It has been 2 years

It has been 2 years on May 8th since the last time I looked at Brent and kissed him goodbye…..for now. I have so much that I want to share that I don’t know where to begin or if I can really relay the message that is in my heart.

I have had moments of strength and moments of weakness. In those weak moments of feeling as though I have failed in grieving well and have failed in my spiritual walk, I have had the Saviors hand lift me back up again only to restore me. I have had my family and Brent's parents uphold me, speak truth into my heart and mind and have cared for my boys and me.

In those moments when I’m feeling as though I can live and feel strong, I remind myself it’s only by God's grace, HIS strength AND HIS HOPE that HE has provided by His Son Jesus Christ that gets me through another day. Because I am most weak and I’m not afraid to admit it.

My boys have filled my heart with more joy and laughter than I could have asked for, but there are days when in the midst of learning to parent alone, I think I might just put myself in the mental hospital! (haha) Those parenting moments when Brent was here, never would we watch so much TV or play video games, but now where I’m just trying to get the dishes done, make dinner, pay bills, read my Bible, have a simple conversation, do laundry etc… and the boys watch an extra show, or play an extra 20 minutes of a video game just so I can personally survive, as I hear other moms say, “I don’t let my kids play video games.”

Even though I do hate it for them, it is what it is. Taking on new responsibilities, more fears and less energy is my new normal. To say the least it has been EXTREMELY difficult and emotional to deal with Brent's absence and to relearn how to live this new normal, new life and learning to accept it.

It has been 2 years of pain and grief and weariness. I have lost friends and I have made new ones, I have had to put relationships aside because of the overbearing expectations and I have had to be ok with being alone most of the time. Sometimes it is good, and other times it just stinks! At times I catch myself still thinking Brent is going to walk in the door at any given moment. But as time goes on that memory of him coming home is now only a memory and I hold on to it for dear life.

I wish the audience that reads this could truly know exactly how I feel so that I wouldn’t have to write it, but I guess that would mean you would have had to experience it and I don’t pray that for anyone. I MISS HIM. I MISS HIM SO MUCH I COULD NEVER BE ABLE TO EXPLAIN IT. And so I won’t. Gosh the breath gets taken away still often and the shock of it all never really ever goes away. I am plagued with the thought of death almost every second of everyday, no exaggeration. Death and Heaven is where most of my thoughts are throughout the day and I long for heaven, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid to go through the process to get there. In a way I think how awesome that Brent does NOT have to do it again. He’s done. He did it. But we are still here, YIKES we still have to go through the process of death unless our Lord Jesus comes back for us!

A few days ago, I was driving home from my in laws and this huge wave came over me, I couldn’t breathe and the tears wouldn’t stop. I’d remember what it was like to simply hold his hand in the car as we drove…..and I couldn’t do that anymore. To lean in for a kiss, to make him a plate at dinner, to go out to a movie on a date, to hear the laughter of the kids and their daddy playing, to stay up late with your best friend and laugh and talk, to feel the safety of having someone to protect you and your kids, and to have someone that will back you up no matter what. Now I have the responsibility to fight alone, protect my children, provide for our family, lead us spiritually, no one to hold, no one to talk to, complain to, run to, cry to, laugh with….on and on. It is a battle, daily.

People (who have never lost someone) say things like, “well you gotta move on” or “you can’t stay stuck forever.”- Which is fine, I totally get what they are saying, and I’m TRULY not bitter (anymore) at those comments, yet I would say, living another day is moving on, one step in front of the other.

I recently joined a Grieving counseling class at Calvary Chapel Chino Hills. The past 4 months or so I was REALLY struggling and it came to a point where I NEEDED something to give me practical/ spiritual help in this process. (Psalm 88:2-3 “May my prayer come before you God; turn your ear to my cry. For my soul is full of trouble and my life draws near the grave.”)

At first I was hesitant thinking, “how is this going to help me, I already have everything I need (God's word) and it’s not like they can bring Brent back and that’s what I really want. BUT, I was wrong. I have enjoyed every single Tuesday night with people who long for heaven. Who have a true grasp of death and heaven and grief.

I have learned that not one person is the same nor any situation. That grief will last a lifetime BUT happiness can slowly seep its way back in IF I choose to let it. I have met people who have lost more than one child, or tragic accidents and have learned that everyone suffers and the world doesn’t revolve around me, my kids or one person to say the least. And if you have not suffered trials, I hate to break it to you, but one day you will, each day one person loses someone, or a job is lost, or storms hit in ways they never have before. BUT we can NOT live our lives in fear!!!!

I had a conversation with a friend and she said, “everything is going so well for me I’m afraid to enjoy it because I’m scared something bad is going to happened.” I just looked at her and said, “something bad WILL HAPPEN so enjoy the breath of calmness!!!” Now I didn’t mean that in weird mean way, but it’s true isn’t it?? At some point in our lives, whether you’re 30 or 90 we will have to face death, loss of a job, storms etc…..

I have been able to share our story and Brent's life with others and Jesus in him. It is Jesus that our eyes need to be set upon and NOT this earth or the happiness in it. I have learned that anger and isolation is not how I want to live my life nor do I want my kids exposed to that THEREFORE everyday is a choice to wake up and thank God for what I did have and what I have NOW. I could NEVER thank God enough for CHOOSING me to be Brent's wife and for giving me the privilege to raise his/our kids (even though it is hard).

A turning point

One night after my grief class, I turned on a song in my car, and the words say, “EVERYTHING is on the alter now, no holding back. In view of YOU take every treasure take this life. …… God you are greater than life, all that I am for ALL that You are. IT’S ONLY IN SURRENDER THAT I’M TRULY FREE.” As I was listening and crying, I knew God was speaking to me.

I knew HE was telling my heart to leave Brent at the alter. To give him to the Lord and let Him have him. To leave him there, NOT FORGET HIM, NOT LEAVE HIM AND NEVER REMEMBER MY LIFE WITH HIM BUT to TRUST THE LORD AND KEEP LIVING MY LIFE ON THIS EARTH TO BRING HIM GLORY. For the time I was able to be with Brent I have to thank God and be grateful.

I knew/know that I cannot live in this state of depression or grief whatever you want to to call it. I know that there is a time to be born and a time to die. I know that God is not done with me and my kids and I have to have faith and trust. That word Faith has been put to good use these last 2 years, but to be honest most of the time I literally have to force myself and talk to myself (that’s what happens when you’re alone, you go crazy :) that God knows exactly what He was doing that day when Brent found out he had a brain tumor. The day the doctor walked in and told me, “your husband has 12 months.”

Everything really is, if you think about it, a choice. I choose to go to a grief class and trust that God would somehow use it in my life and He most certainly has. I choose a lot of things and right now where I am, although I need lots of prayer, I choose to leave Brent at the alter. I love him still. I miss him so much. I can still see him walking around our house with a box of either wheat thins or cheese itz leaving crumbs everywhere. I can still vividly remember every line on his hands and fingers, the way he walked and his really bad habits too.

I long to hear him preach (I still haven’t heard a preacher like him :) My stomach hurts so bad when I see married couples that we were friends with, still married and having more kids, it makes me sad that we were the ones chosen to endure this lot. I will never forget our life together because it’s a part of me it’s a part of our boys. I love my boys so much and so did Brent. We loved them together and for that I am truly grateful to have had the most wonderful dad to my/our boys.

I want to honor the Lord and honor Brent as best as I can and I continue to ask for constant prayers. As the storm settles, people have moved on I stand in this eerie quiet feeling of loneliness. I really don’t say that so people can feel sorry for me, it’s just the truth! I am learning now that really JESUS is what I’ve always needed and to make HIM priority in my life….BUT though I know this it is easier said than done.

One of my biggest struggles now, is the sadness I feel for Jaiden and Micah. I know WITHOUT A DOUBT they are going to be just fine.  They are amazing and smart and at this young age love Jesus. BUT my mommy heart can’t help but cry for the absence of their dad. Not just any dad, lol, BRENT!! He loved them so much and couldn’t wait to be a dad! He was so patient and kind and always took the time to just be with them, rock them play with them……and I cry often knowing they are missing out on all of that.

To not have a Dad as young boy, especially as Jaiden gets older, is just hard. (I can’t think of another word) I wish Brent could coach his soccer team and watch him at Karate!!! Micah is so crazy I know Brent would try to discipline him but then end up hugging and kissing him!! Hahahaha OH THE WHAT IFS……..

When you look at something up close, you can’t see the whole picture, so that’s when there is a necessity to step back, way back and try to imagine the bigger picture. God warns us that His ways are past finding out. They are bigger than our brains can even wrap themselves around and that’s when our faith gets put to use. I often find myself praying for faith for my kids. There are fears that if Brent was here maybe they would be like this or that. Having our life in ministry being pastor's kids……..To living with a single mom trying to survive!!

I have definitely questioned God's love and His will and way. One seems much better than the other BUT again He is God and His ways are PERFECT, then my faith says to trust. Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has good things in store for Jaiden and Micah. Plans to prosper them not destroy them. To GIVE them a FUTURE and a hope. And so I rest as best as I can trusting , doing my part as their Mom here on earth and leaving the rest to the Father. He loves them more than I do and I remind both of them of that all the time.

I really have SO much fun with them and I don’t want to skip a beat!! I don’t want them to grow up to have a horrible childhood although I know theirs will not be a “normal” one that maybe some of their friends have. And I haven’t been the most patient with them BUT I can truly say, with a pure conviction the Lord has protected them and given me the ability to be the mom that I can. Do I cry in front of them?? YUMMMM DUHHH! I HATE when people tell me not to cry in front of my kids. It’s ridiculous. Do I weep, no, do I freak out, no, but of course I cry and of course they don’t like it but goodness give me a break. I’m so sure I’m going to just smile all the time! If I can be real on media and in front of all of you, my kids are going to get the real me. Jaiden doesn’t like it when I cry , but who would. It makes him sad, but then it gives me the opportunity to share the story of Jesus and Lazarus.

Jesus WEPT! He was sad, His friend had died and everyone saw him. So it’s just a normal part of life and he is young but understanding.

He doesn’t talk much about Brent. He is A LOT like Brent. A thinker and not a talker (although Brent could talk :) the pain for him is much deeper than most would think a 7 year old could have. He knows exactly what happened, he knows exactly what’s going on around him and he knows that daddy is not coming back. BUT he also knows we are going to daddy one day. And until then we just walk with the Father until we are also called home.

Micah talks about Brent EVERYDAY. He wants to dress like him, eat like him, he wants to look like him and he gets SO excited when we look at pictures and videos. He longs to know what his daddy is like and I love it. I talk to them about him all the time!! Pictures up in our house, right next to the boys….he will always be the 4th person in our family who has just gone away for a short time.

The Lord has brought some amazing godly men in their lives at church and just some of mine and Brent's guy friends. When they are around they love on the boys and it’s SO beautiful to see the body of Christ doing what His Word tells us to do. I have no doubt these certain men in their lives will leave an imprint on their little lives, and they already have.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” –Romans 15:13

Besides the obvious daily sadness and ups and downs, we have been extremely blessed. We have been beyond blessed with new friendships that have been there for our family, and a few old friendships, the financial help, spiritual uplifting etc……… Churches that have literally come alongside in doing exactly what the Word says about helping the widow! (I have such a perspective now on widows and single parenting that I never knew before) I have had the HUGE blessed opportunity to be home with my boys and homeschool them. (which will change soon due to financial responsibilities) We have had the freedom to visit lots with family and JUST BE TOGETHER IN THIS MOST DIFFICULT TIME.

Many of Brent's wise words stick with us today and quite frankly get me through some of my days!! I CANNOT change the fact that Brent got brain cancer, and went to be with Jesus. BUT I can choose whether to be an angry bitter person (I do have bad days) or I can realize that it is not my day yet to go and there is a purpose for my life, Jaiden's life and Micah's life and let God do HIS thing and have His way with us.

I choose happiness because God is full of LIFE. God's Word says that death has no sting! And to be honest, I know my husband would want that…not earthly happiness, I’m talking about fullness of Joy that only God gives. Happiness and Joy are two different things. The Bible says that our Joy comes from salvation and I am able to have that Joy because we will be reunited one day.

Beyond Thankful

Heaven will reward those. My Mom and Dad are so gracious in understanding this is where God has the boys and I (in California while they are in New Mexico) although they desperately want to help in every way possible and have as much as our states away permit them! They have been my prayer warriors and have taken a lot from their sassy, grieving daughter!! (I love you mom and dad)

My sisters and sister-in-laws are just some of my greatest encouragers and I love them and wish so much we could live closer. Brent's Mom and Dad are not just in-laws to me. They are my second set of adopted parents, Janis (Brent's mom) has given me wisdom and prayed for me and has never said no when I needed her. They love Jaiden and Micah beyond words and Brent's sisters are my sisters. And in the midst of their own pain they have sacrificed so much for the boys and I and for EVERYONE above I am so thankful. Friends and churches etc…..I know Brent will hug each and every one of you for your love and blessings to us.

This life is nothing compared to what we will have in heaven. Until then “we will fight the good fight, we will finish our race, we will keep our faith.”
-Andrea Yim