A Week of Loss

A kind and loving person died today.
Her name was Jessie.
Her dog Jubilee is going to miss her so much.
This was their last picture together.
58852754_10156193511708365_1033950128823599104_nJessie had fought a long battle with cancer.
After winning a couple of rounds, she lost the last one today.
She was a very kind and giving person.

One of her last two posts included this picture below:
Be good to people for no reason.58796889_1132628666861112_6811418897065967616_nI cannot credit the picture to its creator because it was one of those Facebook pictures that got passed around without being properly credited. However, it describes her very nature. That was how the Lord blessed me with meeting her. I cannot tell of that generous act that she did as a total stranger because when she was being so benevolent, her greatest wish (next to helping someone in need) was being anonymous… truly anonymous. I am choosing to honor her the way she wanted it. It truly brought her such joy to give, and just as much joy to watch from a distance as the blessing blessed! If a person insisted on giving back to her, she insisted to give by passing it on.

In Memory of you, Jessie!
Thank you for letting God use you!
Hug Jesus for me! See you soon!

 


On Tuesday a member of my stepdad’s church family was buried. I cannot give too much information because she took her own life and there is concern the “ripple effect” is not over. This same family had lost her sister last year to a car accident. This family has a tie to our family in that there was a child born years ago to a member from each side but were never married, and the one from our family passed away years ago. This church family is extremely close as well. My son grew up in this church. I still take my stepdad each week. He has been there over 50 years.

Lord, be with this family
and the church!


And then there’s dear Kathleen,
who happens to be my Great Aunt.
She died just over a week ago
and buried last weekend.
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When I first met her, neither one of us knew we were related. We worked together at a Christian book club warehouse. We found out when I told her she reminded me so much of my grandmother and that they had so many things in common (singers, played the same instruments, both had families that worked on the railroad, Her name being Kathleen and my grandmother’s was Kathryn). When She heard the name, she shouted and hugged me. She had been married to my grandmother’s brother, both of whom were long passed.

Yet if Kathleen were to tell you her favorite memory, it would most certainly be when she gave me a prayer cloth to give to my son Anthoni. Anthoni was in 10th grade of high school when the doctor’s told me he had bone cancer. I was a 35 year old single mom living alone, and had just lost my dad around the same time. I myself had just been told I had a Lupus test come back positive and was being referred to a rheumatologist (although no one at work but my boss knew this, and that was only because she took the call and then brought the phone to me).

Anthoni’s orthopedic specialist told me he wanted to do surgery to confirm his diagnosis. My friend Irene (who I miss so much) was sitting with me in the surgery waiting room when the doctor came in and confirmed that both he and his colleague had seen the cancer, but wanted to biopsy a piece of the bone before they decided if they needed to remove just a piece of the bone or a section of the bone. He wanted to be safe, but also wanted to avoid unnecessary additional surgery to place something in Anthoni’s arm to support the bone where there would be a huge hole. They would have to wait on pathology to give them that answer.

When Kathleen and my coworkers found out they were so broken for me. Just weeks before they had witnessed me being so sick that one of the men asked why I didn’t just go on home, and the ladies told him I had to work because I had a sick son at home with no one to help. Anthoni was so sick that he needed an Rx and some cough medicine. The insurance paid for his Rx, but not the cough medicine. All of them pitched in together and had my boss insist I take it. It was exactly what he needed to get well! Praise God! When they heard about the bone cancer and the surgery, Kathleen immediately ran to the break room and ran back shouting for me while waving a white handkerchief.

She told me it was a prayer cloth. While I did not believe in them, I did not want to offend Kathleen. I was grateful for her heart, and the fact that she was obviously one serious prayer warrior. When I took it home, my 16 year old bible scholar son informed me that it was actually referred to in the bible. :O

“And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” – Acts 19:11-12 KJV

I was completely surprised to say the least! So Anthoni put it in his wallet as an act of appreciation, and faith in prayer. Kathleen was so excited when I told them a week later that the doctor had let us know the pathology showed it was actually a fracture that had healed in a way they had never seen before. They were saying it was not bone cancer after all! I asked, “But I thought both you and your colleague had seen it with your own eyes while his hand was open during surgery, and confirmed it was cancer?” 

“We did!” He exclaimed. “We are completely surprised at the results! Let’s just keep an eye on it. If it does not grow or simply goes away, we will go by the pathology.”

Kathleen said in such a delightful soft tone, “What cancer?” She smiled as she said, “It was the prayer cloth!” I could not argue with her and did not want to. As a mom I wanted to first obey the doctor in giving it time to see, but I was praying that it was the miracle we needed. It was! 🙂

Kathleen was delighted to have introduced me to the prayer cloth.

This is a much longer post than I thought I would write in the beginning. I was just going to honor Jessie by sharing that quote. While downloading and uploading, the Lord brought me across Kathleen’s picture. She was a much needed smile. It has been such a sad time for me for awhile now. Jessie’s loss just added to it. I’m also sad because I do not know if she got to see my card I sent her on Wednesday.

If you stayed with me this far into the post I will be honest with you. I have been struggling with depression much longer and harder than I mention… and I do mention it.

The saddest part is that I cannot share this on my FB because family argues so much. I certainly cannot share anything personal. It is so sad because the majority of those I’ve known through my life to have troubles or trauma, it is well over 50% family related. I would even say 90%. This is so opposite of the picture Jessie shared!

Jesus told us…

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” – John 13:34-35 KJV

I’m so grateful that God allowed Kathleen and my coworkers to be so kind to me, my son, and my family when my dad passed. I am so grateful He allowed me to meet Jessie through her kind heart. And I am most grateful to have known the kindness of God!

Love and miss you, Kathleen!
Hug Gran and Jesus for me!
I’ll be home soon!

 

Happy Birthday, Charlie and Grandma Nellie

Happy Birthday, Charlie and Grandma Nellie! The Lord knows how much I love and miss you both! Thank You, Lord, for the assurance that I know they are safe and happy with You on their special day and every day! ❤

Grandma Nellie Mae was my Dad’s mom. We saw her sparingly, but she was nice. My dad didn’t really grow up with her either because he was just 5 when his dad died, and Nellie was suffering from mental illness and could not take care of him and his 14 siblings. So his older brother from the 1st marriage, who was 30 something years older, raised him. He struggled with bitterness toward her for a great while but was still glad to see her. It would not be till years later that we learned Charlie (my baby brother) was born on her birthday! She died while we were kids.

A picture we have of her as a nurse looks so much like her daughter Beulah (our aunt) that sometimes there is a playful debate over whether it’s actually Nellie or Beulah.


Charlie was my baby brother. Yes I said was. We were 10 months apart. My mom literally had him 46 days before my first birthday. He was my 1st birthday present. 😉
Below is a picture on the left when he was just 3 years old at the state fair that used to come to our local Speedway but now comes to the Agriculture Center.
In the picture on the right I was barely 12 so Charlie is 11. He’s standing on the car getting ready to lunge and hug my mom. Nathan has a hold of his leg because they wrestled all the time. We had just moved to Hickory.

Below in the left picture Charlie is in the middle of cutting up with his friends. Charlie was blessed with a multitude of friends, a handful of close guy friends, but Homey (in blue) was Charlie’s best friend.
The picture below on the right shows where he loved to be… on a roof! He was a roofer like dad. He could carry 3 bundles of shingles up a roof, but it made my dad so uncomfortable. He preferred he only carry 2… lol. (So you know, most roofers struggle to carry 1 bundle.) Charlie was very strong, yet had a very tender heart.

He also had a dream to be in law enforcement. When he met his wife, she encouraged him to follow his dreams. They were divorced after his BLET (Basic Law Enforcement Training) graduation, but before he became a deputy. Here are a couple of pictures the day he got his uniform and handcuffs. He was so excited that he wanted to show off the uniform and use the handcuffs… which he did on my son Anthoni.

Charlie’s birthday is the hardest for me to mention because his loss has been the hardest for me. In 2007, my mom’s sister had died and we were at her viewing when they took us into a backroom of the funeral home to let us know that Charlie was shot and killed in my mom’s home. He was 37. It is so hard that I am writing this the day after his birthday. 30713429_10215427963030520_2759935727145344905_n (1)Sometimes it is too hard for me to talk about people I love and miss on their special days until afterwards, or not at all. It’s so personal, and I am horrible with dealing with my emotions. I have been even more shut off since Charlie’s death. Writing poetry is where I can do that because poetry allows for symbolic and vague meanings, yet allows a writer to express what they want to reluctantly say behind safe words. I learned to do that with writing at a very young age.
I miss Charlie so much it hurts more than I can say. It literally takes my breath if I think too much on it. It was such a cruel and senseless death. But as I leave you with more pictures of his smile and personality, I leave you with the same words that Christ left me.

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
– 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 KJV

My baby brother is in a much better place. I would never be so cruel as to bring him back to this cold and vile world just so I could hug him but then make him have to suffer the troubles of this world, know sickness and pain again, heartache, and to worry about him every time I hear of terrorism, airplane crashes, train derailments, or the rampant deaths from flu, and the never ending growing list of friends and family dying slow painful deaths of cancer and so many other illnesses that suck the life out of people.

And if there is anyone who understands the pain of my loss but the joy of Charlie’s gain it is my Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus not only felt the loss of his dear friend Lazarus who was resurrected, but Jesus also had a dearly beloved cousin who was needlessly murdered as a party favor for a seductress, because of the influence of a heartless woman, and because of a coward who could not control his lust, and was more concerned about being a laughing stock by those who witnessed pride get the better of a weak man. John the Baptist was decapitated and had his head served on a platter during a birthday party. No one paid for his crime… YET!
Christ will have his day of justice. And so will my brother. For now, John and Charlie, and even Jesus, are now at home with our heavenly Father. No one will ever harm them again! Nor make jokes of their deaths! And because Christ STILL chose to die for us regardless of His own grief and pain, I can pray for my enemies as well. That’s just ONE more of the tender acts of mercy and grace Jesus did because of how much He loves you and me!

PRAISE GOD FOR A SAVIOR WHO LOVES…
MORE THAN WE CAN EVER UNDERSTAND! ❤
THAT IS A BIRTHDAY PRESENT WORTH CELEBRATING!

 

Happy Birthday, Granddad!

Happy Birthday, Granddad! Another one of my loved ones who is with You, Jesus! ❤ Oh how I miss him so. He’s been gone 40 years but I miss him like he left yesterday! I never cared for having an hero growing up, TV or real life, but my Granddad and my dad came the closest of anyone! ❤ He was loving, so protective, and very much a family man! His death was the kind that affected everyone in the family from 3 yrs old to very senior. He was very loved.

 

I love this picture because it is where our family “started”…LOL. My grandmother loved to tell us the story (a true one btw) of how she rode off on a motorcycle to marry a guy she had practically just met. They eloped to South Carolina, and on the way back they ran out of gas and had no money. A kind passerbyer gave them and the bike a ride in the back of their truck to get them back up the mountain. She got tickled when the first time I heard this story I asked, “You mean they had motorcycles back in that day.” And that was after first tickling her by asking after seeing her picture in her leather jacket, “You mean they made leather jackets back then.” 🙂

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This picture was taken when my grandparents found out my granddad was dying of lung cancer. He had worked on the railroad. That is why the “I’ve been working on the railroad all the live long day” song makes me smile. It makes me think on my granddaddy. He took me to the local store every weekend to get a new coloring book and crayons. And when I was in a regional spelling bee for my 2nd grade class, he gave me a $5 bill even though I came in 6th. He said it was because my mom said the girl who came in 2nd bawled her eyes out, but I didn’t “pitch a fit like that”. He was proud of me for accepting my placement with good character. I bought a hamburger so big it wouldn’t fit in my mouth. And I remember it had purple onions. The first time I had ever seen purple onions. All of these are memories that my granddaddy gave me, and so many more.

I love and miss you, Granddad! I so look forward to your hug more than you know! ❤ Hug Jesus for me and tell Him “Thank you” for helping you to get baptized when you were so scared in the hospital. You were so afraid of dying without being baptized, and a pastor friend was able to work it out to baptize you in the therapy pool. You didn’t care that it could make you sick. You wanted Jesus! You wanted to obey him no matter the cost! ❤ You set a great example! ❤

Happy Birthday, Geneva!

Happy Birthday to our dearest Geneva! Lord God, she is so blessed to be with you! THAT is definitely a birthday present! ❤ Geneva is the biological mother of my brother-in-law and my adopted sister. She passed in 2007, just a couple of weeks after my aunt, my brother, and my pastor’s wife passed. She had diabetes, which led to a leg amputation, and quickly declined in her health. She had such a fun spirit. That is why I love this picture. He shows her playful personality!

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Thanks for all the laughs, the hugs, the thoughtfulness, those 2 beautiful girls!, those 2 rowdy boys, and the advice on guys 😉 !, a sweet kindness, and a fierce fight. I remember the many birthdays you and mom got to share together. Even in times when you two didn’t along, you were still so alike! 🙂 I am most glad to have been present when you prayed for salvation when Pastor Bray came to visit! Now you have eternal life, a brand new leg, a brand new body, and ONLY love in your heart… because that is heaven! Say hey to mom for me, and give a hug to Jesus too! Keeping your family in prayer as often as the Lord allows! Me and God love you! See ya soon! ❤

Happy Birthday, Mom and Gran! <3

Happy Birthday, Mom and Gran! I love and miss you both! ❤ That’s a message You can pass on to them for me, Lord! I know they’re both with You, but You were the one who blessed me with them, and You are the one who holds and keeps them now! Hug them for me! And Mom and Gran, hug Jesus for me!

❤ I love you all and hope to see you soon! ❤

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This picture was taken just after I was 19 and a single mom of the cutest little curls! This was a picture my grandmother wanted as a 4 generational picture. She had my mom. My mom had me. And I had my son. They were both so loving of my little man! Today would have been both of their birthdays! My grandmother would have been 93, and my mom would be 69. My grandmother has been with Jesus 18 years, and my mom has been with them both for 2 and 1/2 years. They are with several of our family members who have birthdays in April too. I will post them as they come up this week. April use to be a very active birthday month. Heaven gets to celebrate then now. One day will join them! ❤

❤ What a day that will be when we all get to heaven. Some glad morning. When my journey’s over I am going home! Soon and very soon. I’ll fly away! ❤

Happy 74th Birthday, Pappy!

Happy Birthday to my Pappy! He’s 74 today, but having his 14th birthday with Jesus.
He has my mom and baby brother with him, as well as many other family & friends.
My birthday present to him is remembering what a good man he was.

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He served in the Navy during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
He was on one of the ships held hostage/in the crossfire
of Cuba and America’s famous standoff.
He was up every single day by 5am until he had lung surgery in 2003.

young dad

He worked hard, took care of his wife and family,
including those he took in as family,
and did whatever it took to make sure they were OK.
He was a very active and loving granddad to Anthoni.

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He gave his all to his family,
and towards his latter years to His heavenly father.
His pastor was his buddy.

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Thank you, Dad, for all that you did for us (your family)!
Thank you for being a man my son could look up to and count on.
Thank you for your unconditional love.
It helped me to see a very valuable side of our Father in heaven…
how much He loves us, His patience, His mercy, His grace,
and leaving His wisdom for us to grow in.

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Thank you, Father God, for giving me the dad I had!
For giving Anthoni the granddad he had!
And for all the love and sweat you helped my daddy with
in providing for and caring for his family!
I sure do miss him. So much it hurts. I miss mom and Charlie too!
But I know you are taking care of them, and that I will see them again… SOON! ❤

Happy Birthday, Pappy! I love and Miss you!! ❤

The Loss and Gain of a Godly Man

Lord, my heart is broken… for the loss of a friend… for the heartache that his precious daughters and lovely wife (who are also dear friends) are bearing… because a good and godly man lost his battle to Lymphoma. Willie S. was such a patient, thoughtful, good-hearted man. He made a huge impact on the life of my son and I. He was Anthoni’s principal in junior high through high school. This was a christian school with the same church we were all a part of.

He put up with a lot dealing with my family, while being patient, forgiving, compassionate, wise, and able to calm very ugly situations. A godly mediator gifted with wisdom and discernment, and favor… with God… and our family. Irene (who passed away in 2016) was grateful to him for leading her son to the Lord, and being so influential that her son cut his hair, shaved, and cleaned up, wanting to be a good example like the one who lead him to the Lord and made him feel so welcome.

His lovely wife has been just as loving and godly, a prayer warrior with a heart for others. We are blessed to be friends with her as well. And her precious daughters. There just doesn’t seem a word capable of describing how much I value their friendship. Role  models, shoulders to cry on, to cry with, to laugh with, to celebrate with, to worship and pray with. Personal challenges that we got through together. I hate to know they grieve. They loved their dad. They were a very close family. And praise God a family of faith!

This is what brings me comfort… to know that their dad has not lost a battle… he lost the ability to feel pain! Forever! The Great Physician gave him perfect healing! He did not lose… he gained! He gained perfect health, eternal life, and a mansion that Jesus went away to prepare for him and promised to come again and receive him unto Himself… and Jesus kept His promise! His wife and daughters have gained a new hope in heaven… a new motivation to long for heaven… a new encouragement that pain and suffering does not last forever… and that just when it seems like life is only about loss, Jesus will bring permanent gain! He will be faithful to keep His promise. And they will see Willie S. again!

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So I take comfort in knowing they have the Comforter embracing them as only He can. The one who suffered His own loss in Lazarus and in John the Baptist knows the grief they are stricken with. That is why He left His Word, His hymns, and His church, and the access to His own presence. His arms are open wide to welcome them any time… and closed so gently when holding them as tight as they need! Thank You, Father, for granting His gain, and for strengthening their hope with a peace that passes all understanding… but not Yours! ❤