Saturday, March 28, 2009

Updates and Relay Info

I know it has been a few weeks since I have posted (again), and I can tell you that I needed all three weeks to get to where I am now...

A few weeks ago, I was in a bad way. I was anxious all the time. I had Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVC's), which like I said before is just a fancy name for a heart skipping a beat. I felt fatigued, I felt depressed, I felt like I was deteriorating from the inside out. I can't explain how bad I felt inside. I knew I needed to get away. I needed a trip, a vacation; just some time away from everything. Time by myself to reflect on the recent and even not so recent past. Time to spend with friends. Time to spend with family. Time to feel loved. Time to love. Time to cry. Time to console those who are crying. Time to enjoy beautiful weather. Time to golf!

I decided I would go down to Florida for a couple of weeks. I drove down, by myself. Lots of folks offered to be my co-pilot, including my own mom and dad. I knew that God was going to be the only one I wanted as my co-pilot on this trip. No offense to my parents, who I know worry about me daily, but I had a lot to talk to God about; I had lots of questions, lots of confessions, lots of crying to do with Him. I stopped just outside of Charlotte, NC, in a town named Matthews. It's just off I-485 about 15 min. from I-77. Matthews is home to an angel of a friend of mine, Pami, who I needed to visit. It was only a few hours of a visit; she needed to wake up early and I needed to drive again in the morning, so a wonderful talk was cut short. Even though it was cut short, it was needed and worth the time spent. She gave me some very nice gifts upon being an audiobook called "The Shack", by W. Paul Young. I went to sleep smiling...

Now normally, I am not big into audiobooks. Heck, the last two times I listened to them, I fell asleep during the first couple of chapters of each! But looking at the subtitle of "The Shack", I saw that it said "Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity". Something about those four words grabbed a hold of me and compelled me to pop it into the cd changer to listen on the drive down to Jacksonville. The book started out kind of dry. I fought through the first chapter or so to really grip what was happening...then...BAM! Wow. It had grabbed me by the short hairs and I was hooked. I identified with the main character, Mack, almost instantly. I put myself in place as I listened to the book play on. I identified with the tragedy of losing someone I loved with all of my heart. I identified with his relationship with God and the premonitions he had. I identified with his anger, his sadness, his DESPAIR...and I cried...sometimes uncontrollably, through my drive to Jacksonville. This book was so powerful to me, I listened to all seven CDs in a row. I got to Jacksonville in my apartment complex a few sentences into the seventh CD. I stayed in my car for an extra hour to finish it. I cannot tell you how moving this book was for me. It was a life changing book, and I am not exaggerating in the least. I recommend it to all of you and I have already bought copies for family and friends, and will buy more to give as the days go on.

So, I sit in my car. Scared. Timid. Nervous. I knew I had to face the sorrow waiting for me, I just didn't know if I could. Part of me just wantd to skip out and continue driving down to my mom's house. But as I sit there, crying, I knew I had to go in. As if the Holy Spirit compelled her, my friend Alyce sent me a text message saying, "Are U ok? Need to talk"? YES! I called her and told her what I was feeling. She told me, calmly and in a relaxing tone, "You go in there when you feel right. You go in there when you feel like you can do it. It doesn't matter if you sit in that care for 15 more minutes or two more hours, just take your time". Wow. I am blessed. You'll hear me say that a few more times in this entry...a half hour later, I work up the courage to go in. I start off in CSI mode; making sure that all items are where they belong and nothing is missing. All seems to be good. Then it hits me. Pictures, memories, overwhelming sadness. I sob uncontrollably. Again, as if compelled, another friend of mine, Sarah, an Ombudsman for my last ship and a wife of a sailor and friend of mine from that ship, text messages me saying "You don't need to be alone, come over and talk". At this point I knew she was right. I went over and spent a few hours talking and crying with her. It was needed. I head back to the apartment, feeling better about things. I stop at Arby's, which at 11:00 PM was still open! Woo-hoo! I watch The Late Show with David Letterman and crawl into bed around midnight. Then BAM! It hits me again. Not having Rach in bed with me is too much to handle. It is the first time I have slept in our bed since she's been gone. I cry to the point I have no tears left. I hold and try to smell her pillow and have trouble breathing; you know how them sobs are? Like the ones when you're a child and you smack your head and you hold your breath and your lips turn purple before you let 'er rip. I cried myself to sleep...not knowing what was in my future. If I would have died in my sleep that night it would have been fine by me.

The next day I drove down to my mom's house. I spent some good times with her and Wade, my step-father. We have a good dinner and I go to a golf show with him...I saw some really cool things there and realized how much I need to work on in my golf game. I suck!!! Good thing is Wade is a golf pro and good teacher. I hope to learn quite a bit from him in the future. I go and visit my friend Christina, who lives in Melbourne, FL. We have a great time; one of the coolest things we do is go to a pottery place where you paint your own item and they cook and cure it for you. We made things for each other. Afterwards we enjoy some good conversation and I got the physical touch and emotional support I needed. She has a great way of relaxing me...and making me feel cared for. After a few days with her, I go to my sister, Devine's house. We have a great time; in the next few days, we go to the Florida Aquarium down in Tampa; we go eat some good food, and have some good conversations. We played MarioKart Wii online against my other brothers and their families. Me and Adam go golfing; he is pissed about shooting a 77, I am lucky to break 110. I got to cook for them at Nate's house; homeade burgers and BBQ chicken. We had a blast. I played another round with mom, Rick (my step-grandpa), and Nate; I did better, and shot 100, a good 100! We celebrated Nate's birthday, and I spent some quality time with my grandparents and of course, my darling nephew, Drew. I realized almost all anxiety and the PVCs were gone. Non-existent. I felt great. I visited Chris again, had a good time again, then went to my apartment to grab some items to give to Rachel's family. I got on the road again...

Another stop in Matthews. Another too short of a stop and too little time spent with Pami. I gave her a few books...and we had another great talk and a hug that was sincere and much needed by the both of us. The next day, while driving home, Chris called me. She said she could tell I was feeling different, and not in a good way. She was right. Going back to Ohio was depressing. It was upsetting because I knew I would be faced with Rachel's death again, head on. I know I have to be here; for my own support and for the support of Rachel's and my family and friends. However, being around where she died and being around all of the memories takes a toll on me. Two months out I realize that my journey is still very early in it's timeline. A lot of people think I should be better, or less depressed. I have better days. But all I can say is it is like a roller coaster sometimes.

I go to the Catholic Renewal at St. Patrick's in Hubbard. It is the most powerful and meaningful two days of my life. I find out about love, forgiveness, honesty, faith, and realize that I am not alone in my suffering and that there are so many people with me in love and faith. It was so powerful, when they asked me to say a reflection at the end of the weekend after the closing mass, this is what I said:
"...if the Lord is with me who can be against me...Romans 8:31...I have been going through a Renewal of my faith since January 15th, 2009. I came into this weekend with an open mind and a bruised but open heart. I have heard many amazing stories of faith; faith that has waned, faith that has returned; faith that has carried people through hard times every bit as difficult as mine. We all have something in common during this renewal. We have all been through hard times, We have all either ignored, forgot about, or haven't accepted Him in our lives. In that same breath, we also have found God, realized and remembered his presence, and have accepted him in our lives. Many people have complimented me on my strength and faith and the inspiration they have received form me. You may have noticed that as I bear the weight of the cross of pain that i have been carrying, you do not see a strain on my face. We show the strain of carrying and bearing the weight of our crosses when we carry them alone. My family and friends, I do not bear the weight of my cross alone. All of you here with me (and God) have helped me bear the weight of my cross. When you have the support I have had and still have, the weight of the cross is easy to bear. That is why you see no strain on my face. As many of you have heard in one of Fr. Tim's homilies, one of Rachel's surgeons, Dr. Walt Lee, told us: 'Those who make it through the hard times and in essence 'bear the weight of the cross' do it by relying on the three Fs: Faith, Family, and Friends. This weekend during Renewal, I have seeked the Lord, and I have found Him. I have found Him in each and every one of you: my Faith, my Family, and my Friends. I thank you for inspiring me and helping me bear the weight of the cross, and renewing my faith in God. Your Brother in Christ, Rich Possert Jr."

My journey is far from over. These last few weeks have been the most healing of my life. They happened when I needed them the most. When I felt I had nothing to live for, no purpose, these three weeks showed me that I have a purpose, a reason to live. Along them lines, if you have made it this far, I am going to give you a link to a Relay for Life that is being done in (Youngstown) Liberty, Ohio on May 15th, 2009. Our team name is Team Rachel. I ask that you visit our team page and donate to our cause in her name, by going to my page, linked below. If not, please offer us your prayers and even coming to celebrate this with us if you are in the area. For more info, contact me and I will give you what you need. Just about all of the info is on the team's page; which is linked below. Thanks for helping in any way you can; and thank you for helping me bear the weight of my cross. God bless every last one of you.

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WendeeB said...

completely felt the emotion and sincerity of the post, Rick. I'm glad you're making your way though this toughest of journeys.

I do know those sobs, but I used to get them in the line at the bank or grocery store.

Hugs to you from FL.