Category Archives: Death

Kobe’s Death and the Picture of Ecclesiastes

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Dec 7, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) salutes the crowd reaction

Like the rest of the world, Kobe Bryant’s death was shocking. Almost unreal. One night, we are watching THE Lebron James break his record and filling our hearts and minds with all of his accomplishments and accolades and 12 hours later we are mourning his death.

Unreal.

Yet it is real. A 41 year old man with all the power, praise, success in his field, intelligence, artistry, family and promise can also be the same man that passes in helicopter crash on a random Sunday morning. A life, a legacy, a legend…gone. All I can think is that this is the meaning of life that King Solomon tried to warn us about.

It reminds me of the book Ecclesiastes where the wise author goes on about all he has accomplished and in the end it is meaningless when you compare it to eternity. We amass these great things, these great rewards and this great promise all to see it passed on to the next generation before we die.

Our time on Earth is that short.

It just gets me thinking about what it is all about when you have it all and still will someday die. It blows my mind. No jersey, no ring, no trophy to take with you yet you leave your legacy and torch for the next generation and next person to carry if you do it right. Lessons from Ecclesiastes:

  1. Life is beautiful, but mysterious and foggy. We cannot always see what is up ahead, but we know something is there.
  2. Our time on Earth is short compared to Eternity.
  3. We all die.
  4. Fear God and trust His creation to bring meaning to our time together on Earth.

Amazing how a basketball icon can be the perfect visual of a beautiful book of the Bible and a representation of our lives. I write this with the upmost respect for a man that did it well on and off the court. His legacy is so much more than basketball and can even get a girl like me thinking about day to day living and how I can make it better. How I can make my days count since they are numbered and take my eyes off of the unimportant and fleeting.

I will now have a clearer picture of my life in Jesus and how true the words of King Solomon are to all of us even today. I pray for those that are deeply struggling with this loss and what it means that maybe they can seek truth in the book Ecclesiastes as it is about a King seeking wisdom in a world that often seems confusing. It is a powerful thing to be reminded that when it does not make sense to seek the truth in God. I pray for his family and all the families affected in that crash…I know we all focus on one man and his daughter, but other important lives were lost too. I pray all those lives will be honored as we honor the one that was most public.

New Normal Update

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One of my last posts, I mentioned my husband considering leaving the police force. The pic above was his last day on the job. He officially resigned in October and began his new job in medical sales in November.

Pros: works M-F, off on weekends and holidays, he has a normal routine, his body is rested, we can make plans as a family, good pay and benefits.

Cons: he sells hospice so he deals with death daily, the medical field can be daunting, his company is having some growing pains, we lost our fun summer days together, he cannot see him doing this the next ten years.

So although on most levels, things are better…he still has not found what he is looking for in life. Amazing how he can do 10 years in one field, but not even get to one in another.  It all comes down to purpose and I pray he finds his.

 Moving On with A New Normal

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As I sit in a hotel directly across from the Dallas Police Station, I am reminded of how quickly life can change.  When I booked this hotel a month ago, this area was perfectly safe and uneventful.  It is across from the police, so it was almost extra safe…and then the events of July 7th happened and this spot became a target.  Later, this same spot would become a memorial and a place to honor and grieve.  Today, it is a place for normalcy as people move on, but changed forever.

On Tuesday, the last DPD officer funeral was conducted in Michigan. My husband was fortunate to get a ticket on the plane provided by Southwest to carry the officers to pay their respects.  It humbled us how this airline treated them like celebrities providing full meals and hugs to make a difficult journey better.  After attending my first officer funeral, I will forever be changed.  He will continue going to work as normal, but I will never see his job the same.  My eyes and heart have been opened to the dangers as officers continue to get shot daily. 

 I hope that time will not desensitize us to the tragedy of losing your life for your job, but the more it happens the more it seems to be our new normal.  As much as I am proud of him and the role he serves, for the first time he has talked about doing something else and I cannot blame him.

July 7th,2016

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I have to go back nine years ago when my husband first entered the police academy for Dallas…July 11th, 2007 to be exact.  After a year of never ending tests, physical challenges and basically a boot camp style mental beat down–he finally got his badge.  Later came his recruit stage where he followed another officer…then two man and finally one man where he could officially patrol alone.  I was so proud of all his hard work and mental toughness, but then came the hard part where I had to be mentally tough.  He started his career working deep nights and has never stopped which meant I had to get use to sleeping alone and being by myself at nights.

I did not start off being very good at it.  In fact I was straight up paranoid.  I would pace the house and look out each window.  Turn the TV up loud so others thought there was talking..would jump at every sound especially when people would ring the doorbell and run (we had a few night of this-terrifying).  I would have my Bible handy at all times, recite scripture and kept the phone glued to me.  I was anxious, afraid and paranoid and had to get over it quickly or get sick from exhaustion.  With lots of prayer, I got used to it and have ended up pretty good about it now.  Many other wives tell me they could never fall asleep alone…but when you have no choice you learn to do it.

One way I learned to do this though came at a cost.  I could not watch the news at night and I could not watch crime shows of any kind either.  I learned that the hard way.  I would have nightmares for days along with hearing noises, so I learned to watch happy shows or keep the TV off.

Jump to this week…July 7th, 2016.  We now have a kid so my nights are not alone anymore which is helpful.  But now instead of worrying for just my safety I have a little one’s to worry about as well.  I always fear the “what if” emergencies, but for the most part we have relaxing evenings at home and do whatever we want.  On this night, I was watching recordings of Million Dollar Listing while my son played with the Talking Tom cat app on my phone.  We were going about our business happily until I took the phone to check for messages which I often do in case my husband texts while at work.  I saw three messages so checked them real quick.  All three were from friends or neighbors asking “Did Nathan have to work tonight?  Is he okay?”

I had no clue what they were talking about and replied with those words of curiosity.  They both seemed shocked and said turn on the news.  One even tried to call and tell me in person, but I hate talking on the phone and avoided it.  I turned to channel 8 and immediately saw what everyone was worried about…Dallas officers were ambushed and under attack.  The city was in chaos and all you could hear and see was panic with officers in position to find a shooter. Now, my husband does not wear a uniform to work so I knew the ones in uniform were not him, but he could be anywhere in Dallas at that moment.  His job requires plain clothes, but basically to do whatever is necessary and whatever is asked.  This job ranges from the very safe to the extremely dangerous so to speculate if he was there or what he was doing was beyond me.  I also had no clue when this all started, but I knew he had not contacted me whatever that meant.  With shaky hands, but trying to be positive and strong I sent him the text “I see the news.  Are you okay?”  In what would be the longest minute of my life, he finally responded.  “Yes…but can’t be on my phone right now.”

Those words were sweet relief followed by lots of questions that could not be answered for hours to come.  I immediately started to let the ones contacting me that I heard from him and he is okay.  I then went through the painful process of watching the TV to see what was going on, but not wanting to watch the TV because I had a son present that hears random things though is still too young to understand (thank God!).  In between that, I kept in touch with worried friends and social media.  Hour after hour the news stories, the death count, the injuries and the events of that night played everywhere.  I kept watching for my husband not knowing where he was at or what he was doing. One officer put in nicely “That would have been awful to be at home not knowing what was happening…at least we knew what was going on.”  Exactly!!   An hour later I texted again…”I know you can’t be near your phone but keep in touch.”  He would later tell me about more shots being fired and being in a car chase, but still okay.  At one point, I did not hear from him in a couple of hours and all I could think is “If he is hurt, would he tell me?”  He does a great job of shielding me from his job especially since he works nights and does not want me to worry.  I began to doubt if I knew the whole story or what parts he would tell me…trying to accept what is happening while keeping your mind on things positive is hard.  I prayed, quoted scripture and just thought happy things.  When I had had enough of the news…we turned it on to Disney.  Disney was our happy place…Sheriff Callie saved us.

A friend would later text that her husband spoke with him and he is good so that gave me peace of mind.  Even though it was well after midnight…I could not sleep.  Could not rest…felt so anxious and stiff with a knot in my stomach.  Nothing made me feel better, but I still had a child to entertain and discipline when he sprayed Windex everywhere and broke a plate.  He was a much needed sweet relief to the range of emotions I was feeling.  Facebook was also a relief kinda…in between random opinions I would get sweet words of encouragement…all of our friends and family were checking on us-that is what is good about social media.  My husband even posted he was good, but unable to respond–that brought lots of sweet comments.  Finally, around 2am he texted he was going back to the station and might be home on time…then and only then I tried to rest.  I eventually fell asleep, but when he came home I went in the kitchen and hugged him before laying my head down to really sleep…we all woke up the next day close to noon after such a long night.  I was thankful my husband came home and I did not receive the dreaded phone call…but my heart ached for the women and families that were not so unfortunate.

Now here is where I get real.  The main thought that kept going through my mind that night was “I did not kiss him goodbye.”  On that dreadful night, we were on night three of a much heated argument.  You see being married to an officer, working opposite work schedules in addition to already having a rocky marriage from past incidences..those that read my blog previously know what I am talking about…all that can weigh down a marriage.  I have no idea how we have lasted 12 years with all the odds stacked against us…I do know how…Jesus and lots of him.  But on this night, we had attended my son’s swim lessons, my husband was the parent in the parent tot class (yes, he did ring around the rosy with the other moms).  Since we were not on speaking terms, at the end of the class I told him “be safe”..funny how you remember those details…then took our son home while he went to work.  The entire night I kept thinking “I did not kiss him goodbye-I have to get another kiss.  He cannot die tonight.”   I am sure some might say “He was not likely going to die”, but I am sure the other wives thought that as well.  A new rule in this house is no matter how mad we get-we kiss goodbye–no matter what!

Flash forward to today, the new challenge each day is walking the fine line between over-talking about it and not talking at all.  I want our home to be his happy place and his normal knowing that he hears enough of it at work.  The tragedy allowed us to talk a lot of things out and cry some much needed tears while recommitting to work harder to meet each other’s needs despite the tough challenge ahead of us.  Him going to days is nowhere in sight and my job as a teacher does not work nights so we must make it work.  I committed to listening more about his daily struggles without freaking out and he committed to opening up more-it is the only way officers can be able to do this job without losing it.  We have watched the news together and kept up with current events including attending a funeral later this week.  It comes down to I am here with whatever you need, but our home is base and it is safe.  Talk as much or as little as needed…just know I am here.

I struggle seeing those officers’ faces knowing it could have been my husband, but by the grace of God was not.  I also struggle to feel safe that if it is not him now..could it be him later?  All those thoughts are real and just, but the truth is none of us know tomorrow so we must live for the moment now.  We must love with full hearts and do what God has predestined us to do while we have the time to do it.  I will never forget July 7th 2016.   I grieve with Dallas and for the DPD.  I am proud to be an officer wife and never more proud to be a Texan.  This was easily the worst night for me being married to an officer, but also one of my proudest nights knowing he was serving and protecting our city despite all the what-ifs and oh nos.

The good news is: “Some people never get to meet their heroes; I married mine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Romans 12:15

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The Bible says to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn, but what if both emotions occur at the same time? Which side do you join?

Mother’s Day presents this challenge. For the first 29 years of my life I lived in Mother’s Day ignorance. This day was about celebrating my mom and the world was great. It was a happy day no questions asked. Cue six years later and I have learned for some this is the hardest day of the year. Now that I have seen and experienced this pain, I can never go back to ignorance.

I struggle with this because many are celebrating: a first time mom, a mom that has come home, an older mom still here, grandmothers that are like moms, foster moms, women that are like moms, a mom of many children, an adoptive mom that never thought she would be called mom (me).

But I also know the extreme sadness: an infertile woman that should have been pregnant by now, a mom that just miscarried, a mom to an angel baby gone too soon, a woman that is old enough to be a mom but is still single and fears she may never get the chance, a birth mom that experienced the life for nine months then chose a better future for the child, a woman that is content choosing not to have kids but then is judged on this day as others assume she wanted to, a mom that just passed away or a mom that is far from home, a mom that does not remember she is a mom.

For the first time ever I did not make a big deal of Mother’s Day at school because I have two students that lost their moms…one four months ago…this is the hardest day for him-ever!

With all this sadness, it seems rude to celebrate except there are those that have earned this celebration and they deserve to get it. Moms everywhere need their ONE day to feel important, to be appreciated, to honor the sacrifice and generosity, to be treated like a queen and decide lunch or get a hug or get time off. We deserve our day…we do a lot that goes unpaid and unnoticed and this day solves that problem!

Both sides win and both sides are right and both sides matter. So do we rejoice or mourn?

I say both! God gives and He takes away and there is a time for everything. I think it is only important that you understand there is both happening simultaneously. I was that girl that almost lost it at the restaurant when the hostess handed me a flower after I had just started my cycle after the 24th month of trying (seriously I almost threw the flower in her face but that would have been awkward). I am also the girl that realizes my son was carried by someone else only to choose me to get to receive his card on this day. Her sadness today is my joy. Celebrating my first Mother’s Day was surreal; felt like a huge victory where I could say or do anything I wanted(I left the diaper bag at home on the way to church and was not fussed at…score!) I would not have wanted anyone to tell me I should not celebrate in honor of another’s pain…I think as sisters we can do both. Hug and dance in celebration and cry and console in pain. We as women need to lift each other up in whatever stage and just appreciate that as women we have that bond of understanding. Having ovaries ain’t easy!!

The good news: sorrow endures for a night but joy comes in the morning. Death has been conquered by Christ and your loved one is home where we all belong! If this is your season of mourning then believe sister that seasons change! Your smile is coming!image

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Thankful for the Facebook Fast

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Did I really just say that today I am thankful for this fast?  Yes, today I am.  Today was the funeral and burial of the baby girl lost suddenly in my post a few days ago.  I have been consumed with this tragic story of loss as of late.  In fact, it is rocked my faith a little bit.  How could God allow this couple to suffer such immense pain?  How could suffering like this even exist?  To be honest, I am a little mad at God and a little afraid that if they could feel this hurt after struggling to conceive could I?  A little afraid to love right now in fear of that love being taken away from me.  My heart hurts to know that such a pain exists to a couple that is so similar to my husband and I.  I hear of these tragic stories all the time, but it is someone else that I am not connected to at all.  This one seems so real and so close to home.  It makes me sick.

A friend at lunch was telling me about all the posts and slideshows and videos that were created today in her honor.  She was telling me her Facebook feed was pretty sad and it caused her to look at pics and explore all the connections of the people that loved the little girl and her family.  In that moment, I was happy to not be on Facebook.  I am already in enough pain that it would have consumed me.  I asked her to send me the link to one of the videos since I could not log into FB and I watched it in Callen’s nursery and just cried.  Cried for every wedding pic, pregnancy pic, newborn pic and every recent pic of their Christmas together.  I cried reading her obituary and I cried thinking her mother woke up like every other day and got her ready for school not knowing it would be their last morning together.  Her parents did not know this was their last Christmas and last family pic of three.  I hurt because death has no predicted date, but it is inevitable and losing a child would be horrific.  I know God’s promises are true and I know she is in a better place, but this pains me deeply.  I bought a book by Max Lucado to try to deal with this grief…so strange to feel such pain for strangers, but their story has also inspired me.  Their story has made me appreciate the time to put down the phone and be in the moment.  I have hugged my son more and spent more time that is quality.  I have worked harder to appreciate and value each hour knowing we are not guaranteed the next.  Please keep the Turner family in your prayers as they face each new day differently.  Pray also for the days ahead.  I apologize that this post is a random jumble of just pain and sadness, but the lack of having Facebook to distract me has me in these thoughts and having to really explore them which I guess is something for which to be thankful.

You Take the Good with the Bad

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We are on Facebook Fast Day 10 and I think I am slowly getting used to life without it.  I don’t find myself missing it as much since I have not been on it for ten days.  I do catch myself wondering about certain people’s posts about various topics or feelings about world events that I know would have something to say, but I enjoy being separated from the drama.  A coworker will ask me if I saw so and so’s post etc., but I can honestly say no and I have no idea what is going on.  I do feel isolated from current events or from social happenings around the community; the main reason I joined is because a friend was moving to Australia and a different one got engaged and I had no idea because they thought I knew through Facebook.  People don’t call each other to share news or even email…they just post it on Facebook, so I feel I am missing out on that, but you have to take the good with the bad.

I went for my semi-annual Lupus check up today.  It is only on these days that I remember I have a chronic disease that is in constant need of monitoring.  Only on days like today where I see how bad my disease could be that I appreciate the mildness of it all even if it is inconvenient.  For the first time ever, I got a bone density scan to measure if my bones were deteriorating due to the steroids I take daily.  I did surprise the machine guy with my scoliosis.  He thought I was sitting straight at first, but then realized it was my back and calmed down.  Thankfully the test had positive results.  We took my usually two vials of blood to monitor that the levels stayed the same and then did my normal check up.  This time I had a concern because my scalp has developed these lesions that are causing my hair to thin in areas and I am not having that hair loss!  He recommended a visit to the Dermatologist but assured me it was an effect of the disease and the hair will likely grow back.  I can tell that I am in a flare or about to be because of my extreme weight loss.  I am down five pounds, but eating more or as normal.  I like the natural weight loss, but will not tolerate hair loss…I guess you got to take the good with the bad!

Finally, my son is in the Terrible Twos in full swing.  The amount of “mine” “no” “I don’t want to” and pure break downs when things do not go his way are intense.  We call him bipolar Callen because one minute he is on top of the world and the next he is sprawled out on the floor.  We are trying to balance the thought that he is learning these bad behaviors to get our attention with this is just the age and we must push through it.  We are constantly reinforcing him to use his words and express his feelings while punishing using time out when necessary.  The good thing is our caretakers report he does well for them and the meltdowns are non-existent or minimal, but not sure why we get all the good stuff.  Hoping we are not encouraging the bad behaviors without knowing it, but we have no idea are just trying to do our best.  As I am fussing at him for taking out the chicken hammer, spilling the bubbles, putting his sock in the water and carrying the laundry basket into the shower…I thought I was about to reach my breaking point.  In my mind, I was thinking “we are not going to make it out of the twos” and then my mind went back to the mother that lost her 17 month old girl on Thursday and I know she would give anything to have the terrible twos.  I know she would sell all she owned to have one more day of spills, tears, messes and meltdowns.  I appreciate that I am blessed to have these moments with him…the good ones and the bad.

The good news is: Facebook Fast, Lupus and infamous two year old behaviors–I am blessed with the good and the bad.  Humbled tonight in so many ways especially knowing that the sweet parent tonight endured her child’s viewing.  I know God is good and He loves us.  I know God is faithful and His promises are true, but this one has rocked me.  Why give that good and perfect gift to later take it away?  I know she is in a better place, but my heart hurts at the thought.  Her story has rocked me today.  I know she will get up and breathe and take it day by day and hour by hour…I know she will find the strength, but I wish she did not have to.