Saturday, May 31, 2014

Day 360

May 31, 2014

Day 360

It’s so close.  Six days and I will have been widowed for one year.  The weight of grief, which normally is pretty manageable, is swelling every day.  I’m teary-eyed and sad…I wish I wasn’t a “date” person.

But, I will survive.  I know that much.  I remember the early days when I was positive I could not survive this level of grief.  I’ve made it.  I’ve been carried for a lot of the journey, but I have survived.  It’s kind of a hollow victory, but right now I’ll take all I can get.

I had highlights put in my hair yesterday.  I haven’t messed with hair coloring for several years, other than my monthly date with Miss Clairol’s root touch-up kits.  Will ever-so-kindly pointed out to me just today that, judging by younger pictures he’s seen of my mom, I’m graying a lot faster than she did – nice of him to notice.  I did it for a variety of reasons.  I remember when Ben was a year and a half suddenly being seized by the desire to cut my hair very short (it was quite long at the time of his birth).  It wasn’t until after I got the haircut that I realized the move was as much symbolic as it was cosmetic.  I was picking up the pieces of my life and moving on.  I kind of felt that way yesterday when I saw the results of my 2 hours in the stylist’s chair.  I don’t know what it’s going to look like, exactly, but I am making forward movements with my life.  Hopefully those movements make me a look a few years younger, too!

One night last week I was at Walmart with Will.  He has his text alert set to a whistle noise – not a train whistle, but the kind that a woman might hear walking by a group of construction workers – that kind of whistle!  We were in an aisle occupied by a lone gentleman and just as our paths crossed, Will’s phone went off.  The guy’s head whipped up and he looked at me, startled and obviously suspicious.  I could have just died!

It’s storming right now as I write this.  I probably should get off the computer.  But I’m taking advantage of a few minutes of quiet while the girls are in the tub.  I’m glad the weather wasn’t like this a week ago tonight.  Will had his bachelor party for Nathanael.  I would say it was a success.  The guys all went out and did some shooting.  Then they came back to my house where I fed them.  Some embarrassing gifts were given to Nathanael and then Will had games for the guys.  When you’re a Christian, you have to be creative with your bachelor parties.  The unsaved have it so easy – just go to a strip bar and get drunk!  But anyway…Will built a huge bonfire out back.  He wouldn’t have gotten very far with that tonight (the rain is coming down in torrents right now – hope it’s not washing away the fresh grass seed Will laid this week).  It was a sweet send-off for Nathanael as he embarks on married life.  I am thinking I may be the only mom in the history of bachelor parties to ever be invited to one, though.

Nathanael introduced me at the party to his future brother-in-law as his “other” mom.  Today, I met his mother-in-law to be at Nathanael’s sister’s graduation party and he did the same thing – totally warms my heart to hear him say that!  The wedding is two weeks from today.  That will be a long and tiring day.

We have an election coming up Tues – a primary to determine who gets to run against the Democrat this fall for the senate (I think).  I used to be so “up” on politics but ever since the girls arrived I guess I’ve been too busy and have lost a bit of interest.  I’m not too crazy about the Republican establishment anymore so that has definitely dampened my enthusiasm.  But I have gotten a kick out of Will about this election.  He is definitely his father’s son.  He won’t be here for the election, so he contacted the county auditor to get an absentee ballot.  He researched all the candidates and then very seriously sat down with me and explained why he was voting for whom and why I should vote that way, too!  I think I will manage to haul myself down to the polling place Tuesday.

David had a birthday this week.  That was a busy day!   We went to Chick-fil-A because that is his favorite restaurant.  Then, I needed to run to Target.  I ended up finding a dining set for my deck.  I’d been looking on Craig’s List and Amazon and, but just wasn’t feeling a peace about anything I found.  I found it at Target – all for 1/3 of what I thought I’d be paying.  Getting that loaded up pushed me to the edge, time-wise and we barely make it to  Learning RX in time!  Afterwards, I told David  I needed to swing by my friend, Sarah’s house (she’s my stylist), for some “hair” supplies.  I thought that was pretty clever of me, considering we were actually going there to pick up a rabbit (hair – hare – get it?) for David.  He’s been wanting one for several years now, ever since he got past the trauma of killing his first rabbit years ago.  For some reason, Sarah has 9 living in her garage.  She hinted that they may be ending up in her freezer before too long.  So, Bauer, (named after Jack Bauer from “24”) should probably count himself really, really lucky!

We got home and dashed off to softball.  Then, David wanted to go to the Dairy Zone, which is an East side eatery, just a few blocks from the fields.  It was dark by then.  I was ok, other than needing to keep an eagle eye on Ellie, so she wouldn’t run out onto University Avenue.  But then, as we stood at the window to order our ice cream, I happened to notice something in the glass.  It was a bullet hole!  After seeing that, I was decidedly uneasy about our visit and was very relieved when the last bit of ice cream was slurped down and we could leave!

David ended up blowing out his candles at 10:30 that night.  I think that is the latest we’ve ever celebrated a birthday at our house!  I didn’t even let the Littles have any cake – just shooed them off to bed with promises of cake for breakfast. 

I did get David a new bike for his birthday.  He had mentioned that he’d like a decent one so that he could make trips to the cemetery a little easier.  How could I not get him one after hearing that?

It looks like Ben and I are going to Orlando next March.  He has been chattering for a couple months now about a choir trip to take place next year.  I told him I’d have to have more information first and it would be wise for him not to get his hopes up.  Making this work is going to take some finagling because I obviously can’t just send him to Florida with the rest of the kids.  They had a meeting the other night (on a Wednesday – grrr…are we the only people in that school who go to church on Wed. nights?  It seems like meetings are frequently on Wednesdays) and after attending it, I can see this is definitely workable.  It sounds like a fun and exhausting trip – singing engagements, a Cirque de Soleil show (to which the kids would have backstage passes), Cocoa Beach, Disney World…But, I want to make this happen for Ben.  I suspect that for him, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  I don’t think his future is going to be a sad one, but it is going to be different than a person who doesn’t have disabilities.  And he loves his fellow vocal students.  After the meeting I talked with the sponsoring teachers and they were very enthusiastic about the idea of me accompanying Ben and said they want to work with us to make it more affordable.  I appreciate that!  Now I have 9 months to find sitters for my other 4.

The other day Lizzie asked me, “Mom, how come when it’s hot outside, you always say it’s ‘people’?”  I just stared at her.  I didn’t even know how to begin to interpret what she was asking!  People?  What??  Finally David piped up, “Oh-h-h…you say it’s ‘humid,’ Mom!”  It clicked then – humid – human-people!  My brain is either going to be amazingly sharp after raising all these kids or it’s going to turn to complete mush!  I have a feeling I already know which direction it’s leaning, though!
I’m trying once-a-month grocery and Walmarting again.  I used to do this more than a decade ago before we moved out here.  I got it away from it and have done twice-a-month trips for years now.  I had to do it last month – well, May, which is still technically this month - because we were going to be gone for a week.  But I really, really liked not having to give up another day to go shopping.  So yesterday, I did it again.  I didn’t get home with Lizzie and Ben, who accompanied me, until after 11 last night, but I am done until the end of June now!  I’ll be curious if this does end up saving me money.  Well, I’m nearly done.  Ellie is on a baby carrot kick right now and I forgot to buy her some so I need to go back to the store and get her some.  I’m not going to discourage vegetable desires!

I’m working on a summary post right now about my first year of widowhood.  It’s getting long – longer than I had anticipated when I first decided to write it.  I’ve done it piecemeal this last week, but Monday the Littles are going to Mishelle’s and then  David, Sam and Lizzie will be at VBS in the evening.  So I should have plenty of quiet time to really think and feel as I write.  I need to just order another computer for my bedroom so I can do all my writing in peace and quiet.  I get too grouchy with the kids when I’m out here in the main rooms, typing away.  But anyway, I’m working on that right now.  I suppose, in some ways, thinking on that makes this last week of the first year a little bit harder.  But it’s something I need to do for me.  I’ll slap it up on the blog when I get finished.

A year ago tonight Will’s party was wrapping up.  Paul and I were tired!  But, oh, what a good day it had been to help our oldest graduate and then to celebrate that accomplishment, surrounded by friends.  I remember that we were both so amazed that so many came to the party.  We had no idea we mattered to so many people!  The next few days were nice days, too, but that party will stand out in our mind as the last family event.   I am so thankful God gave that to us.














  1. That has to be so bittersweet, thinking about your son's graduation party and then losing Paul within a very short time. It makes me so sad. I pray the Lord will carry you through the next few days as you approach the anniversary of his death.

    I was surprised this year to realize I had forgotten the due date of our first miscarriage. For several years I remembered May 7th every year, though I have largely forgotten the due dates of our later 3 miscarriages. This year, it didn't even cross my mind. Of course, an mc is not as incredibly, painfully difficult as losing a spouse (though it was plenty difficult!) but I do hope that as the years go by, the agony of that day will fade ... you will of course always MARK the anniversary, but maybe next year will be a little easier? This year is just going to be very very hard, I have no doubt. But God walks with us through the valley of the shadow of death.


  2. Oh, the one year anniversary is heavy.......I had to just go and visit the roadside where Jim died. I stayed there for a few hours. I cried much, but like usual God gave me peace and a treasure to carry me along. I know you will survive this, because my God is your God and He has brought you this far and He has carried me this far.
    Be gentle with yourself and the children. It might take a longer time for this grief wave to subside. Just remember that you are healing, yet it is okay to have days you aren't okay. And when the grief comes in so intense you can hardly breath, go back to the basics: Breathe, Run to Jesus, Take it one moment at a time, one breath at a time, one prayer at a time. Many, many hugs and understanding prayers.