I posted this on Sunday....I mistakenly deleted it on Monday....try as I might, I could not retrieve it....tonight, I pulled out my iPad and opened my browser and there was my "lost" post....guess it WAS supposed to be posted after all, not just when I tried!!
And since its been a couple of days, a quick update...things are going well. We are aware that Sunday is Father's Day but I have talked to each of the girls and they are doing ok....in fact, Kajsa wants to do her family party Sunday! (we will be on VACATION on her Birthday!) God has been granting me His peace and patience as I wait on an answer from Him, and I've been fairly content in the waiting....which is not the norm for me! Today, I kept having "flashbacks" to November 5, different places triggered memories of different parts of the day, which doesn't happen THAT often anymore....not sure why, but again, God was faithful and saw me through! I've been re-reminded of the great friends I have and just walked with one of them through a little health scare which appears to be under control and nothing to worry about, as she and I said, YEAH GOD!!
And now to Sunday's lost post (it's pretty long....)
Today in church we sang "In Christ Alone". I don't often "hear" Rick's voice in my head. I don't often dream of him either (and in my contact with other widows, this is common, not sure why?). However, today, as we sang, I clearly remembered Rick singing, just a portion of that song as we sat together in church (one of those places that is full of people yet I now feel so alone). The portion of the song where I "heard" his voice goes like this:
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry, to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny;
No power of hell,
no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
'Till He returns,
or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.
You can listen to the whole song by clicking HERE!
One of the FEW times that I "hear" Rick's voice - very clearly, as if he was standing there right next to me, and it speaks the very TRUTH that has sustained me since November 5. With God, there are NO "coincidences", but that's sure what I call a "God thing"!
As I walked to church tonight for the first night of VBS, I took the back way, 5 miles to church with the temperatures in the mid 80's . . . WHAT was I thinking?? . . . I got to "thinking" . . . scary thought, I know!
I KNOW that I have been disappointed in others over the past 7 months. Sometimes, the disappointment is real and has a reason, often, it's because I don't communicate my needs well, and other times, it's simply because people truly don't know what to do, what to say, how to act . . . and, I'm learning I'm not alone - other widows, across the country (and I'm sure the world) struggle with similar feelings. I don't want someone to know those things, because in the "knowing", they would have to be "living it", and I don't wish that on others! However, thanks to the WORLD WIDE WEB, we are much more connected to other people. Those who, not too many years ago, would have remained strangers, can now become friends. My prayer is that in the friendships that I am forging with other widows (and their prayers as well) would be that through our circumstances, we could educate others, so that we can better follow the Biblical mandates to "care for widows and orphans".
Ahem, back to my walk, oh, yes! As I was walking, I was thinking how to feebly attempt to give some sort of explanation and the following is the best I could come up with . . . (DISCLAIMER: These are MY opinions & thoughts - my grief journey can't be compared to anyone else's, therefore someone else may have completely different feelings on the same issues - this is why I believe it can be so difficult to minister to the grieving - no two people grieve the same!) First of all, I notice that people tend to think that the "big" days are when I need them the most. You know, the "anniversary" days - the 5th of the month, on Saturdays, Christmas, Graduation . . . you know . . . but honestly, I can "psych myself up" for those days. I KNOW they are coming, I can prepare myself for them, they are still tough, but I've got warning they are on the way, I have planned for them. It's the normal days that can be harder. I can't tell you when those days are, because they are unpredictable. The day when the washing machine isn't working right and I have no idea why. The day when the garbage cans are full and I just don't want to make another trip to the dumpster. The day when 3 girls need to be in 3 different places and there is only one of me. Those are the days when I "need" to just have someone "there". People say they are "there", just "call anytime you need anything", but in reality, everyone is still busy LIVING LIFE. I am realizing that it doesn't mean they love any less or mean the "call anytime" sentiment any less, I'm just not the "priority" to them that I was to Rick . . . sigh. (Another Disclaimer - my parents live next door and I SERIOUSLY don't know what we would do without them!) I have also heard quite often, "Oh, my goodness, today must have been hard for you, I can only imagine that I would . . . _______________ (fill in the blank). But, in reality, you CAN'T. You can't imagine how I am feeling at any given time any more than I can imagine how you are feeling. With that thought in mind, of "imagining" how someone else is feeling, I began to formulate this blog post (took me long enough to get to it, right?) . . .
To TRY to give it a LITTLE perspective, TRY to imagine . . . (L=Ladies, M=Men, B=Both)
(L) - He leaves for a "quick" morning errand, you have plans for a little later in the day, you talk to him on his cell phone about 1/2 hour before your afternoon plans are going to start . . . but he never comes home, instead a Police Officer is in your yard.
(M) - You leave to finish up something so you and your family can do something later in the day - you don't make it home - you will NEVER again come home to your loving wife and family.
(L) - You hear a Dr. say those words to you, "I'm sorry, _____ (insert your husband's name here) didn't make it." And, in that INSTANT, the life you have known to this point is NO MORE.
(L) - Imagine that you are only 45 years old and you have 3 children still living at home who NEED, LOVE, WANT their Daddy - as do his 2 older children and his grand babies - who for the most part, will forget what a wonderful person Papa was - because they are simply too young.
(M) - Think about all those "little projects" you were going to get to "some day" that are now still waiting, but "some day" will never come. WHAT would you want others to do for your beloved? HOW would you want your friends, your brothers in Christ to take care of your family, now that you are no longer here to do it yourself? And remember, she probably doesn't even realize all of the little day-to-day things you did to take care of her and the kids - she just knows you couldn't get your socks in the laundry basket!
(L) - Try to decide where to turn from here. What is right, what is wrong, HOW are you supposed to act, re-act, where do you turn, who can you trust to lead you now that the head of the family is no longer here.
(M) - What would your wife, children, grandchildren NEED if you were suddenly gone? What will they do? How will they survive? You were very possibly the primary (if not only) breadwinner. How will they pay the mortgage, 2nd mortgage, home improvement loans, car payments, medical bills . . . and beyond the immediate, obvious needs and concerns, will they be able to stay in the house you have, together, made into a home, buy groceries, pay for insurance (homeowners, auto, health, dental, vision, life . . . ), pay for college . . . pay for LIFE . . . HOW would you want others to care for your wife if she were in the shoes of a widow?
(L) - To add to all the other changes in your life, remember that you are now single (though you probably consider yourself still married to the spouse you loved dearly), so even though you have things at your home that need to be done, you now have to worry if it is "appropriate" to ask male friends to come and help you . . .
(M) - Imagine that your wife is now alone in this world. Statistics state that: "A widow will lose 75% of her friends. 50% will leave their church after being widowed. 60% will suffer a serious illness within the first year. In most cases, income declines." With these staggering numbers, WHAT would you hope that others would do for your wife - so that she does not become one of these statistics?
This is a SHORT list. This is a list to give you a glimpse. To TRY to imagine. On November 5, 2011, I LOST HALF OF ME. Rick was not only my husband and the Daddy to my kids, he WAS MY BEST FRIEND! We didn't do alot of things with others, we were very content to be together. To enjoy each other's company and our kids and grand kids. The friends we did have are all married. I am now a "single" amongst "marrieds". When I have a GREAT day, it's just not the same. I can't pick up the phone and call him to report my good news. I can't send him a text, knowing that as soon as he can, he will reply, either by text or a call. When I have a TERRIBLE day, I can't come home and vent about it, cry about it, just "share" it - the person who cared the most isn't here anymore. When the Packers have exciting news, it's just not the same anymore (I was glad they didn't make it to the Superbowl - I didn't want to have them win it and not share the excitement with Rick - he LOVED his Packers). When I see the biggest bear I've EVER seen in the wild, I can't call and tell him. When the girls have important events, and I have previous comittments, I have to decide how to divide myself - he can't go with them - I have to do the best I can - and thought others have promised, "if I can do ANYTHING", they still have lives to live and may not be available. When I want most to cry, laugh, mourn, celebrate, I now do it alone . . . so please don't try to imagine how I am feeling at any given time.
God is a good God. He has given me grace for each day. I can truly say that my faith has grown more than I can ever imagine over the past 7 months. Though there IS an underlying grief to each and every moment of each and every day, life can be good again. We do laugh, and joke and have fun! But as you "imagine" please imagine what YOUR life would be like - the changes that you never asked for. The loneliness that comes from half of you being ripped away.
Don't offer me pity.
Please offer me grace (and a kick in the butt if I need it - some of you have graciously come along side me and done both and I truly appreciate you for that!). Please understand that you can't understand and I'm beginning to "get" that.
Please be patient with me as I try to navigate these new waters. Please remember that I'm LIVING what most people don't ever want to imagine . . .