If I am honest with all of you and myself, this past year has been a year full of me fumbling through the grief process. I've been praying a lot coming up to George's birthday knowing we are coming up to what I call our season of grief. Deep in my soul, I know this past year was not how I wanted to handle it all for so many reasons. This process of grief is not easy and it comes with so many ups and downs and trials and errors along the way as we try to find a way to live this new life we have been given. Life is not what I wanted for myself and my family and I have not found it fair and where George was concerned, I felt cheated.
Until recently, I didn't realize that I was so angry with God and all the trials he has given us. We are good people who would give the shirt off our backs or our very last penny to a person in need. Growing up, I thought that being good was all it took to not have bad stuff happen and even a small part of me wants to believe that now. The thing is that God didn't promise that and so often he is using the trials for his own glory. I was angry that he did not save us from this pain and suffering...I've done what he has asked of me and been "good" and yet I hurt more the day he died.
The pain I talk about is such a deep rooted pain, down to the very core of my being. There were days I had wished I could have just curled up and died. I would lie in bed and just beg God to take the pain away and to help me through this to make it so I am able to find a way to glorify God through all of this because otherwise there is no purpose to all we are going through. It took me so long to want to do that through George's death but all along I have been trying to do that through the fundraisers, donations, random acts of kindness, and other things we have tried to do in George's memory. What I was really asking God was to allow me to do this not only on special days but every single day of my life.
I have come to realize that I can't wait for God to do this or help me do this for that matter but rather I know I need to take each day and live it for not only George but myself and my family included. George needs to live on through me and all that I do...I know he has but now I cannot count on others to help me through this because they can't. So often we have felt alone in this journey because so often when we did fundraisers or had a special thing in his memory not many people would respond or help us with it and so many times it came down to begging. His birthday really made this apparent to me when we asked people to tell us how George changed their lives or to even donate items for our stocking project and there were only a handful of people who did. This past week my niece had her 2nd birthday and I sat there thinking of how many friends and people my sister and her husband have in their lives as we went to my nieces second party and saw the gifts that where piled under the table from the day before. A part of me was jealous of this sort of love and support they had because so often I feel like we don't even have that when we are trying to do something good like our stocking project.
People so often misjudge us, not knowing our whole story, rather than embracing us for who we are all the way down to the worst part of who we are. Last night as Hugh and I discussed this, I said the same thing and as it came out of my mouth, I realized there is no one that will be able to ever do that except God. I spend my life worrying if I am doing things right or wrong by everyone elses standards worrying what they will think but not ever listening to that voice/gut feeling I know is God calling me to allow him to live through me and I live for him. He knows our story and loves us for our worst flaws and things that we do that are "good" will find a way of coming to fruition because he has placed them on my heart and I will do what I am called to no matter how much support there is and I will cherish those who do support us and love us no matter the number. This is hard for me but I have really prayed about it and plan to work on this part of myself. I know I have to just put my faith in God and do what he wants me to do rather than what I think others want or even what I want. My life is so far from what I wanted for myself and yet I would not change any of it because it made me who I am today and no matter what anyone thinks, I know I can stand before God today and be proud of who I am and what I have done.
I've come to find that the harder I try to listen to God the more opportunities I have had to be called to show love and support to someone else. Without George's death, I would not know how to connect with those who have had a significant loss in their lives and I know first hand how hard it is to find support and love because no one understands unless they have walked this path. We all grieve differently, myself included and there is no where for judgement from those who have not walked this path...we have a RIGHT to grieve how we need to...there is no map or directions on how to survive your child dying. This past year was not how I wanted to live but it has also taught me how NOT to live this new life. I needed this year of feeling lost because without it, I would not know what it is like to be found. Never will I be the same person I was before and at one point I yearned for that but now I am learning how to embrace the new me and the new life we lead. It isn't easy but I have to trust that God will provide what we NEED not what we want. God is using all of these trials to glorify him and also to show me he is here ALWAYS, especially when I feel so lost and alone.
I know I get tired of being the one there for so many others and when I need it or ask for it, it just isn't there or people are busy with so many other things. I'm sure that others judgement of us comes to play in some of this but I have come to realize that if God places things on my heart than he will make them happen. He will provide a way and support me no matter how I FEEL inside. Life is really all about perception because if it is real to that person in their mind(even if that is not truly how it is) than that is their truth and what they are working with in their life. So often we discount people's feelings and tell them that they shouldn't feel that way when in fact we are just denying them the ability to address their feelings so they can move forward. I've done so much work since George's birthday and so much personal reflection and really praying.
Since that time and now each day, I have been given some very great opportunities to show God's love to someone else by simple acts of kindness. It is about showing God's love and getting past our own hang ups in life. I don't need someone elses support to be kind and show love to others. The other day I paid for a mans bill at Walmart. He was in front of me and his card wouldn't work. He was not well dressed and you could tell that life had hit him hard and I could feel it in his spirit. This man was embarassed and fumbling to pay the bill. With that I just asked the cashier how much it was and I don't even know why I did because I was going to pay that bill no matter what it was that we had in our bank...I knew God ment for me to do that. This stranger to me just kept telling me no and I just swiped the card and told him to let me do it as my gift to him because I could not buy my son a birthday gift since he was in heaven and I wanted to do that for him. He just kept thanking me and I handed him a card I carry in my wallet that had George's info on it and asked him to pass along the gift when he could in whatever manner he could. I didn't need his thanks nor did I want it...I knew I was meant to do it.
Today I had to speak with a woman from the welfare building in order to do our yearly update. Yes we get public assistance and I am not hiding it...my husband works hard and just doesn't make enough money. He still pays taxes out of his paycheck and we contribute to the world in a way we are called to do. This woman was calling me to do her job and at the end of the conversation I just told her I needed to thank her for her job today. With that she told me how much she needed to hear that today. Every day she has to tell people how she can or cannot help them...they are in there often times in tears at their rope end. She hears stories like ours and yet can barely do things to help these people like us. People have such a horrible perception of those who need help...we aren't just living on the system and drug addicts, we are eveyday people who life has happened to. I'm not going to deny that there are people who take advantage of the system but most of them are people who life has tossed around and who are grasping for something or someone to care or who can help. This woman was not the person who was suppose to call me, that person got transfered today last minute and she was given her desk plus the work she already had! She was having such a bad day and something in my heart compelled me to just thank her.
Why did I post about these moments I was given to show God's love? I don't say this to get sympathey or praise but rather the employ you to make a differenc in someone elses live just because you have listened to the holy spirit calling you or for those non believers, that "gut feeling" You could be changing someones life and not even know it. You never know where your simple act of kindness can go and how it may be passed on and change so many lives. How do I do this and why do I do this...I can do this because of the compassion I have learned through my life trials and why do I do this, because I know what it is like to be that person in need even just for a simple hug or kind word...it doesn't have to cost a dime!!! When I do this, that is when my son is living on through me...I get my strength, love, and understanding from my little monkey in heaven who still and will always live in my heart.
When I give part of my spirit to a person out of kindness, it is then that my son lives on and still changes lives...a 4.5 month old little boy has changed lives and yet he didn't speak, walk, or own a thing. Immagine what you can do...and if you choose to do something just based on reading this, George lives on through you too! It is amazing what love can do and how it can change the world! Reflect and consider all of this and see if you can find that place in your heart to share with others. If you ever feel compelled to share how you may have taken something from any of my postings, I would LOVE to hear from you...it just lets us know how much further our love and our son's love lives on through the world and changes it. May God be with you all today and always and you feel his love and show it through your own actions...this is not always easy but allow him to do his will and even mistakes will somehow be glorified or changed.
George's Guardian's of Grace Projects
Stocking project is now in full force collecting donations. We have a list of the items we can use. You can also choose to sponsor a stocking in memory or honor of someone else. We will include a paragraph or two in the cards we place in the stockings to let the recipient know about the person that means so much to you. Our paypal account is posted on this page and ready to take donations. Email us for a list of items needed or with any questions or information you would like included on a sponsored stocking/donation.
Video Tributes/Celebration of Life Footage
Here is a link to a video tribute that was made by Richard's dad in memory of George. Get out your tissues!
We Finally have footage from the service up and running:
It is in 4 sections running about 17 mins each. If you were unable to attend, you can now see what you missed. We were so blessed to have everyone there with us in person and in spirit!