Monday, July 8, 2013

Day 32


July 8, 2013


Day 32


I did some more tombstone shopping today.  I knew there were two outfits in Knoxville that do this.  I could only find one.  I looked and looked for the other – finally figured, phooey, they didn’t want to be found!  Besides, I really liked this one place I went to first down there.   The lady was so, so nice.  And, I’m not sure, but there is a chance she could be a Believer.  We were talking about Paul’s death and how you just don’t realize how quickly things can change.  She made the comment, “All we can do is be ready.”  I assume she was talking about spiritual matters.  I don’t know – maybe she meant we should be ready with prepaid grave markers!  She talked to me about the idea of buying a double marker for both Paul and myself.  I really had not given that a lot of thought, but the more I think about it the more I like it. Financially, it makes sense and I kind of like the idea of tying together our lives as we lay there, dead together.  My only concern has to do with a possible remarriage down the road.  So I wrote a nice long email to my pastor laying out my concerns and asking for his opinion.  I would not want to be disloyal to a future spouse by making arrangements for burial by a former one.  You know what Paul would say?  He would look at me and ask, “Does it really matter?”  Of course this is the guy that wanted to be buried in our backyard in an old appliance box…


I worked some more on Paul’s desk yesterday.  That is really hard.  I am anxious to get it organized my way so I can access financial info easily.  I’m also purging quite a bit.  Paul was scared to throw anything away.  I throw away too much.  But at least I can fit everything into one desk!  I worked on his top, middle drawer.  In this he stuffed all kinds of Menards receipts for the work on the house.  All the business cards he had collected over the years were in there.  He had his favorite mechanical pencils and the super-fine lead he would refill them with.  He had pictures he had taken of the different remodeling projects he had done, in various stages of completion.  I found stickers he had bought five years ago to decorate some cards he had made for me for our 15th anniversary when he sent me 15 gifts to commemorate the day.  I kept those.


My heart felt raw again this morning when I awoke.  I visualize it as this piece of meat now.  What used to be whole and healthy and vibrantly alive, has now been smashed into this barely recognizable pile of pulp.  It’s dripping blood and oozing matter everywhere.  Nobody would ever know that five weeks ago it worked just fine.  Five weeks ago it did exactly what it was supposed to.  Five weeks ago it wasn’t hurting.


I was reminded recently of my wedding day.  Pastor Young married us, of course.  I remember that he made the comment that that day God was soldering our lives together.  We were becoming one flesh.  He warned us that if we were ever to separate, those two pieces could come apart but it would not happen without great personal injury to each piece.  That imagery made such an impression on me that I never forgot it.  I imagined two porcelain figurines being superglued together.  And then I tried to visualize what would happen if one tugged and tugged on the pieces until they separated.  It wouldn’t be a clean break.  Of course, he was referring to the possibility of separation or divorce that day.  But I never thought about how death would do the same thing.  My piece has been greatly damaged.


I have heard it said often that divorce is worse than the death of a mate.  I can see how people would say that.  With divorce there would be years of hurt and then the animosity of the divorce itself, which would then create even more hurt and definitely anger.  But, I was reading one of my widowhood books the other day and the author pointed out in the book, that unlike death, at least when there is divorce, there is always hope for reconciliation, or at the very least, some sort of “closure” over the whole thing.  You don’t get that when your spouse dies.  It’s final.  There will never be reconciliation or even a final goodbye, a final kiss, a final hug, a final, “I love you.”  It’s over. 




Will is outside working on the junk on Paul’s trailer that needs to be hauled in.  I happened to glance out the window as he passed by and for a moment, the sight of him took my breath away.  From the side he looks so much like Paul.  Up close, he looks like me J  but from a distance, I would have sworn he was his dad.


It’s funny how the mind works when it is hurting.  Lately, I have found myself so encouraged by the thought of history, when I hear it referred to in books, or snippets on tv or the radio – any  period of history, it doesn’t matter when it is.  You know why I am liking history so much these days?  Because all the people that lived in the past are now dead.  Someday my era will be history and I’ll be dead, too – no more hurting, raw, heart and eternity with Jesus and Paul.  What could be better?  I’m definitely not suicidal, but I’m so ready to be done living.  Living hurts.

In the current widow book I’m reading the author asserts that a widow will lose 75% of her friends after widowhood.  Apparently she didn’t make up that statistic because she says that when she was widowed she was quite sure that would not happen to her.  But it did.  I am horrified by that possibility.  I am supposed to lose my husband AND ¾ of all my friendships?  Why will people not want to be friends with me any longer simply because I lost my husband?  One reason she gives is that single women are regarded as a “threat” by married women.  That just makes me laugh (sarcastically).  I don’t think middle-aged widows of a half dozen children who are bleary-eyed and sallow with grief are going to be exactly “hot commodities” when it comes to men.  And besides, for married women to feel that way is really insulting to both the widowed and the integrity of their own husbands.  So I seriously hope that is not an attitude I ever run into.


And as wonderful as the majority of my friends have been, I have wondered about some who seem to have pulled away already.  I like to think that they just aren’t sure what to say or think that I am still constantly surrounded by others right now (I’m not) and would be in the way (they wouldn’t).  But I have to admit it does hurt when I haven’t heard from some my friends other than just at the immediate time of Paul’s death and funeral.  I am so grateful for those that are dropping me notes or texts now with just a quick message – “how are you today?”  “How can I pray for you right now?”  It means a lot.  Silence from others speaks volumes, even if I’m misunderstanding the silence.  I understand that during trials we tend to expect others to know exactly what we need.  Many do.  But some just don’t.  And I have to be willing to extend grace to them as well.


But I have some responsibility here, too.  Just yesterday David and I were talking about people that disappoint us, referencing a different subject altogether.  I reminded him that even in those situations we have a choice as to where we place our focus.  Is it going to be on those who let us down or on those that go above and beyond for us?  That doesn’t let those that hurt us off the hook, necessarily, but it does mean that we can choose where to allow our focus to linger.


I still hope I don’t lose 75% of my friends, though.


David left for camp this morning.  I hope he does ok this week.  Last year Paul was his counselor for Junior High.  This year David is the only boy from our church so he’ll be in a cabin with strangers.  I have been praying that God will provide a special friend for him this week.  I also hope that his counselor, whoever he is, reaches out to David. 


And here’s another “God” story:  a few weeks ago a friend suggested to me that I should have something special done with Paul’s clothing.  I thought about it and decided that I would love to have a quilt made out of his shirts and jeans.  But while I have a number of different friends who quilt and who, I know, would instantly agree to such a project for me, I was reluctant to ask anyone.  I think I was reluctant because I knew they would say yes.  And so many have done SO much for me in the past 4 ½ weeks.  I just don’t ever want to get to the point that I am a burden to people.  But the more I thought about snuggling under a quilt made out of the things Paul used to wear, that I used to wash and dry and fold for him, the more I wanted it.  So, I asked the Lord for it!  I asked him to send someone to me, volunteering to make me such a thing.


Today my friend and neighbor, Lynne, popped in.  Her daughter is just two months younger than Lizzie (in fact her little Baylee and Paul shared a birthday) and the girls have recently discovered eachother.  They are constant playmates once Baylee gets home every afternoon from daycare.  Lynne said to me, “Do you have any plans for Paul’s clothing?”  She went on to explain that she and her “crafty” cousin that I met at Lynne and her husband’s July 4th party a week ago, had come up with the idea of taking Paul’s clothes and sewing them into quilts for me and for all the kids.  I’m not sure he has enough clothes for all that, but she said maybe they could do throws for the kids.  They want to embroider the kids’ names and a Bible verse on each quilt.  I looked at Lynne earnestly and informed her that her offer was an answer to prayer.  Why do I ever doubt that God cares?


Paul had a hook in the corner of the bathroom, between the linen cabinet and the wall where he would hang his clothes that he could probably wear again before washing.  Just last night I realized that two of his shirts were hanging there.  I eagerly stuck my nose in them, knowing that he had worn them last and hoping that I could still smell his wonderful, natural scent.  They just smelled like dust.  It’s time to re-purpose them, to move on.


But, oh, how I miss his smell!  And his footsteps.  His work-worn hands, so rough, but so gentle…the timbre of his voice…his annoying little throat sounds…his silky hair…the ripped and oil stained work shirts he wore when working around the house…his silly jokes…his grin…the passion in his eyes that was mine alone…


I really don’t know how I am going to live the rest of my life without him.  Can hearts this  shattered  ever really heal?





















1 comment:

  1. Random thoughts on your post:
    My boys liked Daddy Pillows to hug or lay their head on instead of a blanket. I have a quilt that a friend of Jim's sister made. It took me awhile to let his clothes go to anyone, like another part of him left. But getting the quilt was wonderful.

    Yes, I am living proof that God is in the miracle business of healing hearts that are so hurting and mangled that one wonders how they can still be alive. Little step by little step, moment by moment, the Lord will touch each fiber of your heart and work His miracle. "In His time, He makes all things beautiful in His time."

    About friends, yes, some do pull away, it hurts. Sometimes it isn't because you are a preceived threat, often it cuz' they don't know what to say or do, sometimes it is because they are grieving too and seeing you and your family rips their grief wide open. Just remember, Trust God! He knows your needs. He will have the friends you need hang close to you. He will also bring you knew friends you never knew you needed.
    Praying for you all