About patticates247

I love to read, write, take photos, take walks, and wonder about everything. This blog allows me to share my thoughts on a variety of subjects. I wonder as I wander. Please share your thoughts and ideas with me. I'd love to hear from you!

Life After A Death And Learning To Survive

Life after the death of a loved one is hard, painful, full of ups and down, and waves of grief.  Sorrow and happiness often go hand in hand.  And tears flow, sometimes at the most unfortunate time and others at the time that they need to.

Some days you are just trying to survive and make it through as people often say. Sometimes you have wonderful memories where you smile and then other days it feels like all you want to do is cry.  Surviving a death to me is learning to be okay with all of that.

It has almost been 11 months since my loving husband passed away.  Some mornings, I wake up aching and missing him so very much.  It seems so fresh on those days.  And the pain is right back to the surface.  On other days, I wake up happy and ready for the day.  And others, I wake up not fully remembering what happened.

I cannot believe that it has almost been a year.  I was in a fog for much of that time.  It has only been recently that I am coming to terms with the fact that he is gone and not coming back.  My mind is not playing as many tricks as it used to and the realization is settling in.

And you know what, that hurts.  Having to live with the fact that a loved one is gone is so hard.  It takes time for the healing and the acceptance.  We have been learning to survive this loss and this pain.  I think we will be continuing to do so for a while to come.

Over the summer, we celebrated Kirk’s birthday and that was so nice.  Friends and family gathered together at a restaurant that he would have really liked. This fall, we celebrated Ian’s birthday without his dad for the first time.  That was tough but a really good day despite the pain and loss.

Later this month, I will celebrate our wedding anniversary without him. That will be tough and I am already trying to plan to do something special to honor Kirk.  The day we were married, we stopped at a Wendy’s near our house for dinner.  For many years after that, we had food from that favorite fast food restaurant.  It became a tradition that we enjoyed for many years.  I may have to get lunch from there.

Then that evening, I will do something special with Ian in memory of his dad.  I want to focus on the wonderful man that he was and how much fun we had with him.  I do, however, expect many tears that day — both sad and happy.

Over these months, I have been learning how to plan for the days I know will be tough, take time to rest, remember, cry as needed, and to grieve when those feelings come.  I have also been learning to give myself permission to feel as I need to before moving on to a project or item that must be done.  I am also learning to be happy and appreciate the times I have with our son and our friends and our family.

In referencing grief, Vice President Joe Biden has said that eventually a smile will come before a tear when you remember someone who has died.  I am not there quite yet but do have smiles now along with the tears and that feels like progress.

Over these months, I didn’t know how or if we would survive but we have.  And, I am so very thankful for that.  I continue to be shocked that he is gone and probably always will be.  But I am also remembering more and more what a blessing he was in my life and how honored I was to be his wife and mother to his child.

Before Kirk died, when I would hear of a loved one’s death, I would be touched and sad but didn’t have any idea of the depth of the pain and how long the healing takes.  I had lost loved ones of my own but no one as close as my spouse before his death.  So, in the months since, I have tried to reach out to others dealing with losses and be there in support of them.  I know that I fail at times on that, but I am trying.

All of us will deal with loss at some point.  A quote says that loss is part of loving someone.  I just hope and pray that we can remember to love those we care about while they are still here, tell them that we love them, and don’t take them for granted.  And, may we fondly remember those we have lost.

And may we also remember to love one another and appreciate each other.

On Grief and Afternoon TV

Dealing with grief on afternoon television is not something that you normally think of.  Or perhaps want to read about.  But, I have been touched by some recent story lines on the ABC soap, General Hospital, that have dealt with the deaths of a few beloved characters.

I am a long-time fan of this show that has had stories about cancer, AIDS, the Nurses Ball, the mob, and family dynamics.  They have also had some stories of freezing the Earth, crazy capers and adventures, and memory mapping.  It is entertaining and something I enjoy tuning into.

Several characters have died recently and the ramifications are being felt in a variety of ways by those left mourning their loss.  Oddly enough, a few of the shows have helped me and are nice to cry with.  Despite being make-believe, it has helped me tap into my own feelings.  That may be odd, but hey, you cope with grief and loss the best you can.  Right?

A teenager named Oscar died of a brain tumor, a nursing student named Kikki was murdered, and a baby named Jonah was stillborn (or so the family thinks).  These are recent deaths and there have been many others.  A bit crazy at times, but they have had ripple effects on the canvas of the characters.

One story line included the first day of school for Oscar’s girlfriend and friends.  It was the first day back since his death and has been hard on everyone, as you can imagine.  Joss was his girlfriend; they were each other’s first loves.  Joss is a 16 year old who plays sports and does well in school.  She went to school but then left and skipped for most of the day.  She went to Oscar’s Meadow, a park in his honor, and talked with her brother Michael, who was Jonah’s father.

While at school, Joss felt guilty for going to her locker a few times during the day without thinking of Oscar.  She felt bad for trying to move on and shared that it meant she no longer loved Oscar.  Michael told her it is okay to have good times and that Oscar would want her to.  Also, that she shouldn’t beat herself up about it.

Michael asked Joss if she wished there was a checklist of how to deal with grief to help get through it?  She said, yes.  Michael explained that grief takes a long time, often much longer than you’d expect.  And, he explained that memories can pop up at any time.

Regarding Jonah, Michael told Joss that he was overwhelmed thinking about something he’d never get to do with his son.  He was saddened that his son died prior to him sharing special times with him and day to day life.  It spoke volumes for all those who have lost children without ever knowing them.

Oscar’s mother Kim is having another problem.  She thinks moving to another city will help with her grief and painful loss of her son.  She seems hopeful that running away from where she lived with her son will help.  Clearly that grief is with you no matter where you are, but her character doesn’t seem to get that.

As hard as all of this is, feelings must be felt and learned from in order for there to be healing.  As much as we may want to, we cannot run away from them.  At least not for very long since they are often there.

And, Kikki’s mother Ava is trying to deal with it in another way.  She and her daughter were estranged before the death.  So, she has a lot of guilt and is trying some crazy ways to communicate with her daughter thinking it will help.  And, of course, it isn’t.  So she remains in pain and in guilt.

So what can one learn from all of this?  It is important to remember that grief can hit you in waves at any time and when you least expect.  Some days and weeks are easier than others.  And some are painful, or bring up memories, or a specific time on the calendar with that loved one.

Also important is what my friend Gordon used to say, don’t be a grave hugger.  In other words, don’t have regrets with your loved ones.  Remember the last thing you say to someone could in fact be the last thing ever said.  So, let’s be careful with our words and our feelings.

If you have guilt, ask for forgiveness, pray, and try to forgive yourself.   I am working on some of that right now and it is challenging but important for healing.  The doubts and questions come up frequently and can be frustrating.

Also, there is no checklist to complete to be finished with grief. There is no right way to heal from such a loss.  There are several stages but many of them happen together or can repeat themselves. There is no line from A to B that helps heal the pain and loss.  And, that can be hard to take.

Running away from the pain also can be a short-term fix but ultimately doesn’t help to process and deal with the loss.  In fact, many people will tell those grieving to not make big changes within the first year.  So selling everything and running off somewhere may sound tempting but cannot hold off that pain forever.

Each loss is different, each person dealing with the loss is different, and each healing journey is different.   May we give ourselves permission to feel what we need to, while striving to move forward.

May we remember it is okay to be happy despite our pain and loss.  I think our loved ones wouldn’t want us to stop living but instead live in their honor and memory.

May we be there for each other and let each other know that we care.  May we not judge someone dealing with a loss but instead offer our support and step up as we can.  And, may we always, always love.

(Note: all of the images in today’s blog are from Power Point Clip art).

On Prayers and Grief

On this first Wednesday of September, I have a lot on my mind. I have many prayer requests and there are many people in need of healing, comfort, and so much more.  I have seen on the news that lives have been forever changed by Hurricane Dorian.

I cannot even imagine how the residents of the Bahamas are feeling today.  I would imagine devastated, shocked, gutted, and perhaps angered. They have to rebuild everything and make sure their loved ones are still alive.  My heart goes out to them and breaks for them.

In times of tragedy like this, I turn to prayer. Also in times of loss, need, and praise, I turn to prayer. I talk to my Savior about things on my mind and ask for healing, comfort, answers and things to happen. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.  And other times, there is waiting that must be done.

Two nights ago, I was mulling over this blog on answers to our prayers and how to write on this subject. I realized that some people may not like or agree with what I write.  I also realized that there are several answers that the Lord gives to our prayers — yes, no, wait a while.  I don’t know about you but some of those answers are hard to deal with.

Prior to Malachi’s death in 2016, we were praying for his healing. We prayed for him to be fine and for him to grow to be a fine young man. I dreamed about Ian and Malachi going to college together.  Sadly, that was not to be.  Seems the Lord had other things in mind.

Then, when Kirk was whisked off to the hospital on his last day, I prayed and prayed for him to wake up and be okay. That too, for reasons I still don’t understand, was not to be. It was merciful he was taken so quickly and painlessly without suffering (at least that I could tell). On the other hand, we didn’t have time to say goodbye.  And, that hurts.

Now, they are both in Heaven and part of the saints who have gone before us.  There is comfort in that.  There is comfort also in knowing that I will see them both again.  Still, I wish I could see them again here and give them both a hug.

Scripture states that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord who are called according to His purpose.  But, regarding Kirk’s sudden death, I have to say that I am not there yet.  I still have too many questions, too many doubts, and a lot of pain.  I can’t yet see that things will be good without him, just very different.

Because of my faith, I know the Lord is always faithful and is with me no matter what.  But at times, I want to scream at Him that I don’t want to feel what I am feeling, I don’t want this pain, and I don’t want the suffering that goes along with a loss. 

I then ask “why me?” when I should be asking “Why not me?”  After all, death is a part of life and the circle of life.  Birth, living, and dying are what everyone will go through.  We will all have to deal with loss, grief, pain, and many changes.

I was told once that we shouldn’t question God.  I do not agree with that.  I think He can handle my questions.  And, I am sure that He expects doubts and people having trouble with terrible things in their life.

I know that some pastors preach that everything is good and you will have abundant blessings when you are in God’s will.  Perhaps, but not always, so I have to disagree.  Terrible things can and do happen to everyone.  Pain that seems unbearable at times is part of life. And grief and any kind of loss or scare can take its toll and lead to doubts.  Despite all of that, the Lord is there.

The promise I grew up learning is that no matter what we are dealing with, the Lord is  there with us.  And we are taught in church to pray without ceasing.  I have tried to do more than I used to and am seeing what that power of prayer can be.  Still, I don’t always understand the answer.

For the past year, I have been helping to lead a prayer group of parents from our church.  We meet monthly to discuss things, share prayer requests, and pray together.  My praying out loud has improved and was something that used to really scare me.

For me, more than anything, this is a support group and a group to learn from.  All of us are on a journey with our children, just in different phases of it.  We can help each other, we can support each other, and we can lift each other up. This group and their children mean a lot to me.  Their concerns and struggles also mean a lot.  What we share remains among us.

I may sound like I’m rambling or doubting my faith. I don’t mean to.  Instead, I have been trying to make sense of the most pain and loss I have ever dealt with.  I have many comforts, those who are supportive and helpful, and that is great.  And yet, I know this won’t be the last time I deal with a painful loss.

I hope that just as my friends, family, and prayer group are helping me, I hope I can help someone else.  It would be nice if we could talk more about our losses and our grief.  It is a hard thing to do, but is important.

I will continue to pray.  I will also continue to try to accept the answers, even when they are those that I don’t want to hear.  I will try to be there to listen to others and share what I need as well.  And I will always love.

I hope that if you are grieving, you have someone to share with, a faith to rely on, and prayers.

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.

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.