Why Me?

I just met a little boy while at work, who is 3 years of age and has Cerebral Palsy. He was crying. And the cry reminded me so much of my son D’Jonte when he used to cry at that age. It was a non-stop type of cry, and me rocking him with my knee or taking him to sit outside would always calm him down. Seeing that little boy and when his momma picked him up made me miss my son that much more. Before my son became so big I would carry him everywhere, man I wish I could just pick him up and hug on him right now.

I was touched so much by the little boy and his mother that I couldn’t stay around them any longer, I had to walk away.

I went back downstairs to where the children I was taking care of and I started to cry. Not a little tear but honey hardcore tears streaming down both cheeks, eyes hurting afterward crying. Not knowing why I was crying, I began to realize that I am so full of hurt, what ifs, regret, and guilt. I wanted to scream. I thought about texting or calling my husband or mother, but I am still shy or uncomfortable when expressing my feelings regarding my son and I knew that would only make me cry harder. So instead I pulled out my laptop and started typing away.

I love my son with all that is in me and I made sure he knew he was loved! But because I lacked the support and resources, therefore I wasn’t equipped with everything I needed to care for him medically.

I started a non-profit Their Voice of Greater Cincinnati last year and it wasn’t by my doing, it was all God. But it is my way of being able to equip those who also lack the resources to make sure that they are able to care for their loved ones at home and just in general. I want to make sure that they don’t lack the mental, physical or emotional support that is needed to care for your loved one with Cerebral Palsy or disability in general. I want them to have a place where they know that they are loved and that someone else gets it and understand what they are going through.

But knowing that this is my purpose it still brings me to my question of Why Me?

Working as a full-time nurse who takes care of kids who have disabilities is hard in general. Having this non-profit I have realized that I will be meeting a lot of families with kids just like my Tae and how am I going to be able to deal with it? Am I going to cry every time I meet a kid who reminds me of Tae? Why did God choose this as my life’s purpose? Am I really strong enough for what is about to come? He must have thought I could handle this or I don’t think he would have me doing this and he definitely wouldn’t have blessed me with my son. So all I can say after crying a river of tears is, I am ready Lord and I trust you.

These tears are what make me. Every time I shed a tear I feel that much more determined to help others. My son gave me my testimony and although at times I feel like I failed him, I promise I will not fail him again!

Please go to my website to learn more about Their Voice and if your heart leads you to, please donate to the cause, no donation is too small. It is greatly appreciated.

Theirvoice95@gmail.com

Grief

Grief, what is it?

Grief is a feeling of deep sorrow, especially that is caused by someone’s death. Why do we have to acquire so much pain from death? It comes from knowing that a loved one is gone. You will not be able to touch, hug, kiss or talk to them in the flesh. I could imagine the pain but I never quite understood it or truly knew what it felt like. That it was an unbearable overwhelming, can’t breathe type of pain. When I met my husband I learned more about it than I ever could imagine. And didn’t realize God was preparing me for that pain.

When we started dating in 2007, it had been 6 years since he had buried his 5-year-old son, who also had been diagnosed with Cerebral palsy. He would sometimes break down in tears, saying how much he missed his son. Of course, I would comfort him, but in my mind, I was thinking, “Dude really? It’s been 6 years why are you crying”? I am just speaking my truth because I didn’t understand that something so painful as the loss of your son could go on forever. I had never lost someone that close to me so I was oblivious to his pain. This is why it is so important for me to touch on this subject.

At one point or another, we will all go through grief. There are 5 stages of grief and they can come at any time during the grieving process. Grief doesn’t follow a timeline that is one thing people who have never grieved don’t quite understand.

-Five Stages:
1) Denial
2) Anger
3) Bargaining
4) Depression
5) Acceptance

Everyone grieves differently, but at some point, we will feel each one of these emotions. Although I don’t know if I ever felt the denial stage, then again maybe I have. I never could form my lips to say my son is “dead”. That just seems so final or made it seem real. So instead I always say that I loss my son. Just recently I have started saying he has “passed” away. 3 months after he passed away, I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. I remember looking at my mom and husband and saying, I have no idea where this little baby is going to sleep because she can’t have Tae room. I was in denial; I refused at first to move his things to make room for another baby. Moving his items would feel as if I was forgetting about him. As if I was trying to erase his memory and I couldn’t do that. Eventually, as my due date got closer I was able to rearrange his room for her. One side had his name on the wall and I refused to paint over it, so one wall had his name and the other wall had her name on it.

A lot of the anger comes from wondering what could I have done differently? Why did God take my son away? Why me Lord? And for me, I feel angry because at the time of my son’s death he was in a facility. I had told him in December that he was coming home soon but January he passed away and never made it back to our home. So I hold a lot of guilt, which can turn into anger for me.

Months later after feeling fine and going through life, the grief process hits you again. And don’t let someone who doesn’t “get it” come in contact with you when you are feeling any of these emotions, then they start to say the dumbest remarks, like. “ “He is in a better place” or “he was sick right”, or “Its been 6 months you still grieving”? “Think about the good times”

I get it you mean well, but sometimes being silent is more helpful than those comments. Seriously, and it’s not me being mean or sensitive it’s me being real. We don’t want to hear that our loved one is in a better place when we prefer him/her to be right here with us. We know we have great memories, but we want to make more! I want to hug and kiss on my son and tell him in his ear how much I love him.

People think that you only grieve right after a death and then it should be over. Negative! My son passed away 8 years ago and it feels like yesterday. That day replays over in my mind more than I want it to. The pain/ grief hits me when I least expect it. I can be driving in my car and bam, tears start rolling down my face, and then depression sets in. I can be cooking dinner for my family and then an overwhelming feeling of sadness hits me.

I cry, scream, pray and then the acceptance that my son is gone sets in. For me, bargaining usually comes around the same time as depression and acceptance. I ask God, “ Why couldn’t my son be here for me to live out my purpose”? “Why couldn’t he be here with me”? “Why did he have to move on for me to have a testimony?” “I wish his sister could have met him” etc.

So I am saying all this to say, grief has no time limit. I will always feel the emptiness of my son not being here and the pain in my heart. What I can say is, as time goes on those who have dealt with a loss, will learn how to deal with the grief better. Every day gets better, and you may go without any feelings of grief longer than before. I just want people to understand that they should always be careful with their words and be more sensitive to those who are dealing with a loss. That pain of a loved one is strong and it never goes away, some of us learn how to cope with that pain and others allow that depression to set in. We are all different and we all handle situations differently, so please be kind. You never know what we are feeling, just because we are smiling on the outside our insides are crying. Try to understand. Call us. Check in on us, especially on their birthdays, holidays and their anniversaries.

Grief is a forever process, don’t you forget that. The better you understand it the more you can help us. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, but do be afraid to say dumb remarks like the ones I mentioned above because we just might snap. LOL

GRIEF will forever change a person. Never expect them to be the same afterwards. 

To learn more about how I have dealt with the loss of my son or my husband please order a copy of our book, “Life Before and After Cerebral Palsy, We Are Their Voices”
Available on Amazon, Barnes& Noble, Google Play or iTunes

Who Am I…

Tammy Westmoreland - D'Jonte's Voice
Qute Cosmetics  

Who Am I?

This is a question a lot of us still do not know the answer to. We think we know who we are and then something happens that smacks us into reality.

Hello, My name is Tammy Floyd- Westmoreland, and up until recently, I wasn’t sure who I was or what purpose I had on this earth.

WE all go through life hoping for the best. Not knowing what life lessons or trials or errors we will occur. I never knew why I had been dealt the cards I had, but I just did my best to make that hand work. Not knowing that I had a full hand of Queens, Kings and Ace's and could lay them down at any time to get my reward or blessings.

November 8, 1995, I gave birth to my first and oldest son D’Jonte. I was only 15 years old.
Fast forward to January 3, 2011, when I was 30 and he was 15 years of age he passed away.

My life changed forever! I didn’t know what to do or where I would go next. I had at that time, an almost 10-year-old son and did my best to be strong for him and push through. I was an LPN and didn’t know if I wanted to continue on as a nurse. I was scheduled to meet with an Advisor for RN school the same day my son passed away. So RN school was no longer my focus. Trying to survive and live life after death became my mission. Literally...

Fast forward to now March 2019.
It has been 8 years and 2 months since my son passed away. Since then I gave birth to my baby girl who is now 7 years old. And I got married to my best friend; my soul mate and it will be 7 years for us in July. I now have two businesses, a cosmetics company and a non-profit which both I use to raise money and awareness for families affected by Cerebral Palsy and other disabilities. I never imagined me doing any of the things that I am doing now. I am a motivational speaker and author. I don’t understand and it’s not meant for me to, know what God’s plans are or why he chose to give me my son for only a short period of time. What I do know is that my son’s life on earth was meant for a reason. He taught me about unconditional love, strength and that no matter what goes on in your life you stand tall and smile.

We all are on this earth for a reason, and God has given us a gift of purpose. It's up to us to figure out what that gift or purpose is.

I learned that although my son couldn’t walk or talk, he gave me my reason to live. He gave me my PURPOSE and an amazing TESTIMONY. Purpose to be the voice that he never had. To be the voice for many other families just like us that have been affected by Cerebral Palsy. To uplift, inspire and encourage those who have a voice but don’t know how to quite use it.

I now Know who I am. I am Tammy Floyd-Westomoreland. I AM HIS VOICE.