This is not a “woe is me” or sympathy post. Writing is therapy for me as it helps me get things out of and off of me. For the most part, I’m easy-going, happy, and optimistic. But I have to admit that lately I’ve been a bit overwhelmed and have had to intentionally keep my mind from wondering to a “why me” mindset. I have not talked about this publicly but back in July I found out I have some health issues that will require surgery. I was referred to a specialist and got a scheduled surgery date of August 28th. On the morning of August 13th I got calls from several family members telling me to hurry and get to my father’s house as my aunt (his sister) was not able to wake him up. I rushed to his house and by the time I got there, the ambulance was already there. When I walked in, and my aunt slowly shook her head with tears in her eyes, I already knew what that meant. My father had died in his sleep. I couldn’t believe it. I knew he was sick but I was not prepared for him to die so soon. We were actually supposed to be leaving that morning to go on a road trip. But when I had gotten my surgery date, I told him we needed to move the trip. The reason for moving it was because I had a lot of running around and preparation to do before surgery. After the surgery I wouldn’t be able to do much for at least 6 weeks. Plus, my daughter’s first day of school would be August 30th and we still needed to go school shopping. If I hadn’t moved the trip, my daughter and I would have arrived that morning to pick him up and possibly would have found him dead. That would have been traumatizing for my daughter so I was actually glad that we had moved it. I was then filled with regret for not taking the trip sooner. I was filled with regret for not taking our family pictures that he’d been pressing me about. I kept putting things off because I assumed we had more time. There were so many things my daughter and I was supposed to do with my father and it all hit me that none of that would be possible now that he was gone. If you’ve read my book or follow me on social media, you know I’ve been pretty open about my life and the fact that my father and I did not have the greatest relationship. In my early years, he was the BEST thing that ever happened to me lol. I loved when he came to visit; I would be anxious all day in school knowing I would see him after school. After my mother died when I was 10, I really got to see him a lot. I went to his house on the weekends and we went to the movies, the zoo, the aquarium; we were always doing something. Fast forward to age 15… I had to live with him because my aunt could no longer handle me. My father had a drinking problem and he was very verbally abusive. It caused me to have very low self-esteem that carried over well into adult-hood. Fast forward to years later… I eventually forgave him and our relationship had gotten so much better. These past few months were the best they’ve ever been. My daughter and I had downloaded Google Duo on his phone so we’d been video chatting him. We talked often, laughed, etc. I felt like we were friends. And he was sooo looking forward to our trip. He had even gone out and bought a new suitcase and some new clothes. And then all of a sudden he was gone. Just as things were getting GOOD. The thing I’m most thankful for, though, is the fact that our latter days were better than our former days. That was my prayer and it was answered.

On August 23rd, two days before my father’s funeral, I got a call that my oldest brother may have been found dead. I was in the middle of planning my father’s funeral (which I had to rush because of my upcoming surgery) and I honestly couldn’t handle the news of my brother. So, I pushed the news of my brother to the back of my mind. I told myself, “I’m not going to think about this right now. It may not be him. I will worry about this when he is identified.” Well, the next day, I got the call that it was in fact my brother. Again, I pushed it to the back of my mind as my father’s funeral was the next morning. It was at the repast after the funeral that it hit me that my brother is GONE. While my father’s funeral was closure for many people, it was just the beginning for me as reality was setting in that he is gone and now I have to bury my brother. Thankfully, my sisters took over planning my brother’s service. After planning my father’s funeral and with my surgery scheduled for that upcoming Saturday, I did not have the mental, physical, or financial capacity for anything else. (Oh and at the last minute, my surgery was postponed smh) For days, I was literally STUCK. I would sit and stare into space. I honestly could not put into words what I was feeling. I just know it was a mixture of sadness, anger, and confusion. I could not believe this was my reality.

My brother had no life insurance so my siblings and I had to pool our money and my sisters ultimately decided on cremation. I wasn’t happy about it but there wasn’t much we could do. As I’m writing this, I’m realizing its just SO MUCH more to this but I’d be writing forever. Long story short, my sisters ended up doing something for my brother and left me out. That pain was worse than the pain of losing him. My oldest sister, who is 20 years older, disowned me as a sister years ago. My mother had her when she was 15 and she had me at 35 so our experiences with our mother were VERY different. Back then, my mother had chosen the streets over being a mother but by the time she had me, she had gotten her life together. To me, she was the best Mommy in the world. To this very day, my sister takes her anger for my mother out on me. She knew how close me and my brother were and the fact that she left me out was intentional.

Between losing my father and brother and having to deal with family members on both sides, I’m exhausted. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt more alone. The people who all loved me the most and would usually be here for me in times like this are all gone- My mother, my Aunt Tricia who raised me after my mother died, my stepfather, and now my father and brother are gone. And let me tell you, my brother loved himself some ME. He was my protector, my personal comedian, my tickler… he would tickle me until I was in tears lol. He never had kids so I was his baby. I just can’t believe my brother is actually GONE. And he died on the same date my other brother was killed years ago, August 23rd. 10 days after my father. Again, this is not a “woe is me” post. But this hurts. It all hurts. I’m still waiting on my new surgery date as I type this smh. I’m just ready to get it over with. But at the same time, I’m glad that I’m not dealing with all this and trying to recover from surgery at the same time. So I suppose it’s better this way. If you’ve read this to the end, thanks for letting me vent. If you remember, say a prayer for me and my daughter the next time you pray. Thanks.

Love,

Mizz K

“Grief is Not Brief”

While I cook, I always wash dishes as I go. This was something my Aunt Tricia taught me as a child and it stuck with me. Tonight while I was cooking and washing dishes she came to mind and I started thinking about all the things I do or habits I have that came from her. Then I started thinking about how I wouldn’t have been raised by her if my mother hadn’t died. For a quick moment, I thought, “I still can’t believe she’s gone.” Mind you, my mother died when I was 10, and I’m now 35. But every now and then I still have those moments. I write about this in my post The Pain Of Losing A Mother.

My Bishop says, “grief is not brief”, and I can attest to that from experience. Grief is a lifelong process. There are 5 stages of grief- Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. It’s possible to find yourself going back and forth between 2 or 3 of the stages for a lifetime. You may have gone through all 5 stages and are good for a while, maybe even years. And then there are moments that you’ll experience or accomplish something that you’ll wish they were here to see and you may find yourself angry or depressed. And then you’ll find yourself back to Acceptance where you have made peace with the fact that none of us are meant to live forever. And if you’re a believer that they are in good hands with the Father and that you’ll see them again, you find yourself even more at peace. I know we’ve been told that time heals all wounds. It doesn’t. God will do that. But you have to let Him. When I have my moments of missing my mother or my Aunt Tricia or really anybody I’ve lost, I simply say, “Lord, help me. I need You.” I don’t try to act like I’m good like I used to. God’s strength is made perfect in my weakness so if I want to experience His power, His comfort, His love, I gotta give Him my pain, my sadness, my grief. And so do you. Give it to God. All of it. And then go to sleep

3 Ways We Put Band-Aids On Our Wounds

Have you ever got a scratch or a sore, slapped a Band-Aid on it, went on about your day, only to realize later that the wound was much deeper than you initially thought it was? Or… have you ever had a sore you knew was serious but didn’t have (or simply didn’t take) the time to properly treat it so you slapped a Band-Aid on it, went about your day, only to end up with a sore that was much worse than before? I can answer yes to both of those questions. And for both scenarios, I can’t help but think that if I had only taken the time to treat my wounds when they occurred, I could have avoided the unnecessary and painful process of now having to treat an infection.

As a Medical Assisting Instructor, one of the lessons I teach to my students is the process a wound has to go through before it is completely healed. There are 3 phases:

Phase 1 is what’s called the Lag Phase. This is the phase that begins immediately after the wound occurs. Whenever there’s a breaking of our skin, we have tiny blood vessels called ‘platelets’ that begin to form a plug to stop the bleeding. A scab may eventually form, which many people are tempted to pick. Please be careful picking it, though, as this may reopen the wound causing it to bleed out again, prolonging moving on to the next phase.

Phase 2 is referred to as Proliferation. This is the phase in which the tissue around the wound begins to repair itself. There may still be a scab or visible scar. Again, it may be tempting to pick. Although picking it during this phase may not cause the wound to bleed out, it can still prolong moving onto the next phase.

Phase 3 is Remodeling. This is the final phase in which collagen (the protein that provides structure to our skin) completely closes the wound. In most cases, there will be some kind of mark, a reminder that there was once a wound. And in some cases, the skin repairs itself so well that you’d never know there was a wound.

I share those phases only to give you insight about the process a wound has to go through before it is completely healed. In order to reach phase 3, it must first go through phases 1 and 2. Depending on the type of wound and how deep it is, phase 1 may last for days; phases 2 and 3 can last days, months, or even years. This same thing can be said for emotional wounds. The thing about emotional wounds, though, is that they are not visible like the physical wounds I described above. While the effects of emotional wounds can be visualized by a person’s actions, attitude, or demeanor, we cannot actually see emotional wounds with our eyes. In fact, for many people, it takes certain events to take place for them to realize they even have emotional wounds. This is why emotional wounds are so easy to cover up. Here are 3 ways we cover our emotional wounds with metaphoric “Band-Aids”:

We pretend it doesn’t hurt.

“I’m okay.” Sound familiar? You tell yourself you’re fine in hopes of eventually being fine. But, what has ever gone away simply because you pretended it wasn’t there? Please let me know below in the comments. This morning I swept up some dirt that was in my kitchen. Trust me, I wanted to pretend it wasn’t there. But every time I went into the kitchen, I was reminded the dirt was there. How was I reminded? I could see it. Whether it’s something you see, feel, or hear, there will always be something to remind you that that pain is still there. You may be saying, “I just want to move on.” And I get it. But moving on is going to involve addressing the pain. We can’t fix what we don’t address.

We avoid talking about what hurts.

Many people avoid talking about what hurts them. Some even hide behind being “nonconfrontational”. “I don’t like to argue.” This happens often in relationships. One may feel they’re helping their relationship by not “arguing”, not realizing that the building resentment is actually harming the relationship as they harbor negative feelings. Harboring negative feelings toward a person for too long can eventually cause you to emotionally detach from them. We must communicate and resist the temptation to sweep it under a rug, make up, and act like what they did or said did not hurt. 

We consciously avoid addressing the pain.

Many of us feel we can’t take the pain of addressing what hurts. I can relate to this all too well. For years, I put a traumatic experience in the back of my mind because every time I thought about it, it hurt.  What I didn’t realize was that that going through that pain was inevitable and necessary. It had to hurt before it felt better. The question I had to ask myself was if I wanted to address my wounds now or if I wanted to let them fester and address later? Just like with a physical wound, prolonging treatment will prolong healing.

Recently my friend told me how her son injured his toe and was in a lot of pain, but he was afraid of the pain that would come with getting it treated. She said she kept telling him that he needed to get it treated before it got worse. But because he avoided treatment for so long, his toe got worse and it became so infected that he had to get 3 different injections in that one toe. If he had sought treatment and allowed himself to FEEL the pain early on, he would not have had to go through the excruciating pain of getting all those needles later.

Every wound, whether physical or emotional, has to go through a PROCESS that does not always feel good. It hurts! But the only way to GET through the pain is to GO through the pain. A deep physical wound requires a proper cleansing of the inside of that wound. Failure to clean that wound will result in fragments of the object that caused the wound to remain in place and take residence inside of you. That object has no business being there and your body knows it, which is why pain occurs. Why fever occurs. Pain and fever is our body’s way of letting us know there is something inside of our bodies that should NOT be there. In the same way, anger, bitterness, resentment, and insecurities are signs that there are fragments of past hurts that are still inside of us, fragments that are NOT supposed to be there. Could there be fragments of what happened to you when you were a child left inside of you? Are there fragments of something that was said to you or about you left inside of you? Could there be fragments from your divorce left inside of you? Fragments from a painful loss left inside of you? 

I pray that this post has challenged you to search yourself for any evidence that there may be fragments left inside of you that need to GO. I pray that it has challenged you to search for any evidence that you may have wounds in which you’ve had a Band-Aid on for years but now realizing that what it really needed was air. Please feel free to share your thoughts below. Feel free to add more ways in which we cover up our wounds. As always please send any questions, suggestions, or prayer requests to love_mizzk@yahoo.com 

Until next time,

Love Mizz K