In Your Mercy, Hear Our Prayer

My heart is heavy today with the suffering, trials, loss, and pain of so many. The only thing that I can do about it is to pray, read my Bible, and write about what I am thinking and feeling. Perhaps then, I can have some comfort. Another thing that always helps is a good cry and a nap or great night of sleep.

Philippians 4:6 states, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

I have been comforted by prayer during the storms in my life, but know that they aren’t always answered in the way that I would have liked. In those cases, I then pray for comfort, peace, wisdom, and understanding. Those can be very hard to come by, but are something that I am trying.

I also want to be sure to include the thanksgiving portion of that scripture. I am thankful for so much that the Lord has provided for me and my son. We may have lost my husband and his dad, but we know where he is. We know that he has seen our Lord face to face. I have to tell you, each time I think of that, I cry happy and sad tears.

We have been comforted and sustained by our faith and our loved ones. We have suffered and still don’t understand the loss. I am not sure when I will, but, there there is light now more than darkness. For  that I am truly comforted. Now, we can remember something good along with the sadness. Okay, so here goes.

“Lord, so many of us are in pain, are dealing with tremendous losses, and are suffering. Please watch over us, help us through these storms, and provide us with the peace and comfort that only You can give us.

“In Your mercy, hear our prayers about:

  • Deaths of our loved ones whether suddenly or by a long illness – including spouse, child, parent, sibling, grandparent, aunt or uncle, cousin, and friend
  • The long suffering of a loved one
  • Illnesses and viruses, including COVID-19
  • Cancers and tumors and the treatments
  • Dementia or Alzheimer’s
  • Mental health issues
  • Heart attacks or transplants
  • Surgeries and the recovery
  • Violence and hate
  • Bullying and threats from others
  • Job losses
  • Uncertainty of our loved one’s safety
  • Health both physical and mental of our military
  • Safety and health for our law enforcement, first responders, nurses, doctors, military, and all trying to help those who are sick or dying
  • Losses of our lives as we knew them prior to COVID
  • Racial strife and injustice
  • Treating others poorly just because they are different than us
  • Eviction from home and homelessness
  • School and learning challenges for our children and young people
  • Stress of teachers and all educators in finding the right balance
  • Our leaders and the ability to govern again with healthy debate that isn’t threatening or hateful
  • Freedom and our democracy
  • Our clergy and religious leaders in this very different time
  • Hunger and not being able to have enough food for families
  • Losses of our beloved pets who truly are part of the family
  • Uncertainty of life
  • Suffering and challenges of daily life

“Lord, may we know You are always there for us. May we reach out and help each other through these hardships. May we provide comfort and love and listen when someone needs to talk.

“May we bear one another burdens as You instructed us to do.  May we treat one another with kindness, respect, compassion, honesty, and empathy.  And, may we always, always love.

“In Your Mercy, Lord, Hear Our Prayer. Amen.”

(images from Power Point clip art)

On The Death Of Good Men Like Chadwick Boseman

Last weekend, I was saddened to learn of the death of Chadwick Boseman after a four-year battle from colon cancer. It has hit me harder than I expected and I am not sure why. He was only 43 years old, so it could be his age.

It also could be that he is another black man losing his life unexpectedly. And that has been happening way too much.  Also, it could be because he was a man of great character, empathy, kindness, and compassion.

Sadly, these are characteristics that are lacking these days. I for one wish there were more people who lived their lives as he did. It could also be that deaths are just painful, no matter how close the person was to us. Death hurts, whether it be slow with suffering or sudden and unexpected.

While battling his own cancer, Mr. Boseman went to visit sick kids at St. Jude’s Hospital. It is amazing to think that while he was filming movies, he was going through surgeries and chemotherapy. And, he was helping kids who were in a similar boat as him. Some had cancer, others had serious illnesses, and still others had diseases that were being treated.

This week, I told my son that this is the sort of man who you want to be like and learn from.  A man with integrity and dignity. A man who didn’t just play a hero but was a hero to many sick children.  A man who truly knew the meaning of empathy and helping others. A man who can still teach us how to treat one another.

We want to thank Marvel, Disney and ABC for airing “Black Panther” commercial-free on Sunday night. This movie is so good, well-written, and deserved the awards that it received. It is beautiful, shows true community, the importance of a tribe, and how leaders must have morals and values that help them govern or rule in this case.

We watched it over two nights since Sunday was a school night. I enjoyed seeing all of the lovely clothes, scenery, skin tones, and regal-ness that the film had. It seemed to be based on actual tribes and histories of them and their people.  It was just lovely and I enjoyed every minute. So did my son.

After the movie, we watched the Marvel special and then the ABC special celebrating the life of Chadwick Boseman. It was touching to see how much he and that film impacted so many people, including children. He was a hero to so many people — his colleagues, his friends, and children who looked up to him.

My son and I discussed the fact that this was the first movie that black girls and boys got to see people who looked like them in the lead roles. It wasn’t about that but instead about this man’s quest to become king of his homeland. It truly broke barriers and that is a great thing. “Wakanda Forever.”

There is a line at the end of the movie that really touched me and made me teary-eyed as we watched it several times.  It was said by the Black Panther aka King T’Challa and is something that is true in real life as well. “But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.”

We so need to do this in real life. I am tired of so much division today in our country and around the world. I am tired of those in leadership positions who don’t help with that, and often make things worse.

Enough!  It is time for us to come together rather that tearing each other down. We truly need to do this for ourselves, each other, and for our children.

True heroes don’t announce how great they are. True heroes quietly go about their heroic work and assist others as needed. True heroes go in and rescue others who need their help. I think that Mr. Boseman was one of these heroes. I only wish that he had lived longer to teach us more.

Not only did he help to change movies, his death ended up being the most tweeted item ever. Isn’t that amazing? I want to see a few of his other movies in which he portrayed Jackie Robinson, James Brown, and Thurgood Marshall.  I want my son to watch them with me and we can discuss them, depending on the rating of course.

In closing, I hope that we can do as Chadwick Boseman demonstrated and as his character reminded us. Let’s build bridges instead of barriers. Let’s look after one another. Let’s practice kindness and empathy. Let’s give of ourselves to those in need. Let’s think of others and not just our own needs and wants.  And, let’s always, always love.

(Blogger’s Note: all images are from Power Point’s clip art gallery.)

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

The Grief Goes On…

Four months ago this week, we lost the man who I was privileged to call my husband.  In some ways, it seems like it has been longer than that. In others, it has moved ahead quickly with a big hole in our lives. And most of all, our lives will never be the same.

Yesterday, I read a blog about grief. The author shared that his father died on a Saturday morning, so that day of the week would never again be the same for him. That is how it has been for me each Monday since Kirk’s passing. This author also mentioned that after such a loss, you see things in terms of before and after the event. I have found that to be true.

I can hold it together for much of the week, but each Monday morning, I tend to relive what happened, often in bits and pieces. The health crisis that he was in, calling 911, watching the police officers do CPR prior to the firemen and paramedics getting to our house and then taking over, and working on him until they took him in an ambulance to the hospital.

My parents then arrived at our house and Ian woke up.  We all then went to the hospital hoping and praying that he would be okay.  When we arrived, they put us in a side room which would have had me concerned if I wasn’t in such shock.  A nurse, a doctor, and a family liaison then came in and told us that although his heart had restarted a few times, it didn’t stay pumping and that he had died.

We screamed and cried and were in deep shock. I couldn’t process this. How is it possible? How could this happen?  He should have woken up and been okay.  We just had laughed and talked the night before going to bed.  We had just had a great and Happy Thanksgiving weekend with our family and friends.  We had just been enjoying our life.

After receiving this shock, I went to see him.  It looked like my love but didn’t feel like him.  He was cold to the touch. That was such a bizarre feeling that I will never forget.   He was always warm when I held his hand or received a hug. I knew physically that he was gone but my brain couldn’t begin to process it.

I then went back to check on our son to see how he was doing.  Our pastor was there as well and that was a great comfort.  The pastor went with me the second time I went to see Kirk and prayed for him and for us.  I looked at him and willed him to wake up, I begged God to bring him back, but sadly, that was not to be.  For some reason that I don’t yet understand, it was his time to go.

I asked the nurse for his wedding band and she took it off his hand. I have been wearing it every day since. This brings me some comfort to have a part of something that was precious to him — us and our marriage and our life together.  That is so deeply precious to me as well.

After receiving the ring, I said goodbye and then went back to check on our son who was still in shock. My parents had started reaching out to our family and friends to give them the news. I was also still in shock. They suggested going to have breakfast so we left and I tried to eat. I couldn’t process answers to questions from my mom. I was numb and lost and so deeply sad. .

Now, I wish I had stayed longer with Kirk at the hospital, but all I could think of was to be with Ian and try to be strong for him and share in his grief and loss. I have asked Kirk to forgive me for leaving him when I did. I am finding comfort in knowing that he was already in Heaven and his body was simply a shell that I could say goodbye to.

We spent the rest of the day at our house.  My brother and sister also arrived from out-of-town. It was so good to see them and share our memories. Later someone went to get food from a favorite restaurant. As we were together, I was able to eat. We talked, we cried, and we shared good times we had just had with Kirk. We grieved together and all tried to support Ian.

One of Kirk’s brothers and wife came over later to see us. Many of his family lives out-of-town and they were all there for the memorial service. Seeing them that Monday meant the world to me. We were all shocked and saddened to lose this man who meant so much to us. We didn’t really know what to say but it was helpful to just be together.

That evening, Ian’s best friend and his mother came to see us, had made us a meal, and loaned us some DVDs. It was great to see them and especially nice for Ian. Since then, we regularly see them, go to the park, have meals and watch movies together. And, the boys play together, talk and laugh, which means the world to me.

That week we were also visited by other friends, neighbors, church members, and the pastor who performed our wedding and gave us such a special message as we started our life together. We also received text messages, notes on Facebook, emails, and phone calls. These loved ones prayed with us and shared stories with us.

We are so very fortunate to have such a great support system to help us through this. People cooked us food or delivered it from our favorite restaurants. Others gave us gift cards, sympathy cards, and Christmas cards. Our friends and family have gone above and beyond for us and we are so very thankful for that.

I was married to Kirk for 20 years. Last week, we visited clients that he had worked with long before he met me.  It was nice to share stories with them about him, to hear what he meant to them, and to cry together. It has rocked them as well as my family.

That week, I slept well at our hotel and that was great. It felt good to be busy and have some purpose. I have been floundering for a while. Still, there was time to share the grief and acknowledge that it is a part of our lives. We also prayed together and also were able to laugh. So life was going on as well as the grief.

All of us will be touched one day by the loss of a loved one. Sharing that with others makes that burden more bearable. When you have loved and lost, the grief does go on.  But so does life, so we try to have good times and find the positive things that we can enjoy. At times, I feel guilty that we are moving forward, but I have to realize that is what Kirk would want for us.  He always wanted the best for us and I cherish that.

One of the things Kirk would say with some laughter is that Heaven wasn’t ready for him and hell wouldn’t take him. That Monday in late November, Heaven was ready for him. Just we who loved him were not ready. As I said earlier in this piece, I still don’t know the reason but am trying to live with the new normal.

Our son has his entire life ahead of him so I want to share that with him and celebrate it. We remember and talk about his dad. I tell him stories of times with his dad throughout his young life. And we try to carry out the plans and ideas that he’d had for our family with some adjustments.

If you are grieving, I hope and pray that you have a support system, a faith, and the knowledge that you will be reunited with your loved one in the future. That is what I believe and it helps in the hardest of times. Blessings to you and yours.