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, May 24, 2015
May 25, 2014
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.