Monday The 26th…

Monday is the 26th of August.  It is a day that I think is going to be tough for me.  You see, it is the first 26th of a month on a Monday since the month that my husband passed away.  I looked it up in the calendar and have to say, it is an odd thing to discover.  Then again, these days, there is a lot of that.

The day he passed away is one that I will never forget but is a bit fuzzy in a few places. I was in such shock that a lot didn’t register.  But that date and day of the week will continue to stick with me, as I am sure it does for everyone who loses a loved one.

For most of the week, I am pretty good and can concentrate on the positives that I still have in my life.  But, Mondays are always the hardest since that was the day that he died.  I often think over the events of that terrible morning and am saddened.

This Monday, I had lunch out with some of Kirk’s family.  It was wonderful to visit and catch up and talk about him for a little while.  His loss has been hard on all of us.  We all have funny stories about him and enjoy sharing them.   And we also share the tears. They will always be family for myself and for Ian.

This coming Monday, I will need to find some things to keep my mind busy and occupied.  I don’t want to over think it or think too much about it, and yet, I just might.  And, today, in anticipation of it, I am feeling like I just want to sit and be sad, watch a movie, and think about Kirk.

However, I cannot spend all day doing that.  I need to work, have a few commitments, and Ian will be home this afternoon for the weekend with homework to focus on.  Also, we have books to return to the library and a video as well, and we may eat out at a favorite restaurant.

I will have some down time though since that is important.  Some days I feel like I am not doing enough.  I am still working out things from his loss, still have things that I fail at, still have a house that isn’t quite up to Kirk’s standards, and some days am quite distracted from the responsibilities.

Overall though, I feel good about what I have been doing and how things are progressing.  I am not perfect and am only one person.  I am not nearly as driven as he was but am trying to stay motivated.  And, I also know that I need time for myself and time to rest.  I just have to remind myself that is okay.

This week, I watched an interview of Stephen Colbert by Anderson Cooper.  They talked about both having lost their fathers when they were boys.  It was interesting that both of them were about Ian’s age.  It was touching to hear both men talk about how this event shaped their lives. They also said how important it is to hear from others who are also grieving and share that experience.  They added that we all will grieve at some point in our lives.

I know a lot of people don’t like either of them, but I was touched to hear this conversation.  They didn’t have to discuss it, yet, it was on both of their minds.  Cooper said that many people don’t discuss grief and don’t often know how to approach it with those who have known loss.  His mother recently passed away so it is fresh to him.

He said it has helped hearing from others who have also suffered loss.  I agree and very much appreciate all of the friends and family who have shared their losses with me.  Many of us are on this journey of rebuilding our lives after a loss.

Despite all of the pain and loss that we have, we also have many blessings.  It is a blessing to be able to work at home and be here when Ian gets home from school.  I like being able to help him with his homework.

Our family and friends are also blessings.  We enjoy spending time with them, but still need time to ourselves.  I appreciate the loved ones who have reached out to us and continue to support us.  If I haven’t been the best friend or relative, I apologize.  Some days, it is all I can do to get dressed and take Ian to school.

Today I am thankful for:

  • Ian taking the last dose of his antibiotic this evening.  He has had an ear infection and will be able to eat more normally tomorrow.  We are happy and he knows exactly what he wants.
  • Times with my family laughing, talking, sharing a meal, and a prayer circle.
  • Dining out and long conversations with friends.
  • Buying a Monopoly game about my hometown this morning.  I look forward to playing this with family and may give it as a gift to a few loved ones.
  • Our routine that we are slowly getting back into.
  • Books and our local library.  I enjoy the adventures of someone else’s life and the distraction from my own thoughts.
  • Pictures of me with my two best guys that we have around the house.
  • Ian and I laughing over a funny expression, a funny face, being tickled, or a favorite joke.
  • Having had 20 amazing years with a man who loved me unconditionally and who I loved the same way.  He was and continues to be such a blessing.

For those of you grieving, I hope you have people to support you through the tough times and to share the happy ones.  I also hope that you have a faith to help you through it all.

Blessings to you and yours for a great weekend!  May you have time to be refreshed if that is what you need.  May you enjoy the company of others if that is what you need.  May you wallow for a while if that is what is needed.  And may you always, always love!

Today I am sad…

On this Friday, I am sad.  Most days I can focus and stay busy but for some reason this morning, I keep crying and thinking of my loss. I am sad so I decided to write about it. Hopefully, I will be better when I finish. We’ll see.

Not only is it our personal loss, but things that have been happening this week that are contributing to my feelings. The news of recent shootings in Gilroy, California, then in El Paso, Texas, and later in Dayton, Ohio, have been almost too much to process and to handle.

The fact that so many people were killed in such a short time with all of these incidents is stunning.  I feel for those left behind and know the pain of an unexpected loss. Thankfully, my husband was at home before going to the hospital.  I said goodbye to him at the hospital in a quiet emergency department.

I cannot even fathom what these families dealt with in the aftermath of such horror and carnage. Trying to find the hospital, getting there, trying to find the answers, and then knowing you’d never get to talk to that loved one again.

I have been thinking about the couple who shielded their baby from the gunshots and died in the process. I then weep at their bravery and sacrifice and hope and pray that baby will be okay.  I hope that baby one day will know the love his parents had for him.

I think about all of the first responders who had to work through such horror and the trauma surgeons trying to save yet another gunshot victim.  And, again I weep. These people shouldn’t have to continue to deal with this and try to comfort so many families.  I cannot imagine their stress.

I also think that we need to do something.  Last weekend, I watched a story on CBS Sunday Morning of a panel of trauma surgeons who are working together to plan better how these mass incidents are handled.  Many of them were spurred on by someone from the NRA saying that these doctors need to “stay in their lane.”

One of the doctors posted a picture of an empty chair and stated that that was her lane. You see that chair is where she sits to deliver the news that someone had died. Chills. These doctors do have to deal with the damage to the bodies and the hearts and minds of those loved ones who are left behind.

I have been in that room with a doctor giving such news. I know the pain that those families felt.  I know the shock they must have been in.  I am thankful that there are such people willing to give such awful news.  I don’t think I could do it.

I will never forget that day when we were told that Kirk didn’t make it after working with him for over an hour.  My mother cried out, I did, and we all started weeping. Our doctor and nurse were compassionate but still the pain is beyond measure and so hard to process.

As far as the mass shootings, I hope and pray that we don’t start becoming immune to these incidents.  We could since they keep happening so frequently, although they happen in so many places that are supposed to be safe.  Any and all losses are terrible since each life has value.

My prayer is that something can be done to change this.  I am just not sure how that will be done with so many conflicts and personal interests that people bring to the table. But do we really need weapons that can kill 9 people in 30 seconds?  Would a deer hunter use such a weapon?  I doubt it and think it also shouldn’t be used on people.

I am also sad about some personal items.  I hate that Kirk isn’t here to spend time with Ian and myself or with his family and friends. I hate he isn’t hear to encourage Ian as he starts his 6th grade year of school or help him with his homework. I hate he isn’t here to watch a favorite show or movie with us.  I hate he isn’t here to pray with us before we eat or laugh when we talk about our day.

I also hate that he isn’t with us when we go to church. Some days when I am at church, I am overwhelmed with sadness. You see that is where Kirk and I met, where we were married, and finally where we had his memorial service.  Ian and I still go since my parents also attend, but it is a challenge at times.

There are a lot of good memories there and some sad ones too.  It is nice to see people who I have known for years and are curious about how we are doing.  It has always been a special place so I continue to try and be strong and carry on.

Despite the sadness, there is much to be thankful for.  It is now the weekend with time to refresh and see some friends and family.  There is homework to do, work projects to focus on, and other activities to keep us busy.  We are thinking of seeing a movie and having lunch out.  And, there may be haircuts and library visits as well.

We are making plans for this year and maybe next and there are things that Ian is looking forward to. So that is all good.  Yet, the sadness remains a constant. It ebbs and flows, depending how tired we are, what we are thinking about, and if the day means something to us or not. Some days, there is more happiness than sadness. Those days feel like a win.

I have to say writing about how I am feeling always helps.  It helps to let go of the thoughts and tears.  So I, thankfully, am feeling better and can now get on with my day.  I try to look forward to what is ahead.

If you are also grieving, I hope you can do that too, along with the loss and sadness.  Blessings to you and yours. May you have comfort if you are grieving.  May you cherish the time with your loved ones as we will do.  And, may you and I remember to always, always love.

Things I Have Learned From Harry Potter

With the awful weekend shootings and today’s huge drop in the stock market, I thought a light-hearted blog was in order on this first Monday of August.

And as I have mentioned before, Mondays have been hard for me since November, so I thought the Things I Have Learned From Harry Potter might be just the thing.

I have read all 7 books one time and have seen all 8 movies multiple times.  And, I have been thinking of re-reading the entire set again since it is a great series, although a bit dark at times.

Before starting this series, I never thought I would like it.  Then during the summer of 2018, we went to a used book store to buy the first three books since Ian said he was interested.  He spent all of his time reading so I decided I would try them as well.  And, very soon, I was hooked.

These books feel like another world — one that you want to go visit.  One where a lot always happens and school is never dull.  One where people learn about love and loss, how to work together, and so much more.

The above picture is of Ian reading one of the Harry Potter books.  I think this was the first one when he first discovered the series.  The other is from his 11th birthday cake that we made similar to Harry’s.  Ian loved it.  We just wonder what happened to his invitation to Hogwart’s.  It must have gotten lost in the mail.  Hee, hee.

So, here is the list of things that I have learned from Harry Potter — the character and the books.

  1.  Good vs. evil is real.  At times, there may may be major fights between them so be ready.
  2.  Loyalty and friendship are real and important, so choose wisely.
  3.  Having a bag like Hermione’s would make traveling so much easier.
  4.  The ability to aparate would be really cool.
  5.  Prejudices have been around for many, many years but you don’t have to have them.
  6.  Anyone can be brave.
  7.  Love is amazing, a gift, and can protect us.
  8.  Cherish and appreciate your loved ones.
  9.  Hard work is what it takes to succeed in life and reach our goals.
  10.  Friends come in all shapes and sizes as does family.
  11.  Learn from your losses and struggles.
  12. Teachers are people too.  The good ones truly care for their students.
  13.  It’s important to have a sense of humor and be able to laugh.
  14.  Mistakes, lies, and shortcuts will catch up with you.
  15.  Stand up for what you believe in and find others to stand up with you.
  16.  Let your imagination soar.
  17.  Hermione was just as important as Harry and Ron.
  18.  Everyone has a special talent or gift.  Let’s help each other find it.
  19.  School was enough of a challenge without having to learn potions or to ride a broomstick.
  20.  Everyone is dealing with some kind of loss or pain so be kind and don’t prejudge them.

What did you learn from Harry Potter?  I am sure there are many more things that I learned but these are the first to come to mind.

If you haven’t read these amazing stories, I highly recommend them.  You will soon become a fan of Hogwarts, owls, quidditch, flying brooms, and chocolate frogs.

If you have read them, I hope you enjoyed them as much as I have.