Good Grief

Good Grief

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Happiness and where I find it

I am slowly but surely taking steps to try and find some happiness and slowly move forward. I can say this knowing that Shane would want and expect me to do both, for me and for our children. At the same time I so want to stay in this moment of hurt, pain and discontent. Grief is that way, one moment you feel you are ready to move forward and then those feelings of grief roll in and take over and can stop you dead in your tracks. I have to say that finding happiness and moving forward is so much harder than I ever thought. Time is cruel to one in this way. It is hard to “move forward” when time keeps marching on. Time tends to take things away you would prefer to hold onto. For instance, to remember the way Shane smelled I will have to get his cologne, I confess I have even applied his deodorant and used his left over shaving cream just to hold onto his scent. I have a bag of dry cleaning of his that needs to be taken but I can’t because the clothes inside still have his scent. Time is slowly taking these little things away from me. In order to remember exactly how he sounded I will either have to play our greeting on the answering machine or play home videos, when watching these I can hear his laugh, see his smile and remember for just a little longer. I confess, I went to clean out his underwear drawer the other day and once I started I stopped, can’t do it. Not ready to do that right now and don’t know when I will be. I have also noticed that Jake is struggling with moving forward. I am seeing that he continues to “expect” things now. We have had some great things happen with people reaching out to us and taking care of us during this pain, it started before Shane even passed. I, as a grown women, have a hard time swallowing that life moves on for everyone else while our family is just entering the time in which our real misery and pain started. This time last year it was becoming evident of just how sick Shane really was. While we are right in the middle of remembering and recalling EVERY thing from this time last year, other people’s lives rock on, as it should. I am not saying that people have forgotten, but in a 10-year olds mind, it sure seems that way. It’s hard for him to grasp that even though this hurt and pain is ours, it’s not others. Even though we may think that the world owes us something, since part of our world has been taken, it or any one owes us nothing. I try to explain that we were really loved on and taken care of and we should be so very thankful and gracious for that, it won’t last forever and people will forget. I know the Tim Tebow recognition doesn’t help at all, he felt like a rock star for a few days. However, we are no more special than any other family that has lost their husband and daddy. But to us it does feel like we are the only ones. I realize that it’s not fresh on everyone’s mind as it is ours, and that’s ok, but forgive us for it being about the only thing on our minds.

I just went to my first big social outing without Shane. I was reluctant to go at first but some very sweet friends invited me to come along with them. I was a “5th wheel” with these sweet couples and they made me feel extremely comfortable and confident. I knew I had to get this outing behind me and was so glad to have them “holding my hand.” I jokingly stated that I was going to have a hat made that said; “Still sux, kids are good,” knowing that would be the topic of conversation. It was a blast of a night and I got to see so many of Shane’s friends, clients, etc. It was  fabulous  and I wasn’t treated like I had the plague as I have on occasion since Shane has been gone. I had this eerie fear that as soon as I walked up people would stop talking and laughing thinking well there’s the widow, fun’s over. I know you’re thinking I must think highly of myself, forgive me, I don’t, it’s just you think all sorts of things when you’re on your on for the first time in years. I know Shane would have wanted me out and about and wouldn’t expect me to pine away at home, even though that is sometimes my heart’s desire. As I ponder and worry about being happy, again, God’s timing is perfect. This week, after my outing, I received a letter from one of Shane’s dearest, closest friends. He was sharing his favorite memory of Shane as was asked at Shane’s service. I am still so thankful for each letter/memory for it is something I will cherish and share with the children so they can know just who their daddy was. The letter was stating how many good times they had but he chose a memory that I will forever cherish. He stated how he was visiting at the end when Shane was mostly resting. I was on the bed with him and he said something to me, I asked, “Do you need something babe?” Once he could see me he said, “I love you.” I said, “I know you do.” He repeated it to me, “I love you.” Then he went back to his resting state. He also shared that close to the end he and Shane had a conversation and he realized that Shane knew what may be inevitable. He started talking about me, and said I had been his rock and that he truly knew what it was to be loved. He asked this dear friend to help me find happiness. His friend stated in his letter that he wasn’t even sure what happiness looked like in this world. I often wonder too. One of the things I worry about is that my children may never fully grasp how much their mom and dad REALLY loved each other or how really happy we were. I think maybe this letter will help with that. I will pray that all of my children will find that happiness and love that we shared and never to settle for anything less. I had happiness once and I too, know what it’s really like to be loved. I am extremely thankful for God allowing me to experience love that some will never have. Most days I can find a little happiness, I find it knowing that Shane loved me enough to make sure that I did find happiness, I find it knowing I loved him with ALL my heart, it may be just something crazy the kids have done/said, smelling Shane’s deodorant (crazy I know), a memory, a greeting from a new puppy, knowing my family loves me and my babies and will do anything for us, knowing my oldest sister is being allowed by God’s grace to worship Him in Israel, it may be dozens of rainbows, whatever. On the flip side when I find a little happiness I catch myself and almost feel bad for finding a it and experiencing it.  I went to my grief support group and they tell me that it is normal to feel this way.  One thing I have realized, the one thing that makes me happiest is…knowing GOD loves me and each of my children and that His timing is perfect. So I will wait on Him and I will take the happiness that only He can provide. I will find happiness in waiting in anxious anticipation for Jesus to come back, because the happiness I find in this life is nothing to compare to the happiness I will find THERE. Can’t wait.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Isaiah 43:18-19

I should really be use to how God works, the way He makes things happen right when they need to happen, or right when His word speaks to me when I need it the most.  Even though I should be use to it I never do, I still get excited when He does something.  Truthfully, I hope I never get use to it because I love the excitement that comes along with it, it gives me the same feeling when the Holy Spirit is so apparent.  I almost can't explain the feeling.  Anyway, in my last blog I shared how God gave us the news of Tebow when we all needed it, how he used a perfect stranger to deliver the message.  In His mysterious ways we happened to run into her on Shorter Hill while sledding.  It was an odd encounter, me and Molly had just slid down and a young girl came tubing down behind us, as I was getting up I told her I was getting too old for this and she replied that she wasn't dressed for sledding, we laughed then she asked me my name.  I told her and her mouth flew open.  She told me her name and we grabbed each other.  I told her in a FB message that I wanted to give her a big hug for delivering such wonderful news.  God let us run into each other so I could do just that.   Amazing. 

Now, to my above referenced verse.  I have so desired to be able to spout scripture from my mouth like so many sweet friends and so when I saw Beth Moore's Siesta Scripture Memory time was starting I hopped on board to learn 2 scriptures a month for 1 year.  I didn't want my verses just to be a verse I randomly picked, I wanted it to be verses that really meant something to me.  Through our journey last year I grew to love the book of Isaiah.  This verse popped up just when I was searching for one...Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past.  I am doing a new thing, watch it spring up.  Can you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43:18-19   Woohoo, I just typed it from memory!  Huge!!  If you have never memorized scripture I challenge you to do so.  Anyway, this verse is very important to me in the sense that I don't want to dwell on the past, on the things we could have, should have done differently, on the ugliness of cancer, the uncertainty, the heartache.  I remember this verse last year about this time when we found out that Shane's cancer may have been a melanoma. I think I actually posted this verse in a Caring Bridge post.  I remember thinking this is it.  God says he is doing a new thing, I just knew that we were going to get a new diagnosis for better treatment.  Well, His "new" thing was not at all what I thought but He did do a new thing.  As I look back I do see how He has made a way in the desert and continually supplies fresh water in my wasteland.  Through this, Satan continues to make me want to question and doubt things about our journey.  So this verse being written on my heart will continue to heal me.  I had a conversation the other day that allowed Satan to sneak in and make me start questioning and doubting and wondering, then I remember this verse to not dwell on the past and when I don't remember it I see my spiral in my purse with this verse on it.  I tell my kids that when we proclaim Jesus' name or we recite scripture that Satan tucks tail and runs.  I have to remind myself that as well.  Shane taught me so much about having the Word living inside of you, so I'm so excited to begin this scripture memory.  Now, when Satan starts his thing I won't have to run to the bible and search for scripture, I will just spout it out and watch him run.  It's time to pick my second verse, wish me luck on memorizing. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

God, Shane & Tebow

If you are friends with me on Facebook or your associated with Unity Christian School you know part of this story.  To truly see how God's hand is in all of this I must tell you the WHOLE story.  If you read our CaringBridge you know how we surprised Jake and Sam with a trip to Jacksonville FL last March to meet Tim Tebow.  Shane was pretty sick at the time, but he insisted on going stating it may be his last trip with the family.  I will recap a little in case you are not familiar.  We were able to meet Tebow in a private meet & greet due to Shane's sickness.  We were there with several pediatric patients and their families.  Tebow was very generous with his time speaking with each of us.  Shane gave him a cd of the sermon he preached on Feb 28th and told him that this was a sermon from a man possibly dying of cancer and it was based on 1 Cor 13:13 and ironically we found out that is the verse the Tim Tebow Foundation is based on.  Shane also donated a sizable contribution to the foundation.  As we were leaving Robby Tebow came out behind us and told us that Tim wanted Shane's contact info.  Of course, Shane didn't have any business cards so they exchanged cell phone numbers.  I later discovered that Shane had texted him saying that it was a priviledge to meet both of them and that he had been up most of the night praying for them and to continue to do God's work.  Fast forward to the day Shane passed.  Jake picked up Shane's phone an sent Robby a text about Shane's passing.  Days passed, then weeks, then months.  We often wondered if Tebow ever listened to the sermon or if Robby ever received the text from Jake.  I would try to explain to Jake that when your as famous as he that they are probably bombarded with people wanting to get in touch with them etc.  Up to present day, on Thursday night we were watching the ESPN documentary on Tebow.  They showed some of the footage of the autograph signing in Jacksonville that brought back so many memories of that sweet trip.  Jake looked up at me with his Shane Richardson blue eyes and asked, "mom, do you think he ever listened to that cd dad gave him?" I shrugged and said, "Baby, I just don't know."  If you haven't seen the documentary and even if your not a Tebow fan you should watch it.  It shows his determination, his love for Christ, everything that makes him an ok role model for kids.  I went to bed that night with a heavy heart, wondering why we never heard anything back from them concerning the cd or the text.  Although I had tried to reassure Jake I was also trying to reassure myself.  After the kids were asleep I decided to write a letter to Tims mom.  I was going to write it and worry about finding a way to get it to her the next day.  I wrote about our  last year, our trip to meet Tebow.  I thought that maybe from one mother's heart to another she could maybe give us some reassurance. I know it was a long shot but I wanted to do something to help with Jake's question.  I told her that I was just a mom trying to pick up the pieces to a 10 year olds broken heart.  I fell asleep thinking maybe this could allow a little closure for all of us.   Friday morning I got the boys off to school and was checking my messages.  I received a message on FB from a young girl I don't know.  She said she knew about us and our story from the school she teaches at and she had continued to pray for us.  She said she remembered hearing that we met Tebow (she's a huge fan also) and remembered hearing how Shane shared the CD with him.  She said she had a friend that attended Lipscomb University that had sent her a link to a speech of Tebow's she attended.  She said she just watched it and was astonished at hearing our name at the end of his speech.  So I watched the link and oh my word, disbelief, excitement, joy were just some of the emotions I was feeling.  I was crying, laughing all at the same time.  I rushed to get to Unity so that I could share it with Jake and Sam.  Of course I shared it with GG (Shane's best bud) and he couldn't believe it.  He asked Mr. Rix if there was some way we could transfer it to a smart board to share with the class.  Thanks to Mr. Rix we were able to pull it off.  We interrupted the end of Jake's class, had Sam with us and watched the 4th part of Tim Tebow's speech (if you haven't watched all 4 parts you need to, and you need to share it with your kids, awesome) with a class full of 10 & 11 year olds.  At the very end he reads the text that Jake had sent Robby on April 3rd concerning Shane's passing.  Then he says, "This text means more to me than any Natl Championship, or any Heisman Trophy."  Jakes reaction was everything I expected.  To hear your 2nd hero say those words about a simple text he received from you is huge, big for a 10 year old and big for a 10 year olds mom. 

I tell you this because all of this was orchestrated by God.  The timing was perfect.  Tebow gave this speech just 2 weeks after Shane's passing we could have easily gotten word about it then.  I also have a curious son that is researching his interest non-stop, how he never came across this speech is a God thing too. However, we didn't need to know it then, we needed to know it 9 months later.  God used a sweet angel named Rachel as the deliverer.  She assumed that we were already aware of this but said she felt lead to send it anyway.  I spoke with her yesterday and I thanked her for doing this, had she not we would have never known.  Also, after writing the letter to Mrs. Tebow I wake up to receive this message and just after Jake asked me if I thought Tebow ever listened to dads cd.  God's timing is perfect and He sends things when He knows we need it, not when we expect it and not when we think we need it.  No coincidences or mistakes with HIM.  For me, hearing Tim Tebow mention my son, my husband and my family in front of a packed house just after Shane's death is HUGE to me.  To hear a young man, proclaiming that he is successful not because he wins Natl Championships, Heismans, or is an NFL player but becasue he has Jesus Christ as his Savior is just a breath of fresh air.  In a world where people let us down everyday my sons have another role model, their first one being their dad and their second being Tim Tebow.  I am ok with that because Tim Tebow has the same passion as Shane Richardson...Jesus Christ, and neither were/are ashamed to talk about it.  I recieved numerous text and msgs saying Shane's legacy lives on.  For that I am thankful. 

Tim Tebow, even though you will never know, you have helped put some of the pieces of my 10 year olds broken heart together and hopefully you have inspired my boys to be a light in the world just like you.  Continue to do His work, continue proclaiming His Goodness. Go Broncos!!

Dear God, thank you for your perfect timing.  Thank you for sweet angels among us delivering news that needed to be delivered.  Thank you for constantly helping us heal our hearts and thank you for a young man named Tim that is such a witness for you.  Thank you for letting us continue to learn from a servant named Shane, he continues to teach us all what it is to truly love you.  Thank you for a school that would allow my children to watch a video of a man proclaiming Your Goodness, and Grace and thank you for those for allowing this to happen.  This school continually wraps its arms around our family and I ask special blessings on this school.  Thank you for your love dear God.  Glory be to You and only You. In Jesus name, Amen.

Dear Shane, I know there are windows in Heaven and that you are aware of things here but yesterday was a very good day.  We experienced joy that we haven't experienced in a while.  Thanks to our Father that has perfect timing. He is allowing the work that you started here to continue on.  He is getting the Glory just as you had wished through all of this.  I will do my best to continue to bring Glory to Him through our story.  We miss you but know your new work continues There.  I thank you for teaching me so much in our time together about God, love and life in general and I will continue teaching the children your values and passions.  Thank you for being the BEST role model to my babies. Love you more.

Sorry, I couldn't get this link off!!