Coffee, Chocolate and Fries: Tragedy and Thankfulness

It’s the phone call no parent wants to receive.

I will remember the voice on the other end of the phone, what time of day it was, where I was and what I was wearing for the rest of my life.

On November 12, 2015, my son was shot. It was his 18th birthday.

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Life hasn’t quite been the same.

People “tell” me I should be thankful (as if I’m not) that he is alive. What people don’t tell me is how I am supposed to function and remember the rest of my life.

Because the rest of my life has stopped and I don’t know how to go back to it.

I spend my days now, sitting next to him at the hospital, answering texts and messages, trying to stay out of my feelings.  I want to scream.  I want to lash out.  Both are unproductive.  I’ve probably gained ten pounds because all I do is drink Starbucks (I’ve spent 13 nights sleeping in a hospital recliner so I”m not a functioning adult when I wake up and besides, Starbucks is comforting to me), eat french fries (only thing available in the hospital cafe for a vegan besides nasty looking iceberg lettuce) and stuff chocolate down m throat (emotional reaction). Far from my mind are the days of teaching classes, sweating through three sets of clothes a day and eating my avocados, sweet potatoes and oatmeal at my leisure.

It’s only been two weeks.

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I’m afraid that I may never physically leave my childrens’ side again.  I’m afraid that teaching classes will feel like more stress than it’s worth.  I’m afraid that I will begin to be affected by the stares and whispering.  I’m afraid that I will never eat a regular diet or sleep through the night ever again.  I’m afraid I won’t be able to handle his post-trauma or mine.  I’m afraid that the idea of self care is nothing more than a memory of things I used to preach.

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One day, I hope the joy of life will return to my heart.  I am SUPER thankful that my child is alive.  I’m just sad.  I’m really, really sad. I’m thankful for the people who have been by my side.  I’m just sad that it’s been more about “what happened?” instead of being concern that my son was still living.  I’m thankful that I’m an independent contractor and I can take off for two weeks.  I’m sad that my creditors couldn’t care less and I have to worry about paying bills while trying to be a mother.

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I’m not ungrateful.  I’m just sad.  And I wonder if life will ever look the same.

May you be thankful and not sad this Thanksgiving weekend.  Instead of cooking, drinking wine, talking to family and eating pieces of pie early,  I will be sitting in a hospital room, trying to piece my my life back together again.

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I have no doubt that there is a new normal and we’ll be fine.  It’s the process that’s hurting my heart.

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I’ll see you all soon.

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36 Responses to Coffee, Chocolate and Fries: Tragedy and Thankfulness

  1. I am so sorry that you had to experience this horrible event and that it happened to your son. As a mother, there is no bigger fear than something hurting your children. I am happy to hear that he is still alive and that you are there by his side, exactly where you need to be. I wish I could be there to give you a hug, because you are sad. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with your readers. Although there is nothing I can say to make it better, please know that so many people are thinking of you and your son. My heart goes out to you.

  2. Joanna says:

    Tasha, I know how it feels to go through something so painful that you feel numb. You start wondering “what did I do!” I want to pray for you – dear most gracious and Heavenly Father, I request that you comfort my friend Tasha right now and you allow the Holy Spirit to minister to her and give her exactly what she needs right now Lord. Lift her son up and pour into him miraculous healing in his mind body and soul. Release your holy annointing over Tasha’s and her sons lives so much so, that the blessings and favor they receive, they will know you are the source and are still in the miracle business. I pray for her daughter and husband that they receive the covering and overflow of your annointing. Thank you Lord for answering Tasha’s prayers and giving her the desires of her heart right now- these requests are made in the Holy name of Jesus – amen!

  3. Erin says:

    Tasha, my heart aches for you. Your son is blessed to have you as his Mom, in every ounce of the meaning of being a Mom. While we don’t know an emergency situation as yours with guns involved, we know the hospital life. The trials. The bills that don’t stop, but all you can do is be there to support him. Your new normal is just beginning. You have many of us here holding you up from afar, sending much love. So know, I send love and more love. Thankful for your honesty and your strength in even writing. xox

  4. LaShawn says:

    I don’t know what to say but everything to feel. If that makes sense. As your friend I wished I could pray the pain away, but as a mother of an 19 year old son I know that is not enough. I just wanted you to know as a friend, a woman and a mother that I love you sista and is praying for your PEACE, comfort and understanding of this all. There is a reason in all God’s works. We just have to believe. I know it may seem to soon to see, but it will be revealed. Keep moving in his purpose for you and he will guide you through.

  5. Coco says:

    Oh, Tasha, I am so sorry. I am thankful that your son is alive. I am thankful that you WILL get through this. I hope that you know that you are not alone in your fears, in your pain, or in your struggles.

    • Coco says:

      Oh, and I am thankful that you are finding comfort in Starbucks and chocolate and can subsist on vegan hospital fries. Sometimes you gotta do whatever it takes to get through.

  6. Dacia says:

    I am not sure your life will ever be the same. How could it be after something so tragic. Your whole family is feeling so many emotions most will never experience. Be sad, be angry. Honor yourself by not trying to force them away. Process them. And in time you will find a way to move forward stronger. You all will. Your son included. I hate to be cliche but when they say time heals all wounds I think it is the truth. It’s the last thing anyone wants to hear- to wait it out- but day after day make your way through life and after time you will be ready for acceptance and to allow the grief to pass. You are strong, stronger than you know. I am here for you in whatever capacity you need. Need me to ship you some vegan meals? xoxox

  7. Tasha:

    My heart hurts for you. I know that any words I can share won’t do enough to comfort you in this very unique time. Please know that you have support in more ways than you realize
    to help you as you move through this place in your life.

    Someone with your positivity and faith doesn’t need to be challenged but for some reason, you are. I have no doubt that you and your family will come out of this stronger than ever but those words are cold comfort while you’re in the thick of it right now.

    I’m sending love your way. I hope you know just how many people care for you and are thankful to have YOU in their lives.

    May your road ahead be smoother than you expect. Please know there are many who want and would love to help in any way they can.

    Much love!

  8. Carrie says:

    Stay Strong. You’ve got this. And you have us. We are all here when your need us. Just yell and we’ll help in anyway we can. Healing Prayers!! xoxo

  9. Not only is it okay to feel sad, it’s imperative that you truly FEEL it and whatever other feelings come ‘around. Feeling ALL the feelings doesn’t mean you have to act on them (and I know you know that). BUG HUGS and BIG LOVE coming your way…lean on that for now.

  10. Kimberly G says:

    I’m so sorry! My heart is breaking for you. You are strong and it seems like you have a good support system. Keeping you all in my prayers!

  11. Kareen says:

    Tasha,

    I’m so sorry mama. Things will not be the same.

    Please let me know if you need anything. Anything.

  12. Kasey Arena says:

    I love you girl — sending you and your family huge hugs <3 <3

  13. charlotte says:

    Tasha.. While none of us know the reasons or the meaning behind something so tragic, I think the human spirit perseveres and as a result we become stronger and more centered than ever. I pray you and your family will heal each day. God has a plan in there for your family although it’s hard to understand why and what. But, in time, when it’s revealed, I just know you and your family will guide others to find peace, love and gratitude.

  14. Bonnie says:

    Thank you for sharing. I recently went through something that my response was always the same. Never was I ungrateful just sad that it happened and changed the life that I was used too.
    I shared similar fears. I felt like the sadness was so deep that I was never going to be the same. Surprisingly after things settled down I did start to feel myself again only a different stronger self.
    I can’t imagine my son ever being hurt. The thought alone terrifies me. I hope each day is an improvement for your son. I’m so sorry your lives have changed and I understand the sadness. Nothing anyone says will make it different so I won’t even try. I only can offer positive vibes your way and well wishes. All the best

  15. Carrie says:

    Tasha – My heart aches for your pain. There are so many people behind you, lifting you up with their thoughts and prayers. Please know that the strength you’ve given to others will return to you in this time of struggle. Sending love and peace and more strength to your whole family.

  16. Lady Altovise says:

    I am so glad you had the foresight to vent. To share. To paint a VIVID picture of reality. I thank you for letting me in. It only made me love you MORE! You are on your way, Queen. This way of living that’s new to you is going to be just fine. By & by.You know why, because your instincts are guiding you in the right direction. Thats God. See, you are not too vain, too pretentious, or too arrogant to greive, to feel pain, to honestly weep. That ability to feel …will allow you and your loved ones to heal. With God’s help, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE. and that’s not just a popular quote from the Bible, that is my testimony. I am a living witness Tasha. Your grace is so beautiful. God bless you for that post. Not only did it touch me, but it inspired me to reflect and appreciate. Thank you. He’s using you through this journey. What a testimony you will have!

  17. Heather @YSP says:

    Oh love. I have no words. I am so, so thankful he survived, and so sorry you’re going through something so tough. I imagine the road to healing will be incredibly long and difficult, but you have a clear reservoir of amazing strength and you will get through it. I believe that in times of intense grief, things like eating chocolate and french fries ARE self-care. You’re doing what you need to in order to get through this with some modicum of sanity, and what is that if not self-care? You just be there for your family, take everything one baby step at a time, and the rest will fall into place as it will. I’ll be thinking of you and your family. Sending love.

  18. Cynthia says:

    Tasha, I’m so sorry. I am so happy he’s alive but it doesn’t ease the pain of the reality. I don’t have any magical words to say except that I’m thinking of you. And of your son.

  19. I am so sorry to read this devastating news, Tasha. There will come a time when you can find a new “normal” again, but try to focus for now on taking things one day at a time and spending as much time with your son as you can. There are more important things to worry about right now than the amount of Starbucks that you’re drinking or the number of french fries from the cafeteria that you’re eating.

  20. Lisa says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about what you are going through. Please remember to try and take some time for yourself during these days, even if those moments are brief, to de-stress the best you can.

  21. Oh Tasha, my heart hurts for you. But I also know that you are exactly where you should be. Nothing – NOTHING – else matters! Hugs, prayers and healthy vibes for your boy!

  22. Barbara Casaceli says:

    Tasha, we don’t know each other well or at all really, we just both seem to have a passion for health! We’ve got connected through #holidaysweat and #fitapproach. But none of that matters now because we are connected as mothers! I am so sorry for what has happened to your son and to your life. I hope it helps to know people are thinking of you and your family, wishing your son a speedy recovery!! I want to tell you it is okay to feel sad, you are grieving life as you knew it. It is a very normal reaction. Let the sadness happen it is the only way to get to the other side were life will start rebuilding itself. My heart reaches out to you. Please feel free to ask for help and support!! Prayers! Barbara

  23. Melissa says:

    I’m not ungrateful. I’m just sad.

    That, my friend, is truth. You have so much to be thankful for, and you’re not missing that. There’s nothing wrong with being sad, it is what it is. I hate when we’re told that God never gives us more than we can handle, because heck yes, he sure does. But it grows our dependence, trust, and faith in him because of it.

    I am sad for you. I’m sad because normal has to take on a new meaning. I’m sad because you have to see life through the senseless filter of violence. I’m sad because your mama heart is hurting.

    To everything there is a season, and I’m praying for this season, and the joy that will be coming when you make it to a new normal.

    Hugs, friend.

  24. Sorry for what’s going on, my prayers are with you friend <3 I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving tomorrow in spite of the struggle.

  25. I am not a mother so I know I cannot even begin to imagine your pain. I know it’s okay to be sad, to be hurt and to be angry. Do what you need to do and do the best you can with what you have. Hugs from afar.

  26. I am so sorry that you, your son and your family are having to endure this event in your life. My prayers and strength are with your son. May God watch over you both during this holiday season and bring him the courage and strength he needs to heal. The emotional toll on both of you will be difficult, but your friends and family are here to lift you up and support you in the times you need it. God is with you. Those footprints in the sand are Him.

  27. Bri says:

    Oh Tasha, I’m so sorry to hear this happened. Not just for the physical pain, but for the emotional aftermath you and your family are experiencing. Sending love and positive, healing thoughts all the way from Vancouver Island XO

  28. Halona Black says:

    I am glad your son is doing well. Your reaction to all of this has actually made me feel better about my own life. We are human after all. My husband had a transplant this past summer. Since then I have had many, many days and nights in that same hospital recliner eating bad food and gaining weight — even months after the transplant. I’m behind on bills, and no one ever seems to ask how I’m doing. But I guess it comes with the territory. Thank you for demonstrating that it’s ok to be human. I know your son will be home soon.

  29. Bain says:

    I’m so horrified that this happened to you, to your son, to your family. There’s nothing I can say that’s going to make you feel better, I know that. In fact there’s likely nothing I can do. I can barely comprehend just how much suck this is. I’m so very sorry. Lots of people are loving on you from afar. I hope you have people nearby to love on you too.

    I think there are vegan meal delivery services, no idea what they are called or how good they are. 🙁

  30. Sunny says:

    Oh girl, I wish I had some comforting words that would create a sense of calm and peace in your life. Sending healing prayers and thoughts your way.
    My heart stopped when I read that your son had been shot. I am so very sorry that this has happened to your family. I can’t even imagine what you are going through. All I can do is pray.

  31. Jackie Moore says:

    Tasha, my heart breaks for you. As the mother of two young black men myself, my heart skips a beat and I inwardly cringe at the thought of losing another young black man to unnecessary violence. My sons are now 20 and 28 and I still pray every night that they are not home. I know you are strong but sometimes, it’s okay to just be mama. It’s okay to say it doesn’t make sense, because it doesn’t. It’s okay that even at the age of 18 we still want to take away the pain that has been inflicted upon our sons. I can’t be there in the hospital with you, but my prayers can. Continue to be mama for him which means you are his strength. But it’s okay to be Tasha for you. A mother whose heart has been irreparable broken, for now, but a heart so filled with love for her child. Life may never be the way it was, but you will learn to live again and so will your son.

  32. I can not begin to image what you are going through.

    I am so sorry to read and hear this. Sending you prayers and virtual hugs from MD.

  33. Megan says:

    Tasha,
    I’m praying for you and your family! May you all feel God lifting you up during this time and beyond.

  34. Oh Tasha I’m so sorry to hear this tragic news. You & your family are in my thoughts & prayers. Sending you love & hugs from Canada.