Friday, August 30, 2013

Day 86


August 30, 2013

Day 86

The last two days have been painful…really painful.  There’s nothing I can point at to give me a reason as to why that is – no significant date, no unearthing of some treasure belonging to the two of us – just two, very ordinary days.  But I’ve felt like a raw nerve ending again.  This is the thing I am discovering about this type of grief.  I can have times where I feel like I am making progress.  I am able to pack away Paul’s things, I laugh, I find myself beginning to envision a future that doesn’t include him – and I’m ok with all of it.  And, then out of the blue, I am sucked back into a vortex of grief and pain that takes my breath away.  All over again, I feel like the wind has been knocked out of me.  The only other significant loss I ever experienced was the baby we miscarried in ’01.  All four of my grandparents died in the last decade and while their deaths made me sad, I was not inconsolable.  They had lived long, healthy lives and made considerable impact on mine.  It was their time.  When we lost the baby it hurt a lot.  But as time went on, I truly did feel better.  It wasn’t that I never cried again after the initial loss, but it was only briefly and usually related to the miscarriage date.  Now, I rarely even feel a pang anymore when April 20ths roll around.  I imagine a lot of that is because I know that without that miscarriage I probably would not have any of my Littles today.  But this pain of losing Paul is different.  I know while it has been 12 weeks, I’m still pretty early into everything, especially if I end up widowed for the rest of my life, which may be another 40 years or more.  12 weeks isn’t long compared to that.  It’s just odd to me how I can feel fine one day and then devastated all over again the next.

I ended up starting school yesterday with the kiddos.  I found out, right off the bat, that two of my purchased curriculums weren’t going to work.  I bought this new math program for David that sounded really good, but in reality is just weird.  It involves teaching math  using these complicated finger movements.  How did I miss that in reading the description?  Ugh.  So – back to the drawing board to find a program that he won’t get bored or frustrated with.  And then I bought a reading program for Sam off Amazon that the seller said was in “Like New” condition.  Um – not so much.  The pages are falling out of the book and the teaching dvd is missing, I discovered!  Fortunately, they are going to refund me my money.  Sam was so excited to start kindergarten, though.  He was bouncing in excitement the night before, asking me, “Mom, what’s a healthy breakfast for boys who are starting kindergarten?”  I told him pop tarts would make an excellent breakfast…I know, I’m such a bad mom, but I like pop tarts because they require minimal participation on my part!

And then we couldn’t do school today because we poured the basement floor.  Well, I didn’t do it (thankfully).  But several guys from church showed up and did it in a 104 degree heat index, bless their hearts and sticky bodies.  It was so hot that the concrete was wanting to set up too fast and I guess the driver was a real jerk.  We’ve used Ready Mix out of Knoxville for all our concrete needs, but never again!  Not that I anticipate ever needing a concrete delivery again, really…

While all this was going on, I had company and then our new mattresses got delivered.  The poor delivery guy accidentally backed over a street sign, which caught the ire of one of our elderly neighbors (who happens to be on the city council).  He was bound and determined that the truck company would pay for the new sign pole and went and fetched his son, the mayor, to back him up.  Will and I were just mortified but the driver was really nice about it all.  What an afternoon!

Ellie has started changing her own diaper the last couple of days – even the dirty ones.  Suppose she is ready for potty training? J  If only I had more energy and want-to for this project!

I have mentioned my latest widow book several times lately.  This book is really ministering to me.  I don’t know if it’s because it’s written by a fellow young widow and that makes the difference or if it’s because the book strikes the right balance between addressing the spiritual and emotional fall-out of widowhood, along with some of the more practical aspects.  Speaking of which…the author makes the comment that a wife will need to have her husband’s driver’s license canceled.  Why is this?  I’ve never heard of this before.  I assumed it would just be allowed to expire.  I really don’t want to cancel it because I would be afraid the DMV would want to hang onto license and that is something I want to keep.

One thing the author mentioned in this week’s reading is that death was never part of God’s plan for mankind – not exactly a newsflash to someone immersed in Christianity since birth.  But she went on to say that Satan, however, intends death for destruction and evil.  But God “provides a way,” as she says.  My mind immediately jumped to the story of Joseph, who upon confronting his brothers after their return to Egypt tells them how what they intended for evil, God intended for good.  In reading this book this week, that thought kind of excited me.  Satan intended Paul’s death to be something that would not only hurt our family, but destroy it, along with our faith.  But God (how I love that phrase, “But God”!) takes that same event of death and, if we allow it, turns it into something from which good can grow.  In fact, I am coming to believe that someday I will look back on this time and say, “I am so thankful Paul died because this came out of it, and this grew from the ashes, and this fruit blossomed from a bitter vine” and so on.  And while I will always be sad here on earth over losing my husband I will have things that come from his death that make me immeasurably thankful. 

The author later talks about the souls of our children and how Satan is after them.  That’s true regardless of whether or not the father has died, of course.  She points out that this kind of death, though, leaves a child vulnerable and unless their mother is diligent, Satan will creep in to the broken places in that child’s heart and attempt to steal him. He may not succeed in turning the widow’s heart from God, but he knows he stands to have better success with the children.  Scary stuff for a mom who feels vastly unprepared to be the new spiritual head of her home…

So, keeping that in mind, I drove David to youth group this Wed. even though it had been a wretched allergy day for me and all I wanted to do was go to bed.  Having him go to youth group meant an hour round trip for me and no help with Ben and the Littles all night long.  As we were driving, David brought up once again how it really bothers him that he had not seen his dad that entire Wednesday of his death.  Paul left for work that morning before David was awake and David had gone off to work in VBS before Paul got home that night.  But I guess David had returned and was in the basement when he heard Paul come in.  He says that he thought about going upstairs to greet his dad but was too tired and went to bed instead.  And then when he woke up the next morning he was informed that his father had died during the night.  He still struggles with that, too – feels like I should have awakened him.  I still think I made the right decision to not do that.  As he hurriedly brushed away an errant tear, David said, “I don’t know if you’ve noticed how I’ve been hugging you every night and been telling you ‘I love you’ (Yes, but he’s always been a more emotional, demonstrative kid, so I didn’t think a lot of it) but that’s because if you die some night I want to know that I told you ‘I love you’ one last time.”  Oh, David…

I’ve been working my way through a little devotional guide on grief put out by the Our Daily Bread people.  My pastor gave me two of these in the days following Paul’s death.  I’m going through one of them with the kids right now in our family devos, too.  But the last two mornings have had Scripture reading that has been particularly meaningful to me.  Yesterday it was in 2 Corinthians 4.  Verses 8-9 say,

 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.

This is the thought that I have attempted at times to explain to others this summer when they have asked how I am doing.  I am hurting, I am devastated, I am “hard-pressed” as it says, but I am not forsaken and I am definitely not destroyed.

Today’s reading was in Joshua 1.  Moses has just died and the Israelites are pretty concerned about what is going to happen to them now.  I am guessing Joshua probably felt a very heavy mantle of responsibility and wondered if there was any way he could possibly lead and protect these people the way Moses had done it.  I can relate!  But God assures him in several verses of the first chapter that he will not be doing this alone – God is with him!  He then wraps up His pep talk to Joshua with verse 9:

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

I have always loved that verse.  In fact, I remember when I transferred to UNI from Bible college being scared spitless those first few days.  It was so bad that I actually took a 3X5 card and wrote down this verse.  I would pull it out of my backpack many times throughout the day to reassure myself of God’s promise.  After Ben’s birth I found great comfort in it again as I wondered what his future held and just how on earth I was supposed to parent a handicapped child, of whom our NICU nurse told us to “not expect much” from.

And now – I find comfort once again.  I am in the greatest test of my life with more responsibility than I have ever held before and with more at stake than I’ve ever stood to lose before.  But this test is God-ordained. 

He will lead me through.  He will give me strength when I have none.  He will lift me up when I am weak.  And He will even dry my tears since He is also my Comforter. He will hold my heart and those of my children.

He will be with me wherever I go.



































































1 comment:

  1. More hugs and shared tears........
    David is sharing his heart, and what he feels is very similar to many other children.
    Praying for you all.