Category Archives: Loss

Dear Stacey,

Rocked to my core! The wind knocked completely out of me! I have spent the last several days stuck on a couch in an emotional pendulum swing between shock and grief. And although my faith has always been strong, this, this thing, your not being on the earth anymore, has shaken me to that core, down to my very faith. It’s like I want to ask the Lord, did You get this one wrong? My niece who embraced me from the very moment she met me after marrying into her family. The one who called me Auntie, thus calling me family when my heart ached from the loss of my own family. In those days when the passing of my mother was fresh, and my support was thin, Stacey had no idea how she blessed me with her very presence, with her acceptance, with her embrace. She had no idea how she made me feel loved without even trying, I can only hope that I made her feel the same. And all the countless qualities she possessed that others experienced through her that I don’t even know about, but so many that I saw for myself. Vibrant, beautiful, talented, creative, warm. The beautiful young woman who smiled with her whole face. The special young woman who radiated of positivity, who was a beacon and example for other young people on how to do this “live your dreams” thing. The one who radiated Black Girl Magic in exquisite and rich dark chocolate skin. With all of this, her young marriage, and babies not yet in grade school, her life budding of newness, is it possible that You got this one wrong God? I know You can’t make mistakes but this has got me stuck on this couch, the wondering if maybe for the first time in history, that this was in fact a mistake. Please help me to comprehend.

And then it occurs to me. A word is dropped in my spirit, this word is seldomly taught in churches. That word is… sovereign. It is the understanding that God You have all power, that You have all authority. And regardless of my little human brain to comprehend what has taken place, You are sovereign. Yet with this understanding we still grieve our great loss, the loss of a child, a mother, a wife, a sister, a cousin, a friend, a niece. We grieve the loss of the phenomenal  deposit of Your likeness in her.

We also honor the utmost privilege of knowing that she is now in Your full presence… again. For we know to be absent with the body is to be present with the Lord, and that she belonged to You from the beginning of time. She has now only returned to that place which was her home all along. She is gloriously draped in love, and is now ever abounding in You. Thank you Jesus for taking all of her pain away, she will not again know struggle, illness, weakness, nor despair.  She was a woman of God on earth, and now she receives her reward in every moment remaining in eternity.  She ran her race, and while we desire that she had more time to run it, she did indeed run it well. 

So now Holy Spirit, be who You are, be our Comforter. Be our strength. Be the bearer of our grief. For those who knew her for the full course of her life, and cared for her most directly, be their strength. For those who are now redefining their lives with the inconceivable thought of being without her, be their strength. For those who were touched in personal ways by who she was, be our strength. Comfort us oh God, let us feel Your presence near.  And let us have a glimpse of and take great console in the assurance of where she is today. It is an honor to have this knowing and this peace. That she is ever abounding in paradise with You. How glorious she is, how magnificent is that place. Let us be honored by the moments we had with her beautiful spirit as we attempt to accept that she has returned home.  

Dear Stacey, thank you for embracing me. Thank you for making me feel loved and accepted. I know now as you are in the full presence of God, that you now understand how special you were to me, are to me. As I grieve loosing you now, I’m just now starting to understand that I am also grieving the loss of you after my divorce, I’m grieving the family I had in you. But I truly thank you for the honor and privilege of knowing you and loving you.  It’s amazing the work that was completed in you in countless ways. Your parents did a fabulous job in molding you into this ray of sunshine that lit up dark places. The crevasses of my heart will always be filled by you. Thank you for being my family. I love you niece, until we meet again. 

Your Auntie Tiff  

(Thank you cousin Jeannie Bates and sis Donyia Burnett for allowing me to grieve and celebrate with the family.) 

(SOME SPECIAL PICS OF STACEY)

My sweet Stacey came out to celebrate my birthday.
Always full of smiles, Stacey, me and her Auntie Gale.
Thanksgiving day at Aunt Sandra’s house, sister Courtney, cousin Krista, me and Stacey throwing up some peace. This was the day I met my beautiful niece, we had an immediate and instant bond.
Beautifully radiant! We came out to support Stacey as she’d choreographed a play that her cousin Steven starred in, and sister Courtney danced in. She was incredibly talented and creative.
I took this picture of Stacey and her Auntie Gale during Stacey’s celebration. I loved how easy she was to love.
With Grandma Helen, and all of the family who came out to celebrate Stacey’s accomplishments. She was heading off on an adventure to be Princess Tiana on a Disney Cruise ship. Amazing! I had to capture this moment. Stacey was later featured on The View with Whoopi Goldberg playing the princess. I was doing backflips watching her on the tv screen.
Mommie and Sis watch a dance performance at Auntie Donyia’s Thanksgiving bash.
I love this picture! This one isnt mine but the love between hubby, baby girl and Stacey jumps off the page.
One of my faves, this one also doesn’t belong to me. But I shared it on social media as what the definition of sisterly love looks like, Stac and Court.
The last time I had the honor of being with Stacey, this was our housewarming party, anniversary, and the celebration of welcoming my son into the world held at my home. The family gathered and individually spoke blessings over my son Caleb. I was very moved by what Stacey shared and spoke over him, stating that he would always be a man of God, that he would soar and go on to great heights. Alongside cousin Eryn, and Uncle Steve, Stacey is in the center here talking to Daddy Gary. I’m sure he was sharing some wisdom. The camera peeks over cousins Donovan and Steven, while our guest Barron J shares.
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Uncle Steve, Auntie Donyia, Baby Caleb, Cousin Eryn, Auntie Gale, and Mommie Paula enjoying the day.
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Amazing how Stacey’s own words comfort us now. But that’s who she was, overflowing with encouragement and love.
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Stacey Parker Wells you are forever loved and as our hearts are broken you will be deeply missed.

The Hard Place

This is the most personal and transparent thing that I have ever written. I share aspects of my life, but I only share them once I’m passed them. I share once I’ve overcome something, or am close to overcoming it. But this, this is today, this is raw, this painful… today. Writing this brought me to this place of healing it. I hope it helps someone else too. #TheMostVulnerableIveEverBeen
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I grew up believing in principle. That if you treat people well, you will be treated well. That if you are upstanding, honest, and give respect, you will receive all those things in return. In reality sometimes the good guy loses the girl to the bad boy. Sometimes the one who lies and connives gets the promotion. Sometimes the bully gets the sympathy of the victim. I still believe that in the end that all things are working for my good, that truth always comes to light, and that people do one day get back what they have put out. Like Celie told Mister, “aint nothing good goin come to you do till you do right by me.” (Color Purple junkies will understand). I have been living on this principle for the last five years since my divorce. Knowing that there could be no way that anything good was coming towards my ex-husband until he does right by me. But today I sit stunned and amazed with new information. It’s been three days since I found out my ex-husband is marrying another woman.

I think I missed that scene in the Color Purple, it must have been cut in the final edit, but I don’t recall Mister going on to marry another women, in a beautiful farmside wedding, right when harvest come in. I missed that scene when he could go on to new marital bliss after beating and badgering Celie, his first wife, for twenty years.  They really forgot to show me this twist in the story line.

What’s amazing is this very and exact thing that I am living is what my mother lived some thirty-five years ago. Going through a divorce, raising children alone, broken by the happenings of her marriage, to then watch her ex-husband go on to marry someone else. Today I miss her in a new place. I would love to ask her how she did it, how she got through this… this hard place. But the painstaking truth is my mother went to her deathbed never overcoming this reality, this hard place. Jesus help my heart.

For the last 5 years since my divorce I have been giving my ex-husband this great benefit of the doubt. That he must be living under a bridge, or in prison, or maybe he was dead, there were no other reasons that could explain his abandonment.  Maybe he was in a mental institution… yeah that’s it, as to why he abandoned his only child and left me holding all the pieces. I mean these are actual conversations I had with myself, lol. But I am now finding out that he was fine. That not only was he in his right mind, but that he was living well, was going on dates and to events. He was snapping pictures, and smiling big, not ever taking a moment to look back at the ruin he’d left behind. Not ever sending so much as a Scooby-snack to making sure his child was eating. He never looked back. Wow, and amazing! Where’s the manual on how to react to  this level of revelation??

Now let me be clear. This is not about me still wanting this man. Lawd ham mercy I don’t want him!! Truthfully I get a visual, and I can literally feel this in my gut, the thought of returning to him would be like throwing up and returning to my own vomit, (See Proverbs 26:11). I see that every time I use to be tempted to go back. No this is not about still being in love with him.  I can truthfully admit that I still have love for him, but the in love stage has passed. No this is about that principle I grew up believing. This impossible yet very tangible reality of reaping what I have not sown.

It is a terrible thing to give out encouragement and receive back resentment. It is a terrible thing to give a warm, peaceful and beautiful home and receive back hostility, cruelty and chaos. It’s a terribly hard thing. And when those hard places are also weighted down with raising a child solo, even though you did not bring that child here by yourself, this hard place compounds by a thousand, every moment, of every day. This is a hard place.

seeds

I didn’t deserve it. The abuse, the mistreatment, the tearing down and the abandonment that I received. I didn’t deserve it. I didn’t deserve his lies, his cruelty, his yelling, his screaming, his cursing, his torment. I didn’t deserve it.  I didn’t deserve to be slammed into walls and tossed over ottomans, picking my body and spirit off of floors. I didn’t deserve it.  I didn’t deserve to exchange my love and support for cruelty, empty promises and broken dreams. I didn’t deserve the trauma. I did not deserve it. And above all, my only son did not deserve to be born into this turmoil. He did not deserved to be flung in the air by his father, leaving his mother to catch him before colliding with the ground. There is no other moment in my whole and entire life that makes me more angry than that moment. And it was in that moment that I walked away from this marriage.  We did not deserve it, we did not deserve any of it.

I am now in hopes that there is not a new woman unknowingly setting herself up for what I have suffered. No matter what the outward picture looks like, the reality of what goes on behind closed doors is the only thing that matters. What glitters is not always gold, sometimes… it’s just glitter. The character of man is the only thing that stands.

I don’t have all the answers, and although my heart aches on this new level, around this marriage and divorce that I mistakenly assumed that I was mostly over, I must remind myself of some truths. Now is not the time to focus on how he’s going to get his, but time to focus on how I will get mine. Mine will be the reward at the end of this season. The reward for not returning cruelty for cruelty. The reward for not allowing bitterness to take root in my garden. The reward for not losing my faith or my walk when I’d lost everything else. The reward for not losing my integrity. And knowing that I will get back twenty-fold what I have suffered.  And that the suffering has been a gift to me, it showed me who I am.

still here

In this hard place I know what I will not to do. I will not fall into bad habits, and self sabotage. It is so easy to do when you’re in pain. I will not lean on a vice that will make this season the turning point into self destruction. I WILL NOT!! He will reap the harm that he has sown, but my focus will be on my reaping the love that I have sown. I will remind myself that this battle is not mine, but it is the Lord’s. I will remind myself that my latter days will be greater than my former. I will remind myself that I have not become completely broken by any of this. I will remind myself that I am still here.  Just like Celie said, Dear God, I’m still here!!”

It’s a Wonder

4thofjuly

#Transparent

Today is a hard day for me, it always is. I got married on the 4th of July back in 08. In this pic taken on the 4th of July in 2013, I held a very bothered by the 98 degrees, 2 years old Caleb. I was just about to turn 40 and I was going through my divorce. I had also just lost 60 pounds. I was motivated to do that because my ex-husband told me that I was fat and that no one would ever want me.

I look at this picture in wonder now. It’s amazing how much my heart was bleeding and I was still going. Amazing how attacked I was by my ex, and by those who I once called family. I look at this picture with pride. That in spite the heartbreak, I was still handling my business, and I’ve been doing that ever since. I’m proud that I still had the courage of heart to wear a smile on my face, and that I have not darkened my heart towards people because of my experiences with a few.  I’m encouraged when I look at the girl in this picture, that I can return to that weight, while still dropping the weights that so easily beset me.

I am now proclaiming some things on this very difficult day. I will have good things in life. I will love again, (I’ve never said publicly that this has been something I’ve questioned). Caleb will continue to shine and grow. And I’m not only going to be alright, but I will have a glorious end.

I’m not sure how I got though all that I’ve been through, but I did. Sometimes when I can’t quite find words that suffice, all can say is “Lord you’re a wonder!!” Thank you for keeping me then, and keeping me still.

#NeverWouldHaveMadeIt #EncourageYourself #4thOfJuly #GonnaBeAlright