Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Day 25


July 2, 2013


Day 25


It’s July now.  Turning the calendar brought a rush of emotions – relief that the terrible month of June is over, sorrow that I am entering a month Paul will never see.  How many pages will turn over before I can smile – for real – again?


Yesterday was Ellie’s 2nd birthday.  It could have been a sad day. And, it did prick at me, but absolutely everything does right now.  I have some sort of emotion or memory tied up with everything I think or do.  My friend Deb came over.  She’s been coming over every Monday, bringing supper for us and craft projects for the Littles.  Yesterday she showed up with party supplies and presents for Ellie.  She had Sam and Lizzie make party favors and then set the table for a celebration before slipping back to her own family.  Then, after supper, my friend Debbie came over with a birthday cake and her kids.  We did a little party for Miss Eleanor.  We had to light her candle three times before we figured out that we needed to sing first and then light!  She kept blowing it out as soon as we would light it – cute moments.  One would almost think it was a normal birthday party for a toddler…except for the palpable sadness in the air and the lack of a father in the room.


Today was difficult.  I did some errands which took most of the day. I had to take my two neediest children, which made it harder, too.   Walmart is never my favorite place to be and today it was less so.  I was walking down an aisle and an incredible wave of sadness washed over me, to the point I very nearly came to a complete stop.  I constantly feel an ache and shortness of breath in my mid-section, but sometimes it’s worse.  Today it was worse and still is.


A little bit after I got home, Paul’s manager delivered his tools that had been taken out of his truck.  That hurt.  I opened up one box and discovered  he had been carrying around a  Valentine card I had given to him 4 years ago – full of words of love and commitment, about how I only wanted to be beside him, no matter where he was.


 I still feel that way.


The phrase “Walking Wounded” leapt into my mind today.  I heard that somewhere; don’t know where or when.  But it definitely applies to us right now.  People ask me how I’m doing and I usually say something to the effect of, “putting one foot in front of the other.”  We’re walking, but we’re wounded.  Our souls are leaving trails of blood and tears behind our  achingly slow progress.


At the same time, though, I really want to be careful to never engage in self-pity.  I think it could be so easy fall into that mire when in circumstances like this.  Yes, there is plenty of natural sadness, but one of my prayers from the beginning has been that God would make me aware if I crossed that line from sadness to self-pity.  What’s happened IS awful, but it is not the worst thing that can happen to a person.  I’m sure there have to be worse things – maybe losing a spouse who did not know the Lord, for example.  Maybe losing a spouse AND a child at the same time.  People have endured much greater heartache than what we have been asked to carry. Of course, when something happens to you, it is big, but perspective is a valuable thing as well.


It occurred to me just last week (and this may be a “duh” thing, but I’m a bit slow on the uptake these days) that our family may serve as an example to others.  Hopefully, it would be as a good example – showing others how grief can be handled with Christ, how a person can be dismayed and distraught, but not destroyed by great loss.


Will commented to me the other day that he never realized how many songs – hymns and more contemporary songs alike – are written for a hurting heart.  Thursday night at Family Camp a really great singer sang, “The Anchor Holds” before the evening service.  Will said while he had always liked that song, he’d never had application for it until now.  I knew exactly what he was talking about.  Of course, with that particular song, I’m also remembering how his dad sang it at our old church.  Will probably doesn’t remember that.


I am slowly starting to begin to adjust my home to Paul’s absence.  Oh, that’s probably not the best way to phrase it.  I’m reading a book right now written to address some of the more practical aspects of widowhood.  It’s a Christian book, written by a couple who were each previously widowed.  Anyway, they suggest very strongly that a dead spouse’s things should be packed up within three months of the death, so as to prevent the living spouse from entering a period of denial (we’ve all heard of parents who lost a child and continued to keep their rooms as though that child were due to return at any moment – that kind of thinking).  I’m not going to hold myself to a strict three month guideline, but I do understand where the authors are coming from.  I actually moved some of Paul’s shirts out of one his drawers this week so that I had more room for my clothes. I commandeered his alarm clock, too.  My own clock is a cheap one I bought this winter.  Its only redeeming factor is that it has a line for my mp3 player.  But the alarm doesn’t always go off and half the time the station fades in and out.  I’ll never buy a cheap radio again.  But anyway, I nearly overslept Sunday because I couldn’t hear the alarm when it went off.  It was set just fine on Sat. night but the gremlins that live inside it messed around again before I awoke.  Normally, Paul would alert me if I overslept, but that’s obviously not going to happen now.  So I said, “Enough!” and moved Paul’s alarm clock to my side of the bed.  It’s so old that it has a tape deck in it, but it doesn’t shift between stations! Later that same day, I cleaned off the top of his desk.  I threw away most of the stuff he had there.  I kept thinking, “Oh, he’s going to be so mad at me!”  And then I’d have that quick jab of remembrance that told me he’ll never fuss at me again for throwing his stuff out.


I had Roy (the dog) euthanized last Saturday.  The boys were perfectly fine with it, but I probably would have done it even if they weren’t.  I was never a big fan of that animal(or any animal, for that matter, save for my kitty)!  Paul was the only one who ever took him for runs.  It was no life for him being kenneled and chained all the time.  Of course, being dead is no life either.  Oh well.  Friends of ours found a vet willing to put him down, so that’s we did.  We’ll dismantle the kennel this summer or fall when we have the backhoe to work on the basement project.


The only nice thing about Roy is that I was always alerted when anyone arrived.  If they were intent on evil, there’s very little Roy could have done since he was always tied up.   So, I’m going to buy a handgun.  In April Paul and I took our permit-to-carry class and that certificate is going to expire on July 11, so I need to get to the sheriff’s office very soon to get my permit.  Then I’m going to buy a gun, learn to shoot it, and keep it ready to go.  I’ll probably never need it, but if I do, I’m going to be ready.  I have a family to protect.


Driving around, I’ll sometimes see crosses and memorial flowers by the side of the road.  We’ve all seen them – the little tributes indicate that someone’s life was lost in that spot.  In fact, I know a section of median on Hwy 69 going down to Indianola where, eight years after a deadly accident, a friend of an acquaintance still keeps a cross there with her daughter’s name.  I can see how things like that might bring comfort.  It’s why I bought little American flags today for Paul’s grave.  But I don’t know that I can actually decorate his death site  - since it’s on our bedroom floor!  I’ve been ok with walking in there.  Sometimes, I even look down at the floor where faint traces of his blood remain from that night. 


However, I think it’s good that I am eventually going to have new bedroom in a different part of the house when the church men do the work here.  The spot where Paul died will be part of the bathroom, covered up by fixtures or linoleum.  I have decided, too, that when I get my new bedroom, I am going to completely redecorate it.  I just want a fresh start.  Paul loved the whole animal/safari look (he bought me a bed set in that theme for one Christmas years and years ago which started the whole thing), but I think I want something different now – something restful.  I want my bedroom to be a retreat from the children.  Plus, right now I have a sign above our bed that reads, “Always Kiss Me Goodnight.”  That’s going to have to go, along with some of the other decorations.  I’ll keep our wedding picture, maybe a few other things.  There’s plenty of time to decide on all that – no rush.


I found some encouragement the other day in 1 Peter 4:19.  The verse reads, “Therefore, let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.”  I just love McArthur’s notes.  He explained the verse this way:


“Commit” is a banking term meaning “to deposit for safekeeping.” Faithful Creator – Peter uses the word, “Creator,” to remind the readers of this letter that when they committed their lives to God, they were simply giving back to God what He had created.  As a Creator, God knows best the needs of His beloved creatures.


I found that really comforting.  It reminded me too, of that session on suffering I attended at Family Camp.  The speaker was pointing out that God will meet our every need.  Now, if asked, a bereaved person might say they need their loved one that is now gone.  But that’s not true.  If that person was needed, they would still be here.  It’s a perceived need, which I completely get.  I totally feel like I still NEED Paul.  But God doesn’t believe I need Him anymore, otherwise I would have him.  But my true needs will be provided.  That can be a bit hard to wrap one’s mind around, but it’s so simple at the same time.


Ok, I have to end on something funny, which is probably a new thing for these Unwilling Widow posts.  Yesterday, I ventured up to City Hall for the first time in a month.  I did the water billing, since I’m the only person in town who knows how to do it.  The other day our mayor muttered something about it possibly being wise if I were to teach him how to do this in case “something like this” happens again.  I sure hope nothing like this ever happens again!  I was sorting through the payments and I happened upon a sympathy card that had been slipped into the box, along with one of the resident’s water payment.  Everyone who knows me knows what a grammarian I am and how misspellings are like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.  It’s just the way I’m wired.   This kind resident had written in the card, “Paul will sure be mist.”


I didn’t wince this time.  Instead, I laughed and laughed as visions of an ethereal Paul, floating around our little town, wisping around street signs and above roofs,  leapt into my mind.  It just tickled me for some reason.  A day later, I am still chuckling.


Laughter is kind of a like a ray of sunshine suddenly piercing through a rain cloud, surprising everyone.  It’s a gift.










1 comment:

  1. You posted, "The speaker was pointing out that God will meet our every need. Now, if asked, a bereaved person might say they need their loved one that is now gone. But that’s not true. If that person was needed, they would still be here. It’s a perceived need, which I completely get. I totally feel like I still NEED Paul. But God doesn’t believe I need Him anymore, otherwise I would have him. But my true needs will be provided. That can be a bit hard to wrap one’s mind around, but it’s so simple at the same time."

    These are powerful words that I haven't heard said quite like that from a widow before. Today was a day when I felt so needy for Jim to deal with a problem. But God provided in a different way what I really needed.

    The other powerful statement you said was "We’re walking, but we’re wounded. Our souls are leaving trails of blood and tears behind our achingly slow progress." What a visual of the heart of a griever!

    For us Mondays were hard for awhile, and the 6th was difficult for months. Those stings have faded. February still has a emptiness to us though.

    I am proud of you for recognizing that it is okay and often necessary to pack things up, move them, get rid of them, or redo something different than your husband would do.

    Every time I hear "His Anchor Holds" I think of Jim's best friend, Ben. He sang that hymn around the anniversary of Jim's death one year. And I believe that song helped him through his grief. They weren't only best friends since 7th grade but also coworkers for years. Ben told me one time, "I cried all the way to work for the first 3wks after Jim was gone." Amen! that God's anchor holds.

    What a blessing those two different cards were. Again God's fingerprints. Thank you again for sharing your heart. Hugs & Prayers