Sunday, December 16, 2018

That Light In The Darkness




Sitting here in the early morning, I am surrounded by the dark, except for the lone candlelight in the window...the candle that has been in the window since Caleb went to Iraq in 2006. It is a flicker of hope in the darkness.
It has been a long while since I have done this. I woke up, grabbed my laptop, and came to the living room to sit, compelled to write.

Yesterday was the Wreaths Across America ceremony. It is a beautiful tribute.

I stood alone with Griz, a little ways from those present. I had to be alone right then.
I watched as the veterans from our VFW marched in. I listened to the low cadence as their shoes hit the gravel.
Reality hit as it for the first time. I was a real part of this ceremony. When they mentioned the fallen, they were talking about my son. When they hung the wreath for the Marines, my son's face came to mind.  When they hung wreaths for the other branches, the faces of so many young men and women crossed my mind.

I know their parents. I know their stories.
     It is all real.
     Too real.
     Emotions flood and tears trickle down my face.
     The eternal flame is blazing, the flag is at half mast.
     The speaker says to stop at a marker, read the name.
      Think about that person. He/she had a family, a life.
     Taps is played.
     The lullaby of completion is what I call it.
     "Day is done."

It wasn't a big crowd, but I've come to appreciate those who attend. They are there to honor.
That is what is important.

I visited with a few friends yesterday.
Reality.
For some, it is the first Christmas without their loved ones.
The rawness of the absence of someone so dear and close can be overwhelming.

We talked about their loved ones, and the  memories, the close relationships they had shared.
How tough it is when you're used to having someone in your life, someone you love so much -then suddenly they are gone.
Poof. Just like that.
It is hard. How can someone be here and all of a sudden just be gone from our lives, their existence erased from this present reality of life.

We talked about God. The questions, the unanswered questions- it didn't have to happen, but it did. Oh, the many questions we have. Yet, even though we may not have those answers, we have the one answer that gets us through...knowing God is there. He is real. He does love us. He does give us comfort and peace. It's tough. I know it is.  I know he's there. But, yes. I've been mad. I've screamed and cried. It is sometimes beyond hard to walk down this road. There are days I think I simply have to see my son again. I can't stand not being able to see him. It's time. I miss him so much, and the hurt is so deep...yet somehow, I get through another day. I know I'll see him again, but it's the now that can be difficult.
But, through it all, God is faithful.

Holidays are hard.
As I listened to these friends, I heard hope in brokenness.
Yes, it's so very hard.
For some, as I said, it's their first Christmas without their loved ones.
Yet, they are moving.
Just moving.
Intentional.
Some are going somewhere. Some are having family fly in. Some decorate, others do not. I stay home. My children  come. That is the specialness of Christmas for me. I decorate because I am celebrating the hope I have in my heart. I decorate because I have always loved Christmas. Caleb always loved Christmas. I can do it. For me, it's important. Jesus came at Christmas. Heaven came down and glory filled the earth.

I sit here, the candle in the window lends light to the break of another day.
Even though tears stream down my face, thinking of all those going through that first Christmas without a loved one....remembering that first Christmas and how unreal it was....thinking how it really doesn't change much as the years pass. It is still unreal. Maybe the ultimate shock is gone, but there are moments when the reality hits so hard and it's almost impossible to accept.

As day breaks into the darkness, hope lightens the day.

May Christmas bring the hope that came to the world as a baby, Jesus, Yeshua Ha-Mashiach.
May the reality of what we cannot see, bring peace.
May the joy in knowing we will see our loved ones again, spring from our hearts - even if we cry.

We are not alone.
He is ever with us.
Immanuel - God with us.
He is the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Selah.

Shalom


copyright. Diane Homm/2018

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

When We Stand Together - Remember 9-11



9-11-01
The day America was attacked on our own soil.
The day America stood together.
The day that seems like a lifetime ago, because it was.
The day that our life time changed forever.
The day we remember....anyone who was alive on that day remembers where he/she was and what he/she was doing.
I remember...I had the flu. A friend called and told me to turn on the TV, something horrible had happened.
I remember...I came into the family room, and saw Caleb. He had gotten up before anyone, and was watching the account on TV. He told me what happened.
I remember watching the horror on TV that day.
I remember how America stood, cried, grieved, and came together.

Seventeen years have passed.
I looked at online images from 2001....                        
Americans loved America.
There were flags...American flags everywhere...
We were America and we were going to stand.
It didn't matter what color, race, creed.
We had all been affected.
Our first responders, firefighters, policemen - were honored.
No one thought of disrespecting the flag.
Then began the war on terrorism.
It had to be done...so many have fought that war - including my son.
Americans loved America, and there were flags...
American flags, flying from homes, and businesses and schools.

America, what happened?
In the name of unrest and poor judgment, there are those who
hate America, hate our flag and the freedom it stands for.

Seventeen years ago...an attack of hatred hit our soil.
It brought Americans together.
Today hatred is on our soil from those who were born here.
Those who disregard our flag, our law enforcement...those who will say
our military men/women deserve to die,
obviously have no idea what they are saying.

This is my country.
I'm honored by a country that takes the time to honor the thousands who were killed seventeen years ago on a fateful day that changed the whole world.
I listened to thousands of names read, heard messages from loved ones remembering those they love.
I heard, "God bless America," "God bless our troops who fight for our protection," "God bless..."
The loved ones are not forgotten and never will be.
These who sacrificed their lives were honored around the globe.
American flags and flowers were placed on the 9-11 memorials.
Memories, moments of silence, prayers and tears were shared.

I believe, and this is my opinion, that there are many more patriots, true Americans in our country than some media wants to acknowledge.
There are many more who fly American flags and have respect, than the media will ever report.
Our flag was flown everywhere after 9-11.
It is our common ground as Americans...a country's flag symbolizes the values of the country - red-valor, white - purity, blue-freedom, vigilance, perseverance, peace.

Watching the heroism shown on 9-11 from those who responded, those who sacrificed their lives -  listening to those family members who now pursue the legacy of the lives of their loved ones, gives me hope for our country, for our future.

Americans know the price of freedom. Americans know the meaning of sacrifice. Americans know what it means to respect and honor. America won't forget 9-11 and how freedom is under attack. Americans won't forget. Ever.
Standing together as America, we will fly our flag, honor, respect and value our freedom.



copyright. Diane Homm
                  September 11, 2018

Monday, May 7, 2018

On Missing You



Oh my heart.

One day runs into another and love tugs at my heartstrings.

Sure, I continue on day after day.
I'm thankful.
I'm hope-filled.
I love my children.
I love my husband.
I love my Savior Jesus.
I love that my God is always with me,
even when I don't feel it.

Every once in a while, the impact of not having you here
hits hard.
Sobs escape again.
My heart aches for you.
I long for your voice, for your very presence in this life.

Maybe some get tired of hearing me say that.
Maybe some think I should just "get over it" and "move on"
for goodness sake.

Oh, but I am glad those people don't know how it really is.
It used to bother me, but now I can sigh.
They don't know.
They have no idea,
and
I'm glad.

There is no way to explain this hole in my heart.
It will be there till we meet in heaven.
I can rejoice in that, and I do.
I have everlasting hope.
I know I will see your wonderful self again,
but as I've said so many times now -
it's the being here without you that is hard.

You, who could have me laughing till I cried.
You, who would listen with your whole self, and share such wisdom
You, who loved God and lived the life of faith.
You, my individual, one of a kind, gift.

I can go and go and do and do.
I can keep busy, and visit and laugh, and
do life, and live the love in victory and joy.
Then, that longing comes along and I miss you so much it hurts.
No matter what "they" may say, I can't imagine anyone who has ever loved,
never missing that special someone.

Sobs escape and I double over....I miss you more than I can express
The silence surrounds me, and I want to tell it to leave.
I want to hear your voice again.
I don't like that silence fills that space now.
I don't like that silence just moved in.
No one invited it, but it doesn't care.
It remains.
I want to kick it out the door and tell it to never come back.
But, it stays anyway.
Silence is the place you used to fill with
stories and laughter and jokes, and plans and goals
and friends and adventure.

I don't like it, but it's here to stay till that day...that day
when rejoicing will fill the joyful air of expectancy and everlasting
hellos.

My sobs fill the space that should be filled with you.
It's not mine to embrace.
Yet, I will embrace it because it belongs to you.


Yes, the space that belongs to you will be yours
till you fill it again.

Oh my heart longs for my son.

I will continue.
Tears of missing you.
Tears of hope and expectancy.
One day, we will live where
space is filled with everlasting togetherness.

What a day of glory that will be.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Where My Shoes Take Me



Welcome to my world.
Try as I may, I am reminded that I must be real.
Real.
I want to be the poster child for "everything is rainbows and roses,"
but I'm not.
My world can be messy, and not always in order.
I try so hard to straighten things out!


Who am I trying to kid?
Just when I think I may be making some headway,
life happens again and I'm on my face
before my Maker.


This, my friends is a true story.
I am a rule follower and try to do things right, try to say the right things,
pray the right way.....wear a smile and tie my shoe laces so they don't come untied.
As hard as I try, I am learning.....


This was my morning.
I looked outside and saw fresh snow!
Perfect!
I love snow.
I don't know why I thought the boots I chose would work,
but I did.
Surely, it wasn't that slippery.
I made my way to my vehicle - walking gingerly on the snow covered grass to avoid walking on the
driveway (hello....)
I slipped a little when I stepped onto the driveway but, hey, I was getting in my  vehicle.
It would be all right.
I was going to church.
How long of a walk could it possibly be from my parking place to the front door?


I wasn't early by any means, and the parking lot was full.
I drove and looked....nothing close.
Snow and ice covered every area near and far.
I parked and looked at the distance I'd have to walk to get to the church.
Wisdom told me I had made a mistake by wearing the slickest boots in the closet.
It was not going to happen.


I drove back home and slid all the way up the driveway, holding on to vehicles and branches so I wouldn't fall. (I confess, I thought maybe it would be easier to take those boots off and walk in my stocking feet through the snow! I opted not to do that.)
Those boots were not the best idea.


By the time I changed into my trusty hiking boots (yes, I live in Colorado where it's ok to wear jeans and hiking boots to church) it was too late for some churches, and the right time for others.


So, I made my way to the church that was just about to start.
I parked and heard the faint sound of singing coming from inside the building.
Peace filled my heart.
I entered and found a seat in the back.


"Grace flows down and covers me...."
His presence touched my heart, and tears fell,
I stood and could not stop the tears.
 It was His grace, His love...like a flood, it covered me.


The message?
"How to Survive the coming storm."
How does He know just what I need to hear?
"Maybe some of you are experiencing a storm and need encouragement..."
I thought I was doing so well, but that was me.
"Rest in Him...."


Sometimes I get caught up in trying to do things myself, so God will
love me, so He will move on my behalf.
I worry, and fret that I have to do something to earn his miracles, his grace.


If I follow the right formula and pray the right prayers, and say the right words, I will get the results I desire.
I wear myself out trying to please my Father.
It's that legalistic part of my background that pops up when things go 'wrong' or are hard in life....
I confess, sometimes my first thought is, "What did I do wrong...."


I'm a hard nut to crack sometimes (haha, right?) but, thankfully, my Father is patient with me.


This weekend I watched The Shack again.
I needed that.
My Papa loves me...Holy Spirit comforts me, Jesus loves and walks with me.
I may not be perfect or even near perfect, but love is mine.
I have never been left alone, not ever, even at my lowest.


Today, my slippery boots didn't work, but my hiking boots took me where I needed to be.
"Amazing grace comes falling down."


This weekend I grabbed onto the blessings He sent.
A rose from a blue star mom friend.
A gold star mom friend sent me a picture of a heart shape she saw on the side of a mountain.
Another gold star mom friend shared a picture of a pendant that reminded her of me - there was a heart in the middle of the pendant.
I got a call from my gold star mom friend who knows too well what it means to be on this journey and that trusting God is the only way.
Sometimes the hardness of a day can cast shadows, but I don't want to miss his blessings.
I chatted with a special writer friend, and visited with my daughter.
My husband gave me hugs and understanding.


Lord, You are good.
You send sparks of joy in the hard times to let me know you are there.
When things are hard, you know it.
When I need to climb up on your lap, you always have time.
You whsiper words of encouragement in my heart...."Keep on fighting the good fight. It's ok. Rest in me."
Sometimes I know fighting the good fight is just resting in you and not stressing myself out.
You are my solid Rock. You are the one I need to look to.
I know sometimes I look at what is around me and it all gets so big. You whisper, "I am here - look at me. I'm the greater one."
Lord, you know the battles are real, but that is why you came.
You are bigger than any battle we face.
Thank you for being faithful.
Thank you for carrying me when times are tough, and for giving me strength and filling me with joy in the midst of it all.                                                                                                                

Thank you for taking my shoes where I needed to be today.
Thank you for your grace, your love that covers me,
covers me like a warm blanket.
Thank you for loving me, just because you do.



Tuesday, December 5, 2017

With My Father





Father, take my hand.
I'm feeling not so grown up now.
Things can be so overwhelming sometimes.


I run the race set before me, and strength from somewhere else
keeps me going.
I know it is You and I am grateful.


Another hill to climb, another surprise around the bend and
I feel like I will buckle.
I can't go on.
I stop and stretch my arms to you.
I cry out that I don't know how I can keep going.


You say, "Stop. You can stop. It doesn't mean you're not in the race anymore.
You compete against no one.
You're running your own race to the finish, so
stop.
It's ok."


So I do.
I sit on the Rock beside me and tears stream down my face.
My strength is depleted and I have nothing left.


"It's ok," my Father's voice is kind and gentle.
He sits beside me and I lean on Him, tears still falling.


The sun breaks through the clouds and I notice there is peace in the silence.


He smiles at me, and brushes away a tear from my face.
"I save these for you," He says and my tear is held in his hand.


"Come. We don't have to run."
I look in His eyes.
He does understand.


Father, it's so hard some days.
"I know."
He doesn't say anything, but takes my hand.
"I'm with you."
I know I'm not alone.


As difficult as the course may seem,
He holds my hand and runs with me.
When I need to slow down, he walks beside me.
When I need to stop, he is there to restore me.


Father, take my hand.


He says, "I'm here. I will never let you go."


Once again, I take one step at a time,
one breath at a time.


I can do this.


My Father is with me.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

For Caleb



I look at your face.
I see your smile.
I can just about hear you laugh.
I look into your eyes,
the twinkle, the joy....
I want to pull you out of the pictures
and hold you close.

At times it seems like you're only
gone for a while.
Training, deployed, traveling the world,
like you would.

So often I want to call you,
funny as it may seem.
News from one of your Recon/Marine brothers,
calls or texts,
my thoughts go to you.

Just a few days ago, your
Griz had surgery.
When I went to pick him
and saw that he was doing well,
I wanted to call you and let you know.

You're gone but you're not.
You're not visible,
But you're always near.
Near to my heart, near in my thoughts.

I don't understand when people think
it should get easier.
All I know is that they didn't have you
in their lives.
The rawness of the pain is there,
everyday.

Saying I miss you doesn't quite say how it really is.
There is a tugging at my heart for your presence.
Sure, I know I'll see you in heaven, and what joy that will be.
But, here, in the midst of joy and laughter, my heart longs for your
presence everyday.
That, my son, doesn't ever go away.

You know I look at life differently, now.
There is more beauty than I saw before - even though I saw it.
Now, the beauty of God's creation makes my heart leap.
I think of how much more beautiful everything is where you are.
I smile.
We have God's creation in common, and I
feel closer to you, to Him.

I love you so much.
I know you know that.
But, oh how I would love to see you and be able to say it again.

Oh those wonderful times - 
There you'd be
standing in the kitchen when I was cooking
laughing and talking and snacking on this or that....taking a bite of whatever
there was to sample.

How I long to hear your voice again,
to get a text or a call from you -
to hear about your day, what you did, where you went.

Days like this bring deep sighs, and some tears.
It is how it is.
I make it through the days with a smile.
I know it's what I need to do.
At the end of the day, when the lights go out,
I peek past the drapes as I lie in bed,
and see the stars.
A glimpse to the heavenlies,
And,
I know that one of those stars 
belongs to you.

Days like this I am so very grateful that God understands.
He holds me closer and lifts me up.
His love never lets go,
and His mercies are there evermore.

I long to hug you.
There are no words to express this yearning.
Homesick for you.
That's what it is, and more.

Thankful for the love.
Grateful for the thoughts, the wonderful times with you in our lives.
Glad for your life, and the richness of you.
As much as I miss you, I know you are as near as our breath.
And one day, when this breath leaves me to heavenly days,
I will long no more.

But, until then.
I know there will be days like this
because I love you
and our love lives
forever.

I am blessed.
I am your mom.
I love you today and forever my son.


©Diane Homm            
October 15, 2017   




Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Eating My Words




In my last blog I said the road isn't necessarily lonely, even though there are times we feel alone.
Let me quote -
"It's a private road, this road.
The only people on it are those who have no choice.
I'd say lonely, but it's not.
Not really.
Yet feeling alone is part of it, because sometimes the feelings are hard to express.
It hurts - a lot."




This morning I know lonely.


It is when there is a letter in the mail, an email, or a phone call pertaining to our child who is no longer with us.


When you feel your whole self being turned inside out, while it's being ripped apart -
when it seems the earth is opening up and the world is spinning.




One definition of lonely is - Sad because one has no friends or company
Another definition is - without companions, solitary. 
Yet another definition is - (of a place) unfrequented and remote.
I'm not lonely because I have no friends.
I'm not lonely because I'm in a remote area (although I am in a remote area geographically.)




The lonely I am experiencing is the last one - solitary, existing alone, and without companions.


It is a place where you want to cry out and call someone, have someone there, but even if you did you'd be alone in this place where life shakes you up.


It's where the pain you feel is yours alone to bear for the time.
There is no place to take it.
It's yours.


Well, today it's mine.
I don't even know if I can talk about it right now.
But, if you're on this road maybe you understand.
Just when you think you know all you can know, you have everything that is yours now,
you get a surprise.
And maybe it's not bad - what can be worse than the knock at the door, right?
It's just something else, something new.


Recently, someone who probably meant well (they all do, don't they?) said, "I would think you would have made peace with the situation by now."
I told this person there are days when it's just hard.
With the military it continues - it's never easy.
When another family is going to get that knock at the door, you dread it for them.
When you hear of another casualty, another young life gone, it hits your heart.
Sometimes there are just things that come up.
To that I was told, "That's just the devil."


When I am confounded by what people say, I'm slow to respond.
It takes me hours to think of what I should've said.
Instead, I say nothing.


Peace? There is peace knowing where my child is.
Other than that, I am not ok with him being gone.
The peace that I have goes beyond my understanding, and it's not something
I can conjure up and say, "Oh, it's ok. I'm fine with Caleb not being here."
No. That's not how it is.
But, again - there is peace that I don't understand.


Oh, and
things come up.
It's not the devil.
There may be something
in the mail. Or maybe it's a phone call or
a message. It's on the news or maybe it's something else.
It's something that takes you by surprise and scrapes against the
open, gaping wound.
It brings you to your knees and tears flow.


Times like this, when you'd like someone to just be there -
it wouldn't help, anyway.
It's just a hard spot on this road.


Maybe you have been there, or are there.
Maybe you'd like to share.
I'm open to listen.


It's tough, but what are you going to do?
There is no salve to put on this jab to an open wound.
It is painful, and yet -
I pray in the hardness, there is some comfort.


The hard part, is no matter what else there is to say about the death,
no matter what -
nothing will bring back our loved ones.
Nothing will bring back my son.


As hard as 'news' is, somehow it is welcome.
It has to do with my son.
It has something to do with his life.
It's crazy - and that's why 'lonely' is the isolated place.
There are no words.
It just is.
There are tears, and yet there are hugs to my heart.


Later, when I know more, I'll see how I respond.


Right now, the person I am thinks I should be strong, but it isn't working.
I am in  a  quiet whirlwind of thought, anticipation, and sadness all at the same time.
I am still.
I am waiting in the lonely, solitary place -
for now.