The Grooming of My Soul
Before my daughter, Paula, died, I searched for something I thought was missing. God brought my future husband into my life almost a year before her passing. I remember I felt meeting Denny was a good thing. I was happy and getting ready to spend the future with him and be there for my daughters whenever they needed me. I thought keeping myself busy and productive daily was vital to myself and others around me. I would be fulfilling what I'm supposed to be doing during this period in my life. My two daughters were both in their twenties and comfortable in their present life. I could now be happy and enjoy my life with this remarkable man. It was my time to sit back and smell the roses.
Then, one morning my life changed, and the person I was had to undergo some changes in herself if she wanted to continue to live. I'm referring to the day of my daughter Paula's death and realizing I was fortunate God was in my life. I didn't know then that I needed God more than I ever could imagine. I always thought God was there for me, but facing the tragedy of losing Paula left me in total despair. I faced the question of how much I truly believed in God and if I was worthy of Him. With the death of my child, I found myself shattered to the core in my heart, and I knew I needed to believe in the afterlife, namely, Heaven so that I could be with her again. I needed hope, and no one in my circle of life seemed to know how to give it to me. I'm sure I didn't know what I needed; how could anyone else know?
The reality was apparent that Paula was no longer here on this earth, and it was important for me to take care of my soul and bodily health if I wanted to be with her again. I needed to know that there was a better place beyond life here on earth. I wanted and needed faith, believing that there are better things in life than living day to day without purpose. I wanted my existence to count as something spiritual in every day of my life. My actual test of believing in God was beginning, and I gravitated toward this way of thinking because I knew it was my only way to survive. I needed to believe in Heaven and implement a structure of spiritual living to get there when I die.
My book is about my journey with God by my side for the last thirty years since her death. At the beginning of my grief, I asked God for a plan to follow to save me from the pain of sorrow. I was hoping for a safe place to go, and this place was with Denny, my daughter, Ellen, and others. I loved what I didn't know; that first year was how this plan and the outcome would change me forever by making me a better person. It started with me having the structure to follow so I could begin to mend my broken heart. This was a tremendous job for me to accomplish, and my choices in living begin with my decision based on the free will God gave me.
For the first time in my life, I realized what having control over yourself meant, how this free will determines who you are, and what pathway your free will takes you. My future depended on what, how, and why I chose to execute in my life from here going forward. I saw many roads in front of me, and for the first time, I was careful to select any road before just considering the circumstances. This included almost everything in my life, such as the new family I married into and my relationship with members of my existing family, including my daughter Ellen, my mother, and two sisters. Next, I had to decide which friends were essential to me and what place they needed to be in my circle of life. I kept close to my friends, that tried to understand my sorrow. They allowed me to express myself, let my feelings be known, and didn't judge me as weak or heartbroken. They understood my heartbroken being was the outcome of real devastating grief, which could happen to anyone.
In the first year of survival, I didn't realize that my health would be a real challenge. One issue after another became a constant responsibility as I struggled to remain as healthy as possible and stay alive myself. My outlook on life, the people I needed in my life, how I wanted to be treated, and how I would treat others became important to me. Being good to others became a priority, and I learned that giving was much more rewarding than receiving. This was the beginning of taking seriously the grooming of my soul to get my ticket to Heaven when I die.
~ Carole J. Sluski