Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Day 222


January 14, 2014

Day 222

Day 222 – kind of cool.  Not really…

Jan '12 - I love this picture of Paul teaching Sam the art of snowball making!
My house is in a remodeling uproar once again.  But…it’s the last time – EVER!  Even if I move someday, I refuse to move anywhere that needs work.  For the last 14 ½ years I have lived in the throes of construction and I am DONE.  I cleared out my bedroom today – the room where Paul died – and most of the bathroom.  Will marked off the measurements for the new bathroom and I hear a power saw at the moment, which sounds like progress.  We decided to go back to a single sink.  I feel guilty about that.  Paul always wanted a double sink and when he did the first bathroom 3 years ago, he was so tickled when he came home with a brand new double sink top.  It worked fine in the space we had for that bathroom, but in order to make everything fit in the new bathroom, it’s really best to have just a single sink.  I know it’s not as luxurious as Paul imagined, but I’m really ok with it.  This way I get to have my walk-in closet.  But there’s still a part of me that feels bad because I know it’s not what Paul wanted for us.

Will said that the other night he had a dream in which he was telling his dad his plans for the bedroom/bathroom project.  When Paul was alive, it was always the other way around, of course.  Will said that in his dreams his plans met with Paul’s approval and he woke up feeling so good about that!

Physically, I am doing much better.  I still have a persistent cough and sinus pain, but it’s so much better than what it was.  I don’t know what that was last week, but it was nasty.  I never did go to the dr, but I found some old antibiotics, which was pretty much the same thing (dodging death rays from my nurse friends as I write this…)

Sunday I had a parents’ meeting for Amanda the Panda, which is our grief support group we started attending last night.  They had all of us parents in a room and asked us to introduce ourselves, tell who had died, and the ages of our kids.  I did ok doing that, although I probably sounded like I was an emotional wreck just because my voice has been “off” due to being sick.  I left the meeting really wondering how this would work, though.  They divide the kids into groups by age, but I didn’t know if all the adults would be together.  That was a bit of a concern to me because some of the parents at that Sunday meeting had actually lost ex-spouses.  I’m sure that’s a hurtful situation, but it’s not the same as losing one you were still married to and very much loved.  As it turned out, they had those parents in a different group last night and I was glad.  So Sunday they spent telling us about their services and talking about grief in general. 
1992 - so in love...

I cried all the way home.

Last night was the actual meeting and it was great.  Will and David were dragging their feet about going and they’re still not 100% on board, but I don’t think they are quite as antagonistic as they were before the meeting.  It was special.  They had someone dressed up like Amanda the Panda who greeted everyone with hugs if they wanted them.  A delicious meal was served by community volunteers.  That part was a bit of a pain with Ben and his eating/fine motor needs.  I’m even toying with the idea of skipping the meal from now on.  We’ll see.

Our group was comprised of adults who have either been widowed or lost a child.  They told us that next week they’re going to separate us, though, and I think that’s a good idea.  Our group is led by a woman who was widowed in her late 30s ten years ago when she had young children.  They had us make pie charts detailing our emotions right now.  That took some thinking.  Mine was pretty evenly divided between sadness/feeling overwhelmed/anxiety.  There was also a little bit of anger thrown in.  Because, I will be honest – there are moments that I am SO mad that this happened.  I honestly am not mad at God or at Paul, but just at the situation.  When I am having to do something that normally fell under Paul’s jurisdiction, it makes me angry at times.

They had us introduce ourselves again and tell when and how we lost our loved one.  I find that it is one thing to write, but it was another thing altogether to say out loud, “My husband suffered an epileptic seizure and suffocated to death.”  It just sounds horrible.  We each had to sign up for an upcoming session where we will be given about 15 min. to “share” our loved one with our group.  I’m looking forward to that.  I think I’ll show the dvd that ran at his viewing and then I’ll pass around a picture of his tombstone, because that’s something that is important to me.  I’ll share about his death, of course, but I want mostly to share his life – who he was and what made him so lovable. I do that in two weeks.
Right after we were engaged - it's supposed to be a picture of Paul's new car

Sam had a great time and he’s been chattering off and on today about his group last night.  His second tooth fell out during his session, which delighted him to no end.

Today when cleaning out my room, I discovered Paul’s brown belt.  Paul had been looking for that thing ever since we came back from Colorado in late Feb.  It ended up in one of my baskets – weird.  Well, knowing this house, that’s really not weird at all!  I commented to the world at large that I had found Paul’s belt and Sam commented crisply, “Well, it’s too late for that, now!”  Yeah, I guess it is.

We started at Learning RX yesterday, too.  The night before I was almost making myself sick over the amount of money I am spending on this, despite the peace I’ve had all along.  Suddenly, though, I recalled a Wed. night about six weeks ago when I actually made it to prayer meeting and in my little group, I ended up raising some of the concerns I had about David’s learning.  That night I remember that every single woman prayed for the situation, that God would give me answers and clear direction.  Remembering that, I was finally able to banish the sick feeling and proceed the way I believe I am being led.

The session went great.  Thursday they will start training me how to do the home stuff.  I really, really like David’s instructor.  She’s funny and immediately struck up a good repertoire with David, despite the fact that he was nearly sick with nerves.  Poor kid.

I noticed yesterday that David has a picture of the tombstone as his wallpaper on his phone.

Will is starting to give more thought to his Best Man duties for Nathanael’s upcoming wedding.  He asked me for some bachelor party ideas and all I could come up with were strippers and drinking.  I don’t know!  What do Christian young men do for those?  Do they even have them?  Well, Nathanael’s having one, anyway.  I suggested to Will that he google “bachelor party ideas.”  He looked at me for a moment and then said, “Maybe I’ll google ‘Christian’ bachelor party.”  Oh, yeah – that’d probably be a better idea!  I can imagine what kind of websites would come up otherwise…

The other day, out of the blue, Lizzie informed me, “When I grow up, I’m going to be a really nice to my kids – you know, not like you, Mom!”  What?  She hadn’t even gotten in trouble yet.  I got up, got on the computer while she watched Saturday morning cartoons, and that was the sum of our entire interaction thus far.  Obviously, she’d been giving this some thought, though.  She went on to talk about how if her future children got really naughty (and by her tone, I could tell she thought this would be highly improbable) she might give them a time out, but that would be it.  Uh, huh – you let me know how that works for you, Kid…

One lady stopped into our group last night and told us that there is a group in Des Moines for the widowed who are raising children.  Apparently they meet once a month or so and function as a real support to one another.  I’m not saying I won’t ever get involved, but I’m not ready for that yet.  My fear is that  it would be a place to scope and be scoped out.  I don’t want to have to deal with that yet.  Or ever. 

Just the other day I was thinking about the possibility of remarriage someday and I glumly had to come to the realization that I have very little to offer to a potential spouse.  I think it’s probably safe to assume I may be alone the rest of my life.   Sigh…

I’ve had a lot of thoughts lately regarding the intimacy of aging with one’s spouse.  When you’re young and in love, you don’t think about things like that. In fact, I can remember being young and in love and pitying the older married folks I knew.  I just knew their lives were lackluster, the early fires of young love having burnt out long ago! But there’s just something about it…the way you can admire the streaks of gray in the other’s hair, the way you playfully pat the pouch that wasn’t there twenty years earlier.  The crinkles at the corners of the eyes remind you of the young person you fell in love with.  The fact that you have spent nearly all your adult years with the same person – you’ve seen them young and now you see them old.  You’ve seen them at their very worst – in labor, puking in the bathroom, bleeding on the kitchen floor, furious at their boss, making dumb mistakes.  And you’ve seen them at their best – your wedding day, holding your newborn child, holding your hand, planning the future.  When you look at those crinkled eyes, you don’t see an old lady/man.  You see the young person they were.  You feel the bond that’s been forged across the decades, the bond that unites you against the world – and your children.  This is the person who knows you inside and out and loves you more than anybody else.  I don’t know that there is anything more beautiful, to be honest.

I’ve lost that.  Even if I do, by some miracle,  remarry someday, that spouse will never know the “young” me.  I’ll always be middle aged or old in their mind.  We won’t have carved out our place in the world together or forged a future for the two of us.  There may be love and there may be enjoyment, but it will never be what I had.

Some days I just feel plain robbed. But most of the time I’m just sad. 


  1. Sarah - Of course, I'm sure you didn't write this comment, "I glumly had to come to the realization that I have very little to offer to a potential spouse." to see how many rebuttals you could get. (I know you didn't.) But, I'm going to present one anyway.
    Don't sell yourself short. Remember who you are in Christ. You have been such a blessing to my heart through your blog. And, if you can bless someone else through this means, I can't imagine how you are a blessing to those whom you love in your life. And, that includes a potential, future spouse :-)

  2. Ugh! i wrote a comment and just lost the whole thing....
    I must go sleep so I will just tell you the basics:
    Glad your health is better.
    Praying for you.
    God has grace for your future,
    Just focus on Christ and healing for now.

  3. I have an online friend whose husband died in July after a long, ugly battle with cancer. Cancer is, of course, always awful-- this particular cancer was in his throat and mouth and it was really a tough way to go. Thankfully, both were strong believers and we know Mr. M. is in Heaven, totally healed. Anyway, his wife has been writing a blog and 6 weeks ago or so, blew us all away by telling us that in the course of 3 weeks, she got remarried. Her new hubby is a mutual friend who had lost his wife to cancer some time ago. Neither was really looking -- the Lord led them to each other. When I think about the horrible possibility of my husband dying, I tend to think "I could never remarry." But ... it depends on what the Lord wants, and where He leads. So I'd say right now is not the time for you, but if the Lord just opens a giant door and pushes you through, there is your answer :-). I am inclined to think I wouldn't LOOK, but my friend M. wasn't looking and the Lord said "go" to her new marriage. God bless you, Sarah! (AS for not having anything to offer, that makes me chuckle a bit. You are a child of God, and a wonderful wife and mom. Lots to offer.)

  4. I was hoping you'd try Amanda the Panda. I wonder, do they still have the camp? It's been so long ago. I don't really remember counseling sessions. I remember it being rainy. I remember making candles...blobs of colored wax actually with a wick at the top. But even though I don't remember lots of specific details, I do remember I liked it!
    Thinking of you!