Thursday, January 17, 2008


I feel like my heart has been riped right out of my chest, and there's nothing left but, a big ugly hole. I knew this was going to happen. Inevitably, every time I take a new step along the path of strengthening or deepening my relationship with the Lord, the devil comes at me with both barrels in every possible way he can, big and small. And I feel like I've been fighting all of hell, for the past week,- internally. I know exactly what's wrong, I'm quickly approaching the second anniversary of my mother's death. And while I know logically and spiritually I don't have to allow myself to give into my sadness, I'm finding it harder and harder to fight off. It's been building for a while now. Hugh and I were married in May of 2001. Our wedding was beautiful, and as close to perfect as I could have ever hoped for. We were surrounded by our dearest friends and family. While the Lord has blessed our marriage , abundantly, we have not been without our share of heartache. We've lost six family members in the past six and a half years of our marriage. We lost Hugh's step dad, Neal first, followed by his grandfather, Hugh's beloved Papa. Then I lost my dad on November 25,2003, two days before Thanksgiving. And I lost momma two years and two months later, on January 31,2006. Daddy's death was real hard on momma, and the woman I'd always seen so strong, was suddenly paralyzed with grief. He had a massive heart attack, and we drove all night trying to get home, but he passed as we were about half way there. I was so grateful that my sweet mother- in- law dropped everything to go be with momma until we could get there. Hugh and I took the next week off from med. school and work to take care of the arrangements. We had a memorial in my home town of Indianola, and then a funeral and military burial at Ft. Logan National Cemetery in Colorado. My aunt and uncle stayed with momma for a while after we returned to Kansas City, but when they left she fell apart. She closed up the daycare, that she and daddy had together, and spiraled into a deep depression. She came to stay with us for a while, and then traveled for a couple months with my aunt and uncle. That is when she ran into an old high school sweetheart. They rekindled their relationship and were married by the end of the year. It all seemed to fall into place. She sold our home in Indianola within a week, which is a miracle in itself. Then, she packed everything up and moved out to Arizona. She really seemed happy, and although it was a big adjustment for me, I was glad to see her smile again. Hugh and I were already living here in Ohio, when we found out we were pregnant, with our first child. My mom decided she was going to fly up here to be with me for my birthday (February 2nd,) for Trey's delivery, and stay for at least the first six weeks to help me adjust to mommy life. She flew into Cleveland the night of January 30th. I'd only taken off the morning of the next day of work, because I'd asked off for my birthday, at the end of the week. After Hugh left for work the next morning, she came and got in bed with me and we talked for a couple hours. Then we had breakfast together, and she hugged and kissed me goodbye, and waved me down the driveway as I drove off to work. Hugh found her a couple hours later, unconscious. He called an ambulance and started CPR, but it was already too late. They said the cause of death was a dissected aorta. Why or how, we don't know, and maybe we never will. The rest is a blur. The family, the funeral, even my son's birth two weeks later on the 16th. It was like walking through a dream. My step father, Sonny, whom I'd only met once, but seemed very nice, told me not to worry about all my "stuff"- (well, mine, my mom's and my dad's) it would be out there (Arizona) as long as I needed it to be. He'd store it and take care of it. I was grateful, because I was still detangling my way through insurance, retirement, and other papers and policies of my mom's and dad's, not to mention having a new baby to take care of. Eight months later, I was pregnant with Anna Grace. So, now fast forward to the present.....I've been praying and planning to go out to Arizona and finally take care of things. My childhood home is packed up in the equivalent of three to four storage units out on Sonny's land, right next to his house. As I started getting everything together for this trip, the Lord started dealing with me, about letting go, allowing myself to finally heal. "Yes, Lord!" I said, "I think this will help me to grieve and even put a little closure on the last couple years."-No, you're not understanding me, I mean, it's ok to let go! "I'm sorry Lord, I must be misunderstanding you, are you saying I shouldn't go out there?" Is it worth it? It's just stuff. Is it really worth it? Worth time away from your family (Trey and Anna Grace,) the expense it will take to fly down, rent a uhaul, pack it up, drive it home, just to pay to store it again- not to mention the time off of work Hugh will have to take. Is it worth all that? "But Lord, it's all I have left of my mom and dad." Then send your aunt some money to send to you what is most important, (my wedding dress) and (all my family pictures.) And if that is all you get, then be ok with that, but trust me for the rest of it. Ok Lord, if that's what you think I should do...I don't want to , but I will. -When I finally gave in, I felt a peace about it. That is until today. It's gone! Almost everything is gone. It's been stolen or sold, I'm not sure which, but most of it is gone. All the clothes, including my wedding dress (which momma had cleaned and vacuum sealed, and was storing in the guest bed room closet, which I know didn't grow legs and walk out of the house, but none the less is gone!) Baby clothes and toys of mine that momma had saved for grandchildren- gone, furniture-gone, home movies, pictures-gone, momma's angel collection that I was going to give to her sisters- gone. And so on...It's not the material stuff itself, my feelings are hurt. WHY?!? Why would anyone do that? I cried tonight and told Hugh, it just makes getting through this time of year that much harder. Because I don't have brothers and sisters that I can reminisce with about growing up. And when I forget the little things, they're going to be gone forever. I feel like someone stole my memories. Oh well, now that I have written the longest post ever about feeling sorry for myself, maybe I can let it go. For those of you that made it all way through with me until the end- I apologize. I just needed to get it out! Prayers, please!


Anonymous said...

sweet tiff-
i wondered when you were going to share this story with your readers and i see that today is the day.

my heart goes out to you. you know i would do anything for you and i love you dearly. you are my sister, indeed!

freetofly said...

Oh, Tiff! That's just rotten! I have been trying to finish reading this off & on all day (family took lots of time today) I only just now have read the entirety and I am horrified for you. Really. At the same time, how awesome that God began preparing you gently ahead of time, or the fallout could have been worse.

I didn't realize how much loss you & Hugh have been faced with in your short years. My heart aches for you.

Now that I know the depth of your loss and grief, I will pray for you accordingly; for comfort, joy and strength,

Also, I don't mean this in a crass way, and I hope you will know that...but, it is on my heart to say that as you hold this before the Lord, He WILL make this loss up to you, in unexpected & unforeseen ways. It may take time & it won't be the same sutff, but, I have seen this happen over the years when injustice is done, or even just the loss that comes w/living in this world...Keep it before the Lord, remember He is your Abba Father, & just like you & Hugh would most certainly comfort and redeem a situation for your children, He WILL do the same for you, as you wait expectantly on Him...

Praying for you & your family, Tiff...May the God of all comfort comfort, heal & strengthen you, and restore joy & light as well.
May you & Hugh & your children draw comfort from the Lord and each other and make so many new, rich memories that the hurt dims over time, and all that's left is the good times.

Melissa @ Breath of Life said...

I'm so sorry. I can imagine you feel robbed right now (literally and figuratively). I agree with wonderful that our sweet Lord started preparing you ahead of time.

Perhaps you're afraid your memories will go...but start sharing them now with Trey & Anna Grace. As a child, I always loved to hear my mom talk about growing up, and I try to do the same with my daughter often. Pass the heritage (and not the clutter) along to your beautiful children...they'll thank you for it later.

Tommy, Suzanne, and Mary Peyton said...

oh tiffany, i am SO SO sorry. i can understand......especially being an only child - as tommy and i both are.

i had to sort through memories in a different way 5 years ago. that is when my mom and dad's marriage came to an end. and i was the one to have to divide everything up. it crushed me.

but God used it to make me a stronger person. i fought it tooth and nail, though!

write down your memories (when/if you have time!). talk about them so that they stay fresh. i've read before that you fear something happening to you and your children not remembering. i am the same way. i started writing in a journal for mary peyton while i was still pregnant. and even though i don't write as much as i'd like, it's there. some sad, some happy.

i'll have you in my thoughts & prayers!!!!!

Fishy Girl said...

Oh Sweetie,
I have also been dealt a difficult hand. Maybe it is a Febraury thing (my b-day is the 24th). I lost my grandmother 3 months before the birth of my first child. She was like a mother to me and I also remember that feeling of numbness. I am also an only child so I know only too well what it is like to feel like you are going through this life alone in so many ways. Hold on to your husband and your children for all they are worth. I am not going to try to leave you with some cute saying, but I will tell you what I do and maybe it will work for you to-just breathe, slow down and let Christ take you by the hand and take it minute by minute if needed. You are a strong woman and you can and will get through this.

freetofly said...

Tiff, I know you might not feel like dealing with it right now, and that is truly OK. But, I have awarded you something at my place.

Check it out when you feel like it.

prayers & hugs!

kmom3 said...

You weren't kidding when you came by my "place" and mentioned having some healing going on in your life. I am so sorry, Tiffany. My heart aches for you and all of the loss you have endured. I lost my Dad when I was 18 to a sudden and massive heart attack. I cannot imagine losing my mother, too. And then losing all of their things. But in the loss of my father, God has been so faithful to me, so tender.
There really are no good words I can offer you. Nothing that could begin to touch the pain. But I will be praying for you. Truly, I will.
I'm glad you came by today. I'm glad because now I can be one more person lifting you up before our faithful and loving Father.
Love and Blessings,

Marsha said...

Oh, Tiffany! This just breaks my heart! Like you, I know it's just stuff, but it was not your choice in how to let go of the stuff. That's what's so terribly hard.

Maybe I need to read back through the post, but did you get the family pictures?

Have you started or thought about starting to journal stories and memories and thoughts on the legacy your parents have left you? This is truly the one thing that is something that can't be taken away from you and your precious little family.

As I read through your post, I was thrilled to see the nearness of God in your life, preparing you for this moment. It reminded me of Psalm 73:25-28 ~ "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For, behold, those who are far from Thee will perish; Thou hast destroyed all those who are unfaithful to Thee. But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all Thy works."

I continue to pray for you and your family.

Marsha said...

Tiffany, I just shared a little of your journey on my blog. I'm praying for you.

dawn said...

I know the Lord will bring you to the place of healing and forgiveness in good time. I cannot imagine how hard this has been for you.

Keep writing about your childhood and the memories will keep flooding back.