Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Day 229


January 21, 2014

Day 229

Today would have been my Grandpa Daniels’ birthday.  He would have been 93, I think, if he were still alive.  But he died in 2001 – my first grandparent loss.  Now they’re all gone.  While sad, those losses were normal and somewhat expected.  All my grandparents lived long and healthy lives and all their children (save one who died a couple of days after birth) outlived them, as it is supposed to be.

Today has been a good day, after a couple weeks of really rough days.  Just the same, I’ve found myself in tears several times today.  Granted, I met with my pastor’s wife today and having someone sit down with me and ask me how I’m doing tends to bring on the waterworks.  Our Bible study was on God’s great power and the speaker on the video referenced Joseph.  Paul loved that Bible character more than any other, I think.  He often talked about the life of Joseph and identified with him.  I found myself drawing from that, as well.  Right now, I’m in the prison with him, I think.  I want to believe that God has better things in store for me, but I don’t see how Paul’s death fits into that.  How is crushing me supposed to make for a good life?  But maybe there won’t be a “good” life until Heaven.  And, perhaps, my vision is a bit short-sighted right now, too.  There’s always that possibility!

Last night was our second Amanda the Panda meeting.  A couple of the women in my group were quite chatty last night (to the point that nobody else really got to talk).  But they both commented how they know there is no future happiness for them.  They’ll never love anyone again and their only role right now is to raise their children – otherwise, they’d be happy to commit suicide.  I could understand that.  I’ve had the same thoughts.  But at the same time, I wanted to fight against that kind of thinking as I listened to them.  I want to believe that future happiness awaits me.  I want to believe that someday I won’t hurt so badly and that maybe, even someday, I might be able to love another man the way I loved my first husband.  And now I’m a soppy mess again just typing these things out.

I do see progress, though.  I remember right after Paul died trying to look down the road of my life and I saw nothing.  Everything was barren.  I would simply exist, do what I had to do, but my days of happy living were gone – buried right alongside Paul.  But now…now, I see some green shoots starting to grow in that dry, barren path.  They’re tiny little seedlings of hope.  There aren’t many of them and mostly I see the dry ground still, but every so often, I am spying a tiny green sprout and the sight of one is enough to keep me walking.

So, back to the group last night: I wish I was a quick thinker, but I’m never going to be.  Someone says something unbelievable to me and I just stand there and take it.  Later, I suddenly realize what I should have said, but it’s too late.  Of course, I probably save myself a lot of trouble that way, not being able to shoot off at the mouth in response like I wish I could.

Before it started, I was chatting with one woman.  We were both widowed suddenly in our forties.  I mentioned that I homeschool and she could not believe it.  “Oh, honey!,” she exclaimed, “You have got to put those kids in school!  If you don’t, you’re going to crack up and be no good to them or yourselves.  Even if it’s only for a year, you get those kids back in school today!”  She wouldn’t let it go and all I could muster up was a feeble, “Well, I didn’t want to impose too many changes on the kids’ lives at this point…” I’m sure she thought she was being helpful in her blustery, bossy way, but I felt like I’d been run over by a steamroller.  Here’s the thing, though…homeschooling is a calling for me.  That doesn’t mean that I’m listening to God and others who don’t homeschool are not.  But I believe that God called me to homeschool my kids, at least for the time being.  If the day comes, like it did with Ben, when God does not wish me to homeschool any longer, He’ll make it clear.  That’s what I wish I would have said to the woman.  For a few moments there, though, I doubted myself.  Am I going to eventually crack and go crazy if I don’t lessen up on my responsibilities?  I know crazy people are the last ones to recognize their own craziness, but I think I’m doing ok right now.  I haven’t misplaced any children yet or run outside naked, despite continuing to homeschool through widowhood.

But speaking of doubting one’s self: David has always been upset with me because I did not wake him up the night Paul died.  Paul had been dead about 8 hours before any of the kids, except for Will, knew.  I remember thinking about it that night, wondering briefly is I should wake the older boys.  But I decided against it because Paul did not look normal any longer.  His skin was gray, he had a vent in his mouth, a dent in his forehead and blood smeared over one side of his face.  I did not want the kids to have that image in their mind (now all my readers do, though!).  Also, if I woke them, they would be upset and sleep deprived the next day, which would make for further upset.  Looking back, I really am grateful for the clear head God gave me that night and in the next few days to make decisions.  Part of me felt very detached from everything and that was the shock that typically insulates the newly and abruptly bereaved.  But at the same time I was able to function and make decisions that I still think were good ones.  That’s not because I’m such an amazing person – God was carrying me.  So, even though David has not been real happy with me, I’ve never really thought that I should have done things differently.  It was just this past Sunday night and he and Will and I were talking once again about the events of that night and David brought it up again, that he wished I would have awakened him so he could have seen and said good-bye to his dad.

But then last night at the group, one of the members was sharing about her husband’s death.  He died and she knew it was very important that her kids get to see him before rigor mortis set in.  If they didn’t get that opportunity it could cause all sorts of emotional upset and seeing their dad was so vital to proper grieving.  So she made sure they got to the hospital and they got to see him one last time.  I began to second-guess myself in that moment.  Maybe David was right.  Maybe I had made a bad decision that night in not awakening him.

God is good.  He’s more than that.  He is amazing.  We got home last night and I was puttering around and David came to me.  He said, “You know how I’ve always wished you would have woke me up when Dad died?”  Trust me, I know!  He then told me about a boy in his group who had shared how he  had watched his little brother die a few months ago in a horrific accident. Now that memory is forever burned into his mind.  David said to me, “Mom, I think you made the right decision to let me sleep that night.  Thank you for not waking me up.  This way, I don’t have any bad memories in my mind of dad.”

Thank you, Lord.

Oct '11 - we had to have a family picture for our adoption file.  So I had a friend snap this one night after church.  After seeing it, I was convinced that nobody would EVER let us adopt after viewing this picture - all those surly, unsmiling faces!

The other morning I was doing Lizzie’s hair when she asked, “Mom, are you fat?”  Such a pleasant way to start one’s day!  I asked her what she thought the answer was to that.  Lizzie replied, “Well, I would say, ‘yes’!”  Trying to remember that she was a chosen child…

Ever helpful, Sam piped up, “Well, I’ve noticed that most moms are big in their middles!”  I think that was attempt to make me feel better.

And then, the same day, at lunch, Lizzie looked at me and said, “Mom,when you were younger…” I sensed a question coming on, probably about color tvs or cameras that didn’t show pictures on the back.  Instead, I heard, “…you were a lot prettier!”  Feeling the love, let me tell you…

Will is thinking now about the possibility of becoming a PE teacher, with the intent of being able to coach high school football.  He’s been researching programs at some area colleges.  He’ll still do at least one year at Faith, first, though.  I could see that being a good fit for him.  I can see him on the football field better than I can in the pulpit.  Time will tell.

Today I had to go to town and buy a new bathtub, surround (walls for the tub), vanity, sink, cabinet, and light.  I had not planned on buying all this for the new bathroom.  The plan was to simply move everything out of the old bathroom into the new one.  I should have known better.  Remodeling is never that simple.  I wrote last week about the decision to go with a smaller sink.  But when Will started ripping into the bathtub he discovered it was all corroded underneath.  That hurt because I loved my extra deep, extra wide tub!  Bathtime is the highlight of my day and it has been nothing short of bliss the last 3 years to be able to sink into that deep tub, full of bubbles.  Sigh…I did have my eye on an extra deep soaker tub at Menards but, but then we went to the Habitat for Humanity resale store and found a regular size tub for nearly half the price.  I actually sat in it right there in the aisle and to my surprise, it did feel kind of nice, while small.  As long as I never get as fat as Lizzie seems to think I already am, we should be ok.  This tub does have a nice slant to the back, which will make for easier reading than what I have had the last few years with my other tub.  And, I will get a few more inches in my closet by going with this tub.  But, still…

I did buy a really, really nice surround, though, to kind of make it up to myself.  It looks like tile (without troublesome grout) and has lots and lots of shelves.

Monday morning I fell asleep on the couch after sending Ben off to school.  I was SO tired still!  The next thing I knew, I felt small hands pulling my afghan up around my neck and tucking it in around my body.  When she isn’t intent on being contrary, Lizzie can be very sweet and nurturing!  It felt good to have somebody taking care of me. I miss that.
The kids were discussing a Sunday School classmate who broke her wrist this last week at school.  They were super-jealous of her cool, purple cast.  Lizzie declared that she wished she could break her wrist, too.  Sam sighed dramatically and said, “Well, I wish I could break my spine!” He’s always been one to do things in a big way…

Ellie was looking at her “Sleeping Beauty” book the other night in church.  She got very excited and pointed to a picture of the King in there.  “Jesus, Mommy, Jesus!”  He did have a robe on and shoulder length hair, so I can see how she thought that.  But I had to tell her, no, it was a different king!

I was complaining about being cold again the other day.  I don’t remember what David said in response, but I told him that I had been told that being extra cold is often something that comes the older you get.  David looked at me with a wicked glint in his eye and said, “So I guess the older you get, the less hot you become, huh?”  Ooh, let me at him!

Feb '12 - we went to the GARB marriage conference.  We made a whole weekend of it.  It was so special and we told eachother that we'd definitely do it again before too long.  Only, we wouldn't.
I had a dream Sunday afternoon while napping.  It wasn’t a message from God this time.  It was just simply a dream, brought on by circumstances and feelings, I’m sure.

I was in a cupcake bakery-laundromat.  What a combination!  You’d think the heat from the dryers would melt the cupcake frosting.  But I was choosing cupcakes to buy when I felt a pair of arms encircle me.  Surprised, I turned around and it was Paul!  For some odd, unexplained reason, he was shirtless.  Oh, I was so excited!  We were all over eachother, right there in the store, hugging and kissing – I’m quite sure that had the dream been real, we would have been asked to leave the bakery-laundromat! We were putting on quite a show.  He felt exactly like I remembered.  I have forgotten nothing.  I know every plane and contour of his body, the feel of his body hair, where he was soft, where he was hard, how he liked to be touched.  And then, in my dream, we were sitting down.  My head was resting on his shirtless chest and I began to sob.  They were wild, grief-stricken cries, the like of which I have rarely engaged in since his death, simply because I am afraid that if I start, I might never stop.  My heart was completely broken in the dream because I knew it wasn’t real.  Paul was dead and he wasn’t coming back to me.  And so I cried and cried into his chest, completely broken in that moment.

I woke up with tears streaming down my face.  Even my dreams are broken-hearted.


  1. Sarah, I said an extra special prayer for you today. Also, I asked Him to fill the void in your kids' lives that Paul's death has caused. You are on my heart.
    And, nobody can know what God is calling you to do better than you. Don't listen to naysayers regarding homeschool. If that's what you're supposed to do, God will give you what you need to follow through. If you're seeking Him (and it seems to me that you are), He'll reveal to you if/when things need to change.

  2. Re the homeschooling...I totally applaud you for doing what the Lord is calling you to do, even though it is really hard. One thing I think some people don't "get" is that -- I really believe this -- public school for a bunch of kids might actually be HARDER, depending on your personality. I don't know you well (though feel like I sort of know you because of your blog) but I know for ME, I don't have much patience for teaching that is counter to my belief system about how best to teach a kid. So...if a teacher was, say, focusing on perfect handwriting and giving my boys a hard time, I would be upset. If a teacher was freaking out because my 6 year old doesn't read really well yet and she "should be", I would be very unhappy. With homeschooling, we can put in our time on OUR terms, we don't need to be tired and exhausted and dealing with 3 hours of homework that some random set of teachers sent our kids home with. Most parents I know who have kids in ps are very busy with overseeing homework, and that isn't trivial (esp for a total morning person like myself.) I think following God's lead is vital -- in this case, it may actually be "easier" in some ways.

  3. Your decision to not awaken David and the littles was spot-on-wise. It was nice that he was able to affirm it as such. ����