Tag Archives: dealing with grief

What is Forgiveness?

So, what is it? When I looked it up in the dictionary, the definition states that it is the “act of forgiving” or “state of being forgiven.” This is so broad and just reuses the word in the definition. So, huh, what is forgiveness?

I then looked up the synonyms of the word forgiving, the words lenient, magnanimous, and merciful. Okay, we are getting a little closer to the definition.

The teacher in me needed to look up the definitions of the words to give me more clarity.

Lenient is defined as being tolerant, permissive, and/or indulgent. When I think about forgiveness, I don’t think of myself as being totally tolerant, but I do think of giving myself permission to begin to forgive the person.

Magnanimous is generous; forgiving an insult or injury; free from petty resentfulness or vindictiveness. All right, I don’t want to be vindictive towards my mom. I just want to share my story to help myself and others. So, we are getting closer to finding out what is forgiveness.

When you are merciful, you are compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender. As a result of me showing my mom mercy for the last three years of life, I was actually forgiving her for not always being there for me.

I’m on the brink of discovering what forgiveness means but at the same time am unsure of what it really means. Or how to do I as a flesh and bone human demonstrate forgiveness.

So, I went to the Bible. In the Bible, we learn that it means to pardon the person who hurt us. We are to cancel their debt towards us. We do it as an act of love, mercy, and grace.

It is important for us to forgive the other person for our mental state then for the person who offended us. It’s a way for us to move on with our lives. We are not to necessarily forget the offense, but to learn from it.

After you forgive someone, it does not mean you have to go back to being friends or whatever you were to them. Their behavior that offended you might continue on, so you need to set boundaries or stop all contact with them.

It’s not going to be easy to forgive people, but for your sake you need to do it.

An Example from my own Life

Back in 1996, I had to make the decision to forgive my father. He had done some terrible things to me that no child should have ever had to endure. Why? I had to move on with my life. If not, I would probably not been able to love Hubby.

I was planning to actually go see him in the nursing home. He died before I could say face-to-face “I have not forgotten, nor will I forget how horrible you were to me. However, I am releasing all the power you have over me.”

He ended up dying 23 years ago on November 13.

Back to the Bible

So what does the Bible say about forgiveness? Why is important?

Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Hebrews 12: 14-15 – 14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Basically, we are told to forgive; because, God has forgiven us by sending his one Son to die on the Cross for our sins.

We are also told to forgive because we cannot allow others to control our lives because of our hurt feelings and emotions.

Moving Forward

I’m dealing with a lot of hurt.

Join me on my journey of forgiving my mom. She hurt me until right before she died. I have a feeling she knew that she was very sick and didn’t want me to know. That’s a hard pill to swallow. I need to forgive her for not trusting me to tell me the truth.

Yes, I might have taken her to the hospital. She might have been able to spend more time with me because she would have gotten the medical help she needed.

That’s only one way she has offended me in my lifetime. It’s important for me to forgive her so that I can be free from the anger I’m feeling.

As I said, join me on the journey towards forgiveness.

Have a magical day,
Traci

Mom’s 50 Boyfriends

Imagine driving through the mountains. There is nothing to do but to keep looking outside at the lack of real scenery except for a few places where you could see some landscapes.

           There is no where to stop because the exits are few and far between. You are so bored.

           It was at that moment you decided that you needed a way to entertain yourself.

           Cell phones were a thing but nothing like they are today. Plus, cell towers would have been few and far between.

           Reading would have been impossible because well car sickness. I’ve done that once while riding on the Blue Ridge Mountains. Lost all of my breakfast all over the backseat. Nasty business.

           So, with a pen and some paper, the best moment in my mom’s life was the creation of her imaginary boyfriends. You list all of the states and create a boyfriend for each state.

           Then you create a biography for a few of the boyfriends.

           When you get to Ohio, you stop at a rest stop and lo and behold you see a man who matches the description of the boyfriend you created for Ohio.

           This joke continues on for a while but later is not relevant. So, you quit talking about those boyfriends until your sister passes away.

           When you write her letter, you mention the boyfriends. Once again, it is relevant.

           So, I began to find you boyfriends all of the time. Every random guy, I would point at them and say, “There goes your boyfriend.”

           I don’t know how many boyfriends she ended up by the time she died.

           Her boyfriends were found around town and while I was on trips. Several times that I can remember finding her imaginary boyfriends were when my chosen sister, Molly, and I were briefly in Indiana. We went to the restroom at one of those truck rest stops, and this man walks out with cat litter. That’s the moment when Molly began looking for imaginary boyfriends for mom.

           The other time was when Molly and I were caravanning from Niagara Falls, Ontario to Erie, Pennsylvania. We were on the New York Turnpike when this guy rode past me on a motorcycle. I thought to myself, “Well, there goes one of mom’s boyfriends.”

           All of the sudden, my Bluetooth goes off.  Incoming call from Molly the wonderful. I safely answered the phone. “Your mom’s boyfriend just drove by on the motorcycle.”

           Molly was a true believer of my mom’s imaginary boyfriends.

           I don’t really know how mom really felt about me making her all of those boyfriends. I think she either rolled her eyes or pretended not to hear me when I started to talk about them.

           It’s a fun story that will not only be a legacy of hers, but of mine as well.

           Now, that list still exists but I cannot find it. One day, I will and maybe I’ll share some of the names. Some we were creative with, while others were not very creative.

           Oh well, it’s the thought that counts.

Have a magical day,
Traci

A Song that spoke to my soul

As I was driving to work on Thursday, I decided to put K-Love on the radio. They were talking all about the pledge drive which was annoying but I needed to listen to some feel good songs.

I understand that they need to raise money for the station. The annoying thing for me is that I just wanted to listen to music so that I could calm my soul before walking into work.

The one song they played was God Only Knows by For King and Country. Oh, my goodness that song spoke to my soul. It described how I was feeling right after Mom died.

I’ve included the two different versions of the song. I love both of the versions. Dolly Parton has such an angelic voice that she adds another dimension to the song.

Now, back to my story.

This is something that I actually have felt for a few years. That my story is not known by many people. They see one side of me and that side of me is only a small portion of my book of life. I get frustrated with the phrase White Privilege. I do understand that it does exist and I have benefited a little bit from it because people don’t judge me because I’m white. I’ll take that. However, I was not given anything because I’m white. Instead, I worked hard for it. No one knows except for me and God the story of my late teens/ early 20’s. However, that’s another story for another day.

Today, I’m speaking about the story of the relationship between my mom and myself. Our relationship was not one of me being able to confide in her. I often felt disappointment and sadness because she did not protect me from the people who hurt me physically and mentally. Or the times as an adult, I felt a sense of neglect when she was not there when I needed her most. It’s another story that only God and I know.

While the song played, tears just flowed down my face. Music therapy is so important to me. I believe in listening in music to calm my soul or to find something that I can relate to at that moment in my life. I found a song that described how I was feeling 2 weeks ago and for the days that followed.

When I got to work, I still felt teary eyed so 2 of my co-workers allowed me to cry on their shoulder.

God’s right there when I need him. He lets me know that I am special in his eyes. He lets me know that I am loved. And he let me know that he knows how I feel and it’s okay. It’s now time for me to tell my story so I can help other people who struggle with these same feelings.

Have a magical day,
Traci

Psalms 118:24

       The day after my mom’s death, my aunt and I went to the funeral home. Afterwards, we made memories. We visited Aullwood Garden and just talked. Then I took her to my 2 favorite places in the city – Wegerzyn Garden and Second Street Market. Places I had gone with my mom.

       While at the Second Street Market, we stopped at the one stall to get my cousin a charm. I saw that the charms in this stall were mostly Christian based.

       It was at that moment I decided I needed something to remind me that even with all this chaos in my life that I needed to rejoice that I’m still alive.

       At first, I got this huge bracelet and charm but realized that it would be too much of a bother, so I returned it for a much smaller charm and chain.

       So, what was on the charm that I needed it to remind me to rejoice in the day? It was the name of a book in the Bible with the chapter and verse. No other words.

       The charm says Psalm 118: 24 which reads “This is the day the Lord has made.

We will rejoice and be glad in it.”

       So simple but also so perfect.

       That Bible verse has been a favorite of mine for almost 30 years.

       In 1990, my youth group decided to go on a mission trip to the Over-the-Rhine area of Cincinnati. Not a good place to be for preteens and teenagers.

       I was 15 years old. Still very naïve about the world because this was before Internet. We learned from word of mouth or experiencing the world.

       Everything had bars on the windows. Doors were constantly locked. No one went anywhere without an adult. It was serious business.

       Anyway, I remember painting in some hallway and singing the song that is reference to that song “This is the day that the Lord hath made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. And be glad in it,” on repeat.

       That was the moment that that verse began to define my world. Now did I always rejoice every day. No, my next chapter of my life, college years, was not without trouble. I didn’t always rejoice every day. However, it is a verse that has constantly been by my side no matter if I have forgotten it at that moment.

       So now, I have a bracelet with a charm with a simple message. Find something to rejoice about during the day whether small or big. For example, yesterday I could rejoice that I got to see the beautiful leaves as Hubby, and I took a walk through the woods. Or today when an angry child calmed down because I was acting silly. Those are moments that I need to rejoice.

       My path right now is rough. It’s full of rocks and sharp thorns. However, I can look for some beauty along the way.

Have a magical day,
Traci

Why??

I’m hit with the question why while dealing with my feelings about losing Tanya.

My father was not a nice man especially when it came to dealing with me and my stubborn streak.

When we lived with my grandma, I was often the one to be in trouble instead of my sister.  She was often not impressed with whatever mischief I could get myself into on a daily or weekly basis.  I was either grounded or yelled at a lot as a teenager/ young adult because of my behavior.  (I still love and miss her.)

Then when I was in college, I was told by two of my professors that I should not be a teacher.  They didn’t think I had it in me to be successful.

In all of those situations, I had to overcome the obstacles that stood in my way.  Which at times were a lot.  I dealt with abuse and being told “you cannot do it.”  I had to pay my own college bills so I worked 35 to 40 hours a week at McDonald’s while taking a full class load at school.

With faith in God, I was overcame those obstacles to make me a stronger person.

Tanya was unable to overcome her obstacles.  Towards the end of her young life, she shut herself off from the people who loved her the most.  We had so much fun when we were younger traveling from place to place, exploring the world.  I may have gotten mad at her from time to time because I’m one who wants to experience as much as possible.

We had fun visiting places around where we lived.  We had fun exploring the Columbus Zoo with the boys.  We would speak to each other on the phone.

But then something changed, the demons she was experiencing in her life overwhelmed her.  Instead of allowing people into her life who truly loved her, she began to shut them down.  If she had only spoken to our mother about how she was truly feeling, she might still be here.

Why was I able to overcome those obstacles in my life?  I could have surely shut myself from the world because for a long I felt as though the world was against me.  One thing I know for certain is that it was because of God and for me allowing people into my world.  God also sent me a man that has stood by me during those difficult times.

So even tho I feel as the world is against me, I need to remember the words of the song “Overcomer.”

You’re an overcomer
Stay in the fight ‘til the final round
You’re not going under
‘Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it’s hopeless
That’s when He reminds You
That you’re an overcomer
You’re an overcomer

God has something special planned for me.  He wants me to overcome the obstacles that come in my way.

However, I’ve got to question.  Why didn’t Tanya overcome her obstacles?  Why didn’t she trust the people who loved her the most?  Why couldn’t she tell mom how bad she was feeling?  Just Why?  Those answers wouldn’t be answered.  However, they will haunt me.  Why?  Oh, God, why?

I love you Tanya.  I miss you so much.  I just wish you could have trusted us enough to tell us that you were not feeling well.

Dear God,

No matter how many curve balls you throw at me, I need to remember to trust in you.  You will help me over come adversities that I am facing.  You will remind me that Satan cannot win.  You will remind me that you have a plan for me.  All I need to do is trust in you.

In Jesus name,

Amen

God’s Presence?

Have you ever felt God’s presence in your life?  With the tragedy of my sister passing, I feel his presence in my life.  He has something big planned for me.  And even though I have an inkling of what it might be, I don’t know how it’s going to go down.

One of my dreams is to be a writer.  It’s not a dream that I share with people.  I’m afraid that my grammar or poor spelling at times will get in the way so I’ve tucked that dream away.  I also have a fear that no one would want to read what I have to say.  I’ve always had a lot to say.  Sometimes people just tune me out because I can ramble on FOREVER.

Then I wrote the letter to Tanya, straight from my heart.  I know there was problems with my grammar but everyone got message I was trying to get across.

People are also calling me the historian.  I have a lot of memories tucked into my heart and mind.  I need to share those stories to the world instead of keeping them locked away.  One day I won’t be here to share them anymore.  My words will live on if I write them down.

As I said, I know God has big plans for me.  What they are and how they work themselves out is unwritten.  It’s up to me to trust in him to lead him down that path.

It’s been said to collect moments, not things.  I have both.  Some of the things I have are memories of moments that I have collected along my journey of life.

Jesus and God have heard my struggle through this difficult time.

As Robert Frost wrote

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
I need to take the road less traveled during this difficult period of time in my life.