Faith, Grief

It Comes in Waves

What do you call a mother who loses her child when he is eleven years old? Is she a widow like when her husband dies? Is there even a name to represent her heart being pulled from her chest, like a heart attack that is associated with cardiovascular disease? There should be a name to call a woman who loses her child without warning or explanation. Maybe I’ll be the first to wear that name. I am after all a grieving mother and will likely be known by that until the day I die.

Most days, I wake up and do all of the things. But then there are moments when I see his lifeless body in my mind and I want to scream and cry and beg for it to not be real. Oh and then there are the times, when a friend will just simply ask, “how are you doing”, and the tears just start rolling down my cheeks before I even say a word. I know that people understand and they give me grace. But for some reason, I find it hard to give it to myself.

Since my dear Ethan’s passing in February, I’ve had time to sit with grief and ask why him he has been my companion for so many years. Why it seems, he follows me everywhere. Is there a lesson that I haven’t learned? Or have I not humbled myself enough? I wish I knew how to shake him or to travel a different route where he can’t find me. But somehow I don’t believe that is even possible. As soon as I let my guard down he takes someone that I love and need in my life.

My neighbor recently asked me if I thought I might date or find love again. My response, “probably not.” I reminded him that as a special needs parent, I wasn’t planning to get involved with anyone in that sense because my life was devoted to being Ethan’s mom, his person. I was prepared to take care of him. I am not prepared for someone to take care of me or for anyone to take up that much space in my life. That idea is so foreign to me at this point, that I don’t even entertain it.

What’s so interesting, is that being divorced didn’t and doesn’t feel like a loss. Losing my nana, my mother and my Ethan were losses, abandonment really and that is a visceral hurt that is indescribable. Those are the losses that make me question and wonder why I am still here. But grief won’t answer me, he just follows me and stares when I tell him to leave.

I guess this is the time where I have to accept what is and to be content with raising my daughter. She needs me and wants me to be the all in mom that she didn’t have for several years. So, that mom is who I will be because she needs me to be her.

In Christian Love,

AngelaChristine

Grief covered with a smile

Grief

Lonely

I am lonely. There I said it. Not in the way that most people would think. I am lonely in the sense that the one constant that anchored me, my son is no longer here. I feel like a boat with no real direction or a place that I should be. No real sense of belonging.

Before I knew that Ethan he was a he, I knew that I was pregnant with a boy, I knew he was my son. I had dreams of all the things he would do and would eventually become and I was grateful. I was grateful that once again, I would be a mother. Two children to love and nurture. That would be a blessed life.

Even when he received a diagnosis of autism and later, epilepsy and PANDAS, and my dreams changed for him, I still knew that he would be here and whatever he would need, I’d in some way be able to provide. That’s part of a being a mother, right? I mean it never would have occurred to me that I was only meant to be his mom for a short time instead of a lifetime.

Most days I am fine since his death. But lately, I find myself sobbing before I drift off to sleep each night. I know that God is with me and He sees me. I am comforted daily by His loving hands, but it is in those moments that I miss Ethan the most. I miss his hugs, I miss his smiles, I miss his innocence and his unconditional love. I miss my boy, my only son. I miss being his person and holding his hand. I miss talking to him, though he could not talk back. I just miss him.

This is my new normal. This is my normal and what I must accept for the sake of my daughter. She missed so much of me when her brother was here and has grown up so much; but she still needs me. She needs me to teach her all of the things that I thought she would just pick up because I told her or showed her one or two times. Turns out she needed me too, she just didn’t ask because she knew that Ethan needed me more.

While I don’t understand, why Ethan had to go or why I still have to navigate my life without him, I will accept and be assured that Ethan is with God and is waiting for me to be reunited with him one day. That is my hope.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18

Thank you Lord for allowing me to be Ethan’s mom for eleven years. I will always be grateful.

Always in Christ,

AngelaChristine

The three of us
Belief, Mindset

We Are What We Believe

What occupies your mind? Does your work align with your values and beliefs?

I spent nearly 24 years of my life trading my time for a paycheck. In that time, I sacrificed what was most important, not because i wanted to, but because I thought that I had no choice. Ultimately, my only son died as a result of choices that I thought we right, but later learned that they were wrong, it was a hazard of the profession that I had chosen.

Since my son’s death I have had many sleepless nights and more time to study the Bible and to remember what my purpose is here on this earth. I have had the opportunity to speak to my sisters in Christ about maintaining their physical health and the best gift was witnessing my daughter commit her life to Christ through baptism into his kingdom. Acts 2:38.

We only get one life and in the grand scheme of it all, it is short. So while there is still breath in my body, I will heed the advice of King Solomon, who penned, “ The end of the matter, all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
Ecclesiastes 12:13&14

So again, I ask, “what occupies your mind?”

Belief, Faith, Family, Love, Sadness

Grief and Love

On February 7, 2022, my only son died. I don’t know why, the autopsy did not provide that answer. In fact, we are still waiting to learn what could have gone wrong. Perhaps, we will never know. Would knowing even quench my grief or would it just leave me wondering what I could have done to stop it?

My son was the joy of my heart, he was an amazing kid. Though he had autism diagnosis (vaccine injury) and epilepsy (another vaccine injury), his heart was so big! He loved so big! My heart grew bigger because of him. His challenges made me draw closer to God for answers and guidance, but after countless treatments, divorce and relocation, I arrived at acceptance. Acceptance that he would always live with me and I would always live with him. I was his person and he was mine.

This only came to me two weeks prior to his death, which was right around his eleventh birthday. I had finally come to accept the love that he always had for me and readily embraced it with my whole heart and soul. Though I had always led him by the hand, I had finally accepted that he would now lead me. And he did.

There is so much to write and say about my sweet boy; eventually I will. But today, I am writing about the grief and the gut wrenching sadness I feel because he is no longer here for me to drive to therapy everyday or to drive his sister nuts. I grieve because he never had the opportunity to reach his fullest potential. I grieve because everyday going forward won’t include him. Trips we plan to take and adventures we are sure to have will not include him. I grieve because my heart loved a little boy that was only with me for a little while. I grieve because I just miss him.

I know that he is perfect in the arms of Jesus. I know that he is doing all the things that he was unable to do here on Earth. I know that he is waiting to be reunited with me someday. But I also know that I will never be the same because I loved him and he loved me. That piece of my heart that is now broken will never be repaired because it can’t, it belonged to Ethan Evan and always will.

My life will never be the same nor should it be, but it will forever be changed. I can only hope, for the better.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. “ Psalm 34:18

Always Ethan’s mom,

AngelaChristine

Mindset

Still There Is Much to Say

Northern Lights

I apologize that I have skipped a few weeks of writing. My mind has been elsewhere with taking care of children and building a business. It seems that when I try to write, the words don’t flow as freely as they once did. I guess I am too often in my head.

I am too often in my head because I prioritize myself instead of you, the people who have been so kind and supportive of this blog. So, let me say this, you are all in my thoughts and I will be releasing new material soon. Until then, know that this space has been a blessing to me as I continue to grow outside of my comfort zone.

Even when we know we’ve outgrown our shell there is something comforting that keeps us holding on. I find myself in that space more often than I would like to be. But it’s time and there is still so much more that I want and need to say.

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

Faith, Family, Reflections

Why Isn’t He Enough?

When my life doesn’t reflect Jesus Christ, I have to ask myself why isn’t he enough? I am sure that most Christians have asked themselves that question at some point on their journey too; so in that respect I am not alone. But why? What keeps us from full devotion and commitment, when Jesus has given us salvation through the shedding of his blood. How do we look at the Messiah, who bore all the sins of the world on the cross and still think or act like he is not enough?

Obviously, I know that he is more than enough, that he is perfect and divine. A light so bright that the world could not contain him. But when I sit down at the end of day and question whether my life truly reflects him, what I see, at times is not his reflection but my own.

It is not easy being a single parent, let alone the single parent of a child with special needs. While also trying to parent a child who just wants to live a typical pre-teen life but can’t much of the time because of how much she has to help me. I think often of how different my children’s lives are than my own upbringing. I was raised with both my parents in a solidly Christian home, yet somehow that is not the life that I have managed to provide to my children. I ask the Lord daily to help me, to guide me to do all the things that I am required to do. But I have to admit, there are times that I am inadequate and fall short.

I know, I can never be perfect, but I can be complete through total surrender to the will of Christ. It is that space between my will and his will where I challenge him and make him not enough. I wrestle with submission, not that I know better or that I can do better, but that I haven’t learned to trust. You see, I am the one that will not leave my burdens on him, because in my mind, I should have to live with the consequences of my choices. That’s right, my choices, that were most likely not rooted in him.

I am grateful for a Savior who forgives and redeems and knows in my heart, that I love him. As a wild horse has to be broken in to be ridden, it is my prayer that from this day and for as many days as I have left, that I will finally surrender my all and make him enough.

The Bible says, “Let is hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

Mindset

All It Takes

I get so caught up in my own head at times to the point that I forget my purpose. I was not put on this planet to be busy doing things, but to spend my days in service to God and my neighbors. God’s plan is so simple, that it’s almost too hard. It requires selflessness and as a human, preserving self is our highest priority. Our culture is obsessed with self. Including me at times.

Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying, loving one’s self is important, it is. Loving oneself protects us from harm and hurt. But in today’s culture it has become almost a religion to the point where a whole industry, if you will has developed from it. We don’t see ourselves through the lens of our Creator, and that is a very sad and deceitful thing. Why? Because man is fickle and foolish at times. “The Bible says, “there is a way that seems right to a man, but it’s end is the way of death.” Proverbs 14:12.

And though it isn’t wrong to pursue self improvement, it is wrong to make it our highest goal. Becoming saved and living a saved and sanctified life is, as Christians. But there are times, when help is needed to get out of our own way for a specific purpose and season, which will look differently for each person, because we are after all individuals.

I have personally invested in a business leadership coach to help me grow my network marketing business and to identify my niche. It was worth it! But here is the thing, I chose to work with a sister in Christ, because her course was in alignment with the word of God and that is to serve. She believed as do I that you can lead a team of people and glorify God at the same time. They are not mutually exclusive nor should they be. And to be honest that is all it takes.

When I focus on my feelings and thoughts on myself, I don’t write or serve. But when I make it my priority to lean into God, all the things I desire to do happen. My life is hard as a divorced mom of two, raising a neuro typical child and a child with autism on my own. But when I put all of my trust in God, check my heart and remain consistent, He blesses us in a mighty way. So, each day I will wake and remind myself to lean into Him because that is truly all it takes.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

Belief, Faith, Family, Mindset

Long Overdue

Joy in the Lord

It occurred to me that I haven’t written in quite some time. Not because I can’t but because I haven’t nurtured this space as I have needed to do. In this season of busyness, it was important for me to sit down for a few moment to capture a few thoughts, particularly around the topic of consistency.

Two weeks ago, I made the conscious decision to walk away from my 23 year career, well actually almost 24 years in the pharmaceutical industry. There are several reasons, the primary one being what is happening in the world today. It has been quite painful to watch regulations not be followed, people not receiving full informed consent and governments across the world manipulating its citizens to take a medical intervention that they do not want. This has been excruciatingly painful to see. And let’s not even forget about trying to open the eyes of the people I love and care about to these crimes. It has been utterly heartbreaking.

But to my original point about being consistent in all things. Consistency in my walk with Jesus, growing my faith, pouring into my business with godly intention and raising up my children to love the Lord will all of their very beings, is what I can do. And one important piece of that is writing this blog. So, while I may touch on different topics or ideas, my heart is always to serve and it is my prayer that what I put out into this world serves.

In my opinion, there is no greater gift that I can give than to serve in love.

In Christ,

AngelaChristine

Belief, Cancer, Faith, Family, Mindset

Standing In That Space

Valley of my life

What I try not to remember, is exactly what I need to remember, not to relive it or even give it a place in my life, but to finally say “I am done, these memories no longer serve me.” It is time to say goodbye and bury them once and for all.

Since my surgery six weeks ago, bits and pieces of past trauma have crept up into my brain. Almost taunting me to give up a little more of my protection, my shield, my independence. These feelings are so foreign to me now because I have built up a hard shell almost impenetrable to anyone even my children.

At some point in my childhood or maybe as a teenager, when I don’t remember, I made a decision, perhaps self-consciously or otherwise that emotion and feelings were for the weak. Maybe it started when my childhood friend, James committed suicide when I was in the ninth grade. That was my very first experience with death. I can remember that day, like it was yesterday, the kick in my stomach when the words rolled out of my dad’s mouth.

Or perhaps it was the following year, when the funniest guy in my class, Mark, was killed in a car accident, while joyriding with some of our classmates. He was the only in that crash, who did not survive. Then there was my dad’s promotion that required him to relocate at the start of my junior year in high school. New state, new school, no real friends. Once again, another layer of protection applied.

Somehow I managed to get through college and graduate school and start my career before the people closest to me began to die. My aunt Martha, Nana and the ultimate blow, my mom. Of course by the time my mom died the shell around my heart was titanium or some substance that only God could pierce, but only when I wanted him too.

What I have determined is that I do a great job of compartmentalizing to prevent myself from collapsing into the sheer pain of it all. To allow myself to feel that pain would leave me vulnerable and open in a way that would let the world know that I am really not as strong as I want everyone to believe that I am.

I am at my core, the woman that always wanted someone besides my mother and father to say everything is going to be just fine, with conviction. For my husband to say you have a purpose, a hope and a future designed by God. He (God) is standing in the doorway waiting for me to finally give it all to Him.

Though my legs are still wobbly and weak from these weeks of recovery, I will trust in Him. His plans for my life. I will stand in that space until all the pain and sadness have been stripped away from my heart and my mind.

For I know the plans, I have for you declares the Lord, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

In Christian love,

AngelaChristine

Cancer, Dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans, Surgery

The Part That I Never Share

I debated writing this post because being vulnerable is excruciatingly difficult for me. Even within my inner circle, sharing a day in my life isn’t easy. Not because I can’t share or even that I don’t want to share, but in my mind it feels as though I am not handling “it” and to me that is an admission that I am failing.

But, it goes deeper. I never want to seem like I am complaining. Even when my mother died (who happened to be the closest person to me in the world, my sister in Christ and very best friend), I compartmentalized her death until the thing next to her death, I had ever experienced happened. My son’s first seizure at my dad’s wedding. The one person that I needed to hold me up wasn’t there so I collapsed to the floor, I’m a heap of tears, hearing my family calling my name, my dad praying over my son, but in those painful moments waiting for the ambulance to arrive to take us to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, I was in effect unresponsive. I had lost the ability to speak.

I had no idea at the time, what that was going to mean for my son and his future. But I can assure you, the years following have been anything but a cake walk.

Since that day, I have endured many more hospitalizations with my son, a big move, a divorce and most recently, cancer. People, like to say that, God will never put on you more than you can handle, but here is where I disagree. That statement is nowhere in the Bible, and two life has given me a whole lot that I haven’t handled… well. You see, I just compartmentalize and figure out how to do it myself, because if I don’t, I am a failure. By the way, that isn’t in the Bible either.

I guess, what I want you to know is in this moment, my life is hard, it is messy and today was not a very good day. Ethan’s nanny didn’t come because she was sick, the full moon last night set off seizures for Ethan and I tried to work (my job) and manage my son’s care while simultaneously trying to be mindful of my own recovery.

I am grateful for the daughter that I have, who has had to sacrifice more than any child her age ever should because were she not here, this day could have been far worse. Her presence kept both of us from going to the hospital today.

You’ve probably surmised by now, that my life is in no way conventional or sane. So, if anyone asks, this is why I want more than anything for my health and wellness business to grow. There is no job, that I could ever do that will ever accommodate the unpredictability of my life.

Growing in faith,

AngelaChristine

After bandages were removed- September 15