Saturday, June 4, 2011

Rejoicing in Death

30 Days of Thanks - Rejoice in His Presence!photo © 2010 Rachel Titiriga | more info (via: Wylio)In my younger years I went to church all the time.  One of the lessons I remember was about rejoicing in death.  Remembering the lesson and embracing it, are two different things.  Death is one topic that is easy to see from only one perspective.  That perspective is usually how it affects us.  What about the perspective of the one we lost.  I know if Erica had a choice she would have stayed with her daughters.  However, when our life ends is not our choice to make.  I know Erica would want us to rejoice in her death.  But this step is difficult to take.  Maybe because the order of things is off, she was my younger Sister, I never thought it would happen in this order.  It still feels unreal to me that she is gone.  So I'm making the assumption that rejoicing in death is not instantaneous but rather acquired over time.

Quote: "When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.  Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.” ~Unknown

Friday, June 3, 2011

Being There

fresh flowersphoto © 2009 abcdz2000 | more info (via: Wylio)Sometimes being there for others can be hard.  Finding the right words to say when you encounter someone who is grieving can be intimidating.   Rather than dealing with the awkwardness of the situation, sometimes people avoid staying in touch with the bereaved person.  I know I felt people were avoiding me after Erica passed away.  There has been times when I probably did the same thing.  Through this experience I can tell you the last thing I wanted, was to be left alone.  It helps me to talk about it.  When others share their stories of loss it helps.  Sometimes I need someone just to listen without giving advice.  Just simply being there is all that matters.

Quote:  That some good can be derived from every event is a better proposition than that everything happens for the best, which it assuredly does not.     ~James K. Feibleman 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Emotionally Sensitive

Passion Flowerphoto © 2010 Roger Green | more info (via: Wylio)It seems since I've been grieving Erica, my state of mind is emotionally sensitive.  My reactions to bad news, tragedy, and the deaths of people I don't even know are more extreme.  I find myself in tears more than usual.  My husband told me this weekend that I was one of the most compassionate people he knew.  I hope his definition of compassionate doesn't translate to emotionally sensitive, because there is a difference.

When we encounter others in our daily lives we are oblivious to the plight in their lives.  The first month after Erica passed I felt like I had the word "sad" tattooed on my head.  In my head I felt everyone was looking at me strangely.  I was in tears so much my husband considered getting me a tshirt that read: "My Sister Died, He's Not Beating Me."  My emotionally sensitive state had him a little embarrased.  Now the tears come and go but my heart and soul have been changed.  My compassion has been deepened and my vulnerabilities exposed. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dispatcher to Angels

nssl0210photo © 2010 NOAA Photo Library | more info (via: Wylio)When I look back at all the tragedy since Erica's death, I can't help but think, God needed her expertise.  I know she was good at her job as a Dispatcher for the Norman Communications Division of the Police Department.  She worked there for almost nine years.  She never complained about her job and had many colleagues who thought very highly of her.  It makes me feel better to think of Erica as God's Dispatcher to Angels.  Take a look at the list of natural disasters, starting three days after Erica passed away.

  •  Magnitude 8.9 earthquake & tsunami devastating Japan- 10,000+ deaths-March 11
  • 40ft section of California Highway falls into Pacific Ocean-March 16
  • Magnitude 3.5 earthquake - OFFSHORE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA-March 17
  • Magnitude 6.5 earthquake- Vanuatu- March 17
  • Magnitude 7.0 earthquake strikes northeastern Burma, 75 deaths-March 23
  • Magnitude 6.8 earthquake hits Myanmar, Thailand, 70 deaths-March 23
  • Magnitude 6.4 earthquake off the coast of Japan-March 25
  • Magnitude 5.4 earthquake in South Sandwich Islands Region-April 1
  • Magnitude 6.4 earthquake Fiji-April 3
  • Magnitude 6.7 earthquake in South of Java, Indonesia-April 3
  • Magnitude 6.5 earthquake hits Veracruz, Mexico-April 7
  • Magnitude 7.4 earthquake hits shore of Japan-April 7
  • Magnitude 6.5 and 6.2 earthquakes hit eastern Japan-April 11
  • Deadly Tornadoes hit N. Carolina and Virginia, at least 47 dead-April 16
  • A massive thunderstorm front spawned 137 tornadoes, killed at least 180 people, and mangled sections of Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and Huntsville, Alabama-April
  • Deadly Tornado hits Albany, New Zealand, at least 1 death-May 3
  • Major Mississippi flooding, destroys many homes-May
  • 6.5 Magnitude Earthquake hits Papua New Guinea, Tsunami warning-May 15
  • Iceland's Grimsvotn Volcano erupts, followed by small earthquakes-May 21
  • Deadly Tornadoes hit Minneapolis-May 22
  • Deadly Tornadoes hit Joplin, MO, at least 142 dead- May 22
  • Deadly Tornadoes hits Oklahoma City and surrounding areas, 9 deaths-May 24
The number of people who have lost their lives over the last couple of months is staggering.  When I look at it from this perspective I feel certain God needed my Sister.  Erica received a promotion to Heaven, as God's Dispatcher to Angels

Monday, May 30, 2011

Words Went Unspoken

Rose Americana バラ アメリカーナphoto © 2011 T Kiya | more info (via: Wylio)Most humans crave companionship and love, I know I do.  We want the people in our lives to appreciate us and to wish us well.  The problem is the people in our lives get so busy they forget to express their feelings to the ones they love.  I was teaching a Sociology class for a couple of years and everytime I talked about single parenting I would think about Erica.  I knew she was battling some tough issues and I had a strong admiration for what she was doing, but I never called and told her I was proud of her.  Words Went Unspoken.   I think about times that I could have just said, " Erica I admire you for having the courage and strength to go to college full-time while raising two daughters and working full-time, I know it can't be easy."  But I didn't, I thought it in my head, but the words went unspoken.

It is easy to think you'll always have time to say something later, or do something for someone another day.  But one day no more chances will remain to say the words you want to say.  The words went unspoken and will stay that way. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Cemetery

Erica's Grave, Buried 5/28/2011
Growing up we lived on Cemetery Road and my parents still do.  We would frequently drive by the cemetery, Erica and I would be in the back seat.  My Dad would ask us, "how many people are dead in there?"  We would say "I don't know 200."  He would reply with "no sillies, all of them."  Or he would make cracks like "people are just dying to get in that place."  He was always trying to make us laugh.   

Driving by isn't the same when you have loved ones buried there.  Over the years I've had many relatives buried in the cemetery, but leaving Erica there was hard.  I pray she is at peace, and I pray my family finds comfort and strength through our loss.