhelming and recognize your helplessness.  But we are not helpless, we have free will, free will to decide how we are going to live.

You can read tips and books on discipline, try a new therapy, get advice from friends, and so forth.  None of this will help if our attitudes are poor.  We have to decide to improve our outlook and choose to love others and ourselves.  If we do this then when things are monumentally difficult we can still persevere.

 

 

 

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Life

Prayers Please

by Veronica 27. April 2012 14:49

A Request for Prayers

 

I have a heart that is filled with sadness and joy at the same time.  How can this be?  Our beautiful, wonderful, sweet, 11 month old son, passed away on Tuesday.  He was picture perfect health and had a great day with all of us on Sunday.  I nursed him to sleep and didn't know that moment would be the last time I would see him and feel him with life in his body.  We don't know why or what happened, we might never know.  This is the sadness because we miss him dearly.

The joy comes from knowing that he died without sin on his soul.  He went straight from our arms into the arms of our loving Father.  It brings a tremendous amount of peace knowing that he is in eternal happiness. 

I desire with all my heart to live a life worthy of being able to see my son again.  I replay in my mind many things like watching him crawl around and then look up to smile at me.  He liked hanging out with me while I did the laundry and would pull all the letter magnets off of the refrigerator.  I would kiss his hands while he nursed and clap hands with him. 

I would always hold him and say, "Thank you God for William."  I encourage everyone to remember that life can send some very unexpected experiences - so live it with a heavenly goal in mind.  Don't have any regrets about the time, love, or support that you can give to others.  Love everyone to the fullest and if you have to say goodbye to a loved one then have the peace of knowing you truly loved them.

Please pray for our family.  William leaves behind 8 siblings here on earth and one that I carry in my womb.  We are all hurting and rejoicing as I mentioned before.  I know that we are floating on everyone's prayers for us.  Thank you.

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Life