Tag Archives: Life

Grandmommie

author labelMy grandmother just died.

I am sitting here, typing, because death brings emotions we are supposed to process to express. So I’m checking, looking into finding words to say what I feel right now.

Grandmommie and I had little to no relationship. For years I wished it were different. The problem was Grandmommie loved me but she didn’t like me. You can love someone deeply but not like them. I realized that a thousand times in little moments but couldn’t put it into words in my own mind until I was in my early 20’s. I chased after her wanting her to approve of me, to find something she could like… but it always came back to the words she said and the disapproval. It hurt then. It hurt a lot. Especially in contrast with her words that were kind and approving for others. Those words, however much I craved them, were not for me. I learned to accept it. As I got older, in learning to like me I had to remove her voice from my head.

When I was a newlywed she and my Grandfather would be traveling just 35 miles north of my home on a cross-country trip to go see my sister. This was great, they would be so close to me they could come see my life, see my cute little home and see me…really see me. Like a dream scene, I saw it clicking in their eyes that I wasn’t a loser. My husband wasn’t crazy for marrying me. They had asked him at our wedding why would he marry me? He was so impressive and I was so unaccomplished. It was the one smear on a perfect day.

BUT if they came to my house they would really see me, raw, and of course they would like me. They would be proud…when I made the invitation explaining it would be a small detour and I would make them a meal, I wanted them to see my home…the reply, “it’s not worth it, you understand Leta.”

And I did. I understood.

They didn’t say it in a mean tone. The facts were simply that detouring from the goal, the pre-plan wasn’t worth it—for me. I just wasn’t a priority. I got it. I hung up that phone and for the first time at 24 years old I forgave them for not liking me. I forgave them for not caring and promised myself to not expect it from them. That the hurt I felt wasn’t their fault it was mine for wanting something that couldn’t be given. They had been consistent in their approach to me—it was I who kept hoping for something different. I was causing me this pain.

I didn’t cry. It was what it was.

They are good people; they are loving and solicitous to many in the family. Just not to me, and that day I got it, I understood and I let be what was.

Going forward my responsibility was, as the Bible says, to “Honor thy father and thy mother.” I did that. I honored them with living a good life.

At times our paths would touch and I noticed I could let the disapproval slide. It was just their perception. They didn’t see me, the real me. And that was—well, I don’t say this in a tone; I say this matter-of-factly, with no bitterness—their loss. I didn’t have to make it my loss. I moved on.

One day 17 years after the day I let be what was.

I got a call in November 2012 and I was 39 years old—it was Grandmommie. She started by telling me about her mother, her voice was tenderly emotional. I had never heard this side of her. I didn’t know how to respond. I listened as she shared feelings with me. Then she said it, words that I’d never heard her say, “I am sorry.” She apologized for how she had treated me saying she “had wronged me”—we had a moment. A moment that I never anticipated having until at the feet of Christ. I felt it, she meant her words—the most amazing part was I felt forgiveness, the realization that I had forgiven her long before. I wanted to make this easy for her. I said, “thank you, this means a lot.” She told me she respected me, how I had dealt with the death of my daughter, she respected my connection with God.

Then it was over.

I would call on special days; we would talk for a moment. She would ask me about my parents, especially about my mom, her daughter. They talked often with her and she would want to know from me how Mom was really; my mother has health issues, skipping along the surface, never deeper. My mother told me that is all she needed to feel close. I don’t know really how to have a surface relationship, and I am not capable of duplicity, but I could have these brief conversations with Grandmommie. I could give her that.

I had received more from her than I ever thought I would in this life. I didn’t give into the hope that there would be more tender conversations, there weren’t. I helped buy her an iPad. She was grateful. That was the closest we ever came in the last 3 years.

Now. Right now. I know my grandmother and I are closer than we have ever been.

She isn’t truly gone, she is with my daughter, and she is in a good place where all the cloudiness of earthly perception will melt away. It’s more likely now than it ever was that she might stop by and see my life, see my house, see what I have created and say the words, feel the words I only heard once. She will be proud of me. She will even like me. She will get me. My exuberant personality that always bothered her as so inappropriate and unlady-like—I think she will find herself able to laugh with me now.

I am funny. I am really likeable.

Grandmommie helped me see that, because her perception made me really look at my own self-perception. She taught me that I can’t see myself through other’s eyes and I cannot expect or need from others what they cannot give.

So here I sit a couple of hours after her death thankful she was my grandmother. Because she taught me to forgive, to love others for who they are and to let be what is.

Thanks Grandmommie
Will be seeing you around.

Happy Birthday, Katelynn!

Mom labelHappy Birthday to my baby girl Katelynn!!

Nathaniel and Ailsa yelled out “Happy Birthday Katelynn” excitedly seeing the balloons marking birthday: they are thrilled to see how their April Fools pranks are going. I got a bowl of salty cereal. They got me good. Grilling me on what surprises are to come, it’s a happy morning with more happy things on the way. I got some good kisses, perhaps because of that mouthful I swallowed with good humor. There were hugs, a prayer and they are out the door to school happy. That is what we want. You will hear laughter in the Greene house today.

22181_10153228924937490_6609426676569775284_n   Any mom knows that feeling when you first look in your baby’s eyes; it can’t be explained, its beyond description the love you feel and the recognition that a piece of your heart is always theirs. Katelynn would be six today. I can tell you that six years seemed impossible, yet here we are not only moving forward but happy. We are not happy she is gone, but happy that she ever came. Happy that I am her mom. Happy, and as funny as this sounds, that I am sane. Really, when I was first approached to write a book about Katelynn, my main concern was that I may be crazy later on, broken in despair. I am not, we are not, because we choose to be happy.

People tell me, “isn’t it a comfort to know where she is?” Yes, it is, but not really.
She is my baby. She is supposed to be here with me; I’m supposed to be crying over her first day of Kindergarten, not crying that my heart still wants to hold her… I could go down that path of bitter loss, but I won’t. That is not hotness. What does bring me comfort is that death has not changed that I am her mother. I am still Katelynn’s mom. I am Nathaniel’s mom. I am Ailsa’s mom. I am their mom.
That brings me comfort.
That gives me strength.
That brings joy.10628539_10153228923142490_6338132614852442895_n

She is learning as I am learning, teaching as I am teaching—we have an interaction. She sees me at my worst and my best; she sees me as none of my living children can. I joke that out of my three children she is the most demanding of my time and talents.

Here is the problem we moms have. It’s not easy giving our kids what they need, day after day, year after year. We wonder if we can do it. I wondered when Katelynn was placed in my arms if I could see her endure the life she had before her. We knew it wouldn’t be “normal” and it wasn’t. We never imagined it would be so short. Your mind just doesn’t go there, it can’t 11070394_10153228922207490_3783979523607177540_ocomprehend. Here is something odd: I still can’t comprehend it. I am in awe that six years later we still doing so well. I wish I could say its because I am just that awesome. Yep… I am that strong. But, I am not.
I pleaded, bargained, begged and agonized, searching for a different way than a life without her.

I want to be a good mom. I prayed for strength. That prayer uttered a thousand times has been enough; it’s become a habit I don’t even have to swallow hard to say. I thank God in every prayer for the comfort and guidance he gives us. I wonder if my husband even hears that line anymore that I have said it so many times. God does hears it, however.

My husband and I have talked many times in awe of what God has done. It’s not us. We were like two riders holding on to bucking horse hoping it would be over soon.

What you see the public me, I wouldn’t be the same without Katelynn. I had no ambition to be a speaker, to up my game in my makeup business. I was perfectly content to raise my kids, but I wanted more. I didn’t get what I wanted, so as a second option I followed the promptings given to build up my speaking. You know that question: what would you do, how would you live if you had no fear? I know the answer. I’m living it now. Nothing can hurt me like saying Goodbye to Katelynn did. One by one, I’ve let go of the things that hurt me and that held me back from being what God wants me to be. Because I am a mom, I can do hard things, I can do all things through God.11081406_10153228921607490_1325903462995594045_n

The things kids say

Mom labelBefore I became a mom, people advised me to take the time I drive with my kids in the car as an opportunity to talk to them.  I’ve taken that idea on the road.  I love the moments of bonding with my kids, hearing about their day, singing songs and having heart-to-hearts.  The other day my son asked one of those really important questions during one of our drives.  He said, “How do you know if you are doing what God wants?”2004284_69

I was feeling very pleased with myself in a moment of motherhood eloquence as I answered his question.  I could tell my answer had an effecton him, as he was looking thoughtfully ahead into the passenger side mirror.  I knew he was deep in thought, perhaps looking into his soul.   When he spoke I knew it would be profound… “Mom,” (pause) “how do I not have a mustache right now?!”

And then the moment was gone.

It just whizzed by.

Gone.

I wish I could tell you that later the conversation picked up where it left off.  But in reality, I don’t know if he heard a word I said, as he was so engrossed in the mystery of his facial hair.

That’s just kind of how motherhood goes doesn’t it? 2004284_54

My daughter recently said, “When I grow up, the first one I want to be like is Jesus” (How perfect is that? As I hear this, I am mentally high fiving myself!), “and the second one I want to be like is you, because you are so awesome.” (can I say proud momma?), “I don’t want to be like Daddy,” (what?!), “because he is a man.  And I don’t want to be a man.” (the things kids say sometimes!)

I guess my kids are really thinking things through well…well at least they are thinking…even if they are saying things like, “It’s not my fault I am a good farter!”  (my son didn’t say this—my daughter did).  Or “My pits stink! They are wet and furry!”  (that one WAS my son).  Or my personal favorite quote, a commentary on my motherhood… “I’m hotness’s son.”  Yeah, I guess at least they are learning something.

I am a Hot momma.

2004284_108

Belaying Stephen

author labelBefore my daughter, Katelynn Faith was born, we knew she had a rare chromosomal anomaly.  We knew that Katelynn’s differences had made her special and she would be given every opportunity to find her way in life.  Katelynn is strong.  During her time at the hospital, people could see how special she was.  She was surrounded in a sterile, cold environment, and yet she locked eyes with those around her.   People could feel her presence and attentiveness.

Every morning before going to the NICU, I remember sitting on my bed, looking at my wheelchair.  I would think about what I needed to accomplish.  I knew the day demanded more than I had; getting out of bed and getting ready was already so draining.  So, God and I had a conversation.  I told God how much I felt I could do of my day—usually less than 10%— and asked him to take care of the rest.  I knew he had to carry me, because I had to be awesome, I had to be beyond my best for my three children depending on me.  They looked to my attitude to see if they could get through this.  I would not let them down because I was their mom.

I have been blessed in my life with having a close relationship to God.  I know he has carried me and comforted me in some of the hardest times of my life.  My relative, Stephen, is going through the similar need to ask God to carry him when he can do no more.  Stephen has a Chiari Malformation Decompression, which is a rare brain disorder.  Last year, a surgeon tried to fix the problem, and was unable to help.  Stephen’s condition has been worsening, with Parkinson shakes, Grand Mal seizures, and periods where he doesn’t know who he is or wherekissy face he is.  He has liquid pressing against his brain, which is an additional problem that is causing a lot of complications.  Stephen has been unable to work for more than a year because of his condition.  In November, he was told his brain was starting to necrotize (die) and that he didn’t have much longer to live.  When my niece, Sheraya found out what was going on with her cousin, she stepped in with fundraising to help pay for some of the medical costs.  As Stephen’s story spread, a specialist on Stephen’s condition from New York got involved.  In January, Stephen went to New York to see Dr. Bolognese and found out his condition was NOT fatal, and is operable.

My niece, Sheraya, has spoken to me about how it’s hard to see Stephen suffering.  He’s in his early 30’s—and when he was younger, made decisions that led him down a scary path.  It’s hard to see him change his life so drastically, and to have made his peace with God, only to have him now suffering daily from this illness.Stephen UVRMC ICU

Now we have hope, we have a goal—to raise the money for Stephen to get back to New York and get the surgery he needs to save his life.  Stephen, and his wife, Lesley, are so upbeat and positive.  Throughout the whole experience, Lesley has been looking forward, and has not lost faith that Stephen can get the help he needs.  Stephen is taking life by the horns, and fighting a battle that is overwhelming.  If you are interested in learning more about Stephen’s story or helping him get to New York, you can go to his website, BelayingStephen.com or his fundraising site, gofundme.com/belayingstephen.

I’m grateful for all I have in my life, and the fact that we were able to care for Nathan through the bus accident and heart attack, and then Katelynn through her time here.  As much as we try to look on the bright side, the bitter truth is, crummy things happen in life.  But, we can choose to come out of those experiences stronger, surer of ourselves, and more determined to love and cherish the people we have.

Mature Eyes

Makeup Artist label

In 1989 big eye-shadow and big hair ruled.  I was 16-years-old and was bold with my makeup too—I wore brown eye-shadow hesitatingly applied.  Self-criticism held me back from enjoying those over the top eye-shadow styles of my youth.  In my book I talk about how I was able to find my way out of the cycle of not appreciating what I had.  Now, 25 years later, gravity has become an issue as I feel my wisdom growing, and I can totally appreciate what I have—beautiful, mature eyes.

If you only look at beauty magazines and Pinterest for your makeup application tips you may have laughed out loud as I cheer for my mature eyes—we could get really frustrated with our eyes because they are not the same as they were in 1989, 1979 or 1969.  Time happens and our eyes shift.  That shifting isn’t bad.  I believe that ageing is beautiful and I want to help you see it!

As an early makeup artist most of my work came from brides.  Those girls had the young eyes you find in all the magazines.  You can really do anything you want with eyes like that—just look at the crazy makeup tips you find.  I want the tips I share to help you feel more comfortable and see yourself as the beauty you are.  I believe we are all beautiful; we have just been trained to think that only perfection is beautiful.

I have a ton of makeup tips for mature eyes—but here is my concern:  if I just start posting these awesome tips you may not see what I am talking about.  You need to be retrained first.  You are beautiful.  You are perfectly normal.  What is being sold to you in magazines as “the standard” is not normal. 

Look at this:  

allwomenstalk.com

allwomenstalk.com

In this example, notice what you don’t see.  There are no wrinkles, no hinge on the outside of the eye.  We get this hinge wrinkle from the movement of the eye.

Now look at these:

Lady 2        Lady 1

 These ladies must have been moving their eyes too much.  With all these wrinkles, they must have had years of too much squinting in the sun.  The problem is… these are nine year old girls!  But THIS is the standard we are held to.

tamayou.com

tamayou.com

She is fabulously airbrushed to a standard of perfection that we all fail to meet.  Because it is not real.

 

Here is a picture of me (please notice what a good hair day I am having).

Hotness

I look stinkin’ hot and I am real.  You can tell this picture hasn’t been edited because look at this picture and notice what you see.

Hotness Eye

It’s like I have wrinkles—shocking!!  I look great for 41 as I use SeneGence skincare.  Look at this without makeup on and see the real “normal”.

The wrinkles, the downward pull of the eye.  Notice how you don’t see it on the first picture?  It is because I used my makeup as a tool to guide the beholder to where I want you to look.  (In my next makeup artist blog I am going to start teaching you those tricks.)

 

As you are out there looking at Pinterest, see if they are real tips on real faces or if the unreal standard of beauty will make you think that nine-year-old eyes are old because they are not airbrushed.

Missing Tooth

WARNING, pictures of my dental surgery are below.

Makeup Artist label

 

 

I admit it, I love my wiggle tooth, but I didn’t always.

When I was nine I knocked out my front three teeth, and the excessive dental work began.  I hated the gap, it made it so obvious what missing and what was so clearly wrong with me.  The funny thing is that those feelings of inadequacy were really coming from me, and not from others.  Sure, kids teased me, but what made the situation worse was how I handled it.  In my book How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness I teach how to get over self-taunts and about how to change the perceptions of ourselves to see the radiant women we really are.

I’ve learned in my nearly 20 years of working with women in beauty, that we all have an area, feature, or something we just don’t like about ourselves.  Yes, there are makeup tricks that can minimize facial features to bring out our best; but I really love helping women see how beautiful they really are, and helping them start the real work—seeing themselves differently.  I can meet with you one-on-one through Skype.  I am here to help you see that you are far hotter than you think you are!

Through helping other women, I actually got so good at changing my perception that I LOVE my wiggle tooth!  I’m not saying that I want to have a retainer with a tooth attached my whole life… but then again, maybe I do!  The tooth is such a relatable subject and always an instant icebreaker.  I often joke that “I am soooo HOT, I don’t need all my teeth!”  It is funny– I like funny.   But Mr. Greene doesn’t love it so much… I guess when he takes his wife out a on a Oral Surgery romantic date, he would like to look across the table at a full toothed smile.  It’s particularly annoying to him because we have already paid to have it repaired, and I’m putting it off because it’s so funny.  I guess I can see his point of view on this.

So, on October 16th, I reluctantly dragged myself to the oral surgeon.  I was so sad—not only would my adorable toothlessness be gone, but I knew it was going to hurt.  I’m not really one who thinks being drilled on is fun.  With that said, I firmly believe in choosing to have fun in any situation — here in this picture with the drill head attached to the recently placed implant.

I would like to point out that my lip color survived all of this with grace— meaning it stays on like a rock star!  I forgot to take pictures that night of my still perfect makeup because I was high—you know, legally drugged up—since it really hurts to get drilled on.  The important thing that every girl IMG_0079needs coming out of oral surgery is to know that her makeup is still there and looking awesome.  I can help with you with that part, but the missing-tooth hotness, you will have to take care of on your own.  I can show you how to bring out your best without looking like you tried too hard.  If you want amazing skin, and want to know where to put your makeup and the right colors just for you that stay looking perfect all day until you take it off— I can help with that.Tooth X-ray

As for my tooth, in four months, after the bone heals around the implant, I will get a new set of not-as-hot-though-very-expensive-teeth.  I firmly believe that Mr. Greene will miss the wiggle tooth.  Although, if we’re being completely honest… probably not.

 

 

The Words our Mirrors Say- a deeper look into the book

While writing my book, many people, places and events inspired me.  This blog is to help look deeper into the inspiration behind some of the moments in my book, How to Embrace Your Inner Hotness.

The quote above was inspired by a woman I met at one of my Hotness Workshops.  She was a mother of four children that were close in age.  As so many of us do in that process, she lost a tinge of sanity, a lot of peace and the figure she had before she became a mother.  At the workshop, she shared with the group a powerful story of how she learned about positive self-talk.

One day, after she got out of the shower, she looked in the mirror and felt that what she saw was not flattering.  She was struck by the changes in her body.  She said, “I grabbed by tummy, disgusted with myself that I was this fat!  How could I let this happen?!  I started to call myself names… and then I felt something stop me.  Hadn’t this body birthed four healthy babies?  That was a gift.  I felt an impression that I was never to be so unkind to myself again.  I felt that it was from God.”

After she told her story, the room was quiet.  We all knew we were guilty of being unkind to ourselves and even bullying ourselves at times.  Her experience spoke that truth into our hearts, in a clearer way than I could ever express.  The truth was that God doesn’t want us to feel poopy about ourselves.  Don’t be mean to that amazing body you have!  It was made ON purpose for a purpose.

Choose to be nice to you.  Honor yourself with your thoughts.  Feed your mirror kind things.

If you want help with this, my book is available by clicking here.

Jamberry Nails

The company Jamberry nails has a very cool concept.  Instead of waiting for what feels like eternity (at least to me) for your nails to dry, you can use these nail wraps.  They’re made from vinyl and once you know what you’re doing, it’s really easy to apply.  Even better- the wraps last for weeks.completed nails

You all know I do makeup, all day long.  Because of that, I love long-lasting, easy beauty.  I love looking great without the fuss.  I’ve found Jamberry fits in perfectly with that mentality.  They’re gorgeous and I particularly like them on my toes.

So, when Jamberry called me to speak for them, I was not very dignified on the phone.  I was so excited to have the opportunity to speak for a company that does something so cool.

jamberry logo

Jamberry organized an amazing show for their executive level leaders, and I brought the Hotness™ to share.  While I know you’re dying to hear the details, I can’t tell you all about it because they asked me to participate in the same show again.  I’ll be traveling with them to Orlando, Florida in January.  Jamberry treated me very well and even gave me the swag bag they gave their hardest working leaders.  All of the attendees received a copy of my book at the show.

Recently, I also spoke at “The Women Empowered Conference” put on by the Ogden/Weber Chamber.  They gave each attendee my book in the swag bag.  It’s such a thrill to be able to speak and have the attendees be able to learn more about How to Embrace their Inner Hotness!

I Killed the Little Pig…

Kids with Guinea pigI killed my kid’s guinea pig.  I didn’t mean to.

I imagine being a guinea pig can’t be too exciting- living in a little cage, walking in your own poop- and for a reason that I can’t understand- you (the guinea pig) pooped and peed in your own food bowl.  This sort of behavior doesn’t seem to bother the little pigs.  They are super cute and the kids love them.  I like them too.  I had to pick a favorite, it would be Ricky.  Ricky wasn’t prone to peeing on you like Lucy would.   Technically Ricky was girl (for better population control).  My son “owned” Ricky and my daughter “owned” Lucy.  Back to my issue— I just can’t imagine how living in your own mess in a small cage can be a good life.  

I had this dream that we portioned off an area on the front deck with chicken wire and make an enlarged enclosure for the piggies.  They could run wild, poop and pee to their heart’s content– and with weekly cleanings, such a large area wouldn’t be so bad.  Full of this vision, my daughter made little houses from boxes with doors and windows cut in.  She attached several of them with little tunnels.  We even put up a blanket for shade and as a wind breaker, and an area for the guinea pigs to hide from the Kestrel hawks in our area.  Really, we thought of everything for their comfort and happiness.  We just knew life for Ricky and Lucy was going to be awesome at the Greene house.  We brought out their little cage and opened the door to their new enclosure—one that provided almost total freedom.  We reveled in them exploring.  I thought I was rocking the mom job.Spoiled Guinea Pig

Well, evidently guinea pigs are susceptible to heat stroke— I found Ricky peacefully dead the next day.  I felt sick.  I ended up telling them that night… and tears flowed, sad bitter tears… and I remembered the pain of my cat dying when I was young (I found my cat, a dead (partially eaten) bird… and my young CSI mind deduced the cat choked on a bird bone.)  The passing of this guinea pig was the first Pet Death of my children’s life—and it was my fault!  My hubby, in just five minutes of Google-smarty-pants research discovered that guinea pigs don’t deal so well with the heat.  I didn’t even think of that when I made their awesome new home.  I thought the outdoors would be heavenly for them… Bad pun? 

That night, as midnight was approaching, I was outside with a head lamp burying our dearly departed guinea pig.  My neighbors, who were up late painting, had a horror movie moment when they looked out the window and saw me burying things in the dark of the night.

So…I killed Ricky.

pig4I couldn’t apologize to my kids enough.  They didn’t seem to blame me, but I sure felt bad.   When kids are young, a mom can kind of solve everything.  I want to protect my kids, hold them and make life as perfect as possible, while I prepare them for everything I can—and just like I tried for Ricky, I want to make a good home for them.  When I was looking out for dangers for the guinea pigs, I thought of the wind and of the small Kestrel hawks that frequent our street; and I tried to protect Ricky and Lucy from those things.  But it was what I didn’t think about—what I didn’t see as a threat—that ended up getting to Ricky.  As I held my tear-soaked kids and wondered what snot was being wiped on me, I felt guilty.  My kids are getting to the age that I can’t soothe every pain with the ease that I could when they got a stubbed toe at age three—and now, they’re old enough that I may not see what dangers are lurking for them.  The one thing I hope is that I am being a good enough mom that they will have the good sense to escape the hawks of life, and that they will ask for help when they need it.  

We all have a weakness to something.  For a guinea pig, it’s the heat (how is that possible?  They are from South America!  It’s hot there.)  For me, I like to sleep.  I love sleep— it gets in the way of getting everything I would like to accomplish done.  I also have a weakness when dealing with manipulative people.  I don’t like it.  I think I would die of exposure if I had to live in poopiness. We all have our thing. 

My daughter told me she forgave me because it was an accident and she knew I was trying to do something good.  My son told me that he was glad that Ricky didn’t suffer and he didn’t blame me either.  I guess that is the most we can do— just do our best and hope we don’t kill the tender feelings of others.  We can go through our lives and try not to cause pain purposely and when we do—we can take responsibility for it.   We can apologize, and when needed, stay up late (even when we are tired) to bury the pain we cause and ask for forgiveness.

There is something else we should learn from guinea pigs— don’t walk around in your own poop.  If you have read my book you know what I am talking about.  What does that have to do with my story?  Not much, but it’s still a pearl of wisdom. 

I should mention…we have two cats they are doing well.

2 Dead

 

Two boys, ages 12 and 15, are dead. We read headlines everyday: shootings in schools, missing, hurt and exposed children– It is upsetting to think about. Fortunately those we love are safe, that is what we tell ourselves. We are safe. It wont happen to us. The closer the incident the more our comfort zone of safety is striped away.

My family lives in South Jordan, Utah. One of the safest states in the country and in one of the safest towns. Our neighborhood is Daybreak. It is so idealistic that they advertise picture perfect beautiful people, homes, and yards with the tag line “This is getting good”. It is good. It is Daybreak good.

Last Friday two boys were killed, the names were just released. The details of why are still not clear. Was it an accident? A suicide? We don’t know. What we do know is that mothers have lost their precious children. She will live and they are gone. It is not the right order of things to bury a child.

I know because I have buried a child. My Katelynn would be four. Her death was not an accident. It was not violent. It was her body giving out due to rare medical issues. It gnaws at me constantly, I have to choose to be happy to go forward. I find comfort that her death couldn’t be prevented. But for these two boys – Everything that went wrong could have been prevented. How does a mother deal with that? I wish I could offer her some advice that would help her! Even though I have sat by a grave site wondering how I could go on. I know that I have nothing to offer her. It is not the same. None of us really know how another person is feeling, what their experience is — Yet we think we do and we make judgments all the time. What we think we would have done, said and how strong we think we would be or not be and we don’t even really know ourselves until we are there. I hope for her that she will find the strength needed. I plead for her that judgments and hurtful comments of others will be filtered out. I pray that in her dark moments where the grief literally knocks her off her feet that she will be able to kneel and feel the guidance and comfort that only God can give. I know in those moments for me – Where breathing felt like a betrayal — that prayer helped, and helps still.

I don’t think I know them. I don’t know. One of the boys is just older than my son… I have spoken twice at the school. Was that boy in the audience? We are all wondering why and how our children will be effected. We are all wondering about the poor mothers. It is just so sad, tragic, and wrong to see a life so young… gone. We all want to think something so sad would not only never happen to us but that we will be safe from it.

When I hear about a shooting, a death far away I can offer nothing but prayers. I can send humanitarian packets.. I can donate. Now this is here in my neighborhood. I want to take food over. I want to hold her hand… and then I realize I might as well be a world away. I think I can do those things, but really if I don’t know her she doesn’t want me to hold her hand, she doesn’t want my tears. The tears of a stranger. I want to do those things to comfort me. So I can hope that her friends and family rallies to her side… you know the people she actually knows. I can go to the funeral and I hope that our neighborhood shows up in force to silently offer our support. I can donate money and may be able to take a meal over but in the end she will be hurting at times I could never touch her with comfort. When really even those close to her can’t. So we pray. I pray for her. I pray for the boys.

The day before if you had asked me where I lived I would have told you about the idealistic setting, the low crime.. now when it is closer to home. I am so aware that it is not my home. And it could be. It could be any of our homes. Even in all the perfection and care of our lives – Horrid, awful things could happen even to us. So instead of thinking, we are all safe, I hope that the one thing I could give as advice. Not to the mothers of the boys but to us: To not judge her, to not judge her boy. Because judgment is just a way we hold others away from our hearts and count ourselves blessed. It could have been, and could be our child there, dead. So we should pray and give all the love we can. And be grateful for today. 

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