Monday, September 29, 2014




I have started this blog entry three times. I’m not having trouble trying to think of something to say, my problem is that I have too much I want to say. So many feelings, impressions, emotions and words are tumbling through me that I’m having a hard time corralling one thought long enough to put it to paper, err, computer, airwaves, or whatever the internet is.

I’ve committed to chronicling my grief journey for a year. Pretty soon that year will be up. Unfortunately, I don’t think grief adheres to a timeline. I don’t think when October 9, 2014 rolls around that I’ll magically ‘be over it.’ From where I’m sitting, I can pretty much guarantee that I won’t. But as that date hovers I find myself entering the strange land of restlessness. I’m like someone walking around in clothes that don’t fit, or eating food that has lost its flavor, or an itch that can’t be scratched. There is a hole that can’t be filled by anything within my grasp. I am undone. And at this point, I greatly fear this may be my permanent condition.
As I write this, I’m kind of hiding out. I’ve decided to play hooky from my life, just for a few days. When my kids read this, I have a feeling I’m going to get phone calls and maybe lectures. This son thinking I’m with that one, and that son thinking I’m with... well you get the picture. It’s okay, boys, your mother is fine. I’m on one bed and Atticus, the pup, is stretched out on the other looking quite pleased with this set up. The door is locked. I’m well fed and it is quiet. Very quiet. Not like the quiet at home, because it isn’t quiet at home. The quiet at home is too loud. The quiet at home has teeth and I just couldn’t make myself go there, not yet. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe not.
Here’s what I know right now: While I am terribly sad, I know that I am also very strong. To be honest, when I started this journey I really didn’t know if I was tough enough. I didn’t know if the walls would come down. I am gratefully surprised that they have not. With that said, I must tell you that I didn’t build the walls myself. The foundation of my strength was laid long, long ago, in a Sunday school class far, far away. The first brick was settled into place the day I learned the words to Jesus loves Me. I’m not kidding. I’m dead serious. The next brick was placed when I memorized my first memory verse. “For God so loved that world, that He gave His only Son...” The third brick was put into place... well, you get the picture here too, right? I am not strong because of what happened to my husband. I am strong because of what happened to my Savior. And thankfully, I was one of those blessed children whose parents thought it was never too early to begin teaching the joy of the Lord.
Yes, I am still sad. Sorrow still taunts my days. But I am strong. I will endure. I will rise up. I will find my way... just not today. Today, I play hooky. 
Later, dear Ones,

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Warning... it's not pretty

My latest painting. Can you find me?


I won’t lie to you; today was a day of shadows. Menacing ones that followed me, taunted me and took great glee in reminding me of the total, all-encompassing cloud of loss in which I am now living. Loss is the domino effect times 1,409. So much of what I loved about my life has been hammered, thrashed and crushed into dust.
While watching granddaughters weave and wobble on skates in the driveway on a delightful autumn afternoon, suddenly a shadow darkened over me and reminded this widow that Papa wasn’t there to share the giggles. Nothing is sacred.
A decision was made today. I will sell our house. And, with that one decision the finality of loss jabbed its icy fingers through my soul and hissed a curse that all has changed forevermore. It’s not the selling of a house that devastates, it’s the deconstruction of a life, a home, a family gathering place, a love nest, a partnership, a shared dream, a future that will be no more. A wife loses her home, a son loses his familial classroom on Fatherhood 101, and a grandchild loses their innocence. Loss takes no prisoners.
Yeah, I’m being dramatic; at least it feels that way. I smile. I do okay. I make it work. I move forward. I’ve even laughed out loud in the last year, but the truth is I’m still sad. And every once in a while I have a day like today that rubs it in my face just in case I might have forgotten.
Arrrggg! I want to shout bad words! I want to kick a cat! I want to slap an annoying person, any annoying person will do! I want to run until I can’t breath and don’t know where I am! I want to chew on glass and spit it in Satan’s face! I want to pull and rip my clothing and shake my fist! I want to collapse onto the cold, wet ground and weep until my bones grow brittle! I want so much I can’t have and won’t ever have again. At least it feels that way eleven months, twenty-two days, and sixteen hours since I lost my husband. Shadows. Dark shadows.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things...  for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4: 8-13

God, forgive me. Have mercy on my soul. Pull me from the shadows. Take my hand and show me how to do this...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Body, Heart, Soul...


This morning I rode my pink bike, LuLu, in the rain. It seemed like the right thing to do. I’m on a quest to take better care of myself now and exercise is part of the deal. I decided a little bit of rain shouldn’t spook me, after all, its just water. So off we went. It turned out to be quite a lovely ride.
This quest I’m on has many facets. For almost a year now, my body, heart and soul has taken it on the chin, so to speak. Food and grief have become like naughty children egging each other on until something gets broken. I’ve eaten anything and everything. My sorrow craved sugar or bread or chocolate. When my husband died, I stopped cooking. Cereal and popcorn became staples in my house. I’ve eaten both for breakfast and supper... on the same day. Recently, my insides sent up a white flag and pleaded for broccoli and a dozen or so vitamins.
Exercise and better meal planning will take care of my wounded body. As for my heart, that’s a little tougher. My heart is a stranger to me now. Once it throbbed with anticipation, contentment and great love. No more. Now, I barely get a ping. But fortunately, just lately the ping has gotten a little stronger. Saturday was a milestone day for me. I cleaned out Gary’s sock and underwear drawer. His closet still looms, but I’ll have to slay that dragon another day. What do you do with someone’s underwear? I don’t even know if thrift stores will take them. I had to talk myself out of rolling each one up to put in the mailboxes at church for our friends. They may want a keepsake of some sort, but I’m pretty sure his undies aren’t it. As I carried them out to the trash, this feeling I didn’t recognize sprouted somewhere near my heart and penetrated up through my shoulders. Something happened; a lightness, a hand turning a page, a flame flickered. It was foreign, yet familiar. Suddenly, it dawned on me. That’s what letting go feels like.
As for my soul, I can do nothing for it. At least I can’t do anything for it by myself. It’s not like an avocado, kale and almond smoothie and a ten-mile ride on LuLu will fix it right up. The soul belongs to God. It’s the part of Him that is on loan to us. He has to gently coax it to feel again. He has to direct its paths. Its healing is unquestionably tied to my willingness to be healed, to allow the God of the Universe to massage it, bandage it, hold it, and finally kiss the hurt with holy lips and shoo it away. I must be willing and He must be God. 
I sit up in bed as I write this. The pup, Atticus, is asleep on my feet. It’s midnight and the wind is whipping up outside. The morning sun will greet me in a few hours. Sleep heals as well. So, I best get to it.
“Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
If I shall die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen.”

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A prayer...


Dearest Father God,
       My heart is full of thanksgiving and sorrow. How can that be? How can the two co-exist? How can anyone find peace with such carryings on? I’m going to be perfectly honest, I do not get You. I have no clue how You work. You are a mystery. Yet, amidst all this mixture of emotions I have never felt closer to You. How can that be?
      I want to be mad at You. I want to blame You for my pain. Blaming You would be so easy, so simple. Blaming You excuses everything and everyone else... even myself. You allowed cancer. You could have stopped the cancer. You could have healed my husband and a thousand others like him. You could have; I have no doubt of Your limitless power. “Let there be light,” You said and immediately the sun, moon and stars burst from the void and darkness was no more. From mere dust You created life. You groaned and the earth split. Yet, You chose to bridle that power when I begged You for Your mercy. Your capacity to sit by and watch those You love in agony staggers me. How do You do it? How can You hear the cries and not be moved or swayed?
     The day the flesh was ripped from Your own Son, how did You remain so still? When He cried out to You, how were You able to bridle Your silence? With each penetrating nail, how were You able to do nothing? 
     I do not understand You. I cannot fathom a love that is so disciplined, so steadfast, and committed to one purpose. As fire, stones, and arrows fly, as disease and death ravish, You stand unwavering. Your stoic binding of power, while it has frustrated me, it has also knocked me to my knees. You have made a believer out of me. Heaven must be worth all of it. Death, pain, disease, war, and sorrow will not deter You from beckoning us all to a home prepared by Your own hands. Am I right? Is it worth it? The sorrow I mean?
     I have no choice. I have to believe that it is. Help me hold on. 
     Father, I leave my grief in Your hands. And, with thanksgiving I bow before You and lay my weary heart at Your feet. I do not understand the power and yearning of Divine Love, but I thank You for it all the same. Beloved God, forgive my disrespect. Forgive the boldness that mourning sparks. I know Your power. I trust Your Grand Plan. Salvation calls for obedience and patience. But, Father, why does it have to hurt so much?
      As Jesus cried in the garden, so do I. You hear my words as they pour from me. I feel Your Presence in the quiet. I am not alone.