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...
Sunday, November 30, 2014
DIARY OF AN UNWILLING WIDOW
November 30, 2014
The last few hours of November...can
I go to sleep tonight and not wake until Feb. 21?Yeah, I know...
It's just hitting me so hard right
now.I totally unloaded on my friend,
Sarah, yesterday, when I went to have my hair done.She made the mistake of asking me, "How
are you doing, really/"And
I told her.I told her that I'm
depressed.Last year at this time I was
wrapped in a cocoon of grief, but this year I don't have that protective
covering.Everywhere I look it's
Christmas, Christmas, Christmas - which is fine.Christmas is a good thing.The kids and I spent all of Friday and some
of Saturday getting the decorations up.If it were up to me, I'd skip it, but I can't, of course.And that's a good thing.There's a reason we celebrate.But...
This year I'm seeing couples
everywhere.Why did I never realize
before how couple-oriented Christmas really is?Smiling couples on tv basking in a firelight glow (before turning to one
another and exchanging diamond jewelry) or surprising the other with a car in
the driveway donned with a 40 pound bow (do people really do that with the
bow?I've never seen it.But then, I've never been given a car for a
Christmas gift, either), couples indulgently sipping their coffee on the couch
while watching their 2.7 children merrily tear into Christmas loot...
I've been trying to force myself
into the Christmas spirit by listening to holiday music but about every other
song has to do with wanting to see a loved one (well, I guess I could relate to
those, but I know the songs aren't talking about death) or the joys of love at
Poor Sarah is going through a messy
divorce so she could easily relate and we had a real time of life-is-so-stinky
before settling into some "real" talk.She's such an encourager to me.In fact, I now have a series of 7 articles
she sent me on the Christian and dating/remarriage sitting in my in-box as a
result of our conversation.
I'll get through it.I'm actually having some pretty deep thoughts
right now about celebrating Christmas while crushed in spirit which I may
expound on later.I know that even in
this brokenness and pain the message of Christmas still rings true and is
perhaps even more applicable now than in other, happier, years.
I did get through Thanksgiving just
fine.Last year we did something totally
out of the ordinary and went to visit friends because I thought it might be
easier on the kids - and because these friends invited us and I genuinely like
them and enjoy spending time with them.I was afraid that trying to do what we've always done and not having Paul
there would be unbearable for all of us.But afterwards the kids begged me to stay home at Christmas and we did.
They wanted the familiarity of tradition.
So this year we went up to my
parents' for Thanksgiving.And it was
nice, quiet (well, as quiet as it is with a half dozen children), and relaxing
- just the8 of us.It was snowy and cold, which was kind of
different.I'm sure, in 43 years of
life, I've experienced other snowy Thanksgivings but the only one I can
remember is when I was somewhere around third grade and even then it wasn't all
that much snow.
Two nights before Thanksgiving the
Des Moines area GARB churches hosted a joint Thanksgiving musical thing with a
combined orchestra and choir and congregational singing up at Faith.We all went and met up with Will.I really, really enjoyed the evening.For the first six or seven years that I lived
in western Iowa with Paul the Omaha area churches would gather together at
Thanksgiving time and I have such fond memories of those services.Even though I'm not the least bit musically
inclined I still really appreciate these kind of endeavors.I hope this becomes an annual event.
Maybe one of the reasons I was so
thankful Tuesday night to be up at Faith was the distraction it provided.I had a rather upsetting event occur earlier
that day.I had to order a water
shut-off for a town resident.It should
have happened a few days earlier but I forgot that the payment deadline had
passed and then our water guy forgot to do the shut-off when I first asked, so,
anyway, it finally happened on Tuesday.
I, of course, got a phone call.But this was, by far, the nastiest encounter
I've ever had with a disgruntled (to put it mildly - "enraged" would
be a more apt term) resident.Eventually, he started telling me I was a "piece of work" and
"needed to be fired" which made me laugh.I have tried to quit this job so many
times!But from there he launched into a
personal attack and began calling me filthy, vile names.I hung up on him.I don't have to listen to that.
It was upsetting to me, of
course.It made me fearful for my
safety, to the point that I told the mayor I would not be the one to turn this
guy's water back on whenever it was he decided to pay up.But it also made me really, really sad.
It made me sad because I know that
Paul would not have stood for this.He
would have marched down to this guy's house, poked him in the chest and said,
"I will not have you talking to my wife that way."That's who he was.I saw him do it before with his own father.And now - I have nobody to stand up for
me.I felt defenseless.
But then, as I drove up to the
college that evening I suddenly thought ofPsalm 68:5, "Father to the
fatherless, defender of widows--this is God, whose dwelling is holy."There are other verses with similar messages
in Scripture, as well.I'm not
defenseless.No, God is not going to go
ring this jerk's doorbell and remonstrate with him for his offensive behavior -
which would give me a certain sense of satisfaction.But at the same time, I'm not so sure I'd
want to be in this guy's shoes right about now.God makes it pretty clear that nobody is to be picking on or taking
advantage of the widow or orphan.
have a new bathroom floor and baseboard now.Friday night I met Will at Menards.By then the black Friday crowds had thinned and it wasn't too bad.We picked out what we needed and that evening
he and Sam ripped out the old floor and spent most of yesterday installing the
new.I went with a different look for
the floor because it was on sale but also, during Christmas break we're going
to do something I found on Pinterest called, "planking" to one of the
walls.It's basically gluing pieces of
wood, kind of like a wood floor, to a wall for a rustic look.In our case, this will also serve to cover up
some bad drywalling.So I went with a
wood-look linoleum and white baseboard.Will
kept commenting about how much better he liked this.I think it makes the bathroom look bigger
since it's lighter in color.But I have
to fight the urge to throw down a rag rug on top it.It's a bathroom, not a kitchen!
was so eager to be of help and Will was such a good teacher.I could hear him gently giving instructions
throughout the day.It reminded me of
another twosome that used to work on our houses together and that made me
smile.As I said on Facebook, Paul's
legacy continues through his sons.
have more to write but I am getting really sleepy.Tomorrow is my monthly grocery shopping day
and it would be nice to have my wits somewhat about me and be somewhat alert as I go drop $1000 (it's
not only groceries - it's my Walmart and other misc. stuff, too).
a Sam funny to end with: Today I was dishing up the Littles' and Ben'
lunch.I don't know what it is like to
eat hot food except for the occasional meal out with friends.That's what used to be nice about date nights
but those obviously aren't happening anymore.By the time I got each of the kids their plate of food, chopped up their
roast into non-chokable pieces, and got their other food and drink, the first
one served was ready for seconds!Sam
asked for more and Lizzie pointed out to him that I had not eaten yet and he
should really be patient and let me get my own food next (I love that girl more
every day).Sam looked at her and
seriously protested, "You act like you care more about Mom than us!"
funny but a few alarm bells are sounding in my brain at the same time!