I love it when people share their "moments of healing" with me. It's so wonderful how healing from a bad experience opens the heart for good, new experiences to come. So I am going to share one of mine...
When I was 8, right after I was baptised my mom made me wear one of the dresses my grandmother made me for my baptism to school. It was actually the dress I wore to confirmation and it was purple wool with big purple buttons down the front and a purple sash that tied in the back. I loved the dress, but hated the color! (for those of you who don't know, purple is still not a color I enjoy. I wonder if I can blame my dislike on this incident?)
Anyway, I can't remember the reason I was fancied up, but I do remember crying all the way home from the bus stop that afternoon because I had to wear that dress to school. As I was walking around the corner on my way home this old man was out trimming the roses in his front yard. (he had ALOT of roses) He stopped me and asked why I was crying, of course now that I had an audience the crying intensified and I told him my mom made me wear this horrid outfit to school and EVERYONE thought I looked STUPID in it and now no one would want to be my friend because my mom "dresses me funny"!
He looked me over, wiped away the tears streaking down my face, handed me a purple rose, and told me I was the prettiest girl he had ever seen. Instant gratification! The 3 minutes it took me to walk to my house, I was floating on air! From that moment on Fritz Johansen was my favorite person on earth! Every moment of spare time I was with him. He and his wife immigrated here from Sweden, (naturally I was going to live in Sweden when I grew up) They had no kids, (I filled in as honorary granddaughter) They built a playhouse for the neighborhood kids in their yard, (I took the liberty to decorate it) and they were always open to visitors. (I brought lots and lots of visitors)
I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED that man!!! For the next 4 years he watched me grow. Blessed me with time, love, attention and lots and lots of roses!!! Then one afternoon he told me he was leaving on a mission. Seems he and his wife were going back to Sweden to serve a mission (his 3rd or 4th) for our church. He gave me this little stuffed monkey he always had sitting on the arm of his couch and told me he would think of me every day, that I was to remember I was the most beautiful girl in the world, and I wasn't to miss him because he was happy to be going on this important mission for God.
That night I remember praying to God, "please. please, please, PLEASE bring him home after his mission. (Fritz was in his 80's and did not have good health) I told God I would do anything he wanted, I would be the best kid in the world and never ever do anything wrong if he would just let Fritz live long enough to come back from his mission and see me again!
The day he left for Sweden, I was suppose to go to the airport with my friends to see him off but the school refused to "release" me until they could reach my mom, (even though I had a note) so by the time we got to the airport they had already boarded the plane. I missed him so much my prayers became more ernest and desperate. I begged and bargained with all my soul that God would just hear me. I checked the mailbox everyday. I never got a letter...
I got a phone call.
I remember my friend telling me on the phone that Fritz had passed away and my friends had "voted on who would call and tell me." None of them wanted to come do it in person. I was sitting at the top of the stairs bawling my eyes out, when my dad came home and found me. He asked me what was wrong and when I told him Fritz had died he walked past me down the hall and I heard him shouting, "who in the hell told her?!!!".
I went to bed. My mom tryed to comfort me, my friends tryed to call me, my youth leader wanted to see me, but I was having none of it! God had BETRAYED ME!!! After all that begging, pleading, promising, God let the most important person in my life DIE and I didn't even get to say goodbye!!
I hated God.
I spent my 6th grade year crying. My friends took to steeling the napkins from the lunch room so they would have them to give every time they were around me. I bawled all the time! To offer me some support my youth leader took me to the airport when they brought him home. We waited at the doors for Fritz's wife and when she saw me she hugged me and told me, "He loved you, beautiful girl. You be good." I waited and waited for them to bring him out to but it didn't happen. (I had no idea how transporting the deceased worked) Then my youth leader took me over to the windows and there was his casket being unloaded from the cargo hold of the airplane. My heart couldn't take anymore. I really hated God!
My mom decided the viewing would be to much for me so I wasn't allowed to go. My friends told me it was a good thing because he looked "all yellow and creepy". The day of his funeral, I fought with everyone so much that after the service my dad made me go home instead of going to the cemetery for the burial. For weeks after I would cross the street so I wouldn't have to go by his house on my way to school. I never did go see Fritz's wife again. I stopped praying.
Fritz's wife remarried and moved away. I never touched so much as a leaf in his yard. For years I didn't pray. I tryed to go to the cemetery a few months after he died. It was his birthday, (the same day as my mom's) but it was during the week and by the time we got to the cemetery the grounds building was closed, it was starting to get dark, and it was raining. We tryed to find his grave from some directions a neighbor gave my dad but we couldn't and after a while we had to leave because my parents had made dinner plans and were running late.
I never went back to the cemetery. I never went back to any cemetery. Funerals in general became a hated thing. For years after, If I could get out of going to a funeral, I did. Those I had to attend, I sat in the back. I didn't go to viewings to "view". I didn't want to look at dead people.
When I was 18 and pregnant with my daughter, my best friend's sister died in a climbing accident. The next morning my mom called and told me she needed to talk with my husband. A few minutes later my husband looked at me and said, "J**** died yesterday." My reaction, "you liar. that isn't even funny!" 2 seconds later,
I got another phonecall.
I went to the viewing and listened to everyone say how beautiful she looked. (I didn't think so)
I went to the service and listened to the Bishop tell her parents that she was "at peace."
I went to the grave site, same place Fritz was buried. I couldn't wait to get away from the casket.
That afternoon I told everyone, "don't you ever call me when something bad happens! News like that should not come over the phone!"
A few years later when my grandmother died, my dad called me and told me "she was going" but I went down the next day to my parents house so my mom could tell me face to face that she had died. When my mom's dad died, my sister drove over to my house to tell me he was gone. I got a call to let me know that my cousin wasn't going to make it through the night and I called the next morning to confirm he was gone.
When my other grandpa died I had called to let my uncle know that my brother's baby had been born and he let me know my grandpa had passed away. I never did get another "death call".
When my friend's daughter got sick I remember her telling me she filled out a D.N.R. I couldn't believe she would do that, not for medical reasons but what if she passed away at school and her parents got "A PHONE CALL!". When the time came for them to let her go, my friend called and said to get on a plane. All the way across the continent I prayed, "God please, please, please, PLEASE do not let her go until I get to say goodbye." I really did not believe he was listening to me so just to make sure, I kept my phone off except to text and let them know I was transferring flights. I made it in time and over the next month was taught a valuable lesson. God listens and answers. His timing is always perfect. I had text my husband to let him know to tell my kids. He didn't. A few days later I was talking to my daughter on the phone and she asked, "how is H*****?" I choked for a second then answered, "Oh sweetie, she's gone. I'm sorry no one told you." I spent a few minutes being angry at my husband for not telling her and being there to comfort our daughter until I got a call from my son. He said, "She wouldn't stop crying so I called C*******. She's on her way over now." (best friend to the rescue)
When I talked with my friend that night she told me, "that's good that she had someone there to spend some time with." She was right. There was hurt, but there was a friend to share it with. There was loss, but there were others who felt the same as we did. My friend taught us to mourn properly.
I just had to open up to it.
One day, I was with my mom shopping, ran into a neighbor of hers and in conversation my mom mentioned someone who had lived close to Fritz. Then the conversation led from there to Fritz, then to how much I loved him, to how I hated God for taking him away from me. I told my mom, "I thought God didn't think I was worth much because he didn't let Fritz come home. Of course now I know his timing is not ours to control." My mom's neighbor looked at me and asked, "Didn't you know, he went HOME to die?"
God wasn't ignoring a child's first prayer, He was answering an old man's last. It's true that horrible experiences can twist our emotions so that innocent things bring such fear into our hearts. It's also true that simple little things can heal it.
"the solution is simple, probably difficult, and absolutely life changing."
September 2017 :)
2 weeks ago