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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An Adventure of Love

My husband and I will be married 38 years on April Fool’s Day. (funny we chose that day, huh?)  Our life together has been an adventure up to this point.   With our sons and their wives living across country, and now our first

The Beginning of Something Good

The Beginning of Something Good

grandchild being so far away from us, our lives are being lead to an oncoming  season of change and even more adventure.

This morning, as we were commuting to work together,  a quick flash of memories filled my head.

The first moment Joe and I locked eyes.

I was seventeen, and he was 18.  He always says that he knew I was “the one” since the first time he laid eyes on me, when I went in to the “Strouss Terrace Room Restaurant”, interviewing for a part time waitress position.  He was a bus boy.  We were seniors in different high schools, and were both referred to that particular restaurant through family members.  The manager of the restaurant was Esther, who had been a friend of my mother’s when they were teens.  Esther loved my mom and would have hired me without an interview.

Funny how each and every decision, and every person we meet, has a purpose in either our future, or someone else’s.

My vision this morning was the moment we first saw each other as naïve teens, and then flashes of our life together since that moment.

I saw Joe with his arm around me, pulling me in for our first kiss.  He, with his light sprinkling of freckles, and his beautiful, warm, liquid brown eyes.  I felt safe when I was with him, like I was “home.”

I saw us walking down the aisle in “The Little Chapel of Bells” in California, and vowing to take each other from that day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance.     We did not understand what those words meant at the time, (of course we thought we did!) however, we have gone through so much together since then, and understand the “for better for worse” part very well now.

I saw the birth of our two sons, and how they changed us for the better.  Change never comes easy…children are one of God’s ways of teaching us what it means to really love and be selfless.  That change and growth takes a lifetime, and the Lord works His will through us in a way that we don’t even realize what is happening.  Funny how we always think we are in charge and we think we know so much…as Our Heavenly Father weaves everlasting beauty out of  the  messes we create with the rags of our “we can do it ourselves” mentality.

I saw the misery of the times when we were both so unhappy, and were right on the edge of giving up and divorcing…because although we both knew we loved each other, we had no clue about what marriage really meant, and even less of a clue on how to be happy.  That was until we locked eyes one more time, through tears, and made the decision to stay married and learn how to be happy. 

That was also the moment that we invited God into our marriage, and asked for His help.  He did not let us down.  Even when we didn’t realize it, He was working in the unseen…leading and guiding us toward Him.  Especially when we were stumbling and falling time after time.

I saw our two sons as babies, little boys, teenagers, and as the men they are now.  They, and their beautiful wives, have brought true joy into our lives.

Blessed by Timeless Love

Then I saw the face of our new grandson, and the reality of what God started so many years ago is shining through those beautiful, clear blue eyes! 

And the thought hit me…this is just the beginning.

So many more blessings ahead for each and every one of us, as we continue to keep our hearts open to Jesus and simply trust Him, who loves us.

 

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6

 


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Welcome to Our World!

Brayden1

Yesterday our first grandchild was born, and our little world was once again changed in a way we could not imagine.    Little sweet Brayden opened his eyes after a very long labor, to finally break through into the sights, sounds and feel  of this world.

I thought I already loved my son and daughter in law as much as humanly possible.  I thought wrong.  After sharing in their experience long distance,  the intensity and scope of pain that  my daughter in law, Melissa endured, and watching my son, Joe, being there for her, my heart is just overflowing in love for them and for this sweet baby who will change their hearts and lives forever.  The struggle and pain of the labor that Melissa suffered through was evident.  However, sometimes, we are never fully aware of the pain and helplessness that is felt when one  is called to watch a loved one suffer.  Joe was there to support and help to make his wife as comfortable as possible, however, he was unable to take away or lessen her pain.

Melissa was the chosen one for this particular labor of love.  She was the one who said yes when she received the news of pregnancy.  She was the one Brayden3who chose to be more aware than usual of what she ate, drank and participated in during her pregnancy.  She was the one who sacrificed each day…to assist God with the miracle growing inside of her.

She said yes to this divine purpose for her life at this time.    Joe said yes to being her husband; to being there always to love, honor, respect, and protect her and this new baby, in any way that it took.  And yesterday, that meant saying yes to being helpless as he watched his wife suffer so much pain.

Little Brayden has already started the change that will occur in all the lives he touches.  When my husband and I look at the pictures of our new grandson, we see a miracle.  It is almost overwhelming that our son now has a son.  We also know how the Lord will use this little one to mold and teach all of us…but most of all, his parents.  They will learn love in a way they never thought possible.  They will learn what it truly means to be selfless.  They will experience joy like never before, but will also experience doubts, confusion, frustration, and the ups and downs that life brings.Brayden2

Each one of us has a unique purpose, and must journey down the individual road that God has paved for us.  We all have our own vocations and gifts.  For Joe and Melissa their journey is starting with their newborn son that God blessed them with.  For others it might be a different path.  However, the path that the Lord paves for all of us is in love and through love…and is meant to draw us closer to Him. 

Will we choose to say yes?

Welcome to our world and to our family, baby Brayden!  We thank God for you and look forward to being a part of your life, watching you grow, and learning from your innocence and wide-eyed wonder!

 


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Our Weakness

Since my mom passed away in September, many emotions have been ebbing in and out of my heart.  I know this is a normal part of the grieving process, so I am attempting to allow  myself to feel each emotion as it comes.  Along with all the emotions, comes the questions of what I could have done better.  How many times I let my selfishness keep me from enjoying more time with my mom and doing more than I did for her.  And hidden in the back of my mind and heart, are the questions about the things that came between us in the past.  The growing up years.

Although the recent years of living with my mom brought us closer together, each of us learning to forgive and overlook weaknesses, these questions were lingering in my subconscious mind.

The other day I was thinking of my mother, and could feel her presence.  I told her I was sorry for all the ways I let her down, and for not always being there for her in the way I should have been.

Instantaneously,  I heard her voice.  She said, “You did the best you could.  And I did the best I could.”

Those words, simple as they were, really broke through to me.  In this life, as humans, we will always fall short.  No matter how much we love someone, and no matter how hard we try to do the right things…we will always fall short.  I realized that my mom loved all of us so much all through the years, and she never stopped loving us.  Even though she was the perfect mother for us, she was not perfect.

And neither am I. 

And that is ok.

Dear Lord, thank you for shining your beautiful, healing, comforting light on our families.  Thank you for filling our hearts with your love, and then touching those we love through our imperfections.  Thank you for always working through us…even when we are unaware of your presence, or  not “feeling it.”  For it is in our weakness that your power is made perfect.

 

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  2 Corinthians 12:9

 

 


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Beauty and Love are Always to be Found

Since my mother’s death in September, it has been hard for me to focus on the feelings and truths that are waiting for me to acknowledge.

It’s  not that I am consciously afraid of the feelings that will bubble up, but more that I know the immense tidal wave of feelings and memories that will engulf me, and I just need “me time” to sort it all out, and actually have the time to feel, face and process all that the Holy Spirit reveals to me. 

My heartfelt thanks and gratitude go out to all of you that have prayed for my mom, me, and my family, and also for your love and support.  An extra thank you to Tina, who reached out to me in her special way, to empathize and encourage me to write.  She knows that writing helps me to sort things out, and hopefully my search and struggle will help others who may be experiencing similar things.

Right now I am feeling overwhelmed, with the magnitude of what is occurring in our country and the world, and also with the tapestry of my own  life.  Although none of us will ever know the full beauty of our life tapestries until the Lord reveals them to us in His Glory in heaven, I feel as though some of the golden threads will be made visible to my eyes, through the Holy Spirit.  Somehow, the Lord will open my eyes and heart to understand the reasons for events in my life, and also the lessons that I was meant to learn through each struggle.  How everything was interconnected, and how the Lord always leads us to beauty, even through things we consider to be evil and ugly.

Beauty and Love are always to be found, especially when things are the darkest…especially in the midst of pain, struggle, and any evil that Satan wreaks on our lives.

So I ask for your patience, as I trudge forward, one step at a time.  I ask the Lord to use me as a vessel, to touch hearts that need to be touched with love and comfort.

This past Saturday, I went grocery shopping.  As I listened to Christmas music while strolling the aisles with my cart, my eyes caught the rice pudding.  The delicious, all natural rice pudding that I always bought for my mom.  All of a sudden, I was overcome with emotion.  It was an all consuming sadness, happiness, and love, all at once.  I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit, and  just stood there, looking at the pudding, unable to move.  I allowed myself to feel all of it fully, and then just moved on.

After that, little snippets of memories kept popping up.

The awesome birthday parties mom gave us.  Mine was a fall birthday, so the decorations were always fall themed…lots of orange and black crepe paper and pumpkins.  Orange, yellow, and brown flowers on my cake, and honeycombed bright orange  pumpkin centerpieces.  I absolutely LOVE fall, and those birthday parties are probably one of the reasons I love it so much!

The delicious soft boiled eggs she made for me mixed with pieces of white bread.  When I was feeling a little sick, the eggs were so comforting to me.

Playing cards and board games with mom…she was the master of Canasta!

The way she always had something to serve to visitors.  Even if it was store bought cookies and coffee, or sharing our dinner, there was always something to offer to guests.

The grocery store.  When Mom first moved in with us, she would go grocery shopping with me, using her cane.  She would just want to buy everything, mostly sweets, so we got two carts and we both filled them.  Then she started using her walker, which then led to a wheelchair.  Although it was stressful when she shopped with me, it was sad when she no longer asked to go.

As soon as I walked into the house after shopping, she would always ask, “What goodies did you get?”  Meaning, cheesies, donuts, ice cream, cookies, pudding, etc.  I tried to limit them a little, but she  ended up getting most of what she wanted.

“The rosary is on at three thirty; would you like to pray it with me?”  When I finally accepted Mom’s invitation to pray with her, our relationship changed.  I remember one occasion vividly.  While we were praying, I looked over at her face.  There is no other way to describe what I saw…her face was illuminated and transformed.  I could literally see the Holy Spirit shining from her.

The many times she told me to just relax.  There was always so much to get done after work and on weekends to stay caught up as well as I could.  She was always telling me to let things go and just relax.  Maybe I should have listened???

On one of the days right before she passed away, my sister asked how she felt.  Mom said, “I’m good, but not as good as I will be in February.”  When my sister asked her what happens in February, she said, “I am going to have a great grandson!”

At one point, I said, “Mom, you know you will see your great grandson once you are in heaven.”  She looked at me with a glint in her eye, and said “I know, but I am not ready to leave this world yet.”

One night when she was having a hard time sleeping due to her breathing issues, I climbed in bed with her, and held her hand.  I asked her if it was ok that I was in bed next to her.  Her answer?  “We should do this more often.”

The look of wonder in her eyes the day before she died, when she looked straight into my eyes and said, “You have the most beautiful blue eyes I have ever seen!”  And then she called me “Jan” and proceeded to tell me about her daughter, Bernadette, and her husband that take care of her.  She said they did such a good job, but she worries that they do too much and worries about their health.

That moment when our eyes connected, when she was so weak and had gone through another breathing episode.  She asked me if I gave her “the pill” yet.  I “knew” that she meant that she was ready to pass on…she was ready to leave.  I am not sure why she thought there was one “pill” that would allow her to die, but I do know that she trusted me and she was telling me that her time on earth was ending.

Where does this all lead to?

Beauty and Love are always to be found, especially when things are the darkest…especially in the midst of pain and struggle.  And too many times, we do not understand the truth of that, until our world is shaken.  Until that person is taken away from us.  Until a stressful or difficult situation is behind us. 

I take great comfort in this truth:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

 

 

 


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Spirit…Not Just Personality

Out to Dinner Bernadette and Mom

Out to Dinner
Bernadette and Mom

God always answers prayers, although sometimes they are in ways we could not have imagined. I am learning to trust His ways, especially when we cannot see the answers, because He knows what we truly need, not just what we think we need or want.

When my dad was experiencing a decline in health twelve years ago, I prayed that he would pass away before my mom so I could get to know her. In my mind, I would be able to forge a “true” relationship with her, and get to know her as a person. I imagined long heart to heart talks over coffee and lunches, enjoyable shopping dates, being there to help her with household chores, and do all the things I fantasized were things that close mothers and daughters did together. I wanted to know her true personality, and I wanted her to know me. This was my prayer.

The Lord knew what my true prayer request was, even though I didn’t know the fullness of what was needed to fill that spot in my heart that was longing for my mother’s love.

He knew that I needed to know her spirit…her heart; not just her personality.

So the Lord placed my mother with Joe (hubby) and me, and she made her home with us for the past eleven years.

I wish I could say that all those years were a breeze, and that every moment spent together was quality time. I wish I could say that my heart was always right and that every thought I had was loving and peaceful. I wish I could say that we had long, intense mother to daughter talks that allowed me to know about her life, and that we chatted endlessly about mother/daughter things. Because those were the things that my mind had the capacity to wish and hope for.   I was looking for an illusion of what true love is.

God, in all His mercy and love, revealed to me what true love is all about.

He gave me eleven years of snippets and moments of love with my mother. He helped me to love my mom through our interactions, especially when my mind and heart were not in it. He showed Himself through her smiles, her patience, her love, her gentle spirit, her ability to take life as it was given to her, accept it, and offer it to God each day. I watched her as her health declined through the years, and she was able to do less and less. I watched her struggle to walk a few steps to the bathroom, then struggle to move in bed. I watched her struggle to just breathe. I knew in her last week on earth, that her suffering was united with Jesus, and that I was privileged to share in that beauty. That beauty was manifested in a love that permeated my whole being…an all-consuming love that was almost overwhelming in its intensity.

You see, God answered my prayers, although in a way far superior to what I requested.

I asked that He allow me the time to get to know my mother’s personality. What He blessed me with, was the opportunity to know her spirit. And her beautiful spirit is what will be a part of me, and all who knew her, forever.

Thank you, Jesus, for loving us so completely, that you know our hearts and needs more than we do. Help us to always trust in your mercy and love, knowing that your desire is for us to find peace and true joy in your presence forever.