Immobilized

icy-gripThis is the third day that I have been unable to get to my clients and I am getting frustrated.

We ended up with 17 inches of snow and a layer of ice 1 inch thick.

imagine-6-more-inchesMy son came yesterday and the day before to help me dig out of this mess. He also took me to one of my clients so that I wouldn’t have to try and “catch up” on Thursday…

All of his efforts proved useless this morning. Everything refroze and because the garage is lower than the rest of the driveway, I couldn’t get the rear wheel drive car out of the garage.

I put boards under the tire that was slipping and that is when I felt an old pain in my left shoulder. It is the shoulder that I hurt when I slipped and fell in late November…that was enough.

I resigned myself that I am stuck until the weather gives me leave and then I read that there is a possibility of more snow coming in next week.snow-storm-2009

I cannot afford to miss this much work. I cannot afford to get another car that is has better capability to go in the snow.

I am truly stuck and I hate that feeling. How much more frustrating it would feel to be stuck in a body that couldn’t go as you want it to do?

That is what I thought when the pain in my shoulder mounts and than I think how strong and resolved Dan was in his battle. He truly didn’t “feel” like getting up most days, but he did.

It was only in the final days that he didn’t push his poor body to get up out of bed and put on his clothes.

He pushed his resources to a degree that most have never done…and I stand amazed at his will power.

I am trying to find a way to get myself past all of this. I am trying not to feel so helpless and powerless at this realization that I am only half as strong of a person as I thought I was.

But, that is my reality. Half of me is missing. It is the “greater half” and I am trying to come to terms with being a shadow of what I once was.

“It is what it is”

That is what I used to say to Dan when he would rail against the cancer. How empty those words sound in my ears now that Nature’s Fury has visited.

Yes, these elements will pass and a renewal of life will come to what now is covered with a white blanket, but when Winter comes to the human body and to its soul, how does it keep from giving into the Insurmountable?

I don’t know. I just know it in action through Dan and I stand amazed. It must have been his spirit and the Holy Spirit in tandem that caused him to say, winter-haven                            “Thank you, Lord for another beautiful morning”.

So this morning, in the midst of all my helplessness and frustration, I will choose to say, like Dan,

                               “Thank you, Lord, for another beautiful morning.”

…and mean it…

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I Want Spring!!!

I couldn’t get out of my driveway to go to my client’s today…I felt like a wimp and I felt bad for my client.winter-garden1

I shoveled snow for 45 minutes only to decide that 6 inches of snow with freezing rain and another 6 inches of the white stuff on its way was just too much for my frazzled nerves to face. So, after wrenching my back and pulling muscles in my hip, I called my client and told them that I couldn’t come today.

Then, I thought about how small my paycheck will be because of this blasted weather. Ouch! I just got the bill for the LP that was put into the tank yesterday…$450. Double ouch!!

My job isn’t too much different from driving a truck. If my wheels don’t turn, I do not make money. There are no snow days, no sick days, no vacation days, at least, not until I am with this company for a year. That tells you how high the “turn over” rate is in visiting nurses, or, at least, with this company.

This is the first time I had to shovel snow in 17 years.

Dan loved snow and winter. It must have been from growing up on the northern side of Chicago. He always took care of the snow for me…one of the many things that I didn’t thank him for…I miss him…but, when don’t I miss him?

He could drive on this stuff and not look pulsed or nervous. He drove on ice like it was dry pavement. I remember one of his trucks that was covered in an inch of ice. He brought the load in when everyone else parked their vehicles on the side of the road. It took 3 days for the truck to thaw out. It looked like it was in an ice bubble…

I guess, I keep thinking that, if I get to my client’s house, I may not be able to get home and what would Mozart do? He would be so afraid! I know that my cousins would tend to him, but that isn’t the same as me being home.

I am also keenly aware that if I crash my car, I am out of a job. If the car quits, so do I…plus, whatever damage I do to the car while trying to brave the elements will cost a lot more than today’s wage.

The most overwhelming thought on days like today is that there is no one to notice if I am late or if I don’t come home in a timely manner. Maybe, it is adjusting to widowhood, but I always have this in the back of my mind. I have to call someone to come look for me instead of having someone who requires my presence…sorry, a moment of self pity is emerging from this inclement day.

I keep thinking about flowers and gardening. I am weary of winter and its cold. What a sorry excuse for a woman I am! This is the first measurable snow of the season. Yes, it might end up being a snow storm that dumps 12 inches of snow, but I am still ashamed of my inability to tackle this seamingly benign white stuff.

I am weary…

…. of not seeing the sun and feeling its warmth. e54d116291 …of not seeing color….of being afraid to drive and wreck my car. I could do that on a clear day, but it becomes more of my focus on days like today….of not feeling safe anymore.

 

….of the continual sorrow thatin-the-shadow-of-the-cross1 shadows me like a dark cloud on an overcast day.

 

I want spring. More than that, I need Spring…I need a warm break…I will have to just add it to my “Wish List” because it isn’t coming soon.

The Story Continues…Part III

Rehearsals for the spring musical were increasing and the days seemed more hectic. I was busy, but I was excited about singing with the Preacher’s Son.

I loved to sing with him, but I was looking forward to spending some time so that I could talk with him about some of the perplexing things that were happening.

Instead of practicing at the church with his mother, we decided to pick out the song at my brother’s house. We knew that whatever we chose to sing, the Preacher’s Son’s mother could play and follow our lead. We just had to decide on the song.

It was more comfortable at my brother’s. signs-of-springThe Preacher’s Son was more relaxed and he seemed to enjoy the atmosphere. As we looked through the music, I asked him why he didn’t call or come by for Valentine’s Day.

His reply was vague and I was more convinced that I knew so little about what really was going on in his life. He asked about the musical and how things were going at rehearsals.

I told him that the director was biting his fingernails because the cast seemed not to be as serious about the performance as he would have liked. It was then that I decided to ask the Preacher’s Son to come to the cast party with me. He accepted the offer and said that he would look forward to it.

We decided to take a break and go outside. My brother was in the barn and he was saddling up one of his horses. The Preacher’s Son said that he had worked on a horse farm in Chicago and he liked to ride. My brother asked if we would like to take his horse, “Bill” for a little exercise.horses

Now, my history with “Bill” wasn’t a good one. I thought that I loved horses. I would spend hours looking over the fence at this animal and dream of riding him with my hair in the breeze.

The truth of the matter is that Bill hated to be saddled and he really didn’t like people much. I would take him apples to eat and he would gently take them from my hand. At the last minute, he would nip me on the shoulder. He wasn’t being “playful”. This animal liked to inflict pain on people.

So, when the Preacher’s Son got on Bill and reached down to help me up to ride behind him, I was suspicious as to how long Bill would let us be there.

It had been quite a while since a saddle was on this horse’s back and he wasn’t too pleased to have to do what the reins said. The horse walked from the barn to the road. He seemed that he would behave himself, then all of a sudden, he took off at a full gallop.

I was hanging on to the Preacher’s Son with all my might, but this horse was heading for the woods and low branches. The Preacher’s Son was pulling on the reins to get this horse to slow down, but the more he pulled, the faster this bag of glue would run.

In front of us was a fence and I could see that Bill was going to try and rake us of off of his back by taking out our legs. Still, the Preacher’s Son was trying to get this out of control animal to mind and the horse, which was more like a mule, was running as fast as he could. I was loosing my grip on the Preacher’s Son and I was thinking how to fall off of this nag without getting kicked in the head by those flying hooves.

I told the Preacher’s Son that I couldn’t hang on much longer. It was then that the Preacher’s Son pulled on the reins to where the horse’s head was looking at him eye to eye. Bill finally stopped his running rampage.

After we stopped and dismounted, the Preacher’s Son took the reins and pulled the horse’s head down to his level. The Preacher’s Son pulled back his arm and landed a fist on the side of the Bill’s head.  Then, the Preacher’s Son mounted and pulled me back on the horse.

Old Bill walked docilely back to the barn as if butter would have melted in his mouth. I think that it was then that I decided that I never would own a horse.

It was getting dark and the Preacher’s Son said that he had to go home. I didn’t get to talk with him about all of the things that were on my mind. I just knew that this boy was hiding himself. Not just from me, but to most everyone around him.

He said that he would tell his mother about the song that we chose to sing and to come early on Sunday morning so that we could run through it before service.

As I watched his ’51 Ford leave down the winding drive, my heart ached. So much to say, to ask and so little time to say it…

I was more excited about the cast party than the performance. I would be going to the cast party with the Preacher’s Son. It would prove to be quite interesting to have the old boyfriend and the Preacher’s Son in the same place at the same time…

The Changing Sunsets

It seems that I am surfacing from the overwhelming pain of January, only to realize that the next few months have more pain to bring.

Maybe, it is the anticipation of these things that are more stressful than the time itself.

I am not looking forward to Valentine’s Day. Dan was so good at being romantic. He truly enjoyed the flowers or the gifts he bought  me.

The second time when we began dating, I was seeing a man in Canada. Dan knew about this man and, when the Canadian would call me at work and Dan would answer the phone, Dan would tell the man to stop calling me…what a stinker! He was dating other women, but he didn’t want me to talk or see this guy! Then, there was the time that the Canadian sent me flowers and Dan took the card off of the bouquet and wrote his name…he was so full of it!

I really never needed the candy or flowers on Valentine’s Day. I was content in knowing that he loved me and he never failed to tell me.

In the late afternoon or as we were drifting off to sleep, he would ask, ” Have I told you that I love you today?”. I felt so lucky to have someone who wasn’t afraid to tell me that he loved me. Because I always heard his words of love, these special days were already filled by his love before they got here. He never wanted me to feel that he took me for granted.

I miss hearing those words.

I miss his warm touch and his mischievous grin. I miss his hands. I loved the callousness that hard work placed on those gifted instruments of touch. I loved the way his hands looked when he played the bass. They reminded me of my brother’s hands as he played the guitar.

In those hands were so much talent. He could turn a wrench, pick up a hammer or draw  anything that his mind’s eye could see. I miss watching him draw pictures for my grandsons and their amazement that PapPap could draw dinosaurs and monster trucks.

I miss his arms and the safety that I found within that circle of soft caring.

I miss his eyes. Those beautiful emerald eyes that were the window of his soul.

I remember the family doctor saying that Dan intimidated him the first time they met. I asked the doctor how could that be? Then, I remembered that most fail to look into Dan’s eyes. His eyes told everything. Maybe, that is why he always wore those “Blues Brothers” dark glasses. He was hiding his soul. If you failed to look into his eyes, he could seem intimidating, but once you saw his eyes, you instantly knew that you had nothing to fear.

Each day, I keep looking for the moment when I do not have him constantly on my mind, but, so far, not a day passes when he isn’t the first and the last thing on my mind. 

He said that he had to leave so that I would fulfill my destiny. But, my heart still whispers, “You are my destiny. Now, what am I to do?”

Last evening, the sunset was glorious. The sun pillar sun-pillar-at-sunsetwas so high that it tickled the belly of the highest clouds. And, of course, my thoughts said, “Dan, did you see that one?”

He would have loved it…then, I wonder what glorious sights he sees when he looks from the other side of the sunset. How glorious are things from Heaven’s perspective?

I know that things must change. That is my head talking. My heart is so stubborn. It refuses to see the changing sunsets and accept that they are viewed by just me…

Maybe, the day will come when Dan is just another memory, but I can’t imagine it or hurry my heart…it is still with him.

Time In A Bottle

As I think about this day, the first Wedding Anniversary without him, I wonder,” Do you still have wedding anniversaries when you are a widow? ?”

It was our day, now it is mine. Mine alone.

As I write about the beginning when we were 17 and 18 years old, this day becomes a reminder that, it isn’t only our Wedding Anniversary, but today is exactly 38 years from our first date.

Instead of Spring, there must be something about “Midwinter” that became our time. Warmth from cold, love from second chances, and dreams from painful losses, all are contrasts and so were we.

I was the “good girl” and he was the “bad boy”. Later on, I was the “business woman” and he was the “hard core biker”. I was the Christian and he was the Lost Soul. How could there be compatiblity? So much for eHarmony if we abided by perceptions.

The past opinions were costly perceptions that caused us to live with lost time and love lost. He was told that he wasn’t good enough for me. I never knew this until we married. Those opinions cost us 25 years. What is the price of time?

Like the song, I wish I could save those 25 years that we were apart in a bottle. I would have loved to been his young bride with the hope of family and children with him. Instead, we had the later part of our young adult life and the beginning of our middle age years.

I am grateful for those years that were seasoned with life experience. Sometimes, when the pain seems too great, I ask myself if I would have walked away from him had I known about the premature loss from cancer? Then, I realize, I would have been even more resolved to be a part of his life if I had known he would die at 55.

Saving time…if only there was a way. But, there is no way to save time when it is lost….just like Dan, it is gone…

The Story Continues Part II

b2f40d9f9cdcd14c1The Spring musical was fast approaching. Again, I was given my choice of roles to play.

The musical was Oklahoma and I knew that my cousin was cast as the male romantic lead. I decided against playing the female romantic lead because I doubted that I would be able to keep from laughing. He and I were kissing cousins when we were kids and I didn’t think that I could overcome the “giggles”.

I also knew that my old boyfriend was going to play the part of Ali Hakum, the swindling con man. I knew the part of Aunt Eller was antagonistic toward this character. I thought that I would really enjoy giving him “what for” so I chose to play the supporting role rather than playing Ado Annie, the girl who “Just Can’t Say No”…

The songs by Aunt Eller were not memerabale, but I liked acting as much as singing so the director cast me in that role. I was looking forward to it.

All of this effected my time. I soon was too busy to ponder as to why the Preacher’s Son had become so evasive. In reality, he was never far from my mind. Neither was the old boyfriend.

I met with him after lunch as I agreed to do. He was apologetic and he wanted to take me to the Prom. He knew that the Prom was closed to anyone who was not a student at the school. He knew that the Preacher’s Son would not be able to take me.

As I think back on it now, I don’t know why I agreed to go with him, but I did. I guess I was hoping that, by agreeing, he would call off his little “dog” that met me after Econ class everyday. I was really sick of seeing her face on a daily basis.

I knew that there was something more that the old boyfriend wanted to say, but it was time to go to class and I knew that I didn’t want to hear it. I said that I had to go.

The next few days, I didn’t see the Preacher’s Son when I went to work. He was on the road and the timing was all off. Finally, that Friday, payday, he came into the office and everyone else was out of the room.

I thanked him for the flowers. I also asked him why he didn’t call or come by. He gave me a vague answer and then my sister came into the room. He picked up his check and he was gone.

I didn’t know what was happening. My heart was telling me one thing and his actions were saying the opposite. His eyes said one thing and his actions said another. I could always read his eyes.

So, I did what I knew to do. I prayed. That was the only answer for troubled souls and I knew that something was truly troubling the Preacher’s Son.

Everyday, I went to my room after coming home from school, I got on my knees and poured my heart out to God. I didn’t understand all of these feeling and I didn’t understand how I could see that the Preacher’s Son’s heart was restless, but I knew it was.

I prayed for my old boyfriend, too. I could see the hurt in his eyes and I didn’t want to be the cause of the pain, but I knew that there was nothing in my heart for him.

As March rolled around, the date of the show and rehersals were bearing down on all of us. I was having a blast with dancing with one of the guys in the cast. Imagine my surprise when he ran for Mayor a few years back.

I recalled how he picked me up and let me go without me finding my balance. I fell into a prop bench that was where I was to sit down after the “square dance” segment. When I fell back into it, it shattered into pieces. Of couse, the director wanted the scene done like that on the night of the performance, but my rear end couldn’t take it. It would have been so funny.

I was growing tired of staying home on weekends. I wanted to go “cruising”. There was a couple of streets where all of the kids would drive through, make a turn and loop down the other side of the street.

This had gone on since my brother (who was 15 years older than me) was a teenager, if not before. There would be a few who would park their cars and stand on the street. They would yell at those who they knew or make fun of the cars.

I knew that I couldn’t go alone, so I made arrangements to pick up a few of my girlfriends. It was the thing to do and I loved cars, so I wanted to “scoop the loop”.img_4389

As I drove the loop, I saw the Preacher’s Son. He was standing next to his car with his “Third Members” car club jacket on. I also saw my cousin and a few other guys that I knew from school.

I honked my horn and the Preacher’s Son and all of the other guys waved and hollered, but by the next pass, the Preacher’s Son was gone. He and a few of the other guys had taken off and again, I was confused. It seemed that I had developed the plague or something.

On Sunday, I saw the Preacher’s Son at church. He and I were asked to sing a special song for next Sunday’s service. His mother would accompany us on the piano.

“Finally”, I thought.  I would be able to have a chance to talk to him about this confusing behavior and what was bothering him about me.

Practice was set for Wednesday evening after church…

The Story Continues….

As I returned to school on Monday, the refrains of “Mr Bo Jangles” were ringing in my head. But, whatever pleasure that I took in replaying the memory, it was erased when the same girl appeared at the door of my Econ class.

She was there to tell me about another supposed “date” that she was on with the Preacher’s Son. I must have been a second cousin to a mule because the more she talked, the more I was resolved to not believe anything that she or anyone else said. I was living in my moment and I liked it there.

I didn’t see my old boyfriend in school for a few days. I didn’t know where he was, nor did I care. No one said anything about him to me, either. I guess I made myself quite clear that I didn’t want to know anything about him and if I did, I would ask him myself.

The next week was my father’s birthday and the family was going to go out to eat in Indianapolis. I asked the Preacher’s Son to go with us.

At first, he said that he was busy. I know I had a perplexed look on my face. I didn’t quite understand why he acted like he didn’t want to go. But, after a  few hours , he called and said that he rearranged whatever he was to do and he would be joining all of us. I was thrilled.

The rest of the week, I would see him for a few minutes out of the day when I went to work. He was in and out of the office to collect his bills for his delivery. He would smile or say “Hi”, but he didn’t have time to talk.

Finally, the Saturday night of my dad’s birthday party came. I was so excited. The Preacher’s Son wanted to drive, but my dad insisted that we all ride together…bummer!

As I think back on that event, it must have been very uncomfortable for him. Going to your boss’ birthday dinner and being on “high alert” because you were there with the boss’ daughter…the Preacher’s Son had “moxy”.

Things seemed to go well, but I noticed that the Preacher’s Son seemed to avoid my sister. He would answer her questions, but he never relaxed, not like he did when he was at my brother’s house.

When we returned at my house, he didn’t stay. It was Saturday night and my parents were insisting that I go to bed early because we had church in the morning.

He gave me a “Good night” kiss and I said that I would see him in the morning, but I didn’t. He wasn’t at church.

I don’t know why, maybe it was because my mother had a strict rule about a girl not being forward and asking about a boy, but I didn’t inquire as to where he was. I just knew that he wasn’t there and I wondered why. I could have asked his mother, but then that would have been breaking my mom’s rule….and that would have been trouble for me later.

This was new territory for me. I had no idea what was happening. I guess I thought that, since I broke up with my old boyfriend to date the Preacher’s Son, that he would take over that part of my life. I didn’t know so much.

I didn’t know that the Preacher’s Son’s mother advised him to “date around” and not get serious with any girl…and he took his mother’s advise.

Days went by and I didn’t see him at work. Valentine’s Day was fast approaching and I was beginning to wonder if I would be seeing him. I was wondering if what I thought he felt was the same as what I was feeling. I was perplexed and confused by his actions and even more by my emotions.

The week of Valentine’s Day went by and I didn’t see the Preacher’s Son at work. He wasn’t messing up on his time card and he was in and out of the office making deliveries. There was no time to talk. He didn’t call either.

12_77_57-red-rose_web1Valentine’s Day was on a Saturday that year and about 10 AM, the door bell rang. My mom went to the door and there was a delivery from the florist. The Preacher’s Son had sent a bouquet of flowers. I was overjoyed and I thought for sure that a call would follow.

Lunch time past and about 2 PM, the door bell rang again. It was the florist. This time, there was a single rose in a vase delivered. It was from the old boyfriend…still no call.

The rest of the evening past and I was feeling so disappointed. Yes, I liked the flowers. They were my first flowers sent to me by a guy,  but I would rather have the guy than the flowers. I never received a phone call from the Preacher’s Son.

Sunday came and I saw the Preacher’s Son in church, but he left before the service was dismissed and I didn’t get to thank him for the flowers.

The rest of the day, I spent in my room totally wondering what was all of this about. The phone rang and my heart took a leap. I was hoping that it was the Preacher’s Son, but it was the old boyfriend.

He asked if I received the rose and I said that I did. I remembered my manners and thanked him. He knew that I couldn’t talk on the phone very long, so, before I had to get off of the phone, he asked me if I would meet him. He needed to talk with me.

I didn’t want to do that. He had embarassed me at the basketball game and I was still mad at him for that. He kept telling me that it was really important…so I told him that I would see him at school tomorrow after lunch.

I was really beginning to dislike him a lot. I knew that he was behind the daily harassment by “the freshman girl” and I also knew that I really disliked the “spies” that he had stationed in the hallways…as if I didn’t know that he had done that one…

I guess I had a sense of obligation because of the rose. I just wanted to get this over with and I was preoccupied with wondering what had gone wrong with the Preacher’s Son.

Life seemed so much simplier when I just had homework, musicals, school and work….and not so many emotions. What was happening and why did it feel like crying?

.

Our First Date…Part II

This was beginning to be a little too much excitement. What was up with all of this? All I wanted to do was enjoy being on a date with a guy that I really liked?  I was beginning to realize that there was more to the Preacher’s Son than I knew. At that time, I was determined to not listen to what was being said about him. I didn’t like gossip and I didn’t appreciate everyone wanting to be in “my business”.

I also was realizing that ”breaking up” with the old boyfriend wasn’t going to be as simple as I thought it would be…what did he yell at the Preacher’s Son?

What did he mean, “I will see you later????”

It took 25 plus years before I knew what transpired regarding those words. After we married, my husband told me that the old boyfriend drove to the parsonage the next day.

The fight ensued. I think that was the first fight that my old boyfriend ever had and I am sure that he will never forget it. How can a boy from Cornfield County know how to fight someone who fought on the streets of northern Chicago? Needless to say, the old boyfriend learned alot about getting into fights over a girl that day.

I was oblivious to all of this. I had no idea what was being said or done outside of my little world. I didn’t know that the Preacher’s Son was told that he wasn’t good enough for me.

After we left the gym, we drove to the next town. There was a new Pizza Hut in Columbus and I was so excited to go anywhere but the old haunts of the home town.

We talked about Chicago and all of the “getting to know you” kind of things. He told me about playing the bass violin and orchestra. We explored our likes and dislikes of  music, family and church.

While we were waiting for the pizza, a song was playing on the PA and the Preacher’s Son began to sing along with it. I had never had anyone to just begin singing and he sang this song for me, just me. I was “smitten”.

I was so impressed with his voice, his easy way with a song that was not the latest hit. He was amazing.

Much too soon, my curfew was fast approaching and we were going to have to go back to my house. I didn’t want it to end…but, I also knew that my mother would be manning that porch light and I didn’t want to have to jump out of the car and go running into the house.

We arrived a few minutes early and we sat in his car. I really didn’t want to go inside. I was so comfortable with him and he with me. As I sat beside him, his arms went around me and I was enfolded in a place of warm and safety. I didn’t understand how someone’s touch could make me feel like “home”, but it did.

The windows on that old Ford began to steam up. The passion that filled that cold car was beyond my imagination. But, the foggy windows was a signal to my mother to start the blinking of the porch light.

The porch light was flashing like a neon light on the Vegas strip and, the longer that I ignored it, the more I knew that I would be punished if I didn’t get inside.

Relunctly, he walked me to the door and we said, “Good Night”. It was over. Our first date was ending. For me,  it was just the beginning of  “something wonderful” …

New Awards

 lovely_blog_award

In the past couple of days, I have received two awards one from Crone and Bear It and now, Stephanie’s Place.

Both of these wonderful ladies honor me and I am so humbled by their kind words. I have a hard time understanding that my journey and my writing strikes such a cord within them. It leaves me speechless. (Those that know me would find that hard to believe.)

The first award is from Stephanie’s Place. I read her blog because I totally understand her struggles with loving a man and the children that he has with someone other than herself.  It reminds me of my own “step mother struggles”. Those years were some of the best and the worst years of my life. But, how could I not love those that are a part of my husband’s flesh and blood…for Stephanie, and for me, love came naturally.

Of course, with these children came the trials and tribulations of dealing with the birth mothers. Like me, Stephanie has two birth mothers. This can be quite a nightmare and the custody issues seem to be like a freight train bearing down on you all the while, you are tied to the tracks…

I love reading her blog and of her deep love for these children. Her sacrifice is no less than if she were their natural mother, and yet, she is viewed as a party that has nothing invested in the legal preceding. Oh, how well I remember….

The second award is from “Crone and Bear It”. Linda’s blog always brings a smile to my face. She has a pithy wit and a wonderfully humorous way with words. The comments that she leaves on my blog are full of concern and kindness to me.  I enjoy reading her blog for all the selfish reasons. It makes me smile. And, Lord knows, I need to find a smile on the days when all I feel is heartbreak.

I am to pass these awards forward, but the problem is that I read many of the same blogs that they do, so this is going to be a little difficult.

1. the price of love 

This site has helped me face my present journey. Road’s posts allowed me to envision the future loss of my husband and give the hope of internal fortitude to face my recovery from great devastation. Roads not only lost his wife to cancer, but he was left with being a single dad raising children the ages of 2 and 11 months. What a challenge!

Roads is ten years past the loss of his 33 year old wife to breast cancer and his perspective is so helpful for me. The timing of his memoirs was in sync with my real time journey. There were moments that it was so uncanny and I was astounded as to how I would be living the very stage in which he would write about his beloved Jenny.

His blog continues to help me walk through this Valley of the Shadows. I cannot thank Roads enough for writing down his journey. The stages of death and dying and then the recovery from his loss are a huge part of my own personal path to recovery.

2. Within Crepusculum 

Frank’s musings and contemplations of aging are reflected as he cared for his vent dependent mother. His love and devotion to her goes beyond words.

I love Frank’s stories of his childhood. His Midwest roots are my own. We have shared so many similarities that we have wondered if we are somehow siblings separated at birth.

3. I love Frank’s other blog “Four Chances .

On this site, he posts his poetry and  stories of his military service in Vietnam. He also shares his love of all things culinary and the stories of when the cat ate the birthday cake made me roll with laughter. His writings on both blogs are a treat for me. I devour his writings as if his words were a delicious dessert of chocolate cake.  Through these blogs, Frank has become a dear blogging buddy.

4.. At Twilight  

This site is wonderfully written blog by Jonas. I marvel at his wordsmithing. I find his posts are akin to being in a great art museum surrounded by brilliant colors and exquisite beauty. Jonas is such a gifted talent and he is like one of the great masters who crafts masterpieces every time he writes. My favorite post is about how he hid in a church to listen to the master’s touch as he played the pipe organ. His prose takes you into the moment and then into the music with a crescendo of rapture. I am never disappointed when I visit his site and I leave inspired by his magic.

5. Nichole3’s Weblog

Nicole3 began her blog with the idea of sharing her Orthodox faith. A few months later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and her journey began. Of late, her blog has been an outlet as she journals her husband’s recent brush with a failing heart and the wonderful care of Vanderbuilt Hospital.

Nichole’s site is also full of her love for her children and grandchildren, her admiration for the Amish and their way of life and her wisdom of living on a shoestring budget.

Nichole has been one of my original blogging buddies. I was always touched by her signing of the comments left on my blog with “Your friend, Nicole”. She may never know just how much I needed to see that phrase, “your friend”. She truly has become one the first Internet friends that I made on my blog.

6. Sparkle’s Search for Happiness

Lonnette is an author that does freelance work. Until very recently, her time was consumed for caring for an elderly mother who suffers physically, but also emotionally. Her journey is  so familiar for my generation. We are sandwiched between the tasks of finish raising our own children and caring for our aging parents.

Her recent struggles are with the realization that her mother could never give what she did not have and that was ” mother’s love”. Lonnette writes of her heartbreak and happiness in reclaiming a life that was sacrificed on the alter of  narcissism. Her site is full of insight as to how to deal with toxic relationships between a parent and a child.

As you can see, the blogs I read are varied and full of issues that apply to my life. I am so thankful to these people. Their willingness to be transparent has offered wisdom, encouragement, empathy and true delight.

Well, I know that I was to pass these awards along to 7 people. It seems that I have fallen short of that goal,  but I am including  Stephanie and Linda, the originators of these blog awards as recipients as well.

It is my understanding that each award winner is to pass these awards onward to other worthy bloggers. We grow by learning from each other and I believe that these authors are a great foundation to build upon.

I hope those of you who drop by my blog will take a few minutes to see what I am talking about these wonderful sites. I am so very blessed to have found my community of bloggers. I am greatly appreciative of each person behind the blog.

All who meet me here give me so much more than I could ever give to you.

Thanks for reading and for commenting as I journey on through the Valley of the Shadows…

New Year’s Update

I want to thank all those who commented on my last two postings. I was unable to respond until this morning.

On Friday evening and over the weekend. I had the flu. I seem to have started this year off not so right.

I am improving and I can say that I didn’t have this virus as bad as some. But, it was really bad on Saturday.

I had a terrible headache, and tummy upset. I could only think about just how alone I was and that if Dan were here, he would be taking care of me.

But, instead, God sent a few people to my rescue. I didn’t feel well enough to call my son or anyone to come and help me. I was able to just lay still so the headache would stop pounding.

Then, early Saturday afternoon, Magilynne called. She could tell that I wasn’t well and she wanted to know what she could do for me.

I told her I needed some food. I didn’t have anything here and that if she could bring me some Chicken Soup and orange juice, that would be wonderful.

A few hours later, she brought the soup, fixed it for me and I drank the orange juice…and I kept it down.

As the day progressed, I began to feel better and I was able to get up off of the couch and tend to Mozzie…poor thing. He thought that his “throat was cut” because I was unable to stand long enough to feed him…

All of this just re enforced that being alone is a little dangerous as well as miserable…

So, today, I am going to work and I am relieved that I am at one client’s house for the day…it will be a 12 hour day total, but I think that I can make it…

Just one more thing that drives home the loss and the deep need to have my mate with me…and then the tears that bring the reality that he is no longer with me.

I will get past all of these things. I have seriously considered doing a mission trip.

My husband’s daughter in law has a brother in Iraq. The locals have asked him to help orgainize and administer a hospital in the area.

I gave my daughter in law forms that I use at work as a guide line for continuity of care.

As we discussed this further, out of my mouth came, I would like to go do something like that.

Her brother is in the north of Iraq which isn’t as dangerous as the south….I am intrigued by the idea…maybe, something like this will help me more than anything else.

Don’t know. I have always had a missionary heart and I have done mission work in Haiti and loved it. Like I said, Grief can make you fearless….

Well, enough of an update…I must get ready for work…