Silhouettes

August SunsetNothing signals the change from late summer to fall like the brilliant sunsets. I grew up in a house that faced the west and I became fasinated with the glories that heraled the end of day.

The autumn sunsets were always the announcement that a change was approaching. It was the ending of a season of warmth and bounty. It was the sure signal that colder weather was coming. A new and harder season was fast approaching.

One of the most striking differences from the summer sunsets and the fall was the contrast seen in the silhoutes cast by the fall sunsets. Everything before the sinking sun and its fading rays were sihouetted. The trees with their lost leaves, the barns, the houses were all dark against the intensity of the fading sun.

This has always been a bittersweet, melancholy time in my heart. I truly hated seeing the end of warm summer breezes. I waited in anticipation of the coldness of the winter snows that were sure to add more difficulty to the everyday happenings.

This year has been especially difficult for me. With each new sunset, I see Dan and I riding the motorcycle in our leathers. We would find the highest vista in the Hills of Brown County to observe the freshly harvested fields. We would catch the fading rays in the distance and know that we needed to leave before the ride back home would permiate our bones with the cold air.

I miss looking into his eyes to see my reflection. In his eyes held all unspoken but clearly known feelings reserved from his heart to mine. I miss his eyes.

Many times we would set in a coffee shop and I would just watch him watch people. He was an astute observer of people and he had a discernment into their character. He would watch them and I would watch his eyes.

I could dance in the palm of his hand with just a look from him. To him, I could do no wrong, even when he knew that I was as wrong as I could be. His eyes never betrayed me.

As I watch the fall silhouettes, the words written in his lost letter come to me.
” As I lay on the couch filling up time contemplating what is going to be, I watch you sleep. So soundly is your slumber, I wish and pray that this disease would pass and we could start all over…I miss sleeping with you and holding you in my arms. I miss the soft tender touches that passed between us. And, I miss your kisses, oh, so sweet.

I miss our bike rides in the evening sunsets. Watching your hair blow in the breeze. I miss your laughter and you wonderful smile. I miss watching our grandchildren grow up.

I feel that this disease is driving a wedge between us. I am so sorry. All I can do is pray for healing and the healing of our children’s hearts. I love you so much that my heart feels as broken as does my body.

It seems to early to stop making memories and plans. I miss you more and more…I love you as no other…

Dan

In his words, he seems to capture the silhouette of our life together. He wrote the essense of our life together and he wanted to begin again. He wanted the memories to continue. He wanted to be restored so that we could be husband and wife with all its responsibilities and wonders.

My life is so much less without him here with me and I feel my life become the shadows of the tree that lost its leaves.

His sunset has come and gone. Mine is still above the horizon. It is not as brilliant as it once was. It feels so faded and worn.

Will I ever know what it is to thrill at the changes embedded in the glories of the seasons again? I wish I knew…but where ever I am, so he will be…

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Untill Then, My Love

It has been a year since I heard the sound of your voice, felt the soft caress of your hands or watched your sly smile and that mischievous glint in your green eyes.

It has been a year since I have felt your warm embrace and felt safely encircled by your strength.

It has been a year since I was able to touch your face and to tell you how much I love you. To reassure you and myself  that we were a team and we could face any adventure together.

It has been a year that I have been alone with my thoughts. Thoughts  filled with tortured memories of your last moments, of  the tears that you cried when you knew that you were leaving me for the final time.

It has been a year since I have felt complete and whole.

As I face this anniversary, I understand, for me, that there will be no relief from this terrible loss of you and of myself.   I realize that I may never heal from cancer’s cruel tearing us from one into two. The wound is still so fresh and it has torn my heart so deeply.

You were the best part of me and I feel that I lost my way when you could no longer walk by my side. I am so much less by your leaving…

How many years will I walk in the shadows of this time?  A lifetime of brokeness seems as long as eternity itself….

But, until, I can see your face again, Until that moment when I translate from this form of existence into the next, may God watch between you and me until we meet again..

Dan  Russell 01

Until then, my love, until then….

Release

As I sit here missing Dan, I thought of this song. In many ways, he was a gambler. He took his risks and he placed his bets on those things in which he believed. Many payed him back well; others left him feeling the loss. He may have made different choices, but he would have gambled on living life his way.

As I listen to the lyrics of this song, I relate to the words about the song in the heart of a woman and how her song could only be released by the truest of loves.

I was that woman. Dan’s love set the hidden melody that was inside of my lonely heart free. I was free to love him totally without reserve or fear. That in and of itself is a miracle.

 Without Dan in my life, I would have been bamkrupt of the joy or contentment. I, forever, will know difference betweeen true love and what is produced by expectations or media influence. So, many live a lifetime and never know what true love feels like. I am one of the lucky ones. His love gave me so many wonderful gifts.

Dan loved beautiful things. His eye could always find the fine lines in a classic car. (Sorry to say that he didn’t like the looks of today’s cars very much).

He admired the touch and skill of a sculptor and their finished creation. He was mesmerized by the muse that struck the artist’s hands.

He loved the essence of color in all living things. He never overlooked the colors in a mountain scene or the display of color in a sunset.

Because of his artistry, he loved women and his eyes rested on me and I became the literal definition of the word “Wife”;  the desire of the eyes.

He found beauty in all women. He gave compliments easily and he meant them. He never “flattered”. He stated the obvious. Many believed that he was just saying empty words or that he had an agenda; they misunderstood him. His  security in his manhood allowed him to be sincere. He meant what he said.

Lately, I have pondered all of the gifts he gave me. They are not of the material nature. His love was a key that unlocked so many things that were out of sight, especially my sight. The best gift was my discovery of all that was held within my heart.

He made me understand what it was like to be cherished. I did not know what it was like to be valued like a precious gem. It was in the safety of his love that allowed me to dance in the palm of his hand and I saw him delight in me. I was amazed.  His eyes became my “looking glass”.

Without Dan in my life, I would never have known such joy. I grew up with a father that didn’t value women. He never gave compliments and he insisted that women were  not “made” to do the things that he respected. Sadly, I learned at an early age that women were of less value than men. I learned to discount my worth because I was a female.

Dan taught me  that all of me was of value and he celebrated  my womanhood, my femininity because he had a deep respect for strong woman. I believe his understanding of women was because of his grandmother. His love for her formed his respect for  women, and because of her, he was not threatened by their strength. He admired their strength as well as their beauty.

In his eyes, I had  that strength. He didn’t try to dominate it nor did he try to control it. Instead, he nurtured it and it grew within my heart. He saw my strengths and was not intimidated.

He  delighted in most everything that I did. It didn’t matter if I was singing in church or in a Karaoke bar, Dan was my greatest fan.  He never failed to encourage me after a song and he told me when I needed to use more air to keep the pitch. He had an acute ear for music.

He would tell me how he loved watching my hair blowing in the wind as we rode  the Harley. He said that he loved the shades of brown and red  highlights my hair.

Sometimes, he would sit and stare at me. When this began to unnerve me,  I would ask him what he was looking at so intently. I always expected a critism, but he never gave one. He commented on the petitness of my hands and how he loved to watch me play piano.

But, the comments that I will store lovingly in my heart of hearts will be the ones he gave me for just being who and what I was. I will never forget the evening that we went to the symphony. I finished getting ready and came out of the bedroom. In a hushed voice, he said,  ” You look stunning.”. I had never heard that phrase before in my life. I was speechless. I always felt beautiful with him.

He always told me that how much  he loved my shape and the feel of my skin. He helped me become comfortable with living in my body. Somewhere inside of me, I reasoned that if a man like Dan loved my body, why should I not trust that there was value in it. Without his love, I could not  have  discovered the joy of being a woman.

Everyday, I take the time to make myself look the best that I can.  I want to make him look good. I am proud to be his widow, as much as I was proud to be his wife, the desire of his eyes.

After thinking about the song that Dan’s love  released inside of me, I realized that his love set my heart free to be me. And then a new discovery came forth. For the first time in my life, I am free .

I was no longer in the role of wife or parent.  At first, I felt the emptiness that this kind of  loss brings. For these past few months, I felt the sting of not being someone’s wife and I struggled to understand just who and what I was to do now. As I grieved  over these losses, as well as his death, I felt abandoned and useless.

Then, it came to me. I have no parents to  disappoint nor do I have a husband to please. My children are grown and the responsibilities for their upbringing has past me. I am no longer required.

But, as I processed this feeling of detachment, I came to a new realization. I am free to be just be whomever I am and I am free to go wherever it takes me. I was surprised by my own reaction to this understanding.

I am acutely aware that my time on this earth is running low and I have discoveries to make about myself and the person who has lived and survived so many tragedies.

His gift of love freed me to a new horizon that I did not know existed. I began to feel a new kind of relief. A relief that I do not totally understand.

In someways, it feels like when I was in middle school and I was just learning about the wonders of a world outside of my parents and church.

I suppose it feels like a new birth of sorts. That is the best way I know how  to describe it.

I do know that I have a different appreciation for life than my peers. I know that I want the final 25 years of my life to be more and not less. Because I am widowed and without the responsibilites of parenting, I am not confined by these roles which allows me to be redefined by the present and not the past.

I don’t want to sound as if I begrudged those roles of daughter, wife, mother, step mother and grandmother. That is far from the truth. Rather, it feels like the spark of a new fire that is being kindled inside of me. It borders on excitement…I seem to have forgottem what that felt like.

Yes, Dan’s love set me free and, now,  I am trying to learn how to “soar”. To rely on my own set of wings. I am so very grateful to him and the love he gave to me.

As I watched this video, I was taken by all of the beautifl landscapes and sunsets. I thought of how Dan saw the Rockies for the first time as he drove his Semi truck through the high passes. As I watched further into the video, I saw his life and the many miles that he lived providing for his loved ones.

The lyrics speak of  a light in the depth of the darkness and a calm in the eye of every storm. Maybe, I am beginning to see both the light and calm….

His love was for a very important season of my life. I will always have it and I have one more obligation to him. I believe it would be his desire for me to learn to really live. He would want the effects of his life to shine on past his days here. And the best place to see the beauty of his life’s sunset is in the lives of those he loved.

How is the best way to thank him for everything he was to me? I believe the best thanks to him is for me to live, live well.  And I shall  live a life of  thanksgiving for the man who set my heart free….

My Hope In Easter

Many years ago, I lost one of my best friends in a car/train wreck.

In so many areas of my life, this wonderful woman was my mentor  I was devastated when  another friend told me of my friend’s death. All who knew me realized that I would be deeply impacted by this loss.

After being told of this incredulous accident, I turned without saying a word and began walking in the gentle autumn rain.As I walked, I lost track of time.  On that evening, I couldn’t tell you  how far I walked. I was lost in the night.

I don’t remember when I finally decided to walk back to my home to care for my young son. I just walked and walked. I could not understand how God could take this mentor from me. I  believed that I was not ready to be without her wisdom or her kindness. She was a guidepost to a broken young mother in a bad marriage. I was undone from this lost. It was my first loss of a close friend to death.

I could not speak of my friend’s death. Months later, I finally gathered enough courage to visit her grave. I was unaware that it was Easter week. I drove over 50 miles to the cemetery where she was buried. When I finally found her grave, the flowers from the funeral were still on her grave. Dead and brown, they were a dismal reminder that death was real. Her grave served as a reminder that the earth had not awakened from its winter slumber. It was a cold and gray April day.

I didn’t know that the flowers and the grave were allowed to stay in this ugly state of affairs until the newly disturbed ground had settled. After this settling, the cemetery keepers would fill the it and plant grass over the site so that it wouldn’t look so bleak.

I was so young and death had no understanding in me, so I became enraged that her grave had been neglected. I went to a local store and bought trash bags and returned the her grave site.

In my business suit and heels, I knelt on the cold ground and began to take those awful ugly dead flowers and their cardboard vases and bag them.

As I pushed these  remembrances into the black bags, the tears flowed down my face. I cried, I prayed, I raged at this cloud covered sky…I didn’t understand.

When I quit, I had 5 trash bags full of the symbols of sorrow and loss. I was covered in mud and I had ruined my heels and suit. I didn’t care. I wanted my mentor, my friend. I wanted her back.

As I looked at the grave where the flowers disguised this scar, I saw with new understanding why the flowers were left on the grave.

They were covering a greater ugliness. They hid the sunken ground, the outline of a rectangle that signaled a new grave. It looked like my barren heart. Completely without color or signs of spring, it was hideous.

I couldn’t let it remain like an open wound. Mud and all, I went to a nearby nursery and bought an Easter Lily. I bought a small garden shovel and returned to the cemetery.

By my friend’s small metal grave marker, I dug a hole the size of the pot that housed the lily  and I planted this living plant. I planted it with the hope of Spring in mind. I needed to see the color of hope in this scar.

As I filled the new hole where the Lily was planted, I heard a song. At first, I couldn’t remember the name of the song. I knew that I had sung this song somewhere so I began humming the melody…then the words began to flood back into my mind…

“…I’ve just seen Jesus, He’s Alive, I’ve just seen Jesus, my precious Lord’s alive..And I knew that He saw me too as if ’till now, I never lived. All that I’d done before, didn’t matter anymore, I’ve just seen Jesus. And I’ll never be the same again.”

It was at that moment,  the season of Easter, Resurrection Sunday, came to life inside of me. Because of this, I would see my friend again.

It took the sweat and the toil of clearing the remains of death and planting a Lily that symbolized the Hope of Easter to bring a fresh and deeper understanding of Life and Death. But, most of all, I had a greater understanding of the  reason for that dark day 2000 years ago when Jesus hung on a Cross.

Through the hope of Jesus, I realized that the ugliness of death was just the prelude to the hope of eternal Spring.

The sting of my friend’s death began to give way to Hope and Spring with a new understanding of Eternity.

Now, more than ever, I hold to the Hope of this Season.

My days with Dan in eternity will outnumber any amount of days that I was with him in this life.

I am beginning to feel Spring in my soul again. I am seeing the sky grow brighter in the East. I find myself saying, ” In the summer, I will….” I am planning ahead instead of standing still in this journey.

I am watching the ugliness that a hard winter brought to my soul being gathered like I gathered those dead flowers.  I am feeling the renewing of hope like I planted that beautiful Lily. My heart is coming out of its barrenness and looking ahead and all that is waiting there.

My hope is  in the Shadow of a Cross in-the-shadow-of-the-crossand nothing below or above can keep me from knowing the Hope that this Season brings…

One of Dan’s favorite quotes from Scripture was,…” I would see Jesus.”  With Hope  slowingly restoring my broken heart,I am grateful  that I, too, can say with Dan…” I would see Jesus..” Now Dan does……

Coincidence or Timely Messages?

12_77_57-red-rose_web1Sometimes, the anticipation of pain is worse than the actual pain in and of itself.

I had a neighbor who suffered from kidney stones. He had terrible pain when one would develop and the doctor allowed him to have a very strong pain medication for relief. His wife was a RN so the doctor allowed the medication to be administered by injection while he was home  . It was given every 4-6 hours “as needed”.

It wasn’t too long before the multiple dose vial was empty. The doctor refused to refill the medication because the neighbor went through it so quickly. The neighbor was upset because he only envisioned that the pain would come and he was without anything to offset the excruciating pain.

As his frustrated wife discussed this with me, she voiced her anger that her husband would become totally unreasonable when she tried to encourage him to try a pain pill before having the injection. She also was upset because she knew that the doctor lost trust in her as a nurse because of the quick consumption of the potent pain killer. Once a doctor believes that someone is abusing this kind of medication, there is nothing that will pursuade him to order the medication again.

I suggested to both the neighbor and his wife that it wasn’t the pain that was causing him to reach for the injection, but rather, it was the fear of the pain. The memory of having that kind of horrific pain caused such a fear of its return that a person will want to be relieved of the possibility as much as the pain.  The medication can become a “security blanket” of sorts and the fear had to be dealt. The doctor was not going to allow the fear to become the first steps toward the chance of addiction.

When I said the words “fear of the pain”, my neighbor chimed in that it was the fear of the pain that caused him to become irrate and unreasonable when his wife tried to get him to delay the injection. The fear became more powerful than the pain.

So it seems to be the same with me. I think that the past few weeks of living mountain-in-the-midst-of-a-stormthrough the first wedding anniversary without Dan, remembering in disbelief that the happiness found in the Renewal Ceremony had come and gone and it was just a year ago. And then the first Valentines Day without Dan; all of this was akin to  my neighbor’s fear of the pain. 

My anticipated fear of Valentines Day was more potent and dreadful than the actually living through the day and being reminded of loosing Dan.

Yes, it did hurt to not have the customary card or gift from Dan. Overhearing of everyone’s plan for the special day also was a hurtful reminder that I was alone without love in this world. For a while, it caused melencholy to sweep over me  as I spent the evenings alone.It was the fear of the approaching day that became more intensely painful. That is until I received something special.

I came home on Friday to find a voice message on my home phone. My neighbor said that he found an envelop with a card in it in the ditch in front of his house. It was addressed to me and that he walked the 50 feet to my mailbox and placed it inside. He made the comment that he thought that it was peculiar that the card was so far from my house. He just couldn’t understand how the mail man had lost it so far from my house.

After hearing the message, I went to the mailbox. Inside was an ink smeared envelope. My name and address was barely legible.  On the return address was a familiar name. It was from a friend of Dan’s and mine who worked in one of the doctor’s office.

I stood next to the mailbox and opened the envelope. On the inside of the card, our friend wrote of how much she enjoyed reading this blog and how she looked forward to each new posting. She added how both she and her husband realized how difficult this holiday would be for me. 

She was already familiar with Dan and my story. img_2036She saw us every week for the past year and half. She knew Dan’s personality well. She watched our life unfold around Dan’s  final days. In the card she wrote …”He was so strong and had that certain edge about him that made him so tough-Yet, he seemed so kind and loving at the same time…”  She and the doctor commented on Dan’s will to live and how he fought a hard fight to survive cancer. Inside the card was $25 with the instructions to “treat” myself with coffee and chocolate.

As I stood by the mailbox reading this wonderful card, I marvelled at the special circumstance of receiving this card and I pondered over if this was just coincidence or was this a timely message that I needed to hear???

My Immortal Beloved

This is the title of one of Dan’s favorite movies. Beethoven and his lost love was the focus of this film and Dan identified with the idea of lost love…except, in his mind, he was granted a second chance when we crossed each others paths.

The story is passionate and so sad because Beethoven’s deafness cheated him out of the love of his life. He died never knowing that he lost his love because he couldn’t hear her words whispered into his ears. But, from this continual heartache, music became the language that he spoke and we are blessed by his genius.

“My Immortal Beloved, My All, My Other Self” is the line that resonated within Dan and it now does so in me. As this Valentines Day approaches, the emptiness and the lonliness invades my soul deeper than ever before.

So many days, my thoughts are consumed with being left behind. I don’t know why that my pain focuses on that phrase, “Left Behind”, but that is the source of my woundedness.

My head knows the reason why, but it is my heart that cannot accept this loss. Dan is always with me and there are times, I do wish that I could get passed this emotional gaunlet.

I feel the passing of time and I am stuck in this mire called grief. Yet, the truth of it is, I can’t seem to leave him, even though he has left me.

A few weeks ago, I accepted an invitation to dinner from a “friend of a friend”. I reasoned that I may make a new friend and I expressed to my friend that this was my focus. I cautioned him to be very clear with his friend that friendship was all that interested me.

I met the friend of a friend and we talked, ate a nice dinner and then I left the resturant. As I was driving home, I wondered why I even wasted this poor man’s time. I realized that I wasn’t even interested in finding a new “friend” at this time in my life.

I would have been just as content with an episode of NCIS and a Lean Cusuine dinner. I realized that my heart is not ready to open up for any new kind of relationship. It would take a lightening bolt and an audible Heavenly commandment for me to think about having a new relationship in my life right now…my heart is still bleeding and I don’t know if it will even quit.

I was introduced to this song on Sparkle’s blog. It seemed to capture so much that is hidden deep inside my aching heart at this moment and especially as Valentines Day approaches.

Dan still has all of me. I know that before anything changes, I will have to take my heart back, if I can, before I will be ready to face any kind of new relationship. There is just too much pain.

Immobilized II

Thanks to you all who commented on the Immobilized post.

I was able to get out on Friday, but it was still “tricky” to get around. The roads out here were finally attended to at 3:30 AM on Friday morning. I was awake when the snow plow raked what it could off of the road. At least, it took the ruts down so that I would not bounce in and out of them and find myself in the ditch.

Sunday afternoon, everything was in a major melt mode and the ruts were as bad as before. Later in the day, the snow plow came back through and the pavement was a welcomed sight.

Today, I only had to deal with the refreeze and that was a little challenging at 5:30 AM, but I got to my client’s without incident. But, tomorrow, the forecast is for 3-6 inches of fresh snow and I need to be at the client’s house 30 minutes earlier than usual because the mother is traveling to a new location…

Oh, how I will welcome spring and it takes more and more of me to daily say, “Thank you Lord for another beautiful morning”…

I know that February is the month that we in the “southern” part of Indiana have the most snow and winter woes…please pray for me.

My biggest battle is not the weather, but it is the fear of what the consequences of poor driving conditions or poor driving skills can heap on my fragil state of existence.

As I tried to explain to my employer, I am the only income in this household. I have no one to find me if I am missing, provide for me if I am injured nor keep me safe and warm if I do not work…so I am evaluating each day as to the risk involved and weighing it against loosing the car or my health…

I doubt if it made a dent in her thinking, but that is the way it is when others haven’t experienced what it is to loose a spouse or a livelihood…so, whatever they want to do to me for not venturing out in a Level II Snow Emergency, it is what it is

This is my reality.

As far as my being grateful, I am truly grateful that my daily needs are met and that I have electricity and warmth. So many in Kentucky are without power and heat. There are some who have been in shelters since the beginning of this mess and they are being told that they may have an additional week or more before power is restored.

Gratitude is never relational, but our awakening to our blessings may be…Gratitude is a way of life and I am striving to learn the lessons that Dan taught me regarding the subject…I am not a fast learning when it comes to things that are against my circumstances, but I am determined to learn. If not for my own benefit, for Dan’s memory…

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…