Homelessness

See me. See me as I sit here at my desk, searching for words to say that will draw you into my life. For I am so full of feeling that the language inside me won’t come. It just stands like sentinels guarding castle walls, only these are the walls of my heart.

This reminds me of the days of my childhood, when it was  unsafe to speak. I can hear the voice of my father now, vitriol spewing out of his mouth as he screamed at us children. I remember being silenced by fear, but now I am able to express my thoughts and feelings without the threatening and railing of a person who is no longer here to shut me up. So, let me show you me.

Who am I, you ask? I am a woman who has endured great suffering at the hands of life and others. That suffering has made me the incredible woman that I am.

It does not matter that my words are jammed up inside me and will not come. I will still write about who I am and through those words, my life will open up as a flower that unfolds in the spring. So, see me.

See me on the streets of Montana as I lived there, homeless. My husband of thirteen years, who had been the love of my life, left me as we dealt with the loss of our home and our jobs and my health. He had seen me through hell and back, but was finally broken and ran out of our life as fast as his feet could take him. I do not blame him, for I would have escaped me if I could, but, alas, I was stuck with me. Stuck with severe depression and anxiety and the beginnings of schizoaffective disorder due to the torment of living on the streets. I was terrified and suffered major panic attacks on a daily basis.

It’s amazing that my husband hung around for as long as he did. There is a part of me, however, that wants to call him a son of a bitch for walking out on me when I needed him the most. I wonder how my life would be if he had only stayed for even a short while longer. Long enough for me to get on my feet. But the man left me alone in a motel room without a dime to my name and only a few pills on the nightstand. I was sick and suffering with severe chronic pain and the beginning stages of CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome, although that definition does nothing to describe the hell of such a condition). I was also dealing with hemorrhaging. So, as you see me, you see the mess that I was, left alone by the one who told me I would never be alone again. I crawled around the floor of that motel room because I did not have the strength to stand and I cleaned it up on my hands and knees and then I left that room and entered a phase of my life that was the most painful of my life. For my husband left me, my father died less than two weeks after that, and I went to stay with my oldest brother, who put me through hell in the short four months I lived with him. I ended up back on the streets of Kalispell, Montana in a homeless shelter.

See me as I hobble along the streets of Montana because of my sickness, struggling to get to the library because it was the only place I had to go, apart from a mom and pop store and diner. I spent my days at that library, alone and afraid, searching on my old laptop for help of any kind. No one would reach out a hand to offer me assistance. People looked past me on the street. And my family was nowhere to be found. I lived this existence for two years. Only the Lord was with me, and there were plenty of times when I felt that even He had deserted me. But He had not. Instead, He gave me strength. It takes strength to survive the homeless life and I have not only survived it, I ended up thriving in the end. When I walked away from Montana and got on a bus for Illinois, I had to get rid of all of my earthly possessions for the third time except for what I could take on the bus. That took strength. Even now, I only have a few possessions. I have learned that life is more than what we have. It consists of more than people in our lives. I lived on the streets with no money, no help, no health…nothing. All I had was my faith in God. And that was all that I needed. I can say with certainty that if your trust is in the Lord Jesus Christ, you cannot fail. It is absolutely impossible for you to lose when you have God as the source or your life. All of the suffering I experienced as a homeless person (and there was much) was nothing in the end compared to the grace of God. God is real and His love is all-encompassing and He is with you through all that you have to go through. I am a living witness to that fact.

See my triumph as I conquered homelessness. If you are homeless, I encourage you. I pray for you. And I want you to know that there is a way off of those streets. Don’t give up hope. That is one of the things that I had to fight when I was homeless. Hopelessness. But the Lord gave me hope. And I discovered that there was more to me than I had believed. I am strong, in the Lord and in my spirit. So, see. me. That strength can be yours, too. As you travel along with me on the journey of my life, you will pick up skills and encouragement. For I am more than those things that I have suffered. Much more. They only made me who I am. They did not define me. Nor does your suffering define you. My secret? I embrace my suffering. Oh, I cry and sometimes I yell. However, I embrace my suffering, for with it comes great strength and purpose. Keep reading my blog and you will see that purpose.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

 

The Lord is My Shepherd

The Lord is my shepherd. In Him will I trust.

I am going through a horrific period in my life right now. This morning, my mother was buried. I went to the funeral and could not believe that she was encased in that casket. But God was with me. I felt as though I was wrapped in a blanket of compassion and comfort. I did not shed a tear. I just sat and stared at my mother’s casket.

The Lord is so good to me. He has been with me every step of the way since my mom died on Christmas day of 2016. I have been in a state of suspended disbelief and I’m continually startled by the fact that she is gone and God has been present to help me through the grief and the pain. It’s as though He is holding my hand and I am forever grateful, for I did not know how I was going to get through this unbearable loss and grief.

I have been watching the movie “The Gospel of John” over and over and it has ministered to my spirit. Watching and listening to the Lord as He talked to the people and poured out compassion and love upon them brought me closer to Him and it is giving me a greater revelation of Jesus, the One Who loved this world so much that He gave His life for it. Now, that’s love.

My life has been changed by the death of my mother and I will do the best I can to embrace those changes and lean upon the Lord for my help and strength, for He has said that He is my help and my shield. (The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. Ps.28:7)

The Lord Jesus truly is my shepherd. He leads me and guides me gently. He is never harsh with me and shows incredible patience towards me. He knows me inside out and I have a longing in my heart and soul to know Him in the very same way. I want to know Him intimately. And as I continue to walk with Him, I WILL come to know Him in just such a way. God is good. Praise His wonderful name.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Nothing

Today was an interesting day, emotion-wise. I spent it in a haze of nothingness. I went to the funeral and felt nothing. I gazed at my mother’s casket and it was as though a stranger was peering through my eyes at the tableau before me.

I did not go to the grave site. I did not want to see my mother’s casket hovering over the open hole that would shortly swallow her up. So, I took the small bear that had been on her casket, was driven home by a true family friend, and got undressed. I crawled into bed with the bear and covered myself. And dreamed the dreams of the undead.

I am grateful that I feel nothing, just a numbness that is all-encompassing. Like a wooly blanket that scratches my face. I wrapped myself in it and allowed the emptiness to fill me.

I still cannot believe that she is gone. That I will never see her again on this side of heaven. I cannot believe that casket that was wheeled past me contained her body. Mama, where are you?

I must move on, away from this loss and on to life that awaits me. It is what my mother would have wanted. She is in an amazing place now. She dwells with the Father and is watching over me now. What she could not do for me on this earth, she is accomplishing in heaven. Loving me. So, I will live my life and it will be a good one.

There will be changes made. I will write and that well. I will show this world who I am and embrace this wild ride called life. I will make my mother proud. I will make myself proud.

See me, world.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Good-bye Mother

Today is a day from hell. I am suffering so, hurting over the loss of mom. I do not know what to do with myself. I just lay in bed, curled up in a fetal position. My soul feels ripped from my chest, leaving in its wake the destruction of a heart torn in pieces.

My sisters did what they could to lift my spirits, telling me that mom was in a better place and all that. I know this, but I still feel lost in a fog of feeling. And yet I feel numb at the same time. Time is standing still while it is also hurtling towards the burial of my mother.

Tomorrow is the day that my mom is put into the soil and her body disappears forever. I do not want to go, but I promised my sister that I would and she needs my support. (Support, ha! I cannot even take care of myself and here I am pretending to stand strong on the behalf of my siblings. What irony.)

I am confused. I still see my mother before me, although I cannot detect her. I imagine her sitting in her wheelchair, eating her breakfast while she watches the Price is Right. Oh, how I wish that she could still be here, even as I rejoice that she is no longer suffering and she has both of her legs and she is not only walking the streets of gold, she is running!

If I could say whatever I wished to my mother, what would it be? Perhaps I will write a letter to her here:

“Dear Mom,

This is your daughter, Cassie. I am missing you far more than I thought I would. I thought that I would be glad that you were out of your misery and that I would just go back to my former life and all would be happy and well. But it has not turned out that way.

I find myself being selfish. I am thinking only of me as I think only of you.

Why wouldn’t you let me love you? Why couldn’t you love me the way that a parent should love a child?

Why did the last months of your life have to be so hard for me? You made life difficult, and almost impossible for me to live. I did my best by you. You did not appreciate it. You showed no thanksgiving for anything. Oh, how I kept wishing that the life that I had with you would be over. And now it is over. But I am not happy about it. I do not feel relief that I no longer have to take care of you. Today, I feel only pain. Pain at the loss of you.

I miss you, mother. I miss you.”

I do not have much to say this day. Except to God. And to Him I have everything to express. Only I cannot get the words past my soul onto my lips. They are locked within me and I am mute. Oh, Lord. Give me strength and pour your mercy on me.

Maybe tomorrow will be a better day.

 

 

 

 

 

First blog post

This is the post excerpt.

Here I am again…choking on the cup of suffering. I find myself searching within to find out why and have come to some rather unpleasant, but life-changing realizations.

One of those realizations is that I have forgotten how to live. Having been hampered by my former illness for so long, along with the dignity-destroying experience of homelessness, topped off with the recent death of my mother (she died on Christmas day) have made life difficult for me, if not impossible, to manage. I am not sure how to go about this thing called life anymore.

I have suffered through so many things in my short life that I scarcely know where or how to begin. I don’t know whether to start with my present circumstances, go back into the past, or combine the two for a more complete glimpse into my life. One thing I do know is this: I am a writer. A very good one. I can promise a blog filled with emotion and vision. I only require an audience. Whether that audience be one or one hundred, I very much want my life to be one that will teach people how to live, how to love, and how to suffer pain without that suffering altering one’s personality to the point of non-recognition. This is almost a laugh to me, as this post is one in which I find myself changed by the sufferings and pains that I have endured in my 48 years of life.

48 years. Wow. That is a number that I never thought that I would see quite so soon. It came upon me so fast that it took my breath away. I had believed that I would remain forever young, or at least not gallop upon the age of 50 so darned quickly. I still remember the days of my youth. My days of being twenty and then my thirties, which were the happiest years of my life. (I know that the word “happiness” would not seem to be one that would apply to my life considering all that I have been through, but that third decade was one filled with some of the most serene and downright happy moments of my life. As I write in this blog, the reasons for my bliss will become clear. Until then, I will stick with what has brought me to this particular posting. And that is a profound sadness and regrets.

I had always thought that I would not be one who would live a life wherein resided regret, but as my existence has unfolded, especially in these past few months, regret has accounted for a rather large portion of my mind’s interior. Especially with the passing of my mother. My last months with her were riddled with regrets, with resentment, with fear, with longing for the closeness that a mother-daughter should bring, with exhaustion at having to care for her in her declining years and ill health. Just so many things to regret and to fear, and through it all, God has been there.

That is the caveat, folks. The existence and the presence of God in a life encompassed by sorrow and suffering, the likes of which brings one to tears and threatens to toss a body straight into the very pit of despair itself, but the saving grace of it all is a heavenly Father Who loves me and has used the very suffering that has brought such misery to set me free. So, I say to sorrow, “Come.” I say to suffering, “Welcome.” For it is those things, along with a host of feelings and emotions that have run the gamut from fears to tears that have caused my life to have meaning, even within a meaningless life. Because the essence of me has lacked purpose and passion throughout these past nine months since I had come to live with and care for my mother. My life was swallowed up in hers and I did not make a move or have a thought that did not include her welfare in it. And now she’s gone. She’s gone and I will never see her again, nor be subjected to her temper or her pushing me away. I will never again have to live the thankless life as a caregiver. Never suffer the exhaustion of arising at the crack of dawn to prepare my mother for her dialysis appointments. So many never agains. Oh, what will I do without the life that I have led for the past nine months! Those months overshadowed my previous life and became the only life that I had, miserable as my existence became. Now I find myself wondering what I will do without the pain. Though my heart is filled with the pain my mother’s death brings to my soul.

I am torn. Torn between two worlds. Both worlds of pain and loss. If I had to choose one life over another, I would hesitate to make a choice, for those two worlds hold unbearable selections. Let me lay my two lives out for your inspection. In Life One: the endless burden of caring for a soul who made life miserable because she was no longer able to care for herself or Life Two: life without the one who has made the misery a daily existence. I cannot choose, for I do not want either life, yet I walk the tightrope of both with wobbly feet on a high-wire hundreds of feet in the air. Both lives are mine. And this is my endless dilemma. Do I continue to walk the wire, or do I allow myself to tumble to the ground with no safety net to embrace me? I can only come to one inescapable conclusion and that is the inconsolable fact that my mother is dead. Will I ever be able to accept her death or will this unshakeable disbelief forever crowd out the new life that cries within me to be released. May the God of heaven help me.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

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