Thursday, August 22, 2013

Day 78


August 22, 2013

Day 78

Eleven weeks ago today…

My allergies have finally decided to put in an appearance.  Normally they start wreaking havoc right around Aug. 9th and don’t bid me good-bye until sometime in October.  I was wondering where they were and then they showed up yesterday with their friends – Drug-induced Fatigue, Red, sore Nose, Blurry Brain, Sore Throat, Itchy Eyes,  and Drippy Nose.  Someone told me it’s going to be an early frost this year, based on when they first heard the locusts this summer.  I hope so!  I am thankful, though, that Paul didn’t die in the midst of ragweed season.  That would have been terrible to have that fresh grief on top of feeling so miserable, physically.

Even without my allergy drugs, my brain is still not firing on all cylinders.  I spend nearly every waking and many sleeping moments dwelling on the fact that Paul is dead.  But last Sun. night I was reading the paper and saw the obituary for one of our college professors.  My first thought was, “Oh, I need to show this to Paul!”  Oh yeah…Paul probably knew he died before I did. He probably already talked with him!  And then on Monday morning as I was re-heating a muffin for my breakfast, I had the thought, “I wonder if Paul ate one of these before he left this morning?”  I suppose it’s just habit.  I don’t think it’s denial, anyway.

Sam came to me the other day, lip quivering and said, “It’s just, it’s just – everything is different now!  And, I’m not sure I remember what Dad looked like…”  Poor little guy.  I showed him the nice picture frames that were sent to us in June and how soon we’ll be picking out a photo of he and his dad to enlarge and put in the frame for his bedroom.  That did seem to cheer him.

I’ve done some shopping in the last week.  Kathy came down a week ago and then Monday Dan and Sara came and we hit the mall, like usual.  I find myself so discouraged now, though, by the thought of shopping.  I didn’t realize just how much I dressed for Paul until he wasn’t here.  Even though he, himself, was not exactly a fashion maven (think “farm boy”), he had definite preferences when it came to what I wore.  Over the years, I molded my wardrobe – outer and under - to fit those.  It was important to him that I look nice at all times, so I did (well, I like to think I did, anyway). I just have a hard time motivating myself to do much more these days than throw on a t-shirt and a pair of shorts.  Who is going to appreciate my efforts now?
I’m working on packing up Paul’s personal things now.  Some stuff I’m pitching, some I’m giving to the kids, and I have a pile for stuff I’m not sure what to do with yet.  I found the last Sunday School lesson Paul taught – his notes.  I was just going to throw them away but it occurred to me the boys might appreciate having those.  Perhaps they would be especially meaningful to Will or David as both boys are contemplating full-time ministry as careers.  For some reason, I cannot bring myself to throw away Paul’s drugs, though.  It’s so dumb.  They are a continual reminder to me of the reason he died.  I have had them setting out since June and I know that’s not the safest thing (they are in the hope chest now, though, away from little fingers).  They’re not going to last.  Eventually, moisture will get to them and they’ll crumble.  We don’t need these drugs at all.  But yet…every single time I go to pitch the bottle, I can’t do it.  I cannot throw them away.  I could see this kind of hesitation for something big – love letters, clothing – but prescription drugs?

There has been tremendous progress made on the house since I last wrote.  I go outside, peek under my back room, and shake my head in wonder.  We’ve had crews of church guys here for several nights and it is completely dug out now.  Concrete is being delivered tomorrow morning and then they’ll start laying blocks.  It would have taken Paul weeks and weeks to do what these guys did in just a few days.

It happened yesterday.  I knew it was just a matter of time.  I wondered how I would react when I did and as a result, kind of dreaded it.  I finally saw a Lozier truck while driving.  I was on I-235, headed west, and there it was, just ahead of me.  I took a deep breath.  I had finally seen one of their trucks and I had survived the sighting.  And then – my breathing constricted and I began to sob.  Rivulets of tears streamed down my face as I drove.  I was quiet because Sam was in the seat behind me.  But my heart was splitting in two all over again.  It took awhile to recover from that.  But I have a feeling that the next time I see a Lozier truck, I may be ok.  Or maybe not.

A Christian writer’s group for our part of the state is being formed.  A multi-published friend of mine posted a query on Facebook the other night, trying to gauge interest.  I thought about it.  Right now I don’t really feel like writing, other than my journal here.  But I cannot shake the feeling that writing is definitely going to be a part of my future once I get through this time.  So the next morning I wrote to her and told her I’d be interested.  Her response was reassuring and encouraging and gave me hope for better days, for days when God takes this hurt and turns it into something that gives hope to other hurting hearts.  I start that in November.  I’m actually kind of excited!

I started my last widow book the other night.  I have not finished the other one I was reading (by the English pastor) but I can’t find it!  I laid it down somewhere and it is nowhere to be found right now.  This is why I like my kindle with its bright red cover!  It will show up.  So I started this last one.  To my surprise, it’s written by a mom of 4, who lost her 46 year old husband in ’05 when he was jogging.  At the time, their kids were between the ages of 2 – 15.  I’m getting to a point here.

One thing that I’ve thought often about is Paul’s arrival in Heaven.  I don’t know if arrivals are a quiet thing, where you just check in, are given your mansion key, an itinerary, and your job assignment. You’d probably get a guided tour, I bet.  Maybe you finally meet your guardian angels before they are reassigned.  Then, you gradually and slowly make your way through the golden streets and here and there run into people you used to know on earth.  But maybe it’s completely different.  Perhaps each arrival is a greatly heralded and celebrated event.  Maybe alarms went off and God’s booming voice ran out the morning of June 6th, “Here is my beloved child, Paul Heywood – he’s finally Home!”  And all of Heaven cheered and clapped and Paul walked onto a golden dais and casually waved at the throngs, while gaping at the beauty of all around him.  I don’t know.

This is what has bothered me: Paul would never have chosen to do this to us – to leave us alone, hurting and scared.  He had a very strong sense of responsibility.  He wasn’t the only one.  I’ve had visions of him running into his Aunt Barb up in Heaven.  She died on New Year’s Eve the holiday I was pregnant with David – almost 15 years ago.  Actually, she was only a couple of years older than we are now.  She had cancer.  I assume she’s in Heaven today; I believe she had made a profession of faith at some point.  She was a loud, out-spoken, and very opinionated woman.  I still liked her, though.  I could just see her encountering Paul up in Heaven and beginning to scold him, telling him he had better get his kiester back down to earth to “take care of your wife and babies!”  But I know that’s not how it works.  There is no sadness in Heaven.  So, I know Paul is good with him being there and us being here.  He has to be. This is where the finiteness of my human brain frustrates me.  That is not the Paul I knew.  But I only knew him when he was constrained by the shackles of earth’s cares and emotions.

To my delight, this new book I’m reading addresses this very subject in its first few pages.  She says:

You might be asking what I was thinking: How can he have fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore without his whole family? We were such a huge part of his joy here! And how can he be at perfect peace? Certainly he must be worried about us!  We must understand that we receive our promises through the Word, whereas our loved ones get to have God Himself – face to face – assure them of His unfailing love and care of us.  That’s the only way they could have complete peace.

Of course!  This explains it perfectly.  I immediately thought of 1Cor, 13:12 which says, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then, face to face.   Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I am known.”  No matter how much we study God’s Word and how closely we walk with our Savior, there is always going to be a wall of “dimness” separating us.  There are things we cannot understand until Heaven.  But as I think about it, if I were the one in Heaven and the God of Universe was there, assuring me that my husband and kids, still on earth, were going to be cared for even better than I could have done it, and not only that, but that their present sorrow was being worked for their ultimate good, I would rejoice.  I’d be thrilled to know that Paul and the kids were in God’s loving and capable hands.

The more I think about this, I kind of get goose bumps.  Definitely awed and humbled…




















































1 comment:

  1. A few quick thoughts:
    My boys, especially, my middleman had many fears of forgetting what Dad looked like and forgetting memories. Pictures and keeping his name and stories of him alive by retelling them help.

    Once doing some grief drawing, my children shared that the biggest thing that diffentent about our life was the fact that we went shopping, all of us together. Jim usually did the shopping on the way home so I wouldn't need to do it with the little ones.

    Having those Little thoughts aren't denial, you are right, it is just natural thinking for a woman who became one flesh with her husband.

    Sermon or Sunday school notes are precious. When my youngest was going to preach at PreachFest it was encouraging to him to see and read his dad's sermon notes of sermons he preached.

    Hugs to you and thank you for sharing the quote from the widow book. This is from a story the LORD impressed upon my heart to write for my children. It describes my thoughts on when Jim saw Jesus.

    "Jesus was just smiling down at the man and then wrapped His arms around him. The man had many questions. But the Lord just smiled and said, “Let’s go home; my Father has it all taken care of. Don’t worry; He heard your prayers. They are safe in His arms.”

    I think you will do wonderful in that Christian writer's group. Praying for you!
    Enough random thoughts, good night!