Monday, December 16, 2013

Spreading ashes feels like camping?

We didn't have any choice about whether we buried Jake in a casket, or cremation.  The latter was thousands of dollars more.  
  We were even blessed with a free cemetery plot from a beautiful friend. We thought that was the direction we were going to go in, but in the end the company wasn't honest with us about the expenses. The cost was going way higher then we had money for, so we  began to see the direction that God was sending us in for our son's ashes. It worked out beautifully. We were all more at peace with where we ended up.

Jake's favorite color was green, thus the title of this blog is green. He bought clothes in green mostly and called himself the green man.  So we bought a vault urn that was originally to be buried, but in the end, it resides with us, as a memorial to Jake.

  We made a plan to spread Jacob's ashes in a location that is private to our family.  It still gives me great comfort about where he is. 

 Honestly when it comes to death, cremation or burial isn't an easy choice any way. I didn't want my son's beautiful body locked in a casket and underground. It was my own claustrophobia that I felt he would experience.  Plus I thought I would want to dig the ground up and bring him up for air. I know these are not reality thoughts, but it just didn't feel right to me.

 On the other hand, burning up his body was pretty sad too. I will never again see my son on this earth. Every thing about the body that God created him in, is gone down here. I am glad he has a heavenly body, but right now it is little comfort.  In reality if I concentrate on him being still alive and having a body up there, it is alot better then having a body buried in the earth.

 So we planned a memorial for Jacob. Only his close friends were invited and our family. We had the Wake and all of OUR friends came and Jakes friends, but I didn't feel right expecting people to come out for two events.  This was personal and time for every one to talk about their relationship with Jake.

 The morning of the event, Mike had to remove the ashes from the beautiful burial urn that we had purchased and put them into a tupperware container. We could not carry that urn into the woods. I think we might have looked suspicious and we didn't want anyone to know what our plans were.  It felt so odd though, to pour my son's body into a tupperware container.  It was just too casual and not respectful feeling.
 We all loaded up and met together. It was a beautiful memorial. Everyone got to share about Jake and some were sad things, but more were happy experiences.  Jokes were shared and very little tears were shed. In hindsight, related to what I deal with now, I know that we were all still very much in shock.   
 Each of us took a scoop of his ashes and poured them out on the ground and then we put leaves over them.  I wanted him to be hidden under the leaves and melt into the ground with the rain.  
 Gosh it didn't really feel like we were spreading a body. With his ashes in a tupperware container, we may as well have gone camping and been cleaning out the fire place.  It was kind of a bit strange, but it gave us all great closure and that is what we needed. We know where his ashes are and we can meet there in the summer for a family picnic, reminisce about good times, and heal.  

  Jake had some awesome friends in his life and each of them spoke so positively about him. It was really a blessing to us. 

 I just kept reminding myself that even if this looked like fire place ashes, it was once my son. This is now where his earthly body resides and I think he likes it far better then being locked in a casket, and buried many feet under the ground.

 After the wake, we were blessed with a dinner out for our whole family. Another moment that we will always treasure, thanks to some awesome teachers who loved our children.  
Bye bye baby.  Enjoy the fall trees and beauty around you. When snow falls, just know that spring will follow, and bloom right in the midst of you. I love you Jake.

Our family at:

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Seeing Jake, One More Time

I just have to say this. People should die after their funerals are arranged. I know that sounds totally crazy, but especially for a parent who is dealing with the loss of a child, there is just not any way that they can clearly think, to do all of this organizing and phone calls etc.  I could hardly get out of my bed. I could hardly move. I could not talk without crying. They probably have funeral planners that work much like wedding planners, except this child had no insurance and we didn't even know if he was going to get out of the morgue. 

 This is when God took over. I don't remember every detail, but I remember the love that was pouring out to us.  

  Kayla our daughter inlaw to be, set up a Pay it forward account. We didn't ask her to do that. We didn't ask for anything, but before we could hardly figure anything out, there was enough in that account to pay for cremation.  I figured if we had cremation and brought him home, that was enough for me. 

 But that wasn't all that God had in mind.  The next day Mike said to me "I want to see him again."  I told him that I had looked into the cost of a Wake where you borrow a casket and have a gathering the day before cremation and it was a thousand dollars more.  I felt very blessed that we had enough for cremation. 

 I am the one who usually expresses that I am believing God for something, so this shocked me. Mike said, "Well if God can provide for Cremation, He can provide for a Wake. I really want to see him one more time before he goes."

 Of course he wanted to. I am the one who spent close to a half an hour with him, after I found him. Mike barely got a glimpse, and my kids hadn't seen him at all. It is kind of hard to even believe someone is dead, without seeing them that way.  It makes it real, even though I personally do not like seeing dead people.
 I used to hide from going to funerals. I would have excuses. Death just scared me. Now I couldn't hide and I sure didn't want my friends to hide, as I didn't want to do this alone. Thankfully, most of them weren't hiders, like me.
 So I prayed for Mike's request to God and low and behold a few days later, we had enough to pay for the Wake.  I cannot tell you how grateful we were to the people who contributed to that. It was the most overwhelming part of the whole thing. People gave and I know that some of them didn't have much to give, but they did anyway.  I was so extremely humbled by that. 

 Cards started showing up in the mail box.  Some family members brought us food. 

 I still didn't have much strength to do much but lay here in my bed, stare at my computer, and cry over my son. I would look at his pictures and just cry. I thought that there could never be that amount of tears in my body. Prior to this happening, I was a person who rarely ever cried about anything.  
 Now I couldn't stop doing it.
 I knew at least now, that we were going to see Jake again, and some how we would make it through this. It was one week later that we had his Wake. 

  There were so many people at that Wake that we all hardly fit into the room. Nate told me later that he saw Jake in his mind and he was in shock at how many people came out to see him.  

 That was how Jake was. He would have been so overwhelmed if that had been his birthday.  He would not have known what to say. He was kind of a humble guy, who was not terribly outspoken, and a little shy.  I know he was shocked but Nate said he was also smiling.  

 I, however, tried to hug everyone and help everyone be ok. I felt so sad that this was tearing up my kids. I literally walked up the line that my kids all formed around the casket and hugged each of them. They were seeing this for the first time and they were all hitting shock.  They all handled it different. Matty hung behind me and held onto me most of the time. He was afraid to go up there.  Megan and Anna were totally crying hard. They really were broken. Nate was Jakes best friend and he fought back all of his tears. I was very worried about him for a while, but he is doing better. Jon was having a really hard time too, but Bri and Caleb were both just kind of quiet. Desi was running around with  her friends. She doesn't show pain in crying much, but usually anger and later on that hit her too. But they were all in shock and hurting. I hated that they had to go  through this.

  I tried to greet others, but my memory literally took a vacation that night. People that I even knew well came to hug me and I couldn't remember their names. I felt foolish about that. I greeted Anna's hubby's Dad, and just stared at him like, I know you from somewhere, but where?  

 That happened a few times and thank God people  understood, as I wouldn't have wanted any person to feel unwanted that night. I appreciated every one of them. 

  I got to meet more of Jake's friends that night, and I know they were suffering too. He had some awesome friends who were so dedicated to being there for him. I always appreciated that, as Jake struggled often with stuff related to his schizophrenia and he was never alone when he did. His friends were there. 

 I know God is real and I know there is a heaven, but why could I not just let Jake be there and be happy for him?  I don't have the answer to that really.  It is unspeakable grief that is probably lessened by that knowledge, but in no way, does it stop it.  Death is the end of an earthly relationship. I can no longer talk to him, touch him or see him.  Waiting for the day when I again run to him, takes a lot of faith.  I am trying to put that faith into action and not allow the pain to take me down so much.  

  I found that the only way through this tunnel was by talking about it to people. Every time I got to that place where I thought my body was going to implode with pain, I called a friend. For weeks my poor friends listened to me daily. This included my Mom. She even told me that I could call anytime I wanted to.  These people are worth more then gold to me. They sustained me when I thought I might go too.

  I felt so helpless that at the age of 59, I thought I needed someone to take care of ME. That didn't happen, but the feeling was there and real.
 Many people wrote to me and told me to call also, any time, but I only called my closest friends because I was too embarrassed to call someone I didn't know that well.  However just knowing that I had a line up of  phone numbers in case I needed them, really helped alot. I know I didn't have to walk this alone. 

 Thank you Lord for my friends and family. I love them all so very much and appreciate every one of them. We are so blessed that way.

 Jake was cremated the next day, never to be here again in body. Bye bye baby. I love you.

  Our family at:

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Family in shock! Where was our faith?

Desi needed a ride home from work right at the same time, that I found Jake. She called me and I told her that I could not pick her up.  I do not remember how I told her, but I did tell her Jake was dead.

 Of course that sent her into shock at her job and she up and called every one of our adult kids and told them what had happened.

 That made for a huge mess. My phone started ringing off the hook.  They wanted to know if it was true.  Anna was so upset that she called Megan crying and she thought I WAS DEAD!  They both flipped out on that.  I believe Megan called me and probably was shocked that I answered and they both then found out it was Jake. Was that less pain to them?  I guess in a way. A mom is more important in a child's life then a sib, but neither do they want to loose to a death.
 I wished that I could have told Nate in person.  He was Jake's brother and best friend. I could not tell how he was handling it on the other line.  I felt sick just having to tell this to him.

  Jon called me because he could not believe Desi was telling the truth and then Matt did the same thing.
Bri got the call, sort of fell apart at work and they let her leave work. I can't remember if Caleb called or not. But everyone got the word and they all came to our house, as soon as they all could.

  We all were in shock. We cried, we laughed, it just wasn't real.  I knew that we were going to hold each other up though, through this. We are all close.  
 The next morning and every morning after that for up to three weeks, when I woke up, I relived it all over again.  It was like waking up in hell!   Then after I got through that shock each morning, I was frozen. Almost totally paralyzed. I laid in my bed and could do nothing but cry and hurt. 

 There were some things I had to do.  We would have starved if it had not been for some awesome family and friends that helped with that, but when that wasn't there we ate hamburgers every night for weeks.  I just took out a frozen roll of ground beef and stuck them in the pan. That was all I could manage to do.
Mike was going through alot too. He felt that he hadn't prayed enough or stood spiritually strong enough to keep our first born son from being taken. I guess he was blaming himself. He was angry too at the situation that his son was just taken away like that.
 I didn't feel angry for a while. I just hurt.  Then one day I had heard the last "I am sorry" that I could take. Of course people say that. They feel bad and don't know what else to say, but my brain was not functioning in a normal realm.  I was getting madder and madder at every "I AM SORRY". 

  I wanted to scream. SORRY CAN'T BRING MY SON BACK!!!  

 I knew that was wrong to even think as everyone was just being so kind to me.  I wasn't really angry with them. I was just angry, and they were there.  I even posted that, and now I hope I didn't hurt any feelings.  

  I used to think that if one of my kids ever died, I would send everyone out of the room and tell them to leave us alone. Then I would stay there and pray until God raised them from the dead.  
 That happened in the Bible and there are accounts of it today. I thought my faith was that strong.

 When I found Jake, that was not even in my head.  Why? I just think shock pushes out all reason and plans.

  I didn't use my faith that day to bring Jake back to me. By the time I found him though, he had been in heaven for hours. If I could have even done that, would I have wanted to bring him back to his misery on earth?  He had Schizophrenia and he had suffered alot.  I think he might have been mad at me and I wouldn't want him back that way.  There was just a bit of comfort in that he was probably better and happier now then he could have possibly ever been on earth. He was no longer suffering.

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Leave him alone, he is MY BABY!

October 16, 2013 I received a call from my son's close friend, Alex.  He stated that he was expecting Jacob at his house two hours ago. He was at Jakes door trying to get him to answer the door. No answer.

 So he called me to see if I might be able to help.  Of course my heart skipped a beat. Every mother's heart does that when something is out of the ordinary for their child. 

 I decided to come over and get the apartment owners to let me in, as they had done that for me before, when Jake was in the hospital.
 They came with their keys to the door and opened it.  There he was on the floor. His back to me and at that moment, what was I going to find was screaming in my mind.  Was he just passed out from seizures?  Was he hurt?  Did we need a squad?
 JAKE!!!!!!!  JAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I called to him. He didn't move.  I ran in and grabbed his shoulder. JAKE!!!  No answer. I picked up his arm which was straight out in front of him. It WAS STIFF!  

 In that very second my world became unreal.  I cannot type here just how I stated He's DEAD!  It was more of a whine and a cry for help in total unbelief.  I said it many times. 

 Then someone said "check his pulse". Alex came in and tried. He said he couldn't feel anything.  He put his finger under his nose and thought he felt air. 
  He said "I don't know CPR!"
"I do! Roll him over" I had hope in that one second!
OMG!  We both flipped out. Silence fell and I think Alex left the room.  His face was almost purple and his lips almost black.  Knowing that his arm was stiff, there wasn't going to be any CPR.

  I sat on  this broken couch he had that was almost on the floor and I stared at him.  Tears were in my eyes, but they were total tears of shock. I wasn't sobbing because he was dead. I was just allowing small tears that said, this is just not real and I need to wake up. My kids do not die!

  I was shaking so badly that I could not use my cell phone to reach Michael.  I knew he had to come here too. This is our oldest son by birth and he meant the world to us.
  I didn't know how Mike was going to take it and hated that I had to tell him while he was driving, but there was no other way.
 Time stood still. A fly landed on my son's eye and walked around. I wanted to kill that fly. I got so angry at it. LEAVE MY SON ALONE!  But I didn't touch it. I could not touch my son's face. He scared me. It didn't look like him at all.
 I had touched his back in the beginning and it was still warm. To this day I regret that I didn't give him hugs around his back and belly. He still felt normal there.

 I don't know how much time went by, but the police showed up.  They said they were sorry. What the heck for? My son is DEAD!  I resented their presence in his house. They also made me leave so they could check him for any possible homicide. I didn't want to leave, but I complied.  Today I wish they had let me stay there. I wasn't done being with my son.  HE WAS MY BABY!  Who are you to tell me I can't be with him? But I walked outside and still shaking, I finally reached Mike. I hated telling him. He didn't answer for a second and then he shouted NO!  I asked him if he was ok.  I didn't want him to have an accident.

 He said he was still driving, so he thought he was ok.  He went to the chiropractors and informed them that he could not go to his appointment, as his son had died and he walked out. Left them in shock too.

 When he showed, he wanted to see him. The officers were not going to let us back in.  To this day I feel they over stepped their rights. THAT WAS OUR SON!
 So they finally let Mike peek in the door. He almost vomited and he ran out crying. What were we going to do now?  We had no clue. Jake had no insurance.  We just had no clue. We were two parents whom had just lost one of our babies and the shock was just enough so  that we could talk almost as though it hadn't really happened. We were not breaking down. Were were just talking about what we needed to do. Then finally we got in our cars and went home.  It was the most empty feeling in the world.  A big part of me died with my son.  Did I have enough left for my eight remaining kids?  

 It's been two months and even as I write this, I am sobbing.  My life has totally changed and gone a new direction and each day, I wake up not knowing which path I will be on. Will it be like before? Kind of normal and happy at times. Somewhat fun and enjoyable? Or will I cry and grieve today. Will I wonder again, when will this end?

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