The Bounce Back

You know I think it’s just in my makeup to know when God is working in my life. I can bet 1000 that the devil will show up in the midst of my blessings every time. And then I lose it!! Isn’t that something? Evil will have to work extra hard, but nine times out of ten, I’ll fall right into a trap. One good thing that I’ve noticed as I get older is that my bounce back is quicker and bigger than ever. I have gotten to where I can feel God’s anointing on me. And likewise, I can feel when I lose it due to my reaction to situations. I’m not sure everyone knows what I’m talking about, but for those who don’t, it’s like having a well-paying job, but you let somebody elses messiness get you demoted or fired. You end up having to start over from scratch. Well, that’s how God’s anointing works in my life. I get fired more times than I’m willing to admit, but God still has faith in me that I will achieve His work regardless of my shortcomings. Isn’t that amazing!!??

Life doesn’t always deal us the hand we originally thought we had. I know when I was younger, there was nothing I could not do. I thought I was going to work my way up the “medical ladder” from LPN to Nurse Practitioner. I was going to be married for 60 years and have a house full of children and grandchildren. Those were my goals. But God changed my hand. I ended up sick after almost four years as an LPN and divorced after nine years of marriage which produced two beautiful children. Afterward, I spent too many years asking why instead of adapting to the changes. I was so angry about getting sick that all I saw was what I had lost including my marriage and career along with myself, my dignity, integrity, and hope. I was so focused on being mad at God and at my ex-husband that I couldn’t see all I gained. I overlooked my freedom from heartache, a second chance at life, and most of all, myself. All these things, had I seen them, would have outweighed my losses. Instead, I held on to the fear and hopelessness that cradled my sadness and depression. I would receive so much therapy in the years to come, that soon there was nothing doctors could tell me that I didn’t already know. It would be over a decade before I found my peace again.

Talk about a waste of time from a mis-dealt hand. I’m going to let y’all in on a big secret, people come into your life for a purpose. At one time, earlier this year, I stepped out on faith and took a chance on love again. I soon found myself defending being over the pain of my past. I worked too hard over the last ten years focusing on myself, outgrowing old habits, letting go of my past, and becoming Valerie again to be told that lie. I think my strong will and unwillingness to be thrown back into that hole that I had already fought and scrapped to escape wasn’t appreciated. But uh, no sir i refuse to allow anyone to belittle my fight. Not today. I would rather let go of someone than to hold on to see if he would stop or change. Been there, done that, bought a t-shirt. Next, please. Writing is my therapy. So this poem was born:

Lesson or a Blessing

Seems like I’ve waited a lifetime for you,
I even thought I asked God for it too
But even He had a sense of humor, tricking me to think you were my sender
When in reality I was suppose to learn you just don’t surrender
From you, I was to learn I really have grown
Beyond the mistakes of yesteryear and the hurt enthroned
See I knew I felt that damage was no longer there
And it took you trying to convince it was that made it clear
People are put in your life for a reason, not of their own
You, sir were there to prove to me something I’ve always know
I’m mature, I’m sexy, I’m brilliant, I belong
I’m His, I’m mine, I’m worked on, I’m strong
I’m not scared, timid, I’m not gullible or sad
I’m not that proverbial black woman bitter and mad
I’m not empty, worthless with nothing else to give
You see that one man did steal from me
But I fought to live
I climbed and I scrapped to rebuild my life
And I’ll be damned if I let you make light of my plight
What a woman has to do, you’ll never understand
She’ll become a better person but you’ll still be just a man~ (repost)

Life did throw me a curve ball but after I wrote that poem, I realized to be my partner was not his purpose in my life. His purpose was to show me my strength and to make me realize that I had so much more to offer than I was willing to give him. Plus, I was not utilizing my God-given talents. I remember his words that helped change my perspective. He said, Val when we were in school you had a sparkle in your eyes. He went on to say that my daughter has that same sparkle but I don’t anymore. That hit hard because I recognized that myself years ago. So in the months since we stopped speaking I have strived to get that sparkle back! Not for him or anyone else, but for Valerie. I must admit its back and I couldn’t be happier right now.

This year just goes to show how God can turn your life around. I can’t believe I contemplated suicide in January and by December God turned things around and now I’m completing the first of two books. I’ve been writing my poetry for this book most of my adult life. I’ve been writing my book about fibromyalgia since 2008. I’m a major procrastinator in case it didn’t show. But if you’ve followed my blog (Aug. 4, 2018), you’ll see that I’m working on finishing things I’ve started. I’ve worked hard this year, through every hardship, to stay true to myself and my crafts. This makes me remember when my son was failing his art class. He thought it was boring. I told him about how I saw art. It’s not really about the boringness of the process, but it’s looking forward to the outcome that makes the art projects enjoyable. Needless to say, he got an A in art class that semester.

See, sometimes it’s not so much what you see, but how you look at it. Your perspective about life determines how you see it. For years my perspective was narrowed through the eyes of heartache and pain. As soon as I was able to free myself of that depressing perspective, I was able to see the joy in life. When I looked in the mirror the other day, I had to stop and look twice. I almost didn’t recognize myself. The light behind my eyes was shut out for so long that when I saw it for the first time in my reflection, I had to pause and I actually heard myself say, “Wow”. In fact, the joy I feel now and how I choose to be happy instead of allowing my happiness to hinge on what others do or say makes all the difference. It doesn’t hurt that my baby Zy is back in my life. Happy 6th birthday to her and her twin brother Xavier.

Oh, I’m still going through. That’s just life, but I talk to God about it and put things in His capable hands. Plus, I have a great support system. Therefore, I like to summarize this blog post by saying I hope that my readers see through my experiences that things will not always be bleak or miserable. It may take some time, but don’t give up. Instead, try to change your perspective or the way you see your life, those in it and the world around you. Love you first and foremost before any other man, woman or child (your children are an extension of you). Be dedicated to building your own happiness. Take it back out of the hands of your spouse, your friends, your partner, your job, or your family. Own it. It’s yours. Start saying no. That was hard for me. But as I advise you to do, I had to stop being there for those who were never there for me. Take back your sanity, hope, and peace. Those are gifts that you deserve and should never give away. We tend as human beings to want to give our all to someone. I’m not saying be selfish, but save your all for you. Give of yourself without losing yourself. People want advice but don’t always take it.

I hope someone needs to hear this because I write what comes from my heart. I never think of a topic then write a blog. I just start typing. So don’t give so much that you end up empty and lonely. I don’t want anyone to have to go through my past journey; to walk in my old shoes. If I can say something to touch one person’s heart and detour their path from the loneliest of roads it would be to take a look in the mirror. If your reflection doesn’t wow you, you’re most likely on the wrong path. Reevaluate your perspective. Redefine how you see yourself. I promise you your bounce back will be epic❤.

Love, Val

@vfurrmstheblogger

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The Spirit of a Warrior

I saw this beautiful post above on the Trail of No More Tears Facebook page tonight. It made me think of the times my spirit felt absolutely broken this year. But it also made me think of how much of a warrior I must be to have come back strong every time. I suppose it just felt like I was breaking because the hurt actually ached my heart and shook my world once or twice. I remember feeling like giving up on everything. My head physically and symbolically hung low. Whew, I was at a point in September where I had to leave town for a few weeks. I thought I was going to break down. But God! I was blessed to find refuge in my granddaughter’s eyes thanks to my daughter. At the time, it appeared that my life was being destroyed, but although I didn’t see it then, things were actually changing just enough to realign exactly right.

Let me show you a few examples just in case you’re going through it right now. Friends who were using me or who weren’t loyal to me left my life but I was able to focus my attention on those who truly care about me and have always been there even though I was blind to it. Look at God work. Also, my second near-death experience, in three months, occurred due to my meds and weight loss. Hold on, this is how. I was taking enough medicine for my original weight of 206 pounds but only weighed 150 pounds. This made me realize I needed to take better care of myself, lose weight permanently and get my medications adjusted for my new weight. That’s something a lot of people don’t think about, including doctors. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, I pursued a few relationships. Through the hurt, I realized they were never who I thought they were anyway. I got the closure I needed, plus it enlightened me to the fact that I had so much more to offer. It’s funny I was finally able to see my own worth through their attempts to belittle it. Thanks for that one guys!! Another thing I learned was that sometimes you outgrow people. You want and need your independence from them to grow as a person but you think you have to be loyal to them because of maybe the longevity of the relationship, the titles, guilt, or whatever the cause. I’m going to reference Mr. Steve Harvey again here. He said sometimes you’re loyal to people who are no longer loyal to you. And that’s ok, just let them go. You don’t have to have a conversation and neither of you owes the other anything. You find yourself free from the stress of trying so hard to be loyal to someone who didn’t value you. The deep breath I was able to take behind that one felt so good. Watch God though. Through hurt and loss, I gained a backbone!! Say that again. Yes, through hurt and loss I gained a backbone. I had to get sick and tired of being sick and tired first but now I stand up not only for my Mom but for myself. I’m not talking about eventually or always nicely like usual. I mean I say what I mean and I mean what I say the first time. I’ve saved so much time and energy lately just being straight and to the point with people who try to hurt me or my family. I’m still working on not feeling guilty about it, but hey, I’m a work in progress.😂

As this year comes slowly to a screeching end, due to these changes, I am more productive than I have been in years. I’ve written more poetry since July 2018, than I have in the last decade. Behind every loss, heartache, and tear, there’s been a triumph. I owe that only to God. So I believe the saying above is very true. I have stayed the path, regardless of how many obstacles have been thrown in my way and there have been many. The Bible states that God gives the toughest journeys to His strongest soldiers. I didn’t know that after all I’ve already been through, childhood trauma, infidelity, divorce, death, sickness, heartache, failure, etc., that I still have strength left. Apparently, God knew my strength even though I did not. Now I find my strength in knowing that I’m here for it as long as God continues to use me and bless us all, including those no longer in my life. My path is the one less chosen but it’s mine and I know I’m never ever on its trails alone.

P.S.

Y’all keep your head up! No one tragic thing last forever. Find your peace in your gifts. Your gifts are those things you do best in life. If it’s poetry, drawing, painting, music, mathematics, biology, networking, logistics, etc., use it. It’s the thing or things you know, above all, you were put here on this earth to do. Everybody has at least one. Cultivate it. Focus on it. Write out your wants, dreams, desires, and goals you will achieve and start checking them off. I’m living proof, you won’t have time for the foolery that led to you being broken-spirited. Know that whether you are a believer or not, God will work for you as long as you work for yourself.

Be blessed❤

By: Valerie Furr-Collins

Chapter One continued..

Fibromyalgia: Behind the Walls of Silence

….I gave and forgave way too much. By the time I was brave enough to get divorced, I was an empty shell of the woman I once was, void of peace, void of joy, almost in-human on the inside and unrecognizable even to myself.

It’s true that sickness can attack within a blink of an eye and change your entire life. Before my divorce, I married my dream man, so thought, completed LPN school at the top of my class, was in RN school and was working full time. I noticed after work, I couldn’t sit and relax, but the pain in my back made me have to ease down. I was so fatigued, I would fall asleep while eating dinner. That’s how my search to find out what made my 22-year-old body feel as if it were 82 instead. Three years later, I was finally able to put a name to my condition due to a doctor whose wife had just been diagnosed herself. I didn’t realize it, but only God could have put me in alignment with him. For three years, I was told the pain was in my head, I was crazy, making up symptoms and even that I was begging for attention once the depression had set in. At one time, I was on 13 different medications. So I was so happy to have found this doctor. Fast forward.

After nine years of a hurtful marriage and with two suicide attempts until my belt, I was blessed to get out with my dignity intact. Dealing with constant unnecessary infidelity left me feeling inadequate as a woman, a person, and mother. But still, I didn’t feel completely unconnected to that which had caused me so much pain. I would allow my ex to come in and out my life for the next decade.

Nearly four years since my divorce, I’m found myself in a relationship with the young man who was there for me six months before my divorce was final. I can see now, he never had a chance. He wasn’t the man I loved with all my soul my entire adult life. That man, he didn’t want me and it hurt like hell. The mental pain was almost as bad as the physical but I was hiding it well. I made it appear that my pain was all in my muscles, ligaments, and joints when in reality, it was spread evenly within my body, my heart, my mind, my soul, and my spirit. But four years is a long time to still want to be something you never were, his everything. My ex hadn’t seen our two children in three years. He was a few hours away but got his freedom and ran with it. He kept me just hopeful enough at a reconciliation that my current boyfriend/fiance could not make me happy, not completely, but at no fault of his own. I was emotionally unavailable, unable to juggle everything that was happening to me mentally. I was still a young mother, writer, college student, business owner, and the list went on. No matter how many things I piled onto my resume; content, happy, or just being back to myself, was not on that list.

During my original fibromyalgia diagnosis, the doctor told me two important things about this disease. One, there was no cure; and two, it would get worse as I got older. Well, both came to be true and life was difficult. My children were school age now in kindergarten and second grade. Even though I didn’t really know God then, He was present in everything happening in my life and placed a young girl name Kai in my daughter’s second-grade class. I would become best friends with her mother the following year. I’m not sure what I would’ve done without my mom, my high school best friend and her taking up some of the slack for me. Through constant hospital stays, bouts of illnesses, and more diagnoses associated with fibromyalgia, I was still the mother who did the sleepovers, big birthday parties and hosted weekends with 17 of my daughters closest friends, but things slowed down as my body slowed down. Needless to say, I didn’t get remarried, nor did my relationship last beyond the four years. Before we broke up, I had developed a severe stress seizure condition and hypothalamic seizures which were diagnosed after I was accused of pretending to seize or making myself seize. So I was supposed to be doing this to myself. Having seizures so severe that my face would distort until I was nearly physically unrecognizable. I have burst capillaries around both my eyes from how tightly my eyes closed during a seizure. I do believe I have some nerve damage in my face that makes my left side drop ever so slightly. I had to fight and claw my way back to some resemblance of my old self. I used to be so happy, talented and joyous. The end all of this relationship was the answer to one question. I had begun to get a little better. I could finally go a few weeks to a month without seizing. My pain level was down some. But I felt like just as his previous relationship, I was the damsel in distress to this young man. After Tyler Perry’s Diary of a Mad Black Woman was released, it got me thinking if I wasn’t sick, would we last? I could see myself fighting for my freedom from fibromyalgia, but could he? So I asked him, could he see past my pain to a real relationship between us? He actually said no and eventually so did I. I don’t blame him. He stuck in there with me longer than most men would and let’s face it, after about a decade living with fibromyalgia, I was not easy to love.

Therefore, after that relationship, I found myself still alone and still empty. For the past few years, I made excuses for my kid’s dad as he still chose to be absent from their lives. To me, fibromyalgia had robbed me of my children father, my livelihood (my nursing degree was medically suspended), my husband or any man, my home, my family and friends (most turned their backs on me), my joy, my hope and most of all, my peace. Left in my corner, I had my mother, my children, one brother (out of five siblings), my ex-mother in law and one friend who was barely hanging on by a thread. Still very sick and getting worse again, I decided to focus on myself for a while.

I’m going to pause here to insert this original poem. It’s been 17 years since my divorce and I have been in love twice since then, thank God. So I can honestly say this piece is not about one person, but my feelings concerning love in general.

You Were Loved

How is it that I still think about you?
Still, wonder how you’re doing?
Why do I still smile at the memory of us when you and I haven’t shared the same space in so long?
How does my heart beat still rise ever so slightly as I think about remembering…
how I loved you?
how did I know you?
how I hoped you loved me?
It seems like a lifetime ago
Too short a moment to rewind the hands of time
When in reality we have been apart longer than we were ever together
And though my heart still pumps to your beats
Your heart no longer finds the rhythm of mine
But knowing that does not taint my memory of loving you
Because my heart was pure and true
I always thought if life separated us
we would still be able to talk about old times and laugh
See one another and smile
Be able to breathe in the essence of what made us fall in love in the first place
But even if that never happens and we are to never again spend together another moment in time
I can only hope
that you know
you
were
loved

Written by: Valerie Furr-Collins
(September 29, 2018)

The first time I allowed myself to fall in love again was…

Count your blessings

I was raised the daughter of a Baptist minister. Later in my life, I became a member of the Church of God in Christ. At the first Bethel Memorial Church of God in Christ I began to attend in 2008, we sang alot. One song I have in mind for this blog is Count Your Blessings. It states, count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your blessings, see what God has done. Well this week has been particularly challenging because I forgot to count my blessings. I know there’s no one perfect in God but Him, so I try to live my life as an example to others to glorify His name. I fall short often, more than I care to admit. But I think part of personal growth is seeing where you went wrong and being careful to move different so you don’t ever find yourself in that same position. I also found that sometimes you have to let people know that because you are spiritual or saved doesn’t mean you can be played with or your name and reputation soiled by blatant lies.

For the last couple of months, someone was trying to destroy my family’s good name. With my mom as the matriach of our family, I felt like she was being attacked. At first, I stayed silent because I refused to dignify the ignorance with a response. Eventually, the person recanted their lies and allegations in a post on Facebook. But a few days ago, the lies began to resurface. I hold myself to a certain standard. But I will not let others think I’m going to stand by and allow my family to be misrepresented and hurt AGAIN. I think that sometimes, the only way to reach some folks is to speak their language. Boy was the devil busy. I usually don’t respond to ignorance, but at the same time you can see why I had to say something. I can still count my blessings because I had so many family and friends reach out to me and talk to me from their hearts. I appreciated all the love and advice I was given during this time. That is where God began to work.

Switching gears a little, I have been listening alot to Steve Harvey lately. He speaks alot about counting your blessings. I know some people look down upon him, but the man has given some great advice that is changing the course of my life. One thing he said was when it comes to goals and your dreams, never have a Plan B. If you always have a Plan B or something you think you can fall back on, you will give energy you could use achieving Plan A to setting up a Plan B you may never even use. In other words, stick to one goal at a time. If your Plan A fails after you have done all you can to make it succeed, get another Plan A and focus only on it.

I like his point because I have my iron in several fires. I’m compiling a poetry book that I’m constantly adding to and a book about fibromyalgia which I gave a glimpse of Chapter One in my last blog. In addition to my writing, I’m trying my hand at makeup, for which I have a IG account. Plus, (😌), I’m attempting to go back to school after leaving in 2014, two credits shy of my BA in Healthcare Management. The best I can hope for right now is my BA in Advanced Patient Care. I also began writing articles for HireWriters.com for extra income. Talk about counting your blessings! So which do I achieve first? Do I stick to one thing at a time, or can I do more than one, focusing on achieving both simultaneously?? I feel like I’m being pulled in ten different directions but I don’t feel any less diligent about achieving everything on my vision board. If I find doing one at a time works best, I’ll do that. But I do believe I can complete my degree and my poetry book at the same time. I have most of it completed. Everything else will become my “another Plan A”. So this situation nor any other will stop my grind or dim my glow because I’m doing these things for myself and my family. My goal is to leave my children and grandchildren tangible proof that they can achieve any and everything that they desire.

I watch SteveHarveyTv.com and often hear him saying that when bad things happen, God has a way of using those situations to bring about the biggest blessings! Well that happened today! The one thing we lost through their lies, we gained through our truth😘. Because God blessed me with a good heart, I felt bad about the words I used in my response on Facebook. But there’s a part of me that knows, certain people need to see that side of me. Although I allowed them to make me come out of character, they now know I don’t tolerate ignorance when it comes to my family or my mom.

So the point of this post is to give my friends and family a glimpse into what happened, to release it off my heart and give advice on how to handle situations like these. I don’t like holding on to situations that hurt me or those I love. My therapy is to write about it. Then I relax and release, let go and let God. So this COGIC, saved, daughter of a Baptist preacher, is still a work in progress. I’m the type of person that lets things pile up higher and higher before it gets too much. Life is too short to keep things in. So what works for me is to remember to breath, call a friend, talk it out with my mom or someone I trust so I won’t get so upset I get a migraine or become ill. Stress causes fibromyalgia sufferers more widespread pain. My continued advice to myself and my readers, address situations that prove harmful to your peace as soon as possible; do not wait until it gets worse. Continue to love and protect those who love and protect you. And lastly, never forget that bad situations will not last forever, trust that God will turn it around and always, always count your blessings.❤️❤️

My Zy baby is back home!

Chapter One….

It’s 1:38 am, here is Alabama as I begin this post. I’m up but everyone else except my son are asleep. Even the dogs are asleep 😂. I’m only up because this sickness had me asleep earlier and now even though my sinuses and head are screaming for rest, I cannot. It’s the Sunday after a very good Thanksgiving at my Aunt and Uncle’s home this year. Now as I sit here watching television, I have an issue on my heart. That’s how my blogs usually begins, with an issue or a topic I have on my heart. I touched on suicide in my last blog but this has more to do with bullying, not unintentional horseplay, but real bullying experienced by our children and us everyday.

My family is made up of what I used to call the serious side, my dad’s side, and the fun side, my mom’s side. I didn’t grow up with any of my mother’s family in my life and I always regretted that. They are such free spirits who bonds through family, memories and humor. I only grew up with family from one of my father’s seven brothers whom I’m still close with now. I wish we had been able to grow up with both sides, but life didn’t happen that way. In 2008, the world of Facebook allowed me to reach out to and get to know much of my family over the past ten years. I’m grateful because I now know that both sides are the fun sides.

In 2007, my Uncle Rodney and my Pops, (mommy’s younger brother and father), moved to Alabama. We had been to visit St. Louis, Mo. so many times that I love it there. We’re always taken care of and accommodated for and if you didn’t know, you will not, St. Louis has the best Chinese food in the country!! But when my Uncle and Poppy moved here, my mom and I were so happy because the dream of having some of her family living here with her came true! Of all eight of my mommy’s brothers, he is the comedian. When tragedy struck my immediate family in 2009, it didn’t go far away. My Uncle met and soon married my wonderful Auntie Catherine. In 2010, she was paralyzed in an awful car accident. She’s a huge part of my heart.

But I digress, I divorced my ex-husband in 2002, when my children were young. I felt like the pain and stress I was enduring was trickling down onto them. My daughter was on her way to the first grade and my son in headstart. My children were (and are) my whole world. I only wanted nothing but their happiness. But, shortly after my daughter’s birth, I was diagnosed with a chronic pain condition, fibromyalgia. A year after my son’s birth, I began to have seizures. I suffered from depression and chronic migraine headaches as well. In 2001, I was placed on disability by my doctor and my nursing license was marked medically suspended. My babies didn’t seem to notice mommy was sick. I tried my best to be there for every award program, play, Christmas pagent, game, and Thanksgiving lunch. Every field trip that required walking, my brother stepped up and went in my place with my son. If my daughter had something I could attend, my best friends Bridgette, went asking with her and her daughter. She’s still my ride or die. But I feel like I wasn’t able to be there at home for them. We ate dinners in the living room instead of around the table, which always bothered me, plans were often cancelled because I was too sick or fatigued to go and I couldn’t play with my kids and have fun with them because I was in pain. My Mommy took up so much of my slack that I’m not sure my children even noticed. But still I felt like I was there and absent at the same time, if that makes sense.

I was angry alot too, not with my children, with God, doctor’s, and myself for allowing a disease, which at the time not many doctors believed existed, to consume my life and take so much from me. I was so in love with my then, husband. I gave and forgave way too much. By the time I was brave enough to get divorced, I was an empty shell of the woman I once was, void of peace, void of joy, almost in-human on the inside and unrecognizable even to myself…….

(Mock book cover)

Or

Thanksgiving 2018: This year’s message, Get it Together

When thinking about all things I have to be grateful for Thanksgiving, including my Lord and Savior, and my family and friends, one more important thing comes to mind, my mental health. At 45, I’m try my best to get it together enough so I do not have a midlife crisis. I’m at that age for women, and this year has truly tried me in every way. After last year’s blessings of my first granddaughter and surviving two near death experiences, this year just began on a bad note. January 2018 through maybe May was riddled with one personal issue after another. Not one relationship worked out. The things men do as children to hurt their girlfriends, well apparently they still do these things as adults. Sometimes it takes me a while to allow myself feel to something for someone else because of this fact. But I digress, it is easy for us to be consumed by personal problems, issues with friendships or even ongoing family issues. Sometimes there is just one more big thing added to all the small ones that become the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. Well, although my family and I have been through it this year, we know that life itself is an entire blessing.

In my early twenties, like many young people, I’d have a hard time bouncing back from times like these. I thought heavily about suicide twice. What many people don’t realize is that for most, suicide isn’t about being selfish because. In that person’s head, they have worked out everything for everyone in their life. In their state of mind it all makes complete sense. They aren’t thinking, so much as to why they don’t want to live, but that they will no longer be a burden. I heard a quote once that says, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I feel awful for families and individuals who don’t have a great family or support system in their lives. Thank God that twenty plus years later, I’m still here able to write about it and hope to touch somebody with my words.

I must say that I learned enough about friends this year to carefully select mine from now on. The thing about friends is that they are few, far and in between. If you have more than a handful, you have too many. My dad used to say we don’t have friends; we have aquintances. I like to think that true friends, like sisters or brother’s to you, know you heart and you theirs. You don’t want to keep unhappy, jealous individuals as your friends because regardless of the years invested, where they’ve taken you together or how good you are to them, they will eventually show you who they are. Not many people deserve the title friend, so be careful who you give it to. Even though losing “friends” can be upsetting, wait it out because God takes people out of your life so He can put His people it. Can I get an Amen?!!

We all get to a point in life when we just think there’s no way we can go on; when things keep piling up one after another to the point where despair can creep in. I went through this too this summer when my baby Zy (whom I raised from 1 1/2 months to 5 1/2 years old) was moved up state without my knowledge. I hurt like a mother should have because I did everything with and for her as if this little girl had come from my womb. But God! To keep me from losing it, my daughter asked me to come visit. The beautiful bonus was being able to get to know and bond with my one year old granddaughter for two weeks. When upsetting things like this happens, we have to find a way to get it together and then find things that help us to keep it together.

With yet another month left in this year, for me, visiting my daughter, praying, journaling, writing, reading the Bible, and seeking the help of loved ones have been my saving Graces. No one thing cures a broken heart regardless of the cause. It was and still is a constant battle. But there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. People think reaching out is a sign of weakness, when the real weakness lies in not doing so. So far through the many losses and heart breaks of my life, I utilized a few “cures” that worked for me including several hundred good cries, a few thousand of my momma’s talks, a few new circle of friends, and infinite time to reflect on how to work through everything.

Remember that what you are going through, during your “broken camel’s back” moments, will not last forever. There is always something you can do to get you through even if you have to try several at a time, or do them over again. Do what works for you. In fact, just allowing yourself to wake up to a new day can be all the change you need. Then surround yourself with those things and people who will shine the smallest ray of light into your momentary darkness.

Sometimes we lose people so that we can see the difference between those we had in our lives and those we deserve in our lives. I was just happy because people who I needed to value more reached out to me! I found out that they are not only my sisters from other mothers/fathers but my sister’s in life and in Christ. I’m so thankful for them. They always know when I’m down before I say one word, even on Facebook, which I’m always on. They are always there for me and I love returning the favor. We don’t judge each other or bring one another down. We talk and really listen to one another. Sometimes all people need to get it together when life seems to fall apart, is someone that will be there whether they are needed or not. It used to bother me that people looked at the surface and judged me without getting to know me for me. But thank God for growth!! Now I know the only ones who matter are those who choose to see and know my heart from the beginning without me having to do something for the exchange. I’m glad to say that I know their hearts too. Therefore, I’m thankful this year to have made it to 45 years old, be invested in sisterhoods not friendships ,and thank you Jesus, although I’ll still go through hard times, I’ve finally gotten it together ❤️God is good!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Special thanks to my small circle: if I leave out your name please forgive me.

My Mommy Sandra Furr

My big sister Beverly Furr

My children Brittney Essex and Trey Collins and granddaughter Avianna Essex

My family

My Sis Bridgette Hargrove

My Sissy and twin Consuela Romero

My Sis Kawanda Bush Pace

My Sis Katrina Benson

All my family and friends

Thank you to my children for being my constant rays of sunshine in my life and thank you Mommy, Beverly, family and ladies for all you do in my life!! I love y’all!

Until We Meet Again #death #finalgoodbyes #Arthur’s_story

I’ve always hated how final death is; how you can’t change it at all! I hate feeling helpless and unable to do anything about losing someone. The year 2009 was the worst year my family ever endured. We thought we had been through enough tragedy in our lives that there would be no way God would let the year play out the way it did. It was this year that made me see that God isn’t the one who causes death but He is the one who gets you through it. He is the reason that nine years later I’m still living and although I’m missing people, I’m still here.

You see, I’ll have to begin with what happened to my dad in order to completely tell this story. In November 1992, my father had another of many surgeries. This neck surgery was supposed to help relieve neck and back pain and relieve headaches. Only three days later, he was given an extra dose of morphine by a nurse who was supposed to discontinue it. The medicine was causing him to hallucinate. He took something for his stomach and couldn’t feel it in his throat and subsequently choked, went 15 minutes without Oxygen, and ended up in a coma. Doctors said he was in a vegetative state and would never regain consciousness. But my father responded to us in ways no doctor could tell us wasn’t there. He knew my mother’s voice, the voice of all his children, and the voice of his long term sitter, Jackie. He stayed connected with us and fought to live for 16 1/2 years. He died in the arms of my oldest brother, his namesake, Arthur Furr, Jr., in ICU room 115, on the morning of his 68th birthday.

The mistake we made was putting him in the care of a hospice doctor who tried to make us kill my dad with a cocktail. But we believe that we would not take the place of God. He would call him home when it was his time. I won’t tell what we believe happened, but you can read between the lines of you wish. We have no solid proof just the cover up, I mean, miscommunication of her interns that let us know something wasn’t right.

Ok, so we said goodbye to my father with a military burial, the Military salute with the guns and the presentation of the flag was the hardest part for me and I know for my Mom. Thank God for my brother-in-law, who was in the military, had everything set up for us. I wrote my father’s obituary for the paper and the service. I was honored.

The toll it took on my big brother, along with a separation from his wife, became more than he could handle. I can imagine him seeing Daddy’s last moments over and over again in his mind. As I’ve mentioned before in my blog contained my poem A Friendship With Addiction, Art already had an issue with prescription medication. But at the time, we didn’t know that he was experiencing Ambien syndrome as well. Ambien Syndrome has a long spectrum. Some people sleep walk, sleep eat or buy things they have no recollection of the next day. In my brother’s case, he would drive somewhere in my car and park it on the opposite side of the carport. We had no idea why it would not be parked where I put it. Lol! Also his case of Ambien syndrome mimicked his behavior when he would overdose. We called ambulances so many times for him and they would treat him like he OD’d. I was really afraid for him.

Here’s what happened to him. The one night I had loaned my vehicle out, he decided to walk to Walmart for Excedrin migraine tablets. I don’t know why he just didn’t go to the gas station up the street or the Walgreens across the street form it. He did make it to Walmart. But instead of him walking in the door in the wee hours of June 19, 2009, homicide and the police did. They sat my mom down in our kitchen and told us that, on his way home, he collasped two blocks from our home and died in a strangers driveway. They had already taken him to Montgomery for an autopsy by the time we received the news. We didn’t see him until the viewing six days later.

I supposed you’re wondering what the autopsy stated. The doctor who did the autopsy was so kind to me and even sent me a paper copy of it. It stated that he had pulmonary edema, cardiac myopothy and severe hydrocephalus. In lamens term, his respiratory system couldn’t take the overload of several medications and he went into respiratory failure and cardiac arrest which caused his brain, lungs and heart to fill with fluid. By the time the ambulance arrived there was nothing they could do.

The autopsy concluded he died of an accidental overdose. He took his medicine before he left but had forgot he took it already. He wasn’t trying to kill himself. He was trying to get back home so he could go the next morning to Bradford! He was like that! He was determined to get the help her needed this time! But it was too late.

I’m telling this story to she’s light on the harms of prescription medications and the affect they have in the body after several overdoses. The body, just like with any other drug, will fail to recover for the last time. People need to know that accidental overdoses are sometimes the result of central nervous system suppressing medications. Some prescription and some sold over the counter. His was a combination of his body no longer being able to get rid i of Benedryl Amitriptyline, phenergan, and Lortab. His doctors refused our constant request to no longer provide him with Hydrocodone. His pharmacist refused our constant request to stop filling his prescriptions. He refused. But at least when my brother died, hiis mom and pop store closed down.

These last two days, this year, have been so hard! Yesterday would have been his 51st birthday. For some reason, I felt so much sadness and heartache. I barely got through the day. Last night, I thought it may help to talk to my mom about it but I broke down crying. Actually, I have been crying all week but she doesn’t need to see that. I want nothing but peace, love and happiness for her the rest of her life. I can’t imagine me causing her any heartache after these two devastating blows! But unfortunately death wasn’t finished with us.

On December 22, 2009, my mom’s father, Luther Clemons, St., passed away from the devastating affects of Dementia. His death was easier to take only because he was 92 years old and has lived an amazing life. He was lovingly cares for till the end by my mom first, then my auntie and Uncle. I think we were being tested as to our faith and strength as a family. But we got through it.

Life is a system of cycles, tests, trials, tribulations, victories, and successes. It’s up to you to hold on to your faith and choose how to get through each one. Luckily we had a great church support system with a great Pastor who took my brother under his wing, saving his soul. We had an awesome group of family and friends who constantly checked up on us. And then there’s the one thing people say will cure the sadness, we have had time, nine years. I don’t think time makes it better, especially when you lose three generations in one year, have to fight in court to keep your brother’s kids he was raising, and raising five children who are dealing with these deaths in their own way and trying your best to deal with them as well. Time didn’t heal these wounds. Time only changed the distance between those yesterdays and today.

I’m going to put this to rest and hopefully, the sadness and pressure in my chest and migraine will go away. I know there’s nothing I can do to change it, so I have to let it go and ask God for strength right now. A friend/sister of mine and I were talking tonight and she said that she likes knowing that she will see those who passed away again. From time to time, I wonder if that’s true. Then I remember the sky, the trees, the sun and the Moon, and how good God has been to me and my family. I recall the things I’ve prayed for and received from the rain to stop so I could get home safely to protection over my family. I know there is a God. So, I pray this mornings prayer for all of us who are were behind to live to find peace, acceptance, God’s good grace and mercy. In Jesus name. Amen.

P.S. My big brother died two days before Father’s Day. He was blessed with nine children. He lived to see one of his six beautiful grandchildren.

Continue to Rest in Heaven big Bro! I love and miss you!!

Motherhood: What does your child/children think of you as a mother-Part 2

Well, it’s been three days since I asked my beautiful daughter and handsome son what do they think of me as their mother. I copied and pasted their answers below:

My daughter’s response:

😐 why’d you ask that? You’re a wonderful mother

And my son’s response:

You’re a great mom

My babies are all grown up but I still see them as always my babies. I love them so very much. They both are young people of very few words as you can see. I know they get that from their dad because also as you can see I am one of many words.

I actually didn’t know what to expect but then I did in a way. Have you ever felt like that when asking a touchy question? I hoped for a positive comment but thought what if the answer started off with, If you want me to be honest, mom. I think I would’ve cried. But my heart became so full last their answers because I know them. I know the only time Brittney talks excessively is when she’s experienced doing something she loves, like talking about hey daughter. Trey does so when he’s expressing something that has upset him badly. Any other time the few words mean everything and are just fine for me.

In the video I spoke about that my niece put on Facebook, the young children made their moms feel just like my kids made me feel. That is special and amazing. I suggest any mom’s who read this blog shoot their kids a text asking what do they think of them as a mom. See what they think of you. I guarantee it will make you whole day!!

This is important to me because I want to be for my kids what and who my mother is for me. She is the biggest part of my heart. I have so much respect and love for her that when I think about it, I get overwhelmed with emotion. I know it’s way too early for a mother’s day blog so I’ll just say this. If I am a third of the beautiful mother my mom had been to me, I really got something great right in this world!

My children may not see it now, but they’re so blessed to have both of us in their lives. All my grandparents passed away before I was born except my grandfather, my mom’s dad. We got the pleasure to get to know him later in his life. He walked me down the isle at my wedding. He was such a character. I really miss him.

My kids will one day say that about my mom. Then they’ll realize just how blessed they were. My hope is that they realize that now, and help me take care of her in her Golden years. Maybe one day their children will help care for me in my Golden years. Only God knows. For now, I’m just going to think back on their words every time I get to missing my daughter or think I’m not doing enough for my son. I’ll cherish those few words of gargantuan meaning forever!

Motherhood: What does your child/children think of you as a mother?

Yesterday, my niece LaShontae Furr, reposted a touching video on FaceBook about how mothers see themselves verses how their children see them. I told her that I may write about it. I found the outcome very interesting. The mothers saw themselves in mostly a negative light but their children only saw the good in them. Isn’t that amazing? Their thoughts were exact opposites. It was joyful to see the mothers through their children’s eyes. If only we could automatically know what our babies thought of us, I believe we would be the best version of ourselves. The mothers in this video saw that they were the light in their kids eyes and also saw where they could improve.

Personally, I’ve always thought I had many shortcomings as a mother. I have asked my children before if I a good mother to them and they’ve always said yes. I still wonder what they really think. So I’ve asked them both in a text to tell me what they think if my mothering. I’m awaiting their responses right now.

I believe I wasn’t the best mother because I was sick when my children were small. I also allowed that sickness to completely take over my life and get me down. I spent a lot of time in bed. But I don’t believe I ever missed a school program for either one or my niece and nephew. When a field trip called for alot of walking, I sent my brother in my place so my child would not miss out on a field trip. I think while my son was in grade school and my daughter in middle School, I missed spending the time I should’ve spent with them. Although my mom was here to pick up my slack, I think they wanted their mother to be there too. I feel horrible about that because I can’t get that time back. My son was going through being bullied and hid it from me for a long time. It doesn’t make me feel better because I took care of it when I found out because he felt like he couldn’t come to me. I often wonder what else did my kids go through that they felt like they couldn’t come to me. Those were the hardest years.

I feel like I wasn’t there for them the way a mother should because I was sick. I regret being asleep as my children went to school in the morning, never eating dinner together at the kitchen, not taking them places kids want to go, cancelling our plans at the last minute because I was too sick to go, and missing special moments I can never get back. Now that they are young adults, and I am better, I try my best to be here for them whatever they may need. If I have it, it is theirs.

My home is empty of children now (my son is twenty one) and for a mother like me, who loves her children more than life itself, that is so hard to accept. I’m keeping busy with this blog, a writing from home job I recently was hired for, my crochet business, and getting better at makeup. You see how many things I have to do to remain sane without my babies to take care of? Lol! They are my life, my heart, my world and I will be here for them forever. In fact, I’m doing this for them. I want them to benefit from the books I sell and the job I have. I still want to give them the world. I suppose that need will never go away!

As I complete this portion of this article, and I await the responses of my kids, I must admit I am a little nervous about what their answers will be. Will they think I was overbearing, smothering, not there, or hard to love? I hope not! Lol. I will write a follow-up to this article detailing their thoughts compared to mine. I know that I cherish my mother. She is my heart as well. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for her. I look at her as a mother and see no wrong. She is the best mother God could’ve given me. She’s done so much for me that I will forever be grateful! Perhaps, my two children will think similar of me. We shall see.

Sibling Love #Timothy

Timothy, My Brother

You’re my brother
And I truly love you
I may not always show it
but please know I do

I’ll always be here
for whatever you need
Please don’t ever feel
you can’t count to me

God put us together
as sister and brother
When it comes to you
I don’t want any other

We had our difference
as our lives went on
We even once grew apart
But we still had our bond

Although we’re all grown up
l know I will never forget
How the good and bad times
strengthened our relationship

Like when we were kids, my brother
I want to hug you and say
You have a place in my heart
today, tommorow and always

Written by Valerie Furr-Collins
© November 5, 2018