Monday, March 31, 2014

How are you?

"How are you?" is probably the hardest question for me to answer right now - which is horrible considering it just so happens to be the question that gets tossed around out of "politeness" without actually wanting to hear peoples' genuine response. It's the question you ask people as you pass them in the grocery store without stopping to actually carry on a conversation. It's the question you ask that you really don't want an honest response to - if we're all being honest here.

And can I keep being honest? It's the question I wish people wouldn't ask me unless they're prepared to carry on at least a 5- or 10-minute conversation. I hate lying when I answer this question. And I try not to lie, so I typically answer with, "I'm okay," or "I'm alright," which is kind of true because if I'm in a position where I'm out in public running into people it must mean I'm "okay" enough to be standing there carrying on a somewhat normal conversation. What I'd really like to say is, "Well, I'm really struggling to keep a good perspective on life at the moment. I'm really struggling to try and not focus on things that are seen, but those things tend to blind me and suffocate me at times. I miss my mom more than I could ever put into words. Nothing seems right without her here, and I'm still pretty angry that she isn't here. There's a huge gaping hole in my heart. But.....I'm still getting through it. So I guess I'm okay." So instead of saying that mouthful because I know people don't really want to hear it or they would feel awkward if I spouted all that off, I settle with the last two words - "I'm okay." It just makes things easier I guess....for whoever is asking.

I'm not trying to sound cynical. I realize "how are you" is just part of our culture. I'm guilty of throwing it around, too. But when you're in a place where you can't easily answer "good," you just notice it more.

So anyway, today is the last day of March. Which means tomorrow I head back to work.

This has been a good month for me. I have enjoyed having the freedom to do with my days as I please. I have loved going to the gym and taking care of myself physically. Zumba is a new favorite of mine! I have enjoyed sitting down and listening to sermons about God's purpose in suffering. The Lord has begun to speak some beautiful truths into my spirit.

But as March has been coming to a close, I have felt anxiety bubbling up inside of me, slowly creeping its way into the corners of my mind and sucking away the joy that is so desperately trying to peek through. My mind is like a war zone. I know good is coming. I know joy isn't just reserved for the happy times in life - I can have joy now, but it's still so hard.

Each new day requires so much effort...
mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.
And for that, I still feel so tired.

I was talking to my husband the other night, sorting through some different thoughts and emotions. It was one of those moments when all I could see were all the things I currently hate so much about life - which, honestly, is a really long list... Through talking to him, I realized how much I loved the approval of my mom. She was my biggest fan. She was my motivation for so many activities in my life. She was the one I wanted to show all of my latest projects. I was such a momma's girl. Was... No. I still am a momma's girl.

My mom was the person I loved most in this world. And when the person you love most is taken from you, it makes it really hard to want to stay here. I've never wanted heaven more than I do now.

I don't know how to end this post. I'm having a hard time gathering all my thoughts today.
I could talk about how I'm struggling to be content in this season.
I could talk about how I'm still struggling to fight for joy.
I could talk about how I'm afraid people are going to think, "Okay, she's had a month off. She should be good now," and forget that I'm still so broken and fragile.
I could talk about how my mind feels completely blank and yet frazzled at the same time right now.
I could try to wrap this all up in to a pretty package and make things seem a little better than they really are - which I honestly was hoping I could conclude the month of March with a great uplifting post. But reality is, she's only been gone for 3 months, and I don't have to be okay right now.

But if I wrote about all those things, this post would turn into a novel.
And I don't have the energy to do that.

I still need time, and I still need prayers. Thank you to everyone who has been praying for me. I will say this month hasn't been for nothing. It has been very good and much needed, but I'm not ashamed to say that there is still a lot of healing that still needs to take place. And I guess, as much as I hate to say it, the only medicine for that is time. More time and more grace.

"This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it."


  1. You may say, "It's really hard," when people ask how you are doing - because it really is. You don't have to try to be something you can't be right now - you are grieving and grieving is necessary. God is faithful - you have experienced that and He will carry you through. The days of sunshine will slowly appear again. In Psalm 84 it talks about going through the valley of Baca. That valley comes to all of us, but the wonderful part is that we don't stay there. We journey through and then the time will come again when we are back on the mountain top. It's in the valleys that we learn to lean on the Lord.

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  2. Jordan, I will continue to pray for you as you go through this valley. Your honesty about how you really are is helpful to all of those who grieve without a time table for recovery. You are ministering to many, even in this fragile time.

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  4. I'm obviously not very good at this. I don't know what I did to the comment above. I have been reading your blog for the past few months, as well as reading your mom's blog. I also lost my mom in October 2013 to breast cancer. It has been the hardest thing I have ever done. Reading your blog has been so helpful to me. I feel like you are writing what I am feeling. Every day, I think about calling her just to talk. I have so much I need to say to her. She too was very involved with my dad in church serving in every aspect of her church. She had so many people who loved her. I miss my mom more than anything. Thank you for blogging about your feelings. It helps so much. I will be praying for your family as you go through all the 'firsts' like we are. We have a big one coming up that I am really dreading.

  5. Bless your precious heart Jordon! All these feelings you are experiencing are okay and I promise that you will get through this very dark season and the Lord will use you in a mighty way to encourage and inspire others as they go through dark seasons. Grief takes time and it varies from person to person. You take all the time you need and the Lord is going to walk each step with you. Hugs galore!

  6. If "How are you?" is tossed by a casual acquaintance, I'd probably say I was okay or "I'm trusting The Lord to get me through this." Close friends I would probably give a specific struggle they could pray for me to overcome. These friends aren't just being polite, they care and they want to help you heal. Continue being gentle with yourself as you process your grief. My grandparents helped raise me, especially my grandmothers, and their deaths just three months apart destroyed me. It was hard, very hard, but after months or a year, it wasn't suffocating anymore. Time helps. Time and The Lord. Blessings... <3

  7. I think of you often. I am praying for you. Yes, with time and having the Lord guide you your grief will be lessened .

    Sending hug and love, Karen

  8. I lost my dad 8 weeks ago and my sister and I have said the same thing! My sister said we should have pins or ribbons or something so people wouldn't ask that question.

  9. Praying for you Jordan. And thanks for being so open. It helps for me to know what "not to say". Mostly I just want to give you a big hug.

  10. I've been following your mom's blog from the beginning and she has deeply touched my life. I couldn't understand why I was so drawn to her. Then just 21 days after your mom passed, my daughter was killed in a car accident. My only best friend. And somehow it comforts me to know my Natalie is in the same place as your mama. I imagine your mom riding in on a scooter dressed as a nun and my Natalie just laughing and laughing. This really comforts me and I've never even met your mom.
    Take all the time you need and don't ever feel like you must spare others from seeing /hearing your hurt.

  11. I'm not sure if this will come across accurately, but, I'll give it a shot.... I work in a children's hospital on the oncology floor, and each time we lose a child, the staff has the opportunity to go thru a "Code Lavender" debriefing to help us cope. The illustration that the minister/counselor used will stick with me forever. She drew 2 stick figures up on the white board and said every time we interact with someone we develop memories or "heart strings," She then drew a line connecting the 2 figures. She explained that some people have a few heart strings connecting them, and some people have hundreds of thousands. After the loss of someone we love (she erased one of the figures) we have all these broken heart strings. You can be ok for awhile, and then something happens that tugs on one of those strings and you find youself crying all over again.

    I don't know if my recreation of this explanation makes much sense, but I know this visual helps me in my healing. You are loved, you are prayed for, and it's ok to not be ok.

  12. I totally understand where you are coming from Jordan. I was diagnosed with cancer last year on April 17th. My outlook on life changed so much because of it. I too struggled with how to answer the question "how are you?" Instead of just saying ok and not really meaning it I started saying " I am blessed". Because that is not a lie. I can honestly say, no matter what type of day I am having, I am truly blessed. It gives me more than a truthful answer, it reminds me that regardless of what trial I am facing the Lord has blessed me more than I deserve. It is nice to see people's reactions to this as well because most people expect the normal response of "I'm good", when I say "I am blessed", it makes them stop and think so they too realize how blessed they are.

    It is ok to take all the time you need. It is obvious that your mother was a HUGE part of your life and it sounds like she was a truly remarkable woman. Cherish the memories and your mother will live forever in your heart and I pray one day you have a daughter of your own that loves you as much as you love your mother.

  13. Jordan, I have read your story since you started blogging. I followed your Mom's blog for years AMAZED by her strength and grace. We had never had to experience the pain of cancer before, so I couldn't imagine the pain. Then it happened. In the blink of an eye, cancer is a part of us. My daughter married the love of her life on 12-12-12 in the Cooper Chapel in Bella Vista. Her fairy tale began 16 months ago with her husband Rob! Along came their beautiful son, my grandson Zachary Isaiah, on 2-13-14 (a short 7 weeks ago). Life was amazing and they were on top of the world! Then it happened in the blink of an eye. Rob was diagnosed 4 days ago with Melanoma cancer. And our world started spinning. They are heading to MD Anderson this morning to begin their journey to fight this beast called cancer. They are an amazing, faithful, young couple and could use your prayers. Here is my daughters story: