Thursday, April 5, 2012

Learning to Stand

Recently I've become aware of many songs with words so appropriate for what I've experienced that I could have written them myself.  It makes me wonder about the people who actually wrote them -  are they writing from personal experience, did they have a tragedy in their lives, are their words from the heart or just made up in order to entertain others?  Many of these are older songs, so obviously I'm just paying closer attention to music now than in the past.  One  particular song, "Stand" by Rascal Flatts, says exactly how I felt in the beginning and what I've done to get through this as time has gone by. The song begins with  "Like a candle in a hurricane - a picture with a broken frame" which are perfect descriptions of what it was like in the early days following Eddie's death.  It was all I could do to keep myself going.  My life had completely fallen apart and everything both around me and inside of me was broken.  Even though I knew I wasn't, I still felt "alone and helpless".  I was fighting a constant battle to survive, and for a long time I felt as if I were losing the fight.  Everyone kept telling me I would be alright in time, but it was difficult to believe them.

There were many times that I felt I had reached my breaking point, but something inside of me (I'm not sure what) kept me going, no matter how much I wanted to give in.  I didn't believe I had what it took to move on with my life after what happened, but something or someone was always there to push me forward just when I needed it the most.  I spent a lot of time praying for help and asking God why/how this had happened to me.  My prayers weren't always answered immediately, and I never received an answer to the why question.  But I kept asking until eventually I had the strength I needed, and I realized the why didn't matter quite as much anymore.  God seems to know better than we do what we need and when we need it!

Sometime during this past year I finally reached a point where I decided I'd had enough.  I was hurt by what had happened, I still had questions, and I was mad about the whole thing.  Eddie's suicide disrupted my life for a long time and changed the course of it forever.  But I suddenly knew I couldn't let it control me forever or let it define my future.  I made the decision to take back my life before it was too late.  It wasn't as simple as just "shaking it off" like the song says, but it wasn't impossible either.  I started to put my life back together, one piece at the time.  It has been a slow process, and sometimes I wondered if it was worth the effort.  Now I know that it was.  I've learned what I'm "made of" and know that I am strong enough to go on.  It almost scares me to say this, but I think I may actually be happy again.   

"Stand" by Rascal Flatts
You feel like a candle in a hurricane, just like a picture with a broken frame. Alone and helpless like you've lost your fight, but you'll be alright, you'll be alright ... 'Cause when push comes to shove you taste what you're made of. You might bend till you break cause it's all you can take. On your knees you look up decide you've had enough. You get mad, you get strong, wipe your hands, shake it off, then you stand ... Every time you get up and get back in the race, one more small piece of you starts to fall into place.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Love of the Game

Even though I'm "movin on" with my life,  Eddie (and his death) will always be a part of me.  I'll always feel a sense of sadness that he's not here anymore.  I'm sure there will still be times when I get mad about what happened.  I will always wonder what my life would have been like if he had lived.  And I will continue to have regrets - not regrets over what I did or didn't do, but regrets about the things that Eddie isn't here to see and be a part of.  He hurt his family and friends tremendously by taking his own life, but in the long run he hurt himself more than anyone else. He deprived himself of the chance to experience so many things that he would have enjoyed and that would have made him happy and proud.

One of my favorite pictures is of Eddie holding our granddaughter Emily when she wasn't quite a year old.  We were at a softball game where he and Trey had played together on the same team.  She was holding her hand up like she was waving, and he looked so proud.  Emily started going to softball games when she was just a few weeks old.  Before she was old enough to even know what she was doing she would clap her hands and squeal during the games.  When she started using a walker she would roll herself right up to the fence and watch like she knew exactly what was going on.  Now five years later, Emily is playing softball herself.  I've been to her first two games, and the experience was priceless! 

If you've never watched a team of 5-6 year old girls playing softball, you don't know what you're missing.  Competition hasn't become a factor yet, so they're all out there just to have fun, and they provide as much enjoyment for the spectators as they do for themselves ... half of the team going after the ball in the field, running from home to second after a hit, going from third to the dugout when the coach says go home, sitting on the infield building dirt piles, standing on top of home plate when it's time to bat ... all priceless images.  When Emily goes up to bat though, she's very serious.  She has her stance just right, the way her daddy has taught her.  I've watched Trey practice with her in the yard and it's like watching Eddie work with him over 20 years ago.  I can only imagine how much enjoyment Eddie would get out of watching Emily play softball.  He was a great player, he passed his love and talent on to Trey, and now it's being passed on to Emily.  I don't know how long she'll play or what kind of player she'll turn out to be, but this is an experience that Eddie shouldn't be missing.  I'm thankful that I'm able to be a part of it for however long it lasts.

"Maybe we could spend a moment at the end of each day and decide to remember that day - whatever may have happened - as a day to be grateful for.  In so doing we increase our heart's capacity to choose joy."  Henri J. M. Nouwen