endless HOPE…

endless HOPE…


3 Comments

#18 – Spread the endless HOPE…

Blog stats weekly Oct 14'13 to Jan 29'14

My mind is blown with the amount of posts that have been read over this past 3 months...and how the endless HOPE has found it's way to many corners of the world!  WOW :)  Awesome My mind is blown with how many time these posts have been read over the past 3.5 months…and how little bits of endless HOPE seem to have found their way around the world! WOW…awesome :)

 

Wednesday January 29, 2014 – It has hit me again tonight how amazing this experience of blogging has been.  To think that 17 posts of sometimes random and scattered thoughts over a 15 week period have been read a total of over 5500 times is totally wild!  Even more astounding to me is how connected we are across the world…now seeing that there have been readers from 23 different countries.  We have so much potential to reach our world, even just over the internet – so the only question is if it will be to air complaints, or for evil purposes, or monetary gain, or to encourage and try to make the world a better place.  I’d like to pick the latter.

Thank you to everyone that continues to read and share these raw entries of the heart.   I haven’t even begun to tell the biggest parts of the story, but am feeling the energy and courage build to get into the next set of details of this very difficult journey.  Once I get through the really hard, ugly parts, I know the invigorated feelings will return as I relive and recount the many blessings and mini-miracles that surrounded the toughest days, weeks and months of my life.  I think I’ll need to start by telling you more about this young man, our handsome middle son…Brandon…yes that’s where I’ll start again…another night.

With endless HOPE…

<3  Janine Kurtz

Advertisements


2 Comments

#17 – Meltdown, Cleanse, Heal, Repeat

If you have just discovered Endless HOPE…you may want to start by reading OUR STORY up top, and posts 1-16. Welcome…

Tuesday January 28, 2014 – Wow today was a long, busy, crazy day! Ten hours straight of spreadsheets & formulas, writing/editing communications and giving presentations…all at a neck-breaking speed, plus 2.5 hours of commuting. Totally exhausting, but at the same time somehow I’m feeling very thankful to even be able to make it through a day like that again, when needed. A couple of years ago after suffering tragedy, I found the wind taken out of my sails and simple things that I would usually breeze through in 20 minutes were taking me 2 hours and were still a total fail! I’m here as living proof that time, and purposeful processing through tough wounds, does heal. Everyday now I feel like a healed woman, some moments within each day I’m faced with the harsh reality that it’s still a work in progress, but most times I feel “okay” again. So thankful. There will continue to be ups and downs. There will always be tough situations that will come and will have to be worked through, but I know that healing is possible, so I go forward with life – life and routine does somehow keep happening in spite of everything.

At home, I have about a hundred things on my to do list (actually there are several lists, a binder of to do’s and a whole basket of miscellaneous paper and projects! gulp! lots to catch up at home). One item I’ve highlighted this week is to get the cell phone I share with my daughter replaced. The glass on the screen has been pretty badly smashed (like about 25 cracks of different sizes), and the screen itself has blacked-out across the top eighth screen and along the side a bit…pretty challenging for seeing what & who you’re texting, so that has caused a few hilarious situations, etc. Well, I can’t say all that damage happened recently – no, it’s been at least a year in that condition. We have coverage to get a replacement…but I’ve been dragging my feet on it. It was all the memories tied up in it. I finally managed to get the pictures and videos downloaded now…but then there were still these voice note recordings that I couldn’t transfer over.  I have known I needed to transcribe them – but they’re just unedited, scrambled and precious thoughts in the moment – bits of processing that came out as I drove to work, the few times I hit record. I haven’t listened to them since –  wasn’t sure I wanted to hear what may be my bleak, teary voice – but tonight is the night.  Maybe you have heard or felt similar things through your hard times?  Raw as these recordings may be, we’re all in this thing called life together, so read if you wish…

Sept 20/12 – Thoughts at 1 Year After
“This morning is one year…and it still feels like…Why did this happen? So horrified that this has happened. It feels so strange that it was even our life that it happened in. It feels surreal that he was even ever in our life….and that we saw what we saw that day…”

Oct 18/12 – 13 month meltdown
“Today is uh…Thursday…October 18th, 2012 and I’m just driving to work, and (sigh) just having a meltdown today. It’s been really hard – I just uh…can’t seem to get that bad picture out of my mind.  And oh, the groan that came out of me today as I drove – missing Brandon so much, and even though I know there was nothing that we could do…just the wishing…wishing that it hadn’t gone that way I guess.”

Oct 18/12 a few minutes later…Part 2 – Advice for meltdowns
“And also just now, I thought, ughhh, it’s just so hard God. I don’t even know what to think about (as in positive things).  Well I know for sure some verses of encouragement from the Letter to the Phillipians…but even that was having a hard time coming to my mind.  My dear friends, you would do best by thinking on things that are good, noble, true, pure, of good report, things that are beautiful not ugly…things that are…oh I forget now…ya, stuff like that…the best not the worst, things that are of good report, if anything is praise-worthy, think on these thingsSo I know what to think about, but man, my mind can sure go blank on the stuff that I know.  Though I know that I know that I know, it can sure go blank when you’re in a tough moment.  Today, when I think of things that are pure, I think of just a white sheet flowing in the wind, or maybe on a beach or somewhere beautiful, a white waterfall, something so pure looking.  Then thinking about noble – I remember glancing over and seeing Sam (our oldest son) just giving his girlfriend a rose, and sitting next to her, so gentlemanly.  Then thinking of good report – I recall Amy (our youngest daughter) saying the other day that she had the “epic-est” day ever – it was so good to hear.  Then when I think of the best, not the worst, I think of  Cam’s (my husband) dream he had, where Brandon was so healthy and happy and ripped with muscles, up in heaven building houses for us – that’s the best picture, instead of the worst I usually think of –  I have to focus on the best.  If anything is praiseworthy – well that makes me think of God, and how amazing He is – and think about the amazing-ness of Him I feel, when I am in tune with Him – and I need to go to that place.  Think on these things, and then the God of peace will bring you into His most excellent harmonies. I do know what to think about, God remind me to go there when I’m stuck.”

(Note:  Whether we each believe in God, or like Him or not, most humans seem to talk to Him in very tough situations…whether shaking a fist, or asking why/how, or begging to help us get out of trouble.  For me I have experienced God to be like a good father, who cares, protects, guides, can see the troubles ahead that I may not, and wants to bring comfort when I’m sad.  If you’re hung up and turned off by anything that sounds like “religious talk”, it’s over now, so just keep reading :)

For me, I’m thankful that even in the dark moments, there still are positive things to focus on and be grateful for.  Meltdowns are now rare and shorter, but I don’t want to avoid or shut out the difficult emotions or feelings that bubble up.  There is something healthy about bringing things to the surface and dealing with them.  It’s just like our physical body – when we have a wound, we have to get in there and do the cleaning and disinfecting, even though it makes it sting more in the process.  We must let the infection or foreign object causing the issue to come up to the top and be removed – we can’t let it fester and expect quick painless healing with no scars.  Ok that analogy just grossed me out, but you get what I mean.  I can’t bottle up my issues, I do need to allow moments to face things head on, think about it, realize it – clean that laceration that is still healing.  But I also can’t stay stuck in my issues 24/7 either, so must then turn my attention back to the present and the good – dress my wound, leave it for a bit, allow it to heal some more.

Through ups and downs, realizing I have so much to be grateful for…this is a life lived with ever-increasing purpose, determination, resolve…to at the very least pass on to others some of this endless HOPE…    pass it on…

<3

Janine Kurtz


1 Comment

#16 – Dreams, Time and Hope

If you have just joined us, you may want to first read OUR STORY, then posts #1-15…

Monday January 20, 2014 – I have been busy, stalled, and unsure again how to continue writing for the past 17 days…knowing the next post should be the one to detail the most difficult moments…moments I’m not sure I can bear to re-live, as I know will happen when beginning to write of that day…

It’s strange how it seems like that was such a different chapter of life, so distant, so surreal, like it wasn’t my life at all. So much has changed, so much has stayed the same, time has gone ahead so quickly and somehow time has stood still. It’s like a bad dream, unsure at times if it really even happened or if I can still pinch myself and wake up. That reminds me of some things that happened recently…here’s the most recent two pages of my journal…I’ll save the tough stuff for another day:

Wed Nov 20/13 – We were in the dining room of our Claytonbrook house.  The three kids and I were sitting at the table, a table we had when we got married, up until about 2006 – shoulda been my first clue.  The kids were about 8, 10 and 11 – next clue.  It was a happy moment, all three kids and I grinning around the table…the boys were on my left by the window, their little sister on my right.  We were all so glad Brandon was here with us.  I got up and leaned over to hug him…Brandon was a beaming and handsome 10-year-old.  I was saying something about being “so grateful you’re here with us” and that “we almost lost you”.  We all smiled – you see, all of us were so excited to have him around, as we knew he had been close to death, or beyond it, but had miraculously come back to us.  I was beyond elated, so grateful, so filled with joy at this wonderful gift.  We didn’t take each other for granted and his big brother and little sister had the biggest happy grins to have him home. 

I thought and felt it was real…then I woke up…still sure this was true…smiling, so relieved that everything had worked out, that all had been undone.  Do you know those few fleeting seconds between sleep and wakefulness?  Moments when anything is possible and logical.  In that moment my mind was so convinced and ecstatic that the sad event had been undone – a couple of years after the fact he had come alive again, and all was back to normal, better in fact because we fully appreciated each other.  My mind had not yet comprehended the pieces that didn’t make sense…. like that we moved out of that house 4 months ago, we got rid of that table years ago and the kids are now 7 years older than in my dream.  Saddest of all, Brandon in fact had not come back to us…my mind had played a hopeful but cruel trick…maybe wishful thinking turned into a dream.  I racked my brain to figure out…where am I, and what day is it?  It was the 20th…of November…2013…exactly 2 years and 2 months after his passing…yet there was still so much hope in me that this dream could be true, it took a while to fully wake from it.

Sat Dec 14/13 – Today was Saturday, the day of Sophie Haines’ funeral.  She was a 5-year-old girl from our city of Surrey who passed away from a form of meningitis/pneumonia I was told.  It was non-contagious, so she had been kept on life support and her organs were able to be donated – wow, what a beautiful legacy and what loving generosity shown by her family in their darkest hour. 

Just 4 days earlier, a Tuesday evening, I was driving home from work listening to traffic radio when I heard the 10 second report of a little girl’s passing.  My heart broke for the family and I cried bitterly as I drove…wishing somehow I could help, or know their names, or reach them and be sure they were going to be okay.  Late that night as I dropped into bed I noticed a message from my friend, dated Sunday, 2 days earlier.  She told briefly of the sad situation, that the girl was on life support at the time, and that my friend’s mom and the girl’s grandma were neighbors. My friend asked if she could give my contact info to this family – it was like an answer to a prayer I hadn’t even breathed out loud, just a thought and a wish that passed through my mind – and the answer was already there…sitting waiting for 2 days for me to see it. 

On the following Friday night, 3 days later, again miraculously I feel, this situation came back into my mind, and I wondered if there would be a public funeral.  I googled her name now that I knew it, and quickly found the details of the service, to be held only about 14 hours in the future.   When I mentioned it to my husband, he said he had a meeting but he’d leave in time to meet me there – we were both drawn to show support and be able to know who this little girl was.    It was to take place at the all-too-familiar funeral home we had dealt with after our son’s death.  Though I had a dread about that place, it just felt “meant to be” to go there. 

But now as it was Saturday and I was preparing to go to the funeral, 1000 things and emotions were swirling through my mind.   In the shower I wondered if it would come up in conversation with a stranger today, that we had also lost a child, and if they asked how long ago it was – what would I tell them?  I calculated how long it had been since we lost Brandon.  It feels too long ago to say it has been over 2 years, but can’t say it’s been 27 months, that’s like those annoying toddler ages.  Who says 27 months anyways?  Only new parents talking to other new parents…no one else cares to hear the details.  Just round it to half-years once they hit 2 right?  Except when you are the one with the precious babe – then every day, week, and month counts and must be mentioned.  This is how I felt this morning, I had to count the months.  Over 2 years sounded too far away – it didn’t properly express the freshness of the loss in my heart – so I counted up the 27 months, but that seemed like a long time ago too.  Next I got really nerdy and started calculating in my head how many weeks it had been…119 Saturdays much like this one had come and gone since I had seen his sweet face.  Since 119 weeks sounded even worse I decided on 27 months after all.  When something’s so precious you just feel you wanna be specific.

The funeral home was packed that day with families with small children, many of which were her kindergarten classmates, and neighborhood friends.   Many tributes and poems were read, one 5 year old girl even spoke at the podium, and many tears flowed.  It was a heart wrenching and inspirational day as we learned of this vibrant, strong-willed girl, full of vinegar and spirit.  I felt so blessed to be introduced to the parents afterward, be able to give a hug to the mother, shake the hand of the father, and express my heartbreak for them, though I was a total stranger.  Amazingly they remembered reading an email just the night before offering my contact information, so recognized my name.  I don’t know when or if we will get in contact – but even if that quick connection was all it was about, it felt like a divine appointment to me. 

If you listened closely that day there was a beautiful thread woven through all that was said, through every smile with a tear at the mention of Sophie’s vitality, through the sound of many children in the room, and it was a lovely sound.  I recognized it for sure…and that sound reassured me that this family, mom, dad and brother, would be ok in time…it was unmistakable, undeniable…it was that little glimmer of a wonderful thing I know to be…endless HOPE…

<3

Janine Kurtz


4 Comments

#15 – Your Sleep Will Be Sweet

If you’ve just joined us, you may want to read “Our Story” first, then posts #1-14.      Welcome, there’s endless HOPE…

Journal Entry Thursday January 2, 2014 – Ok, here goes, back to the tough story.  Pulled out my old little journal from 2 years ago and gonna just start typing where I left off, almost 8 weeks ago, where I wrote about the Sunday.  On Sunday (post#12) Brandon was quite sick, and truth be told, all afternoon while I was out with “important obligations” instead of home with him, I was feeling horrid about it.  I was in torture, somehow knowing I was in the “wrong” place, unlike Friday night (post#8) when I managed to be exactly where I needed to be.  But moving on…now Monday…

Monday September 19, 2011 –   A bunch of our family was still in Whistler, 2+ hours away, for a long weekend celebrating my brother-in-law’s birthday.  It had been planned for months, but we hadn’t planned to join, for some reason we just didn’t feel we should go.  As it turned out Brandon was pretty sick, so it seemed for the best we had stayed home.  My husband had the day off work so the night before we had planned he would take Brandon to the clinic first thing Monday morning.  At lunch time I called home to see how it went, but they hadn’t gone yet as Brandon wasn’t really feeling up to it.  That made me feel even more urgent about it, cause if he doesn’t feel well enough to go, then he’s very sick and needs to go!  I went online to use the trusty symptom checker, and it advised to see doctor.  They made it to the doctor, who did their best  I’m sure, with the info given and symptoms present, and he was diagnosed with an ear infection & throat infection.  He was prescribed an antibiotic, something for anti-nausea, and ear drops – made sense to us, would deal with the infection, the vomiting from last night and the headache from just being sick.   I heard later that after the doctor visit he had to be practically carried up the stairs to his room, that was pretty unusual, but still didn’t seem like “911” material, because we had antibiotics now – kids always spring back after 24-48 hours of antibiotics.  So, we continued with the usual practice of the “B.R.A.T. diet” after nausea…bananas, rice, aeroroot, toast. 

By the time I got home from work that evening he’d had digestive cookies, 1/2 a Gatorade for electrolytes, 2 doses of antibiotics and 2 doses of ibuprofen…but the headache and fever were still there.  I spelled off my husband and began pouring a cool bath just like when the kids were little.  I told Brandon to get his swimming shorts on cause he was going in the bath and I was going into the bathroom with him to make sure we got that fever down.  Our daughter had mentioned to me that she thought he looked really skinny that day – and as he lay weak in the bath I noticed his stomach was very thin too, but he was a very slender/athletic build on any good day, and hadn’t been eating much the last while as he was sick.  I fed him some crushed ice as he sat in the cool water, and kept a cool cloth on his forehead.  At first he was too tired to eat ice and I remember saying something about “if you don’t get eating this so we can get this fever down, I’m gonna have to take you to the hospital!”  I don’t remember exactly what he said, whether he wanted to go to the hospital or he really didn’t want to go, or that he just wanted to die, he felt so crappy – sounds morbid, but that was just how he had talked when he felt really sick, for as long as I could remember.  He ended up coming around, the fever was gone and I helped him out of the bath so he could crawl back in bed.  Probably in my mind it was all logically under control – I had done my job, good old-fashioned fever break, he’s on the brat diet, 2 doses of antibiotics, he’ll be on the mend this time tomorrow night – no need for concern even though he still seems pretty weak and sick.  Brandon was feeling hopeful again and, true to form, was talking about how he sure hoped he could go to school in the morning…silly guy, so worried about missing stuff and getting behind.

His heart was so soft that evening, all the defenses were down.  We had previously had some tense months where, when I was pushing him to do things he didn’t want to, it would sometimes come down to “you have to because you’re part of the family team”, he would comeback with “family doesn’t matter” and we would argue that stubbornly – and it hurt.  When I was tucking him into bed that night tho, wiping his brow again with a cool cloth, I quietly said “This is when family matters, when we take care of each other, right?”  He replied “Yes, family matters mom, you were right”.  As well, for sometime now when we would say we loved him, he wouldn’t reply – it was awkward I suppose.  This night when his little sister popped in to say “Goodnight, I love you” and when I told him I loved him, he replied “I love you”.  It was a rare and beautiful thing to hear, it meant so much to us that night, and means the world to us now. 

Once he was tucked into bed I just sat with him for a bit, then decided to read him a proverb I used to read to the kids.  I couldn’t exactly remember where that verse was in the book of proverbs so just started reading aloud at chapter 1.  Eventually I read to chapter 3, and came to the section of verses that I would read when they were little, to bring peace when they were upset at night or couldn’t sleep.  He was still patiently listening, so I took the opportunity to keep reading.  This seemed to be a teachable moment, because reading wise proverbs to a teenage son about living a good and pure life, written by the wisest man who ever lived, is a rare opportunity that must be seized, right?  I paused every couple of chapters to make sure he wasn’t sick of me reading or being in his room – cause you know how 15-year-old boys are, they like their space and independence.  Whenever I paused, he’d ask “Are ya done?”  Then I’d ask “Do you want me to be?”  Each time he just shrugged or said “I dunno”….which I knew was direct translation to “keep going”.  That night I ended up reading him 10 chapters of the Book of Proverbs, it felt like such a special time.  Finally, when my voice was tired and my eyes weary from reading with just the hallway light shining in a bit, I asked “Do you want me to go now?” but he replied “You can stay”.  I curled up by his right foot, wrapped in my fuzzy blanky…then a while later, about midnight, I went to bed…but left his door and our door open a bit…just like when they were little…to keep an ear open for him in the night…

Even though we never dreamed that would be our last night on earth with him, it felt to me like the things we had struggled with had melted away and been resolved with forgiveness and realization of a genuine care and love for each other. 

I have no more words, so let me leave you with the verses I had looked for…I would always be sure to read 21+24 together to the kids.  I just realized as I’m writing this tonight, more than 2 years later, that maybe the rest of those words below were for me to understand…a reassurance just before the storm, or sudden disaster, that there would be…endless HOPE…

<3

Janine Kurtz

Book of Proverbs – Chapter 3

21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion;
22 they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared.