Friday, December 16, 2016

My heart is heavy but thankful

(c) 2016 Card and Photo by P.Lynne Designs
This week, I was hit with and reminded of losses.  Friday and Saturday have not come yet, but yet I am reminded of these things that are held so dear.
First, there was a loss of things….
Sunday night, after coming home from my parents, I discovered a small leak in my garage.  I live in a 4-unit condo (1 ranch, 2 townhomes (one of them is mine), and a loft unit.  If you have ever lived in an apartment (flat if you are from the European Union), you know that if something happens in the common areas (garage, outdoor space, etc.) it affects everyone in the building. 
Now this is how my mind works:  see a leak, panic, call parents.  End of story. Sunday’s was different.  I when I called to let them know I was safe at home, I went into, “I just wanted to let you know” mode.  OK, hours later, I am using the downstairs bathroom, and my left foot happened to touch something wet. This was 3 in the morning.  I picked up a skirt, which I thought I left over at my parent’s house, and it was dripping wet.  I went into, “I’m too tired for this, let me put this in the washer and deal with it when I wake up”.  The bathroom also doubles as a laundry room. I went to bed.
Hours of the incident, I turned on the washer and went about with my dressing for the day.  Suddenly during the spin cycle, I hear water rushing to the floor.  I panic but composed myself as I turned off the washer in mid-spin. Called the house and mom answered.  I told her to tell dad that water is all over bathroom/laundry floor and a plumber was needed ASAP!   I then pulled a “not so bright” move and decided to flush the toilet. (I can see some of you face palming right now, LOL).  Water went rushing everywhere, and I could not turn off the water valve to the toilet (remember, the washer is off by now.)  My mom and nephew came over to help me clean up. 
I had to use the upstairs bathroom until today, and that loss of using this luxury item (yes, a bathroom/laundry room is a luxury item), help me appreciate the two-bathroom system because the homeless have none.  The problem was solved by a plumber coming to help a red rag out to sea, but not before the hefty price was given, Ouch!
The second loss was having no printer to print business cards for an event I had a table at.  I make my own business cards.  It is much cheaper than going through a company by Vista Print or Staples when you are in a pinch, and believe me, I was in a pinch.  I have been meaning to order some cards all year but never got around to it.  I decided to print on 110 lb. paper.  I thought that the printer could handle it, and nope, the cardstock jammed on me.  OK, not to panic.  So, I cleared the jam, and the printer would not do a thing.  This was Monday evening.  Whenever something goes wrong in the computer department, I call my nephew, Mike.  So, I called him, and like most 20-somethings, he will get to me in the morning.  Well, it was too late for that.  Thank God I decided to print up two sheets on regular paper. So, I put everything in a folder to make a fast copy or two at Staples on my way to the event.  The problem is not really solved, because of a Polar Vortex that decided to blanket the city with snow and ice the next day, it was bad going through one of the busiest streets in the city.  There were only 15 people at the meeting, and I was just following up today.
So now it is early Friday morning, and I was reminded of several losses yesterday:
My friend, who is a teacher, was remembering the children and adults who died in the Sandy Hook school incident.  I cannot remember what I was doing that day, but I told her on Facebook, even though I am no longer a teacher (Pre-K for 3 years), and I do not have a child, I would throw myself in the line of fire, if a person dares to try and kill a child.  No child should ever be killed by anyone, but yet there are those persons who feel the need to kill anything and anyone.
Speaking of which, I was also reminded of the man, Mr. Roof (forgot his first name) was found guilty on 33 counts of murdering 9 people during a bible study at Emmanuel AME church in South Carolina.  He did it so he can restart hatred (racism) or segregation in South Carolina.  I guess he thought that it wrong for people of color to have so much freedom, to do what we need to do in order to live in this country.  The sentencing phase begins next month.
It does not matter what the loss is (material, loved one, or physical freedom), the point I am trying to make is having the ability to go on.  Now naturally, the loss of things (such as plumbing and the ability to complete
a task) is nothing compared to losing a loved one.
In both cases (the loss of innocent children and the 9 during a bible study class), the hurt becomes less and less as time moves on.  Eventually, a person would be able to smile when the gentleness of things reminds them of that person, but they have to get there first.  I am not an expert on grief and I am not claiming to be an expert, but the loss of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends have been less and less painful, as I moved on in my life, and I am greeted with little reminders, such as a song my mother’s mother used to sing.  I would find a tear fall from my eye, reflect, and move on.  It does not bring her back, but it also reminds me that she is in a better place than I am.
I think the hardest thing I had to do was to attend a baby’s funeral.  It was 2 years ago, and the baby only lived for a day.  It was a friend of our family’s baby.  It wasn’t a week before that time, in which I asked my mom what day we were going to the baby store to pick out a gift for the baby shower.  Things happened so fast.  The next hardest was attended a 6-year old’s funeral after he had been sick for a long time.  In both cases, I found myself questioning God and asked why these two.  The same when I attended another person’s funeral in her early 20’s.  I though during those trying times about, how God should have just left them alone and allow them to experience life to the fullest, but I had not considered other circumstances, such as the mother’s life (who was also in her 20’s), the 6-year old was in an accident when he was 3 months old, or that the young lady had cancer and was barely hanging on.  So, I turned them into teachable moments that I experienced. 
Yes, loss is hard, very hard on loved ones left behind, but it gets easier. In the case of the Sandy Hook, new gun laws have been on the books.  Teachers (including my friend) across the country are going through ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) Trainings, to make sure that every child is safe in the school they are assigned to attend.  There is nothing you can do about the shooter, because he killed himself that day.  It is important that everyone to know when a person is about to go off.  Know the signs, watch their behavior.
As for Mr. Roof, justice has been served, but there are people who are a magazine of bullets away from killing people in a church or elsewhere.  In the denomination that I belong to, The United Methodist Church, churches across the country have in place a program called Safe Sanctuaries.  In each church, there is a policy that tells members, potential members, guests, and their families that this is a church where they can feel safe, and there are rules in place in the event that something happens during a meeting or a worship service.  I am sure that there are similar policies in place in other churches.

Just remember that when you are going through loss, either of things or loved ones, you are not alone in this at all.