The title is a description of my old life...but these days I ramble on about widowhood, homeschooling, single parenting, adoption, special-needs parenting, & living a life I never planned for or expected - a life that God, thankfully, continues to strengthen & equip me for daily...
Monday, July 21, 2014
DIARY OF AN UNWILLING WIDOW
July 21, 2014
From things that make me happy to things that make me sad...
A grief wave caught up with me over the weekend and this one has had a
vicious undertow.I can't think of one
thing that triggered it.Saturday night
I was driving over to my friend, Emi's, house.A group of us from our Sunday School class were going out.David was home from camp, finally, my mouth
was feeling good after a whole week of pain, I was getting a break from the
Littles...and I, inexplicably,cried all
the way to her house.
I feel like I haven't been able to break free of this wave yet.All day yesterday andtoday I have fought physical and emotional
fatigue.Today has been especially
rough.I didn't get a whole lot of sleep
last night, which might be a contributing factor.I had a little girl with repeated bad dreams
and an especiallyneedy cat (yes, I
know...) in the middle of the night.
Although I do have to say I am proud of myself in that I don't feel like
I've shortchanged the kids or been grumpy with them because I haven't felt
well.Normally, they are the first ones
to get the short end of my emotional stick.I'm keeping up a good front.
Today I had to run a number of errands.Several times I thought I saw Paul.Of course it wasn't him - just some other balding, middle aged guy.But my heart wanted to see him.
I miss him.Terribly.I cannot imagine a day in the future when I
won't.At times, I am anxious to move on
with my life.I find myself thinking
about another husband, a new life, maybe some stepchildren (not too many,
though - the thought of raising someone else's kids is a bit overwhelming right
now)...happiness.Sometimes I can even
imagine a happy day where I'm not necessarily remarried either, just enjoying
time with my children (who are all older in my imagination, quiet, potty
trained, and no longer rubbing purple make-up into my brand new carpet or
engraving their new bunkbeds with an ink pen.That was Ellie.Yesterday.)I see myself as mother of the groom and
cooing over a brand new grandbaby, taking my girls bra andprom dress shopping,and I get excited by those images and I yearn
for them now.
Because I want to be happy.Because
I don't want to hurt anymore.
Last week I read a post on one of my widow forums from a widow of 4
years.She stated emphatically that she
will never, ever, ever date or remarry. On one hand, I
could sympathize with her feelings but found myself really hoping that that's
not me in 3 years.In three years, I
hope I'm ready for more life.
But I know that what would make me happiest is if my life wasn't where it
is.I want what was supposed to be.I want to be a family of 8 again.And I want to be fussing about my still
undone house and Paul's irregular hours.I want to groan every morning because he wants me to make him breakfast
and I think food in the morning is a grossly overrated idea.I want to worry about how we're going to pay
the bills this next month and I want to plan our next date night.
All these things I think would make me happy, but I also know that there
were seeds of discontent in all of it.So many things we don't appreciate until we don't have them any
longer.I had a happy life, but I
was not always happy living it.
And yet, I am aware that myultimate
aim in life is NOT happiness.It is
holiness.As a human my natural
instinct is to crave that which I think will bring happiness.As a Christian I must yearn for what makes me
more like Christ.Right now that's
hardship.It's deprivation.It's soul-splitting grief.As long as I set my thoughts on what has been
taken I will only feel cheated.
But I can't "talk myself out of" grief either.It just is.The act of involuntarilyuncoupling must be more painful than any other necessity of life, I
think.There is a mystery about the
"one-fleshness" referred to in Scripture.It's not just sexual, although that's a big
part of it.Over time, it really is a
melding of two separate units into one.Two selfish personalities learn to die daily to themselves and to live
for the other.Eventually, it can be
hard to distinguish where one ends and the other begins, so entwined have their
lives, souls, and personalities become.
And then death comes, ripping apart the seams that have been woven so
tightly together.One is gone and the
other is left alone, vulnerable, exposed, and raw.The one left behind doesn't even know who she
is without the other.If she doesn't
know who she is, then how can she exist - alone?
Am I esoteric enough tonight?Just
tired.Just hurting.Just wanting it to be over.Wishing I was endowed with an always-sunny
personality, someone who could whip out a Bible verse for every emotion, and
assuring others that everything is fine because I have Jesus.
And tomorrow, after a good night's sleep, it may be fine.I may laugh with my children again and
exchange funny text messages with a friend.I may smile because Will calls or someone drops me a caring card in the
mail.All these things happen on a
routine basis.But none of it will mean
that I am finished grieving.It won't
mean that I no longer miss my husband.It won't mean that I don't cry while driving to friends' houses.
I stained my deck Friday, which was a first-time experience.I got the floor and inside of the railings
done before I ran out of stain.I picked
up some more today but will have to wait until it cools down to tackle the
rest.I don't know if the deck looks
like it's supposed to.There are some
sections that tell me I would have been better to hire out this job.My feet and ankles look like they've had an
unfortunate encounter with self-tanning cream!But all in all, I don't think I did too badly of a job.That poor wood was so thirsty.It just soaked up the stain the second I put
in on and I did two coats.We've just
been so busy since we moved here 10 years ago that the deck was always
low-priority.With all our construction
work it was never really a space we could enjoy - seems like it was always
holding big boards or construction materials or was half dismantled.Yesterday, the kids and I grilled steaks and
ate lunch out there.Of course, they
complained non stop about the flies and heat and maybe it would have been
better if we had just eaten inside!I really
thought it might have been better to stay inside when I scrubbing red jello off
my freshly stained boards a few hours later...
I think I'm going to go ahead and stain the picnic table Paul made.Well, I kind of have to now since I dripped
stain on it the other day while doing the deck!I'm toying with the idea of doing the swingset and front porch,
too.But I may save that for another
The other day Ellie quietly watched me put on some make-up.I got done and then she solemnly said,
"Mommy - you a little pitty (pretty)!"Thanks, I think...I was reminded of when Will
was two years old.I was making french
fries and he commented on how there sure were a "lot, a lot of
fries, Mommy!"I used the
opportunity to attempt to teach him a truth about how much I loved him.Using his words, I told him how his mom loved
him, "a lot, a lot!"Will was quiet for a moment and then replied, "Will loves you a
little bit."That still cracks me
up, all these years later!
I realized tonight that David is now taller than Ben.I had them stand back to back and just
barely, David has passed his big brother.When he came back Saturday I found myself suddenly noticing his bulging
arm muscles and the way his chest is beginning to fill out.Presumably this didn't all happen in five
days time, but I guess I never noticed before that his scrawny boy body is
slowly maturing.He stood before the
church last evening to give an account of his week at camp and I was struck by
a new poise he posseses, along with a comfortable self-awareness.He may turn out all right after all...If
nothing else, he's guaranteed to be tall!
I was doing some filing the other night and while filing bank statements I
suddenly realized that the account I opened last fall for Ben's Special Needs
Trust has been slowly drained by account fees issued by the bank.I didn't think this was supposed to happen.
Evidently, I really need to keep a closer eye on my account totals...I funded the account with the bare minimum
needed to open it and have no intention of funding it further until I die.At that time, it would be funded with life
insurance proceeds.I had to open the
account in order to set up the trust.I
just got approval on the trust, which has been a bit of a nightmare.It took the Dept. of Human Services EIGHT
months to get back to me, although my attorney pointed out to me today that the
paper is stamped with approval dating back to February!That's a whole 'nother story, anyway.So, my mind began to whirl.What to do about this bank account?Do I just need to budget $6 a month for the
rest of my life to pay for this thing?That's a lot of money!But I
can't have the trust without the account attached to it.And if I don't have the trust, then Ben's
needed services are not protected if he should come into or earn a certain
amount of money.
It was upsetting.Last night as I
drifted off to sleep I asked the Lord to go before me on this matter.I told him I didn't know if I had
misunderstood something when setting up the account, but I needed favor from
the bank and I needed wisdom to know what to ask for and what to do.
Then this morning was a hard morning.I couldn't wake up for anything.I didn't feel well.Grief's cruel
talons dug especially hard into my heart.Getting dressed and getting Ben and the Littles fed and out the door was
an especially burdensome task.
My first stop was to meet with my financial guy to sign some papers and get
some help withpaperwork (I'm finally
getting around to claiming Paul's pension from a job he worked in Omaha).Free of children, I could listen to whatever
I wanted on my mp3 player - no requests for Elvis (Ben) or songs from the
Frozen soundtrack (you can guess who).Pastor Young's voice came through my radio.It was Paul's funeral all over again.I listened to him.I don't know how many times I've heard this
message since June 11 of last year.Enough.But not enough that I
don't want to hear it again.
He said something I've obviously
heard him say before on my player, but today I heard it.Addressing me at the funeral he said,
"Sarah, face the future without fear."The topic of fear is a blog post in of
itself.I am intimately aquainted with
that emotion these days.But still,
Face the future without fear
How can I do that?
Because I have someone to go before me, to
fight battles in my stead, so that I don't have to become war-weary or injured
by fighting them on my own.
I am protected.
I went to the bank, found my favorite
banker who has handled all my financial widowhood papers and such, and
explained my concerns.Concerned, she
pulled up my account and told me an error had been made.The money would be returned to my account and
I did not need to worry about it anymore.And that was it!