Please don't read too much into this statistic . . . . I'm not saying that I've lied every time I've told you (or anyone else) that "I'm Fine", but this little quote DID catch my eye! I think SO often we (whether in the midst of an earth shaking, rock your world crisis like us or just dealing with "living" day to day) are very quick to answer "I'm Fine". It's just easier. It's just quicker. And, does the person asking REALLY want to know how we are, or is it just the "polite" question that we so often use when greeting one another? Do I really want someone to answer that honestly? Hhhhmmm . . . brings me BACK to the question I asked last night, DO I LOVE WELL? How can I LOVE better, how can I ASK "How are you" and be ready for the REAL answer, not the "canned", "I'm Fine"? That IS my desire, that IS one thing that I have learned on this new road that I'm on!! I've learned that I want to have EMPATHY for others. I want to LOVE and to SERVE. I want to point others to JESUS . . . so that someday, they will join RICK (and me!) in HEAVEN!
Last night I mentioned that I sent an e-mail (maybe not very successfully) trying to express my muddled thoughts . . .
Today, on another sweet widow's Facebook "timeline" I found "What Grieving People Want You to Know" by Virginia A. Simpson, PhD . . . I'm not going to share all of the points that were there, just the ones that JUMPED off the page at me - the ones that validated that I'm not crazy and I'm not the only one feeling these feelings!!
- I'm not strong, I'm numb. When you tell me I am strong, I feel that you don't see me.
- I will not "recover". This is not a cold or the flu. I'm not sick - I'm grieving and that's different. I will not always be grieving as intensely (and some days I'll grieve terribly, and some days won't be as bad or as hard), but I will never forget Rick and rather than recover, I want to incorporate Rick's life and love into the rest of my life. Rick is a part of me and always will be, and sometimes I will remember him with joy and other times with a tear. Both are o.k.
- PLEASE DON'T AVOID ME!! (even if you think seeing me is "too hard" for you - if it's hard for you, what do think it is for me, and the kids and Rick's parents and my parents and our siblings . . . ) You can't "catch" my grief. My world is painful and when you are too afraid to call me or visit or say anything, you isolate me at a time when I most need to be cared about. If you don't kow what to say, just come over, give me a hug or touch my arm and gently say, "I'm sorry." You can even say, "I just don't know what to say, but I care, and want you to know that."
- PLEASE DON'T SAY "CALL ME IF YOU NEED ANYTHING" I'll never call you because I have no idea what i need! Trying to "figure out" what you could do for me takes more energy than I have. So, in advance, let me give you some ideas . . . A. Bring food (or a store or restaurant gift certificate - and it really does mean alot when you say, "I'm bringing you supper this week - what night works best for you!" . . . this way, I know you're not going to give me an out, but I do have SOME say in the matter!). B. Send me a card (or text message, or e-mail or Facebook message) and remember to mention Rick's name. You can't make me cry. The tears are here and I will love you for giving me the opportunity to shed them because someone cared enough to reach out. D. Ask me MORE THAN ONCE to join you for a movie or lunch or an event. I may say no at first or for awhile, but please DON'T give up, somewhere down the line, I'll be ready and if you've given up, then I'll really be alone. (This one was a GREAT re-affirmation for me, because I was told that if someone offers and is told no, and their intention was a feeble attempt to show me love and encouragement and I meet it with offense, they may not ask again!)
- TRY to UNDERSTAND that this is like I'm in a foreign country where I don't speak the language and I have no map to tell me what to do. Even if there were a map, I'm not sure right now I could understand what it was saying. I'm lost and in a fog. I'm confused.
- Please don't complain to me about your husband, your wife or your children. Right now, I'd be delighted to have us all here together, NO MATTER WHAT we were doing!
- PLEASE just love me as I am today, and know , that with your love and support, the joy will slowly return to my life.
Right around that time, I also shared a quote from a sermon that I heard which may be a better way to express what I wish for me and my church to become . . . (the church must) "Be the GREATEST restorative force in the lives of those it contacts" . . . which was followed up by the illustration that things that have been "restored" are usually better than they were originally. Do we "love" well enough to restore? To be the GREATEST restorative force in those we come into contact with? THAT is a HUGE "command" . . . Do I desire that? Not for myself to "be" restored only, but to be a catalyst for RESTORATION in the lives of others?!
Today, we had a SNOWSTORM . . . a LEAP DAY snowstorm!! This is the little path that we shoveled on our back deck . . .
We were truly SNOWED IN today. The snow was too heavy to move with the snow blower, and certainly too heavy to move much with our shovels, so, we waited to be rescued by a truck with a plow. Something I've NEVER had to do before. Rick always had the 4-wheeler with the plow, ready to go in the event of a snow storm . . . today, I was fully reliant upon someone else. And, I survived it! I actually enjoyed it. It forced me to be patient! In weather like this, EVERYONE wants to be plowed out, and everyone wants to be first! Today, I told them to "get to me when you can. I have nowhere to go, so take care of the other jobs that you have, come here when it's convenient for you". . . . I shoveled the little path on the deck and a trail over to Gramma & Papa's. The girls and I cleared a small area right outside of the garage door where I didn't think the truck could squeeze in, but other than that, we waited! And we are now plowed out, but it's still a sloppy mess out there, side roads are bad and at last report, the highway was still pretty messy so we have a 2nd SNOW DAY tomorrow!!
Two more things . . .
FIRST . . . please remember to go over to CIRCLE OF MOMS TOP 25 and VOTE . . . you can vote once every 24 hours through 5:00 p.m. PST on March 7! Since Rick's death, I have PRAYED that I could bring GLORY to God through this situation. That I could share Christ's AMAZING love and Rick's legacy . . . maybe this blog can do that!
SECOND, and MORE important . . . today, there was an accident in our area, 4 teenagers (16 years old) from a neighboring school were in a car that skidded out of control, hitting an oncoming pickup head on. The 16 year old driver was killed and the other front seat passenger in his vehicle is in serious condition. The boy who was killed is the nephew of a classmate of mine. I don't know the boy personally, but I know the family, I know who his mom & dad are. And I ache for them tonight. Please keep them in your prayers, won't you?