Saturday, January 18, 2014

Day 226


January 18, 2014

Day 226

I slept in until 10:39 this morning.  I honestly cannot remember the last time I did that.  I’m thinking it was decades ago – definitely my pre-children years, I’m guessing!  David said I must have needed the extra sleep and I guess he’s right.  But wow – 10:39???  I’m sleeping down in David’s new bedroom now since mine is in the process of becoming the new bathroom.  His room is windowless and away from the main rooms of the house.  Plus, I didn’t get to bed until 12:30am.  I’ve discovered an old show that comes on late on Friday nights (Monk) and I am totally hooked.  I can’t believe I never knew this show existed before!  And, I am still recovering from that sickness last week.  I suppose all those factors contributed to my late start this morning.  Of course, now I’m going to be playing catch-up all day, but sometimes that’s ok, too.

Look at those white legs! Visiting friends in Des Moines in '01 - we went to Living History Farms during this trip & still haven't been back, even though we moved out here in '04!
I did my grocery shopping and Walmarting yesterday.  The Littles spent the day with Jenn and her kids.  Really, this set-up is so ideal.  Once a month, she takes the short people all day long.  It gives the girls a chance to see both their bio brother, James, as well as their former foster siblings.  Sam gets a chance to play with boys his own age and Jenn gets her Lizzie-Ellie fix.  I get a chance to do my shopping alone, which is nice, and Will and David get a break from the Littles.  It’s so perfect!

I did find myself crying in the van as I drove yesterday.  Nothing in particular triggered it.  I think that there is a part of me that recognizes that when the kids aren’t with me I am “free” to do that and so now it’s just a given that if I’m alone, I’m going to be crying!  It didn’t last long.  But right now I do definitely have a case of the winter blues.  Even Jenn commented on that yesterday, that I seemed “different” right now.  I think it’s just the weather and the added stressors right now of David’s tutoring and the knowledge that I’m going to be losing Will soon, the fact that both the girls have lost most of their hair (another story for another day), on top of normal grieving.  It will pass.
The new church directories were printed up and handed out this week.  I knew it was coming, but it still hurt to open up to the “H” page and see my name listed – alone.  The masochist that I am, I had to turn to the back pages and look under January and February’s calendar – no birthday for Paul listed and no anniversary for us.  It’s like he never existed.  Even Ben last night was thumbing through it and exclaimed in indignation, “Hey, Mom – they forgot to put your anniversary in here!”  Of course, I know they can’t include dead people in the directory.  That would just be weird and clutter things up.  But it still hurts, just like every Christmas card I received this year addressed this year to “Sarah Heywood and Kids.”  It’s not supposed to be like that!  Everything is still supposed to be “Paul and Sarah.”  But it’s not.

Yesterday, while shopping, I had a phone call about some city business.  I had to point out to the caller that our town is very small and nobody is available to attend these certain meetings she was calling about.  Our mayor and most of the council members work full time.  I told her, without thinking, “I’m just a housewife and I’m actually in the middle of grocery shopping right now (as opposed to sitting in an office all day long)!”  After I hung up, though, I thought to myself, “But I’m not a housewife anymore!”  I still do house-wifey things, I guess, but the “wife” portion is no more.  I wonder what my new title is?

Back to the church stuff: Will did point out to me a paragraph dedicated to Paul in the Deacon’s report.  I don’t know who wrote it, but it was very sweet and touched me.  They wrote about how the hardest thing our church had to deal with this last year was Paul’s death and how it was something we still don’t understand, but just have to trust God’s hand about.

Speaking of which, I have more song lyrics to share!  Oh, this is one I’ve loved since it came out in the mid-90s.  It’s taken from a quote by Spurgeon:  

God is too good to be unkind
And too wise to be mistaken

In fact, that very quote hung on our kitchen bulletin board for many of my growing up years.  My mom had found it printed somewhere and clipped it and tacked it up.  I must have read it a million times, never knowing future events that would make those words so poignant for me.

The camper Paul insisted we buy - I hated the thing, but this was actually kind of a fun trip - Sept, '01 - Lake Rathbun
The song, recorded by Babbie Mason, touched my heart when it first came out.  I can remember being especially grateful for it after Ben’s birth.  In fact, I have a vivid memory of his time in the NICU.  The local Christian radio station in Omaha then had a Saturday morning request show and I remember calling them and asking them to play that for me.

Yesterday, as I was driving it came up on the shuffle list on my mp3.  I listened to the words especially carefully this time:

All things work for our good
Though sometimes we don't
see how they could
Struggles that break our hearts in two
sometimes blind us to the truth

Our Father knows what's best for us
His ways are not our own
So when your pathway grows dim
and you just don't see him,
Remember your never alone


God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don't understand
When don't see his plan
When you can't trace his hand
Trust His Heart

He sees the master plan
He holds the future in his hand,
So don't live as those who have no hope,
ALL our hope is found in him.

We see the present clearly
He sees the first and last
and like a tapestry He's weaving you and me,
to someday be just like him


Boy, did I need to be reminded of the truth of those words!

The older boys told me that they, too, made “feeling” pie charts at their group at Amanda the Panda Mon. night.  Only, Will and David mentioned that they also had feelings like “happiness” and “hope” listed.  I’m glad for that.  I just wish that I felt those things, too.  One of the ladies in our group who lost her husband awhile ago commented that the first year after a death is a “honeymoon,” that the real grieving comes in year two and three.  I’ve heard that before and I can’t think of any more depressing news.  I’m already so low, emotion-wise, but it gets worse?

Ellie has figured out how to use the microwave.  That’s not a good thing.  She’s warming up things like food, which is fine.  But she’s also warming non-food things.  I’m afraid she’s going to fry the microwave or burn herself.  On one hand, I’m impressed by her extensive and ever-increasing knowledge base at only two years of age.  The other hand is really getting scared by how smart she is!

She loves to sing and does it frequently.  Yesterday we were going home and I heard her singing, over and over, “Daddy die, Daddy die…”  Oka-a-y…but then she started adding, “Mommy die too!”  Cheery little thing, isn’t she?
Will and I are doing Financial Peace University right now.  Will is a huge Dave Ramsey fan, so for his graduation we gave him the FPU kit.  It has all the audio cds, books, envelope system, etc.  He’s been rather insistent I listen to everything with him and read the book, so I agreed.  If nothing else, it’s time spent with him and I don’t think there are a whole of 19 year olds that really want to spend time with their mamas!  I have always found Dave Ramsey annoying (his laugh, primarily) but I do have to admit he seems to be right on the money (no pun intended) when it comes to his financial advice.  I know that I need to be extra careful.  I am completely debt free but that’s only because Paul died and there was some insurance money.  Most people have to work their way, slowly and painfully, out of debt.  That’s what Paul and I were doing – not too successfully – in the years prior to his death. In doing so, they learn proper money-handling techniques and develop a strong determination to never, ever owe anyone again.  I by-passed a lot of that and it might be tempting at some point to allow myself to get back into debt.  So, I think this is going to be good.  Just with the three cds we’ve listened to, I already find myself tweaking some of my budget/ money handling techniques.
One thing I find that I am struggling with is the future.  I so much desire to know what is coming.  I remember going through this after Ben’s birth.  I hounded the dr’s and therapists to tell me what they envisioned for him in the future.  Of course, they couldn’t tell me (except for the NICU dr’s who were only too happy to inform me that Ben’s life held no  future accomplishments or joy).  And now I want it again.  Am I going to make it, financially?  Will my kids be ok?  Will I remarry?  Will I be sad the rest of my life?  Will I live in this house forever?  Will I have to return to work at some point?  Will I live long enough to raise my kids?

A friend loaned me a book called, “Just Enough Light for the Step I am On.”  The title kind of sums up the entire premise of the book.  I was reading it, got side-tracked, and pulled it out again the other day.  I read a chapter and then immediately read a chapter in my widow devotional by Margaret Nyman.  It just so happened she had this paragraph in my reading that day,

Sweetness - Oct. '01  David was 2
God is the only one Who can see all the way down the road.  Because of that, it seems sensible to leave the darkness and uncertainty of what’s ahead up to Him.  He’ll highlight what I need to know, when I need to know it.  Meanwhile, He hands me the lamp of His Word and says, “One step is enough for now.  Walk into that small circle of light right in front of you, and let Me take care of what’s ahead in the dark.”

I have already seen this in my life with Ben.  I remember riding with Paul over to the NICU and asking him in a panic, “If Ben never regains his suck/swallow reflux, how are we supposed to feed him?  How will he survive?”  I had no idea.  I remember worrying what would happen if he never learned to walk.  I fretted about what we would do for schooling and the thought of having a handicapped teenager scared me to death.  But you know what?  Absolutely every concern has worked its way out.  I never knew the answers until I needed them,but I finally learned that the answers would be given to me, but only when I needed them. 

It’s going to be the same way now.

As I was checking out of Walmart yesterday, the clerk happened to mention that she had been a single mom while raising her kids.  She was probably a good 15-20 years older than me.  I told her that’s what I’m doing now, too.  Our circumstances were different – she was twice divorced and I’m widowed, but we both found ourselves raising children alone.  We ended up talking for quite awhile because I was buying $300 worth of food and then, it being Walmart, the majority of the staff is inept and it took forever to get someone to come approve one of my coupons.  As I folded up my receipt, I told the clerk that it had been really nice to talk with her.  She smiled and said, “You’ll get through this.  We always do.”

I hope so.


  1. Sarah, I love how blunt you are. Admitting that Dave Ramsey is annoying (I read that to my husband, and he agrees with you. He listens to him on the radio a lot.), and that most Wal-Mart employees are inept. Your not-holding-back, I find, is VERY refreshing.
    We also recently discovered Monk and love it!!!

  2. Sarah, God gives us grace for every breath we take as a widow.
    He gives it when we need it and not before. Psalm 37 tells us to fret not.
    As a widow with kids at home it is very easy for us to fret.
    Don't try to run ahead of God. Not even mentally run ahead of Him.
    Lay all those worries at His feet. I know it isn't easy. I usually can't do it until I have told Him all my fears and concerns and bawled my eyes out.
    Pouring my heart out in prayer, He gives me peace even if He doesn't give me answers.
    I disagree with the first year being a "honeymoon" It is a year of survival, making it through all those firsts. The second year is different, it is about reality, learning to live instead of survive. Learning to live without our beloved is painful, but the LORD has grace and strength for you when you get there.
    I look back on my life and see that from the night Jim died until now has just been just one step at a time, sometimes that step was just breathing, sometimes it was moments, other times days, some of those steps were so painful I didn't think I would make it, sometimes I think I actually just sat down and had a pity party for awhile, but in the end, God lifted up my head and I stood up and took another step. One day you look back and see all the steps you have taken and all the healing God has done. Right now it is just moment by moment and that's OK.
    Right now it is about surviving: surviving the firsts, surviving the pain, surviving as a single parent. Keep your eye on the Savior, stay in His Word, and keep your heart pouring out to Him. He promised "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." Comfort will come. It isn't just a hope; it is a promise.
    Praying for you to feel Hugs from Jesus