• 15Jun
    Categories: Grieving Comments Off on Hope

    I mourned my (or my kid’s) loss again this morning, but was reminded of something that no other religion can give me, . . hope.

    Where is your hope today?

    Do you have hope in your future? It Will end.
    Do you have hope in yourself? You Will fail.
    Do you have hope in a friend? They will let you down.
    Do you have hope in a spouse? You already know how that works.

    My hope is in someone so out of this world that when this world erupts in total chaos I can still have peace. My hope lasts forever. My hope will never fail. My hope is beyond Your understanding. Will you give me the opportunity to share my hope?

  • 19Feb

    I just read a devotional that encouraged parents not to put the good times on hold because they were going through hard times.         And I laughed.             If Dan and I had tried to wait till we had some money to do fun stuff we would have gone nowhere.

    And yet I’ve always sorta believed that the early years of child rearing were the survival years.  And if those were the only kind of years that I had with Dan, trying to just “survive,” then I am afraid that I missed out on something.

    I guess that isn’t really true.  Dan and I spent time together at the park, we had picnics and romantic get-away’s, we took trips to visit parents, there was the trip to OR, there was MOPS and friends at church.  My life was not on hold.  It’s true that we didn’t get to do as much as we wanted because of lack of money and eventually lack of energy, but we weren’t living on hold.  They might have been “survival years,” but we did more than just “survive.”  Dan would never have been content to just survive.  He wanted more out of life and he drug me along (willingly) to enjoy it with him.  I’ve been tormenting myself with the thought that “If those were the survival years then I missed life with Dan.”  It’s a LIE!

    Praise the Lord, the truth shall set you free.

  • 11Apr

    We are grieving again at the loss of another family member.  Our Uncle Jasper has lost his wife of six months and their little one just barely conceived.  At first the shock of hearing the news threw me into a tailspin that had me shaking and crying and left my mind floundering for it’s next thought.  In a lot of ways I felt like I lost two years or so of recovery time and the pain and anguish were pushing me into the ground again.  It was hard to think and function in a world that didn’t even realize that something was missing.  And then came the field trip.

    I had been planning a field trip to a local model train museum for several weeks and I was wondering if funeral plans and such would rearrange the event, but God had something else in mind.  The morning of, I was again overwhelmed with the pain and found it difficult to pull myself out from under my pillow and I turned to God in my distress.  “Lord, you are going to have to help me.  I cannot do this today on my own.  There is no way I can function like this.  I’m in charge.  I need a clear head in order to handle the responsibilities of a possible 20-some children plus adults and I have no backup plan if it rains.”

    Just about then I hear a serious scream from my youngest.  I’m out of bed in the blink of an eye and off to see the problem.  He is throwing up and I quickly determine that we both need a bath.  He gets his first and gets sent off with a sibling with appropriate instructions and the day begins.  “Thank you, Lord, for getting me out of bed.”

    My help arrives, takes in the situation, realizes I’m not emotionally up to par and refrains from asking the tons of questions I know she wants and needs answers to, until I am emotionally ready to handle them (like 4/5:00 p.m.).  “Thank you, Lord, for her patience and sensitivity.”

    Nanna is more than willing to help with watching Caleb(3) so that the rest of us can continue with our trip without fear of infecting everyone else and worries over the comfort and cleanliness of having a sick child come along.  “Thank you, Lord, for her willingness to help.”

    The sun is shining and there is not a cloud in the sky.  I focus on that, reminding myself that the Lord has answered my prayer.  The sunshine brings a strange comfort.  I know that God is there, that He cares, and that He provides the grace.  I cling to that.

    The trip goes off without a hitch and I was even able to push everything aside to be dealt with later and actually enjoy the day.  God is good.  He’s not just good, He’s great!

    Somewhere in the midst of that day I realized again just how wonderful it is to be loved and cared for by my Saviour.  And strangely enough I found myself glad to be in the midst of such trying circumstances.  I’m not happy about another death and the pain that comes with that.  But I have come to appreciate the depth of my relationship with my Saviour during the difficult times.  I told Jasper that I was sorry for his loss but not sorry about the time He would get to spend with God.  In some ways I envy him.  It’s the darkness of night where you can see the light most clearly.

    Lord, I’m sorry that I have allowed so much to come between us.  I’m sorry that I haven’t put the effort into our relationship that I should have.  I’m sorry that I waited until a crisis in my life before I turned to You for help with every little detail.  Thank you for loving us and caring for us, no matter how strange and stupid we are.  I love you.

  • 10Apr

    Jasper, as someone who has also experienced this type of loss I feel like I should have some great words of wisdom to say, . . . but I
    don’t.  I know each grief is different and each grief is experienced in different ways and so all I can say is, “I’m sorry.”  But then I realize I’m not.

    I’m sorry for your pain,

    but I’m not sorry for your growth.

    I’m sorry for the hole in your heart,

    but I’m not sorry for the peace that fills that hole and soothes the frayed edges.

    I’m sorry that you feel the loss,

    but I’m not sorry that you had something so precious to lose.

    I’m sorry you no longer have the love of a wife,

    but I’m not sorry for the love that continues to surround you.

    I’m sorry you are about to face one of the hardest years of your life,

    but I’m not sorry for the time you will spend with God.

    I’m sorry for your lost relationship,

    but I’m not sorry for the many you have gained.

    I’m sorry for your painful vulnerability,

    but I’m not sorry for a soft heart that God can mold, shape, and use for His glory.

    And so Jasper, I’m sorry, but then again . . I’m not.

    Lean on Him.

  • 15Jan

    It was a great day.  My three oldest, Benjamin (9), Josiah (8), and Abigail (7) all followed the Lord in believer’s baptism.  That means that they knew that there was a time in their life when they admitted to God that they were sinners and that they needed His forgiveness and healing to save them from their sins and to take them to Heaven.  And by taking the step of baptism they were shouting to the world that Jesus had died on the cross for their sins and that they had accepted His gift of salvation.  They were dedicating their lives to Jesus.  (Baptism doesn’t save, it is merely a public profession of faith.)

    Exciting.  So many things going on.  It was my day to play the piano so there were responsibilities there to think of, clothes to remember, friends who came for the special day to greet, children to calm, others to reassure that they were important, too . . . We threw a party at our house after the service so family could celebrate. Something simple since it was Sunday and no one wanted to clean up the mess or even make it to begin with.  Kids were too wound to take naps, no time to practice for special music during the evening service.  Good messages.  Good fellowship.  Good God.

    I cried on the way home.  One of the first of many important events in the life of his children and Dan missed it.  I even wore my wedding dress (shortened and added a little red sweater) and a necklace that Dan gave me.  And he didn’t even bother to show up and tell me how pretty I looked.  Sigh.

    But God was there and I think He was pleased. 

     Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

  • 28Oct

    Such an array of emotions and thoughts flood my mind tonight.  Tomorrow it will be three years since my life got turned upside down.

    I look back over those years with awe, pain, sorrow, sadness, relief, contentment and joy. 

    There is the awe as I look at the way neighbors, family, friends, friends of friends, and even complete strangers chipped in to help this grief stricken family.  We had so much help and support that it is hard for me to grasp just what a needy situation we really were in.  In a lot of cases we had help before we even knew we needed it.  It is amazing to see God’s family working together the way He intended it to.  I can’t wait to see what our relationships will be like when we get to Heaven.

    There is pain as I remember again those agonizing days in the hospital and the weeks following when getting out of bed to face the day was a struggle of monumental proportions.  I can remember the agony so great and so consuming that my knees would literally buckle and I would sink to the floor clutching my heart trying vainly to somehow pull all the pieces back together.

    There is the sorrow as I think of all the milestones of which Dan has had no part.  The birth of Caleb(2), Payden’s(3) first steps, Maranatha’s(5) first words, Hadassah’s(6) first day of school, Abigail (7) losing her first tooth, Josiah(8) shooting a bow and arrow, Benjamin (9) catching a fish, etc.  

    There is sadness as I think of the future of my children and I see their loss.  Their Daddy will miss their wedding day, their graduations from high school maybe college.  He won’t be there to help them learn to drive, to mentor them, to help them get their first job.  Caleb (2) never even met his Daddy.

    There is relief as I realize that we have made it this far, the worst is over.  There is relief in knowing that God is faithful and He’s proven over and over again that He is quite capable of taking care of us.  My foundation is secure, my hope is eternal, and my future is in His hands.

    There is contentment in knowing that I am right where God wants me to be.  I have chosen to believe that no matter the choices we made leading up to the surgery, God was leading and directing and He was the one who has put me on this path and He is the one who will continue to guide me and care for me.  I am content to follow Him.

    And there is joy as I realize the growth in myself and my children as a result of our heartache.  My compassion for those around me who are struggling has grown so much that I find it necessary to rein myself in lest I play God and try to fix everything possible (good thing God didn’t give me much to work with).  My children’s sensitivity to others who have suffered a loss and to those who are in need of a Savior is convicting.  And tonight Josiah (8) reminded me that we have been blessed by the mercies of God, which he informed me was “stuff we didn’t deserve.”  Their trust that God will bring them a new Daddy, their lack of bitterness and only minor struggles with anger, their sensitivity of spirit and softness of heart cause me to hope that they will survive this experience and be the better for it.  With God all things are possible.

    So, how are we doing?  I would say we are growing and are a living testimony that God’s grace is sufficient.  God is faithful, He has brought us this far.  We have a new “normal” now.  The bad days are rare.  And tonight when our devotional book asked us to choose and pray for a specific request we all agreed that we would like a ‘new daddy.’

  • 25Sep

    I’ve been bowled over by a grief wave that I did not see coming.  In fact, I was three quarters of the way through it before I had any idea what was going on. 

    I’m hormonal and surely everyone knows it.

    I’m preparing for a trip to Dan’s homeland and he’s not going with me!  (Imagine that said with a wail

    (Calm again) I talked with someone today about the place where Dan and I met. (So many memories)  We chatted about people we both knew, we talked about places we had both been.  (Sigh) Ah, Dan, why aren’t you here to fill in the blanks? 

    I had a reminder that not everyone knows my story and apparently it’s still a bit painful at times to think back . . .

    I saw a visionary in action and oh the pain and longing that brings.  I had forgotten how much it hurts.

     

    I miss my visionary.

  • 12May

    Ten years ago today

     

    Ten years ago today I gave my Danny a big hug that said “I love you to pieces and I don’t care who knows.”

    Ten years ago today he hugged me back.

    Ten years ago today they spent more time getting his hair to lay flat than I spent getting mine to be curly.

    Ten years ago today he was late as usual, although he claimed that was Wayne’s fault.

    Ten years ago today I paced the floor in excitement.

    Ten years ago today he was told to take special note of my dress.

    Ten years ago today we were surrounded by family and friends.

    Ten years ago today we almost started a fire in the church with a candle.

    Ten years ago today we kissed.

    Ten years ago today we forgot the food.

    Ten years ago today someone made a mess of our car.

    Ten years ago today Dan carried me over the mud puddles.

    Ten years ago today we forgot the camping gear.

    Ten years ago today we picked up a friends luggage.

    Ten years ago today we loved.

    Ten years ago today we started a new life together.

     

    Today I am alone and I grieve the loss, but I know that “HIS way is perfect.”

    Today the pain is great, but “His mercies are new every morning.”

    Today my heart was sore, but “the Comforter has come.”

    Today . . .

     

    What a difference ten years can make.

     

    Psalm 23:3-4  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

  • 29Mar
    Categories: Grieving Comments: 4

    I am struggling with a heaviness of spirit today that threatens our peaceful existence. 

    Normally spring time is when my spirits are the brightest.  I love the freshness in the air, the feel of the energy starting to flow through every living thing.  I love to watch the romance blossoming all around me, I love to see the flowers peeking their heads up through the crusty dirt, and I love to feel the adventure in the air.

    But once again spring isn’t what I’ve been expecting.  It’s disconcerting–I didn’t think this would be something that would ever change.  Contrary to popular opinion☺, I seem to be getting older.  I can’t quite pick myself up and move on quite like I  used to.

    Ah, I probably just need to get some sleep and do some more journaling.

    It’s my third spring without Dan, Grandma’s first without Pappy.  Love is in the air in my household (two adopted girls, one dating, the other engaged).  It’s fun to watch and I wouldn’t miss it for anything, but some days it hurts. 

    While my other half has gone away at least the “Son” in my universe is still there for me to orbit around.  I am not without hope and purpose.  Feelings are superficial and can be overcome.  The reality is that I am loved by the Giver of Love and I am on the Great Adventure of following Him.

  • 15Mar

    My Pappy died on Friday, and we are grieving again.

    It’s different this time.  There are the obvious differences like he was a Grandpa and not a husband.  He wasn’t my provider or support.  He wasn’t the father of my children.  And the list could go on, but I’m talking about something different.  I’m different.

    I hesitate to say that I am comfortable with grieving.  Maybe a better word to use would be “familiar.”  I’m familiar with the process, the pain, the mind numbing ache that fills you, the depression, and the tears.  I know where certain emotions are headed.  I know what I need to look out for.  I know little tricks to get me through difficult situations.  I know what to expect from those that surround me.

    But I am reminded as I watch Grandma grieve, that everyone grieves differently and that no matter how much I know, I still can’t do the grieving for her.  My knowledge and experience almost feels useless.

    And yet in a strange way I feel confident.  If I can make it through losing Dan, then I can make it through this.  I have no doubts that the Lord will once again prove Himself powerful and loving.

    He is faithful,

    He is good.

    In His time,

    All is understood.

     

    I simply trust,

    And hold on tight.

    He will protect,

    All through the night.

     

    I cling to His love,

    And rest in His care.

    He has promised,

    He will always be there.

     

    Jesus, Lover,

    Faithful Friend,

    Provider, Protector,

    On You I depend.