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...
It's been a busy week.I seemed to spend quite a bit of it on the
phone with different organizations, mostly regarding Ben's summer.Wednesday I had to shoot over to Pella (42
min away if the speed limit is somewhat disregarded) for a meeting about Ben (more on that later).I did some running around and lots of
emailing and David had a birthday.I had
a lot of baking this week...just stuff.
And as the week progressed the cloak began to
get heavier and heavier.I really wasn't
doing too bad when I last wrote.But as
June 6th gets closer, I'm feeling it.I
don't like it.I wanted to be past this
One night this week a friend, who was widowed
just a few months before me, sent me a picture of a gentlemen she's kind of
gotten interested in on a Christian dating site.I was enthusiastic in my approval - for
her.At the same time, I was surprised
and thought, "Dating?
Already?" And then I had to
remind myself it's been two years.That's probably long enough to work through a lot of grief stuff.Why then do I not feel ready to start
browsing through sites like that for myself?Am I hanging onto something that I really should be ready to let go of?
Maybe it'sthe timing. I should probably
just assume until the 6th that my mind will not be working the correct way.
Monday was Memorial Day.Will worked and the guys came and got some
stuff done on the house.When he got
home we grilled hot dogs. Lizzie spied
the citronella candles on the deck and wanted to light one.I told her no, the mosquitos weren't out
tonight.In complete seriousness, she
asked, "Why?Because it's a
I went to the chiropractor Wed. and told them
about my TMJ.So they did some work on
my jaw.And now the pain is SO much
worse.I don't know what to do.I don't know if their work caused the
increased pain or if it was just progressing to this point anyway.Every bite I take hurts.I'm rubbing in essential oils which help, as
do the Advil.But I can't poison my
liver to save my jaw.The chiropractor
explained that my jaw has gotten "off track" which is causing the
pain.I've been to several websites and
I see that people talk about having to literally pull their jaws open in the
morning with their hands in order to move their mouths.I sure hope this doesn't get that bad.
Both Will and David have commented in the last
week or so about my "laid back" parenting style.I'm not sure they were intending to be
complimentary, although they weren't complaining.They made mention of this in comparison to
other families we know.I'll take it as
a compliment.I never wanted to be a
hyper mother.Although, really, it
depends a lot on the kid.Lizzie calls
me, "strict" and I bet to her, I am.Both she and Ellie are such loose cannons that I have to keep them on a
short leash.I've never been the type of
mom to worry about bed times overly much - for the boys.But it gets to be 8 pm here, and I start to
get giddy.The count-down to bedtime for
the girls has commenced!If I get them
to bed even one minute after 9pm and the girls want a story I say in a fake-sad
voice, "I'm so sorry, but not tonight.It is way, way past your bed-time!"I'm dreading the day they learn to tell time.
And I think it was last weekend that all 3 of
the Littles were outside washing my van, which was fine.They were having fun and if I ended up with a
less-grimy van as a result, I'm happy.Well, then I went to wash my hands at the kitchen sink and my new bottle
of Bath and Body hand soap was missing.I started hollering about this and eventually, a kid mentioned that was
what had been used to wash the van.I
began to hyperventilate, which is silly.It isn't like the soap is made out of liquid gold or anything.But when I wash my van I always use dish soap
(although I just read you shouldn't do that - it's hard on vehicle paint) so I
just assumed that's what the Littles were using.I was working up into a full-out yell when
Will quietly said, "They're just little kids, you know.They didn't know any better."Whoosh...that took the steam out of my temper
tantrum.He is so much like his dad.
But anyway, I'm still kind of basking in the glow of being called, "laid back" at least by some of the kids. It makes me feel like I've succeeded somewhat!
Tuesday I drove down to Knoxville so I could
see Ben in action at his Hy-Vee job before the school year ended.I guess on his last day they presented him
with his very own, real, Hy-Vee badge.He was so tickled!I surprised
him at the store and got a picture of him sacking groceries.
I got Sam and Lizzie registered for swimming
lessons this week.They'll be at the
Pleasantville Country Club.I had only
driven there once before for some football thing for Will.I didn't realize until I went this week that
the country club is located across the street from the city's trailer
court!I don't think you see that very
often.Small town America, I guess!
A couple of men were mowing the grounds when I
showed up so they drove over to me and one took the registration inside for
me.The other started talking and asking
how my kids were, by name and I was puzzled until it dawned on me that this was
Will's football coach for four years until he retired!He asked, "And how are you doing?"
and I about cried because I could sense the sincerity in his voice.It's so nice to still hear that, this far
I ended up having a last minute meeting at the
Christian Opportunity Ctr in Pella on Wednesday afternoon.I felt bad because it meant I had to leave my
house at 2:15, which meant I couldn't wish David happy birthday at 2:28.He assured me it was fine.But if we didn't have this meeting that day
then Ben would not be able to start COC until probably July, which is silly
since he goes back to school at the end of August.So I went down and to my surprise, his case
manager pulls into the parking spot next to me.I walk into this conference room and it's a table full of people.They all expressed disappointment that I
didn't bring Ben with me.I explained
that he was at Hy-Vee at this time and I didn't want to pull him away from that
because it means so much to him. I'm his
legal guardian and can sign anything that needs signing. So then I rustled through my wallet and came
up with a picture of the kids that was taken just after the adoption and showed
that to everyone, pointing out who Ben is.And then one worker, who I think may be a Christian (she just seemed exceptionally gentle
and on her wrist she wore a bracelet that read, "fear not") said that
she had been reading Ben's file and was just amazed at all our family had been
through.I looked her kind of surprised
and she said, "You know, with your husband so unexpectedly dying and then
adopting the girls?"I was
astounded that this kind of stuff is in Ben's file.I have always assumed that any files on him
are solely about him.Although, I
suppose anything that happens in the family is bound to have a bearing on his
well-being, too.It just surprised me,
I say that, but I am suddenly remembering
something that happened years ago when Ben was a preschooler.His physical therapist left his notebook at
our house that had information on his clients.
Being nosy, I opened it up to Ben's page and found a note written by Ben's
previous therapist to thisguy who took
over.In the note, the therapist
mentioned that Ben's family was "deeply religious."I remember at the time being a little
offended because I thought that made us sound like of cult-like and what on
earth did our faith have to do with Ben's physical therapy?I guess nothing is ever private when you let
others into your world.
the girl who blogs nearly every detail of her life on the internet...
COC is definitely unique.I found out that the board members had to vote
on whether or not to allow Ben to be a part of their organization.Lucky for us, the vote swung his direction, I
guess!Everyone wanted to meet both Ben
and me.It's not like he's moving in yet
or anything.He's only going to be there
for one day a week this summer!I guess
they take it all quite seriously.But,
actually, I kind of liked that.At Genesis,
where Ben will also be one day a week, I only know the program director.I have no idea who else works with him.
Will has been working in the upstairs bathroom
this week, installing a vent.The
workers had already wrapped the upstairs back of the house.They have not sided it yet because they're
going to replace the two windows up there.Well, when Will cut through the wall to install the vent, he discovered
there was no insulation.It honestly
wasn't a huge surprise, but I think we were all hoping to not know this because
then it would add time and expense to the siding job.We froze that first winter here and it didn't
take long for Paul to start insulating the entire house.I do not know how people survived before
insulation.I guess having a
non-insulated house was better than living outdoors, so they counted themselves
Will came downstairs and said we just couldn't
not do something about this.So he
called the contractor himself who agreed that the work should be done.The contractor called his supplier and within
a couple hours, a warehouse from Indianola was delivering insulation and
boards.Will and David spent the
afternoon ripping off the 1800s era wood siding and then insulated everything
between the studs.Early that evening
my contractor arrived and by nightfall they had the boards on the side of the
house.So it all ended well.
My friend, Jaydeen, was re-diagnosed with
breast cancer today.This just breaks my
heart.A week after Paul died she was
first diagnosed and went through a year of treatment.And then she and her husband fell into
serious trouble and separated.Boy, did
I pray for them!And then God began to
knit together the pieces that had unraveled and they came back together this
past March.They've been working so hard
to restore what Satan nearly destroyed.And now the cancer is back.
Wed. night was our end-of-the-year Patch
party.I was up to my eyeballs in baking
both Tues. and Wed.Not only did I need
to bring treats for the party, but I had to bring treats for the youth group
for David's birthday and then I had to make his cake and birthday supper.He has asked for pineapple upside down cake
for several years in a row now.This
year he got the brainy idea to put strawberries in the middle of the pineapple
rings and then top with Reddi-whip.It
was actually very good.I think we may
have to make it this way every time.
My cute cupcakes
I wanted to do something special for the kids
so I found this idea on Pinterest that involved making cupcakes and decorating
them inbeach scenes using teddy grahams
and gummy life savers, goldfish crackers, graham cracker crumbs, and tiny
umbrellas.Boy, was it time consuming!But they turned out so cute.No cupcake was alike.Some had little bears laying out in the sun,
some had bears frolicking in the water.Some were both beach and water scenes...I outdid myself.
But for all that effort, I never sensed that
my Patch kids were all that impressed.The only thing I heard were complaints if someone else got an umbrella
on their cupcake and they didn't.Really?
Sam's creation, post Jaws-like attack
But, I did get a kick out this: I saved three
cupcakes so the Littles could make their own masterpieces.I had to run down Pville and they worked on
them while I was gone.When I came home,
I found Sam's.He had crawled up on the
counter and found some red decorator's sugar.Then, he broke some teddy bears in half and created this grisly beach
scene of utter destruction.Oh my
goodness, I laughed so hard.He is SUCH
Will leaves Sunday for camp.I am so sad about this.I do not remember feeling this way last
year.But surely, I must have.I am wondering, though, if it's actually sad
feelings about the upcoming anniversary that I'm transferring to this
event.I'll only see him a couple of
times this summer - one of those times will be next Friday or Saturday, so it's
not like I have to wait all that long.I
just feel like he is slipping away.
Which is exactly what is supposed to happen at
this stage of life.He will be 21 later
this year, after all!He's a man and
he's looking toward a future where I'll be in the periphery.It's the natural cycle of life and a way to
ensure that mankind propogates itself and hopefully, gains an ability to care
for their parents at the end of their lives.
It's supposed to work this way.It's natural.It's normal.It's what I want.
But I'm his mom.And he was my first.And as Abba sang a few decades ago, he's
"slowly slipping through my fingers."It's the slipping that hurts.
Marcia came over this week.We were talking about widowhood.Well, I was talking - she was
listening.She then made a comment that
I have been reallymulling over ever
since.She said, "You know, Sarah,
your problems in life are not because you're widowed.If you were married, you'd still have
problems.They'd just be different
ones."Boy, do I know that!I haven't forgotten that I was married to a
As was he.
She went on to explain that our problems in
life are what the Lord uses as refining tools.In my case, right now, that's widowhood.
The whole conversation both encouraged and
depressed me.I felt depressed because I
like to think that I just need to "conquer" this widow thing - work
through all the angst and loneliness and heartache and eventually, it will be
smooth sailing once again.Often, it's
tempting to think that a second marriage would do that for me.It's not uncommon, actually, for the widowed
to jump prematurely into such situations for that very reason, among
others.It's somewhat discouraging to
realize that we still live in an imperfect world.No matter our circumstances, there are always
going to be times of refinement.
Ugh.And I still have a good 40-50 years left yet to live.
But I was encouraged, too, because if
widowhood is not the reason I am going through stuff, if it is not the cause of
my distress, then perhaps a day will come when I really will be okay,
despite my status and situation as a widow.
couple things pop into my head.I
remember shortly after Paul died writing here on my blog that a Christian's
goal in life is never to be that of happiness.Of course, being human, it's what we hope and strive for.But that was never part of the salvation
deal.Our ultimate aim in life is holiness.And how is this attained?
Through refinement in times of distress - the
chipping away of all that is impure and an impediment to being a vessel that
shows the light of Jesus.
One of my favorite verses has always been John
In this world, you
will have many troubles.But rejoice,
for I have overcome the world!
The assurance of tribulation is right
there.It is unavoidable.We live in a fallen, sin-sick world and as a
result, we will always encounter difficulty!But in the end, the victory is ours.It was secured at Calvary.
So, this week...not a whole lot to report,
Idon't think.A few things happened, but not a whole lot
that is noteworthy.I'm not complaining.
But there has been something occupying a great
deal of space in my mind and I have to write less than I really want to
because, while I don't think Will has ever read a single blog entry of mine, I
doubt he'd be super-appreciative of knowing that Ibroadcasted his business all over the
internet. Although, I did get his ok to me mentioning this here (that means I told him what I was going to do), so I'm not about to get in trouble, I don't think! But the super-short story is
that he now has a girlfriend.And I am
beyond thrilled because this is a young lady I have had my eye on for some time
and have actually been petitioning the Lord for months that He would stir her
heart and Will's toward each other.It
finally happened (without my manipulation) and I am so joyful that God answered
this prayer with a definitive "yes."
But...and here it is.The fact that Paul is now gone colors
everything in my life. We frequently
talked about the time that our children would begin to pair up and we'd often
dream out loud to each other about what qualities that potential spouse would
need to have in order to match our child's strengths and weaknesses.Here it is - the time has finally
arrived...and I can't share this with Paul.I don't know that he doesn't know.I like to think that God pulls up the floor of Heaven from time to time,
so perhaps Paul has an even greater knowledge than I even do right now.But I don't that for sure. I would give anything to be able to talk
this over and laugh and smile about with him.
I have a couple of internet widow
friends.We met in another group and
eventually ended up forming our own little FB chat group.We were all widowed about the same time and all have children still at
home.I was telling them about this new
development in Will's life and lamented to them, wondering how I could be so
absolutely thrilled at the same time my heart wants to break in two.One responded that she had heard it said that
grief and joy are really not all thatfar apart.I've been thinking
about that all week and I think there's a lot of truth to that sentiment.
There's a smudge of grief this week, but mostly
there'sjust joy.I am thankful that I get a ringside seat in
this new stage of Will's life.He's been
an adult for some time, but it's exciting to me to see him enter this
part of adulthood.
God is good.
And while I'm on the subject of Will...he had
his wisdom teeth removed Monday.It
really wasn't a long procedure at all.I
only had time to read three Peoplemagazines in the surgeon's waiting room.The boy (man?) has watched so many videos of people emerging from wisdom
teeth surgery that he was absolutely paranoid about saying something foolish
himself.So he gave his phone to David
and asked him to hide it.He was afraid
he might try to call someone before he was back to himself!
I got him loaded into the van afterwards and
he commented three times on the way home with an obvious sense of relief,
" I think I'm coherent!"He
holed up for the next couple of days eating ice cream and watching movies.Wednesday night I made mashed potatoes out of
a box and he set upon those like a starving man, "Oh, man, Mom, these are
the best!" he exclaimed while heaping mounds of them on his
plate.I just laughed.I think it was safe to say he was tired of
all the ice-cream, applesauce, and gogurt by then!
Thursday Ben had bocce ball in Ames for
Special Olympics.I didn't take anybody,
which really made the entire event so much easier.This year they held it outside, which was a
first.Fortunately, it was a nice, sunny
morning, but I suppose even if it had been raining they would have still held
it outdoors.Ben's team got the gold
medal - awesome!
Afterwards I ran a few errands and then when I
got home I got busy doing some baking and painting (got my propane tank painted
to match the new siding - very nice) and so that evening when I finally got
ready for bed I happened to glance in the mirror and was shocked to see that my
face and nose, especially, were beet red.What happened?I had to think
back through my day and finally remembered that I had been out in the sun, watching
Ben for a few hours and apparently that was enough to toast my skin.You'd think after being alive this long I
would stop to think that things like this can happen even when I'm not at the
pool, but I rarely do.
I read an article this week by a fair-skinned
woman who says she purposefully never wears sunscreen.That caught my attention because I've always
been somewhat suspicious of the whole "you gotta wear sunscreen"
movement.Sunscreen didn't always exist
and if we are blocking every ray of sun from our body, aren't we also denying
needed amounts of Vit D?And what's in
the sunscreen anyway - is it really safe?But then, I'm not crazy about the idea of getting sunburned or
developing skin cancer, either, if sunscreen actually does prevent cancer
(I've heard some studies that seem to dispute this).So anyway, I was curious to see what natural
alternative this author uses.Her
objections to using sunscreen in the first place echoed some of my own concerns
and questions.It was kind of a useless
article, though.Her solution has
been to skip sunscreen but to never be out in the sun in the afternoon and when
she is out, she layers up on hats and lightweight, long-sleeved clothing.
I suppose that would work and I suppose that's
somewhat along the lines of what earlier generations did.But it's not really practical, either.I cannot 100% avoid being out during the
sun's brightest part of the day.In
addition, a couple of my boys and I have skin that will burn quickly given the
slightest exposure to sun.Sunburns
hurt.And skin cancer is disfiguring and
potentially deadly.So, I'll keep
spraying on the white stuff.
When I remember.
David turns 16 this week.So he had a couple of friends over Friday and
Saturday.He was supposed to have two
other friends, but it didn't work out for them to come.At first, he was just crushed and wanted to
cancel the party altogether.But, he's
always been kind of dramatic.I was
disappointed for him, but convinced him to go ahead with our plans.And, he had a good time.I picked up the boys on Friday and then Will
took them up to Des Moines for some mini-golf.We had burger fixingswhen they
got home and Will grilled the hamburgers.I even toasted the buns.I'm a good
mom.The boys went to a late night
showing of the new Avengers movie and then I made them pancakes in the
morning.One ended up staying until
almost 5pm yesterday and it was just fine.
He told me, "I didn't think I was going
to have a good time with only two friends, but it was great!"Yes, indeed.
I bought all his gifts on-line so I just need
to wrap them in anticipation of Wednesday and make him his annual pineapple
upside down cake (no cherries) and we're good.
Oh, and I need to buy him a car.I have got to get this taken care of.I suppose I just need to bite the bullet and
start looking on Craig's List.But then
I have to arrange with a mechanic friend to come look at the vehicle with me
which will be a bit of pain.And it's
going to cost me lots of money.Also
Yesterday, the Littles dug out our copy of
"Courageous" and watched it.It's been nearly three years since we watched that - Father's Day
2012.I haven't had the ability to watch
it since Paul died.
But they had it on and as I would walk through
the living room, the little snatches of scenes I caught would sometimes cause
the tears to well up.Such a great
movie, such a great message...
Such a great pain on this side of things.
In the movie, one of the main characters and
his wife suddenly lose their only daughter in a car accident.I was surprised yesterday, how much the
scenes of their grief moved me.Again,
these were just quick little things I would catch walking through the
room.I wasn't about to sit down and
watch the movie.Not yet, anyway.I obviously haven't lost a child but seeing
the actors portray the hurt of having to commit a loved one to the ground and
having to deal with the hollow pain left by their absence...
I could feel it.
I was kind of glad when the movie ended and
the kids went outside to play again.
June 6th is coming...in 13 days.I can feel the sadness descending.But it's different this year.Last year I felt almost like I imagine a deer
on the highway must feel when they see an encroaching vehicle but are paralyzed
by the lights and just stupidly stand there, awaiting death.That's how I felt last year as the one year
mark got closer and closer.
I'm not feeling it quite the same.I'm envisioning more of a cloak that is
descending on my shoulders - worn and familiar.I'll get through the day, probably with more ease than I did last
year.And last year really wasn't all
that awful.The anticipation killed me
more than the actual date did.But
really, would I want to not wear this cloak every year about this
time?Because if I don't feel at least
somewhat bad, what does that say about my love for Paul?
And here's another question.After two years now, I'm really doing pretty
much ok, most of the time.There are
moments that still slice.I have days
and even weeks, occasionally, where I'm feeling sucked under by grief's weight.
A lot of the time, life still feels pretty burdensome.But the pain isn't so common anymore.How is it that I could have spent 23 years
with this man, him being the most important part of my life, even above my
kids...and I'm ok after only two years of not having him?How can a lifetime can tucked away into neat
little memory boxes so quickly?
Is there something wrong with me?
An older widow friend visited me this
week.I asked her if she still struggles
around the anniversary date.She said
she did not, but commented that it's been over a decade since her husband died
and that was why.
So is it possible that someday I might be
surprised when glancing at the calendar to realize that June 6th has once again
rolled around and I felt nothing in the anticipation of the day?That it actually snuck up on me?I wonder.
But then, I'm a "date" person, unlike
some people. I can remember the date of
every single meaningful - and some not so meaningful - event of my life. So it's doubtful to me that I could ever
forget the significance of June 6.
A few hours later
The thing is, as much as it hurts, I want to
remember.I don't want to forget.I had half the kids with me tonight on the
way home from church (the other half are still at church) and against my
prior-determined plans, I turned in at the cemetery.
really irritated at Memorial Day time because people totally do not understand
what the holiday is about.It was
designed to honor soldiers who died defending our freedom.It actually began as a way to honor those that
had fallen in the Civil War.But yet,
everyone goes out and buys these tacky fake flower arrangements pressed into
styrofoam and dutifully treks out to the family plot to place them at their
loved one's graves, regardless of who they were or how they died.
Which, really, there is nothing wrong with -
if you like fake flowers.I'm not
against honoring and remembering dead loved ones.I just don't want to feel compelled to have
to do on Memorial Day, especially since I'm not related to any soldiers who
died in the line of duty.That was why I
deliberately stayed away from the cemetery last year on Memorial Day.
But, we went tonight.Whoever is in charge of the cemetery lines
the center of it with full-size American flags every Memorial Day weekend and
Independence Day.They also place small
flags at the graves of the soldiers.Nice.
I noticed Paul's grave is looking kind of
neglected.I haven't decorated since
February.I suppose I should do that one
of these days.I'd like to plant some
flowers there, too.I'm not sure when I
should do that or exactly how to do that.Do I need to haul the rototiller up to the cemetery ordo I just bring a spade and rip up the grass
The girls were running all over the cemetery,
like normal.I briefly wondered - again
- how odd this really is, that my kids are now so familiar in a grave yard.It doesn't depress them at all.Ellie was trying to climb on markers and I
was pulling her off and Lizzie was asking me the names of all the deceased and
how they old they were at death.Their
exuberance and life seem kind of out of place in the stillness of this final resting place. I mean, if you think about it there are hundreds of skeletons and loose bones and bodies in various stages of decomposition right underneath our feet! That's pretty creepy.
But maybe that's how it should be.
Maybe that's why people like putting flowers,
artificial or real, at grave markers.They represent life and beauty in the face of death, which is not
beautiful at all.They're a form of
resilience,blooming (sort of) in the shadow of loss, lending delicacy and color
to the gray barreness left behind by death's spectre.
And if I can take this reality a step further,
metaphorically (and I can, because this is my blog!) maybe that's what
I'm starting to see in the recesses of my own soul.Flowers - life, if you will - are slowly
beginning to unfurl and bloom and that's why the approaching date is not nearly
as dark and shadowy as it was even a year ago.
And because of that, I can embrace the future
as it concerns my children's lives and the changes they are stepping into as
they grow and mature.
And maybe I can embrace a new future for
myself, as well.
Day 711...I remember when I was kid there were
711 gas stations, precursors to Caseys and QTs of today.I also remember the Sinclair stations and the
ones with the shell on them - Shell Oil, I think they were called? But when you
needed to run to a gas station for something you'd say you were going to the
7-11 even if it wasn't an actual 7-11 store - it was just kind of a catch-all
name for quick service stations.
Boy, am Itired today.I mean, really tired.My allergies have been giving me fits for the
last few days.I don't know why.This
is not the time of year I'm supposed to have trouble with them.But tell that to my nose.So,
I'm having to take zyrtec and chlortrimeton, which usually work, but at the
price of fatigue.Yesterday was
particularly rough.I was able to sleep
off some of the drugs and then Ben and I ran errands last night in the rain.
I came home and thought I'd get some decent
sleep but then Will got home from work and wanted to have a real
heart-to-heart, which was wonderful, but what we talked about revved up my mind
and I was unable to fall asleep until after 1 in the morning and then I woke up
at 6:15 for absolutelyno good reason at
Although, I'm still thankful Will talked to
me.Even he commented that if Dad was
alive, he'd be talking to him instead.I
suppose I should feel insulted, but I don't, really.That's just the way it's always been with
Will.He was always more comfortable
with Paul and preferred his company to mine.But now I'm the favored parent by default.
Which I'll take.
Mother's Day was a nice day.It went exactly as I had planned - which is
unusual!Things don't typically work out
that well.But we had our lunch at
Fuddruckers and then we swung by Penneys and I was able to pick up some athletic
shorts for David.And then we came home
and the kids gave me cards and Will had picked up a Jim Beam (!) candle at
Sportsmans and a just -released book on the Christian and suffering written by
his professor at Faith.I'm looking
forward to reading it.Actually, 2
summers ago when we were taken up to camp for a day a couple of weeks after
Paul's death this same professor was speaking and I still remember his
talk.I'm suspicious that what he shared
with us that day probably served as part of the outline of this book.
And then the sky got really dark and we got
some rain and that was it - no tornado, not even any hail.And then I called and talked to my mom and
then we went to church again that evening and the kids and I went to DQ and as
it turned out, I actually had $18 worth of gift cards in my purse so our entire
order cost $1.01 which was very manageable.
It was a very good day.
Oh, and when I came out of church on Sunday
morning I found a pretty basket sitting in my van filled with Bath and Body
soaps and a card with an Amazon gift card inside from a couple of ladies at
church who wanted to make sure I had a nice day.What a blessing!
Tuesday I attended DMACC's orientation with
Will.What a yawn-fest...fortunately, I
wasn't without my kindle, so I spent most of my time reading that. It was a good story, too, about a Lutheran
pastor who helped solve a murder and almostgot murdered himself in the process.As it turned out, he was a widower, his wife having been murdered by the
same guy years before.Very
Then, they had the students go off to register
for classes and had a session for the parents.It was basically all about letting your child grow up, geared to parents
who have young college students just exiting high school, I guess.This time I couldn't sit and read without
I've been having trouble getting our financial
information to the school so before we left we stopped by the Fin. aid office
and asked for help - all they did was give us the phone number for tech
support.Not helpful.We eventually got things figured out on our
own at home.I hope we did, anyway.
Afterwards, we went to Menards and Will and
breathed deeply and said, "Ah- h - I love the smell of this
place!"He is his father's son.
David is going on a missions trip this summer
to Detroit.They gave the parents the
details last Sun. night.It sounds like
it will be good for the teenagers.They're going to do it in conjunction with another youth group at a
church in Des Moines.One day they plan
to take the kids into the inner city.I
mentioned this to David and he squeaked, "Alone?"
"Yeah," Will joked, "It's
called 'survival of the fittest'!"
No, not alone.But it will be good for these middle-class, mostly homeschooled kids to
see a different way of life.
Will gets his wisdom teeth out Monday.Today a hilarious video popped up on my
newsfeed of a young woman coming out of anesthesia after getting her wisdom
teeth removed.She's very upset that
she's "still white and not Nicky Minaj!"I showed it to Will and he was groaning.He says he's hiding his phone so he doesn't
do anything dumb with it when he's still coming to.
This week hestarted making plans forfinishing off the basement.I'm
all for it if it doesn't cost too much.It would definitely increase the resale value of the house and make
things cleaner.But I'm not sure how
much time he would have in reality, to do it, and I sure don't want him getting
started and then running out time to finish.So we'll see.First, I want him
to build my L shaped bookshelves in the upstairs hallway.
His big project this week was building a
rabbit hutch with David.It's pretty
cool - and big.
Ellie had an open house Thurs. night at the preschool
she'll be attending this fall.She was
pretty excited.It's held in the
basement of the Methodist church in Pville but it doesn't appear to have any
religious base at all.I was a little
dismayed to see one of the values on the preschool sign as,
"self-esteem."Ugh - and
no!The last thing our kids need is to
have their little self-esteems boosted.Humans come into this world full of self-esteem.Our job is to reduce their
self-esteem, not increase it.
So I'm working on the paperwork for that.Apparently, there are scholarships available
to help with the cost.That would be
great if I could get some help. I had no idea that was out there.I could have sent her to the school's
preschool, which would more than likely, have been free for us.But I deliberately made the choice to go with
this preschool, even though it would cost me $85 a month, because it wasn't
full-time.So we'll see if that comes
The new superintendent of the school and his
wife were there with their children.I
overheard him say that next year's freshman class will have 76 kids.This is unreal.Pville normally only graduates around 40
seniors every year.It's a pretty small
district.But apparently there's growth
coming from somewhere.
Actually, this is good for me, with my
thoughts of working at the school as an associate in a few years.The larger of a student body, the higher the
chances are for increased students with special needs - and the higher the
school's need for associates to work with them.Job security.
The first day of school this year will be Aug.
31 - four days later than last year's start.I like that.I don't like it when
schools are starting up the second week of August.They don't need to get their grubby hands on
my kids any sooner than necessary.Although, by the end of summer, I may be wishing they would take my kids
It's late Saturday now.The Littles are all in bed and David and Ben
are watching Red Green on PBS.Paul
loved that show - it seemed to satisfy his inner redneck, which was often more
out than in I guess.
Tonight was Single Parent Provision.The kids had a blast, as usual.I decided to do something different and went
and saw the new release, "Where Love Grows."I had it all planned.The movie started at 7 and lasted an hour and
37 minutes which would give me just enough time to get back over to the
community ctr to get the kids by 9.I
forgot to figure in the previews...so I missed the ending of the movie.And it was SO good!But this just means I'll have to get the
dvd.It is a Christian movie, although I
recognized a number of secular actors in it.It's about a washed up, alcoholic baseball player and a man with Downs
Syndrome.Their lives intersect and it's
a neat story.The previews, of course,
are geared to the audience so I saw several ones that look interesting.The Kendrick brothers have a new one coming
out late this summer on the power of prayer which looks good.Of course, anything they do is amazing.There's a revolutionary war movie that's
Christian.And there's a Vietnam war era
one coming out in July.Uncle Si from
Duck Dynasty is in that one!I think
they said that one is by the producers of "God's Not Dead."
All of a sudden, there seems to be a glut of
Christian movies.I wonder if, in time,
the movies will begin to separate themselves into doctrinally loose ones vs.
more sound movies.Time will tell, I
So, I've been working on my filing over the
last few weeks.I finally got the last
loose paper filed this week and quickly realized that the folders have got to
be thinned down.So I've started going
through them and getting rid of old statements and anything else we don't
really need to hang onto.I got to the
folder that contains all the information on Paul's death, burial, funeral,
etc.And I found his autopsy report
yesterday.I have not looked at that
thing since it arrived about 6 weeks after his death.Against my better judgement I decided to read
it again.I don't know what I was hoping
to find - maybe just reading it with a mind that's a little more clear would be
beneficial.I don't really know.So I did.
A lot of it is medical speak, of course.I was amazed at how thorough an
autopsy is.They examine and document
absolutely everything about the deceased.They measure their hair length, they take out organs and weigh them,
they mention what's under the fingernails, which I suppose would be necessary
in the case of a homicide.They detail
the type of cuts they make.All along
I've known Paul had an autopsy, but it never really occurred to me until
reading that yesterday that they cut him open.Well, duh.That's what an autopsy is.How
else did they pull out his spleen, measure it, and include that information in
the report?But I just hadn't given any
real thought to the idea that they took a scalpel, and in a large Y incision,
sliced open my husband's body.
A few things made me smile.They clocked his body weight at 203
pounds.That would appalled Paul.He was very determined to keep his weight
under 200 and any time the scale began inching upwards, he would declare that
he was now on a diet and no longer going to eat lunch.And I would always tell him that is NOT the
way to lose weight and he would say, "Sure it is - watch me!"The writer of theautopsy puzzled over a strange combination of
letters and numbers written in ink on the palm of his left hand.I knew what it was! Paul had this bad habit of writing down part
numbers on his body that he needed to find.The night he died he had been working on an elderly lady's sink and I
remember that he told me he had to go to the hardware store and get a part
which is why he was later getting home than he had originally planned.When he did that he wrote down the needed
part number.This made me think of
people who die who are heavily tattooed.Every single one of those tattoos has to be detailed.Can you imagine how long their autopsy
reports must be?
The report also mentioned the high levels of
caffeine in Paul.Again - I have the
answer.He chugged ice-tea like his life
depended on it.He had this gallon jug
(actually, he had several - he would wear them out on a routine basis) and
every single day, even in the winter, he carried around tea and drank it all
So, I was smiling just as much as I was upset
after reading the report again.I was
smiling because it brought back good memories.And I was upset because the whole thing was just so clinical and not who
Paul was.It was his body, nothing
more.Not the man.I have that report written on the pages of my
And the other thing I felt while reading?
Relief.Over and over again in the report it said, "Accidental
death."It said, "Death caused
by witnessed seizure."Repeatedly.I've always known, in
my head, I wasn't responsible for Paul's death.But when I've been blamed - and I have been - it has messed with
me.My heart has begun to doubt what my
head knows.Should I have done something
differently?Could I have saved
him?Am I to blame, even in the smallest
I'm not.It was an accident.He had a
seizure disorder that caused him to lose consciousness.He fell.That was it.I mean, as a
Christian, I know that's not it, of course.God allowed the circumstances to occur as they did.But I could not have saved him because his
day ofdeath was written before he even
began to form as an embryo.All of ours
It was an accident.
And like all accidents, those left in pieces
eventually find the strength to start moving again and I am.Slowly.But with more of a sense of purpose.I'm tucking Sam into bed tonight and he comments that he wishes "I
was a monkey."He further explained
that monkeys have prehensile tails (like everyone automatically knows what
I did, but I read a lot.And I have Sam
who has a deep interest in the entire animal kingdom and has been feeding us
all tidbits of animal trivia for most of his life) and he thinks that would be
cool to have a tail to help you out.Of
course it would.Ineed a prehensile tail, myself.
These are my reasons for moving on.Well, some of them, anyway.But they're sitting in my bedroom at night
when I desperately need to sleep telling me the dark and deep things that
alternately bother and thrill their souls. They're dreaming about their futures. They're coloring
bits of cardstock and paper while leaving my stamping supplies scattered all
over the floor and proudly giving them to me, explaining that the scribbles
mean, "I love you, Mommy!"They're asking to drive by their dad's grave again and they're talking
about the coolness of prehensile tails.