Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The perfect thwack . . .


The other day I shot my bow. We are in our January thaw here in Wisconsin, so I took advantage of it. It felt good to pull back the string, relax my breathing and let go. It’s my new happy place. I was surprised how natural I now feel with the bow in my hands. For some unknown reason, I have an instinct for this. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m any good at it. But, it feels right. I draw the bow string, inhale, aim, release. My heart slows as my breathing cleanses my nerves, body and mind of its clutter. And, oh, how I love the thwack!
Thwack? Yes, the thwack. It’s the sound the tip of the arrow makes when it connects with the target. I know where on the target my arrow has hit just by the sound. It’s louder around the edges, but the closer I get to the center, the sweet spot, the thwack is solid, fluid and reminds me of the sound and splash a diver makes when she hits the water at just the right angle.
I had had a couple of days of blinding sorrow, sideswiped by grief and longing. Unfortunately, I have discovered that year two of mourning the loss of my husband is no less painful than the first year. It just manifests itself differently. I had been made painfully aware in the last few days that this life I now live is permanent. Gary really isn’t coming back. Of course, my head has known this all along, but somewhere hidden behind my heart was this hope, this unrealistic, fantasy-type hope that he would. We did the hard stuff, now we get to move on with our life together, right?  Sadly, no. The right side of my bed is still empty. And, every morning when I open my eyes, it all begins again. Where am I and what has happened to my life?  I spend the rest of the day trying to figure that out.
But, the other day, when I released that first arrow and heard the thwack, the bull’s eye thwack, the perfect thwack, something inside of me broke loose. I stood very still with the bow at my side, my quiver full of arrows and my left shoulder still in position toward the target. Then, it dawned on me what it was. For the first time in fifteen months I felt alive.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to cry some more, long some more, and wish him back, but it won’t kill me. And one day after I’ve shot a thousand arrows or more, my heart may hurt just a little less.
God still keeps watch.

~ deb

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I got nothing...


There are days I’ve got nothing. No insights. No words of wisdom. No perspectives. No feelings. No stories. No dreams. No goals. Nothing. I’m a blank page.
I thank God for those days.
It is in those times I cocoon and shut out all the voices, and God, the Father, the Protector, The Prince of Peace takes over. He stands over me with a baseball bat and slugs away at all the sorrow, sadness, decisions, anxiety, fearfulness, loneliness, and longing.
And, I get to rest.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures...

~ deb

Monday, January 12, 2015

I'm not a princess anymore...

I miss my husband in many ways. I miss hearing him sing. I miss the way he placed his hand gently on my back as he ushered me through a doorway. I miss hearing him breathe in the middle of the night. Oh, the list goes on. I also miss the thousand things he did for me to save me the trouble and frustration, not to mention that I didn’t know how to do them anyway. For example, finding a stud in the wall, re-wiring a lamp, or changing a flat tire on LuLu, my pink bike.
Also, there were things he did that just made my life easier; that made me feel like a princess. Like, changing the light bulbs in all lamps, porch lights, and ceiling fans. Gary was also the battery-master around here. Changing batteries in all remotes, flashlights, and the scale in the bathroom among other battery-operated gizmos. If something broke, he fixed it. If I was in need of a picture being hung, or a hole being dug, or a bush being re-located, he hopped on it without complaint. He hung my porch swing, moved my iron gate all around the yard until I found the perfect spot for it, and built the rose arbor I wanted. My wish was his command, most of the time. I was the princess whose hands bore no calluses and he was the hard-working prince/handyman who was always digging a splinter out of his finger or the palm of his hand.
Well, those days are over. Just this week two boards fell from the basement ceiling for no apparent reason, my garage door fell off its hinges, and I got my snowblower in a bad fix. Oh, and there was this smell in the house that I couldn’t track down. These days, there’s not a good prince/handyman when I need one. He’s gone to live with Jesus so I’m on my own.
The ceiling boards weren’t too hard to deal with. I know my way around a hammer and a nail. Of course, hammering over my head was tricky. The snowblower problem was a bear. While blowing snow off of my sidewalk, I accidently ran over the corner of the tarp that was covering my woodpile. It was hidden under the snow and I just didn’t see it. It took thirty minutes of hacking and chopping to get the shredded tarp pieces untangled from the snowblower blade. Did I mention that it was 4 degrees outside?
As for the garage door, it’s true what they say. You can fix anything with Duct Tape. It ain’t pretty, but it got the job done. As for that strange smell? Turns out it was gases being back up from the mound system caused by the extreme cold air and wind chill, and the odor was being pushed up through the shower drain. Solution: Water in an ice cream bucket placed over the shower drain. Who knew?!
I’m not a princess anymore. I’ve traded my tiara in for a Carhartt ball cap with earflaps and a pair of Gary’s old work gloves. I shutter to think about what’s going to happen next. But, something will. I’m preparing for Armageddon by stockpiling Duct Tape.
When the snowblower got tangled up, the garage door had already run off its track and was hanging there half up and half down. I had boards lying on my basement floor, and my house smelled like one big toot. The snowblower incident was the last straw. Tears started boiling up behind my eyes, but then I just got mad. I refused to cry over stupid stuff. What I did was start praying the loudest prayer I’d ever prayed. My tone was a little harsh, but my heart was in the right place. “God, help me! It’s the least You can do!”
The Hubs always took good care of me. This former princess had it good for a long time. I will always be thankful for my tiara time, but it’s a new day. Gary made sure I was not left helpless. After all, it was his Duct tape. I miss him in more ways than I have words. But, he taught me well. I will get the hang of this.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Temple repair...

What is it about new beginnings that instantly turn our attention to the weight loss and good health aspect of new starts? A page in my book has turned, a very important one. I am now a single woman who has lost her husband and feel it’s time to take steps toward a new life. Once I knew I was there, I started contemplating what my new health routines were going to be. I don’t think this is a bad thing, but it’s curious how often weight loss and healthy eating attach themselves to new beginnings.
Of course, my thoughts go to LuLu, my pink bike. As I write this, I am upstairs in my writing room looking out over our three acres. Three acres of snow. The snow is blowing sideways. Not a good day to ride a bike. It’s not a good day to even peek my nose out the door. But I know she sits out in the garage in all her pink glory waiting, waiting for me to get my *cowgirl in gear. If you’re a follower of this blog, you know that it was LuLu, the pink bike, who got me started on this blog journey. My husband gave her to me on my sixtieth birthday. I began chronicling lessons learned on the road with LuLu. Three years later, my great love, my Hubs, is gone and LuLu waits for me. My period of mourning cause periods lethargic and sporadic behavior when it came to bike riding or any other exercise for that matter. As a matter of fact, lethargic just about sums up this whole last year as I was forced to adjusted to the trauma of loss. Everything in my life became hit and miss. For some people, a trauma like this pushes them to obsess and overdosing on exercise and other pain numbing activities. For folks like me who have always used food as an emotional painkiller, homemade bread with real butter melting over its crust became my drug of choice. Both extremes can harm the psyche.
Well, my knees, back and other muscles and joints have had enough, not to even mention my blood sugars. They have all sent up an S.O.S. My Fibromyalgia is also squeezing my muscles and nerves and will soon crush them if I don’t get moving soon. The Grade C miracle in all this is that I haven’t gained any weight, in fact, I’ve lost weight. The harm to my health isn’t about weight as much as deterioration.
Enough of this talk. It’s time to pull out Belle, the exercise Ball, Hildegard, the elliptical, and Rusty II, the stationary bike. Loss. Trauma. Mourning and Lamenting has taken its toll. It’s time to beat them all over the head with some free-weights. Who’s with me?
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” I Cor. 6:19.

*cowgirl code for: rear, butt, bum,

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Bad wife!

Is she ready?

So here we are, a brand new year spread out before us. What to do? What to do? Repeat? Or change? Isn’t that the million-dollar question at the beginning of every new year?  I, for one, do not want to repeat anything from last year, but am I ready for a change? Which is a silly question because change will come whether I want it to or not. Change has already come. So, will I embrace it and take control, or go kicking and screaming the rest of the way?
If the truth were told, I’ve done a little bit of both. But now, in this fresh new day, I’m ready for my own terms. I’m ready to step out and discover instead of just letting what will happen happen. I’ve had a whole year of that. Honestly, I didn’t have much strength for anything else. I lost my husband to a deadly, hideous disease. I’ve mourned and lamented for a year. I probably will mourn the loss of his presence till the end of my days. But I’m ready to accept the fact that God expects more from me than sackcloth and ashes. That season had to be. But this widow’s clothes no longer become her.
You don’t have to lose a spouse to know loss, or to feel like it’s time to either break from or build upon your past. For me, its time to build upon the foundation of what I’ve been given. I’ve been loved by someone very special. I’ve had the privilege of loving a rock star (at least he was to me). It’s time to embrace what that love has given and what it has prepared me for.
How about you? Is it time to move forward? Is it time to embrace change or be the one responsible for change?  What will it take? What will it cost you?
For me, I need to sell my house, move to a new town, and build a new home. I don’t mean bricks and mortar ‘build’; I mean awaken my dreams and goals. Brush off my gifts and discover new talents... also pick out new curtains. I also have to fight the guilt that moving forward brings. For those of us who’ve lost someone, moving forward can feel like a betrayal. How dare I be happy without my loved one? Bad wife! How can I enjoy myself even a smidgeon, won’t that mean I’m dishonoring his memory? What will people think? What will they say? Bad wife!
No, I must still the inner doubts, the inner critic and take that first step.  And so should you. Easier said than done, I know. No one knows that better than me. But step out we must.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”(Phil 4:13) I choose to believe that’s true. So... here goes!