Friday, October 21, 2016


The rain beats against the house
And my heart beats inside my chest
In silence, cold beneath the ground
Your heart beats no more

It's grey out there in this downpour
And it is grey, the sorrow in my soul
No crimson, yellow, hue of elation
All color is buried in that grave with you

They think I'm moving on too fast
Racing away from your memory
In that dirt, you and I
We know the bitter truth

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

How long is "okay" before you are allowed to live?

Apparently, in order to satisfy the world - or adult children - the way to truly grieve is to be locked away (where they can't see you cry) but be mourning, alone and miserably unhappy for long, long periods of time. Too busy with their own lives to come around much, to see all the stuff that has to be done with their father's things (too depressing for them), but the widowed mother is still expected to sit, alone, in that home...grieving. Grieving and surrounded by the chaos of a life that has ended all too soon.

I *am* grieving. I will never stop grieving my husband and the loss of the life we shared. However, I have a new life that I *must* come to terms with. I simply adjust and adapt. I realize fully and clearly that my husband of 33 years is NEVER coming back. How can you be "disloyal" to someone who is in the arms of Jesus, who is enjoying the presence of God?

As Morgan Freeman's character, Red, said in The Shawshank Redemption, one needs to either "Get busy living or get busying dying."  I choose life. I choose a chance at happiness.

If that makes someone unhappy, then so be it.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

No turning back, so why not head forward?

How do you move on? You move on when your heart finally understands that there is no turning back.
— The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

Teetering on the edge of loss
And on the brink of being found
But not shattered
But willing to mend
Could it be that falling
Leads to flight?
Or sinking into despair?
It's all in the shift of balance
Forward or back
The focus on loss or possibility
Slip backwards
Or leap in faith
---GEP 10/15/16

My heart understands there is no return to what used to be. I'm a practical, logical soul. I can grieve without wallowing now that I've found my bearings and adjusted to this very real fact. I can't stand frozen in time, sinking in despair and mired in self-pity. I can't do it; I just can't. Does this mean I love Pat any less? Absolutely not. I just don't see any purpose to "honoring" him with unending grief. After all, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he's with the King. He's in heaven where some day I'll join him. I know that where he is there is no sadness or jealousy; therefore, he's certainly not rolling in his grave that I'm moving onward. I love him, I loved him. I needed him, I don't have him. I have memories and a multitude of "things" I have to figure out what to do with. He's lost to death and I must live.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

If I were dropped out of a plane...

"If I were dropped out of a plane into the ocean and told the nearest land was a thousand miles away, I’d still swim."
- Abraham Maslow

This is so true for me. Flashes of perhaps wanting to just sink under the water might have appeared (and will likely still appear) on that inner mental screen, but those are shut off quickly by the absolute necessity of being and doing "whatever it takes" for self-preservation.

I've had three months to think about what self-preservation is to me. Or rather I should say, somewhere in the midst of three months, it occurred to me what I was doing out of self-preservation and what I needed to stop doing in order to actually attain self-preservation. First, it was just staying afloat and that meant keeping my head above water with finishing school, then work, dotting some "i's" and crossing some "t's." Then I began to realize that in my zeal to cover all my bases and not feel the void, I had over-booked myself -- said "Yes" to too much, left no time for basics like laundry and unwinding in fuzzy pajamas with a dog's head resting on my lap.

In the doing of stuff that needs to be done daily, while still trying to fit in the contemplation of the doing of stuff that needs to be done to create order in the shift from the old life to the new, there has to be time allotted for finding happiness and the swim for that safe harbor. In other words, I can't be so busy doing "stuff" that I don't leave time for something I don't want to become a

Psalm 68:5-6
"Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—
this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families;
he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land."

Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Friday, October 7, 2016

And truly, this is limbo...

When your spouse dies, people tell you many things  - not just about grief - but about finding yourself, about how this can be a time of discovery, about an adjustment period.  In other words, a time of limbo, where you are neither here nor there. You can't live your old life, it is over. You are supposed to be acclimating yourself to singleness and making a new life after you find out all this stuff about yourself that has been exposed by grief and by suddenly being thrust into the realm of Being Alone.

I already know things about myself that I know won't change. Since I was a small child, I knew I wanted to be a wife, a part of a team. I'm not aching to embrace being the Independent Widow who lives a life of singleness, dedicated to other pursuits. In fact, I'm pretty resistant to that idea. Over the yearns, I learned very well that you can be part of a team and still driven, dedicated -- just with the bonus of a support system. That is something I want to have again - hopefully, for the remainder of my days. Some people do very well with aloneness, with this "I can make all my decisions, be empowered, etc." Not me. I like taking care of someone and I like being taking care of. I like the mutual give and take. Being told I'm beautiful, telling my love he is strong. I know these things about myself and I don't forsee them changing, even in this horrible place of stagnation.

People will tell you - you have your kids, your family.  When kids have kids, their time is consumed. You don't want to be a burden. You also don't want to be the proverbial fifth wheel. You simply have to find your own circle or circles to move in. Now, while I love my dogs, coming home to just them is a blessing. However, I do know deep in my heart that my desire is for human companionship and I can't be in limbo forever.  I know that He heals. I know that mourning should not last forever. Although you will always grieve and miss the loss of the loved one, that peace of knowing Who they are with *is* very comforting.  Should you then mourn and stay in a place of limbo forever? Is there some time limit that other people are stipulating?

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4)
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
"Weeping may last for the night, But a shout of joy comes in the morning." (Psalm 30:5)

Friday, September 30, 2016

That "all things work together for the good" thing...

My life has been full of stress this year - the death of my spouse, completing my master's degree, a new job, new babies in the family, a whole myriad of other stresses both big and small. There was something on my plate that I dreaded and was overwhelmed by recently and it suddenly seemed to get a whole lot worse. When that happened, I cried out to God, "Why do you hate me? Why are you doing this to me?" I was so upset and defeated; I couldn't imagine why it seemed He was adding insult to injury. Surely this would be the straw that broke this camel's back. But then, things changed -- I discovered that the final blow was the clincher in my deliverance from a very heavy burden. While I was railing against God, demanding to know why He was making life so hard, He was actually setting in motion that business of "all things work together for the good of those who love God."  It was so amazing and gave me so much relief from the stress I was feeling.

This got me to thinking - now I must add that I've been feeling a bit lost, Very much a ship set adrift. Driving to and from work, leaving no one at home and returning to no one. (Well, besides the dogs, the cats and now the opossum that visits, haha). It's lonely, it feels disconcerting after all those years of being a dedicated wife and lover. But, after the above happenings, it occurred to me that there is a very real possibility that the stuff that seems so horrible and terrible in my life right now just might be part and parcel to an amazing "working together for good" that I can't see yet.  A glimmer of hope rose up inside of me. I'll just have to expectantly look to Him for that good to be revealed in His time.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

When people don't understand that your life has changed...

Once upon a time I had a husband who was the main breadwinner. Once upon the time I was even a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. When I worked as a substitute I had the flexibility of taking random days off (unpaid) to do things necessary/helpful for my adult children and their children. Do I wish I was still in the place where I could do that? Yes - but I am not.

My current situation in life is that of a new teacher at a school. I don't get paid well - it is a mission-type school. Therefore, in order to afford the high cost of health insurance, I am working a second job teaching classes at a wellness center (aka gym) two nights a week and substituting others. On Wednesday night, I volunteer at AWANA.  This means that THREE nights a week, right smack in a row, I do not catch a break. I do not get to breath and relax.

I was able to take a personal day when my daughter had her baby - and a good thing because she had complications. However, she was being induced and was in for about 30 hours before it finally happened. I knew this induction would be a long process but I had someone messaging me, asking questions and actually *shocked* that I wasn't there the whole time and rudely saying how they "assumed" I would be and why not. Do they not understand that out in the working world, you cannot just "take time off"??? I know longer have a bread-winning spouse to carry on and make sure income is coming in, bills are being paid. My employer was gracious to give me the day off on Friday. This involved me staying very late on Thursday making substitute plans and getting things ready for the following week. I was exhausted.

Another person had surgery and is hospitalized, so in spite of me being exhausted. In spite of me sitting in the emergency room for several hours with that person on Saturday, totally throwing off any hopes of being in my home doing what I needed to get done, I was pressured about being sure to be there for my Wednesday night volunteer obligation.  HELLO!  I would like to see my daughter and her baby!  I would like to bring them the meal that I prepared for them! And I would like to NOT have to feel guilty about it.  I am one person. One tired person. One frazzled-by-death-of-my-spouse and my life is NOT the same as it was.  I am not able to do and be all the things I was before. I am in survival mode and that is just how it is. DO I WANT IT TO BE LIKE THIS??? NO. No and no.  Do I have a choice? No.

I resigned my position of deaconess because I simply do not have the time or the ability right now to make arrangements for people who need prompt attention. Nor do I have time to receive phone calls after 9pm at night.  Again, WOW - I am trying to be in bed by 9 because I have to get up very early. I had weeks of insomnia that my body is still reeling from.

I'm at a point where I am losing patience for people who don't stop a minute and THINK that this is hard for me and continue to make demands on me. There is a time and a season for every purpose under heaven and I think this is my time to be given space to adjust and some compassion while I do that.