Are You Hurting?
Posted by Christine Smith-Johnson
Have you been hurt by someone or something that hurt you so deep you feel you will never recover from it? Have you had someone instantly taken or ripped from your life to never see them again? Have you been abused mentally or physically? Have you ever lost all of your possessions and had to start over? Have you lost a child or a parent before you felt it was time? Have you ever been homeless? Have you ever been raped, molested, robbed, or attacked? Have you survived a natural disaster? Have you ever been kidnapped? What is your pain?
My heart aches for you who are hurting or have been hurt in the past and cannot seem to move past it. I have been through so much in my life and I know there are many of you who are suffering right now. My trials and traumatic experiences are real and I personally know what it feels like to suffer and feel alone. You are not alone! When I look back at everything I have been through, it amazes me that I’m not in a mental institute or living under a bridge. There were times I wanted to give up, but I decided to take it one day at a time and I knew that I was worthy of a good life, a happy life. I am only 38 years old and I am a widow with three children. The path to my here and now has been very long, very excruciating and very confusing. I learned to mask my pain and hide my embarrassment very well. So well, that only my closest friends know “only a part” of what I have been through. I found it useless to reach out for help because family and friends expect you to recover in a certain amount of time, regardless if you could or could not. No one truly knew how to help me because they either haven’t been through it themselves or they were hurting also and did not know how to heal from their own pain. I always thought…how could they help me?
I am pulling it up by the bootstraps and I pray that my experiences will help you rise up from your pain, to start your new, happy life. This is your chance to finally realize, you are able to let go of the pain and when you smile again, to really mean it. This is your chance to help others, who are hurting and lost, to find encouragement and strength. I will be sharing the horrific events of my life with you and welcome your comments for us to discuss and share. Be sure and check back for information. By sharing your pain, others will realize they are not alone. You may choose to remain confidential or you can own the pain and finally release it for good. However you choose to participate is completely up to you. My goal is for you to begin pulling it up by the bootstraps and create the diamond within you.
Don’t get me wrong, in spite of everything I have been through, I lived a good life. My good times were located in between the bad times. The good times just never seemed to last very long. I will start from the beginning so you can understand the roller coaster ride my life seemed to travel since I was a child. I would beg God to please stop the pain. I would tell him I cannot take it anymore, enough is enough! It seemed like every time I relaxed, the storm would start again. Other families were living normal lives and I wanted normal! It finally got to the point where I was scared to death of what would happen next and I still deal with this. After suffering for so long and for so many times throughout my life, I started worrying about much worse events. I would think, well, I have just about lost everyone I love and then I would start worrying of losing the people remaining in my life. When you worry about your children dying at a young age, it is torturous to the mind. You try to fight it off and not think about it, so you can prevent the conscience from making it a reality, but it is always there, nagging at your heart. My children get so tired of hearing me say “Be careful. I love you!”.
I know I said I would start at the beginning and I will in future posts but I want to take a moment to tell you a little about the last few events that brought me lower than ‘down on my knees’. I was flat on my face! I was ready to give up and go home. I just couldn’t take it anymore. My life suddenly stopped. After everything I had already been through, I was always strong and I held my head high, but then, I lost every bit of strength I ever knew. My husband of almost 20 years was ripped from my life in an instant. He did not die of a car crash or heart attack or stroke. He was murdered by someone close. They blew his face off intentionally with a very powerful shotgun. We were so young! We were supposed to grow old together! I wanted to die! I could not go on feeling that pain. Nothing in my life prepared me for this. I have accepted numerous deaths throughout my life but I felt that this one was different. It was not his time to go. God didn’t do this. Someone took him from me, ripped him right out of my heart. It is hard to find the words to explain this knowing and the feeling that it wasn’t his time yet, but I feel it in every part of my bones. To add to the trauma, there has not been a conviction, of any kind, and they think they are getting away with it. The day it happened, I had to go home and pick pieces of him up, before our children saw it, because, the crime scene was not properly cleaned. I was treated with coldness by the county government and told I was in denial. I was living a nightmare. They robbed him not only of money and other possessions but they robbed him of his future watching his children and grandchildren grow up. Afterwards, they kept sneaking into my house, setting the alarm off, and they are still walking the streets, to hurt other families. Against what others are saying, I know in my heart, the time will come when I finally get closure and they are put away for good. I will not give up on this. What comes around goes around and it will happen.
Immediately after his death, my Mom’s health declined overnight, and she desperately needed a transplant to survive. The waiting list was long and we didn’t have time to wait. We almost lost her numerous times, while on the list. This is another story for later, but I want to tell you what storm I was living in during his death. Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep a parent alive while wanting to die? I never tried to kill myself and I wouldn’t ever leave my children, but I did beg for death. I prayed for a heart attack or just to kill over. I prayed to go to sleep and never wake up again. I thought of running my truck off a cliff but I was a chicken. It was just thoughts, so I could be with him again. I could not leave my children, they needed me and I needed them but I wanted him back so bad. The thought of never seeing him again was torture. I could never hold him or receive his huge bear hug when coming home after work. I would never kiss him again or be held by him at night. It was just too much to bear. I couldn’t go to the grocery store because he loved to cook. (He cooked a 4 course meal almost every night. He would play with the kids and tell them he was “Chef Jeff ” with a smile.) When I looked at all the food he would never eat again, all I could do was cry. People would stare at me like I was an alien or on drugs or something. I could not stop crying. My Mom now tells me she could hear me crying at night when everyone was asleep. I cried in the bed, in the shower, in the car, at work, on the phone and could not watch TV or listen to the radio. I still, to this day, cannot watch his favorite show, Andie Griffith. Sometimes, I would pull into the parking lot, at the grocery store, and after sitting there for 20 minutes or so, I would leave and go home with no groceries, thinking I will try again tomorrow. It wasn’t completely about the food, it was any little thing. I would never get to buy him deodorant again. I would never hear his laugh or deep voice again. I would never get to look into his eyes again and see the love he felt for me. I would never get to pick on him and say “You’re wife is on the phone” when his best friend called. I would never get to hear his daily jokes again. I would never see him sit up on the side of the bed again in pain, ready to start his day. He never complained of pain, but you could see it. Why did he go through life suffering from back pain while working every day just to die like that? Everyone kept telling me it would get better after that first year of living without him… well, it didn’t. The world lost an awesome man. My children lost an awesome father who loved them so much. He would pace the house or yard at night worrying about them. They will never know the love he felt for them. He will never watch any of them graduate or walk them down the aisle at their weddings. He will never get that phone call saying “Daddy, I have a flat tire”, or “Daddy, will you come eat dinner with us?” The man that killed him can attend their school plays or graduations and can be there with his children. Do you know how that feels to look across the gymnasium and see this man not missing out? I could go on forever about everything we have lost and things he will miss out on.
Just a few short months after he died, we were awakened at 5:30 am to a tornado ripping our neighborhood apart. Oh my God, he wasn’t physically there with us, to protect us! Everyone got in the bathtub and then starting getting wet from a hole in the roof. We could feel the wind spinning around our bodies. I kept thinking how will I hold everyone down without his help. I was so scared! Trees and parts of other houses were slamming down around us. It was so scary and it seemed like forever before it was over. Once it ended, I knew God and Jeff protected us. Our three neighbors, on each side and in front of us, were missing parts of their homes and had trees going through the homes, and some were trapped inside their homes. It was awful. But we were okay. We were alive and suffered the least amount of damage. I felt guilty for that, but I knew God’s hands were on us that day. I thank God, every time I think about it! Trees wider than vehicles that were next to our bedroom windows were snatched up. Luckily, all of them laid inches from where we were sleeping. Had they came through our home, we probably would have died. They were massive in size.
We had to move and the house we bought had to be remodeled for my Mom’s health. We still are not done with the remodeling and I feel stuck, but we have definitely come a long way. I have had pinched nerves in my back from fixing this house and many crying spells to keep me awake at night, but I have my health, my Mom who did receive the transplant, and my children. I never thought I could love again and would go the rest of my life alone. Initially, I could not date, I would leave crying because I missed him so much. My heart was empty. I cried myself to sleep every night, if I could sleep at all. After tired of seeing me cry constantly, I was introduced, by a friend, to a man who loves me and accepts me for who I am. He treats the kids as if they are his own and protects them as their father did. It is not easy continuing on, but I start each day by pulling up my bootstraps… literally. We have our moments and I’m probably mean and moody sometimes when pushed, but he accepts that. I am now at a place in my life where I feel like I have earned the right to be respected and treated fairly. Not just by being alive, but, because in spite of everything I have been through, I now know my strength and… I love me.
One of my favorite sayings, by an unknown author:
You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only thing you have left.
How true this is. Do not ever give up on your hopes and dreams. Do not let anyone steal your joy! You are special and unique and have so much to give. You might not realize it now, but you will. Check back often for more information and encouragement to overcome any pain you are dealing with. You are not alone! While waiting on future posts, if you need someone to talk to or listen or laugh or cry, you may contact me personally. I will respond as soon as possible. You will not be judged or ridiculed. You will be treated with strict confidence. I aim to show you that we all have a chance to start a new life and live a happy life, regardless of what we have gone through or are going through now. My prayers are with you. Until next time…
About Christine Smith-JohnsonI am a widowed mother of three children, ages 11 to 19. I hope to encourage you through my trials and traumatic experiences. All my life, I dealt with heartache, and kept my head held high. Recently, I dealt with a heartache so big, it consumed me. Every part of me was lost and hurting. I never thought I would make it through. I did and I want to help you make it through your heartache, no matter how big or small it may seem to you.
Posted on January 5, 2011, in Dealing With Death, Elderly Issues, Honesty Issues, Parenting Issues, Paying It Forward, Relationship Issues, School Issues, Substance Abuse, Surviving A Transplant, Teen Issues, Uncategorized, Victim Abuse and tagged abuse, alone, boy, child, children, death, family, father, forgive, foster, girl, hurt, hurting, lost, love, mother, pain, rape, relationship, run away, scared, teenager, tornado, transplant, victim. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.