somebodylovesmeblog

Sharing God's love with the world, one heart at a time.


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How Does Your World Change When Your Father is Gone?

How does your world change when your father has passed on, and is no longer with you?

“Papa Bill” with Grandson Joey

I cannot speak for all of you, for what your story is, or what you are feeling.  All I can do is share what my personal reality is…with the knowledge that as I continue to walk my journey, that reality may change.  As it has changed in the last fourteen years…since my father, Bill Makosky,  passed away.  To read my tribute to my dad, written a year after his death, click here.

When my father died, I went numb, and then into auto pilot.  So many things to do, so many people to interact with,  and so many reasons to stay strong for my mother and family.  Although my heart knew the grief, anger, sadness, and confusion that  lurked beneath the surface, I instinctively protected the depth of those feelings…and chose to reveal only a facade to the world around me.

My mother was alone after his death,  and needed to be with loved ones.  A year after my dad died, my husband and I  invited her to come live with us…which meant she had to make that very hard decision to leave all she knew, and the home that she and dad had lived in for most of their married life together.  She moved from the small town of Youngstown, OH, to Manassas, VA…which is essentially the crazy Washington D.C. area.  And my sisters and I, all did what we needed to do to help her purge most of what she owned, sell her home, (the home we all grew up in) and then move in with us.

Mom ended up living with us until her death, in 2015. During that time, I kind of took her lead, regarding her grieving the loss of my dad.  In the beginning, she talked about him a lot, and was kind of living in her own reality regarding the man he was.  It was obvious to me that they have always loved each other, through any storm that hit them or our family.  However, when she talked about him, refusing to aknowledge his weaknesses, or the way some of his words and actions affected my sisters and me, it touched a place inside of me that I could no longer ignore.  

Carefully, I would remind her that I grew up in our house, and I knew the truth.  As the years went by, she was more able to accept the goodness of my dad, and also the darkness that he harbored.  We were able to talk about it at times, and although we made that breakthrough, I focused mostly on my relationship with her, and kind of put the death of my father on the back burner.

That changed when my mom passed away, for then I was orphaned.  The foundation of our family, and the roots that connected us no longer existed.  No reasons left for me to gloss over the fact that my father is dead.  

He is gone. 

And I miss him very much!

How did my world change when my father passed on?  A few things come to mind…

No more “hi dads,” and “hi Buns” (he called me Bun) and seeing his face light up when he saw me and his grandsons.

No more seeing him at our door, carrying his paper, and anything else he decided to bring over…like coffee cake or donuts.

No more dad to call when my life was in turmoil…like when my marriage was young and stormy.  He would listen to my cries of anguish, then comfort and support me…while at the same time, never once uttering  a negative thing about Joe…my husband and his son in law.

No more dad to call when I was excited about something in our life, or when there were troubles or sadness.

No more father’s day cards or gifts to choose…or birthdays or holidays to celebrate together.

No more dinners together, and waiting for his reaction to the dishes I prepared.

No more arguments with him, and no more chances to view him from the eyes of one flawed adult to another…no more chances to pray for him, and for the healing of his hurting soul.

The world is still turning…hours, days, months, and years spin by.  And although it is a beautiful world, created and gifted to us to enjoy and treasure, I have finally come to the place where I feel the emptiness of being fatherless in this world.

It is a void that cannot be totally filled by memories.

However, my heart is miraculously filled with an intense love that includes the hearts of my mom and dad.  That love pierces through the pain and grief of losing our loved ones,  It is a love and warmth that could only come from the source of love itself...Our Heavenly Father.

May God bless you on Father’s Day, and each and every day that you are blessed to live and love, in this beautiful world!

 

Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.  Deuteronomy 5:16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Second Mother’s Day Without my Mom

Today is my second Mother’s Day without my mom.

I never thought I would be the one to continue to grieve, to be overcome with emotion, and to miss my mother so very much.

Since my mother passed away, about a year and a half ago, I have felt her presence with me…a love that fills me and sometimes overwhelms me.  All of the moments that are precious and a treasure to me now, at the time were experienced as normal everyday moments.  Not realizing the memories that she was gifting me with…going through my days, as though each one was just another day, and not having the eyes yet to perceive true beauty.

My mother lived with Joe (my husband) and me for about eleven years.  Through those years, I was the one that would help her make purchases for gifts.  When it came to gifts for me, she would usually tell me what she would like to give me, and would ask me to choose and purchase.  Needless to say, I was never surprised!

Mom’s Final Gift to Me

When she was in rehab before she died, she was thoroughly enjoying herself.  One of the activities she loved was Bingo.  One day, I walked in to her room, and her face was all lit up.  She told me that she won Bingo, and was able to choose her prize.  She chose a beautiful flower arrangement so she could give it to me.  She was so excited and happy that she was able to surprise me with some beautiful flowers.  I was very touched at the time…but as time goes by, that one simple gesture touches my heart in the most deep way.

These are the moments that stay with us.  Snapshots of time that keep us grounded in love.  The miraculous scenes of life that play and replay through our minds and hearts of times gone by.

Moments spent with those we love.  As I sit here thinking and honoring my mother for all she was, and all she did for us as a family, many of those times come to mind.

Some of those moments that will always be with me:

Watching my mom through the window of the Senior Center when I arrived to pick her up.  Seeing her sitting at a round table with five of her friends, laughing so hard that she had to lay her head down on the table.  I had never seen her laugh like that.

Seeing her in her cute reading glasses, looking up from her book at me, when I came home from work and popped my head in her room to ask her how her day was.  She usually said, “I had a beautiful day.”  I will never be able to part with those glasses.

Watching her eyes light up when Joe or I served up one of her favorite meals.  Or favorite desserts.  Come to think of it, most everything was “her favorite!”

Getting beat royally by her when playing Canasta, Skip-Bo, or Sequence.  Sometimes it was downright mortifying how bad she beat me!

Losing my temper and yelling about our differing politics.  Feeling awful afterwards, I would apologize, and she would just say, “Sometimes things just need to come out.”  She would never hold those outbursts against me.

Strolling through Costco pushing my mom in her wheelchair with a cart in front of us…stacked so high with items she wanted to purchase, that we could not see where we were going!

Her excitement upon learning that she was going to be a great grandma.  That was one of the things that was holding  her back from passing on…she wanted to see her grandson’s baby that would be coming in five months.  I said, “Mom, you know that in heaven you will be able to see your grandson.”  She looked in my eyes and smiled.  She said, “I know, but I am not ready to leave this Earth yet.”  She didn’t make it to see Brayden’s birth, but I KNOW she is with him now.

The privilege of assisting her to shower, wash and style her hair, and put lotion on her.  In the beginning, she was embarrassed to have me help her in that way.  However, it became comfortable and natural for us.  And I enjoyed helping her to feel a little pampered.

Seeing the joy on her face when looking out her bedroom window and seeing three snowmen that the sweet neighbor girls built for her.

Sitting next to Mom at Mass and special worship times, feeling so close to her.

Seeing my mother, as she was near death, look me straight in the eye and tell me that I had the most beautiful blue eyes she’d ever seen.  Then proceeded to call me “Jan,” telling “Jan” that her daughter and son in law take good care of her, but she worries about their health.

A few days before she passed away, I climbed into bed with my mom, and put my arm around her,  I asked her if it was ok that I was there with her.  Her answer?  “We should do this more often.”  Yes, we should have….

Once I asked her if there was anything she would have done differently, being that she had a hard life.  She told me she wouldn’t change a thing.  She said that her family is her blessing, and when things get difficult, you just need to “offer it up to the Lord.”

I have learned to do just that, Mom.  I have finally learned to offer my life to the Lord.  And a large part of myself is the part that came from you.  Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for being you.  Thank you for loving the Lord.

 

 

 

 


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What Are You Giving Up?

Some thoughts about Lent…

somebodylovesmeblog

For me, the Lenten Season has always been a little intimidating.  It seemed as though I could not absorb the true poverty of spirit needed to open hearts (including my own) to the fullness of the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.  There were times when it felt like I was just “going through the motions”, giving up this, saying this prayer, going to Lenten Services.  In other words, to be perfectly honest, many times I was trying to worship with my “head” instead of my heart and soul.

This year I feel the Lord physically drawing me toward Him.  What ways can I deny myself in order to depend more fully on Jesus?  How can I open my heart in faith and trust, to help those in need around me?  In what ways can I throw myself at the feet of my Lord and worship Him more fully?

On…

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What Love Really Looks Like

Lately the words “What Love Really Looks Like” have been going through my head.  Probably because of our recent visit to Central California to enjoy some time with our son and daughter in law, and to meet our first grandchild, Brayden.  Watching their family bond together, and all that goes into the care of an infant, etched into my heart the reminder that love does not usually look like the love that is marketed to all of us on a daily basis.

Yes, there are times of carefree romantic bliss, and those moments of angelic babies surrounded by an aura of sweet white light.  Like the moments  that are portrayed by Hallmark and on social media.  Do we even remember anymore that most of the photos we see now are the result of careful staging, that depict perfectly put together couples, adorable babies, and trendy families?  Whatever happened to the uncomfortable, and many times unflattering pictures of old?  The ones that truly show life as it is…spontaneous and messy.  I must admit, I am the first one to delete “bad” pics of myself or anyone else that I feel would not be flattering.  Why do we desire to show the happy “perfection,” and not the struggle?

Sometimes, in trying to make our world “look good” to ourselves or others, we kind of forget what love really looks like. 

As we get closer to Jesus, we realize that through the suffering and struggle of our daily crosses, when we open ourselves up to His love and healing mercy, we begin to experience His Divine Love.

What does love really look like?

There is beauty in love that is revealed through joy, happiness, and contentment.  We all have known moments of great love and happiness…when we are so filled with love that we feel our hearts will just burst.

However, there is a deeper love…a greater joy that unites us with Jesus.  That unfathomable joy is shown in ways we don’t expect. Some of those moments don’t “feel” like love when they are happening.  The love is shown when we experience those moments, and allow the Holy Spirit to work through them, and work through us.

What does love really look like?  It looks like…

Hearing your newborn scream incessantly no matter how you try to soothe him; living on a few hours of sleep, and feeling overwhelmed. Changing dirty diapers that look like an explosion took place…how could all of that even come out of that tiny baby?  Then your baby focuses and gazes straight into your eyes, and smiles with his whole face.  Your heart instantly melts.

Doing what needs done as a couple to run your household and raise your children.  Getting up everyday to go to work, when you’d rather stay home or do something much more interesting.  Or maybe you are the one who is staying home to raise your children and manage your home…and the day to day “drudgery” sometimes feels as though you can’t do it one more day.  Then, through the little things of daily life, through a smile, a hug or a special moment, you are once again reminded of the big “why” and your spirit is renewed.

The misunderstandings, arguments, and pain that happen in your marriage.  The times when you bite your tongue when your spouse says something that hurts you to the core.  Or the times you are the one who lashes out with angry, biting words.  Then, through a miracle, the both of you once again work through the issues and difficulties, and become even closer through the struggle together.

Being the caregiver for someone in your life.  The daily care, responsibility, and the pain of watching the one you love suffer, and then pass away.  The grief.  And then the joy of knowing he/she is with you forever, and no longer are you separated  by sin, but united in love.

The pain of a mother, hearing that her daughter was killed while on a date with a boyfriend, who was driving drunk.  That mother’s grief and pain in losing her daughter was overwhelming.  However, the love of Jesus allowed her to stand up in the courtroom to speak up for the young man that was responsible for her daughter’s death.  She was able to hug and love him, through the fullness of the Holy Spirit working in her heart.

The look of anguish between a husband and wife, as one of them confesses to infidelity, and the forgiveness that is offered from the heart to the offender.  The grief, the pain, and the days, months and sometimes years of suffering together to restore the marital trust.  And then the joy of discovering that the journey of healing miraculously built a truly happy, whole marriage relationship that is their greatest gift in life.

A well known country singer, who was diagnosed with cancer, and knew that her days on earth were coming to an end.  She allowed her final loving days with her family to be shared with the world, in order to share her faith and love of God with those that may have needed to see through her eyes of faith.  Beautiful.

What does love really look like?

It looks like Our Savior, sacrificing Himself to suffer and take on full  punishment for our sins.  It looks like a man, bloodied, scourged, tortured, mocked, hanging on a cross, and uttering the words “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” and then dying for us.

Then there was Easter Sunday!  Triumph over death!  Alleluia!

Thank you, Jesus, for showing us what love really looks like.  I ask that you work through me, allowing your love to reach those in need of your mercy.

 

 

 

 

 


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This is the Day

This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

This is the last day of 2015.  Usually, it is a day of pondering all that has happened in the last year, and wondering what the new year will bring.  Many will also start lists of resolutions in order to better their lives, or the lives of their families.

All of these things are good, when we keep them in the right context of our lives.

I decided to do something different this year. Instead of looking back, and looking forward, I am choosing to be in the moment. The Lord has given me this day…this moment.  What will I do with it?

As my day unfolds, I will stay open to His voice.  I will open my heart to His presence in a purposeful way.

How many times will He put new souls in front of me?  I will keep open to the Holy Spirit, and really SEE each person…including the ones I see every day.   I ask the Lord to allow me to be a vessel, so that His love pours out of me through a smile, words exchanged, or a kindness.

As I go through my day, I choose to focus on the blessings in my life…they are countless!  My greatest blessing is my husband and our marriage.  Thank you, Jesus, for a marriage relationship so strong that we are one in all ways.  Because YOU live in us and bind us together in and through YOU. 

Thank you for my sons, their wives, and our first grandson, who is due to enter our physical world in February.

Thank you for the family that you designed me to be a part of.  For my sisters and their families and friends.

Thank you for the friends that are deeply intertwined in my heart and always there for me…help me to always be there for them in their need.

Thank you for the beautiful home, which to this day, I am amazed that we have been blessed with.

Thank you for the comforts you are providing…plentiful food and drink, accessible water, a heating system that keeps us cozy, inspiring and entertaining books, beautiful music, movies that fill my heart with faith, love and hope.

Thank you for always providing our needs and the desires of our hearts…for your Holy Spirit knows those true desires and needs in a way that we cannot even comprehend.

Thank you for the difficulties of this day and this moment.  I trust that all things work toward good for those who love You.

Yes,  sometimes it is very appropriate to look back, remember, savor the past.  And in the hope of the Lord, to look forward to the New Year and our future in Him.

But, for me, TODAY, I choose to live in this present moment of love.

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!

 

 

 


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Jesus! I KNOW Him!

This morning I took one of those silly tests that revealed to me which Christmas Movie character I was most like.  Surprise….it is “Elf!”

That kind of shocked me because I feel more like Linus from “Charlie Brown Christmas”, always wanting to remind the world what Christmas is all about.  Then I read the reason why I was most like “Elf.”  It is because I love all things “Christmas.”  I love the innocent faith that consumes Buddy’s spirit.

SANTA!!!  I know him…I KNOW him!

Buddy lives his life oblivious to the doubts and cynicism of others because He KNOWS him!!!  He sees the world through eyes filled with wonder and amazement, because He KNOWS him!!!

Shouldn’t we do the same?  Shouldn’t we see the world and all that is in it with wonder and amazement because, “We KNOW HIM!”

When we see the beautiful manger scenes, do we think of the perfect love and humility to God’s will that Mary possessed, the quiet confidence in God’s plan and the protection that Joseph provided for his family, the baby Jesus born into our sinful world , sent by Our Father in Heaven  as our Savior?  Or have our eyes been clouded to the simple beauty of the Nativity Scene?

When we decorate and enjoy our Christmas trees, do we appreciate the memories associated with each ornament?  Each year, as I place the ornaments on the tree,  so many memories are brought to mind.  From my growing up years, through our family’s years as our two sons grew, then as we created more memories with them and their wives, and then the years with my mom.  She also loved Christmas, and loved to choose new ornaments to add to our collection.  Many of those ornaments, which many might call “materialistic”, bring to mind a specific time, place, or person, that reminds me of God’s love for us and His providence in our lives.  I see Jesus when I think of all the faces of those loved ones…both with us in this world and those who have departed to the next.

When we hear beautiful and joyful Christmas music, do we remember days of childhood faith, when Christmas was almost magical?  It wasn’t just the gifts back then, it was the SPIRIT in the air, something special that we did not quite comprehend!  Or does the music help us to feel joyful in the moment?  The moment that we ARE IN, that God has blessed us with?

As we write out our Christmas cards, do we think and pray for each person, and thank God that they are in our lives?  Do we realize, as we open the cards sent to us, the thought that went into each one?  That there are friends and relatives in our lives that think about us enough to send a card to wish us a Merry and Blessed Christmas?

When we see beautiful  Christmas or Holiday decorations, do we appreciate the thought and creativity that went into each display?  The happiness that the bright lights and baubles bring to children’s hearts?  Do we remember that the light of a star beaconed the way to the Christ Child, and lights are a symbol of preparation for the coming of our Savior?

And all of the gifts…that admittedly some people take way overboard, are also a blessing.  A blessing not only to the receiver, but most importantly, to the giver.  When a gift of any size is thoughtfully chosen, wrapped and gifted to a loved one, or maybe even a stranger, the spirit of love and giving fills the heart.  When a gift is given in love, the Holy Spirit is present.

As we walk into Mass or Service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, are our hearts filled with the joy, hope and love of Christ Jesus, Our Savior?  Do we receive Him with wonder and amazement?

Yes, I hope I am like Buddy in “Elf.”

JESUS…I know Him!  I KNOW Him!!!

 

 

 


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The Christmas Chair

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As I get older, I realize that true joy is found in the blessings of “moments.”  I would like to share one of those moments with you.

Twenty one years ago, my husband, our two sons, and I moved from Northeastern Ohio to the Northern VA/DC area.  It was a traumatic move that happened rather quickly.

My husband and I were in dire need of employment, and the Youngstown area did not offer much opportunity.  Through friends of friends, we were made aware of available positions for both of us, in Springfield, VA, at the same company.  We would be starting at entry level positions…with room to grow.  When I called to inquire about the positions, I was told that we would need to be there on Monday, ready for work.  Did I tell you I called on a Wednesday?  That gave us two and a half days to pull some of our belongings together, and make the drive to Virginia on Saturday.

At this time in our lives, we were pretty much broke.  It will take a very full post to share all the miracles and all the ways that things just “fell into place” regarding our move…that story will be shared soon!  The four of us drove to Virginia  in a car we borrowed from my dad, with as much “stuff” as we could shove in the trunk and around the boys in the back seat.  We had enough cash for gas, some food, and a little to carry with us.  We were moving and living on faith.  We knew the Lord would carry us through our journey.

Coni is the woman who opened the door for us by offering us both a position in the company she worked for.  Not only did she offer us jobs, she offered, and insisted that our family of four stay with their family until we got on our feet.  Coni, Kevin (her husband), and their son, opened their beautiful home to us for what turned in to two and a half months.  Although we helped as much as we could once the paychecks started coming in, they never asked us for anything at all.  Jesus was definitely working through them.

We made the initial move to Virginia on December 4th, and then needed to drive to Ohio for Christmas and to pick up more of our belongings from our home.  That Christmas was a very lean one…we were unable to buy any Christmas presents at all.

What we didn’t know, was that Coni and Kevin had snuck some wrapped gifts into the trunk for all of us.   Our thirteen and ten year old sons knew, but were told to keep it a secret.

When we pulled up into the driveway of what still was “home” to us, my heart filled up and I had to just swallow the emotions I was feeling.  I kind of turned off my feelings, because I didn’t want my sons to know how much I was missing “home.”  Since we would only be there for a few days,  there were no Christmas decorations.  The thought that it was the last time we would be sleeping in our home was hanging heavy in the air.  None of us articulated what we were feeling.

What we didn’t know, was that Michael (our youngest) snuck into the crawlspace and pulled out our twinkle lights.  He then proceeded to wrap them around and around our recliner by the front window…where our tree usually stood.  The decorated, lit up chair was in the “laid back”  position, with the gifts that Coni and Kevin had sent for us laying underneath.  It was such a sweet, joyful moment, that I have tears in my eyes as I write this.

Needless to say, after experiencing the “Christmas Chair”, we realized how important it was to enjoy our last Christmas in our home.  We all dragged some decorations from the crawlspace, hung the wreath and displayed the Nativity Set.

I thank God every day for my husband, and my sons who teach me time after time  what is truly important in life.  I also thank God for all of the special  friends He has blessed us with over the years.

And we will always have a special place in our hearts for Coni, Kevin, and Robbi…who as “casual friends” that hardly even knew us at that time, chose to open their hearts and their home to our family, to help us on our journey.

My wish for you during this beautiful Christmas Season, is that you keep your hearts open to all the simple, beautiful moments that are presented to you and your family each and every day.  These moments are the true gifts that the Lord blesses us with.