Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I have had so many helping hands these last few months. My relatives, girlfriends and their husbands have done everything from helping me with the kids and cleaning my new house to organizing the garage and flooring the attic...and many more things in between (we can't forget moving the apple trees ;-) One friend continues to cut the grass at the old house every week even though he is married with 3 young children, and he and his wife both have very demanding jobs...he called one time to ask if *I* could do him a favor--he wanted to do some special yard work at my new house--that was *his* favor-- me letting him do this work. What a gem he is, along with the rest of you. All this is in addition to all the helping hands we had during the first few months of August, September and October of last year. Thank you, thank you. There is no way we could have made it through this year without you.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
I am just emerging from what Beth Moore calls an "ugly season." Most of you would never know (or at least I don't think you would ;-) except that I am confessing it to you right now. I am glad it was relatively short-lived. Although I have acted badly, mostly I have allowed my thoughts free reign…and as Joyce Meyer says "Where the mind goes, the man will follow. " Joyce talks a lot about how we don't have to entertain every thought that "falls into our head." I won't be providing details, but I believe many of you can relate to this struggle too. I am a thinker…I am fairly logical and try to approach problems from many different angles in order to understand…this can be used for good--or not. (Todd used to say, "Your mind scares me." J . He also used to tell me he appreciated how I could offer solutions he had not considered.) I think it really depends on my motives. Do I honestly want to find the best solution to the problem, or am I looking for the solution that most benefits me? Of course the real truth is that the best solution will benefit me as well, although it might not be the one that brings me immediate gratification. It is difficult in these ugly seasons to remember that it is a very good thing that this life is not "all about me."
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
My emotions seem to turn on a dime these days. I am thankful that they can switch from bad to good as quickly as good to bad…at least it is not a one way street. I wish so badly that I could emerge from this to a relatively level path, but I don't think it is in the cards for now anyway. I do keep telling myself that this is the storm, and it will pass—it cannot go on forever no matter what it feels like.
Most days I feel pretty strong, and even when I am overwhelmed with grief, there is something inside me that tells me I can do this. I often cry/shriek out loud that "I don't want to do this!" but deep down I know that I can even though I don't want to. It is amazing to me the things we can do when we know we must.
My kids are beautiful (inside and out). I am so often overwhelmed by my love for them and how beautiful their sweet spirits are. They are strong also—they are fighters—and they know how much their daddy loved us. If you had asked him what he wanted to be remembered for, he would have said "for being the best dad and husband—for letting my family know how much I loved them—not saying it but DOING it." We often talked about these things—and how wonderful our little slice of life was…how although things weren't perfect that there wasn't really anything we would change because all these things together had made us who we were as individuals and as a family…and we felt very blessed. We knew that when one was down, the other would share their strength—we often laughed (and lamented) that we were never both down at the same time. Now pretty much anyone who has kids and has been married for more than 24 hours knows that there is no such thing as a "perfect" family. I don't mean to convey that we were perfect in any way, but I do want to say that when we stood on the edge and took in the panoramic view, it was very satisfying!
The thing that would make me so very happy would be that every married person reading this would love their spouse to the best of their abilities at this moment…to really show that person (the way they like to be shown, not the way you like to be shown) how important and valuable they are to you. Although I know that some of you are in extremely difficult marriages, most of us just let busyness get in the way of our priorities. Don't do that. Make the time so your family knows how much you love and value them—and this needs to happen daily, not just every now and then. If you would do this, that would make me very happy. You don't have to leave a comment, but you could email me and let me know! ;-) (My email is on my profile page if you don't have it already.) If you don't make time for a weekly "date night" then you should start. It doesn't have to be going out—Todd and I usually stayed in. We put the kids to bed, and made each other the focus of the evening. Make the time for your marriage! If your marriage is strong, your kids are going to be happy too. Don't argue with me--just do it. J I know this was preachy, but please humor me in this request. I will just go on and thank you in advance.
Friday, July 16, 2010
I receive mail outs every month or so from the Bereavement Services arm of Hospice of West Tennessee. The latest one was titled: Getting Through The Annual Reminders of Your Loss (by Carol Luebereing), and it contained a prayer at the end. I would like to share this part as I just read it yesterday, and it seemed to resonate with the dilemma I face—learning to let go. Some of you may have read the "Holes" blog which I wrote one day (this week) and deleted the next because it was just too depressing for me. I found the prayer fascinating because it reveals just how similar the grief process must be for many of us – obviously, everyone experiences grief in their own way…but clearly there are commonalities and these must often unfold along the same basic time-line. What follows is an excerpt from this handout that is scheduled to be delivered as the first anniversary of the death approaches. Although not all of it accurately reflects my journey or my feelings, much of it seems to hit the nail squarely on the head for me.
One of the most frightening things for a bereaved person is to conceive of "letting go" of the deceased. To many, this equates with "forgetting" the person who has died. A better way to understand is to shift the focus. Whereas the life and death of a loved one has been the primary and frontal image in the life of the bereaved, the deceased begins to move slowly to the side, to accompany the bereaved on the continuing journey of life instead of being the ultimate goal. The memory remains as long as there is life, but it is no longer the reason for that life. One learns to move forward, taking memories along as companions.
This prayer is not designed to be said once and then put aside, for letting go, does not happen in a single instant. Like grief, it is a process. The prayer is meant to assist in the changing of the focus.
Your death has left a gaping hole in my life and heart, producing an emptiness I know will never be filled. I miss your voice, the sound of your laughter, those funny endearing things you did, those moments when I was infuriated at you. I miss the dreams I had for and with you. I miss the future we will never have and the past, which, no matter how long it may have been, will never be long enough.
I have wept for you as well as for myself. I have raged in anger at you, at God, at fate, at the world, at anyone and anything, which seemed to be an appropriate target. I have tried to understand why you are no longer with me, why I have to struggle through this world without you. Some people have reached out to help me, others have turned away, unable to bear the pain I carry. I do not ask them to share it with me only to listen as I talk and cry. I have waited in the darkness for some sign that you are in a better, safer place, and even when I may have received it, I could not help but question how it could be better if I am not there with you. And I have wanted to join you so often when the aloneness threatened to overwhelm me.
Through all of this turmoil and doubt, I have managed to come this far. I have not yet achieved my goal, but at least I can now recognize that I am on the road to recovery. I am not sure how I will go on without you; no matter how many other important people may be in my life, you have always held a special place, and it is hard to imagine you not with me.
Will you walk beside me now as friend, comrade, and loving companion? I cannot come to you at this time; I can only trust that we will be reunited in God's love and compassion. But my life must go on; it is time for me to begin to live my life for others and myself. Let us then agree to explore these new existences, these spheres of reality, knowing that we carry the other with us, not with chains, but with loving, open hands.
I know you will never leave my side, as I will never leave yours. Thank you for the wonderful, unique relationship we shared. When we meet again, I look forward to sharing these new experiences with you. I love you. I miss you. I will never forget you.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I am better today. I am beginning to allow God to speak comfort to me again. …I had pretty much turned my back for the last few weeks…refusing to receive because…well, because I just didn't want to. Once again, the toddler in me rages for control.
I know the next month will continue with its difficulties since anniversaries abound. July 18 we would have been married for 23 years. August 2 will be one year since this nightmare became our reality. It is also the day I start a new job--one that I believe will be very good for me. A large part of my difficulty is not wanting to let go of so many things--wanting to straddle that fence of yesterday and tomorrow. I picture myself sitting with one leg on each side of a wooden privacy fence--holding on so tightly that I am hugging the fence…and it is very uncomfortable to sit there for long. I need a new picture. I am going to try to see myself walking through a beautiful field of wild flowers…with many flowers behind me and many in front.
Monday, July 12, 2010
As I read back over this, it sounds soooo whiny, but you know what? I don't care. It's my blog and I can whine if I want to. I know many of you have more to whine about than me, but you will just have to start your own blog. I have actually had some really good things happen this past week as well, but I don't feel like talking about them right now...I am just tired of looking at silver linings at the moment. I know it will get better--it always does.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
But then something awesome happened. Friends came over to swim after lunch. I had a beer and just watched this other momma swim with the kids, and I was able to be thankful for the blessing of her presence to do what I could not--interact with anyone--at that moment. Then we decided to take the kids for an early supper (and I am still thinking I just have to make it to bedtime and I can fall apart). Then my friend suggested that she and her husband come back later in the evening and shoot fireworks with the kids. I knew that my kids would not get another opportunity for this, so I decided to go for it. We ended up with another family (close friends also) joining us--a spontaneous party of sorts. We had a ball--night swim and fireworks. The kids enjoyed it so much, and so did I. So guess what? I didn't even want to have a come apart by the time I crawled into bed around midnight. Isn't that awesome?!