Fear or Faith

Most situations that cause anxiety and panic are opportunities to choose between “fear” or “faith”.

Panic almost always blinds me to the things I already know and make me forget that I believe everything happens for a reason; that reason is so I can grow towards who I am in my Soul; that death is only an instant transition from a physical life to a metaphysical, one that never ends, so nothing’s to fear; that God is loving, joyful,  and  supports us in wellness and sickness, no matter what comes our way.

Remembering these things bring me those flashes of peace that are keeping me from full-blown hysteria.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHEA…

I thought of you every minute and second of today, like every day.  I remember the wonderful time we had on the last birthday we spent together.  You were bright, cheery, zand happy.  You were filled with the joy of life and doing so well.  The next month you were gone.  

I relive that morning as if it were yesterday.  So surreal, so crazy, not believing it could be true.  I never expected you would ever leave me.mmwe were best friends as well as mother and daughter.  I know it was not my decision and God never bargains for a life as much as I tried.  I still wonder what I could have done to protect you.  I know that is selfish because you left for a more beautiful place with eternal happiness and peace.   But I am your momma and still want you here with me.  It does not seem natural you would leave before me and I will never understand.

I think of the day you came into my life. Giving you life was my greatest achievement.  You were so beautiful and tiny, with your eyes wide open as if to take on this world running.  Did you know you were so perfect?  The other babies in the nursery were wrapped up tight and sleeping peacefully, but not you!  Your eyes were wide open at 5 minutes old and kicking that swaddling blanket off and screaming for me to take you home.  From that moment forward you were my little rascal!  The joy and laughter you brought me was delightful.  So funny and happy!  It was hard to scold you even when I would find you on the kitchen floor eating sticks of butter out of the refrigerator!  

These moments of happiness I cherish as if it were yesterday.  Can you hear me sobbing when I talk to your photo every morning?  I can still hear your voice saying, “momma don’t be sad, I am still with you.  Can’t you feel me all around you”?  I know if you tell me so, it must be true. I want to touch you, hug and dance, like we used to do.  I want to run my fingers through your long beautiful hair and hear you say, “momma leave my hair alone” and giggle.  That giggle made so many laugh and I felt proud you could make so many laugh because you were you. You were just that way.  

I’m not the only one that misses you.  Someone speaks of you every day.  I guess it keeps me going to know you were so loved.  Aunt Mary and Uncle Mark called me today.  They wish you a happy birthday.  It is hard to keep up with birthdays but there are some we can forget.  

My darling girl you were special in every way.  You are now my Angel watching over me and I know that is true.  I see you in everything beautiful and you remain in my heart exactly the way you were.  You were so loving and found the good in everyone you knew.  People don’t forget that because it was You.  Maybe I’ll rest in peace knowing you are under the arms of our Lord.  I want to believe that we’ll we will be together once again even though sometimes I stray from that belief. I have to remind myself of the good Lord’s promise as I couldn’t go on knowing I’d never see you again.

So, my precious girl have a happy birthday in the Heavens and know you are loved and remembered in this world every day.

All of my love forever,

Your Mama

Turning 40…

My darling Shea,

I missed your birthday by a few minutes, but my day was filled with nothing but thoughts of you. A I did not know what to write as I have been so sad today because you are not here. But I wish we could have shared your 40th birthday together.

Every minute of your birth 40 years ago is still so clear in my mind. I remember the first time I saw you and I cannot begin to share the joy I felt in looking at you, so tiny, so beautiful, and mine. How could I have created someone so perfect as you?

So many thoughts have raced through my mind today. I am sorry you never experienced having your own family, a husband, a child, and all the things a mother wants for her daughter. For reasons I will never understand, these things were not meant to be for you. It breaks my heart for I know how much you wanted it all. God’s plan for you was not what I wanted, and finding that acceptance will always be hard.

I think of all the disappointments in your life and how strong you were in accepting them. You continued to smile at the most simple things in life and felt great love and joy for others who had the things you could not have. It was always so easy for you to share what you did have and always with an open heart. So many times you were hurt, but you still felt great love and compassion.

My darling girl, I think you were truly an Angel on earth, with so much love to share even when your own world was falling apart. I remember your smiles every time I looked at you. I also saw the sadness in your eyes when your heart was broken. I don’t remember you ever saying a hurtful word against even those that had done you wrong. Your compassion for others amazed me even at a very young age. You seemed to have a way of looking into another’s soul and understand that we were not all perfect. You forgave when others would hate.

I remember you telling me that you would not always be with me, but to not be sad for God would take care of me. How could you have known this? It was not something I could have ever imagined. Looking back, I see now that you somehow knew your life would be short and you did not want me to be afraid. But I was always afraid of losing you.

I think I am beginning to see the glory in God’s plan. You are now whole, still young, always beautiful, and I know you hold a precious place in Heaven, a very special Angel, doing God’s work. I miss you with all of my heart, and cherish the years I was so blessed to have you in my life. We will meet again, of this I am certain. I look forward to seeing your smile again as we come together once again. I am always your mother and you will always be my child. It will be forever, as God has promised.

I see you in everything beautiful and good. I will always remember the love we shared with every breath I take. You are in my heart forever, my child.

Your mother always.

Prayer, Peace, & God

Shea,

I can’t handle the pain anymore, so yesterday I asked God to take it and handle it for me. It was hard because it felt like I was giving you up somehow. The pain is still with me but maybe over time God will help me heal and all I will be able to remember are the good times we had until I can join you. I know you understand the separation between our worlds and that I cannot continue to suffer so much. I will always feel sadness and loss but that is different than pain. I will always be your mother and that never changes but being with God is our ultimate goal and you have reached that now. I realize now it has been selfish of me to not let you go with God in peace and it must break your heart to watch me suffering. My heart is full knowing you are healthy, happy and at peace. Those are the things that only being with our Lord can provide and I feel the joy of knowing you have attained that now. We will know each other again and I do know you are surrounding me with love with every breath I take. I see you in everything peaceful and beautiful. So go with God now and know I will be okay. I hold you in a sacred place in my heart as always.

Mama

St. Patrick’s Day

Hi Shea,

I know you see all now but heck, I like to talk to you.

St. Patrick’s Day for You….My Irish Green-Eyed Beauty:

An Irish Blessing

May there always be work
for your hands to do,
May your purse always hold
a coin or two.
May the sun always shine
On your windowpane,
May a rainbow be certain
to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend
always be near you,
May God fill your heart
with gladness to cheer you.

My darling, you are being remembered by the Missionary Oblates, in two Solemn Mass Novenas, on the Feast of St. Patrick, March 17, 2014.
One mass is held in County Mayo, Ireland.
The other is at the National Shrine of the Snows, Belleville, IL.

I wish you were with us. Uncle Mark and Aunt Mary are coming to visit today. We are going to the St. Patrick’s Day parade on Sunday. You know how much fun that is. And this year, we will have our own St. Patrick’s Day tee shirts! Catching those potatoes, cabbage heads, carrot bunches, onions, and whatever else we will be surprised with being thrown from the floats. You remember I’m sure, that I’m the designated holder of the bag for the veggies we catch since I always duck out of the way when things are thrown from the floats! But, I’d rather not be hit in the face with a potato. It hurts, I’ve trie. So, I leave the hard part to the others.


When we get home, we will fix our Irish Stew from our catch and of course, stop off first for some green beer!


Oh yes, I hear you giggling right now. How precious is that sound!

Pain and Numbers

I want to thank all the support and love, the good memories of Shea people have shared. Positive comments, and 186 likes.

What I take away from this loss-is perspective that while we all suffer some kind of struggle, and each of us has our own pain, the seeming popularity of “chronic pain,” while many suffer from physical and mental issues-you don’t have one without the other, and when I was having increased problems with RSD/CRPS around the same time that Kathy and her family lost Shea, I realized quickly that whatever it was that I was dealing with-and the number of times that when researching my own health issues, repeatedly seeing the McGill Pain Index to help providers understand the severity of the chronic pain (neurogenic pain), and how it compares to other issues so at least they know where to begin treating this, there is always someone who is worse off, but what I felt and have continued to?  Is that the grieving process belongs at the top, above any other form of chronic pain.

I also know parenting never stops. Age 9, 19, 29, or 37. You may lose you child to a variety of things: serious illness, having to hand them over to another for a better life, or to death. Faith, presence of it, it helps weather the storm. Like in Shea’s poem, one I think I read at the exact time I needed to.

And Praise God! I believe He guides all things. Perhaps not choices of others when they’ve been lead astray.

He is there to celebrate climbing the hills and carry us through valleys.

I’ve had a long road: trauma, abuse, betrayal by people I trusted. Learning to trust I believe is a leap of Faith. God is easier.

He is present in what we do. For me, I ask: what would God want, and though I see fewer do it, nothing says I’ve to be one of them. Helping one because for any reason: God would want it.

The gift from Shea’s life and yes, her passing was an honest look at my own. From Kat, I was given Truth.  From Shea, understanding that God gives me one body and that taking the best possible care of it is more important than ever.  And to remember to have some compassion for myself, and for others when people find it easy to blame someone for their own struggles.

When I was working as a medic, we’d find someone with emphysema having a cigarette, while attached to oxygen, dying of emphysema, COPD, lung cancer, or chronic bronchitis-it’s easy to be critical and sometimes the best thing instead of berating the person, I simply would take the cigarette, and immediately put the thing out, in water, and gently remind the patient that they can’t smoke in a hospital or around oxygen.  Maybe a few minutes later, state that in an hospital, it risks blowing up a city block, but with a very light note of humor.

There’s no need to increase their suffering-people are paying for any past, present, and future mistakes with either their health and/or their lives-that’s enough of a price for that one.

The price with mental health disorders is one of fear, and when people are in fear, they say things that that can be hurtful-the fear of what we do not understand can also lead in some cases, to condemnation, hurtful treatment.

strengthen you


I had the rest. It was time, healing, and a lot of searching. With friends who are family to me.

God Bless,
AJ

A Daughter’s Love

A while ago I found a message Shea had written to me about 2 weeks before she died.

Mother,
Thank you for everything! I know I am not the best daughter in the world. I am really messed up.
I wish you the best. I miss you already. I have for many years! I can’t be a baby again, but I will TRY to be a young lady.
I am very lucky to have you as a mother who loves and cares for me. I hope this will be for the best. Both of us deserve to be free to grow. You are my turtle dove. We will fly away together one day and never look back. It will be everything we have dreamed of.
I love you, Mother, and will write often and make you proud! I will also be with MiMi and Aunt Iris. I need them as much as they need me. Uncle Mark, Aunt Mary and Matthew too.


I am blessed! Tell Pete I love him and he is in my prayers.


Love,
Shea

In Feb. 2011, she had moved from AL to LA to live with my brother, Mark. My mother and aunt lived right next door so Shea helped them out a lot when she could. She wanted to start a new life in LA but became very sick shortly after she moved there. When she mentions the turtle doves, it is because we had given each other a small ceramic turtle dove 15 yrs. earlier and had both kept them as a symbol of our love for each other and that we would be together forever. I still have mine beside the candle I keep lighted in her memory.


I read this note she wrote so close to her death and wonder if she knew somehow she was leaving me. It brings up so many questions about her state of mind at that time. I wonder if she was saying goodbye or was it just a sign of her struggle to hang on a little while longer.


I have stacks and stacks of letters she wrote to me. All of them expressing how much she loved me. I can’t help but cry when I read them. God help me, I still miss her with every breath I take.


Kat

Christmas Day 2014

Merry Christmas, my precious child.

Shea, I thought of you every day during this most Holy of seasons. I remember how much you loved Christmas and missed the time we always spent together getting ready for the holidays. I miss how you always decorated the house and it would look so beautiful. You always had such good taste when it came to decorating. It was a talent you did not get from me, but I was always proud of you because every decoration had to be just so perfectly placed. I have not put up not even one decoration since you have been gone.

This year since moving back home around family, I have had to force myself to participate in the holidays. Being around everyone’s grand babies has been hard. I feel so alone without you and wanted you to have a normal life, married, and having children of your own. It made me so sad to see that you missed out on so much of life and were taken so young. You deserved better and if I could have given you that life, I would have done anything to see that you had it. I still ask God, why my child? Why not me? I would have gladly given God my life, to let you live. But I know I cannot bargain with God. This was His plan.

I know you were with me through the holidays, holding me up, protecting me from my own pain long enough to get through each day. But, that’s not how it should have been. I am your mother. My job was to protect you, and I could not do that. God’s will is so much stronger than even the love I feel for you.

You are my greatest accomplishment. I am thankful for our years together but I wanted more. I will always want more time with you in my life. There is a big hole in my heart that can only be filled by you. So, I count the days until we will be together again. It is then I will feel whole again. Until that day comes, I will have to survive with memories of our time together and pray you are with me in spirit.

I love you with all of my heart and miss you as if you left only yesterday. Time has stood still without you.

Your mother always

Hills and Valleys

While I was going through my files the other day, I came across an email that Shea had written to her father. A little background about her dad………………we divorced when Shea was 4 yrs. old. He immediately moved to Spain. He is a geophysicist and explores for oil mostly in the Middle East and Russia. He never paid court ordered child support until I sued him when Shea began High School. He never exercised his visitation rights unless she called him begging to see him. His permanent home was in Houston and she had 2 half brothers she adored but never got to see. She saw him “maybe” once a year until she was in High School. She never received a phone call or gift from him on her birthday or holidays.

The facts are that she was abandoned by her father from age 4. The only contact she had with him was when she initiated it. But my kind and loving girl never gave up on him and she adored her father unconditionally.

In her mid twenties he was living in Russia and had been there for many years. He called his sister and told him that he would not be in contact with any family members and that they would not be able to reach him in any way. So, for over 15 yrs., Shea did not know exactly where her father lived, had no phone number, address, and none of her family on his side knew how to reach him either. She still held on with hope and never doubted that he loved her and no matter what he did, she would always love him and she did.
The email I found that Shea had written was to her father’s last known email address so it did not reach him but I would like to share it with you. She wrote:

“daddy,

I have written to tell you how much I love you. I have heard what has been going on and how those jerks will not renew your visa. I understand you need to travel because of your type of work. I there is anything I can do or any phone calls I can make for you. Helping you would mean so much to me.

Well, I am healed from my leg surgery but I have gained an awful lot of weight. It will take a while to get 30lbs. off. Anyway, I will do it!

I finally bought a car with my own money. It is a 92 Ford Explorer 4X4 with leather upholstery, the Eddie Bauer edition. It has quite a few miles on it but was owned by a mechanic and is in top condition.

Here’s my favorite poem I thought might make you feel better.

It’s In The Valley I Grow

Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
Full of sorrow, trouble and woe,
It’s them I have to remember
That it’s in the valleys I grow..

If I always stayed on the mountain top,
And never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God’s love
And would be living in vain.

I have so much to learn,
And my growth is very slow,
Sometimes I need the mountain tops,
But it’s in the valleys I grow.

I do not always understand
Why things happen as they do,
But I am very sure of one thing,
My Lord will see me through.

My little valleys are nothing
When I picture Christ on the cross,
He went through the valley of death,
His victory was Satan’s loss.

Forgive me Lord, for complaining
When I’m feeling so very low,
Just give me a gentle reminder
That it’s in the valleys I grow.

Continue to strengthen me, Lord
And use my life each day
To share your words with others,
And help them find their way.

Thank you for valleys, Lord
For this one thing I know
The mountain tops are glorious,
But it’s in the valleys I grow.

Shea loved our Lord even though her life was filled with so much pain and confusion. She never questioned “why me?”. She just did the best she could. I will always miss her loving spirit, beautiful smiles, and love for everyone. How did I ever deserve to have such a wonderful daughter for 37 years? I just thank God everyday for His gift.
BTW, she never heard from her father again before she died. He called me 8 months after her death and said “I’m really sorry. All I ever wanted was for her to be happy”. Honestly, if I had not still been in shock, I would have exploded on him, but it is just as well that I had nothing to say to him. Shea was gone. It would have changed nothing.

Much love to you all,
Kat

Remembering Jennifer Shea McGee