. . . in a week, it will be November 5 . . .

“God will never take anything away from you without the intention of
replacing it with something much better.”

I have read this quote, or a variation of it several times this past
year.  I can’t say that I agree with it.  What Rickey and I shared was
good.  It was very good.  We were happy.  We were blessed with
wonderful kids, grandkids, friends and family.  We loved each other.
We very rarely argued.  We had a nice home, close to both sets of
parents.  We had good jobs that we (for the most part) liked.  We
didn’t have lots of money, but we had enough to get by.  We enjoyed
life.  We loved each other and yes, after almost 20 years of marriage,
we still liked each other.  If we weren’t working or the girls & I
weren’t shopping or Rickey wasn’t hunting, we spent our spare time
together.  We didn’t do a lot of things with other couples, we were
content to be together with each other and as a family.  Yes, it was
good.  Very good.  In all honesty, it couldn’t get much better.
Except for Heaven.  Heaven would be better, much, much, much better!
Maybe this quote applies to Rickey, not me.  He was taken away from
the life he knew, but it was replaced with Heaven.  A place that you
and I can only imagine.  A place that, even if he could come back
from, he wouldn’t want to.  Yes, that must be it, a quote like that
applies to Rickey, not me.  Not us.

Life was good, and happy, and very blessed . . . And on November 5,
2011, life as we knew it came to a screeching halt.  The song “Closer
to Love” by Matt Kearney says: “She got the phone call today, one out
of the gray, and when the smoke cleared, it took her breath away.  She
said she didn’t believe it could happen to me.  I GUESS WE’RE ALL ONE
PHONE CALL FROM OUR KNEES . . . “  Well, not a phone call, but a visit
from a police officer, and that describes November 5, 2011 perfectly.
A day I will not forget.  Images I will not forget.  The look on my
big girl’s face as she stood in the driveway with our Pastor, his wife
and a police officer, wondering WHAT was going on.  My 2 big girls
clinging to each other on the ride (the oh, so long, but way too short
ride) to the hospital & all the phone calls we made.  The empty room
they brought us to and the Dr.'s face.  My Mama & Daddy coming to the
E.R. and the anguish on their faces and in their cries.  
Cries for the loss of Rickey and for the pain they knew we were enduring
their pain almost doubled because of their intense love for the girls and me. 
My “baby” walking to me in the E.R. as I was on the phone talking to the transplant
co-ordinator - helping the transplant team procure her Daddy's 
corneas and other life saving (for others) tissues/bones.  
Our families, friends & church family who came to the
hospital, to the house, the funeral home . . . the disbelief in their
eyes . . . picture collages, flowers, plants, 700 + people wearing
Packer jerseys and camo . . . and a wooden casket . . . 
Images I will never forget.

Memories that flood back.  Every day.  Every single day.  Some days
more often than others.  Some days more vividly.  Yesterday was Sunday.  I worked
Saturday night (11:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m.).  I came home and slept for 2
hours and then went to church.  There was a time when I didn’t want to
go to church.  I was disappointed in “the church”.   God had to do a
work of restoration in my life.  He had to bring about a right spirit
within me.  He had to restore my (misplaced) faith in others.  And, He
did.  Now, rather than using working all night as an excuse not to go
to church, I make sure that I can still make it (and try my best not
to fall asleep!).  I enjoy the fellowship, the music, the sermon, the
“family” that church offers.  Today, I realized that a year ago,
marked Rickey’s last Sunday in church.  Another image.  Another
memory.  Forever etched in my mind.  We are closing in on “one year” -
next Monday marks that "anniversary".  Somehow, some people seem to look
on that particular date as a “milestone” it seems.  Like after a year,
things will change.  Things will be easier (or harder).  As if a "magic" switch
will be turned at that point.  Like after a
year, it’s o.k. to “move on”, but before that, you should stand still
in your grief.   I did a little looking and Biblically, the “numbers”
I find regarding grieving are that the Egyptians mourned Jacob’s death
for 70 days and the Jews “mourn” for 7 days.  I found other references
to 30 days and 40 days to “mourn” or “grieve” (I’m sure there are
others – these are the ones that I found).  I also did some research
on the word(s) grief/grieving.  To grieve is the “intense” feeling of loss. 
“Keen” (sharp, piercine, biting) mental suffering is actually found on Dictionary.com as
a definition for grief.  I know that feeling.  That feeling of not
knowing how you will make it from one breath to the next, much less
from one day to the next.  I know it all too well.  I have lived it.
I also know that the “intense”, the “keen” sense of grief is replaced.
 First with a numbness, and then a sadness.  A sadness that things
will never be as they were.  A sadness for all that was and never will
be again.  A sadness for all that Rickey will miss (or more
accurately, the things we will miss having him here with us for).  A
sadness for all the tomorrows that will not be as we imagined.  There
is no magic number.  There is no date or time that grief changes to
numbness and then to sadness.  It is a progression – and a progression
that is different for EVERY SINGLE PERSON – no two people can or will
grieve the same.  For some, it will take years, some truly never get
over a loss . . . I do believe that God is the divine healer.  If we
cling to Him, He will bring about the healing, He will allow us to
move on.  He is the only one who can change the grief to numbness to
sadness, and ultimately beyond.  The sadness will always linger.  At
times it will be much more profound than others.  When I see the girls
excel at something, there will always be sadness (their Daddy SHOULD
be here to share in this moment).  When the grandkids go outside and
shout “Hi Papa” at the sky - to say “Hi” to Papa in Heaven (he should
be here to say hi back to them).   When someone shoots a nice buck or
a big bear . . . there are countless times that the sadness will
strike.  It will come out of nowhere, it will come unbidden, it will
wash over us like a tsunami.  It will always “be”.  We will never not
love Rickey.  We will never not miss him.  This was a death, not a
divorce - Rickey left loving us and being fully loved by us . . .
those are truths that will always remain.  I became a true "single
parent" - in an instant - with no warning - we became instantly the
"widow and the orphans" spoken of in the Bible.  We will probably
always wonder “why” – until we get to Heaven all is made clear.

As the days march on, and we close in on this November 5, I still
believe that God has a divine plan for my life.  That He had a divine
plan for Rickey’s life AND death.  Psalm 139:16 says, “Your eyes saw
my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your
book before one of them came to be.”  Yes, if I believe that, God has
a plan for my life, He had a plan for Rickey’s life, and He knew what
November 5, 2011 would bring.  I will never fully understand God’s
plan for our lives.  I will never fully know why He chose us to walk
this path.  This path of grief and sorrow and loss and pain.  This
path that, had I been given a choice, I’d have never chosen to walk.
My prayer is that I can walk it graciously, and that in walking it,
Rickey’s life and death, and our journey could lead someone to Heaven.
  That someone would be drawn to God, back to God or closer to God
through our journey.

“I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born.”

  I  like this saying MUCH better.  God did cause (allow) pain.  That is a
truth that cannot be denied.  Pain, grief, sadness, anger, anguish . .
. all have been a part of this past year.  Yet, God, who DID allow
those feelings, has also allowed something new to be born though there
were tears and sadness, there has also been laughter, there are smiles
and hugs and yes, even joy.  Not better, not even to be compared, just
something new.  I like that.  Life is different.  Changes that I could
never have imagined one year ago today have taken place.  Pain has
come, but healing and new has been born as well.  I quit a job that I,
for a long time, loved.  My new job is in the E.R. at the hospital –
the same place my pain started November 5 last year (…but imagine
this, God in His sovereignty had my schedule work out so that I will
not be working on November 5 this year – just a little “buffer” for my
still tender heart).  We now have a college aged child and two who are
being home-schooled.  I have gained some dear friends over the past
year, some who have walked the “widow” road and truly “get-it”, and
some (old friends, now more like sisters) some here close to me
and some, from a long distance - who support me often with
phone calls, e-mails, text & facebook messages, who have come along side and
walked with me – sometimes just “being there” quietly, and sometimes
“babbling” like a brook because they didn’t know “what” to say but
they have done their best, and together, we have all learned so much!
Changes, so very many of them . . . “New things being born”!

God also allowed more “new” to be born in my life . . . Ashley Beth
told me that she thinks it’s cool that God brought me “another” Rick.
At first, I thought it was a little eerie, “Really, God, his name is
Rick?”  But, I now agree with Ashley.  It’s cool.  It’s good.  It’s
new.  Something “new” WAS born.  Something from God’s hand.  For 20
years, I loved Rickey (dearly), now I have a God given love for my
"new" Rick . . . a new love that God gave me, a new reason to smile
and to look with anticipation towards the future!  Someone who loves
me – and the kids.  Someone who cares about me – and the kids.
Someone who understands that Rickey will always be a part of our
lives, and is o.k. with that.  Someone who does not desire to “take
Rickey’s place” as daddy (and has said that he knows he never could)
but who wants to be a “bonus” to the kids.  Someone who wants to see
my tomorrows with me – and who holds my hand through the difficult
“todays”.  I have been BLESSED.  Twice blessed.  I have loved and lost
– deeply.  And God has allowed me to love again.  God has allowed
something new to be born.  As this past year draws to its “close”, and
all of the dreaded “firsts” will soon be behind us, I find myself in
closer communion with the Lord than I have ever been.  I find myself
trusting Him more and more every single day.  I find myself releasing
more of me to Him every step of the way.  I find that He is my “all in
all”.  He is my strength when I am weak and the treasure that I seek.
I have found that when I trust Him, and turn it all over to Him, He
does protect me.  He does love me.  He does restore.  I have seen
myself change.  I have seen myself become less concerned abou the
"little things" that shouldn't matter (I'm still working on it!).  I
find that I love easier and forgive quicker.  I am much more willing
to compromise and I cherish every moment and every day - knowing that
it is all that is promised to me!  Life is not always easy.  It does
not always go as we had planned.  There are bumps, and turns,
mountains and valleys.  The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, {but}
still I will say, Blessed be the NAME of the LORD!


  1. So good to read your posts and hear of the faithfullness of our Father in your life. I admire your candid way of presenting yourself, in spirit and in truth. May our Father continue to bless you and your's with more of himself, his peace, joy and love, in Christ, Bev.

  2. I love you my sister! Brooke :-)

    1. Love you too, Brooke!! :) You have blessed me more than you can ever imagine . . . "Jillian" :)


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