Joy and Sadness

This morning I read a quote to choose joy.  The quote added that life isn’t always great but that we can decide to be joyful and have things be okay.  While I like this idea very much, I find that lately I have joy and sadness together.  That is the norm after grieving the loss of a loved one, at least it is for me.

Being both happy and sad at the same time is confusing, odd, painful, but only too real at this point in my life.  I continue to be sad at our loss but also am happy that I have our son to share the journey with.  He continues to impress me, motivate me, and makes me laugh. So, he helps to make me joyful.

Some things that make me joyful are a lovely sunrise or sunset, or a laugh with a friend, or a delicious meal, or a chat with my family, or a favorite song, or a great book that I can be lost in.  There is a lot of good still in life along with the loss, the pain, and the sorrow.  For that I am thankful.

This summer was all about trying to find some joy and I think we succeeded.  We had interesting adventures with clients and their children, had some time to play, had time to relax, had time to have fun, and had time to mourn.

As the Bible states, there is a time to every purpose under Heaven.  Each thing both good and bad, happy and sad has its place.  Just trying to navigate that sometimes is tough and can hurt so very much.  Other times, we laugh over favorite memories, a funny story, or a cherished photo.

We continue to have mixed emotions as I am sure everyone does 8 months after the sudden loss of someone who meant so very much.  Even it if isn’t sudden, the absence takes a long, long time to accept and get used to.  And frankly, I am not there yet.

Instead, we try to have the absence be a part of our life.  We talk about Kirk, we laugh about Kirk and his jokes, we celebrate Kirk’s birthday at a restaurant that he would have liked, we look at pictures, and talk about what we think he is doing in Heaven.

We cry, we scream, we grieve, we miss him, and we are thankful for the times that we did have.  We are blessed to have known him, blessed to have loved him.  I feel so blessed to have been his wife and Ian is blessed to have had him as his father.  He was an amazing man, with flaws and so much love.

We also know that he would want us to carry on and continue to live a good life.  I do believe that he is with us and watching over us and that is a comfort.  Still, I do want to talk with him one last time.  I want to tell him I love him and give him a hug.

I took this photo this morning during a walk. It made me joyful. It looked to me like a window into Heaven through the clouds. I looked up and said hi to Kirk.  Maybe odd, but it felt like the right thing to do at the time. So, again some joy through my tears.

I read a headline of an article that states that it is helpful for those grieving to talk to the one they lost.  I don’t know about anyone else but I do that regularly.  I talk with Kirk about something that Ian did, I ask him to forgive me, I tell him I love him, I tell him how missed he is and how loved he still is.  I just wish there was an answer back.

For those of us grieving, may we be comforted by our memories, may we know how much love there was between us and the one(s) we lost, and may we know that happiness with sadness is okay and to be expected.

I did want to share that scripture that came to mind.  The time for every purpose under Heaven is in Ecclesiates 3: 1-8, which states:

  • “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
  • ” A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
  • ” A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
  • “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
  •  “A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
  • “A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
  • “A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
  •  “A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

May we find our purpose, may we be kind to one another, and may we always, always love.

A Quick Summer

I don’t know about you but we had a quick summer.  We had fun, we traveled, we enjoyed some time at home, we enjoyed having time to read several good books, we took lots of walks or rode bikes, and we spent time with many friends and family — both on my side and Kirk’s side.

Now, we are back home winding it down.  After a lot of time with a lot of people, it is a odd to be back home again with just the two of us.  Kirk’s absence is always felt more when we are here since we enjoyed so much time with him.  So, our days have some sadness along with the happiness.

We had three two-week trips and each one had special times and moments. The first trip was in North Carolina and was primarly for work.  We enjoyed seeing clients, working with them and their students, as well as some fun and down time.  Ian was given a new Lego set to build and had a great time with that.

We also had time to visit our favorite used bookstore, toy store, bakery, and frozen yogurt shop.  We had several meals out and many long chats and watched a few favorite shows.  Ian also discovered some new vegetarian foods that he likes.

After that we went to Kentucky to work with the second generation of a family that Kirk used to work with and several other families who knew him for a while. It was nice to talk with them about him and how great he was with their kids.  We also visted the Creation Museum which was quite something.  Our hotel was very nice and we were able to enjoy several great meals.

Our third trip was to San Diego and it was fabulous. We had time with friends and family, lots of hugs, some tears, some laughter, great food, lovely sunsets, cool weather, a trip to the mountains, and beach time.

This beach is one that I have been going to since I was a baby.  I have decades of fond memories both from my childhood and from when Kirk and I took Ian.  My memory is very long of this magical place that feels like Brigadoon.

We went to a baseball game and that was a blast.  It was Atlanta Braves vs. San Diego Padres.  The home team didn’t win but it was still fun.  It was Ian’s first time to a major league ball park and he enjoyed it very much.

All in all it was a great summer with a lot of fun memories made and photos taken.  Still, it is odd to think of our twosome, instead of the family of three that we used to be.  We so wish he could have been with us.  We celebrated him and felt his presence on a few occasions.

This summer, for the first time after his passing, we celebrated Kirk’s birthday.  It was odd celebrating it without him.  Last year, we had a big meal, we sang happy birthday to him, he blew out the candles and we ate a delicious cake with ice cream.  This year, we went out to eat at the Corvette Diner in his honor.

The food was great, the company superb, the arcade games fun, and we sang again in his honor.  It was bittersweet but so very special.  I loved that my family and friends made a point to honor him in such a fun way.  The place was quite loud but Kirk would have loved it.

Now, we are trying to get back to our routine and soon school will start.  I will soon have a lot of alone time.  I am trying to prep myself for that now.  Sometimes, it is good since I can cry or yell if needed.  And trust me, there are such days that I need.  Other times, it is hard and sad and painful.  But, I continue to try each day.

Over the summer, I received some lovely compliments from my loved ones that meant a lot.  One was that I am strong.  Another that I am a rock for my son.  I try to be both but do have my moments when I feel weak or that I am failing him.  I continue to try my best and provide as Kirk and I wanted for us and our son.

And I am trying to realize that I can only do so much.  So, I choose what needs to be done each day and go for it.  Some days are productive, some days are wonderful, some days are melancholy.  Then, when tomorrow comes, I can do more and hope that it all gets accomplished in the end.

May we have a blessed rest of the summer — however long that may be.  If you are grieving, may you be comforted.  May we realize that we cannot do everything and that is okay.  Let’s do what we can.  May we have those who are there with us in the good and bad times.  And, may we always, always love.

Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day to you and your family.

This morning we have been learning about Independence Day and the Declaration of Independence with the kids we are working with this week. We read part of it and I thought it would be good to write a post.

This quote is from ushistory.org.  It is part of the declaration but not all.

“The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…

…We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.”

The founding fathers then signed it thus creating these United States of America.

I am thankful that they founded our country, wrote this declaration, and then later wrote and ratified the United States Constitution.  It is by no means perfect, but I cherish and appreciate the freedoms that they created for us.  I do not take them for granted and realize how very special they are.

I like that they created three equal but separate branches of government — executive, legislative, and judicial.  All of them are important to our country’s success.  My hope and prayer is that these branches can work better together and respect one another.

I also hope and pray that we can all learn the roles of each of these branches as I was fortunate to do in 9th grade Civics class.  We learned by acting out the jobs of these branches.  It made an impression and stuck with me.  Ian too is learning by doing and that is awesome.

We talked about our favorite founding father.  No surprise that Ian’s favorite is Alexander Hamilton.  He has learned a lot about him from the amazing musical. He mentioned that Hamilton helped create our treasury system and was against slavery.

After we are finished working with this family, we will have dinner and have time to relax.  Working is not what we typically do on this holiday but it is nice for Ian to be with a family of kids and have some fun with them along with the work.

Then tonight we will be watching the PBS special which airs the National Anthem, wonderful patriotic music — much of it marches by Phillip Sousa — speakers, singers, and then the fireworks.  Watching this broadcast is one of my favorite things to do on this July 4th holiday.

Happy Birthday USA!  Hope and pray that you will have a great day.

Summer — The good and not so good

It is hard to believe that it is already July.  This first part of our summer has been good, busy, and going fast   As most things these days, it is both good and not so good.  We are having fun days but they are still tinged with sadness and loss.

We have been traveling quite a bit, have had time with family, with friends, and have been busy with work and projects.  We went to see a movie, we have discovered new foods that Ian likes, we have enjoyed several ice cream treats, and I have lost some weight.  We have taken walks and we have been swimming.

We have shopped, we visited the Creation Museum in Kentucky, we played at a playground, we bought new books as well as a Lego set, new stuffed animals, a miniature arcade game, and some treats from the bakery.  We have watched favorite television shows and World Cup games (go USA women).

We have also cried and felt the loss of Kirk.  We have been with friends and family who also knew and loved him so that has been good.  We have shared memories and have laughed over the funny man that he was.  He had a knack for making people feel welcomed and helping them to laugh.

He is so very missed but we are have started to include fun memories about him with the tears and sadness.  We are still coming to terms with our loss and adjusting to our new normal.  Still, each week, he is remembered and we wish that he could come back for one last hug and conversation.

Later this month, we will be going to the beach and look forward to that.  Last summer, Kirk was with us so that too will be bittersweet.  But, we plan to have fun.  We look forward to being with family and friends and taking it easy.  We look forward to our vacation.

We hope that you are having a good summer.  We hope that you are doing things you like and spending time with your loved ones.  We wish you happiness, blessings, and love.