Sunday, February 9, 2014

Day 248


Feb. 9, 2014

Day 248

What a day…I went to church with half the kids.  The other half are all battling colds.  I was fine, sat through Sunday and School and the opening part of the church service.  And then someone got up to sing special music.  It was “Give Me Jesus.”  This was Paul’s funeral song.  Actually, I had two songs sung, this one and “It is Well.”  But the first one was one I picked out years ago for him (I know – morbid of me) because it so clearly spoke of his life, I felt.  The thing is, I love that song! I have an actual recording of it being sung at his funeral on my mp3 player and I take comfort in playing that.  But today was different.  I thought I’d be ok, but before I knew it, I was sitting in the pew with tears streaming down my face.  So I left and found a quiet spot on the steps.  I leaned my head against the wall and just let the pain wash over me.  Before I knew it, a friend was there, wrapping her arms around me and just letting me cry and cry.  I know I should probably be embarrassed, but mostly, I’m just grateful she was there.   A few minutes later another friend popped her head around the corner and told me she was just checking on me because she knew the significance of that song for me.  I don’t know if was because this was the first time the song had been sung in the same church where we had Paul’s funeral or if I would have been ok if this was any month besides February.  I’ve been weepy ever since.  This could end up being a very long month at the rate I’m going!

Will told me Friday that he got the full time job up at camp.  But he had known since Tuesday when he called the camp director.  I asked him why he didn’t tell me and he said that he was asked to keep the information under his hat until Friday when the information would be made public.  I don’t think that means keeping it from your mother!  He may be leaving as early as the final week in May.  He will get back in August and leave 6 days later for college.  So, in essence, he only has about 3 months left at home.

He assures me the work on the house will be completed.  I have my doubts but don’t want to discourage him.  Of course, I was convinced a year ago that Paul would not get the kitchen done in time for Will’s graduation party, but he did!  Yesterday, Will finished up the bathroom.  All that remains is to hang the towel bars.  I took my first bath last night for the first time in a month, which was heavenly!  The last time we did a bathroom project, I was without a tub for 7 months.  So this was not bad!  He says we’re starting my new bedroom tomorrow.

But it’s not just the house projects.  Will has been my buffer for the past 8 months.  When I don’t know how something works, I ask him.  When something needs to be fixed, he fixes it.  He’s my second-in-command with the rest of the kids, he gives me financial advice, and lately, he’s even been my protector.  A neighbor guy has been getting a little too friendly, stepping over some boundaries (what IS it about married men and widows?  This is my third  uncomfortable situation I have run into since Paul’s death – this may end up being a blog rant at some point!) and Will has been running interference, even offering to talk to the guy if I want him to.

What an expression!  But wow, my cake was gorgeous - I had forgotten how pretty that thing was.
So losing him is going to be more than the typical mama’s-sending-her-baby-off-to-college kind of emotion.  I’m going to be bereft.  I’m going to have to learn to stand on my own, is what it’s going to be.  I don’t want to!  But I have to.  It’s the right thing.  He has his dreams and it’s time for him to step into his own life, without clingy Mom holding him down and dividing his loyalties.

I’ll still have the others of course, including quirky Sam, who reminds me of Will at the same age in a lot of ways.  Sam is a little more intense, though.  The other day he commented, “You basically work all day, Mom, don’t you?”  Then he added, “It’s because you don’t get much help.”  I think I love this child!  Last night he told me with some relief in his voice, “David said when a husband or wife dies the one who is still alive can’t get married again.”  I quickly explained to him that he had misunderstood, that I could remarry if God brings someone along, but he wasn’t to worry about because that would not be happening for a long, long time.  Sam looked at me sleepily (I was putting him to bed when we had this conversation) and said, “Well, I still like our old dad better!”
I’m frustrated right now with the kids’ teeth – specifically, their need for a dentist.  They have all had a wonderful dentist in Clive for years.  Ben needs special care when it comes to his teeth because he’s hyper-sensitive to touch and it can be hard to find a dentist willing to work with special needs individuals.  Ben has always had Medicaid because of his needs.  But all the other kids got bumped to that after Paul’s death because we no longer had an income.  Well, Obamacare kicked in and this fall, our wonderful dentist told us that he was dropping all his Medicaid patients.  I was saddened, but figured we’d find someone new.  I finally started making calls this last week and I can’t find anyone willing to take on my kids.  And I can’t just go to any old dentist, anyway, because of Ben.  I don’t know what to do.  David needs braces and I’d like to find a different orthodontist than the one he’s been seeing (because I’ve been told he’s the most expensive ortho in town).  Actually, now that David is on Medicaid, it’s possible that this ortho may no longer see him, either.  But neither can I find a new orthodontist willing to take him on.  There are a couple of clinics on the east side of Des Moines that I have been told take new Medicaid patients, but they’re in poorer sections of town and attract a lower-class clientele (I know – that makes me sound totally snobby with a I’m-better-than-the-masses attitude) so I’m reluctant to go.  But I may not have a choice in the end.  Thank you Mr. Obama.  Thank you ignorant, greedy, welfare-minded American voters…
I have a new friend that I met through my blog.  I adore her – completely! We actually met in person for the first time the other night and had a marvelous time connecting over supper.  She told me that she is going through my entire blog and reading every single post.  I haven’t even ever done that!  Even if I had the time, I think I’d be embarrassed to read who I was five years ago (since I’m SO mature now, you know!).  And, like I mentioned the other day, I am not the person I was before Paul died.  I’m probably too hard on myself.  But she piqued my curiosity and so yesterday, I decided to just, at random, read an old post.  I went back to February of last year.  As it turned out, I had  posted on Feb. 8, which was yesterday’s date.  So I read what I had written a year ago to the day.

I was completely stressed out a year ago.  That stress was leading to struggles with depression.  I had too much going on and I was letting things that didn’t really matter color my entire perspective on life.  I didn’t totally recognize that at the time, of course.  Unfortunately, it often takes something tragic to open our eyes to what is truly important.  In my case, I was somewhat aware that things were not right and I was actually getting counseling and seeking to make some changes in my life.  But reading that post made me sad to see what a dark place I really was in.  Of course, I’m sure that someday when I re-read my posts from the past 8 months, they are not exactly going to ring with joy, either!  It’s a little more understandable this time around, though.

But, something interesting: my friend emailed me a copy of two paragraphs I wrote in January of 2009.  I had just started blogging and wrote an entire post about “sturdy, Midwestern stock,” a phrase that still appeals to me.  I think of these hardy pioneer women who battled the elements, tragedy, and a harsh,  unforgiving land as they forged out an existence for their family.  This is what I wrote:

It's one thing to have the luxury of living a life like what is available to us now. There's nothing wrong with appreciating the advances of technology. But one thing I hope that hasn't changed is some intestinal fortitude. I like to think that I have the same determination and strength of character that my great grandmothers evidenced. Not knowing them, I don't know. I can only guess. I don't think of myself as a particularly strong person and when I envision some of the horrible things in life that could happen, like losing a child to death, widowhood, or having my house burn down the mere thought just makes me quake. But maybe it did to them, too. However, when the hard times came, they found the strength to continue on. And I hope that is part of my character as well.

The best part is knowing that it isn't up to me. One thing I have, that I'm not sure if my great grandmothers did, is the knowledge that my strength comes from God. Left on my own, I will fail. I will fall down trembling in the face of some of life's more brutal realities and, but for the Lord's strength, I probably won't get up again. God gives us strength as we need it, during our time of need, when we are most helpless. That I know and that knowledge gives great comfort. Fortunately, I'm probably never going to need that strength to run a farm or to shoot Indians, though!

Much more relaxed!  This was 3 days later on our honeymoon, at Mall of America. I love this picture!
2 Corinthians 12:9 And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness..."

Quite honestly, I was stunned when I read this last night. How did I know?  I didn’t, of course.  I didn’t know the trials that awaited us.  I didn’t know the darkness that would envelope us as we sought to adopt.  When I wrote that, I didn’t even know adoption was on the horizon! I didn’t know that widowhood and single parenthood was waiting for me.  Even as I typed that, five years ago, time was quickly running out for Paul and me.  I thought we had forever.  Very rarely do we ever have an inkling of trials and sorrow that await until they are upon us.

But I am so thankful my friend sent these words to me – my own words that I can be encouraged by now.  Of course, they are not just my words.  It’s Scriptural principles – truth that remains constant in an ever-shifting and changing world.  Maybe I need to spend some time reading more of what I wrote!

Or maybe I should spend more time reading what was written by the ultimate Author.  That would probably be a better idea.

1 comment:

  1. WOW!!!! We sang "It is Well" this morning, and I couldn't help but think of you while we were singing it.
    And what a coincidence...we honey-mooned at the Mall of America, too :-)