puzzle pieces

Heavy Sadness.

Grace, Joy, Peace, Understanding, Love, Friendships, Growth . . . 

SOME of these emotions that have bounced around in my brain and on through my heart in the last {almost} 10 months.  Those and SO MANY others . . . 
through them ALL, God's love has been sufficient.  He has been faithful to be my ALL in ALL, my strength when I am weak.  HE has sent me just the people that I need just when I need them . . . And I'm shown HIM through THEM!  I've learned MUCH about myself and MUCH about God through this journey.  I HAVE learned that even though sometimes the road is rough and rocky and twisty and turney and DARK . . . HE is there.  He is in my tomorrow and HE never leaves and never forsakes.  And yes, He does send us who we need, when we need them! 

There were SO MANY details that had to be "taken care" of after Rick died . . . SO much paperwork, so many phone calls, more paperwork.  Burial sites to buy {ugh, really, I'm NOT supposed to have to do that}, a casket to pick out  {the BIG kids did that and I'll be FOREVER thankful} and then MORE paperwork, a funeral to plan and more paperwork.  There were bills to pay accounts to settle and insurance claims to be made . . . did I mention paperwork?  I'm thankful that I WAS the "bookkeeper" in our house so most of those things didn't overwhelm me.  Some of the other "details" did.  Ordering the stone was one of them.  They are expensive.  It's FOREVER . . . it can't be changed like my living room furniture, or a new purse.  It needed to be a "legacy" to Rick's memory, but small enough to fit the requirements of the cemetery (and it's one of the only things we had ever discussed about death - that we both thought it foolish to spend extravagant amounts of money on caskets and grave markers . . . )   I also had to overcome my dislike of going to the cemetery . . . though now I find it peaceful - and I have NEVER felt like Rickey was there . . . I know where he is and it's not in that box in the ground!  Another "thing" that needed "taking care of" was his truck, which I did trade in along with my car for a new, reliable vehicle . . . knowing FULL WELL that he'd have been THRILLED for me! 

So many pieces to the puzzle.  This weird, crazy puzzle that suddenly became my life.  This weird, crazy puzzle that kept getting taken apart, and somehow, the pieces didn't always fit, or were missing.  Each day it seems, I rearrange the pieces - re-fitting some, finding "lost" ones, sometimes throwing some that got into the wrong box away.

There was one rather large piece of the puzzle that was missing for me.  There is an old saying that says "accidents usually happen close to home".  I Googled it and it's true (well mostly the numbers were based on car accidents, but still . . . )  Anyway, less than 5 miles is CLOSE TO HOME.  Very close.  We live on #15 road.  Rick's fall happened on #12 road . . . yep, 3 miles as the crow flies - a little bit more when you go via the road.  Close to home.

I drive past #12 road EVERY DAY.  I've never gone past the house where the "accident" was.  I don't often go to the cemetery alone - but it's not exactly the place you ask a friend to join you for a picnic!  Anyway, last night on the way home from town, it was time.  I just felt like I needed to see where Rickey had spent the last moments of his earthly life, and were it was that Jesus reached down and took his hand and led him to Heaven.  As I said, God has blessed me with some WONDERFUL friends.  One of them happened to be with me (yes, it is a guy friend), and I asked if we could "detour" home.  I'm sure he wondered WHAT I was going to ask, because the last time we detoured, we visited the cemetery.  He asked where and I told him and he told me to tell him what road we needed to take.  As we drove, we talked, I verbalized that I wondered if when he left the house that Saturday morning, Rickey EVER had a clue he'd not come home again . . . and how ready would we be if we would know when it's our time?  We came to the corner where the house stands.  My breath was momentarily taken away.  I commented that it was a higher roof than I thought and that I thought I had heard they were near the chimney when the fall happened. He mentioned that it was a very steep roof.  We drove slowly by and continued on our way back to my house .... quietly.  Another piece of the puzzle put in its place.  That one for some reason was one of the hardest.  I'd rather have not needed to find that piece and put it in place.  But, I'm thankful that by God's grace, it's done.  So, now, I do know.  Less than 5 miles from home, accidents DO happen.  Earth shattering, life changing accidents.  Accidents that ROCK you to your core and leave you forever changed.  Accidents that in the world's eyes are just that, tragic events that are referred to as accidents.  Yet, I still cling to God's promises.  He didn't blink that moment on that day.  He didn't forget any of us, or Rickey as he fell.  God knew.  He knew I'd survive the paperwork.  He knew I'd survive the insurance phone calls, the casket and burial plot purchasing I'd have to do.  He knew the clothes I'd have to pick out, the songs that would be sung.  The details on the death certificate, and yes, that "spot" where it happened.  So, no, it wasn't a picnic and it surely wasn't a "date", but I'm so thankful that I didn't have to visit that spot alone when the time came.  I'm thankful for the people that GOD has put in my life.  For the strength that God has given me - to trust Him when it would be easier to curse him.  For being able to listen to His nudging as to the timing of visits to places.  I wasn't ready until now to go to the house with the "roof" . . . yesterday, I was.  God, with His sense of humor (YES, I believe God has a sense of humor) chose to send me a new friend.  A friend who has been "there" for me as I navigate these waters.  A friend who has helped me to grow . . . in my walk with God, in my grieving process.  A friend who listens when I talk about Rickey - and I do - every day . . . A friend who (ironically/coincidentall/"CRAZILY") is named Rick.

I'm thankful for him and Renee (2 of my "newer" friends) ... GOOD friends who have made each day more enjoyable.  Each "puzzle piece" more bearable to put into place.  Friends who are just "there", when words aren't enough, or are too much.  Friends who enjoy my memories of Rick, and encourage me to share them.  Friends who I feel are sent by God.  I have no idea where my life will lead. . . but I know that I've very recently been challenged by God to be willing to "Not just send my money this time, but how 'bout me going?"  Maybe it's to Liberia, or who knows . . . i'm just thankful to not walk the road alone, but to have friends walking it along side of me! :) 


  1. Sheila... a wonderful entry of the "Puzzle Piece"... You are a gifted writer... God Bless you, your family, and your journey to a new normal! Kim

  2. Hi, Nice post thanks for sharing. Would you please consider adding a link to my website on your page. Please email me back.




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We like to tell people that we love Chattanooga so much we moved here twice! Since my last post in 2020, we spent eight months in Michigan...