Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Out to sea in the boat of grief

Losing my son landed me in a boat.

That boat is still on the sea people. In fact, I don't see land in site. Daily I wonder if the boat will sink.
I am often dehydrated from the sun and in agony that I might not live through this trip.
Other boats around me are sailing and looking at me as though my sails should be up by now, but they aren't.

I have been in touch with many boats from afar who are also in this same boat and even after a year, most of them are not sailing, so my five months is puny.
So I am not alone in still feeling this way.

 The gut wrenching pain of losing a child is only known and understood by those that have had this happen to them. If you haven't experienced it you can't really understand it. 

 You can say "I am sorry" all day long and it doesn't even seal a tiny crack in my boat.
Nope, there isn't a way you can fix my boat.
There is a way you can help me keep my boat afloat though.

You can love me when I appear to be "throwing up" all over the place with my pain.
You can stop thinking that I should be sailing and stop expecting me to be ok.
I am not. Not even close.

You can just be there. Being there to hold my boat out of the water for just a little while each day gives me a chance to feel uplifted.  It helps me to keep paddling through the very dark waters and not feel as though one moment  my boat is just going to sink and I will go down with the ship.

 You can not judge me when I over react to every other situation in life that triggers my PTSD.
All of these things make my boat roll from side to side so much that I honestly hang on for dear life in that moment. I scream for someone to help me feel safe again, and no one shows up.
 I have moments when I want to take my own knives and cut holes in my boat and sink it on purpose just so I can escape the reality of the scorching sun and the rocking boat.
All the boats around me are not really paying attention to that and they want me to just straighten up and fly right and they want to smack me and hope I wake up from such thoughts. They order me to jump ship and get out of that boat. They tell me you don't get to die with that ship. They say my thoughts are STUPID. 

They belittle me. They think their actions are going to fix my boat.
 What they do is make my boat look more riddled with holes. They add pain to my pain.
Then they move off into their own boat world where parties take place, laughter, happiness, joy and fun.

Their lives honestly don't want to touch mine any more because I look scary to them. It feels to them if they get near me that their own boat will be tainted and they might ruin some of their own fun.
They don't even want to consider what it might be like to lose a child, so getting near me scares the crap out of them. It is as though my disease will hop onto them.
 They also don't want to deal with pain because no one does. That is the human condition. So if they get near my boat, they might be confronted with their own desire not to touch pain.
 So this boat I am in that is riddled with holes and rocking with the storms, is all alone in the sea.

 I cry out to God. When can I come ashore God? When can I get out of this boat? Will I ever be free of it?
I can see Him plugging a hole now and then and allowing me some more safety. I can see Him often sitting in the boat with me. Then a crisis happens and the repaired holes not only break, they look bigger to me at that time.
 I get it if you can't come in the boat with me. I get it if you don't even want to look at me.

What I hope is that you will at least give me the grace that allows me to "throw up my pain" now and then. when the sun has scorched me so bad that I am dehydrated and sick. When I get through that, just don't leave the water that is near me. Stick around if you can. Maybe one day we can all go ashore together.  

Maybe. I am not sure yet.

Terry Quinn

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I would die with my son, if not for God!

It's been five months since my baby died. I have walked through every possible emotion known to man since then. 

I spent the first couple months in a frozen state. It took every ounce of strength I had, to just take care of myself!  No pain on earth can really compare to losing your child.  Nothing!  I felt like I now had a life sentence with this new pain. How could I escape? It went with me.

 I never questioned God. I honestly felt I understood why God allowed this. My son had suffered alot on this earth with schizophrenia.  

 When Jake was fourteen years old, one day he woke up all excited. He told us that he had been to heaven last night. What was interesting is that I had just finished reading a book of a man's testimony, of heaven. He had fallen off a scaffolding and died.  His wife prayed until he came back to earth. However his entire story was so much like what my son was describing, that I just knew it was true.

What had happened Jake? Did you die? Did God just take you there for a visit? No one knew.
Jake said he just arrived there. The streets were pure gold like glass and you could see through them. He walked up to the gate of pearls and touched it. Electricity came out of it and knocked him on the ground. Then the gate opened and he walked in. He saw the beautiful city of mansions.  
 "Mom, I picked a mansion and I walked inside. There were chefs in there preparing a meal and I ate food that was like nothing on earth, it was so good.  
 I walked upstairs and I saw an angel sitting by a window rocking a baby. The baby told me that she had been aborted, but for me not to be sad. She was happy now with Jesus.
Then everyone started running toward the throne. The baby got up and walked down the stairs and out with the crowd.
  Angels were twirling in dance. The grass doesn't flatten when you walk on it. The flowers were more colors then on earth and brighter if possible.  I heard music. 
  I ran towards the throne and I saw the beings around the throne. They were creatures.  
I didn't see God but I felt Him. I felt more love and peace then possible on earth. Then I saw Jesus.

His eyes were pure blue but like fire.  He turned to me and told me that it wasn't my time yet. He said I had a work yet to do on this earth. I argued with Him. I said, No Lord. I love it here. Please let me stay. But all of a sudden I felt myself flying through the universe. I got hot from going so fast. 
 The next thing I knew, I was taking a breath in my body."

 I was in awe of his story. It blessed me so much to hear about heaven.  I feel so strongly that God gave Jake this experience for my sake. God knew when Jakes time was going to come and it has given me so much peace, having already experienced heaven through the eyes of my son.

Just a few years later Jake started having symptoms of schizophrenia.  Soon he felt that what he had seen was only a delusion. He started to doubt God in his life. He had so much psychosis with his illness.  

  He had some pretty awesome friends, but his friends are atheist.  They took care of Jacob in a very special way. Jake was never alone. But soon he was falling away from his strong belief in the Lord and believing what his friends did.  He told Nate one year before he died that he had now become an atheist.
Nate asked him what if he died today and found out that he was wrong?  Jake responded that maybe it would be good to keep some belief. Jake was a chameleon. Who he hung with, is who he became like.

So he had some friends that cared about him like a brother and  he began to believe what they believed.
God saw this happening to my son whom HE loved so much.  I believe He rescued Jake from falling further.  I believe He took my son away from his mental illness into a place of wholeness.
God knew how much this was going to break my mother's heart too.  He had prepared me that morning with a dream.  I had this dream that I got a special doll for my birthday, for my collection. I have a great love for dolls and I have even sculpted some realistic life sized infants in polymer clay.

 Well the Lord showed me that I was to get this doll for my birthday. It was actually two days after my birthday, but I woke up with this incredible desire to have this doll for my birthday. I went on line and found one forsale.

 Then I got the call from Jake's friend. Alex could not get Jake to wake up by calling in the windows and his car was there. He had been trying for quite some time. So I went over to get help from the office and there I found him. He was gone. My baby was not there.

Later I felt so crazy about so many things. My shock was over whelming but through this shock, I remembered the dream. I knew that Jake was with God when I had this dream that morning. I asked God why? He knew my son was dead. Why give me a dream about my birthday?

The answer came to my spirit. Jake had died two days after my birthday. He didn't want my birthday each year to be remembered by his death. He wanted me to celebrate each year and remember that God even cared about my birthday in the midst of losing my son.

You see to God, it wasn't pain. He simply took my son home. But  He wanted me to have something to remember each year. Celebrate your birthday Terry. Don't make that the day you grieve over your son. 

 When we know Him, it can be alot easier. How would I even deal with this if I didn't? I could not even live if I thought this was the last time I would ever see my son again. I would have to die with him. The pain is just too great even when I know where my son is.

 The doll arrived the day of Jake's wake and I didn't have much joy in her arrival.  I was consumed with my son's loss. But I knew that in the future, she was a land mark that would give me joy on my birthday for my whole rest of my life.  I do enjoy her now too. But all the dolls in the world don't mean anything to me compared to my son.  She is just a marker from God that He wants joy and not grief from my heart.

 When He died on the cross, He says in His word that He bore our griefs. I have taken that at face value. I have prayed and reminded Him that He did that. He bore my griefs.
 Trust me, I have felt grief to the point that I thought I was going crazy. I have hurt so bad that I thought my insides were coming out.  I have cried so many tears, I don't know where they all have resided, until now.
 But it has been nothing compared to how bad it would be if I thought I would never see Jake again. He is still my baby and He is waiting for me to arrive and see him again. He wants to show me his mansion that God has given to him. 

He also wants me to bring with me, his friends that he left down here on earth. He loves his friends so much. They mean the world to Jake. 

 Something in their lives has taken them in the direction to believe that God doesn't exist. I am praying so hard that they find out He does, before it is too late for them. I want them to have a party one day with Jake. I know that this would be the greatest blessing for Jake if I bring his friends to heaven one day. None of us knows the day or the hour of our death either.
I pray so hard his friends find Jesus in time. He is worth finding. They will know fulfillment that atheism can't offer. They will know Love that this world can't give. 

  I still have pain. I still break down and cry at least once a day. Other things hurt me alot easier right now because that pain just lies beneath the surface. That horrible picture of finding my son's body still tries to haunt my heart. I deliberately replace it with a picture of him, as he is now. Glowing and alive with God.

Take care of my baby God. He means the world to me. I will see you soon Jake. I love you!

Terry Quinn