2016 A New Year…

I tried several times to write in January and just could not do it.  I think I just could not find the words to describe how I am feeling.  It’s a new year…a year that I will not spend any of it with Brian.  Brian is not in 2016…not in the pictures, not in the experiences, not even in the memories.  He is not going to be a part of 2016 and I don’t know how to even begin to process that realization.  How can there be a year without him? I wonder how this is possible…a year without him.

And yet, while I still miss him with every fiber of my being there are now days that go by that I go about my new life without the constant heavy weight of my grief.  I get up, drink coffee, go to work, come home, eat supper with Jake, shower, and go to bed…all without feeling as if my world is shattered.  While I do not find that I particularly enjoy this new life at this point, I find that I don’t  spend every waking moment praying that it will be back the way it was.  Yes, I wish my life had not been broken…yes, I would do almost anything to have Brian back…but I am beginning to see that this new life will have moments of joy.  Watching Jake grow into such a loving, generous, Christian man is now my reason for being.  There are so many times I see and hear Brian’s influence…when he holds a door for a disabled man, when he takes the trash out without being asked or gives a stranger a gift for no reason!  He has so much of Brian’s quiet love for other people!  I realize that Brian has a tremendous legacy through our son and for that I am so thankful.

The tough part of this new year is the sheer feeling of being overwhelmed dealing with life.  I am so used to being part of a pair…a couple…a team!  I always (and since we were high school sweethearts, I do mean always) had an extra pair of hands, someone to make decisions with, someone to split the duties of life with!  I never, ever understood how difficult being a single parent could be.  How lonely, scary and exhausting it is!  I thank God for both Brian’s parents and my own parents for all they do for me!  The simple logistics they help me with is astounding and I am so blessed that they love me enough to help me when I need help.  I thank God for friends…old and new…that understand me where I am.  They listen to me and support me and allow me to feel my sorrows, my successes and my fears!

Jeremiah 17:7,8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

I read this verse and I feel as if I was ripped out of the ground and replanted in a new and strange place.   My roots are not deep and certainly not strong but Jeremiah reminds me that I need remain where God has planted me.  I need to trust His love and I will begin to grow roots…I will begin to have green leaves and just as a tree, someday I will begin to bear fruit again and feel fulfilled.  I am not very strong or straight right now but rather feel like a young sapling battered by the wind  but I pray that my God will help me grow stronger in this new year.

 barren tree

…all the broken pieces…

I dreaded the coming of Christmas day.  Yes, I said it…out loud.  While I thank God for the wonderful gift of Jesus Christ I dreaded the rush of emotion the day  would bring.  Christmas is meant to be spent with those you love and I love Brian and he is not here.  I dreaded the tears and sense of despair I knew would come.  I simply resolved to survive it.  I told people that we would “get through it”.  Yes, I dreaded the coming of Christmas day.

As I sit here on December 26th drinking coffee from a Christmas gift that has Ecclesiastes 3:11 on it I am reminded that God is so good to me and wants to bless me.  My coffee mug states, “He takes the broken pieces and makes them Beautiful.”  I would never have thought that these messy, broken pieces of my spirit could be beautiful, especially this first Christmas day.  But, yesterday God performed a miracle in my life…my day was indeed beautiful.  While I missed Brian terribly, I found great joy in having “his” family in my home for Christmas breakfast (he would have loved that by the way), I had great fun watching Jake ride his new 4-wheeler (sort of a gift from his Dad…I traded in Brian’s motorcycle for it), and then great comfort and laughter in dinner with “my” family last night.

Yes, I teared up a few times throughout the day but the anticipated sobbing and wailing did not come.  The intense pain I expected to have to push through like wet sand did not come.  The loneliness that I expected to swallow me whole did not come.  Yes, I missed Brian…I miss Brian with my whole being everyday but yesterday God gave me a beautiful day as a Christmas gift and I thank Him for loving me so much!!

If you are grieving, I pray God will take your “broken pieces” and make them beautiful very soon!  Merry Christmas and God bless us every one!

Sadness in a season of joy

Psalm 147:3  He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

I have not been able to write since mid-November…everything I feel is just so, so sad.  Does anyone really want to hear it anymore?  It’s been 18 weeks and I feel that everyone is tired of my grief.  I know I am tired of my grief.  Maybe the only people that can truly understand are other widows…maybe others like me feel just like me!  But, these are my feelings…my thoughts…my struggles and so, I write…for me and for them!

I was so pleased with our trip to the beach just before Thanksgiving.  Jake and I spent time just being in that place.  There was a certain degree of fear in returning there and there were times when it was hard…for me there were hours spent on the beach praying, thinking of that terrible day but feeling peace…feeling no fear of that “place”.   Jake and I were able to make new, good memories…seeing a Christmas show, riding scooters around the campground, shopping at Broadway at the Beach, and even racing go-karts.  In a symbol of healing we wrote letters to Brian, put them in a peach cider bottle (Brian’s favorite and a beach vacation tradition) and threw the bottle into the ocean.  Jake called it a “release” and he said it felt good.  We even made plans for our summer vacation and how we would honor Brian during that trip – it was a healing trip.

But then we came home…and the holiday season began.  Now, I knew the holidays would be hard but I had no idea how sad and depressed I would feel…how I still feel!  Thanksgiving day was long and when it was over I was glad.  While I am thankful to God for so much I still grieve the loss of life as I knew it, as it was supposed to be!  Now the Christmas season is here and my wounds are ripped opened and bleeding again!  Everything, everything…EVERYTHING reminds me of my loss.  Every Christmas carol, every Christmas sermon at church, decorating the Christmas tree…I am constantly reminded that this year will be completely different.  I long for Brian’s presence during this special time of the year.  This is a time of family and joy and my family feels broken.  It just feels empty, as if I am just going through the motions, just doing what is expected.  I don’t want to feel depressed…I want to sing Christmas songs, smile, and laugh but it is so hard.  I have always loved the Christmas season but picking out Christmas flowers for your husband’s grave is absolutely HORRENDOUS!! I want to be healed…for my wounds to be bound.  I want the season to come and pass…I want this “first” to be over.  I want to SCREAM “My husband died, my son’s daddy died, don’t you know that? Don’t you see how sad I am? How can you expect us to act as if everything is merry and jolly?!?”  The world around me is smiling, buying presents, going to parties and laughing with those they love and I sit and cry.  I cry every night…again…I thought I was past that overwhelming feeling and now that fresh, hard grief is back.

So, that is where I am…mourning.  I mourn Brian, the life I had, the joy of this season…I mourn.

My prayer, “Dear God, please bind my wounds and heal my heart.  Please help me to remember that this season is about the Gift of Jesus and that it is because of that Gift I can have peace that Brian is with you…right now and that someday we will all be reunited.  Lord, please help me to find some joy this Christmas.  Help me to be sure to keep this Christmas season as happy as possible for Jake!  Help me not to allow my sadness and loneliness make this time worse for him.  Give me Your joy and let me be what Jake needs me to be and remember that You love me and care for me.  Remind me every day that Christmas is about You and not about me! Give me strength and peace…Your peace.  Amen”

If you are grieving this holiday season,  I pray for you this season.  I pray that you can find someone you can share your grief with, your fears, your tears.  I pray you know that God cares about you and wants to heal and bind your wounds but I hope you know that this deep a wound takes a very long time to heal.  I also hope you will reach out to someone else that is grieving to let them know they are not alone in their sorrow and that you too can understand that the holidays are hard and lonely but that they are not alone.  May God bless you…all of us…with His peace this Christmas.  Merry Christmas!

 

 

A bit lost…

It’s been almost 3 weeks since I have written my thoughts. I’ve thought many times in the last weeks, “oh, I need to write about that…” several times.  But, quite honestly I have not felt the energy to sit down and write.  I feel as if I have been wandering around without a map or a GPS system.  There have been difficult times and wonderful times in the last weeks.

Wonderful…I got together with three other widows recently for dinner.  It was a wonderful time of sharing, mourning, laughing and crying together.  We truly realized that no one else can possibly understand how we feel, what we fear, what we have lost…just us!  We were able to lend a sympathetic ear, a nod of agreement, hugs of encouragement and prayers for peace to each other.  It was the beginning of new relationships for us.  We are certain God will bless our friendship and grant us His support through that friendship.

Difficult…I still miss Brian beyond words.  He has been gone for almost 16 weeks now and the grief is still incredibly strong.  I think of him all the time, every day, every hour…in fact, I feel as if my grief consumes my every waking moment.  I cannot escape my grief at work or home. Sometimes I am not sure I want to escape it but then there are times I want to be happy, to find the same joy I had before Brian died.  I do not cry every day anymore but that does not mean I am not grieving.  I sat in church this morning listening to a wonderful sermon on healing and wondered why God would not bring Brian back from the dead, why He allowed him to die in the water that day, why He would not take my own pain away?  I wondered…why Brian, why me…why God…WHY?

Difficult…everyday tasks and chores can seem overwhelming sometimes.  While I have written about my own sense of independence what I have not included is the fear and inadequacy I feel every day.  I am solely responsible for decisions for our son, for decisions about home repairs, for decisions about everything.  I have always had Brian to share those decisions with and now to have to rely on myself is a frightening feeling!  Yes, I have a wonderful support system in my family and friends but ultimately I have to rely on me! I find that I doubt by own ability on a daily basis and this is such a new and unknown feeling for me!  I ask God daily for the ability to make wise decisions.

Difficult…going back to where it all happened.  It is time to go back.  Jake and I have a trip planned to return to the beach, the campground, that spot where our lives were changed forever and I am afraid!  I am afraid of going back to that moment…to facing those memories…to wondering if his death was my fault in some way.  While I feel that this is the right thing to do and the right time to do it, it does not take the fear away.  I pray to God that He can turn this trip into something that will alleviate the fear and bring healing for Jake and me.  I pray that being there, at that spot, facing that day will allow us to move past it in a positive way.  I pray that by being in the campground we will be able to find and remember our joy and laughter.  The campground was our family’s “happy place” and I do not want to lose those wonderful memories…I want to be able to remember and smile!  I want this so desperately!  I do not want fear to rule our lives!

Wonderful…one of Jake’s young friends told him at Brian’s funeral that he and his father were very touched by Jake’s eulogy and he asked Jake about God.  Jake’s friend and family did not believe in God and Jake had talked with his friend so many times about how God was working in his life.  That terrible day my son was able to water a seed that was planted…today he learned that friend and his family are now attending a church and his young friend is considering giving his life to God!  What a wonderful God we serve!  He alone can take such a terrible day and make something wonderful!  Praise God!!

From my devotion today, John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” 

I am so thankful that my God has overcome this world and my trouble…my difficulties are easy for him and my wonderful times are to be praised!  I need to remember daily that He has all of my difficulties in His hands and I must remember that my wonderful moments are because of Him and through Him.  He loves me, he has a plan…a map…a GPS-laid out journey for me…Thank you God for loving me as I trudge through this valley.  Remind me daily that I am not alone and I am not simply wandering aimlessly in the wilderness!!

The Widows
The newly formed widows group!

Mad, frustrated, feeling helpless and alone

Saturday October 24th was my 28th wedding anniversary and I had a busy day planned.  I mistakenly thought that if I could stay busy the day would pass uneventfully.  Oh, was I wrong!

I woke Saturday morning at 6am with the thought…”ARGGHH, I’m supposed to bring the drinks for today’s soccer game!”  The 9am soccer game, the game right after 8:15am soccer pictures!  My first thought is “Brian is up so he can run get the drinks”…really, for that first few moments I completely forgot that Brian had died and would not be able to help me.  So, I was at Ingle’s at 7am getting water and Gatorade.  Ok, task one down…off to soccer.  We get to the field and I’m lugging the cooler across the field and the wheel falls off…just falls completely off.  I stop in the middle of the field fighting tears and drag the cooler the rest of the way.  OK, task two down.  By now I’m mad, frustrated, feeling helpless and alone!  They lose the game by the way.

Jake & I get home and I decide I need to hang a new flag on my house where the bracket was broken off.  I go to Lowe’s, buy a new flag pole and bracket, go to Brian’s shop to get everything I need to drill holes in the brick…tap con set, drill, the right drill bit, everything!  You would know the new bracket would not work in the previously drilled holes!  I work and work and work and cannot get holes drilled…I come back in the house crying.  Later on in the afternoon I realize there is very little water pressure in the house…barely enough for a shower and I can’t figure out why.  Again, I’m mad, frustrated, feeling helpless and alone!

I’m told by family and friends on a daily basis…call me if you need me.  Well, Saturday I needed my husband…I needed Brian  I wanted to feel I could handle things on my own…by myself but I couldn’t!   I asked God several times, “Didn’t you know I would need him today?  Didn’t you know how hard this would be?”  I was raised to be independent, strong and to be able to handle things but God gave me a partner, a helper that I came to depend on and now I have no partner and I am struggling to learn to do things on my own, by myself.  I am having to learn to find ways to do things without a partner.  I realize I can’t depend on the kindness of others because they have their own lives to live, their own chores to be done their own time constraints.   As much as people say they want to help (and I know they are sincere) they have their stuff and issues to deal with.

Then I am helping out with a youth function at church which leaves me with a lot of down time, sitting in the dark, alone and I have time to consider the day and wonder what I am supposed to do.  You see, I am a strong woman!  My Daddy and Brian both made sure of that.  I have the God-given ability to think through problems and yet I have found myself feeling so overwhelmed by this new life…by tremendous grief and no one can fix that.  My sweet Daddy can come and take off my trash, change light bulbs, and help with water filters but even my Daddy cannot fill the hole that is left in my heart!  I wish he could, I know he wants to!

Sitting in the dark Saturday night I was reminded that God is the only one that can help me find my way.  While I will still have times when I feel mad, frustrated, helpless and alone I know I need to pause and call out to God for help.

Hebrews 4:15-16 reminds me “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

I am so thankful that when I feel mad, frustrated, helpless and alone I have a heavenly Father who sympathizes with me and will give me grace in my need!  So, I can get up the next day, shake off the hard feelings and take a step forward in His mercy as I continue the journey through the valley.  Will there be more hard days? Yes, but I find peace that He cares about my little problems and He has given me an independent and strong spirit. Will I get through this valley without my partner? Yes, I will and I will do with the confidence given to me by God, my Daddy, and my life with Brian!

In honor of our 28th anniversary!
In honor of our 28th anniversary!

A Rock?

2015-10-13 14.50.57

How can a piece of granite mean so much, hold such sacredness, evoke such emotion?  It’s a cold, hard rock, a slab of granite, an inanimate object! Right?

I was called to the cemetery yesterday to answer a question about exactly how I wanted Brian’s grave marker placed.   I answered the questions and then stood while they carefully prepared the earth and set the marker.  You see Brian told me often he wanted to be buried between his grandparents and that is what I did…I buried his ashes right between them and so the marker is positioned between them.

So, back to the question at hand how can a piece of rock be so powerful?  I have been watching that little piece of dirt for weeks expecting every afternoon to see that the monument company had slipped in and quietly done their job but I had not anticipated watching them place it.  These men were so kind, they accommodated my telling them right, left, up, and down without a word.  My wonderful pastor and a sweet man from my church stood right there next to me as the men worked.  After the job was complete, we held hands and my pastor prayed…thanking God for my loving husband and all he has meant to me, our family and our church.  He asked God to continue to support me and strengthen me.  He quoted Philippians and all I could think was how I started this journey with Philippians 1:3 “I thank God every time I remember you” (see my first entry) and I do thank God every time I remember Brian.

So, after such a sweet and loving prayer they left me to talk with God and Brian myself.  I know God could hear me…I hope He let Brian listen.  I stood out in that wide open space, in the bright sunshine, in front of anyone driving by and sobbed…thanking Brian for being such a strong Christian man, the love of my life, and a wonderful father!  I thanked God for bringing him into my life for almost 28 years of marriage and I asked God to give me the strength to live this new life! A new life that is now 11 weeks old…only 11 weeks…still so new!!  I selfishly asked God to allow Brian to be with me when I needed him! Then I did something that surprised me!  I touched that rock as if I was touching Brian and suddenly this went from being a simple spot of dirt to being a sacred space.  No, my husband is not there but this is where his name will be forever etched and someday mine will join his!

I am once again reminded of John 11: 33-35 “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and was troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”  Jesus wept.”

If the grief at the tomb of a friend was enough to being Jesus to tears, why should I be surprised that a rock would become so important in my world?

 

 

How long do we grieve?

A fellow widow recently said that she was told only a few weeks after her husband died that she needed to move on.  This person cited that God gave the Israelites only 30 days to mourn before they were instructed to move on.  This statement totally infuriated me…not only for her and her loss but for ME! How could anyone EVER tell a woman who has lost the love of her life, the partner God gave her, the father of her children, the center of all future plans and dreams to “move on” or “get over it”.  I was instantly filled with rage and then with fear.  Fear that I am not “moving on” or “getting over it”!  Then I began to consider what those phrases mean…to move on or get over it.

I contend that God did not intend there to be a commandment for the length of my mourning.  In fact, 1 Samuel 30:4 says, “Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep.”  David’s wives had been captured and I suspect he did not know if they were alive or dead and he wept until he had no more strength.  I suspect the weeping in those early days was indeed with raised voices and lasted a full thirty days.  I know for me I cried loudly and violently for the first 30 days after Brian’s death.  The second 30 days, I wept more quietly, more privately, less violently but daily.  In the past two weeks, I have still wept but not every day and almost always in private.  In all honesty, I have no more strength to weep!  Perhaps my strength is just being used going through the motions of daily life; working, studying, paying bills, dealing with the estate, finding insurance, being a single mom…perhaps it is that simple…I just have no more strength to weep.  In all honesty, there are days I want to go home, crawl back into bed, cover my head and weep all day!  But instead my strength is spent taking a very deep breath and working through the grief right there…in my office…in my car…at church…at the grocery store…where ever I am, doing whatever I have to do!  Life does require a certain amount of strength and 11 weeks ago I had a wonderful partner to share those jobs with…now I don’t and that takes a lot of strength.

So, I will remind myself that while I do not weep with raised voice as I did those first 30 days…I still mourn…I still grieve.  I will grieve Brian’s death the rest of my life despite the fact that I am using my strength to live the life God has for me now!

I will cling to Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  I mourn and I am indeed comforted.  Thank you God for loving me enough to understand my mourning, my weeping, and the limitations of my strength!  Thank you for comforting me…even when people say really dumb things!!

Brian and Jake, Easter Sunday morning 2006...who would not grieve this man for a lifetime?
Brian and Jake, Easter Sunday morning 2006…who would not grieve this man for a lifetime?

It’s still raining!

It’s been 66 days since my world turned upside down.  I have had an up and down week.  My birthday was Tuesday and I was hit by wave after wave of grief…grief at an intensity I did not expect.  I expected my son’s birthday last week to be hard…for him and for me!  I expect holidays to be hard, for Wednesdays to be hard, for the 29th of every month to be hard but I did not expect this to hit me so hard.

Brian and I had a running joke about birthdays, if the card was not a Hallmark it did not count!  Several weeks after he died I was going through his closet and found a Hallmark bag full of cards from a husband and a son (one for him to give and one for Jake)…birthday, anniversary, Mother’s day…enough for several years!  While at first I thought, “that little cheater” now I know what a tremendous gift that is.  So, I pulled out two cards one from Brian and one for Jake to sign.  They both still sit on my mantel…one signed by my sweet son and one signed only in my heart!  I cried all day Tuesday as I longed to hear him tell me “happy birthday”, to “argue” with him over what HE was going to cook for dinner, to read a card in which he wrote how he loved me more and more every year, maybe even some silly, sappy poem!!  Felt like I was crazy to feel so tender, so weak, so weepy that I cried every time someone wished me a happy birthday!  What a hard, hard day!

On a more positive note, Jake and I made Memory Bears Thursday night out of some of Brian’s clothes (see picture below)!  We were able to make three bears and it was a tremendous experience and such a comfort to us.  We are already excited for the next workshop so we can make bears for family members!  It’s amazing how you can go from, “I can’t bear to cut up his shirt” to soon holding a teddy bear in your arms and crying because it is something of your loved one you can hold tightly.  During the workshop I got to meet another young widow I have been conversing with but never met…it was such a sweet meeting, lots of hugging and a joy to touch someone who knows…someone who really, truly knows your pain is a connection at such a deep level!

But, it’s still raining and the rain just matches my melancholy mood today.  I am not loudly mourning today…just sad.  You see Brian should have been here today, napping on the couch, helping me to hang curtains, worrying about whether the basement will flood, and just generally fussing about the rain.  He should be here with me and I am sad that I am alone!

One of my devotions this week Matthew 26:36-39 reminded me that Jesus Himself felt sad, troubled, grieved, completely overwhelmed by sorrow!  36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

I feel sorrow that a huge part of me died…I am troubled that I am alone…I am completely overwhelmed with sadness at times and I too cry out to God but where I fail so miserably is that I do not  really want God’s will to be done!  You see, I want my will to be done!!  I am selfish and I want Brian to come home, I want things to be back the way they were a few months ago, I desperately want my life back and I want this horrible pain to go away!  But, I know that this plan that God has for me is His will and I want…really, I want to say with my heart “Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  As I continue to walk in this valley, I pray that my faith will continue to grow until I can say “your will, not mine” and know that I mean it in my heart and not just say it with my words!

If you are walking in this valley, I hope you know that God truly knows how you feel…like no one else does!  He cares for you just as He does for me and so despite the rain I will keep saying “your will, not mine” and work to trust that His will is ultimately best!

But, I’d still like the rain to stop!! 

Memory Bears
The one on the left is from one of his work shirts, the one in the middle from his “Saturday” shirt as Jake called it, and the one on the right from his bathrobe!  

Rainy Days

What is it about rainy days that bring out sadness?  We have been in such a terrible drought and we have had sunny, hot days consistently since July 29th.  Other than the occasional afternoon thunderstorm it has been beautiful weather.  This weekend it has rained constantly, very needed rain for a dry land but it has brought a sadness that I did not expect.  I have kept as busy as possible but still the sadness has crept in…culminating in an hour of crying…no, sobbing…as if Brian’s death was yesterday.

Despite finishing the thank you notes, shopping for some new fall clothes, going to church, having Sunday lunch with friends, grocery shopping, eating an early pizza dinner and an hour of skating with Jake (told you I have tried to stay busy) I still managed to drop Jake off at evening church and then could not even stay for church myself.  Came home, threw myself across the bed and wailed to God…once again begging him to end this somehow!  Bring Brian home, take away my pain, give me more strength, forgive me for my lack of faith in His plan for my life…it was as if the loss was days old rather than weeks old!  I just don’t understand what happened.  One day I feel I am strong, my faith in God is on solid ground and then suddenly that 100 foot wave hits me from behind knocking me under the water, rolls me around in the surf and leaves me gasping for air.

One day I’m OK, I am supporting others in this journey and feeling pretty good about my own strength…then I am reminded (quite loudly mind you) that I am weak, helpless, tired, and so sad.  I don’t know how to do this, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, how am I supposed to feel?  I hate this!  I hate this! I hate this!!  I’ve been sick and Brian was not here to take care of me, I am tired of buying dog food (his job), I am lonely (and no, it doesn’t matter how many people are with me) and I want to talk to Brian…share my day, my fears, my life but I can’t and I HATE IT!!

OK, this week has been full of me feeling sorry for myself and frankly it still is.  This evening I tried to explain to God that I am not who I want to be…I am not strong, I am not self-sufficient, and honestly, I do not want this new life.  My Sunday School class is studying Revelations and I can’t help but pray for the end of the world…this pain would then be over and we could all be together.  Then I think, do I really want the world to end? Well, no not really but what I do want is my sense of peace back , my sense of happiness, my joy back, and to hear my own true and real laughter.  Lying across my bed, I suddenly think of my son and I know that I have to pull myself out of my depths of despair by asking God to help me start over!

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

So I dry my eyes, blow my nose and sit up and ask God to help me, to forgive me for my weakness, and remind me constantly that though Him this valley of the shadow can be conquered in time.  I ask Him to help me be what my son needs and what He wants me to be.  I ask Him to use my moments, hours, and days of weakness in some way to help me grow in Him!  This journey is so hard and seems so endless but after my meltdown…I once again feel God’s arms around me telling me that He has me and He understands my despair.  He just asks me to trust Him and lean on Him right now and He gives me permission to feel sad on rainy days!!  Maybe tomorrow the sun will shine for a few minutes!!

A day of joy, excitement, & sadness

Well, it has certainly been a day filled with lots of emotions…good and bad!

First emotion…sheer joy & pride!  I celebrated the 12th birthday of my sweet son!  It is so hard to believe that 12 years ago today Brian and I first held that sweet baby that would grow to be such a wonderful young man!  I will never forget how proud Brian was to hold his son for the first time.  The look on his face at that moment was so tender and gentle.  I was never more in love with him than I was at that moment.  I went to school and had lunch with Jake today and as I watched him laugh over tacos I was reminded of the most important part of life…love! Jake is definitely a child loved by his Dad and his Mom!!

Next emotion… excitement!  I bought a car today!  I know that sounds insane but Brian and I had been talking about the fact our SUV had almost 200,000 miles and we needed to look for something soon.  Well, Brian had an addendum to his employee’s life insurance policy that I did not know anything about.  So, I used that money to buy a new car today.  I was excited about something new and fresh and I consider it Brian’s last birthday present to me (my birthday is next week).  I wondered what he would say about my decision but I know that he would be proud that I didn’t spend all the money, got a great deal, and we are now in a very safe, dependable car with an excellent maintenance plan.

Next emotion…sadness.  I attended the funeral of my cousin’s husband.  He died after a very short illness and I feel such intense sorrow for her today.  As I sat in the funeral I was taken back to being on the front row of Brian’s service wondering how it could be real…praying to wake up from the nightmare that seemed to be my life!  My heart broke as I watched my cousin’s heart breaking while sitting on the front row and her tears were my tears as she followed that beautiful silver coffin out of the church.  Her husband was a Christian and, like me, she knows he is with his God and is at rest but like me…she wants him back with her!  As I left the funeral, I cried and cried…hating the fact that we now have this terrible thing in common!  We both lost the love of our lives, we are now widows and now have to find a new way in this life we didn’t plan for or want.  One of the minister’s today spoke from Revelation and tonight as I read in that prophetic book I came to this,

Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

I look forward to the day when there are no more tears, no more crying, no more mourning, and no more pain.  While I am no longer in the “sack-cloth and ashes” stage of grief as my cousin is…I have certainly not passed the point of tears, crying and pain.  It has been exactly 8 weeks since Brian’s death…56 days and I’m still crying but today I praise God for the joy of my sweet Jake, the excitement of gifts, and the precious memory of a love that will never, ever, EVER end!  God is good and I thank Him for such blessings in my life!
Dear Lord,
If you will, please tell Brian he was greatly missed today…we love him and thank You for the time we had together! We remember his laughter on days like birthdays and smile at the thought!
Lee Ann & Jake
Brian & Jake from a birthday past!
Brian & Jake from a birthday past! Such a great Dad!!