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the devil is in the details

the devil is in the details

the devil is in the details

Each day brings a new set of challenges. It presents different memories, it reminds me of good times and bad, and it gives a new perspective of the details surrounding my child’s final day. Just when I think I’ve come to terms with Mason’s death, a new detail reopens my wound with what feels like a vicious twist of a wickedly sharp knife (or maybe it’s serrated, for the enemy’s pleasure…)  A quick stab of guilt, a forceful thrust of grief, and a fresh wave of pain. Startling. Sharp. Painful.

I cannot control the flood of emotion or wind back the clock. I cannot fast forward the tape. I can’t undo anyone’s actions, reverse anyone’s influence, take back any words or insert new ones. I can’t prevent his radical, desperate, lightning-quick decision. I can’t warn him about consequences. I can’t reorder his steps that day. Sweet baby Jesus, I’d give anything to be able to do any of this.  But, no, I’ve been rendered completely useless. My hands hang limp and my heart bleeds while the tears pour from my eyes. My legs move when they want, and sometimes I find myself standing in a random hallway or room, sobbing. Uh… really? Yep, really.  Obviously, this presents its fair share of difficulties. I’ve decided it’s a good day when I can interact normally most of the day and I only cry privately. I don’t have many days like that, but I’m trying.

Here’s a question I’ve asked myself almost every single day since June 3rd:  Why do I keep reviewing the details? Why put myself through it again and again? I cannot change the outcome, no matter how many variations I invent in my mind.  Why, then, does my mind continue to put pieces of the puzzle together, then rearrange them, then add more, then subtract? Why does my heart stack up the memories, build up the moments, then topple them over again and rebuild, redo, review…?  WHY???

Have you ever heard the phrase ‘The Devil’s in the details’? I have become intimate with that phrase. That is EXACTLY where he is. He’s there, waiting to devour my mind and heart, and destroy the accuracy of my memories. He hides himself well, presses himself deep into the corners of my mind, and uses his little knife to poke and cut and jab at me as I painfully replay moments with my boy. Did I tell him I loved him often enough? Obviously not, is the response. Did I give him everything he needed? No, you were stingy and selfish, comes the reply.

Was I available? Did I listen, really listen? Should I have hugged him more? Could I have done better? Was I the best mom I could have been? Did I fail him? Should I have protected him more? What did I miss? Will he forgive me? Does he know how very important he was to me? Did he know he was ending my life too? Will he be there to greet me when I arrive?  The responses are often harsh, and unforgiving, laden with accusation. Yes, the devil is in the details and he loves it when I go looking for him.  He’s a sneaky bastard, and does his very best to sound just like me when responding to my heart’s most desperate and secret questions.

I cannot stop myself from reviewing the details. I refuse to block out the memories, good or bad. I willfully embrace the ‘wave’ when I recognize its approach. I feel the subtle shift within me and sense the changing tides of emotion. I cannot stop it, and it seems to me that it is just a normal part of the healing process. Here is the learning for me…While I cannot prevent the inevitable return to the ‘details’ (like a hang nail waiting to be picked, or an itch that needs scratching), what I can do is disregard the ‘devil’ in the details. Period. That is what I control. The true answer to all of the questions my heart and mind continue to ask is this: Mason was loved. He knew it. I knew it. His friends knew it. My friends knew it. Anyone who had ever met us, knew it. Mason was loved, loved, loved. The devil may be in the details, but that doesn’t mean he gets to remain.

mase n me at disneyland snow

Hope you come back to read my next blog entitled, “It’s a good thing I’m not God.”

  • Kamera Gerhart
    Posted at 17:28h, 07 July Reply

    God bless your heart! Your words remind me of Casting Crown’s song “The Voice of Truth”. It is easy to listen to the confusion, but to truly hear the voice of Truth is comforting, loving, forgiving, all knowing and complete. You are soooo in my prayers <3 Love you Holly

    • hollygurl73
      Posted at 12:06h, 16 July Reply

      Thanks Cousin Kami! It’s so unfair… and such an intensely painful tragedy, but it helps to know that friends and family are praying and reading and supporting… love u, gurrrrl.

  • wayne ashmore
    Posted at 17:47h, 07 July Reply

    The devil knows Mason was loved, unconditionally… He knows that even though he’s gone Mason is still loved and will always be loved. Satan knows your a very strong, God fearing woman. He hates that and will pry at any opening to make you feel like you are less than perfect in God’s eyes. You are perfect, in everything you have done, doing and will do, it’s a battle that you WILL win in time, you have a good guy on your side!


    • hollygurl73
      Posted at 11:19h, 16 July Reply

      wayne- so true. the enemy hates me because god loves me. the enemy tried to destroy me with this, and while he hit me hard, wounded me severely, and shattered my heart, he will not win.

  • Sarah Somewhere
    Posted at 17:49h, 07 July Reply

    This is brilliant Holly, you express the inexpressible! The devil IS in the details, where the un-truths are. God, love and forgiveness IS the truth, the one you so beautifully shared with us at Mason’s memorial. It is only human to want to laden ourselves with guilt over an event so unexplainable, but that is not God’s will for us. I just love the way you explain it, truth and love just pours forth from your words xxx

  • Jennifer Bynum
    Posted at 17:59h, 07 July Reply

    Been there and done that too Holly. Our son Tyler listens to an 80s Christian Rockband called Stryper. One of their songs is To Hell With the devil.( I refuse to put caps on devil even if it is a song title.)

  • Daisy Rain Martin
    Posted at 18:55h, 07 July Reply

    Sage wisdom here…

    • hollygurl73
      Posted at 11:17h, 16 July Reply

      i followed your advice, daisy. i wrote it all. the good, the bad, the ugly. thanks for the coaching… it’s posted!

  • Carol Kenyon
    Posted at 19:25h, 07 July Reply

    Holly I Am so sorry for your loss. Mason adored you and he is still there watching over you. Hugs to you.

  • Heather
    Posted at 20:16h, 07 July Reply

    That’s right, Holly. The devil does NOT get to remain! You keep speaking your truth and the devil will not win this battle! xoxoxo

  • Mary Perkins
    Posted at 07:49h, 08 July Reply

    This made me think of what you said at Mason’s memorial, when you said that you wanted to make it clear that no one is responsible for what happened. That boy was loved, it was clear to anyone who spent more than 5 seconds with you. That evil voice will continue to speak. Keep telling it to shut the f up. It is not the voice of truth girl.

    • hollygurl73
      Posted at 11:16h, 16 July Reply

      thank u, mary perkins! i will never forget that u dropped everything and came to vegas for mason’s memorial. xoxox

  • Karla
    Posted at 08:37h, 08 July Reply

    I am so sorry you have to go thru this, as I was reading your post I was thinking that sometimes the devil wants to get into our lives at the most painful times, to break us, to steal us away from the true and most holy ONE and he knows that you are going thru this painful time and he wants you but, as long as you hold on to JESUS hand the pain and the voices in your head will be lesser and lesser. I lost my mom 7 years ago and my heart hurt like never before I thought it was NEVER going to go away……… I know that this probably doesn’t compare to the loss of a child but at the end of the day you and I have lost somebody that meant the world to us. While I was going thru the loss of my mom and my heart felt like it was going to explode my aunt gave me this little bit of advice that I would like to pass on to you, in those moments of deep hurt tell Jesus “Jesus please hold me in your arms, I am hurting right now!”, that to me was the MOST comforting thing, I felt like HE was literally holding me until the hurt would go away (for that moment), sometimes I had to ask HIM many times thru the day, to hold me. The devil is NOT going to win.

    • hollygurl73
      Posted at 11:15h, 16 July Reply

      karla, thanks for your sweet, encouraging message. you are correct: the devil will not win.

  • John Sampson
    Posted at 12:08h, 08 July Reply

    I asked many of the same questions when I lost my only brother to suicide;leaving behind two kids, mother, father, sister and very close friends who also struggle with those same questions. There were no signs, no mention of his plans to anyone, no missed calls, just a harsh irreversible conclusion carried out in a millisecond! We all wished we could have intervened or done something different but in reality it was all up to him. Hang in there and keep writing!

    • hollygurl73
      Posted at 11:14h, 16 July Reply

      john, you speak the truth. it is no one’s fault. we all have free will. we can love people, and influence their experiences, but ultimately each person walks their own walk, & makes their own decisions. i’m praying for you, your mama, and your family.

  • Spring Hebler
    Posted at 00:54h, 10 July Reply

    I have a love hate relationship with your blog. I love to read your words, I hate that I cry every time. I kept thinking as I read this one… God chose YOU to be his Mother. God knew you would be the perfect mother for Mason and no one, not even the devil, can argue that. Praying for peace and the what if’s to fade. Praying that God will just provide for your heart what He already knows you need. I have been affected by suicide and spent years pondering if I could have changed it. Blaming myself that if I hadn’t done something, or had. It will consume you if you allow it. You will find peace, one day. Peace, not answers…. those are reserved in Heaven. XO

    • karla schmieg
      Posted at 03:57h, 11 July Reply

      That was beautifully put, thanks Spring Hebler, God bless!

    • hollygurl73
      Posted at 11:11h, 16 July Reply

      love your comment, spring! thank u for sharing your thoughts… i have a love/hate relationship with my blog too! haha! 😉

  • proverbs27one
    Posted at 09:36h, 31 July Reply

    I have been following Christ 14 years. My only son is 13. His dad abandoned him. He is my little lamb. I’m reduced to tears when an evil thought of losing him even enters my mind. I can sum total all the bitter trial in my life (divorce etc) yet losing him would be worse than all of it. I see where Christ in me has kept my head above water during all the pain and irritation (like today…car repairs cleaned out our savings….it never ends). I can see where Christ is keeping you from going under and letting satan win. He will win most battles here….but he cannot win in the end for those that know him.

    I ask why…. My son had 2 suicides (2 instances, both 13 year old girls) at his school this year. One girl he sat by in his English class. I talked to my son about it…and yeah, while it blew my mind away, he did not understand the weight of what she did…he just understood it was bad and she’s not here anymore. It happened 3 months ago and I still can’t process it. I probably never will.

    My older brother is a drug addict in Vegas streets many years. He was stabbed in the side 5 days ago. Hit his lung. So glad he will live…but my mom took him in to recover and he is so ungrateful and nasty. I sometimes get angry at God that satan has so much power. But as I reason it out….I don’t want to be in the enemies side. And I am in his army if I get bitter with God. My brother can go into an eternity without Christ at any moment and my weapons are fasting and prayer.
    Thanks for your blog. Ive never been though what you have but when I read your words it brings me closer to Christ…and knowing someone is enduring pain and still trusting God revives me. Sadly, us humans need many revivals on this road to heaven. Your not alone. Jesus knows your suffering. And his word calls it a “fellowship of suffering” I am in it too. Peace upon your mind and heart.

    • it's just me
      Posted at 09:58h, 31 July Reply

      i will pray for you and your family DAILY. thank u for sharing your struggles and worries and pain… YOU are not alone. we all hurt in this world. we all have to soldier on. we all have to make a choice, every day, to trust and believe that God loves us… even though life can be horrific and painful sometimes. i will go visit your brother if you want me to. i don’t even know you but my heart breaks and aches for you. stay strong. lean into god. the enemy delights in our moments of doubt… don’t give him the satisfaction. praise god in the storm. praise god in the war. praise god even as u choke on your tears and fight to breathe. He wins… and because of that, WE WIN. xoxoxoox praying for you.

      • proverbs27one
        Posted at 11:39h, 31 July Reply

        Thank you…his name is Nate.. Please pray for his salvation. Not sure where he is living since my mom is going to have to tell him to leave very soon. Blessing to you.

  • Kione Gonzales
    Posted at 16:45h, 16 August Reply

    I know exactly what you are going through…reliving the details. Last August my mother was murdered…and I relive, review and rehash that day and the days leading up to it. You see her life was taken by my father and there’s a lot that led up to this horrific event. It will be exactly one year on August 27…the day before my son’s and my sister’s birthday. And as the day gets closer…I grow sadder. Why is the one year milestone so hard. We’ve had to go through a lot of firsts since last year—the first Thanksgiving, the first Christmas, her birthday, my birthday, two of my kids’ birthdays. And in the last 3 months…I’ve lost both grandmother’s. I applaud the strength you have to share your thoughts and feelings about what has happened to you. I hope I find a way to do the same. I can tell you I have cried many tears this week just thinking about what happened and seeing pictures of my mom. Wondering some of the same questions you ask yourself. Did she know I loved her? Did I show my love enough? Why did she go back to my dad when she feared for her life? I am sorry for your loss…so very sorry. May Mason’s memory live on in your heart.

    • it's just me
      Posted at 23:03h, 17 August Reply

      kione, my heart breaks for you and for all who loved your mother. i am so very sorry – so so sorry. life can be so cruel. i am keeping you in my prayers, and hoping u feel strengthened as the days pass. i pray god restores your family, draws you closer together, and blesses you beyond comprehension. he wastes nothing (as my friend daisy says..) and he can make even this work for good. i pray for your heart, for your healing, for peace, for rest, for assurance. thank u for messaging me. u are and always will be in my prayers.

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