The Empty Bedroom

The Empty Bedroom

I will never forget the empty bedroom of my child on the morning of October 8th, 2017. It is permanently imprinted into my memory like the ancient carvings one sees upon caves and must only imagine the circumstances surrounding the moment as the carver etched out what mattered most in that time and space. Let me draw you into my cave, my moments, our redemption. Look for a moment, with me and align your moments of fear, terror or simply being unsure in your own life. And know there will be a day that you will be as I am now. Full, fulfilled, content and positive I am Loved.

As I went to check on Pagiel, I already knew something was wrong, off, amiss… but put my hand upon the door knob and just walked in. I normally would knock or peek in quietly. His empty bedroom did not shock me. There were no screams or tears or wondering what I should do next. There was only a neat to-do-list of steps that had to be taken. My eyes moved from one part of his room to another. The bed, of course was empty. The window was open. His room was utter chaos as it had been from months of anger, sadness and despair. The window he had broken recently in a fit of rage was the one that whispered his whereabouts. It was the one I leaned upon, peered through and spoke to for answers as I called my boss to let her know I would not make it to work that day, perhaps ever again. The exact conversation is lost but I know I told her I would keep her posted. I did.

Have you ever seen a scary movie, an older one that relied on psychological horror and suspense instead of gore? This is how the scene went. Flashes of pieces met my eyes as my mind tried to keep up with clues and left behind bits of Pagiel. BAM! Empty bed. BAM! Open window. BAM! Laptop, phone, all communication devices present. BAM! Lack of note from a runaway child. BAM! Open leather journal to a page written in an alphabet of runic nature I could not decipher. BAM! The door again as The Holy Spirit told me to leave and go to the barn.

I was far from saved of my own volition. I not only was not calling out to God, I had not wanted anything to do with a God I thought had forsaken me 14 years before when I was soon to give birth to the child I now could not find. In fact, it was I who had forsaken both God and my son. Just as the people of Israel had found themselves in a great sin cycle, so had I. I worshipped other gods, cried out, He rescued me without my repentance and I had a good season of prosperity and rest. Then, I would fall again. It was not until my son walked boldly to the barn with a revolver to end his life, did I awaken and repent. I did not even fully understand my sin and had passed it down freely to my sweet son.

So here I was, in his empty bedroom with all the things that could have misled me to understand why he shot himself. Had he died instead of lived, this is how the story could have gone.

I would have found his body. I have no idea how long I would have stayed in the barn, looked around, held his lifeless body, cursed God or cried out for him…eventually, I imagine I would have found the gun. My best friend imagines I would have shot myself as well. I cannot speak to that but if I did not, I would have had to call the police. They would have come to take his body and there would have been an investigation. All the things in his room would have pointed to a mental illness undiagnosed. He would have fallen into a category of suicide statistics that would have led to more confusion about why our loved ones are choosing to end their life instead of suffering at the reaches and torture of demons.  Please note, I do understand mental illness and there are people who are limited mentally. Most who die from suicide are not. Listen to the attempt survivors and you will hear the stories of voices, urges and a desperation to be rid of them. You will hear stories of sin passed down through abuse, neglect, heart wrenching tales of parents who were broken and did not love well because they weren’t taught to love well. This is wicked and evil, not a mental limitation. There are those who were loved well also. I must speak to those who were loved exceedingly well and still found to be encapsulated in pain from dark places. I realize that we do not have an exact how-to for recovery and though we may not have your room number and key, I can gladly show you to the hotel with the vacancy sign, give you a GPS address with a path that is narrow but well worth the comfy beds and mints on the pillows. We can even walk with you in a Kingdom journey.

Look around you right now and  move your mind to the rest of your home or current living situation. What would someone find and assume if your body were to be at rest today? Would your empty bedroom tell the truth of who you were? Would the pieces of your life, knitted together by detectives assessing your belongings, social media and search history, writings, collections, material objects, pets, children, tales and stories from all that knew you be an accurate description of who you really were? I can tell you that Pagiel the empathetic and kind human was very misrepresented by his left behind things and chapter of life he was in.

Leave a good empty bedroom. There is not nearly enough time to leave a legacy of questions and chaos. Reach out so that you can be healed. It happened here and it can happen where you are right now.

My Mother’s Bones

My Mother’s Bones

I walked down the same path to the barn, carrying my mother’s bones. They were ashes actually, but if you have ever had a loved one cremated…you will understand.

I can never make sense of funerals and this is not to offend anyone. I do comprehend why people have funerals, I simply can not make the intricacies of the recent sort make sense in my mind. I am used to death, I have lost a lot of friends, family and have now seen a suicide attempt. 

The Appalachian way always appealed to me, I suppose it was the way of many peoples until the last few decades. A person dies and you sit with them, perhaps as they are passing and with their lifeless body. You wash the body, grieve, comfort those around you. There is a natural process that takes place to be an integral part of death and to me, would make it easier on the heart. 

I have seen the light leave the eyes of many animals and know all too well how the process works. There is an intimacy in breathing next to a living creature as it stops doing so. Death is final. Death is, “no more chances”.  The animate part of you is no longer seen by us.

The funeral aspect of not seeing the dying process, the body being embalmed, posed and make up applied and hair styled… is very foreign to me as if somehow I was privy to a wake of years past. I have been to many funerals and the scent, sight and feel is hard for me to understand, to process and feel grief. It seems like an illusion. To be with the dying in their natural state until they are laid to rest seems to not leave any spaces in my psyche.

My mother died in a hospice facility but I was there for a lot of her end of life time. It was hard. My mother should not have had children. She had me in between aborting two other babies.  I do not wish she had done the same to me and I am not sure if I ever felt that way outside of a moment of self loathing or pity. I always had a strong resolve to make it. As if I knew my son was going to end a generational bondage to the darkness.

My mother was 2 people. She could have been dynamic but that is my story too, I suppose. I only lived my life slightly better than hers, staying away from true addiction. She allowed sinister years to become my memories. But in the end, she was mine and I finally laid her to rest.

I kept my mother’s ashes for years. I cannot remember the date of her death and would have to look at the certificate. I have kept them and traveled with them, perhaps because I just didn’t have the emotional attachment to her as a daughter should. I took them from their plastic container and put them in her antique containers, two of them…and just planned to scatter them. Somewhere…someday. She wished for me to ride a horse atop Pigeon Mountain to scatter them. I do not ride well and suppose I did feel a bit attached to that wish; but was also keenly aware that it was improbable.

One day, on a misty mid morning, with great resolve to do it as authentically as I could…I took the containers to the barn. She would have loved the scenery but selfishly, I felt a full circle tugging to place her where my son almost ended his life.

I prayed, I asked The Lord to show me Scripture to read as I assumed that was the right thing to do.

Deuteronomy 30.

 “And when all blessings and curses I have set before you come unto you and you take them to heart wherever the Lord your God disperses you among the nations and you and your children return to The Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and all your soul according to everything I have commanded you today then the Lord your God  will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where He scattered you. Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will bring you back. He will bring you back to the land of your ancestors, and you will take possession of it. He will make you more numerous and prosperous than your ancestors. The Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love Him with all your heart and all your soul and live. The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. You will again obey the Lord your God  and follow all His commands I am giving you today. Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord your God will delight in you and make you prosperous , just as he delighted in your ancestors if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in The Book of The Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul. The Offer of Life or Death-Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult  for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to is so that we may obey it?” No, the word is very near to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart so that you may obey it. See, I set before you today, life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I commanded you to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to Him and to keep His commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, i declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice and hold fast to Him, for the Lord is your Life and He will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 

I read these words aloud. I was not astonished as The Holy Spirit was in attendance. This is my life now, to be wretched but to love The Lord God with all my heart, all my soul and all my mind. He comforts me and is with me always. There were tears. Tears of release and joy at the end of suffering, spiritual suffering. If my child has a child…It is Finished. Jesus took His final breath and breathed Life into us. We were chosen, not because we did anything well…because we certainly did everything wrong. But because He First Loved us.