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, December 7, 2014
DIARY OF AN UNWILLING WIDOW
December 7, 2014
Pearl Harbor Day...73 years ago
today a whole lot of other women became sudden widows.See - that's what I think of now.My first thought is not the terrible loss of
life that day, the parents who opened their doors to military personnel
informing them that their sons had just been consigned to a murky graves in the
Pacific Ocean, but for all the wives who were suddenly thrust into widowhood.
A friend at church was talking to me
tonight.She's older than me by probably
twenty years.Her brother-in-law
succumbed to cancer three months ago.His wife, my friend's sister, died yesterday morning after being
diagnosed with cancer just three weeks ago.I told my friend that I was sorry for the loss of her sister, but I
couldn't find any reason to feel bad for her sister.What a relief itmust have been to discover that she was going
to get to rejoin her husband so quickly!I'm envious.
I've felt like I've been on the
verge of tears all day.Maybe it's the
season.Maybe I'm just tired.Maybe it's my head.Thursday I was awakened at 6 am with a
terrible migraine.I popped a
prescription pill but it didn't do the trick.That day I had the worst migraine I have had in years and
years.It's notmy sinuses like I had thought earlier that
same week.It was so terrible I was
nauseated for most of the day and I had to forget my to-do list and crawl into
my bed for awhile.
By evening it had lifted somewhat
and I was able to keep my plans to go out with some ladies from church. That was special. The ladies treated three of us to supper in Des Moines and I was given a wonderful Christmas present that really touched me. But that migraine was terrible. That morning I had to take David to the dermatologist and then I had to spend an hour and half at the bank with the mayor. I thought I was just going to pass out, right in both offices. It's four days later and the headache has not
completely left yet.I have taken way
too many pills and I'm going to have to get a refill soon.This morning I awoke kind of dizzy and that
hasn't gone away, either, although it's not as bad.
Are these just hormone issues? Am I on the verge of menopause? Or, should I call my neurologist?But he'll want to see me and I do not have
time for a visit.And then he'll want to
put me on a daily headache pill and I've tried those and I don't like them
because they have some bothersome side effects.But in the back of mind (the part that's not
in pain) I am very cognizant of the fact that often migraines precede
strokes.I don't have time for that,
either.Maybe I'll feel better by
I need to feel better by
tomorrow.I have an absolutely insane
week ahead.Will and two, potentially,
three, hunting buddies are spending the weekend here.That means I have to cook and clean like a
madwoman all week.Hunters get
awfullyhungry after traipsing through
the woods all day long.I was planning
to get up at 4 to make them breakfast both mornings but Will told me he'd
rather take care of that because he's not overly fond of my pancakes.I'm so relieved that I don't have to get up
that early that I'm not even going to be offended by the fact he doesn't want my
I also have a city council meeting
this week which will involve a full day up at City Hall.Plus, I have to go to the dentist and I can't
reschedule that because I already did one time already.And I have a Bible study with Marcia.
Tomorrow, Ben's new SCL worker is coming over for the first time so I need to
write some things out for her and Ben has his school Christmas program tomorrow
night.Too, too much...
Plus, it's Christmas and I'm
struggling.I've probably mentioned that
once before.Or twice.
But, I'm typing out all this emotion
and recognizing that I sound like a real whiner.Good things are still evident in my life,
despite all the complaining I do.
I'm starting to develop some clarity
on my life plans - what needs to happen to make the rest of my life tolerable
and to be in a position to provide for my family.That actually scares me a bit because it's
going to involve huge life changes that I really don't want to make.But it's an answer to prayer because I've
been praying that God would show me what to do.I need to seek some more counsel before
totally committing to what I'm thinking, but the wheels are turning - mentally,
anyway, at this point.It's good.
I got to go to Council Bluffs on
Friday and spend the whole day with Kathy.That's always a good thing!I
pulled off at the Underwood exit to program my GPS before driving into Council
Bluffs.Then, Will called me at the same
time.So I'm talking to him and backing
out of my parking spot to get back on the interstate when two Subway employees
come running out of the building and tell me my van is overheating and I need
to not drive.What?I can see a little steam or something coming
out of my hood, but my temperature guage isn't showing I'm overheating.I know there's plenty of antifreeze and water
in the thing.I pop the hood and the one
employee tells me my fan isn't going.Of
course, by this point my heart is hammering.Being stranded - especially two hours from home - is right at the top of
my Things to Worry About list.I'm
talking to Will and he's asking me questions and the employees are telling me
to go to this mechanic place that'snot
too far away.Will has me drive around
for a bit and says, "Mom, I don't know what those people were smoking, but
you're not overheating!"
I wasn't.So the whole thing made me later getting into
town to meet with Kathy.It also made me
kind of paranoid.All the way home that night
I kept my eye on the temperature gauge which never went above what it was
supposed to - to the point that I neglected to watch the gas guage.I was 30 miles from empty when I suddenly
realized that the needle was clear down in the red zone!I had no idea when the next exit would be
coming and if I could get gas.Fortunately, about 5 miles down the road I was able to get off and a new
Kum and Go was right off the interstate.All was well.
Kathy and I enjoyed our day
together, of course.I found a beautiful
big, red, wooden "H" for the front porch.Well, actually, I bought that in Des
Moines.I found them at a Kirkland's in
Omaha but they didn't have an H.So I
stopped at Jordan Creek on my way home and bought they only H they had.It makes me happy.I positioned it on the bench I bought 16
years ago with Kathy.We still talk
about that bench!We went to a huge
craft show that fall in Omaha.Kathy had
her 4 month old daughter with her that day.I bought this bench made out of fence boards - it's probably 4 feet
across and very, very solid.I remember
I paid $50 for it. This craft show was on the outskirts of Omaha and very, very
well-attended.Parking was at a
premiumand we had to park blocks and
blocks away.It was so cold.We had the stroller stuffed with all our
other purchases and then we had to haul this bench and push the stroller
for blocks.And I was newly pregnant and
very sick with the pregnancy.A lot of
memories are attached to that bench -not all good ones!But my H will
look nice on it.
Yesterday I took theLittles to the Amanda the Panda party.The kids loved it.They had a scavenger hunt for the kids and at
each location the kids got nice presents.Then, we won a brand new teddy bear that was a table decoration.We got to make an ornament to honor
Paul.The kids had fun stuffing it with
tinsel.There was a dessert buffet,
although, surprisingly, my kiddos were more interested in the fruit bowl carved
out of a watermelon. They each got to light a candle to honor their dad's
memory.Amanda the Panda is such a neat
We got home, picked up Ben and
David, and headed out to Jordan Creek.Will met us there and we saw Kirk Cameron's new movie, "Saving
Christmas."I thought this movie
was about how saying "Christmas" is becoming more and more
politically incorrect and how we're expected to honor ALL December holidays
with the same amount of enthusiasm we typically and historically have reserved
for Christmas.But it wasn't.This movie addressed something else and I was
so pleased about it.
I have been homeschooling since 2003
and I've met tons and tons of homeschoolers along the way.Most are normal people, but there are some
real nut jobs that homeschool, too.In
recent years, I've met a number of these nuts that are anti-Christmas.They spout on about how Christmas trees are
"pagan" and how Christmas itself is just a fancified version of the
pagan holiday honoring the winter solstice.They talk about how the Bible doesn't tell us to celebrate Christmas and
in doing so, we honor Satan.Plus, if
you think about it, S-A-T-A-N is just like S-A-N-T-A - coincidence?Not to them, it's not.Some of these people won't celebrate Easter,
which I don't quite understand, either.
And then there are some Christians
that aren't quite so extreme in their anti-Christmas stance, but they draw a
clear line between what is acceptable at Christmas and what is not.Baby Jesus is good.Santa is bad.Wise men and shepherds are good.Reindeer are bad.One twinkling
star is good.Stockings stuffed with
goodies are bad.There's "Christian"
Christmas and there's the "secular" Christmas.
I remember talking with Paul about
this and he would always say that Christmas must be pretty important if Satan
and the world have worked so hard to get rid of it.How delighted he must be that some Christians
are now getting rid of it voluntarily!
This is what Kirk Cameron
addresses.The movie features his actual
real-life sister (not the famous one, another one) and her husband.The brother-in-law is a bah humbug type of
guy, spouting all the reasons he thinks celebrating Christmas is just wrong for
Christians - everything from how Christmas trees are just a form of idolatry to
the fact that all the money we spend would be better used if given to the
poor.Methodically, Kirk addresses each
objection.The movie is both funny and
very informative.I learned things about
Saint Nicholas I didn't know and I thought I knew that story.His main point is that everything we
do at Christmas - the lights, tree, gifts, Santa, stockings - ALL point back to
Christ.Granted, the unsaved and even many
saved don't understand this.
Anyway, I really appreciated the
film.Even though this particular
holiday season is harder on me because of Paul's death, watching it made me
want to embrace the holiday more than I have, typically.It makes me want to be like my Grandma
Daniels, who was crazy about Christmas when I was little.She didn't even understand what she was
celebrating.I want to enter into it
with her enthusiasm and desire to create magic for my children and future
grandchildren.But I can do it with the
ability to teach them how each and everything we do at Christmas points to a
tiny baby in a manger.
All week long, even before we saw
the movie, Sam has been commenting to me that "we give gifts at Christmas
because God gave us the best Gift!"He picked that up somewhere and has been pretty excited to repeat it
over and over.He's right.As Christians, we have the best reason of all
to totally celebrate
Christmas, to the best extent of our abilities and resources.
Sam has also started adding two digit
numbers in head, for no reason at all, other than he figured out how to do
it.So when he wasn't talking about
gifts, he was saying things like, "Hey, Mom, want to know what 17 plus 32
is?"He is definitely Paul's boy.
Afterwards, we went to Chik-fil-A,
which was a treat.They can get a little
pricey, but we managed to get out of there for less than $30, which was really
good.My appetite hasn't been the
greatest since Thursday, so Will and Sam got most of my chicken sandwich, but
that was fine.
It was a good family night.
As we were driving home today, I was
appalled to see a police car and ambulance at my friends, James and Charlotte's
house.I stopped my van and ran into
their house to see what was going on.Of
course, seeing the rescue vehicles brought back memories.As I watched the paramedics work, I found
myself wondering if they were the same ones who came to my house 18 months
ago.Charlotte had called an ambulance
because she was fearful James was having a heart attack.They took him away.I texted their son tonight and it's just
pneumonia, which is a relief.But all
that is a bit disconcerting.
Last week I wrote on
thankfulness.I completely forgot about
a quote from my pastor I wanted to sum up my thoughts with.This is what he said last week:
"Anything that causes us to
need God more is a blessing."
That really resonated with me, to
the point that I wrote it in the flyleaf of my Bible.There's so much truth to that statement.Losing Paul has caused me to need God more
than I have ever felt like I needed Him in my entire life.That means that his death is a good
It's something I've been chewing on
all week.I'm still not thankful he
died.But, without reservation, I am very,
very thankful for the things I have learned the past year and a half.
Well, I am sitting here,
shaking.I'm not sure if it's because my
house is cold (Will is determined to make me save money and keeps the thermostat
at a ridiculously low number.I usually
crank it up when he's not home, but he was home today so it's probably back
down in the sub-arctic range) or if it has to do with this headache.I've been kind of shaky since Thursday. I
just found some Excedrine migraine in the medicine cabinet and popped one to
give my brain a break from my Butabital pills.It could be that, too.I think I
need to take a warm (boiling) bath and crawl under my electric blanket.Some extra sleep wouldn't hurt, either.