Do you know what the worst part of mourning is?
For me, the worst part of mourning is one minute you can be sitting there doing your normal thing and going on with life and it hits you again for the umpteenth time that your brother is dead… Tonight, like many nights, I was sitting watching a TV show and playing a game and something made me think about Trae and then “oh no, I can’t. He is gone.”
The other worst part is whenever I was sad, I always texted Trae because he always had a way of cheering me up and saying something silly to make me grin like an idiot and smile for days. I would go back and laugh at what he said. I was reminded of things I had said to him while in Washington.
We were talking about eating Chinese food. He told me he had learned to use chop sticks and when he got home, he was going to teach me and we were going to sit around and eat Chinese food together while catching up on the TV shows he missed. He told me about taking SiSi and William and Danny to Panda Express and how they didn’t like it because it was not real… ( I rolled my eyes because that is delicious, whether is legit or not)! When I said what I said I
a. was not expecting Trae to tell them what I said
b. was not expecting to ever meet these sweet people…
Anyway, I was laughing while talking about the chop sticks because the one diet I was on for a brief second (literally not long enough at all) told us to use chop sticks because you eat less. I laughed and said that that is why you only see skinny Chinese people (I am not being rude…).
Well, me being me and my short-term memory (self diagnosed, of course) forgot I had said this. One of the times we were out there, I think it was the first time, SiSi turned to me and said “Are you the one who said Chinese people are skinny because they use chop sticks?” I was embarrassed and amused at the same time.
But that is so Trae. He was the best secret keeper when he wanted to be. If he was amused by anything he said or heard, he would tell anyone who would listen. I would find out months or years later that he had actually told mom and dad something I told him.. I would shake my head. Now I laugh at those moments.
You never know what mourning will be like until happens to you. Mourning can also happen in different ways.
Mom and I went to Fredrick Friday (because we are crazy people). We got in traffic because of a couple different accidents. We take 70 which is a main highway from our area to DC and Baltimore. So a lot of traffic, especially right before Christmas. We were talking about Trae and how we are living since he died as we sat in traffic. We got up to the cars of the first accident and saw the result of a fender bender. As we passed by mom said, “you don’t realize how many people or mourning.. even mourning the loss of their car right here before Christmas.” (Those probably weren’t her exact words but you should remember above about my self-diagnosed short-term memory loss).
The past week has been a crazy blur or work and shopping and emotions.I have walked in and out of stores, passing hundreds of people every day. You never know what people are going as you pass them and vice versa. People don’t know the stress and emotions that you go through every day. One of my main goals since Trae’s death has been to smile at as many people a day as possible. I try to smile at anyone who is looking at me.
Something I try to remind myself of during this crazy holiday time is that everyone is fighting some kind of battle. Before you get really frustrated at someone for being in a rush or cutting the line in front of you, think about them. They could just as easily be going through an unexpected death like me and not have Jesus, making their mourning much harder than mine. I try and be kind and do my part to share Jesus.
I was at the dollar store this morning and their was one check-out lane open and like five people in line. The lady in front of me was antsy ad complaining. She glanced at the front of the store, checking out where every employee was. She was so impatient. As soon as a lane opened, she was right there. As another lane opened, the man behind me looked at me and said, “you were here first, you go ahead.” As I moved lanes, I was distracted from saying thank-you by the lady who cut right in front of me to get in the lane that had just opened. I looked over the lane to the one I had just been in to say thank you to the kind man who had offered me the fresh opened lane. I pushed my frustration of the cutter out of my head to thank the gentleman who was kind to me.
I don’t think I have ever been more thankful to have Jesus in my life. I can’t even try to imagine mourning Trae’s death without Him. We often talk about that as a family. It is not easy and it is not fun, but we have Jesus, so it is easier. People keep tagging me in articles about mourning and grieving a death around Christmas, and honestly, I appreciate them but at the same time, I haven’t read any of them completely.
Every one mourns different. Something we have learned in our family. I don’t cry a lot, but when I do cry, I cry and cry and cry! And it always hits me in the times when I don’t want to cry. There will be times when I see something or hear a song or whatever and I want to cry… and its impossible. My body won’t let me. And then there is times when I am with people and I don’t want to cry at all because I don’t like crying in front of people, and I sit there and bawl!
Like at church Sunday… I wasn’t sure how I would do, considering it was Christmas. We had got up early because I needed to do my hair and I wanted to make bacon and eggs and we had to open our stockings… so much before 10 AM.. Any who, I was tired (don’t be mad, Pastor Jeremy) during the entire service. Just from emotion and lack of sleep from my crazy busy week and we had the Ray Garber Family Christmas Saturday! I was fine through the service as Pastor Jeremy talked about the prophecies of Jesus and His amazing birth. Then, before he closed, he played a song about the amazing gift of Jesus. That got me… That got me bad… I just sat there and bawled like a baby. A lady came over after church was dismissed and wrapped an arm around me and told me she was praying for us and asked for a hug. I never realized before how amazing the love of Jesus is by connecting us with the right people at the right time. I am greatly blessed as I sat there cried and half hugged this sweet lady!
I was laying in bed last week and I sighed and Lowell turned over, “whats wrong?” I was like my mom and said, “I just sigh a lot..” I laughed a little fake laugh and sighed again… “I am trying so hard to not be a complete bummer for everyone around me.” I know people don’t expect me to be cheery and happy all the time, but for me, it is draining to be sad and down all the time. I feel terrible if I just sit around and feel sad. I know how negative people affect other peoples feelings and actions. Being around people who are constantly down is depressing and hard on a person. There are times I say I am sad and Lowell says, “don’t be sad.” I tell him I am going to be sad and he asked why? I said that right now, life was honestly a good enough reason to be sad.
I am trying so hard to not be a bummer, especially right now, since it’s the holidays. I want to share Jesus. I can share Jesus by sharing Trae’s story and his life, which is sad because he is gone. But I am also happy for Trae because he is celebrating this holiday season with Jesus and How amazing would that be!
I think about all of the amazing, beautiful moments I had with Trae. Laughing until we cried, dancing in an empty movie theater, while watching Footloose for the second of third time, bad singing to songs on the way to school, shopping trips to Walmart for mom, sitting in his room, talking late into the night, doing my hair and asking him to make sure it was all straight… the memories never end and that I am thankful for! I could sit here for days and write memories, but I am not going to.
Having a death in your family makes you realize how much you have to be thankful for. I am thankful for Jesus, first and foremost. I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for friends. I am thankful for my church family. I am thankful for places to go for comfort. There is more than enough to be thankful for every single day. Even though Trae is not here with us, we are still VERY VERY thankful for him, his life and his legacy! He left us here and it hurts. It hurts so bad. That is the next to worst thing. The almost worst thing is the physical pain that comes sneaking up on me. The pain that comes from missing Trae so much it hurts! But we know he wouldn’t want to come back and we also know that he wouldn’t want us to feel that pain.. but that’s how humans work. We hurt, we get mad.
Mom had someone send them a piece of advice in one of the cards they got. It said, “Time won’t heal but it will reveal God’s grace.” That has been what I keep rolling around in my head. People always tell you that time heals a broken heart, but we doubted that. But this advice has stuck with me and gave me some comfort.
There are still days I don’t think you are gone. I am tired of the realization every so often of you being gone. I don’t like it. It is like a new heart ache each time. I expect bad news every time the phone rings. People keep checking on me. People keep wanting to help. I love the outreach people have shown me and my family, but I am an independent person and it is difficult for me to have help. I feel weak asking for help. I never liked asking for prayers; now I do it all the time. I just want to wrap my arms around you and have you try to tickle me like you always did when you hugged me. I want to cry in your arms, but if you were here, I wouldn’t be crying. We would be laughing and eating Chinese food. I miss you, but I will see you again, and that gives me comfort.
I love you!
Mourning is hard and every one does it different, just like every human is different. You never know what people are mourning. You never know what people are going through when you just pass them in the crazy stores crowds and lines. Take time to pray for someone you see that looks like they might be struggling. Take time to pray for someone who like they need a prayer. Love he people you have. Give hugs. Say “I love you.” Smile at strangers. Tell people about Jesus.
Sorry if this is off the wall and weird and doesn’t make sense. It is now 11:30 and I should have been in bed an hour ago. Lowell is going to have a fit when he realizes how late I was up… I just write my feelings!
This is the song Jeremy played on Sunday… “Wrap this one up, He is the lamb without blemish…” Jesus is the Reason for the season despite our personal life..
“Hello my name is child of the ONE TRUE KING…”
I have always loved this song because I often ask for God to show me the way, to show me the broken, to show me the need, to show me what I keep missing..