The sweetest things in this world today have come to us through tears and pain…..J.R. Miller


As exciting as it was to go hunting in South Africa, the most exciting part of the whole trip was just sitting in a chair surrounded by nature, or in Afrtica, The Bush.  If I just sat there, animal after animal would appear to find something to eat or drink and then disappear into The Bush.  I sat for hours with no phone, no Words with Friends, (simply because I was too cheap to pay for an international plan before I left), no book, not even a thought in my head, really!!   I just sat!

I found the Giraffes!

For me,  sitting?  I don’t do that well. I have to be or want to be “doing something.” Doesn’t matter what, just doing something.  But I sat there, day after day.  Not all day, I would go look for giraffes, feed the ostrich, or look for porcupine quills.  But as the week crept by I realized the day before I left, I hadn’t thought about home or anybody there all week long; NOT EVEN MY KIDS! Not even my son who had died.  I honestly had 8 days with no thoughts.  When I realized this, I got upset with myself  wondering, “How I could have done that?”  I spent the next couple of days thinking about people back home, but also thinking I didn’t want to go back.

As difficult as it was for me to get to Africa, it was going to be even more difficult going home.   Not for the same reasons.  The anxiousness was gone.  The tears were gone.  Life had begun again, after nearly 20 years.  I didn’t want to get on the plane again!!

I had read in a book that just sitting quietly with God for a while, with no distractions, will change your life.  Who had time for that?  I had too much to do.  How does one not use a phone for 10 days?  How do you just sit with God?  Where the heck is He?  Where was He when my son died? Well, I didn’t realize at the time I had been sitting with God, all week long. I thought I was just sitting among the Kudus, Impalas, and warthogs.  My 10 days with God, but without a phone and a thought in South Africa changed my life.

My life needed a change.  I had been “busy” for the past 20 years.  Now it wasn’t all busy stuff.  I enjoyed every minute with my kids, they were my life.  I wouldn’t have survived without them.  I spent as much time as possible with them.  If there was somewhere they couldn’t go, then I didn’t go.  Doing things with them was more fun than doing anything with anybody else.

Standing tall In South Africa.....I can stand tall now, even if this is only a shadow!

But now, they are grown and don’t need me.  It is hard being an empty nester.  I don’t care for it.  Enjoy your kids while you can.  They grow up too fast.  Sadly, some don’t get the chance to grow up, like my son.   You are not supposed to buy a casket for your child, they are supposed to do that for you!
But since I had my quiet time with God in South Africa, I am able to let go a little bit and live for me now, so stay tuned and I will do my best to keep  you posted on my new adventure……To China!

I will leave you with a passage from Life’s Journeys According to Mister Rogers, a book given to me by Lutie Rodriguez several years ago:

Letting go is seldom easy; whether it’s letting go of our children, our parents, or our childhood feelings.  But just as the root systems of plants often have to be divided for healthy growth to continue, the different generations within a family may have to pull apart for a while for each to find its own healthy identity.”

About cessley

I am a bereaved parent. I write to give hope to other bereaved parents who are fresh in their grief. I want them to know life begins again. It (life) is forever changed, as are you, but one day, you will smile again. You may travel, you will make new friends, your heart will mend, though never heal and it will be a painful ride. It is one step at a time....sometimes, even one breath to the next is all we can seem to live through each day. But each day will be a new beginning, a different beginning, a different you. I have two surviving children: Amy, who is married to Brandon, and they have one daughter, Avery, and one son, Dylan. and Eric who is a doctor and is Clifton's twin brother. Clifton passed away when he was nearly two years old. As any bereaved parent knows, it is tough, REALLY tough trying to live after the death of a child. I lived in Shanghai, China for three years after the death of my son, and then lived in Beijing for two years. I am discovering life again, one step at a time. I returned to Oklahoma in February , 2020 due to the uncertainty of the virus. Little did I know the uncertainty would follow me across the ocean. This is nothing compared to the death of a child. I will survive! View all posts by cessley

One response to “The sweetest things in this world today have come to us through tears and pain…..J.R. Miller

  • Amy Carter

    Great post! I’m glad you are doing this for yourself now! You did a great job raising us, I think we turned out pretty darn good! 🙂 so now do for yourself as you did for us… Everything! You will enjoy china and your own independence out there! As amazing as it is to have family around, it is also amazing to have your own time, your own plans. No obligations. It is freeing and I know this is going to be a few of the most amazing years for you! Can’t wait to hear stories from china, and Brandon and I want to visit!!! (when Eric does,btw) haha. We can have a little family reunion!
    Love you!

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