Sunday, July 28, 2013

Day 52


July 28, 2013


Day 52


Another Sunday down…this particular day of the week is always the hardest since it was the one day that Paul and I were together all day long.  I had even begun to notice this summer that I seemed to be inventing errands and chores to do on Sunday afternoons.  Some of that is because my days have just been so, so busy this summer and I needed the extra time.  But mostly I think it’s because Paul and I always napped together in the afternoons and that empty bed is still hard to face.  But I did manage a nap today!


This morning I was doing fine.  I sat down for Sunday School, which gave me the usual pang, since I am now sitting clear over to the edge of the pew, instead of in one spot so that Paul could sit down beside me.  But I was still ok.  Then, an older lady came up to me and asked how I was doing.  I assured her I was doing ok.  She said kindly, “I know you sure must be missing him.”  I nodded, mutely.  She added, “I’d say more, but I don’t want to make you cry!” and gave me a hug.  Then another older lady came up and asked how I was doing.  I managed a quiet, “fine” and she observed, “You don’t look fine!” and gave me a hug.  The Sunday School hour started and we opened our hymnals.  Against my will, tears splashed onto the pages of  my hymnal.  Ironically, we were singing a song about joy.


David had a rough time this afternoon – lots of tears.  I am trying to get him to agree to counseling.  I would even be willing to pay for a Christian counselor.  But the idea seems to truly frighten him and he begged me not to do that.  He says the only person he wants to talk to is another 14 yr old guy going through the exact same thing.  How am I supposed to find someone like that?  I guess I should look more into the Amanda the Panda bereavement services.  Even though they are not faith-based, maybe he could meet another Christian boy there.  I don’t know.  A friend of mine knows a hospice worker and said she’d talk to this person this week.  David said that he just wants to “wake up” from this nightmare.  I told him I have had the exact same feelings so, so many times since June 6, too.


But the thought occurred to me recently – sadly – that it is possible I will remarry someday.  I’m just speaking realistically – it could happen.  I’m not looking for it, I don’t really allow my mind to go down that path much.  But I am only 42 and not 82, and it might happen someday.  So I could have another husband at some point.  But my children will never, ever have another father.  That makes me sad.  I could do this widowhood thing if it was just me, but having to observe my children’s grief about kills me.


I threw away Paul’s laundry basket this week.  It was broken and I couldn’t think of a good reason to hang onto it…except, in Paul’s own handwriting it reads, “King” on the rim.  Years ago I finally latched onto the best way of sorting laundry by having a basket for every member of the family.  I fold clothes and they get immediately put in the proper basket.  Paul would sometimes help with folding and after observing my new method, he got out a Sharpie marker one day and labeled everybody’s basket (I knew whose was whose by their placement and the clothes already in them).  He wrote, “Princess” on my basket and then labeled his own.  Shortly after Paul’s death I emptied out the clothes that had been accumulating in his basket and then I put the basket on the fooseball table in the basement.  It has sat there ever since.  But when Don and Pam were here the other day they helped me clean in the basement and I had to make a decision of what to do with Paul’s basket finally.  It went.  Tomorrow morning the garbage men will carelessly dump it in the back of their truck and it will be mashed to pieces and ultimately dumped in the landfill.


I have sensed that I am getting closer to being ready to tackle Paul’s side of the closet and his dresser drawers, and eventually, his bedside table.  I’m not there yet, but it’s coming.


I have found myself thinking more lately about Paul’s body.  As his wife, I knew every divot and crook of his shell.  I knew which parts were hard and which were softer, which parts were hairier.  It’s not just obvious things.  I find myself willing myself to remember how the back of his knee felt or the touch of his big toe – silly parts like that.  If I close my eyes, I can still feel those body parts.  I don’t want to forget how they felt under my touch.  I know it doesn’t really matter - but right now it matters to me.


I met with our attorney Friday and will see him again this Wed.  I’m so thankful Paul found him.  This past winter he did a service call at this guy’s house, met him, found out he was an attorney (newer, I assume – he’s younger than we are by a good decade, I would guess), and most importantly, that he was a tax preparer on the side.  Our tax lady had retired and we didn’t know where to go.  So he did our taxes in Feb. and we were duly impressed.  Paul suggested we ask him if he’d be willing to handle the girls’ adoption.  Now he’s not only doing that, but he’s handling the probate on the house, making my new will,  and will be doing Ben’s guardianship next spring.  For never needing a lawyer in my entire life, I sure am making good use of one now!  And I got some good news on the house.  We may not have to go to probate court after all.  Apparently, the deed on the  house was filed in both our names, although the mortgage is only in Paul’s – or something like that.  He’s going to get it straightened out for me.  See – I just wrote, “us!”  And then I had to backspace and type, “me.”  It’s hard to change habits, to go from being an us to just a me…


I got to see my friend, Angee, and her family on Friday.  Angee and I became friends years and years ago after we both experienced uterine ruptures.  I’ve been to her house a couple of times, but this was the first time she came my way.  They were headed up north with their camper.  We had to get pictures, of course, including ones of our miracle babies – her little Jessica and my Sam, born within just a few months of eachother.  Angee brought me the most touching gift.  She knew that I had the hymn, “It is Well with my Soul” sung at the funeral. Now, I have difficulty singing the song because of the memories, but it is still such a precious hymn to me.   She found a framed print of the lyrics and bought it for me.  I cried.  Actually, we both did!


And yesterday, I received another touching gift.  I had forgotten this, but within a couple weeks of Paul’s death I was contacted by a writing friend who knew somebody or some organization that liked to make quilts in memories of lost loved ones.  I do remember now being asked my favorite color.  My quilt arrived yesterday.  It’s a lap sized quilt and it was made for me by a church in California, in honor of Paul’s memory.  There’s a note on the back that says every knot on the quilt represents a prayer said for our family.  It’s so beautiful!


Oh, David and I both have good news – our chigger bites have subsided, for the most part anyway.  Talk about miserable!  I think we will both be eyeballing long grass with suspicion for a long, long time!


Tonight in church Sam was looking at a children’s Bible and came across a picture depicting Jesus’ first miracle.  He got all excited and told me, “Mom, we had this story in Sunday School this morning!  There was a wedding and Jesus turned the water into punch!”  I wanted to break out laughing so badly!  Are we Baptists or what?!  I couldn’t wait to corner his SS teacher after church and rib her about the miracle of the water and punch!  I guess I haven’t totally lost my sense of humor, especially when I commented to his teacher about how she “watered down” the story…I know – major groan!


I’m sad right now.  Obviously.  If I had my druthers, I’d go home to Heaven right now.  Despite moments of laughter here and there, I’m not the happiest of people these days.  I know it’s normal and nobody expects me to be any happier than I can be.  But I’ve had fleeting thoughts that remind me that despite the hurt, I have so much to be thankful for.  I can spend the rest of my life mourning what Paul and I lost out on by his early death.  And I will probably enumerate a lot of those in my posts.  I think there is some value in naming exactly what has been lost.  But I can also talk about the good things.  God gave me a tremendous gift for 23 years when He brought the two of us together in the spring of 1990, as two, dumb, 19 year olds.


What did I have? I had:


  • a man who loved me, completely and without reserve
  • a man whose first nature was one of forgiveness
  • a man who thought I was the most beautiful woman to ever grace the earth
  • a man who loved me best by loving God first
  • a man of character and strong principal, one willing to go against popular opinion for what he knew to be truth
  • a man who couldn’t wait to be a father and who delighted in his children, who worried that his example was not good enough (it was)
  • a man who brought me flowers for no reason and for reasons, like on each of the kids’ birthdays or when he knew I’d had a rough day
  • a man who was happiest when he was able to give generously
  • a man who served me quietly every day, who looked for ways to make my life easier
  • a simple man who didn’t care about prestige, riches, or being recognized for his good deeds
  • a man who delighted in surprising me with scavenger hunts, concert tickets, overnight trips, cards, chocolate, etc


Paul was a humble man with a quiet and  strong faith, who loved his family and his God.  Was he perfect?  Of course not.  I could come up with a list of his flaws probably faster than I came up with this list.  There were times we struggled, that we drove eachother nuts, that we wondered if we had what it took to cross the finish line of marriage together.  But in God’s kindness and love for me He chose to give me this man.  I will never be the same, as a result. I have so much to thank God for.


Or, in the immortal words of Dr. Seuss, “Don’t cry because it’s over.  Smile because it happened.”


I am smiling – I really am!









Thursday, July 25, 2013

Day 49


July 25, 2013


Day 49


I am having the most unbelievably busy week.  I have not been this busy since before Paul’s death.  It’s a bit much, actually.  My energy levels are just not what they were.  It’s not a bad type of busy; it’s actually good stuff.  But it’s all at once.  I’m starting to feel a little worn out.  I am so busy, in fact, it has taken me two complete days to write this post!


David has had three friends over for the past two days.  This was something he came up with shortly after Paul’s death and we finally made it happen this week.  That has meant a lot of extra cooking (middle school boys can eat!) but it’s been worth it.  David has thanked me repeatedly.  Having his friends here represented a bit of normalcy, I think.  Normalcy is important when your entire world has been shredded.


I’ve been sensing some unrest in my spirit lately.  It took me awhile to figure out what that feeling was, but I’ve finally identified it as anger.  I shouldn’t be surprised – all the grief and widowhood books have assured me that anger is part of the grieving process.  But it left me baffled because I don’t have a place to direct any anger thoughts.  I know I’m not angry at God.  I still honestly believe that Paul’s death is for our good – someday, anyway.  And probably even now, though it is difficult to see through the haze of pain.  I’m not angry at Paul.  I know he would have chosen to live if he’d been given the choice.  He would have lived for our sakes, if nothing else, although I know he deeply desired to be with God as well.  He could not help that he had epilepsy and did what he could to control it, by seeing a doctor and taking prescribed medication.  So who do I be mad at?


I have found myself fighting irritation lately when some people ask me how I am doing.  There are moments that I actually want to say, “Well, how do you think I am doing?  My husband is dead!”  But I can’t give that kind of smart-mouth answer.  It would be a quick way to lose friends, for one thing.  When people ask, they ask – well, most of them – because they care and want to know how it is I am doing, even if the answer is not pretty.  If they are not allowed to ask that question, then just what are they supposed to ask?  There isn’t anything else to ask, to express their concern.


I’ve also had several comment on how “well” I am looking.  That struck me as odd the first couple of times until I read in one of my widow books that it is a pretty common comment, apparently, given to widows.  It’s not an unkind thing to say, but I find myself wondering if I’m supposed to look bad right now – maybe some sackcloth and ashes?  Am I disappointing people that I don’t look more like a grieving widow?  I don’t know.  I’m wearing the same clothes I’ve always worn, I’m back to wearing make-up (but no mascara yet – it streaks with tears).  My roots really need to be touched up, but I just haven’t felt the energy to tackle them yet.  Oh, I really don’t mind hearing this, the more I think about it.  I don’t have Paul around to compliment me on my appearance anymore, so if I don’t hear it from others, I’m not going to hear it at all.  But I just hope I’m not letting others down by not looking sorrowful enough in my appearance.  I doubt it.  I would hope that their intent is to offer encouragement by commenting on my appearance.  I'm going to assume that is the case, anyway!


So, on the anger: two widows from church visited me this week for one afternoon.  I tentatively asked them about the anger thing.  Is it ok for a Christian widow to be mad?  Or does that show a decided lack of faith and trust in a sovereign God? Is it an indication that my spiritual life is slipping?  They both assured me that they experienced the same thing, and like me, they weren’t angry with God or their husbands, but concluded that they were just mad that the deaths had happened at all.  They assured me it will pass, too.  I couldn't believe the degree of relief that their answer provided.


I found their visit so uplifting and encouraging.  I sat there and cried while we visited, but they told me that the thoughts and memories that bring me pain right now will someday fade to a shadowy softness and there will be poignancy to those memories.  Where I once cried, I will smile when I think about Paul.  Their words filled me with such hope.  I needed to hear that I am normal and that while inescapable at the moment, this pain is temporary.


Speaking of pain – a more temporal type and easier to deal with, but horrible just the same: David and I were out at some friends’ the other night and were in a weedy area with them.  We got completely chewed up by chiggers!  Oh my goodness – we are both messes of red, terribly itchy welts right now.  I was probably bit more than a hundred times, all over my back, my stomach, hips, and points south…We started dealing with this yesterday and I could not figure out what had feasted on us.  I was awakened at four this morning by the itching and it suddenly came to me – chiggers!  So I ran to town this morning and got some special cream especially for bites from those nasty critters.  It’s helping, but the itching is still pretty awful!  I’m just thankful none of the Littles were with us when we were in that weedy area.


Today, my friends Don and Pam visited all day.  They drove over from Cedar Rapids to spend the day with me.  It was really nice.  They helped me do some more clean-up in the basement.  Pam sorted the girls’ socks for me – bless her heart.  I hate sock sorting with a fervent passion and had their entire winter’s supply in a laundry basket needing sorting.  Woo-hoo – it’s done now!  Don is going to restore my metal chairs the way that Paul had intended to do.  It's going to be a precious gift from him.


We all went out to eat for supper and they asked if we could stop by Paul’s grave as we left town.  So we turned into the cemetery.  To my surprise, there was activity happening.  The Swan cemetery is always so quiet.  In fact, in all the times I’ve visited the last 7 weeks, I’ve never encountered anyone else up there, ever.  But they were digging a grave.  The kids were fascinated and so I asked the digger if we could watch and get up close.  He stopped digging for us.  Sam and Lizzie peered into the newly broken earth with a great deal of interest and questions.  I suppose it’s unusual for a 4 and 5 year old to be that fascinated with death and all the different things that accompany it like grave digging.  But this is their world now.  They will never be as innocent as they were before June 6th.


Don and Pam took us to Jethro’s, which is a rapidly expanding local restaurant.  I’ve been hearing about them for years, but had never been there.  They are up to 3 stores now in the metro.  Paul would have loved this place!  My taste buds have been on the sluggish side since his death and I’ve been losing weight as a result.  But tonight – oh my goodness!  My taste buds were working for sure!  I had the best sandwich – the most delicious pulled pork, slathered in melted swiss and some other kind of cheese, in between toasted Texas Toast.  Holy Moses, that was good!  I have not enjoyed a meal like that since pre-June 6.


I am turning into an old lady.  Any time I go to a restaurant now, I almost always bring my jacket, even in the heat of summer.  I get cold more easily.  I did tonight and was glad since I was cold and was able to sit comfortably with my coat.  At one point, I stuck my hands into the pockets and ended up fingering something I didn’t recognize.  It was a business card.  I pulled it out and, to my horror, discovered it was a business card from the sheriff’s deputy who assisted us the night Paul died.  I didn’t remember him giving me a card.  Why did he do that?  This is the man who had to tell me my husband was dead.  But yet, I couldn’t bring myself to throw away the card – I wonder why?  It’s still in my coat pocket right now.


I had to start using my new checks this week.  These are the ones that don’t have Paul’s name on them.  I remembered that in 1993 when we ordered our first joint checks I took the first one and scrapbooked it.  I was so proud of that thing.  There our names were, together, joint owners of a checking account!  Of course, there have been numerous different checking accounts in the years since and we’ve ordered boxes and boxes more of checks with our names on them.  But that first check was still special.  I came to the end of our last book of checks this week.  I thought for a moment and then I pulled the last check out of the book.  It only seems right that I scrapbook this one, too.


It was with a certain amount of irony that I used the very first check from my new book – the ones that read only, “Mrs. Sarah Heywood” – to pay the funeral home for Paul’s funeral.  I didn’t plan that, it just happened that way.


A friend posted the following poem on her daughter’s Care Page page this week.  I had heard this poem before, years ago, but had to quickly scribble it down when I read it again this week.  It’s good.


I walked a mile with Pleasure,

She chatted all the way;

but left me none the wiser,

for all she had to say.

I walked a mile with Sorrow,

and ne’er a word said she,

But, oh, the things I learned from her,

When Sorrow walked with me.


-Robert Browning Hamilton-


I really, really like that.


Today I was digging around in Paul’s shelf in the closet.  I was looking for something (unsuccessfully, as it turned out).  He lowered the bedroom floor by 18” in April which means that our closet shelves are really, really high now.  So I was poking around up there, while standing on his nightstand.  I found several boxes of plastic forks and spoons on his sweatshirt shelf.  I cannot figure this one out.  Why on earth did he put plastic utensils with his clothes?  It’s just bizarre!  I think these boxes used to be out in the mudroom.  How they ended up on the top shelf of his shelf is a mystery.


And it’s going to remain a mystery.  This is one of those things that I would love to ask Paul.  I’m sure he’d have a logical reason as to why he put the utensils with his clothes.  But now I will never know.  That’s aggravating.


And, right now, it’s hurtful, too.  I have so many things I’d like to ask and tell him that I will now never get to.  I dreamed about him last night.  He had come back from the dead and was kissing me passionately in a bookstore.  I don’t know the significance of the bookstore, but I get the kissing part!  But he had to go back to the grave and we knew our time together was limited.   Odd yes, but comforting at the same time.  Maybe it’s a parallel for my dream life.  It‘s only there that Paul can come back to me.  Once morning dawns and the children force me out of bed, Paul and I are apart.  But once I close my eyes in slumber there is always a chance he will come to me in my dream world.




































Monday, July 22, 2013

Day 46


July 22, 2013


Day 46


The last several days have been unbelievably raw.  A new friend of mine who is 7 years ahead of me on this journey told me that the numbness is wearing off for me now, which is the reason for the fresh pain.  I don’t think I was totally numb before because I felt plenty.  But I must have been somewhat insulated because I’m feeling a whole lot more now.  I woke up at 5:30 this morning because Will and Ben were leaving for camp.  I was immediately assailed by deep grief.  It’s that way now every. Single. Time. I awaken.  I remember the cartoons of my childhood – Wile E. Coyote, the hapless canine who was bested continually by the Roadrunner.  I remember at least one episode where he took a cannonball to his midsection and it left a hole from front to back.  He looked down, looked out, and discovered he could now see behind himself.  That’s me these days.


Paul was supposed to be at camp this week with the boys.  He was looking forward to it because it would be Will’s final year of youth camp.  He needed to be there for Ben.  He’d counseled so Ben could go for quite a few years now.  I had fallen into the habit of thoroughly enjoying my week “off.”  We’d eat nothing but frozen pizzas and taquitos.  I would rent a movie for every single night of my aloneness.  I would smuggle cards into Paul’s luggage; one for each day.  We’d talk at least once a day and would be counting down the hours until our Saturday reunion.  It was sweet.  Until I die, there will never be another reunion now.  The finality of this just keeps smacking me upside the head.  I go along, doing ok, and then I am hit, once again, with a reminder that Paul is never, ever, ever coming back to me.  It doesn’t matter how nice I am, how much I plead – he cannot come back.


You know the expression, “You look like you’ve lost your best friend!”?  Well, I have.  And when your best friend is also your lover, your husband, your provider, the father of your children, and the one who knows everything about maintaining and running your house and vehicles, it’s even worse than simply losing a friend.  It’s crushing.


I bought a new van this weekend.  It’s not brand new.  Paul would have my hide if I did something so foolish!  But I bought something better than he would have.  I had to, since he’s not around to keep this thing going for me.  It’s a pretty van – newer than last one with lots of extra features, including heated leather seats.  I am kind of looking forward to those this coming winter!  Other than that, though, I am finding no pleasure in the thing.  I needed a new van – it was on our agenda to get one this summer anyway since our other one was up to 230,000 miles and had things falling off/going wrong every week it seemed.  But it was kind of like buying toilet paper – necessary, but no fun.  It’s not the van.  It's just that nothing excites me much these days.  I wish Paul was here to tell me if he thought I did a good job picking one out.  I’ve never bought a vehicle on my own, ever!  I had originally planned to buy a set of those vinyl “families” I’ve seen on other vehicles when we got our new van.  They’re these stick figures and there’s one to represent the parents and each child.  They are so cute!  But I don’t have the heart for it now.  Plus, I have no desire to advertise the lack of a man in the home, either.

I bought the van from another widow in our church.  It was her first time to sell and buy a vehicle on her own, too.  We made quite the pair, trying to figure out how to fill in the back of the title and the damage disclosure form!  When we finished, I told her I think our husbands would be proud of us and she agreed.  And then I think we were both ready for a good cry!


My eyes are still driving me nuts.  I don’t know what’s wrong.  My widow books tell me it’s not unusual for a myriad of physical symptoms to suddenly crop up in the early months of bereavement.  Hopefully, this is just psychological, but I don’t know.  I am really having trouble with reading.  My new insurance card arrived today, so I guess I’m ok for going to the dr. again.  But I hate to spend money and chase answers if there really is nothing wrong with my eyes, other than being sad.


I put my card in my wallet.  The insurance card I’ve been carrying around for 6 years with Paul’s name on it was in there.  I took it out, prepared to toss it, and then thought again.  I slid it back into my wallet – not quite ready to do that yet.


We’re still having meals brought in to us regularly, for which I am grateful.  Last Wed. night our neighbors had us over and tonight we’re going over to some other friends’ for supper.  But I actually had to cook some chicken the other night.  I use the food processor for that.  Pre-death, I used that appliance nearly every day for supper preparations.  I don’t know how people get by without food processors!   So I went to use it the other night and I just stood there, momentarily stymied as to how to put it together for use.  I could not think what I was supposed to do to make that thing work!  I guess it was a combination of lack-of-practice and mental fatigue.  I eventually figured it out.


My latest widow book is one loaned to me by an older widow friend at church.  It’s not a Christian book, as far as I can tell, but I really appreciate the author’s frank way of talking.  Her husband dropped dead thirty five years ago while playing tennis (she was in her mid-fifties then, she must be dead by now – lucky her) and she ended up switching the focus of her counseling practice from marital counseling to support for the widowed.  She says,


Grieving is a process rather than a series of uphill steps, and gains are most often realized in retrospect.  One day you will realize that a whole day has passed without thinking about him.  You actually enjoyed yourself for an entire weekend, that this Christmas was better than the last, that he little knot of envy has worked its way free, and that the good days far outnumber the sad ones…


I had to stop and read that at least three times.  Right now it seems so inconceivable to me that there will ever come a day where I won’t think about Paul.  I can’t imagine freely enjoying myself.  But it’s only been 6 ½ weeks since I went from being happily married to unhappily widowed.  I felt hope when reading this.  If others have passed through the fires of widowhood and have passed onto healing and happiness later on, then maybe I will, too - ??  Right now I think, “No, I don’t want to be happy without him!”


But it isn’t going to happen all at once.  The author was pointing out that this is a process.  I feel so rudderless right now, so alone, so without purpose.  Yes, I have purpose in that I have six children.  And they may be the sole reason I am yet alive.  As a Christian, I recognize, too, that God does not call us Home until we have completed all that He intended for us to do.  I accept that.  I am not in despair that I am not dead, too, although right now being dead, too,  would be my preference.


But perhaps someday I will actually take pleasure in life again.  I will smile and feel genuine happiness bubbling out of my heart.  I have a hard time believing that will happen, but if others have experienced this, then maybe I will, too.


It is said the saddest individuals are those without any hope.  I think I have just enough of that to hold on a little bit longer.  And maybe right now a little bit is all I need to have.















































Friday, July 19, 2013

Day 43


July 19, 2013


Day 43



I hurt.  It is like my entire body is one, throbbing nerve.  I can’t move or brush up against any memory without pulsating pain ripping through my entire being.  It’s been a stressful week which might be some of the cause of this extra pain.  And it’s just the nature of grief, too, I think – ok times, harder times, and gut-wrenching times.  I’m in the latter category right now.


I took the kids to a public swimming pool tonight – a very innocuous event.  A friend told me that the Indianola pool was having a special (and cheap) swim for families of special needs persons.  Will had plans (“Don’t wait up, Mom!” he informed me.  If it was any other kid, I might be worried…) but I took the other five.  Memory after memory and emotions on top of emotions assailed me the entire two hours we were there.  Paul and I spent a lot of time swimming, it seems.  I suppose that comes with having a house full of children.  We never stayed in a hotel that didn’t have a pool and we’ve swam at campground pools and other public pools.  He liked swimming.  I liked him, so I went.  Midway through the night I realized my suit strap was twisted.  My suit straps were always twisted.  It was Paul’s job to untwist them for me because I never paid attention to stuff like that. I was too busy trying to keep small people from drowning, I think.  I did it myself tonight.  There wasn’t a single time we went swimming that he didn’t sneak up behind me at some point and pinch my bottom.  Nobody pinched me tonight – which is good, all things considered!  But I missed it.  I missed having help with kids and I missed seeing Paul relax in the water.  I missed the contented ride home, the water-soaked stupor of sun and pool time.  Ellie got brave tonight and decided that she was big enough to “bum” (jump) off the side of the pool into my arms, over and over.  I wanted to share that with Paul so badly - smile together at her progress.  I remember the two of us holding out our arms for the older boys, encouraging them to jump as toddlers.  Instead, I held out my arms for her all by myself.


While at the pool my friend’s daughter commented that she was leaving for Colorado in a couple of weeks.  The words cut like a knife.  Paul and I went to Colorado just five months ago.  A flood of memories washed over me as I stood in the pool.


I got my hair trimmed yesterday for the first time since May.  My stylist is a friend, but I had not seen her since my last appointment, and as I sat down she told me that she had prayed over my appointment.  I sat there and sobbed.  I hate that.  I want to be strong and courageous.  But there are moments that my eyes just can no longer contain the well of emotion.  I know that’s why God designed tears.  I supposed we’d explode if we didn’t have some way to release anguish.  But I would still prefer to cry privately – like I am right now, as I type.  I suspect I’m going to need a new keyboard sooner with this new computer of ours since it’s getting leaked on quite a bit these days!


Ellie is adding new words to her vocabulary nearly every day, it seems like.  While Paul was alive she managed to say “Da” for his name but that’s as far as she got.  I completed a scrapbook yesterday and brought it upstairs for the kids to look through before putting it on the shelf.  Ellie turned the pages and squealed excitedly, “Daddy!” as clear as a bell.  She kept pointing to a picture of Paul and would not stop crying out his name until I looked, too, nodded, and agreed with her that it was, indeed, her daddy.  Then she turned a couple more pages and did the same thing all over again!  Will brought up a couple of Paul’s tea jugs from the basement to clean out so that he could use them.  Ellie saw this and got all excited again.  “Daddy!” she cried out, pointing at the jugs.  David asked me tonight if Ellie will always remember her dad.  I can’t see that happening since she’s so young.  I would think her memory of him would completely fade in time.  So it makes this time extra sweet, knowing that there will come a day when she looks at a picture of her dad and no memory is triggered.


I’m having difficulty seeing.  I’m puzzled and a little concerned.  I woke up this morning, put on my glasses, attempted to read my devotional book and it was like I was reading without my glasses.  I even double-checked my face to make sure I did have them on.  I did!  The words on the page were just not quite clear.  I could still read them but it took effort.  All day long it has felt like my eyes are slightly crossed.  How could my vision change overnight?  I can see, but printed words especially are just not quite as clear as normal.  I just got all new glasses in March.  I surely hope I am not going to have to replace them already.  Hopefully whatever this is will clear up quickly.  Paul was probably headed for glasses.  In recent months he had begun to complain that he could no longer see as clearly.  Since I’ve been in glasses nearly all my life, I didn’t have a whole lot of sympathy for him.  I told him his age was catching up with him and he agreed, mumbling that he probably should go see the eye doctor one of these days…


There’s a one-night movie event coming in late September.  It’s something Kirk Cameron has put together.  It’s being billed as some sort of event from Liberty University. If memory serves me right, I think he is involved with the cinema dept. of that college.   I didn’t know anything about this particular production.  I’m not sure if it’s an actual movie or a documentary he’s produced or what this is exactly.  I just happened to see something about it on Facebook yesterday.  So, I watched the clip.  The event/movie is called, “Unstoppable” and has to do with what happens to our faith when our worlds are rocked by tragedy.  It’s only for one night and there is only one theater in Des Moines showing it, although this is happening all over the country in different theaters.  I bought tickets for the older boys and myself and I’m going to find a sitter for the Littles that evening.   I understand already why tragedies happen.  I definitely understand the important role that faith in a loving God plays when horrible things happen.  I don’t know that watching this is going to change my life or perspective in any way. I’m not really sure who this is event is geared for – those who already know or those who need to know.   But I like Kirk Cameron and have a lot of respect for him as an actor and as a Godly man.  I’d like to know his conclusions.  And I thought it would be something good for the older boys to see, too.  So we’re going.


Lizzie asked if we could stop by Daddy’s grave on our way home tonight.  Since I’d already put her off once earlier this week, I turned into the cemetery.  We all got out.  David, my budding horticulturist, was bothered to see weeds growing on Paul’s grave.  So he busied himself plucking them out of the dirt.  Sam and Lizzie chatted to each other and ran around the gravesite in their swimsuits while I longingly tried to look through the dirt, down into Paul’s coffin.


I just want to be with him.