Most people were amazingly loving, supportive, and sympathetic when Chloe died in a horrible accident while we were decorating for Christmas on December 2, 2017. I was absolutely amazed at the level of support I received, and the reactions from so many people in personal, professional, and online life. Her death was an awful tragedy, and overcoming the overwhelming loss, grief, and self blame has been quite a difficult journey. I think I'll always blame myself for her death until my own dying day. But here's the thing: with your support, I've learned to forgive myself, to realize the ultimate truth that accidents, time, and chance happen to us all, and that there's a big picture that I won't know or understand on this side of the veil. I had to learn to apply your grace, forgiveness, and love to myself. I've also had to overcome an onslaught of anxiety that hit me as a result of the grieving process. Of course, I realize there's still healing to do. There are still things I'll have to deal with this holiday season that I didn't have the strength to deal with last year, but I can now. I get it. You can't change the past, some things can't be fixed, and I've learned to live with it. Acceptance has come. That's the news that I believe will have the vast majority reading this entry breathing a sign of relief. I know a lot of you were worried about me "being myself" again. Well, I'm still having a bit of an identity struggle in the wake of her loss, but I know I'll make it. As Dr. Sartain said in Halloween 2018 about typical reactions to trauma, "some people get stronger." Maybe I have. I see that boldness and strength coming back lately, and I welcome it. The Lord really has granted me a miracle in that I lived through this, and I'm establishing a new reality. I want to extend a huge "THANK YOU" to all of you for your part in this journey. You probably don't know how significant your support is, because I do tend to be a loner - but gosh, it was. It mattered. You were the Lord's heart, hands, and voice working in my life.
However, there was a minority that felt this tragedy "put me in my place," and hoped I would stay down. Oh, they didn't come out and say it that way, but their attitudes conveyed that message loud and clear. It's always the little things that speak the loudest. Admonishments to hang back and not try to do so much. Criticism when I decided that I didn't want to talk about it anymore, and to move on to open my eyes to the bigger world around me. Nitpicking every little thing as wrong or inappropriate. Discounting me because I was "emotionally compromised." It was clear that there were some people who were glad I was down, and hoped that I stayed down. And here's where I have to reveal something about myself that you don't know: I don't believe in remaining a victim. You can't choose whether bad things happen, but you can choose whether to remain a prisoner to them, and I absolutely will not do that. So if you were banking on me being down and "put in my place," I'm afraid that ride is over. I'm still an intelligent, confident, obnoxiously independent woman. I know, it's hard to believe that's still the "trifectia of doom" in the 21st century when so many other alternative lifestyles are acceptable and protected, but hey - women with brains can be a pain in the butt if you're intentions aren't pure. And so I am. He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. BOOM! THAT'S MY PLACE! Sorry devil. You - and the ones you tried to use to do your work - lose. I'm back. Maybe not from outer space, but from something. Stay tuned. It'll show up in future novels. It always does.
The only problem with wanting to put people in their place is that you have no idea where that really is. That's between them and the Lord. Be careful what you wish for. Assuredly we will all be put in our place in due time, but that might not be where you think it is, or should be. In some ways, I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. In others, I clearly see things in motion, and I trust that it's for good. Faith is learning such confidence in the Lord. It's not natural. We have to learn it. And in a strange way, this has helped me along that path.
I'll be the first to admit that there's something about me that makes the **** hit the fan. I'm not even sure why, because I just try to live obedient to the Holy Spirit, do what I'm supposed to do, and move on. But somehow, I seem to have a talent/tendency to bring insecurities. My grandmother had a talent for seeing it long before it's obvious. Mom does too. They can tell you a snake on first sight. I seem to have a talent for getting behind the mask and oozing all of the crap out. How? Why? Beats me. Add that to the growing list of things I don't know.
But at least I realize there are a great many things I don't know.
So my point here is simple: we all face trauma and loss. Life and reality are no respecters of persons. Time and chance really do happen to us all. But you can overcome. You can get better. You can move on. You should, and you have every right to do so. And you can help others along the way. I hope I am. I hope I can offer back all of the love, support, sympathy, concern, forgiveness, grace, and mercy that's been offered to me these past 11 months - with interest.
And if you walked, or turned, or tried to be a stumbling block - oh well. You reap what you sow, and I'm just glad that the positive vastly outweighed the negative this time around. That's your thing to deal with. I'm moving on.
That's all today. Take care. Have a Happy Friday tomorrow and a wonderful weekend.