My Son’s Stepmother Passed, and I am a Weepy Mess

One would think this wouldn’t affect me so, but it is complicated how our hearts handle death.

My son is in his upper twenties now, but I look back on his childhood days with a grateful, yet sometimes guilty heart. There were tough days sprinkled in with the rambunctious adventures of my firstborn. His father, Danny, and I divorced when he was just a toddler.

Danny and I fought like cats and dogs, pardon the cliche. But it was rather terrible. A grand stress in a very difficult situation. We had very different ideas about what was “ok” for our son, and what was NOT.

Insert Beverly here.

Danny met Beverly when my son was just a toddler, still, and my first impressions were, well, they are odd. Danny had been dating a LOT and this woman was nothing remotely like the young, loud-mouthed, “street-wise” messes he’d been parading by in two-week near-marital then crashing relationships.

Dragging my toddler right along with him to meet these “new mommies.”

Until Beverly. She was much older than him, very quiet, and very present. Suddenly she was there. And my toddler boy, a raging ball of happiness and energy and mischief, had a motherly presence when he was at his father’s.

When the fights between Danny and I arose; it was Beverly that took the phone, spoke calmly, always had a loving response to my fury, and stood strong in difficult moments. When there was bad news, it was often Beverly that called me. When there were concerns about my son, Beverly and I often had these conversations.

Her peaceful presence was a blessing to us all.

Now, Beverly was not a perfect person; she had her flaws of gullibility, sometimes accepting things that were not healthy or good, because she saw and loved the good in everyone. Sometimes her passivity was too much, but I respected her for her kindness and her intention.

The diagnosis of cancer, very aggressive and progressed, came less than a month ago…and now she is gone.

Yesterday at noon, this kind, compassionate, ever-present woman in my son’s life, the wife of my ex-husband (we are now friends and get along beautifully–the difficulties of raising a child together now over), mother, grandmother, and quiet, sweet-spirited woman, took her last breath riddled with cancer cells and weakness.

And I have been weepy.

She treated me with kindness, love, and compliments–even when I was unlovable.

She changed my sons diapers, bathed him, worried over him, attended with me his graduation–and for her love for my son, I am grateful.


I wish I had been there
to see you reaching out
wooden fingers
An empty casket arm
trying to bridge the space
Between your brokenness
and His glory.


I am glad He took your hand.
Your dust swept away…
may black-winged birds be light
and quick with your soul!

He’s been waiting for you.

–From In Memoriam, Christina Ward

My blessings, prayers, thoughts, tears are with my son today as he mourns his second mother, and for Danny, who very deeply mourns his wife and perfect partner today.

And I am weepy.

Hug your loved ones–and tell them what you love about them. Time is precious.

Domestic Abuse on a Good Friday

20 Years ago today was the worst day of my life

https://www.pexels.com/photo/adult-black-and-white-body-dark-271418/

Twenty years ago today was the worst day of my life.

Three days later as I stood in church with my children I remember very clearly a few things:

  • My throat was damaged from being choked and I could not sing the hymns. I could barely speak in a hoarse voice.
  • My children, two small boys, were wearing their suits; I do not remember who got their suits out of the closet, ironed them, or got them dressed.
  • My hair was very short; I always cut my hair when I got upset or had been abused to the point of hating myself and wanting to punish myself.
  • Strange things were happening; people appeared in front of me and it surprised or frightened me. I suddenly would realize where I was without knowing I was there. Blocks of time seemed to be missing. I learned later at the hospital that I had a concussion. When the kind doctor tried to feel my neck I completely freaked out and had to be sedated.

The events of the abuse that night before Good Friday are so fresh in my mind that I could recount them to you in great detail even now, 20 years later. 20 years ago today I went to work in a dazed, traumatized stupor and took my lunch break to drive to the courthouse to get a 50-B restraining order against my husband (now ex-husband.)

“I need to have my husband removed from my home and get a restraining order. (insert details of attack here.)” said a devastated and nearly destroyed me.

“But where will he live?” the lady asked me.

–things you should NEVER say to an abuse victim.

I have been diagnosed with PTSD.

The diagnosis came 18 years later.

Enough about the worst day of my life, the details of which I carry inside my gut like shards of glass…I want to share with you the poem I wrote about that day in church 20 years ago, with my two boys, both also traumatized, standing next to me. I have sometimes used poetry as a healing force in my life and this was perhaps the most important poem I have ever written. I very rarely share it. But with Easter Day looming, my memories get the better of me and I find myself wrestling with the inner turmoil all over again, no matter how much distance is put between me and that day. Here is the poem:

Three Days After

Three days ago
I heard you screaming.

I crawled through darkness
to find you.

Today I heard you
singing hymns that save
and lift me off the floor.

I don’t have to crawl anymore.

I stand
in the rising of
my Savior.

Lift your eyes my son,
flowers grow from crosses
everyday.

We don’t have to cry anymore.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from Domestic Violence, help is available to you. There IS HOPE. https://www.thehotline.org/


Broken, A Poem for The Broken-Hearted

Oh, we have all been there. That place where brokenness, a roadblock, lies firmly between us and the we that we know we will eventually be, if it weren’t for the mess that we are. We stare into the mirror, not recognizing the tear-streaked skin, the dark circles under our eyes, the fact that breathing seems, well to be impossibly continuing…

I am talking about heartbreak. We have all experienced it. And, as we know. It DOES GET BETTER. We find a way to breathe again. To eat again. To make it through a night of sleep, rather peacefully, though it takes time. I’ve experienced my fair share of brokenness and sometimes, I write. It’s usually not my best work, but I earned it. So, with that, I share…

Broken

The seasons of several are
crashing down around me,
a hard steady rain I did not expect.

The mirror is splintered
tiny silver fragments scattering,
my thoughts scatter with them.

I looked into your face and knew…
you have the power
to destroy me.

I don’t need you to do it for me.

The seasons of several
crashing down around me,
a hard steady pain I did not expect.

If you are going through something truly terrible right now…know that after the night, always comes a bright, burning sunrise, and with it, promises anew.