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.

 

Blessing of Psalm 107:29

Several months ago, my friend Lisa gave me a leather wrap bracelet that was engraved with the scripture verse, Psalm 107:29.  It has been a real and tangible blessing to me.

Here is the scripture on the bracelet that also includes a silver cross with the word PEACE engraved on it.  It is part of this lovely gift.

“Lord, wrap me up in your peace while in the midst of this storm. 

“Calm the winds of fear and anxiety. 

“Speak to the waves that make me restless. 

“Send your angels to war on my behalf. 

“Keep me safe for you Lord are my anchor and my peace.” — Psalm 107:29

My friend knew exactly what I needed.  It has truly helped me.  I wear it almost every day, usually as a necklace.

I hope that it can help others who are also grieving, suffering through an illness, fearing the loss of a loved one, or any other issue that is a storm in their lives.

May you be comforted.  May you be uplifted.  May you be encouraged as I have been. God’s blessings to you.

 

On Finding Comfort

This week I am finding comfort in a variety of ways and that is helping very much.  I have been walking in the mornings, reading, eating more healthy meals, talking about Kirk and sharing memories with loved ones.

I have also smiled at some of our jokes and funny moments we had with him.  And, yet, there is still sadness and a huge hole where he should be.  I talk regularly about Kirk with our son and he enjoys talking about his dad.  We look at pictures and we remember.

I went to the library yesterday and checked out a few books on grief.  One of them is  “Comfort: A Journey Through Grief” by Ann Hood.  It is very well written and a lot of good information and is exactly what I needed this week. Her daughter died suddenly in 2002. Her daughter Grace was 5-years-old.

Ann Hood explains that grief is not linear and has no beginning, middle, and end. She gets it.  I never did until going through it.  I never understood the pain of a close loss until now and I am learning a lot.

“Grief is not linear. People kept telling me that once this happened or that passed, everything would be better. Some people gave me one year to grieve. ” Hood’s book states. “They saw grief as a straight line, with a beginning, a middle, and an end.  But it is not linear.  It is disjointed.

“One day you are acting almost like a normal person. You maybe even manage to take a shower.  Your clothes match. You think the autumn leaves look pretty, or enjoy the sound of snow crunching under your feet,” she continues.

“Then a song, a glimpse of something, or maybe even nothing sends you back into the hole of grief. It is not one step forward, two steps back. It is a jumble.  It is hours that are all right, and weeks that aren’t. Or it is good days and bad days. Or it is the weight of sadness making you look different and nothing helps. Not haircuts or manicures, or a diet,” Hood states in her book.

I got tears in my eyes as I read this but I also was comforted that someone else has been exactly where I am.  Someone else lost a loved one who was dear to them and they survived.  What amazing comfort that we will also survive.

We have received so much support from our friends and our family.  We so appreciate that. That support is special, it is important, and it helps keep us going.  I have several friends and family who are also grieving.  We are in pain together and can appreciate where others are coming from.  And we can give comfort to each other.

Another comforting statement that I heard recently was said by Joe Biden.  He said that as you move through grief, eventually a smile will come to your face before a tear when you remember the loved one that you lost.  I am not there yet and often have both reactions.

Sadly he knows too much about grief — having lost his first wife and their daughter many years ago and his son Beau more recently.  Dealing with some of that is covered in his book, “Promise Me, Dad.”  Whether you agree with him or not, it is quite a read for someone who has also been there in grief and has found comfort.

Ian and I talked about this concept last night and he said he is having happy memories about his dad.  We both cheered and had huge smiles on our faces when we realized that Kirk will never again be sick or in pain.  What a comfort that was and is again today.

My comforts this week have been:

  • Spending time with family and friends for graduation celebrations and a birthday party
  • Helping Ian with an art project that is due this week
  • Singing a song at church without completely losing it
  • Listening to the birds in the morning during my walks
  • Enjoying the sunrises on the way to school in the morning
  • Hugs at night from Ian
  • Prayers before meals with loved ones
  • Talks and laughs over a delicious meal
  • Hugs and clumping with my family
  • Long chats and visits
  • The winding down of the school year
  • The anticipation of summer and our plans
  • My faith and prayers

We continue to have good days and bad days, hard hours and deep sadness.  But we are also having fun, are laughing, are cherishing our memories, and are thankful that we have each other as we heal.  My prayer is that you have loved ones to help you through grief and hard times.

May we find comfort in one another.  May we be there to help each other.  And, may we always, always, always love.

The Waves Continue

One of my loved ones posted this, “Drained.”  I totally can understand this feeling. Some days I am drained and just cannot get motivated to do anything.  Other days, I do things and still can be drained at the end of the day.  Thankfully, I also have good days to balance out these hard ones. So, the waves of grief continue for me.

This past weekend was good with dinner out at a favorite pizza place, a few favorite movies and projects, church and singing, family time, several chats and laughs with our son, and a sweet compliment that I looked great. I didn’t expect that but it helped boost me.

The fog of grief is starting to lift and that is a challenge. On good days, I feel like myself again — well almost.  Still, I feel like part of me is missing.  And, I still want to talk with my loved one and have him answer me back. On the bad days, I cry, scream, rest, and try to figure out a way to carry on.

I have been trying to move along and keep doing all of the stuff that has to be done after a death.  I am slow but am getting there.  Each time I accomplish something, I have to have some time to process and realize that I did it without him.  I am glad that I can but I so wish he was still here to help me.

Last night I was thinking that he shouldn’t have died so young and that it wasn’t actually his time to go. And, yet he did. I still wish I could have done more for him and still feel guilty at times.  For whatever reason though, the Lord had something else in mind for him, for me, and for all of us who loved him.

I still have questions and I still don’t understand the why.  Not sure I ever will but I am trying to move forward.  I am trying for myself and our son who is on this journey with me.  We are trying.  We often have to regroup, or have to pause, but we are trying.

I also am having some anger about it all and thinking of how unfair it is for me and for our son and our other loved ones.  Then I realize that I am not alone in these feelings.  I am not alone in these experiences either.  People lose their loved ones every day.

My heart goes out to these people.  At times this is a comfort to share the grief and the pain with others.  At other times, it brings my own pain back to the surface.  So, again, that is both up and down.  Ups and downs seem to be the way of our lives right now.

Most of the time I can deal with his absence but every once in a while it hits me that he will never again be with us as he was.  Today, I am feeling that loss and am missing him so much.

  • I miss his laughter
  • I miss his smile
  • I miss his hugs
  • I miss his chats with our son
  • I miss sharing a meal with him
  • I miss sitting next to him at church
  • I miss listening to a favorite song on a CD
  • I miss watching a favorite movie with him
  • I miss times with family when he was telling jokes
  • I miss his voice
  • I miss our long talks

Along with what I miss, I keep reminding myself that he is no longer in pain, he is not suffering, and he will be forever young.  My faith comforts me in knowing that he is okay.  Still, I wanted more time with him.

Since he traveled a lot for work, we had to get used to him not being with us every day. The difference was that we often talked to him.  We chatted every day, many times more than once.  We stayed connected and spent hours on the phone.  I am blessed to have had all of those times with him.

One phone call that comes to mind was when he was traveling and I found out I was pregnant with our son. I told him over the phone and he was blown away. He was on cloud nine and couldn’t believe it. We were blessed to share the pregnancy, birth, and 11 amazing years with our son. For that, I will always be thankful.

My pain and grief has made me realize how thankful I am for all of the times we had together, all of the memories we shared, all of the photos we took (often to my love’s annoyance), all of the laughter we shared, and all of the dreams we had for our future.

Now I continue to cherish every moment with my family and friends. I realize how important it is to celebrate them, to be there when we can, to enjoy our times together, to laugh together, and when we are together, to truly be present.

A Jumble of Emotions

On this Maundy Thursday, I am a jumble of emotions. I found a photo that sums that up quite well. I posted that photo from Pieces of Soul on Facebook that said:

“Please know that I am trying the best I can to push myself through the pain, the fatigue, the fog, the insomnia, the guilt, the judgement, and particularly through the fear.” That sums it up quite well along with some funny times and some lovely memories.

The pain continues to come in waves and makes for some hard days. This week I have been working more on paperwork and calls of things that have to be resolved by me, a surviving spouse.  It is hard since these are things that Kirk and I did together and planned for our long-term future. It is hard to continue to realize that is not to be.

Thankfully I am sleeping better than I had been and that is helping with fatigue.  Still I seem to need more sleep that I used to and am still tired in the mornings. I am dreaming more now so the sleep is better and for that I am thankful. I am also dealing with emotional fatigue and the weight of this loss. Some days I can handle that and other days I can’t.

The fog of my brain seems to be lifting and that is good and bad. I am moving out of the shock and having to confront this loss head-on. That is very painful but part of the grieving process. The first week, I could barely answer someone when they asked me a question. I would just stare blankly at people. Now, I can answer, sometimes with crying and sometimes not. So, this is improving.

I still sometimes have insomnia but it isn’t as frequent now.  That is good since I don’t function well without a good night’s sleep.  I still usually wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Sometimes I can easily go back to sleep and other times it is difficult. So, I will then think of all kinds of things — a fun memory, how sad I am, our loss, and so much more.

Guilt is starting to fester for me now and I don’t like it. I continue to wish that I could have done more for him that morning in November. I feel bad that I didn’t call 911 sooner, and wonder if I could have changed something, would he still be here?  I know that a lot of professionals tried to revive him and couldn’t, so I need to have peace with what I did do. Still, the guilt is there.

Judgement is not something I have been feeling yet, other than of myself and what signs I should have seen in him that we could have looked into. Still, I know that he is in a much better place and is no longer having any issues. He is at peace and is in a place of real and unconditional love and grace. And that is a comfort for me.

As far as fear, that is a very real feeling that I am trying to keep under control. Still, many days my fears and worries come up. I worry that something will happen to me and I worry that something will happen to our son. I so want to see him grow into a man, to graduate from high school, to have an amazing life and family of his own. I just hate that his dad won’t be here for those milestones.

It is interesting after a sudden death, the mind plays tricks on you that your fate will be the same. I hope and pray that will not be the case for us, but who knows. In addition, I worry that I cannot handle all of this on my own. I had a team-mate and life partner to go through it all and now he is gone. I am trying and continue to do so, but know I am lacking in so many ways. I just have to make peace with what I can do and try each day to do something.

Along with all of this, our son and I continue to talk, share memories of his dad, laugh about them, laugh about new things, and enjoy being together. The fact that we have each other is such a blessing. And, we have family and friends who have helped us so very much with prayers, with being there, with lunches out, with movies, with chatting, with gifts, and with support. Despite our pain, we are blessed.

Tonight we will be at church for our Maundy Thursday service where we will celebrate the Lord’s Last Supper. On the night he was betrayed, he broke break and shared it with his disciples. They then drank wine together.

At our service, we will partake of the bread and wine together. We will talk about Holy Week and the terrible things that Jesus suffered before his death and resurrection. We will be reminded that he didn’t want this fate but took it on anyway. Talk about love.

On Friday, we will listen to his last words on the cross, and then imagine his death and burial. The church will get dark and everyone will leave quietly and reflect on Good Friday.  And, on Sunday, we will celebrate his triumph.  We have a sunrise service at a local marina that I enjoy attending. The beauty of nature with the beauty of Easter is an amazing blessing.

This year, my love is in Heaven to celebrate this Easter morning miracle. I cry happy tears just thinking about it. And, I expect tears to flow over the next few days. I look forward to singing the amazing songs and remember the importance of them all. I know I will be emotional for this first Easter without Kirk, so I am trying to prepare. Still, I will cry as I need to.

Each Easter, we dressed up and took plenty of pictures. I am so very thankful that we did. This weekend with family and friends, we will take more photos.  And, I expect to have lovely memories with them, have some laughs with loved ones, enjoy those moments together, and live life to the fullest.

May those of you also grieving this Holy Week have hope for brighter days. May you have peace along with the pain. May you know the promise of Easter and life everlasting.  And, may you have love along with the loss.

A Better Day

After a very hard week last week, today is looking better for me. And yesterday was a pretty good day as well. I am thankful to be able to have some light with all of the darkness.  It is very welcome after these last four months/19 weeks that have changed our lives so much.

Yesterday, it poured rain for a while, and then the sun came out. And, it is out again today. Well, with clouds right now, but it is still peaking through.  And that is how I feel today — more happiness seems to be peaking through as well.

After dropping off Ian at school, I walked around our neighborhood for a little while. It was so helpful to do that.  During my walk, I heard birds chirping, saw the flowers in bloom, and noticed trees continuing to bud. I have to be careful with all of this since I have quite a few outdoor allergies, but it was nice to be in nature that is coming back to life again.

I too am trying to do that for myself and for our son. I still have bad days and expect to for quite a while, but I am also having some good ones.  And, I am trying to not feel guilty for that.  Sometimes, I do feel guilty and other times I do not.

I still miss my love with every fiber of my being but it has been sinking in that I have to continue on without him. That has been a very hard realization to come to and then try to live with.  After 20 years together, his absence has gutted me in many ways.  But, since we have our son who is still a boy, I have to use all of my strength, cling to my faith, and carry on.

Both of us still want him here with us.  Both of us loved to laugh with him, to listen to him tell jokes and be silly, to share meals, to pray together, and to have our long weekend chats before starting the day.  But for reasons I still do not understand, that wasn’t to be.

Ian and I both are finding things to keep us busy and keep us motivated. That is helping as well. Still that grief and loss are always there.  I just suppose we are trying to find a way each day to live with it, deal with whatever our feelings are, feel them, and figure out a way to carry on.

As you know from my writings last week, I didn’t know how to move on last week.  I just couldn’t.  And I was okay with that.  At the time, I had to wallow and be sad.  I had to write about it, cry tears, scream, and let it out.  And, surprisingly, that day actually helped me.

Right now I feel like I have little control over my emotions and how I am feeling.  Some days are awful and some days are really good and others are a combination. This morning I woke up thinking, I wonder what we will be doing today.  So that was a sign to me that today would be a good day.

But tomorrow could be awful again.  Thus the waves continue of grief, of pain, of loss, of sorrow, of sadness, of anger, and of life never being the same again.  Along with these are waves of happiness, of a special memory, of a favorite quote or joke that was told, of a picture with smiles and hugs, and special chats with our boy.

The Lenten season was very special to the two of us.  We met each other during that time frame and fell in love. It was a quick courtship but one that both of us knew was destined to be.  We were married later that year and had a wonderful life together.  So, this time is bittersweet.

Easter too has always been very special. I know this year will be hard but I am trying to remember the previous Easter celebrations, look at our photos, and be thankful for the time that we had together.

I know I will cry some but I hope to also laugh and enjoy the time with my family and friends who are still with us.  And I hope that we can take time to remember those we lost. For they enriched our lives and were quite special.

A few things I am thankful for today:

  • A lovely sunrise through the clouds
  • Chatting with Ian on the way to school
  • A quick walk around our neighborhood
  • The loud chirping of birds
  • The vibrant colors of tulips
  • The hundreds of photos that I have taken over the years
  • Our family vacation last summer
  • Books that occupy my mind for a while
  • Favorite songs
  • My coloring book of Bible verses
  • My family and friends
  • My faith

And, this verse which has been hard to read recently.  Deep down though, I know it to be a promise from the Lord.  Jeremiah 29:11 was in a Michael W. Smith song that Kirk and I used to listen to — a lot.  Each time I heard it, it touched me and made me realize that all will be okay.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

May this comfort all of us who are grieving and lost.  May it encourage us.  May we have good days along with the bad.