December 11, 2010 will always be etched in my mind. I watched as my mother was journeying through a part of her life, a new part, a different part. The chapters of her book on earth were concluding. She lay in the bed at the Hospice House, awake, but asleep with the family gathered around. As I said my “goodbyes” to her, I knew it would not be long until her journey transitioned to the next part, the part on the other side of this life.
My name in Johnny Richards. I see life from different views. I am a husband of 30 years to a wonderful lady, Kathy. I am the father of four wonderful children, Heidi, Nathan, Caitlin and Christopher. I am a pastor and I am a Hospice Bereavement coordinator. I have also been a Hospice Chaplain. While I have had a journey for 54 years, it is the last two years that have given me the vision for this blog. I completed my chaplain residency in 2013 with the help of a friend and mentor, Dr. Randy Hall. He gave me the permission to image my feelings, something I have fallen in love with doing. I enjoy putting pictures to the feelings with which I am dealing. It allows me to really focus on why I am feeling the way I am. Thus the image of a journey.
We all take journeys in life. Most of the time we think about journeys as a vacation to an exciting and expectant place. We make our plans, talk to the family, pack our bags and look forward, with anticipation, to the journey. We enjoy this journey. This journey causes memories to be packed away in our minds. We can look back on these journeys with joy as we begin to look forward and plan for our next journey.
Unfortunately, there are journeys that take place that we are not prepared to take. These journeys take us to places we are not expecting, and not sure where we are going. Journeys that do not bring about joy and laughter, but sometimes pain, anger and bitterness. Nevertheless, they are journeys we take.
This blog will be about journeys. It will be about journeys taken on a different level. The journeys will not always be filled with joy, but sometimes pain. However, the journeys will not be taken alone. The journeys will be taken with others eyes watching and other hands and feet helping. Some journeys need to be taken with others by our side.
This blog will also talk about those who are helpers, caregivers, aids and friends. While some people feel they are helpless as they watch someone journey, quiet and strong helpers are appreciated in the difficult journeys we face. My goal in this blog is not to teach the reader, but to allow the reader to experience the journey. If there is something that is read that helps strengthen someone, that is good. If there is something that is read that gives someone confidence and courage, that is good. If there is something that is read that helps the reader connect, that is better.
The journey is beginning. Today is the first day of this journey. Pack your bags, but understand, I am not sure where this journey is going, which brings about both excitement and anxiety. But thats ok, as long as I know I have people journeying with me.