My birthday is July 4th. For my birthday, I’d be grateful to have your prayers for healing and progress and peace.

Two years have come and gone since The Bad Thing. In the last 12 months, I have purchased a slightly used house (built 1976), 11 new stuffed horses (in varying colors), a new car (named after a horse), a new horse blanket (which I sleep under) and a new refrigerator. I retain possession of an old dog.

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes that I am not at liberty to discuss in a public forum, but suffice it to say, the hits just keep on coming. I have yet to go 30 days without visiting an attorney to iron out some gnarly legal matter. That’s wearying.

It’s time for this thing to bottom out and for things to start trending upward.

I thought about doing a blog of things NOT TO SAY to someone suffering in the throes of a trauma, but then I decided against it. However, if I wrote that missive, number one would have been this:

DO NOT send me a text, an email or a Facebook message and tell me that “only I can decide if I am ready to be over this.”

That’s not helpful. In fact, it hurts. It places more guilt on the victim. And “suicide survivors” (as we’re known) have plenty of guilt.

How I wish this complicated mess could be reduced to a decision. Last week, as I had lunch with a friend, a door slammed behind me in the restaurant. It was so startling and so loud that I had to jump up and go outside to finish my meal. And then I got an upset stomach. How do you “decide” to not react to noises like that?

For several years, I did work as a volunteer chaplain at a secured facility for the criminally insane. In preparatory training courses and real-life experience, I learned a lot about not reacting to noises, words, people and crowds. I learned a great deal about guarding my mental environment and controlling my thoughts.

For 20 years, I systematically worked to memorize hundreds of designs of kit homes, and then did architectural surveys for dozens of communities.

For 30 years, I’ve worked in various capacities as a writer and that’s also an exacting mental discipline.

For my entire life, I’ve studied the Scriptures and dozens of exegeses and commentaries on the Bible, and memorized large numbers of Bible verses.

If my intellect could save me, if this could be reduced to a “decision” – I’d be healed, but this isn’t about “decisions” or “intellect.” It’s about a soul that’s been broken and a heart that’s been shattered.

As I tell my nearest and dearest friends, I am pedaling as fast as I can.

The walls of my home are slathered in affirmations and inspirational quotes. I go to sleep at night, listening to uplifting messages. I write a gratitude list each morning upon awakening. I exercise daily and eat good meals. Frankly, I am wearing myself out, clamoring to get out of this hellish pit and it’s going pretty slowly. I’m thinking that perhaps it’s time to become more like the leaf in the stream, and just go where the currents carry me.

I’ve been trying to fight this in my head – in fact – I’ve been striving to “DECIDE” to get over this, and it’s not going well.

Several days ago, I had a complete meltdown in public when I attempted a new “first.” I called my friend in tears, and he said the most comforting thing of all: “Maybe you’re just not ready for that step yet. Maybe you need a little more time to heal.”

That singular comment did so much to remove the pressure. Maybe I can forgive myself for being such a slow healer.

Another friend told me, “Your husband put a bullet in his head. Your husband wasn’t faithful and he wasn’t the man you thought he was. Those are things that can really mess up a person for a long time. You’re doing great. You’re surviving. You’re traveling, and even if you are ‘pretending’ to be normal, at least you’re out here trying. I’m proud of you. You have every excuse to give up but you haven’t.”

Those are the comments that help promote healing.

Love me where I am. Don’t criticize me for not doing better.

When the dark days come, I sit quietly and think about the people that are praying for me, and I visualize those prayers as being luminescent beams of light reaching into my very soul, and knitting my shattered heart back into a new shape.

I like to think of the prayers as laser-beams of love, and I am asking for your continued love and prayers.




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