So I have been listening to Mandisa a lot these days. Thanks to my friend Meagan. She let me borrow her CD and I think that I have held onto it for a little longer than expected. But she is the kind of friend that understands that life takes dramatic turns and allowed me to borrow it b/c I was struggling earlier this month.
For those of you who know me, I am a pretty quiet person, and it takes me some time to warm up to people, but I have this side to me that is quite talkative and loves rockin' out to Christian music. Back in the days, you could spot me in my little red sports car driving down main street blasting DC Talk's Jesus Freak album, or Jars of Clay, or even the Newsboys. As I have gotten older, that part of me is tamed down, but still exist for the few people who can bring out the "crazy, outgoing, and rocker" girl in me. Lately, it has been Mandisa, Toby Mac (formerly a DC Talker), Newsboys (whose lead singer is also a former DC Talker too), and Jeremy Camp. Are you noticing a theme yet? I have even made an ally of my daughter loving to rock out too. But the difference is that unlike me, Jaycee is not quiet, shy, or slow to warm up to people. She is very outgoing, loves to talk (non-stop sometimes), energetic, excited about almost everything, and bubbly. Raising a child with different personality traits than myself has been a learning experience for me. I don't like to stand out and I will blend in if necessary, but she likes the attention and is very strong willed. While, I don't always understand her personality, I am grateful that she has a strong mind and I am learning so much about her outgoing personality. She can make anyone laugh just when she is around them.
Tonight I just want to say that in "Keepin' It Real" I have been struggling this month. November is the month that I usually dread. Five years ago in November, I had the most heart breaking tragedy happen to me, and I never thought that I would be able to make it past another hour, let alone be sitting where I am 5 years later. Everything stopped for me. Life as I knew it was gone, and I had to try to be someone I wasn't comfortable with. Losing Caden was so very heart breaking and left me feeling so empty and alone inside. I remember just sitting by myself and being sad and crying all the time at the smallest possible things that would trigger the memories of that day when I delivered him. I sat in that hospital room holding my baby for the first time knowing that he wasn't there anymore. My heart ached for the time that I don't get to spend with him and my life felt so empty. I can't even begin to express all of the gamat of feeling that I went through.
Now 5 years later, I still feel that I am expected to be that kind of sad again. I am sad, but not in the way that I once was. I am sad that Caden doesn't see how many lives he has affected by heading straight to heaven and I want to be sad in a joyful way by remembering the things that have happened as a result of him. I keep so much of him with me that I remember him when I see all of the people that I have crossed paths with since losing him. I see him in the new friendships that I have made that never would have been were it not for him going to heaven ahead of me. I remember him everytime I see friends' kids who are the same age as he would have been. I am also so grateful that Caden changed me. There was a time when I didn't want to change because I didn't know that "new" girl. But now I see how much more confidence I have in myself and how much the little things just don't matter in the grand scheme of life. I have also changed by allowing a piece of him to come with me where ever I go. He is with me when my daughter asks if the balloon we are holding is for Caden. He is with me when I see someone hurting and just want to give them a hug, or plate of cookies, or send a card. He is with me when I meet someone new facing a similar situation and see their breaking hearts and just sit with them. He is mostly with me when I am alone with my thoughts and can't seem to sleep.
I think what I am trying to say is that I want to remember Caden, but I am not at that place where I am sad about it as much. God has been so faithful to me and my family and I know that is a direct result of Caden. My view of how much God cares for my family has been amplified so much over these last few years. I would not have been at a place of complete brokeness where all I had and needed was God to fill me, had it not been for losing Caden. While I wish that God could have used something else to get me to where my faith is today, this is how it is, and I am learning to press on towards the heavenly goal and look to the future with hope knowing that in moving forward I am continuing to take Caden with me. That is my prayer for my family.
One last blurb about "keepin it real". I have a wonderful friend that I never would have ever really been close to had it not been for Caden. This person I consider family. Her kids play with mine, and she and her husband are among the few people that we feel we can be completely real with. She accepts me when I am a mess, when I cry, when life is good, and when life is bad. It is people like her that remind me how much Caden has made an impact on other lives besides just mine. I have been so encouraged by the growth that they seen in our spritual lives and I know that I can go to them with anything. Friends like that are hard to find.
So I end by saying that November pretty much just stinks for us, and that is ok. I think it will always be this way and I will always struggle at this time of year. Approach us with lots of love, kindness, and sensitivity this month.