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.

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.)