It was a bright, sunny Sunday afternoon in October 2001. Usually I would be picking up around the house for Bible Study, but we had some sort of fellowship going on at the church that night. It was a lazy day. Zane was in Cuba. My parents were in Seattle. I remember standing with Lacey by the dining room table when the phone rang.
My dad, with THAT tone in his voice, was on the other end. He was struggling trying to find the right words...saying any words at all. My mind started racing and I was trying to imagine what had happened. My first thought was Zane had been arrested. I moved into the laundry room more out of nervousness than anything else. What I heard was nothing I had imagined and hit me hard. "It's your brother...Tom has died!"
I don't remember a lot of the next few minutes. My dad was talking, I had dropped to the floor, he was asking if I was ok, I was speechless and my head was spinning. "What?" "No!" "What happened?" "I talked to him several times that week."
Suicide! There I said it! It is extremely difficult to talk about! No one knows how to talk about suicide, not in giving sympathy and not being the family. People want to know what was wrong? where the family went wrong? what was so terrible to end your own life?
Before Tom, I'm not sure what my thoughts were about suicide. I'm sure I had a few opinions. But like a lot of my opinions after life lessons, I've learned to be a lot less judgmental (or snap judgements) about some things (and a lot more about attitudes) and see things from another point of view.
I often hear suicide is selfish! It is! A family is left grieving and feeling immense guilt for years. There have been so many times I've yelled at Tom. There have been things/times he should have been here. There have been times in my life that I needed him!
But being selfish is not what they are thinking. They are so deep and dark and filled with pain that they do not see the hurt they are leaving. It is really sad for them and for those their death hits hard.
Tonight, I heard "it's so hard to say goodbye" by Boyz II Men. We used that song in Tom's service. It hit me hard. Tears immediately formed and were rolling down my face before I even knew what was happening. It still hurts!
I miss my big brother! He was my hero and protector! He was 8 years older than me but we weathered a lot of family circumstances together. Although he could be mean to me, no one had better ever be mean to me. He fought for me. He stood up for me I miss him every day!
Sometimes life becomes crazy. Stressful things take over and overwhelm us. They cloud over our thoughts and perception of the good things in life. It is like a kudzu vine, growing rapidly, hard to cut out and get rid of, and taking over. It may not even be stress, it can be the day to day things that consume all our thoughts. So much so that we miss out on the little things. We often don't see them or so consumed that we ignore the little things that bring us joy and laughter.
This summer, this year actually, I have felt bogged down with injuries, work, finances,unpacking Lacey from school, packing her back up, not wanting her to go back to school, etc. I've been thinking so much about sending her back to school and away again that I have missed a lot of little moments.
I was reminded of this Monday night. Milford Christian Church, Milford, Mo has the Jesus Loves Me Home as their VBS mission this week. Milford is an hour away. Lacey spoke Monday night, so I rode up with her.
The minute we started driving, we started laughing. I mean the type of laughing where you have tears in your eyes and your stomach muscles hurt. We were away from everything and really not a care in the world. It came to the point that everything was funny, no one really understands our humor anyway. We laugh at things that really are not funny to normal people. AND Lacey was making fun of me half the time, but you know what? I had the best day.
I love my girl! I love the young woman she has become. I love her confidence and her compassion. I love that she is passionate about things that mean so much to her. I love (well maybe...some times) that she throws my own advice back at me. Or that she tells me to stop whining or to "chill out" and enjoy life. I love that she is crazy and off the wall. Most of all I love her laughter and her ability to make that laughter become contagious and spread, and that she very easily laughs at herself and does not take life so seriously.
We all need to set aside a day to take a chill pill and add a little (ok a lot) laughter in our lives. God has blessed us with so many things that we take for granted: sunsets, rainbows, a misplaced flower, a turtle crossing the road, a baby's smile, time spent with family, funny shaped clouds in the sky... there are so many things we miss.
Stop what you are doing for 15 minutes, look around, enjoy life and have the BEST day!
I think the 4th of July is my family's second favorite holiday. There is an excitement about the 4th that does not compare with any other holiday except Christmas.
I have a love/hate relationship with the 4th of July!
First, FOOD! I love planning for, cooking and eating on the 4th! We have pretty much designated baby back ribs as the food of the 4th! Add in cheesy potatoes, grilled corn, deviled eggs, poke cake, and watermelon. YUM! I make my own bbq sauce. It always smells so good! But there is always so much food! My extended family does not come over and the past 2 years Lacey has been gone to CIY MOVE. We eat 4th of July food for days!
Second, Location! Joplin's big celebration takes place at Landreth Park, next to Ozark Christian College. There is nothing better than meeting friends up on the hill by the OCC chapel and watching the fireworks explode over our heads. It puts a whole other dimension to the fireworks. But everyone else in Joplin enjoys the show too! We used to live an 1/8th of a mile (if that) from Ozark and it would take 1-2 hours to get home! As much as I hated that, I couldn't resist the thrill and excitement of being right there!
Third, and this is the biggest love.hate, BUYING FIREWORKS! I hate spending money on fireworks. It is the biggest waste of money. It is literally burning money. I dig my heels in every year. But Zane drives me up to one of those tents, Lacey is usually in the backseat bouncing. There is just this evil draw to the fireworks, an adrenaline, a thrill, so much excitement. I give in. Now mind you, I complain as I am ooooooohhhhhhhing and awwwwwwwwwwwwwwing! I didn't grow up with fireworks, they were illegal in Chattanooga. I guess my love and excitement grew watching Lacey look on in wonder. That still gets to me today coupled with the laughter and memories made every year.
I love our freedoms in this country. I love being able to celebrate our countries birth. I'm thankful for even the silly things that make us smile and ign
Now that Lacey is off at college, I find myself with way too much time to think. For me, thinking leads to worrying and worrying leads to worst case scenario. So I thought maybe blogging and putting some of my thoughts down might help myself. You never know, at some point I might come up with a clever thought or idea in the process!