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!

Things I Miss And Think About

Since the loss of my spouse in late 2018, there are things about him and our life together that I miss.  Some of them have come back up after hearing about several deaths this week — including the helicopter crash on Sunday when 9 people were killed — as well as the mother of a family friend.

Last night we watched a very short part of an interview with the widower of one of the women on board that helicopter.  Her name was Christina Mauser and his is Matt Mauser.  He was interviewed by Anderson Cooper of CNN about having to give the news to his three kids that their mother wasn’t coming home.

Anderson mentioned that he was 10 years old when his father died.  He said he never will forget when his mother came in and told him that he had died.  Mr. Mauser then shared about how hard it was to tell his kids.  And that they were still calling for their mother.

Anderson Cooper also mentioned that his mother said that with grief you just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  And, that there is no timeline to grief.  That is so true since the pain of any loss lasts for quite a while.  Actually, I would say that it never goes away, but that you just figure out ways of dealing with it as best you can

As Ian and I briefly watched this, we both had tears come into our eyes.  We hugged each other and I mentioned that you can imagine how they must be feeling since that happened to you.  He nodded his head as I was still hugging him.  We then wiped the tears and changed to a favorite show and started to laugh. That helped us.

Mr. Mauser said it was the little things that he missed the most.  I can so relate to that and that hit me since that is what I also feel.  After years with a spouse or partner, their sudden loss is shocking, jarring, and surreal.  The first few days I didn’t know what to do with myself and often couldn’t form the words to answer a question.

This morning I heard on the news that Kobe Bryant’s widow Vanessa, is having a hard time talking without crying.  I have to say that I totally understand.  The loss of a spouse so suddenly pains you in ways you never expected, much less also losing one of your children.  My heart goes out to her and the rest of her family.

I don’t think I will ever forget receiving the news that my husband had died.  When we arrived at the hospital, we were taken to a side room of the emergency department.  I should have known something was wrong since they didn’t take us to see him.  Then after a few minutes, a doctor and a nurse came into the room and told us that they had done all they could but couldn’t bring him back.

What the?!  We were all shocked.  I then went to see my love.  He looked like he was sleeping but he wasn’t.  I touched his hand and it was cold.  It was always warm when I held it.  So that was a shock and made me realize that he was in fact gone, no matter how much I was screaming inside that he can’t be gone.

I then went back to check on Ian and my parents who were with us.  My mind was on our son and how he was taking the news.  I was with him for a little bit and then went back to see my love one more time.  I was with him for a while, asked for his wedding band, and spent more time with him and looked at him.  And I touched his arm and hand.

I didn’t stay long.  We then left the hospital to go have breakfast since it was early morning.  I tried to eat but didn’t have much success.  And, I felt guilty and still do at times for not spending more time with my love.  At the time, all I could think about was our son.  I felt bad that I was placing him before my spouse.  And yet, I felt I had to since our son needed me, as I needed him.

There are a lot of things about my love that I remember, think about, and miss.  I wanted decades more with him and am sad that we didn’t get them.  Some of them are:

  • I still remember what he was wearing on the day that I met him at my church.  That church is where we got married and where we held his memorial service.
  • I miss his deep voice and laugh.
  • I miss the smell of his cologne after he got dressed and ready to go.
  • I miss the shows that we watched together and talked about.  To this day, I still can’t watch one of them.
  • I miss the smell of coffee that he prepared each night in the coffee maker.  He had a routine of that.
  • I miss how he was usually the life of the party and loved to make people laugh.
  • I miss his silly jokes.
  • I miss our Saturday morning talks in bed when our son would then join us.  These included lots of laughs and sometimes breakfast in bed.
  • I miss the hours he spent on a project.  Once he started, he would not stop until finished.  So, I would often help him, if I could.
  • I miss his mastery of numbers and taking care of our finances so well.  I am doing my best and trying to remember what he and my dad taught me.
  • I edited his dissertation and that was an amazing thing to be a part of.
  • I miss how great he was with the students that he worked with.  He put them at ease and helped them know they could do well with testings.
  • I miss our trips together and the fun adventures we had, first as a couple, and then a family of three.

Trying to adjust to this loss is still something we are dealing with.  We are doing better than we had been but still struggle at times.  I feel for all of these families and many others who lose loved ones each day.  I feel for the grief that they are dealing with and the pain that they are in.

My prayer is that we can appreciate each other, tell our loved ones that we do love them, and be there for one another during both the sad and happy times.  Also, I pray that we can support those who are in pain from a loss, that we can be there for them, and that we can love them.

Morning by morning, new mercies I see

“Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!…” — Great Is Thy Faithfulness hymn

This hymn came to mind this morning when I saw this gorgeous sky.  I just love those words, that each morning, there will be new mercies.  It is a definitely a comfort to me as we are starting our second year of grieving the loss of my husband.

And, the words that continue, “all I have needed, thy hand hath provided.”  These are true.  As hard as it’s been and as mad as I have sometimes been, what we have needed has been there.  People have helped us and we have been okay.  And, frankly, that has felt like a miracle at times.

I still don’t understand the why of this, I find myself with many questions and anger at times, and I realize that I may never the get answers that I want.  But God is still faithful and is still a comfort.  Truly, the mix of good and bad is being felt and helped, but without all of the answers.

I also read this week an amazing post about grief and how the waves change over time but keep coming.  I have found this to be true.  I am not stopped or gutted each day like I was at the beginning.  That is good since life has a tendency to move on, despite what we may be feeling like.

Now it hits me at random times.  Like yesterday, I was very sad after taking my son to school.  I came home to try and work but found I couldn’t.  So I took time with my breakfast, watched some TV, and ended up taking a 2 hour nap.  I then woke up, read, and later had lunch prior to having my son come home from school.

I later helped him with his homework, we had a good dinner, and I fell asleep on the couch.  Clearly I was tired and needed the extra rest.  I prayed a bit for comfort and thought of my loved one who is gone.  And, I cried a little as well.

Then this morning, I felt better and then was blessed with this amazing sunrise.  So, mercy was truly there for me.  What an amazing feeling that is.  And as crazy as it sounds, it felt like a message from my loved one that he is okay.  And, a result, we are also okay.  Cue the tears, right?!

We continue to struggle at times since we never know what a new morning will bring.  But we are trying to settle back into our routine.  Right now, we are both a bit tired.  Ian’s school starts really early so that means early wake up times.  As a result, we are supposed to have early bedtimes, but those don’t always happen.

My prayer is that we may have continued mercy, that we be blessed with many more new mornings, and that we continue to appreciate all of the times that we had with my husband.  He was an amazing blessing in our lives and all who knew and loved him.  He continues to be missed, loved, and fondly remembered.

Prayers for you as well.  If you are grieving, may you have comfort.  If you are sick, may you be healed.  If you are sad, may you find a reason to smile.  If you are struggling, may you find the help that you need.

May we continue to be there for one another.  May we live with kindness and grace.  And, may we always, always love.

Happy New Year, I Think…

Happy New Year — I think…It is now 2020!  Can you believe that we are already one week into the new year?  I sure can’t since time is going so quickly.

It seems we just had time off for Christmas and now we are back to the routine of school and work again.  Thankfully, we had a good break with time for family, friends, some fun, and time to rest and regroup.

I want to say Happy New Year.  But I am not sure how happy it is for us or for many others.  My son and I continue to try to adjust to life without my husband/his dad.  We do still miss Kirk and always will.  We are able to talk about him now with some laughter and not just tears.  So that is really good.  Blessings in the smallest things feel like victories.

In addition, people we know are suffering with illnesses, deaths of loved ones, invasive treatments, chronic health issues, and so much more.  The pain is there and real and often hard to live with.  Each day can be a challenge and a battle.  Each day people may feel like giving up.

And, we have a serious conflict in the Middle East putting our military men and women at risk and other people as well, multiple earthquakes in Puerto Rico that suffered greatly from Hurricane Maria, airline crashes, and the fires across much of Australia.  So there are big and bad things to contend with and a lot of pain.

With all of this bad in the world and happening around us, it is easy to get caught up in it and be overwhelmed with sadness and pain and worry.  I must admit that I have some of that and imagine that many of us do.  My prayer is that despite all of the bad, we can remember that there is still good in the world.

People want to help each other — with meals, prayer groups, sitting with loved ones, traveling to fight fires or give support in other ways, and making booties or pouches for animals in harms way.  Also, babies are being born, people are being cured or at least finding ways to manage their illnesses, and comfort is being given.

Despite so much bad and evilness in the world, there is still good.  For that I am truly thankful.  “In spite of everything, I still feel that people are really good at heart,” said Anne Frank.  If she can believe that, I think there is hope for the rest of us.  After all, she endured terrible things that I cannot even imagine.

Another prayer is that we can come together to help one another, not just in times of crisis but at all times.  Also, that we remember that people we disagree with are not the enemy but just think differently than we do.  I hope and pray that we can once again learn from each other and be willing to listen, rather than jumping to conclusions or pre-judging one another.

As the new header photo shows, the light and the dark are often together.  This photo is that entire image.  And, the photo at the top of this blog is from Power Point clip art.

Often life is full of the good and the bad.  Some days it is easy to dwell on the dark or the bad, instead of remembering the light or the good.  I pray that we can remember the positive things in our lives.

I pray that we don’t get so mired down in the negative that we cannot see any positives.  I pray that when we are sad or mad, that we can feel that way and then know that it is okay to feel better.  Maybe not always good but often the combination of good and bad is realistic for the situations that we are sometimes in.

May God bless you and yours.  May we be there for each other.  May we listen to each other.  May we bear one another’s burdens.  May we not belittle the suffering of others but instead be supportive.  May we ask for help when we need it and know that doesn’t make us weak.  May we not judge others.  May we show compassion for others.  And, may we always, always love.

Last Monday of the Decade

Hi and Happy last Monday of the decade.  It is amazing to think that in a few days we will be starting a new year.  And a new decade.  2019 is almost finished and it is time for 2020 — almost.

It is odd that my love never saw this year that is almost finished.  It was a hard one for us with all of the firsts that we lived through after his death.  The fact he wasn’t here for any of 2019 is still hard to swallow, but we are trying.

2020 will have some major milestones for several family members, will be the year that Ian becomes a teenager (wow!), and will include more healing for us and many seconds.  Our life seems to be with Kirk and without Kirk. I am not sure how long that segmenting lasts but we are still in it.

I plan to write more in January and the rest of 2020.  Many months this year, I just couldn’t.  But as time has gone on, I have found it comforting and easier to share my feelings, my hurts, and those things that I am thankful for.  And, since this is just the second writing this month, I realize that I need to do more.

Over the Christmas week, I found a lot of quotes that I plan to write about in January.  I am inspired by these and thought it might be fun to share a few of my ideas about the meanings.  Ideas from you are also welcome.

A few quotes that come to mind as we celebrate this next to last day of this year and this decade:

  • “Don’t pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love,” — Dumbledore says to Harry in the last book of that great series
  • “Raise a glass to freedom something they can never take away.” — from Hamilton
  • “Security is a mostly a superstition. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” — Helen Keller
  • “It’s not whether you get knocked down, but whether you get up.” — Vince Lombardi
  • “You are never to old to set a new goal or dream a new dream.” — C.S. Lewis
  • “It’s never to late to be what you might have been.” — George Eliot”
  • “Life is about change, sometimes it’s painful, sometimes it’s beautiful, but most of the time it’s both.” — Kristen Kreuk

May you have a great end of the year and a wonderful beginning of the new year. Blessings to you and yours. 

It’s (Almost) Christmas Time In The City

Or town as the case may be. That is our case since we live in a small city or town.  It does look like Christmas and is that time of year.  It is amazing that Christmas is one week from today.  Are you ready?  I am not but almost.

Yesterday, I bought a few more gifts and took care of a few errands.  Tomorrow, I will mail our cards and a package or two. They are late but at least they are almost finished.  Tonight, we have an Advent supper and service at church. Those are always nice and a great way to prepare for the big day next week and to remember what it is all about.

I still need to wrap everything, get our stuff ready, and buy a few more gifts. And we are waiting for a few items to be mailed that we ordered for special gifts. Just hope they arrive in time.  We are getting close.  And, there is still a small amount of homework and a few items of work and projects that I am trying to finish.

But along with all of the activity and commitments, we are having down time.  We need time to rest so that has to be a part of it.  At times this makes me feel lazy and feel that I am not doing enough.  I am trying to give myself permission to take it easy when I need to.  And at other times, be quite busy.  That balancing act can be a real challenge.

I continue to be a work in progress.  I feel I am failing at some things that haven’t gone as I had planned over the last year.  In other areas, I feel that we are on track.  My priority has been the two of us and our sanity and trying to stay on track with school and work.  Beyond that, I try to my best but often fall short.

This is our second Christmas without Kirk.  Part of me feels festive but part of me is lost and sad that he again isn’t here to celebrate with us.  Last year, I was still very numb and in disbelief of his loss.  This year, I more clearly feel the loss and will miss him and all of the fun that we had over our 20 years together.  I will miss our traditions that he always made a lot of fun.

I am looking forward to having time with our loved ones, to seeing Ian’s excitement over the gifts, the food, and time to relax and not have our busy routine for a few weeks.  I am taking several days off to be with him.  I am so looking forward to that.  We plan to see the new Star Wars movie, have time with friends and family, and maybe play a game or two.  We will spend days in our pajamas and laugh about something funny that we have heard about or watched on a show.

And, we will take pictures — that is if I remember to this time.  We also will continue to talk about his dad, laugh about jokes that he liked to tell, look at pictures of the three of us and him with other family and friends, and remember how blessed we were to have him in our lives.  Kirk loved being a dad and was very proud of his son.  And, I know that he loved me and that means the world.

Some of the seasonal things we are already enjoying are:

  • Special Christmas music by our choir – we did 5 songs this past Sunday — my family came to sing with us and that was an amazing blessing.
  • Advent calendars that are opened each day – one from church with scriptures and candy and the other a Lego Harry Potter set — this has been fun each day for Ian and for me.
  • Christmas movies and shows – we have seen a few of these on the Hallmark Channel and Lifetime Network — but want something other than just a love story.
  • Our city’s Christmas parade – we watched that with our neighbors and received a lot of candy from those in the parade.
  • Hot chocolate and candy canes — two of my favorites chocolate and mint; also hot chocolate is great to enjoy with popcorn.
  • “It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” by Andy Williams — this is my favorite holiday song performed by one of my all-time favorite singers.
  • Silent Night, Holy Night – a favorite hymn that I enjoy singing.  I have a pin that states, “All Is Calm, All is Bright” that I like to wear this time of year.
  • “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” by Band-Aid — a song released in 1984 to raise money for several causes.  It is a bit sad but lovely.  And, it touches on the suffering and pain that people are dealing with, regardless of the time of year.
  • “Mary, Did You Know?” – a very moving song that our choir sings on occasion.
  • The “White Christmas” movie — my favorite movie for Christmas with great songs, a fun story and a lot of funny moments.  I usually sing along with every song.
  • “Elf” the movie — one of the funniest Christmas movies.
  • Rudolph and Frosty — two childhood favorites that I still enjoy watching each year.
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas — I just love the Peanuts gang and all of their quirks. and unique personalities.  And you just have to love that little old tree and the real meaning of Christmas.

We hope that you have a great Christmas, have time with your loved ones, and can truly enjoy the meaning of the season.

May you have love, peace, kindness, and respect in your life and may you be blessed.

Jesus is the Reason For The Season.  Merry almost Christmas!!!!

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like…

Christmas.  It is certainly looking a lot like Christmas.  Decorations are up at stores, gifts are being purchased, music is on the radio including my favorite, Andy Williams — Happy Holidays and The Most Wonderful Time of the Year — and movies are playing often and have been since before Halloween.

However, it doesn’t quite look like it at our house.  How about at your house?  It is amazing that we are two weeks from this holiday.  I don’t know about you but I am so not ready and the crazy thing is that I am not panicked or worried about it. I am doing a little bit at a time and hope I get there in time.

I seem to be more interested in being with my loved ones, rather than thinking through the gifts, cards, food, etc.  So far, I am not very worked up about being so behind.  I wonder if that will change as the date gets closer.  After all in the last year, just functioning and getting out of the house on some days was a major effort.

We do have our advent calendars up, some festive mugs, and a few other things, but not the tree yet (these photos are from previous years).  Last year, the tree was up but we never decorated it.  I just couldn’t bring myself to after losing my husband.  This year, Ian wants to decorate it and continue our traditions that didn’t happen last year.  So, we will work on it this week.

Both of us are wanting to do our traditions again this year and that feels good.  Our church recently presented a children’s program that was a lot of fun and Ian enjoyed it.  Then lunch afterwards and a visit from Santa.  A nice tradition that we have enjoyed for quite a while.

Over the weekend, I was thinking about writing about something other than just my grief and that felt good and at the same time, very strange.  Even though I am writing about a few other subjects, it is still there and still here in this blog.

I am starting to feel more like myself again. Part of me feels guilty about that but I realize that I have to keep moving forward. My son needs me and I most certainly need him.

Although I feel like myself again, part of me is missing.  Loss and grief are tough that way.  I am healing but know that I will never be the same.  I have learned a lot about myself, my loved ones, and what is most important.  Those who have also lost loved ones can relate.

I also know that there is much to be thankful for and much to live for.  Yet, some days, that is hard to remember and hard to accept. The grief and pain often finds a way to seep into the day, into our thoughts, and into what we are doing. The ups and downs continue and seem to be the new normal.

So, I decided it might be fun to share some random thoughts and items about myself. They may be trivial but I am okay with that and welcome it.  Enjoy.

  • Fuzzy socks make me happy and are things that I regularly wear at this time of year. I am normally a flip-flop person but with the colder weather, I do have to wear flat shoes and my socks. The softer and fluffier the better for me.  I am not a high-heeled person.
  • For my birthday, my cousin gave me a lovely plush blanket. It is soft and wonderful to sit under. Perfect for this time of year. I have it while reading a book, watching television, and taking a nap.
  • Peppermint, mint chocolate, pumpkin, and gingerbread are some of my favorite flavors this time of year. I am trying to be careful to not overdo it but do enjoy a candy cane or two most days.
  • Soups with bread or crackers are a regular staple at this time of year.  I like a variety of them — tomato, chicken and rice, lentil, and more, and enjoy using large mugs for them.
  • Pictures of my family and friends are some of my greatest treasures.  I like to give them as gifts. A special memory means a lot to people.
  • Comfort is very important to me and these things are helping to have that.  During the winter, there is not much better than a warm drink, my warm socks, warm blanket, a tasty food or treat, and a favorite movie, book, or chat with Ian or another loved one. Perhaps the occasional glass of wine is also nice and sparkling water.
  • I do like all of this warmth, unless I am having a hot flash and then it is a different story.  Ha, ha, ha!!  I am after all of a certain age.
  • Simple things are what make me happy and I need down time and time to rest and just be.  Ian and I both are homebodies and enjoy being there. We do also enjoy being with our loved ones and having overnight visits and special times with them.
  • Music is also important to me. I have many favorite Christmas songs and other special music that I always want to listen to each year. Hymns and songs at our church are also very special. I often will sing along with the radio and enjoy them very much.
  • My thoughts and prayers are with our family and friends.  We want the best for them, want them to be healthy, to heal if hurting, and to know they are loved and appreciated.
  • And finally, I do want peace on earth, really I do. I want us to be kinder to each other, to talk not yell, to listen without judgement, to love not hate, and to live peacefully together.  And to treat one another with kindness.

Blessings to you and yours.

Thanksgiving Prayers — My Grandpa’s and Mine

Hi and Happy (almost) Thanksgiving,

For the past few years, I have posted one of my favorite Thanksgiving Prayers — written many years ago by my grandpa.  Here it is again along with my prayer for this year.

“Our Father-God we thank thee…

  • For the ringing laughter of our children playing, for their giggles, and the moist throaty chuckles of our babies
    • For the tender weight of a sleeping child in our arms, and the trust of a tired son who rests his head upon our shoulder, and sleeps
    • For the joy we feel in baby’s first tooth, first word, first step, and the thrill of the grown-up child who marries
    • For the exultant communion with our teen ones when we dive together into the clean cold surf at dawn, and stand with them silently at sunset drinking glory from the cloud-studded sky
    • For small boys on tricycles, or on hands and knees in the sandbox pushing toy trucks and making man-noises
    • For tomboy girls streaking across the lawn, swinging on rings, or whirling like pinwheels on turning bars
    • For the wonder on the sensitive face of a half-grown child as she listens to a great organ for the first time, or watches a symphony orchestra
    • For the fun of family picnics, and vacation trips, and going fishing together
    • For the thrill we feel when a daughter stands before us in her first formal gown, and we realize that she is beautiful
    • For the joy of a child’s recovery from illness, and the relief we feel when we see an accident almost happen, but not quite
    • For the pressure of a timid child’s hand in ours as we walk together in the dark
    • For parenthood we thank thee.
    • And, our Father-God, to thee we pray for peace. If it be thy will, grant that we may continue our lives together in the precious years to come. Amen.”

I love this prayer and it gets me every time. Love you Grandpa and miss you very much.

I want to add a prayer of thanks to all of our loved ones who have supported us over the last year. Much of it has been a blur and we couldn’t have made it without that support or the prayers that have been lifted for us.

Our Father-God, we thank you:

  • For friends who prepare food when meals are the last things on our minds.
  • For siblings who drop everything to come to be with you when you need them the most.
  • For parents who love you through the toughest year of your life.
  • For in-laws who miss your loved one as much as you.  We are thankful for having them as family who we will always love. And, we are thankful for being able to share memories with them.
  • For family and friends who are there to share a funny story or laughter and there when you need to cry.
  • For a 20 year marriage to a man who loved us unconditionally. We just wish there had been many more years together.
  • For a child who is a blessing, and has been since his birth. He is an amazing young man and the best of his dad lives on in him.
  • For friends who have stepped up throughout the year by listening, spending time with us, and laughing with us.
  • For our church family who has shown what faith truly looks like.
  • For our school family who has taken care of Ian through a tough year and continues to teach him and help him.
  • For our neighbors for helping to take care of our yard and with a few bills.
  • For our faith, without which we would not have made it this year.
  • For the ability to love others despite the pain of loss.
  • For being able to thank those who have helped us, lifted us up, prayed with us, prayed for us, and have loved us.  Amen.

Hope and pray that you have a Happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones.  May you be thankful for times with them and enjoy your blessings.

Making The Most of The Dash

Last night, my son found a box of old photos and a poem I shared with my family in honor of the death of my grandmother.  She passed away 5 years ago.  It brought back all kinds of memories from Ian as a baby, and Kirk and me prior to his birth.  I smiled through tears as I looked over all of the treasures and family photos.

That poem was The Dash by Linda Ellis and I am going to share it today.  But first a few thoughts on my grandma.  Over the last year, I have been thinking a lot about her.  You see, her husband also died at a young age and unexpectedly, similar to my husband’s death.  I never knew her husband (my grandpa) but loved hearing stories about him and what a great man he was.

I wish I could ask Grandma questions about how she dealt with being a widow, what advice she’d give me, and how it was moving forward.  Growing up, we heard things from her and had brief discussions but it never totally registered what she went through.  I have a new appreciation for this woman who was very strong, sometimes to the point of being rude.  She made the most of her dash and taught us how to do the same.

So for those of us touched by a loved one’s death, I hope this poem will be encouraging.  It has been for me and I am so glad that I have found it again.  I hope that we can remember what is important in life and be thankful for that time we did have with our loved ones.  I also hope that we make sure to cherish those who are still in our lives.

The Dash — Linda Ellis —-

“I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.  He referred to the dates on her tombstone, from the beginning… to the end.

“He noted that first came the date of her birth. And spoke of the following date with tears, but he said what mattered most of all was the dash between those years.

“For that dash represents all the time that she spent alive on earth.  And, now only those who loved her know what that little line is worth.

“For it matters not, how much we own, the cars… the house…the cash.  What matters is how we live and love, and how we spend our dash.

“So think about this long and hard; are there things you’d like to change?  For you never know how much time is left that can still be rearranged. 

“If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real and always try to understand the way other people feel. 

“And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more and love the people in our lives like we’ve never loved before. 

“If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile… remembering that this special dash might only last a while. 

“So when your eulogy is being read with your life’s actions to rehash, would you be proud of the things they say about how you spent your dash?” 

Let’s make the most of our dash, treat each other with kindness, and always love.

51 Weeks And Counting…

51 weeks ago… I cannot believe that it is almost an entire year since my husband passed away.  It just doesn’t seem possible.  In some ways, the time has flown by and in others it has dragged along.

This year’s Thanksgiving will be the last of the firsts.  He died soon after Thanksgiving last year.  But this year, the anniversary date of his death is before the holiday.  So, it will be a tough time for us.  But, we will be with family and able to remember him.

Ian and I will be with both sides of our family and that means a lot to me.  I expect lots of crying and some laughter as well.  I look forward to the time we will have to be together.  It is indeed a blessing.  It will help to share memories and if needed, to cry together.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.   I like that this holiday is about being with loved ones and enjoying delicious food that everyone helped make.  There is also time to chat, play games, watch games, or whatever people want to do.  And, we say what we are thankful for around a prayer circle prior to eating.

I know it will be a challenge this year so I am trying to just let myself feel what I need to.  Along with that, I keep going and take care of what Ian and I need.  It continues to be a challenge, but we are trying.

One step at a time.  One week at a time.  One day at a time.  One hour at a time.  One memory at a time.  One funny story at a time.  One sobbing at a time.  One prayer at a time.

Along with my loss, I have friends and family who are also grieving for loved ones who have died.  My prayers are with them as are my thoughts.  In addition, I have loved ones who are suffering, are in chronic pain, being treated for cancer and other ailments, are depressed, and are dealing with financial issues.  My thoughts and prayers are also with them.

To everyone who has helped Ian and me this past year, I thank you.  I thank you for your support, for your caring, for listening, for checking in on us, for feeding us, for sharing a story about Kirk, for laughing with us, for crying with us, for praying for us, for praying with us, and for loving us.  We couldn’t have made it this year without you.

For those also suffering, I hope you have people to step up and be there with you in the bad times and enjoy the good times.  It took me a while after Kirk’s loss to realize that it was okay to still have good times and to carry on.  I felt guilty but know that he wouldn’t want us to suffer or be sad all of the time.  May you also know that it is okay to keep moving forward and to have a little fun along with the sorrow.

And for those in pain, having treatments, waiting for the diagnosis, and so many other issues, I lift you up in prayer.  I ask that you be comforted, that questions be answered, that you will be helped, and that you will be surrounded by love and support.

Let’s help each other through our suffering and pain.  Let’s spread kindness and be supportive.  Let’s remember that we all have trials to deal with so we should not judge each other.  Let’s be there for each other.  And, let’s always, always love.

Author’s Note: The calendar picture and healing prayer are from Power Point clip art. The date was just on the picture and has no particular meaning. 

A Year Ago…

It is hard to believe that it has been a year since my cousin passed away and almost a year since my husband died.  To think of the year 2019 without either of them is heartbreaking, but sadly is our reality.  So today, I want to celebrate and remember both Marit and Kirk.

One thing I may have to do after the year anniversary is to change the subtitle of my blog from wife to widow.  We were happily married for 20 years and I am so very thankful.  But, a widow is who I am now and is still something I am trying to come to terms with.

I have such fond memories growing up with my cousin.  On my mom’s side of the family, including me and my siblings, there were 12 first cousins as well as second cousins.  Marit was one my first cousins.  Although we didn’t live in the same towns, we all had fun growing up and spending time together primarily in the summers.  We’d laugh, talk, enjoy the beach, play games, and sing together.

Marit had a lovely singing voice and was so talented.  She recorded a CD of her own music that I still enjoy listening to.  Of course now, it is with tears in my eyes.  She was also so very cool and beautiful — both inside and out.  I admired her over the years and remember that she dealt with a lot of stuff.

My thoughts and prayers continue to be with her family, friends, and all who loved her.  She is missed and touched us all.  I am so very thankful for all of those years we had and wish there had been more.

As far as Kirk, it is hard to believe that it has been almost 12 months ago.  For much of that time, I was in a fog and not able to come to terms with it.  It was such a shock and so unexpected that I sometimes still forget he is gone.  I didn’t know it was his time back then.

He traveled quite a bit in the family business, so we were used to times that he wasn’t with us. Sometimes my mind plays tricks that he is just on a trip. But over the past few months, that has been replaced with coming to terms with the fact that he won’t be coming back.  And that really hurts.

I was talking with a family member this week who loved him as I did.  We both still miss his laugh, his smile, his voice, and how he lit up a room.  He loved to joke and help  everyone to have a good time.  We both cried as we thought about him and wanted one more chance to be with him.

There is a big hole in our life and we are trying to work around that.  Some days it is easy to do; other days it feels impossible.  Some days it hurts so much that I scream and other days I smile about a memory or a joke he told.  Most days, however, I am both happy and sad. Our son and I regularly talk about Kirk and laugh at some of the things that he did.  And we look at our numerous pictures.

I think I have been handling all of this well and then I think of all of the things I am failing at and haven’t gotten take care of yet.  My priority has been Ian, his well-being, school work, and time for fun, as well as myself and my sanity.  So, that leaves some things that I still need to catch up on.  And, I am working on it.

I try not to be too hard on myself but it isn’t easy.  Kirk was the glue for us, helped so much around the house, was always cleaning up, and took care of many things that I now have to. I guess I took him for granted and I feel bad for that.  I do realize how blessed I was for everything he was and everything he did.  I just wish those little things hadn’t bothered me when he was alive. They just weren’t important.

I have learned quite a bit this year as well.  That is the importance of plans, having finances in order and knowing how to access the information, spending time with loved ones, appreciating each other, expressing love to each other, and realizing that tomorrow is not promised.

On November 3, we celebrated All Saints’ Day at my church.  It was a really hard service but it was lovely.  And we sang “For All The Saints” — a song that I cried through. A friend of mine put her hand on my shoulder during that song and it helped a lot. It has been three years since her husband passed away.

There have been other losses in our family and also for my friends in recent years.  My thoughts and prayers are with them as they deal with their grief.  It is a long process and I hope they have a faith and loved ones to help them as Ian and I have.

Blessings to you and yours. May you cherish your loved ones and let them know.  And, may we remember and be thankful for our loved ones who have gone before us. I am very thankful for Kirk, Marit, and many other loved ones who have passed away in recent years.

Here are lyrics of For All The Saints. Tears come to my eyes as I sing it. I am comforted by these words and music. Hope it is a blessing to you as well:

“For all the saints who from their labors rest,
who Thee by faith before the world confessed;
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

“Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress, and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

“O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

“And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
and hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

“But when there breaks a yet more glorious day;
the saints triumphant rise in bright array;
the King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!”

(images are from Power Point clip art.)