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...
Saturday, March 21, 2015
DIARY OF AN UNWILLING WIDOW
March 21, 2015
This week just flew by and I know next week
will be the same.
A week ago today I was in Iowa City at the
Special Olympics Dance competition.This
was the first time our district had put together a team.I don't know why I thought that it would be a
simple matter of driving out there, watching Ben perform, and then turning
around and going home.There were at
least 20 groups performing.And then
results had to be tabulated and the awards ceremony had to happen.Duh.Why didn't I think of all this?So my poor Littles had to sit in the stands for over 3 hours absolutely
starving.But they were really
good.Well, Ellie was mostly good and
for her, that's saying something!Lizzie
was getting over her cold and had a sinus headache.I didn't have any children's aspirin on
me.And of course, these were all loud,
rocky, dance tunes that we had to listen to.They were blaring.So for a lot
of the time Lizzie just laid her head in my lap and I tried to cover her ears
so she wouldn't get the full impact of the loud music.
That said...it was still pretty cool.Some groups had 20-30 people and some had
only one.I watched one woman with Downs
Syndrome dance her heart out in a solo act and she was amazing.Our group did awesome.They got silver medals.
I don't know why, but it seemed like every
other group chose either Frozen songs or "Shake it Off" to dance
to.I loved those songs...not so much
This week was Spring Break week for Ben.It was cooler this week than last, but the
sun shined most days - even on my birthday, which is a real rarity.Monday was a really nice day.I found out that day that it was Dairy
Queen's 75th anniversary and so, they were giving away free soft serve ice
cream.After supper that night I loaded
up the kids and we drove down to Knoxville.It was a nice way to end the evening.
I got Will's FAFSA filed this week.The lady who did it said that he should
qualify for the full Pell grant, which is more than tuition at DMACC.If she's right - and I hope she is - that
means the next two years he'll attend for free and she said there should even
be enough grant money to pay for his books.Thank you, American tax payers!Actually, I'm kind of thinking that maybe, knowing this, it would be
kind of silly to sit at home for the next 3 yrs until David graduates doing
nothing - other than homeschooling him and the normal, mom stuff.Maybe I need to give more serious thought to
wrapping up the degree I started more than 25 yrs ago. We'll see.
Lizzie asked me how old I was going to turn on
my birthday.I told her and she
exclaimed loudly(and yes, we were in public), "That means in just 7 years,
you'll be 100!"I said, "Uh,
no" and she recalculated and said, "Oops - I meant nine
years"Who's her math teacher
Sam said, "You were born in 1950, right,
Mom?"I told him he was off by more
than 20 years.Then he wanted to know
what year his Grandpa Daniels was born.I told him and he looked surprised.He replied, "Huh - I thought you would have said somewhere around
David's new sandals arrived late last week -
size 17s. They were $100, which is what I paid a year ago when I bought him
size 15s at Scheels.There's no skimping
on name brands when you have gigantic feet.Now I need to find him some cleats for softball.That is going to be expensive, as well, and
he'll only wear them for one season - less than two months.Unless...his feet decide to, miraculously,
quit growing and he can wear them again next year.I'm not holding my breath, though!
I struggled more, the first part of this week,
with Paul being gone.I suppose my
approaching birthday had something to do with that.He always made those so special.Sometimes he would actually wake me up in the
wee hours of the morningto whisper,
"Happy birthday!"He said he
wanted to be the first one to say it to me.He probably could have been the first one if he'd waited until 7am or so,
Also, last weekend Will had me working on a
paper with him for a class at school.Apparently, there are a number of topics being covered, one of which is
the Christian and death.Will had asked
his professor to not assign this one to him, as he didn't think he could
emotionally handle it.Well, the
professor forgot and gave it to him anyway.Will didn't want to make an issue out of it, and just took the
assignment.I was going through some of
the materials and they are really, really good.I had him download them to my computer and the ipad and I am wanting to
go through them again sometime.Will
commented that he is wondering if God allowed him to be assigned this project
for a reason - for further healing in his own heart.I suggested that when he presents to the
class he could weave his own story of loss into the presentation but Will said
he doesn't want to try that because he doesn't think he'd be able to do it
without breaking down.
I wonder if some of the materials and what I
was helping him with affected my own heart. I mean, I sat at my computer, writing this
outline for Will, and soon I found myself weeping.I was ok but then I began to think on death and found myself bothered
that Paul's death doesn't seem to have affected others like it has us.That's a given of course!I know his death did affect others, but since
we were closest to him, it had the greatest impact on us.I kept envisioning a body of water with a
rock thrown into it.The water is
disturbed at first and then it doesn't take long for it to smooth back
over.That's what Paul's death has been.Others are back tonormal, but I know we never will be.I found myself bothered that people can just go
on living when my life has been so radically changed.
It's the way it is.What are you going to do - insist that others
live in a suspended state of reality until your own heart heals?
Fortunately, all that only lasted about 24 hours.I'm fine now.
And then the next day I cleaned out a kitchen
cupboard.In the bottom of one I found
an unopened bag of ground ginger.Paul
swore by this stuff.Anytime he was not
feeling well, including times after he'd had severe seizures, he'd take ginger
baths.I found them kind of disgusting
because it turned the bathwater brown and never completely dissolved.But I always kept a bag around for him.
He doesn't need to take ginger baths anymore,
does he?I threw it away.I'll never use it and I don't need that kind
of reminder of the frailty of Paul's
The rest of my week was a mix of good and bad.
Remember how I talked about the relief I felt
in realizing that the craziness I see in Paul's family is no longer a burden I
have to carry?It was such a liberating
I'm not sure if God thought, "Umm....you
have a few things you need to learn yet!" or if Satan saw this and decided
that it was time to turn up the notch on the fire of life a bit.I suppose it doesn't matter - ultimately, it
can all be used for good and growth in my life.
This week I had three upsetting
encounters with members of Paul's family.Three!After months of
One came at 7:25 yesterday morning as I was
getting ready to leave for Omaha to attend a craft show with Kathy.I very nearly didn't take the call.But I thought maybe someone had died and I
should answer.It occurred to me later
that I do have voicemail and I probably should have used it.The call was upsetting to me, but I had a
good, two hour drive to think and pray about it.I didn't let it ruin my day.Freedom doesn't mean the absence of
trials.But it does mean that I can
choose the extent to which I allow them to affect me.
As it turned out, Will was getting off work at
the time I'd be getting back to town last night.I drove to his workplace and we sat for
nearly two hours in my van talking about this and other stuff.He has a really wise perspective for someone
still so young.His dad was like that at
the same age.I have a lot more clarity
today, which is good because assault #3 arrived in today's mail.But I was able to pretty much laugh it off,
even though it made me sad.
So that's that for now anyway.And, honestly, as much as I would like to be,
I may never be completely free of all the craziness but after nearly two years,
I am finally figuring out more healthy ways to deal with it all.
The craft show was great.It was a really large one, which made it more
fun.Kathy and I enjoyed ourselves so
much.We have the strangest friendship,
where we go months without talking to one another - not even a text.Kathy rarely remembers my birthday and half
the time I forget to send hera card on
hers.But when we're together we
immediately slip back into a practiced familiarity, as though we just saw
eachother yesterday and not three months ago.We're both introverts and we've both noticed that tendency increasing as
we age.Kathy told me yesterday that she
has other friends but when she spends time with them it feels like an effort
and she comes away from those times exhausted.She said her time with me is energizing.That may be one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me! I have definitely noticed that I feel less
stressed for days after spending time with Kathy.It's worth the time, distance, and effort for
us to get together.Although, we may be
a bit scary when we're 90 and still doing this.Neither one of us has a real good sense of direction!
I am now blogging as an older woman.I turned 44 Wednesday.When I woke up that morning I was immediately
feeling sad because Paul wasn't here and Will had to work so he couldn't come
home to celebrate.
But the day ended up being really, really
nice, anyway.I got so many touching FB
messages, including one from Will that made me cry.I got tons of cards in the mail with encouraging
messages.I got texts and a phone
call.I got sung to at church that
evening.A friend brought me tulips,
which is my favorite flower.I haven't
had them since before Paul died.
The Littles and David made me homemade cards,
which was sweet and appreciated.Will
says I'm getting my present today.And
you know what I've discovered?Presents
are not really that important to me anymore.Being thought of and being appreciated on my special day is the the
nicest thing.I can buy the stuff I want
for myself.But I can't buy the genuine
love and affection from my family and kids.
I heard Lizzie say on Wednesday to one of her
siblings, "It's her birthday - she can do whatever she wants."She paused and added as an aside, "But
don't kill us!"So noted.
The next day (which was cooler and gray - I
was so thankful that kind of weather waited a day!) Sara and her entire family
drove down, just for me.They came armed
with gifts and cakes and party supplies.And it was a nice time.
I am loved.I am loved first by God and secondly by a whole lot of people.Until the day he died, I had the love of a