Perspective: How I deal with grief…

It is All Souls Day and a time to remember and pray for those we have lost. It is sad that I have a list!! We all grieve differently for those who have passed. It doesn’t matter where they fall in the family hierarchy. A loss is a loss. People have told me they think I have dealt with my grief involving the loss of my son with much grace. Well, I am not always sure that is true. I proved that again in conversation just the other day. I still have my moments. I also know we are all born with one guarantee… that we will, at some point, die. The in-between is up to us. Losing my son has been the hardest thing I have had to deal with by far. I thought I couldn’t fathom anything worse for a parent. But there is. Of that, I am sure . I have lost several brothers and both my parents. I knew at an early age this was a possibility being the baby born into a large family. Death is not the worst thing life has to offer, and that is my perspective! 
Definition—Perspective: a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view. It’s a half full or half empty way of looking at situations. 
I remember when my husband used to call me every morning at 6:30a to make sure I was awake. He worked third shift. I complained to a friend that I was bothered a little with him thinking I could not get myself up on time. She quickly fired back, “I wish my husband was thinking enough of me every morning to call!” That changed my perspective of his morning call quickly!! Someone sees a “6” and you see a “9”. The object didn’t change, but the way we looked it changed our perception of what we were seeing. Some are sad the day is over when the sun sets. Others are happy to have made it through another day. Perspective.
In retrospect in regards to my loss, I can go another step or two!! What if my son had suffered horribly? That is worse! Watching someone suffer is a very hard thing to do, far worse than death sometimes. Ask anyone who has had a family member suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s!! That has got to be one of the worst!! What about a family member doing everything possible to extend their life due to cancer!! Chemo sucks the life right out of people and might even be worse than the illness itself!! I saw that first hand with my brother who was only 40 years old!! We take life’s situations and can ALWAYS take it one step further. Sometimes, death is NOT that one step further. Death can be relief and/or peace for those suffering… and those watching!!
I did not accept my son’s death with grace. I accepted it as a part of “life,” part of the “plan.” I have faith!! I miss him every single day. I have a lot of wonderful memories in my heart to keep him alive in spirit. Those memories will have to sustain me until I meet up with him in Heaven!! I still cry as I mow the lawn listening to every sad song that reminds me of him. I still dream that it didn’t happen. I still yell down the steps to the basement and tell him to come get his stuff off of the dryer! But, I didn’t helplessly watch him suffer, knowing there was absolutely nothing I could do to ease his pain as my mother did with my brother. For that, I am grateful. I didn’t get here overnight. Trust me! Again, I could take this to a worse-case scenario, but for now, I am where I am!
I am sure if Cody were to answer that question of immediate death or suffering, he would agree. If he were to have lived through what the police told me happened, he would have been in very, very bad shape. Death might have been the result either way, but this way, I know he did not suffer. The knowledge of that is peaceful. Sad to hear, but peaceful to know. Some may not know, but I didn’t get to see my son after he died. I saw him walk away from the house to go fishing and that is my last vision. The next time I saw him, he was in an urn. Could it have been an act of God that I didn’t see him or the wreckage …? Maybe!! I feel the void of this image was Cody’s gift to me and his father. I will not know for sure until I get to Heaven!! Perspective!
I will continue to have my days that pull me back a step or two, but until then, I don’t want to miss the beauty in front of me! Part of me died the day my son died, but the rest of me is trying to live for him and on his behalf!! Roses smell twice as sweet because I smell them for both of us!!l! I choose to live the best of life in honor of all of those who didn’t get to live as long as I wish they could have!! Just my perspective!! Love like there is no tomorrow!! Enjoy those around you! In an instant, they might not be! Don’t waste the moment!! As always, I cry because he is gone, but I smile because he was here!!!
#livelovelaugh  #livelifetothefullest  #changeyourperspective  #thedashinthemiddle

I still see you…

Just when God knew I needed to feel your presence, a glimpse of you appears. I am not always looking for those signs, but when I come upon them, it takes my breath away!

Yesterday, this happened through an ornery expression on the face of your 15-month old niece  born after you left our Earthly presence and entered your Heavenly abode. I saw so much of you in her expressions, I laughed and cried at the same time!

You will never be gone, for many reasons! I will never stop talking about you, for one. Those who have never met you feel as if they have. You left a mark on so many that will never be forgotten! I will continue to feel your presence through those around us. I am so grateful for the years we were blessed with! Until we meet again, I will keep you close in my heart, speak of you often, and love and miss you every single day!! I cry because you are gone, but I smile because you were here!! 🌈🕊😇🙏🎼😘❤️.

I Still See You

 

I cried the day you left us

And thought you left nothing behind

But, at that moment, I didn’t see

For my grief had left me blind

Blind to all the memories,

The stories that make us smile

There is a hole deep in our hearts

And will remain for quite a while

I was sad you had no children

To carry on your legacy

But that is another story

And yet a different kind of vacancy

But, amazingly so, I saw you today

In the beautiful eyes of your niece

And all I thought at that moment

Was “Thank you, God, for that little piece”

It was a reflection of you in her face

An amazing glimpse of love

A reminder that you are still with us

Still shining brightly from above….

Christina Herold Trueblood

10/22/2019.

#foreverinourhearts  #signsamongus  #youliveinthruothers

 #thedashinthemiddle

Life changes in the blink of an eye… or snap of a strap!!

Literally, life changes in the blink of an eye, a tick on a clock, or the snap of a strap!!! We experienced that blink just over two years ago and, again, this past Monday!! Like always, we can take this situation to a worse-case scenario, but it doesn’t always make it feel better.

Monday, my husband and my son’s best friend went to check on the deer stands before any hunting was going to be done from them. Safety first. It was good to see the best buddy of my son and my husband kind of excited to be doing something in which they knew my son would be hovering over them for that is where his spirit lived… in the woods!! Anyone who knew Cody knew his passion was hunting!! That and trucks!! Well, no names, but his friend’s initials are AW so we will go with initials and ‘dad’ throughout the story. AW was the first one up the first stand while dad walked ahead. They say, first one up, first one down. That is correct, just not the way we wanted. Once up, the straps broke and 18-20 feet down came AW, hitting a limb, breaking his fall, and several vertebrae!! 
I have seen adrenaline in action before, but AW saw it first hand in dad!! Dad did everything right, according to ALL medical personnel, to not increase or cause additional injury. To the ER they went after the ordeal of getting AW to the truck!
Long story short, he will be ok. No spinal injury. Hopefully, no permanent damage. But this could have been much worse!! We know that! But, it doesn’t take away from the fact that our dear friend and almost like “son” is hurting!!
As a parent, we would trade places with these kids in a heartbeat! What started out as an adventure and bonding experience could have turned to even more of a tragedy in a heartbeat!! We hurt watching their suffering!! Even though AW says he is glad it was him and not dad, that doesn’t make our anguish disappear. 
Every single day, something happens to open my eyes and my heart to appreciate EVERYTHING and EVERYONE!! It doesn’t matter if your political views differ from mine; if you are a messy person when I  not; if God gave you a different color of skin than mine; or if you don’t like pizza (which should be against the law lol)!! We are human and all lives matter! Respect and appreciate what is right in front of us, every single day!
These kids that came into our lives through the friendship with our son are a part of our lives forever! They are our lifeline to memories and help keep him alive in spirit! I am so glad AW wanted to go into the woods and help dad, with Cody’s spirit in tow. For all I know, Cody was there making sure this situation didn’t become a “worse case scenario!”
Take a minute to thank the Lord for ALL the blessings. Sometimes, we do not appreciate the good until we have experienced the bad. The trials and tribulations will make us stronger and help us to appreciate those less trying times. In a blink, our priorities change. Our focus shifts. Things that mattered before may not come close to a priority.
Please pray for AW, that his healing is swift. May he always know his pain is our pain and we are so thankful he will heal from this! I am so glad his mother didn’t go through more heartache and that dad and I didn’t lose another “son” in a blink of an eye! We love you AW!! May Cody’s spirit help see you through this and, remember, he is with us in every step we take! I am so glad he brought you into our lives!!
#secondchances #someonewaswatching  #blinkofaneye  #thedashinthemiddle

I am not always prepared despite what I think…

I thought I had been through the “first” of everything without my son on this Earth beside us. I was wrong. This weekend, my niece got married. It was a beautiful ceremony and great seeing all the family. All of my siblings were represented. The five of us still living were all there, and the three who have passed were represented by their widows!! I was prepared to see my niece get married and see my family. What I wasn’t prepared for was the “forever in our hearts” table!

I had not thought about it even though this is common at weddings and holds pictures of loved ones of the bride and groom who have passed. Represented of my family lost included the photo of my parents, my three brothers, and… my son! I was not prepared for that table!! Seeing it opened flood gates I could not control and it took me quite a few minutes. The more my family tried to console me, the more I wanted to cry. That’s ok!! I am sure a few of them were emotional, too! Father of the bride decided those photos should be in our family photo!! We each held the photo of the one we lost: my sisters-in-law held the photo of the one they were married to; father of the bride held the photo of our parents; I held the photo of my son! Such a great idea and tribute!

My niece and my son were only a few months apart in age and grew up together. Memories of the two of them were imminent. This table brought a lot more emotions than memories!! One, my son wasn’t there in person to help his cousin celebrate. Two, I won’t get to witness his wedding. It is in these moments I am reminded that my son lives in the hearts and memories of a lot of people! I truly believe that may have been the biggest factor in my flood of tears. I forgot that my niece missed him too on her special day. If I had thought about it ahead of time, I might have braced myself. Unfortunately, it had not crossed my mind until that table caught my eye!

I am so happy for my niece and her new husband. They are starting a beautiful life together and my brother is so blessed! I, too, am blessed and I know it. It just surprises me sometimes when I get caught off guard with something like this, even though I have acknowledged it a thousand times over these past two years!

I have to remind myself there are many things I won’t experience, but there are many things I have! I never want to forget that!! I know my son was watching over my niece today and was there in spirit, as well as my parents and brothers! I am so grateful that my brother and sister-in-law and my niece included him on this very special day!! It meant more to me than they will ever know!!

I also need to remind myself there are times in the future, near and far, when I think I have control when I do not! Times like this when I think I have convinced myself I am strong and have it all together, but I don’t. Times when the smallest of events can trigger a flood! These are the times when I am so grateful I have such a loving family who hugged me, cried with me, and understood I am not always strong and still need them! This will happen for years to come, I have no doubt!

Until I meet up with him again, I will try and brace myself. I will try and stay strong, but acknowledge strength doesn’t mean you don’t cry. I will never forget and know those that loved him, aside from me, won’t forget him either! I also know I won’t always be prepared when something pops up, and it is ok!! As always, I cry because he is gone, but I smile because he was here!!

#gonebutnotforgotten #nottheonlyonewhomissescody #familyisforever #mynieceisamrs #thedashinthemiddle

What is life after death…?

Death has been a topic of conversation in my home and among my friends for quite a while now for obvious reasons. Not sure it will change much in the next years’ to come. This weekend, I start year three! This is the third “first” holiday, Labor Day. And still, the question remains… what is life and what is death? What is life after death? I will tell you what I believe it to be, and it is not reincarnation. It is having those left behind after you have gone keeping you alive in spirit!! The one request I have made in the passing of all my family members and loved ones I have lost…remember them in stories!! Especially, stories that will put a smile on your face or laughter in your heart!! It keeps them living for those of us who have lost them and allows those who never met them to feel as if they have!

Life is a precious gift I do not want to abuse. It was something I fought for early in my life before I even knew there was an option. Born prematurely with lungs not quite developed (I know you are all in shock!!!) but I fought and fought hard according to the stories my mom told me. They wisked me away without her even getting to see me after birth and told her the next 24 hours would tell the story. As it turns out, after depriving me of oxygen in the womb for seven months, my twin had to forego the incubator for me. He tells the story now, a half century plus later, how he saved my life! Lol! I love my brother for that!! But what if that episode set some sort of crusade in motion. Do I love life more because of that without even realizing it? Maybe. Guess I will find out when I experience what comes after this life.

With the loss of my parents and siblings, I never really questioned death, other than for my brothers, why did it come so soon? Then again, what is ‘soon?’ Is that a term I made up in my head? I thought 40, 42, and 55 were young until my son passed at 24!! Perspective on the age shifted, yet again! I already know our “dash” is the short-term we get. No one has told me the acceptable age in which the end of life is no longer grieved and we should be “ok” that a person passed away. Is it 70… 80… 100? All those at that age probably have family who will grieve their loss, too. But, eventually, at whatever age, we will at some point no longer be living and breathing this fine air we have become accustomed to.

Here on Earth, we love to live and explore and to just be. All of us will, at some point, leave this Earth! But are we just making memories for others to share when we are gone? Are we living to make life better for those that follow? Maybe not in our current state of affairs in this country, but maybe, somehow, these are all true. Our life has meaning when we live it, but it continues after we are long gone if those who knew us continue to share those stories and memories. Personally, I love to talk about those loved ones and am sad when others are afraid to bring them up in conversation out of fear of how I may respond! Don’t ever be afraid to share memories of anyone! Proof of a life well lived if those memories hold value to someone!! ❤️

Until my last breath, I am going to pray my parents, siblings, and my son, along with so many loved ones, are living the dream in eternity. May we be the best that we can be to guarantee ourselves a spot there too. For now, I will die to live and live to die! Our only guarantee. Cody has a life after death and continues to live on through us, as do the others in my family gone too soon!! I can guess what lies beyond those pearly gates and that there will be life after death in Heaven, too! Until I find out for sure, life after death is up to us still here!! Lost loved ones will continue to live on as long as we keep sharing their lives!! Keep it going strong because ALL lives lost leave someone grieving and missing them! Give all of them life after death! As always, I cry because they are gone, but I smile because they were here!!!

#lifeafterdeath #livingthedream #dietoliveandlivetodie #thedashinthemiddle

Today: not guaranteed, but is a day of learning, remembering, and surviving…

Today… not guaranteed, but is a day of learning, remembering, and surviving what I never thought I could: the funeral of my own child. Two years ago on this date was his funeral. I wrote the following poem that day. 😢💔

Today, I have a family reunion. Two years ago, it was to be held two days after the date of the funeral. My family used the funds for the reunion for the mercy dinner meal and we had no other reunion that year. This year, we are having that reunion, on that funeral date! I know that is just a random coincidence… or is it? It is amazing the strength this family has provided!!

“Today”

Today I laid to rest my son

Something I can’t believe I’ve done

I know it was not my Plan anyway

I also know I will see you again someday

My faith will lead and guide me too

To the path that will bring me back to you

Gone from here, but will live forever

In the hearts of many, never to be severed

My son, I know today was rough

And I know tomorrow is going to be tough

But for now, your memory will lead the way

For us to get through all this today

Tomorrow will be here before I blink

And, once again, I will have to think

How to live with you gone away

When tomorrow again becomes today…

Christina Herold Trueblood

8/24/2017

Everyday, I strive to live the best life possible for those who cannot! This day is no exception. I cry because you are gone, but smile because you were here!! 😘❤️🌈😇🙏😎🎼🕊

#todayisanotherday #familyiseverything #thedashinthemiddle

Second anniversary… two whole years!! Still not celebrating, but I will honor the memory!!!

I have read and reread all the things I have written over the past two years and I have come to a conclusion, burying a child is like starting over as an infant! The first year is learning how to do EVERYTHING (over)!! I cried a lot! Then, I learned to crawl, followed by standing and, then walking. I was able to put a few words together, asked “why?” A LOT!!, and then, eventually formed more coherent sentences.

I spent that first year looking at everything as if I had been seeing it for the first time, scared sometimes, and had a few happy moments. Please do not confuse this situation with a “rebirth.” I was not reborn. I found Jesus a long time ago and he has not moved, nor changed! Still my Savior! I just had a lot of things in common with being born! I was relearning how to do things with a huge void! That void was not there during my first birth umpteen years ago!

Now, I am wrapping up year two. I have put words into complete sentences; learned to walk a little longer and farther; the tears and crying are not all the time; and I am sleeping through the night. With so many similarities to being a baby to a toddler that I have experienced, I fear for those in my path for year three! I remember that “3” was so much worse than the “terrible 2’s” but you’ve been warned!! Lol!! Many things this second year were very similar, just with a “second” in front of it rather than a “first.” I still have my melt-downs, but they aren’t as long and drawn out. I spend more time smiling at the memories, as opposed to feeling cheated for all the things I didn’t get to do or see happen!

One thing is very different this time! I have vowed to LIVE for Cody, instead of dying with him!! If he can’t do things, I must do them for him! This will be living the best life with his memory close to my heart. I want to know he is with me, proud of me, and smiling down knowing “we” are doing these things together! I feel this is the best tribute to him I can offer! Crying with sadness that he is no longer actually in front of me will still be part of the grieving process, but it isn’t the only process! So, to honor his memory, his dad and I went on a “watch this, hold my beer” vacation!! I went zip lining, walked across a bridge on a rope from one side of a mountain to a mountain across from it (wasn’t as far as it sounds, but I did it!), went on a sky tram, AND drank moonshine!! These are ALL things that boy of mine would do if he were here, and I hope he is proud of me for going outside my comfort zone! I’m sure he’s ‘high-five’ing me right now (if I raised my hand!!) 😉 I haven’t gone skydiving yet, but it isn’t off the bucket list yet!!

None of us are meant for this Earth forever, and I know that when I am called home, I don’t want others to stop living their best life either! I want to be living proof that we can continue to honor and keep memories alive of those we have loved so dearly and lost! I don’t want to waste a minute of my life not thinking good thoughts and smiling at good memories, nor do I want to forget about those still here, that loved him and miss him too!

I will continue to make new memories, but will hold onto these ones with Cody in them a little tighter than most. He was my son! I brought him into this world with no guarantees… except one!!! I will love him FOREVER!! As always, I cry because he is gone, but I smile because he was here!!

#gonetwoyears #myonlyson #iloveyouforever #thedashinthemiddle