Anna Jean needs a handrail on her porch as she is disabled and doesn’t have adequate balance. I asked her for some information as is my interview custom. She laughed and said,”Oh I’m sorry I’m not very prepared today. I am getting ready for my only grandchild’s first birthday party. My mind is scattered. It’s just that she brings out the joy in me!” We chatted about being grandmothers and the deep love it forms in us. She said,”I have had 22 back operations in less than 20 years.”
She matter-of-factly said,”Depression sort of set in when my husband left following the death of two of our children.” She explained that her 26 year old son went to bed one night and never woke up. To their utter surprise, the medical report indicated he died of a heart attack in his sleep from undiagnosed heart disease. Five years and three days later, one of her daughters was having a picnic in the back yard with friends. Anna Jean was inside and heard sirens. She went outside to find her daughter dead on the ground with a gunshot wound to the face. Her husband could not handle another tragedy and left her with her other two children; one now married with a little girl and the other living at home.
I was nearly speechless with sorrow for her. I conveyed my deepest condolences while silently praying for the right words to say. As I listened nothing was coming to my mind. I did ask if she finds comfort in knowing they are together now. She said,”Oh honey it gets me through the days when I wake up and wish I could die! They were VERY close and I am so comforted to know they are together again. I have no regrets. I told my children individually every day that I loved them.
I may never be happy again but I do find joy even in the darkest of moments. Like, I can barely walk today and I’m in pain, BUT I get to put a party together for my angel grand daughter! Then you called me and you said I can get a handrail but you gave me even more! You let me talk about my lost babies. Most people don’t want to hear it because it makes them uncomfortable. Thanks for letting me talk. I choose joy today!”
Lessons I learned from Anna Jean:
- Sometimes the right words are no words….just listen.
- Happiness is a feeling that comes from outside of you…sadness too…stuff happens. But you can choose joy…from within. When you have those dark days, sad times, lonely times, joy may be hard to find. Look within. It is there.
To all who support this mission, thank you for helping Anna Jean find her joy.
-From an earlier e-blast (Sign up for the e-blasts on the bottom of our website.)