Thursday, February 24, 2011


Well if that title doesn't put a big question mark in your brain probably nothing will.

It's may sound like a pretty random title for a journal but after you read this you won't be thinking that anymore.

Last week we made the dreadful trip to our home in Marathon. We have been in The Villages for a while visiting with Jessi's Poppa who had open heart surgery in the beginning of January. We where with him last week and since he is doing pretty good we decided to make a trip to Marathon to Face that Giant that was waiting for us. There is not alot of Jessi's things left in the house as over the years she has brought things to Georgia each trip we made. However, it is still hard. Jessi was born there and spent a big part of her life there as well as making several trips a year back to visit. Our last stay as a family was Christmas 2009 when she brought Hannah. We didn't know it would be the last together in the house. I was dreading the arrival the whole drive down. As we pulled into the driveway, I was overwhelmed with just such immense sadness. I got Jessi's dogs out of the car and went for a walk before even going into the house. But, when I got back to the house, the house was still there, and Jessi was still not here. I walked up and went straight to her room climbed in her bed, grabbed her pillow and cryed.......make that was a good hard cry.....did it make me feel better? Maybe a little, but it still as of yet hasn't changed anything.........

On Sunday Lisa did my hair for me, she made me feel great on the outside....I wish there was a salon for grief and heartache......I really enjoyed spending that time with her. It was just the two of us and we havent talked at all since October.....I don't do much talking on the phone....

I had lunch with Carm on Tuesday and that was a treat also.....It's really hard for me at times to be with my friends, I know that sounds odd, but I know that they grieve for me also and everyone wants to make things better but they can't. Sometimes the ones your closest to are the hardest to be with. Simply because they feel your pain but are helpless.

So what does all this have to do with Ping Pong? Nothing.....But what you are about to read will explain that question.

Bud's cousin Frieda and her husband Lynn and there 2 kids Kaite and Seth also live in Marathon and where with us during Jessi's last day...We went to their house to have dinner on Monday nite and when we walked in their house where you would normally see a dining room table there sat a Ping Pong table.......Most of us (including myself at one time) would never put a ping pong table directly adjacent to your kitchen. Well, that is the wrong way of thinking.......Most peple have heard the saying "The family that prayes together stays together" That I believe is absolutely true but I also believe that " The family that plays together stays together" too. If that ping pong table was outside it probly wouldnt get used as much..Seeing as how its inside and you have to walk passed it to go outside, to the kitchen or to the bathhroom its kinda hard to avoid it. I confess that I didn't play this time. Bud did and as I watched him he actually smiled and laughed for a few minutes.....I'm not sure of the last time I can remember him doing that since June....
Who would of thought that a Ping Pong table in the middle of a kitchen would have been a blessing to someone and would also be a way for a family to spend great quality time together.

I guess the lesson would be is you don't have to have a fancy dining room table, a chandelier, matching placesettings and all the trimmings. Sometimes doing things right won't make you any happier. Your dining room table may look all pretty and put together but that's about it.

But.......a Ping Pong Table and your family can be better than any dining room table. And if you still want to sit at a table and eat, back when I was a kid they had these things called TV Dinner trays.....get u one of those and sit on the couch and eat.......

Your children will remember the Ping Pong table years from now..............

Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to Play. 1 Corinthians 10:7

Monday, February 14, 2011

Don't Be Afraid.........

This Thursday it will be 12 weeks since we said bye to Jessi. Alot of things are different now for us. However, differnt didn't just start the last day we spent with Jessi. Different for us started June 26.....Day of Diagnosis......

The last weekend in January The Cure Foundation has an Annual Bereavement Weekend for parents that are unlucky enough to have a child with cancer and even unluckier to have lost a child to this dreadful disease. I really wanted to go in hopes of maybe making some new friends, visiting friends already made and hoping that I could find some comfort after the weekend was over knowing I'm not the only one and be with others who truly understand this pain. I really had to pursuade Bud to go, he really wasn't up for it. On the first day after listening to one of the speakers, talking with other parents and then going to the candle lighting ceremony I had had second thoughts and at one point remember thinking this wasn't such a good idea. During the candle ceremony it was like reliving Jessi's service all over again. I sat in my chair hoping that they were not gonna call her name, that it wasn't real. But they did call her name, showed her picture on the power point and we lit her candle. As I type this I'm reliving that very moment. I remember looking at the screen and seeing her name and the dates........

I will say this......For once in weeks I didn't feel like I was different. I felt like I could cry and it was ok. I could talk about Jessi and it waas ok. I realized my thoughts are not crazy ones, as many people have the same thoughts as me.

I'm writing this post for one reason.....In hopes that when you are done reading this if you see me or Bud out at a store, or a restuarant, getting gas, at the post office, or wherever it may be you wont't be afraid to say "Hi" or wave or give a hug to us.

The worst thing in the world is to see one of us and then look the other way then walk away because you don't know what to say. Guess what??? We don't know what to say either......Nobody has to say anything....Actions speak louder than words and we love hugs. Will that hug bring on tears? I can tell you as for me that is almost a sure thing. But, tears are not a bad thing because even though the root of my tears are because of Jessi, I can cry happy tears too because thats what hugs do for me.....they do make me happy for a moment.

Bud and I have both experienced being at the store and having people we know see us and then having them turn away. I just want everyone to know that we are approachable. Don't be afraid to say Jessi's name....Please don't pretend that you didn't see us. So if you see us out and you don't know what to say, don't say anything a hug will do just fine......

This whole tragedy has really showed me many things......I'm thankful for all the special people that are in my life....Friends that have been there for many many years and God has brought some new people along to help Bud and I thru this unthinkable journey. People I never expected to step up and check on me everyday. My dear friend YoYo that texts me and Bud every morning and every nite and many times throughout the day.....And Carm, who I call when she leasts expects it than has to endure listening to me cry on the other end of the phone. Carm cries with me. Crystal and Leslie who randomly text me just to let me know they are praying for me and they luv me.

Last Wednesday I opened the mail and we received Jessi's death certificate....Let's just say, Bud and I did not handle it well. We decided to go to church that nite and I think I cried the entire time from when we got the mail till I went to bed.....I'm not sure how I looked but I'm sure by the time I got to church people could tell I was not having a great day.....Well something special happened to me this nite and I'm about to share it with you.......during service there is a time to shake hands and I made it through part of that but got to a point that I needed to get myself together so I went to the restroom. I don't think I was in there a minute and while I was trying to clean up my face through the tears in enters Joanne Galloway....she didn't have many words for me but she gave me the biggest hug and didnt let go. She even said I just dont know what to say. You see, theres more to this than Joanne jsut being there with me......she must have seen me sometime before and during the beginning of the service and knew I mite be having a bad nite....she was watching out for me.....I finally went back to my seat and thought about that the rest of the nite.....Joanne knows she cant take mypain away, but she just came to be there with me and hold me up....Miss Joanne I hope your reading this because I wouldnt be able to say all this to you without crying.....I love you and I thank you for having my back....
One more short note and I will be done......Jacob Berry is another one who's actions have left a mark on me. We saw Jacob at Camp Meeting in Seffner about a month ago. FOr those of you who dont know Jacob he is an evangelist you can check out his website at Jacob Berry Ministries. Jacob is in a wheelchair and has been on a respirator his entire 22 years of life. Jacob knows our story and Jessi was privileged to hear him preach. While at the camp meeting, Jacob asked us if we wanted to go eat after the service. We told him we would get with him after service and let him know.....As we went and sat down I remembered Pastor Chris mentioned at the last Youth Retreat that Jacob had never tasted a cheeseburger, or ate food like we do. So you see, Jacob didn't want to go eat with us, he just want to be with us.

Again, actions speak much louder that words.........There are alot of friends and some family who have surprised me by doing just the opposite. I have not heard from some at all.....Not a text, email, phone call. Nothing. I don't understand this. Friends don't let friends grieve alone......There may be days that I don't return your text, and Im sorry for that. Sometimes its easier to just pretend things are different. But be assured I listen to every message I get and read them all. They always put a smile on my face.

Wherefore my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. James 1:19

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sleep Overs.....Lunches.....Jessi's Friends..........Priceless Therapy.

Well friends for all of you that follow my blog I have not deserted this site and will continue to post I just took a little sabatical for awhile. I truly have been wanting to post but the entries would have been more on the sadder side and I don't always like to journal when my mood mode is in the sad status.
I have ALOT to say but will break it up in separate entries because all the topics would take a while and I like to keep the topics seperate and I also want to hold your attention and not ramble from one story to another.

The title of this entry kinda explains itself. Everything good is summed up in it.

I'm really thankful for some of Jessi's closest friends and also that she had shared with us who they where. Some of them I know better than others and that is only because of time spent with each of them. However, I'm learning more about them each day and also being privileged enough for them to share some things about Jessi that parents don't always see. Another side of your child from a friends perspective is actually kinda cool as they experienced a different side of Jessi then I did as her mom.

I love all of Jessi's friends but they all represent a little something different, therefore each one of them has a significant part in my healing process. They each hold a very unique spot in my heart.

Sleepovers are just that. Something everyone of us has done as a child and sometimes even as a grown up. Well, almost every weekend for over the last 2 years Jessi would either spend the night with Hannah or Hannah would spend the night with Jessi. They where pretty much together every weekend. Believe it or not, Jessi didn't spend the night at other peoples houses. I think there was only one time since we moved to Georgia that I allowed her to go to a friends house. I always wanted to protect her, so in order to spend the night at someones house I had to really know the family or it wasnt gonna happen. Hannah just happens to be one of those families that Jess could stay with anytime. I know the family. I knew she was safe with Hannah. The real reason I mentioned sleepover was because Jess's friend Hannah has stayed over our house several times since Jessi has been gone. I think that is pretty huge for a 15 year old. Imagine it.....just for one minute.....goin to your best friends house, without your best friend there. I honestly don't know if I could do it. Especially at 15. Hannah seems to handle it pretty well. It's actually a pretty mellow nite. We mostly just watch a movie and spend time together. Let me just tell you, it is hard to hold back the tears. I not only have grief for myself but I also have alot for Hannah. It's hard to find a good friend. That goes for when your an adult also. Knowing that she could be doing alot of other things she comes and spends time with us. Just like the many many trips she made to the hospital and all the sleepovers there. I'm so grateful for this, but I also know not to expect or be dissappointed if Hannah chooses not to come when I invite her. My heart breaks for what she has lost. I just hope in some way that we help her as much as her visits help us.

This past Monday we went to Jessi's school and brought lunch to 3 of her friends. Kennetha, Olivia and Baria. All different. I took the recommendation on one of my FB posts one day. I had made the comment that I should be packing Jessi's lunch and taking her to school and a comment was made that I should go to the school and have lunch with some of Jess's friends. I took the advice and it has turned out to be a real blessing. Jessi had a good mix of friends. Kennetha, well she is pretty quite but always has a smile on her face, Olivia a little more talkative with the sweetest personality and Baria who talks alot (which I love!) and always always makes me laugh! I marvel at the vast difference in the personalities of Jess's closest friends. I know that it can be hard on them too spending time with us because we are a reminder of what was for them and lunch can be hard because Jessi is the topic of most discussions at lunch. Imagine that......I also have had to catch myself many times during lunch not to break down in tears. It is hard to go to that school. I just look around and try to grasp the fact and reality she is not ever gone walk the halls of that school again. And it's hard to see young people hurt and there is nothing you can do to change things. At least in this instance.......

Many people have mentioned to me that I should look into going to professional counseling..........I have different thoughts about that......I came to the conclusion that I would consider it maybe if the Counselor had lost a child or possible lost thier only child. I certainly dont intend to get advice from someone on how I should feel or how long I should grieve that hasnt worn the shoes I now wear. It is an experience that unfortunately has to be lived before it can be understood. I know that because I am living it.

The best counseling has come from unexpected people. Who unbeknownst to them has helped me make it through one more day.

So as far as Priceless Therapy......spending time with Jessi's friends is just that. It is a way to remember her and share happy times, be able to laugh about silly stuff she did, a time to cry too. I'm just thankful that Jessi's friends think enuff of us to even want to share some time with us.

If they only knew really the depth of what it means to me and Jess's dad.

The Sleepovers, Lunches and Jessi's Friends have been the best Therapy.

Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2