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My book deals with the grief I suffered at deaths of my 10-year old son in a bicycle fall, and 4-month old grandson to SIDS.
Many, many mothers and fathers have lost their babies to SIDS . . . and many more parents have lost their children in accidental death. While we all must deal with the grief of our losses . . . we grieve in very different ways. Mourning for some may take a few months . . . for others it may take years and years. However long the road is . . . it is a "Journey of Grief" that each person must walk on alone . . . no one else can feel what we feel . . . no one else can truly understand. Crib death is so sudden . . . so shocking . . . we are robbed of the final "goodbye" . . . while an accidental death of a child may give us "time to say goodbye" . . . we are sometimes left with the memories of the suffering and our own deep guilt for various reasons. No matter what the age of a child's death . . . in the heart of parents it is still "our baby" . . . "flesh of my flesh" . . . and it feels as though our hearts have been ripped right out of our bodies!
So many beautiful "signs" from Heaven happened throughout the entire events of both deaths that I felt compelled to write about them . . . share them with those of you who may be experiencing grief of your own . . . grief that seems so overwhelming . . . grief that seems to take your breath away . . . grief that seems to leave us at the very Gates of Heaven . . . banging on the door . . . begging to be let in to see our loved ones again. I just wanted to share some of the hope I felt in those times that seemed so hopeless . . . and I pray that something I share may help you . . . may lift your heart . . . or, just get you through another day.
I invite you to come with me as I share this story of my "wounded soul and my broken heart" . . . come . . . walk beside me through the memories of my journeys . . .
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Warnings . . . No Turning Back . . .
Seven months after we were married, Connie called to ask if Tutu could spend the week of Easter break with them in Canoga Park in the San Fernando Valley and I agreed. When the school bus arrived the day Tutu was to leave with Connie, he got off the bus and dashed into the house and began gathering his last minute things. He was SO excited! Connie arrived and honked out front and Richard and I walked Tutu out to the car . . . Tutu dashing in front of us lugging his suitcase along the ground . . . in his joy and excitement he climbed into the car and didn't even kiss me goodbye . . . and as Richard and I stood at the curb, waving as the car drove away, I felt a deep foreboding inside. I turned to Richard and said, "Richard, I didn't even get to kiss him goodbye!"
The foreboding within me was due to two dreams that I had, the first one several years earlier . . . the dream is still as crystal clear today as when it happened over 40 years ago!
Dream One: I was walking with Tutu down a street in Los Angeles, when I looked up into the sky filled with those large white cumulus clouds . . . and though the sky was thick with those beautiful clouds, I was focused on something tiny and bright and shining like silver in the clouds . . . it was moving toward me and growing bigger . . . suddenly bright streams began to flow outward from the brightness and in the middle of all the shining silver I saw Jesus! He was dressed in a beautiful multi-colored flowing robe, colors so beautiful that they cannot be described, and He was singing a song about coming back for me . . . in a little while . . . the funny part is that He was singing into a microphone! That is the only part that seemed strange - but, it was very obvious that He was holding that microphone and I could hear Him clearly singing that song to me, telling me He would come back for me soon . . . Tutu was scared and clinging onto my legs for dear life, his arms wrapped around my knees and I bent down to pull his arms loose, telling him to let go that it would be alright, that I loved him and I would see him again soon . . . the vision of Jesus grew to huge proportions, when suddenly the singing just stopped . . . Jesus was gone . . . and Tutu was gone. Because of the pressure of his arms being released from my legs so suddenly when he disappeared, I fell to the ground . . . I looked all around me and cars had crashed into each other and people were screaming . . . then, I looked down and noticed the dirt, weeds and broken glass near where I had fallen . . . and the world around me seemed so bleary after that beautiful glowing vision of Jesus. It was empty . . . dirty . . . and dark . . . and I was alone in the midst of the chaos around me.
After my marriage, and while Tutu was away at a week-long Church camp, I had dream two.
Dream Two: I was in a dark place with Tutu . . . suddenly a darker shadow moved toward us and it covered Tutu . . . and took him away.
I woke up crying and immediately got up and fell to my knees next to our bed! Richard woke up and asked me what was wrong and I said, "Richard, I had another dream and the Lord is going to take Tutu Home SOON." Richard tried to comfort me, but I could not stop the "knowing" that was part of the dream . . . the forewarning of loss . . . so, we prayed together and then I sat up for hours praying that Tutu would come home safe from the church camp that he was on with the kids from Bethany Church. He would be home in four more days. It began to rain at the end of that week . . . the kind of rain that falls in Los Angeles sometimes . . . when the days are just so dark and the rain keeps falling in a never ending downpour . . . it was so dreary! When we went to the parking lot of Bethany Church to wait for the bus to arrive from camp, we were standing in the rain . . . the darkness of the day seemed to grow deeper and seemed to wrap itself around my heart . . . I became anxious, as the bus was late . . . I turned to Richard and said, "Could this be the time? Will that bus never come and is this when Tutu will be taken? I'm afraid." I was so sure that I would never see that bus pull in. Richard put his arm around me and held me close . . . suddenly, in the distance I saw the bus coming! I was so relieved that I could have doubled over and thrown up . . . I had been living daily as though I was waiting for the gun shot to start my "race to the finish line" of Tutu's life. I remember saying to Richard that I would never, ever let Tutu out of my sight again! Richard just smiled at me, he was so used to my "dramatic" spirit.
Now, here I was, standing on the curb . . . the car had gone around the corner . . . I had not even kissed him good-bye! Tutu was gone . . . this time for a whole week, to have fun with his uncles and grandma Connie . . . but as we turned to go back inside I felt my heart suddenly skip a beat . . . I turned to look back . . . Richard noticed my hesitation and put his arm around me saying, "Tutu is going to go have fun, he will be okay." I pushed my feelings away and kept my thoughts to myself.
Before the week was to end, I would wake up one morning ready to face the day, never knowing that I would end the day on my knees . . . sobbing . . . begging for the darkness of pain in my heart to leave me alone . . . begging for the impossible: for God to let me begin this week all over again, so I could say: "No, you can't go to your grandma's for Easter" . . . or, better yet, to erase the day and let me wake up to find little Tutu in his room . . . so that I could grab him and give him a great big hug and a kiss, and tell him again how much I love him! . . . "PLEASE GOD! PLEASE! PLEASE don't let this be happening!!" But all of my begging could not change the fact that my little boy was now laying in a hospital bed in the San Fernando Valley, in a coma . . . and, thus, begins my journey of when I began to crawl . . . walk . . . cry . . . and scream for the strength to get through just one more day . . . just one more night!