Lamentation

My God

You have not forsaken me, but I have lost my way to Your Heart.

My soul has lost its refreshing dew and I thirst for Your Love and how I once knew it.

My body is weary and worn. It cries out daily for renewal and refreshment. My bones ache with the weight of sorrow and my despair only deepens.

My heart is shattered as a pane of glass. It is scattered by the winds of loss. My emptiness consumes like a moonless night.

“How long, oh Lord, how long?” is the echo of my lamentation. Hourly, the losses in my life mount higher. It seems as if they are as tall as the highest peak and as deep as a  fathomless ocean

I seem to labor to keep body and spirit together yet, I find no harvest…no reward. It is an internal battle that has a fierceness that desires to destroy me.

Relief is my physical cry. Refreshment, my soul’s plea.

I know that my heart’s lament is not lost in a sea of deafness. I know that my name is on Your lips. My life is seen by Your all-knowing Eyes.

It is my heart, oh Lord, that is shrivelling within my breast.

I cannot save myself.

It is You, my God, the Lover of my soul, it is to You whom I cry.

I surrender my life, my self , my all to You and Your will.

I shall be restored to Your Master Plan.

I shall look on my life and rejoice for I have seen Your abundant Grace, Your Unmerited Favor on my life in this land called Living.

I shall stand.

I shall stand on Your solid Rock.

It is the Rock called Hope.

Advertisements

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…

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.

A Daughter’s Sorrow; A Christmas Wish

On my blog roll, there is a site listed  “Just My Thoughts”. It belongs to my husband’s oldest daughter. On this site, she writes about her father’s illness, her children and other things that are close to her heart.

One of entries was about her fear of loosing the memory of her father’s voice and how she lost her “Protector”. She calls and emails from time to time, but, as for many, the contact with me causes her pain. I am the remenant of her father and the hurt is just too much to bear.

She  mentioned that others have memories that she does not have. Some are good and some are not so good. I  posted this comment on her blog.

Dear One,
You knew the real person that lived inside your dad. He didn’t allow many to see this side, but you did and he wanted you to know him.

Yes, you are the same artist and lover of beauty that he was. He couldn’t live without music playing in the house. He was always looking for that inspiring sight that he recorded deep inside his soul. As with you, his innermost being was that of an artist.

 

I believe that, had he been granted the wish to live his life over, he would would choose to be that long haired “hippie dude” playing the bass violin in the symphony orchestra…a true bohemian, who would have thrilled to the sounds of music created by the orchestra every night.

He would have sculpted the wonders around him and yes, he would have ridden his Harley as his primary vehicle.

Like a diamond,  he was so multi faceted, and you, dear heart,  are a part of that flawed but, brilliant gem.

I am coming to terms with the lack of his presence. I can imagine him riding a moonbeam or I can see him standing before God’s throne singing the songs of the Redeemed.

Never forget, angels cannot sing about being redeemed. They can never know, as a personal experience, the price of sin and its effects on our human life.

You father knew the experience of redemption. Your father knew exactly from what  he was saved and how much he was forgiven.

Regarding those things that people remember about the dark side of your father’s life, unfortunately, they may not be able to know nor can they comprehend this miracle. It is their loss.

Your father knew all of the things that are remembered by others. Now, he knows  his freedom to be all that he was created to be. 

I lived with him during his metamorphasis and that is why I am so confident in the man that was renewed.

Even in sorrow, I can rejoice that your father left this world a wonderfully changed person He left a completed man….He was REDEEMED…and God has welcomed him with open arms…

It will forever be my privilege to have known the man before redemption and after it. I loved both men and I am the richer for it…so are you, Dear-heart..You are the fruit of the man that lives on. Your children are the testament to his life…

         

           Love always,

           Mom II

  

As I thought more about the man that my husband became, I realized that it was not me, not circumstance, not anything of this earthly life that caused him to become that wonderful man.

 

It was  a “Saving Grace”, the unmerited favor, of his God that penetrated his heart and caused him to finally become what God intended from beginning of the foundations of this earth.

 

He did reach this final goal.

 

I believe all of us are doing the same. We are on a lifelong journey to discover and to become what our Creator designed us to be.

 

My husband was a loving and caring man. He was a concerned and compassionate father.  He was a man who could not allow a day to pass without praying for those he loved.

 

He was the man that said, ” Oh, Lord, let there be nothing between You and me.”

 

It must be have been hard for his oldest daughter to hear what others said about her father. Those who once knew him but never knew him as the finished product can never comprehend the change in him. They knew the “old man”. They never knew the “new man”.

 

As Jesus said to those who were amazed by the miracle of Lazarus rising from the grave, “Loose that man and let him go”. That is what I want to say to those who only remember the man he was.  “Loose him and let go of what was, he is not the same man.” 

 

He is no longer bound by his actions of the past or the opinions of others. He no longer must pay the consequences for his actions and choices. He was loosed from those things that bound his heart and soul for so long. He is finally free to love without fear.

 

It is sad that there are those who will never see the miracle of a changed life because they insist on holding on to the pain and anger of the past.  Little do they know that they are running the risk of becoming one as a person bound in grave clothes… tied to past pains and old resentments.  

 

While it is human to bear resentment and grudges, the human soul cannot live with long remembered pains. Should we refuse to forgive, and hold onto to these past hurts, these resentments can become a great price that is paid on the alter of “dead” issues. 

 

They can hang like a millstone around our necks. The longer we refuse to let them go, their weight increases with bitterness. . As bitterness grows, it eventually crushes the life out of a person.

 

No one can bind my husband any longer. I like to imagine him riding a raindrop as he once rode his Harley.  If that isn’t fast enough for him, I can imagine him riding on the tail of a gas filed comet. In my mind’s eye, I see singing in the choir of the Redeemed.

 

I fail to understand why our human condition continues to look for him here? He is no longer held down by this world. He is free…and he is at Peace…

 

This man loved Christmas. I have no problem imagining him singing the original songs of the Heavenly Hosts. I can hear him sing along with the Angels as they sing their songs of comfort and joy  to the shepherds.

epiphany1It brings me joy to think that he  is celebrating with the original angelic throng who sang God’s announcement of

                  ” Peace On Earth, Good Will to Man”.

As the final moments of this Christmas Day come, I wonder, if, I listen carefully, maybe, I can hear his sweet tenor harmonizing with God’s angels?.

 

 He has every reason to sing.  He will gladly lift his voice and join in the heavenly celebration because he knows that, we on earth, are remembering that his Savior was born…Somehow, this brings me comfort. I am doing my best to have a good Christmas….I wish you all a Merry one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Angel Came To My Friend’s House

Many of you have come to know my friend, Frank. He writes 2 blogs, Within Crepusculum and Four Chances.

Frank and I met through our blogs. We both happened upon each other’s blog early on in our blogging endeavors and discovered that we had many shared experiences, especially those that occured in our childhood. With that shared history and our love of writing came a great admiration and friendship that I deeply value.

Frank is a remarkable person. He has faithfully cared for his elderly mother for years. The last few months have included care at home with a ventalator sustaining his mother’s life. As a nurse, that speaks volumes to me about Frank’s character. The average person would not have been willing or able to do this for their loved one.

Frank has written about his devotion and love for his mother. Her influence on his life was a lasting one and was a major influence in his life choice for a career. Because of her, Frank achieved a very successful career.

His education for this talented career began in his mother’s kitchen. He writes of his memories of being in her kitchen learning everything that she could teach him. There is no better place to learn anything about life than at the feet of a loving parent.

Through his posts, I developed a deep respect and admiration for his mother. She loved life and she looked forward to tomorrows rather than dwelling on the things in the past. She was a remarkable woman.

Many of those who come to my blog regularly have been fortunate to “discover” Frank and are faithful to visit his sites. But, Frank is unable to post at this moment in time.  

With inevitable expectation, Frank lost his mother this past weekend. His heart is breaking and I am asking that you all support him and his family with prayer and kind expressions of understanding for this devastaing heart loss.my-utmost-for-his-highest

His last post was about seeing Death approaching the door to his home. He saw dread and fear. Finally, he was able to see “Dying Grace” also found his home. His poem was so moving.

This has been a long journey for my friend. Now, he sets out on a new path after the years of care giving. Please remember Frank at this time in his life…his loss is great.

My Apologies…Clouds In My Valley

It has been quite a while since posting on this blog.

I didn’t intend to take such a long time in writing again, but it seems that I am unable to do the things that I did before his passing.

Yes, I am working and it seems to take most of my time and energy, but that is an excuse. Lately, my heart has been so heavy that I seem to not be able to bring myself to think on these things for very long and that troubles me.

I know that it is a coping mechanisms, but all the same, it takes a state of heart for me to write. It is the same when I sing…I just can’t force it. I feel like a lark that has lost its song. 

As the days pass, it feels that I am leaving him farther behind. He is always on my mind, but I seem to be distracting myself so as not to feel the pain that is as a huge boulder crushing my soul…

I know that this is “normal”, but no matter how much your head tells you not to panic, your heart says it is not surviving this pain and you wonder if you are going to make it through this dark Valley…

So, for now, I am forcing myself to sit here and explain myself to those who are so kind to come here. I apologize and I do want to continue the series on my husband’s life. I just have a hard time organizing my thoughts and get them from my head, through my fingers and on this screen…it is a new experience for me. Writing has always been my comfort.

Writing my thoughts has helped me come to “grips” with confusing circumstances and issues that are like a tailspin in my head. Maybe, now, I am not confused about my emotions, I am just afraid of them.

I am….afraid of the depth of pain…afraid that I won’t be able to sustain myself and be independent… afraid of loosing my way in this terribly dark place in which my soul resides…just afraid.

 In a few days, it will be three months since he died. I know that others think that I should be coping better with this. Others say that I am doing so well. That is because they cannot see inside my heart.

My heart is broken, shattered and scattered by a force that I didn’t know existed. I am so hurt that, if I could manifest this pain into a physical form, it would be like being in a terrible car accident. Every bone in my body was crushed and I am horribly disfigured…barely recognizible. That is how the pain feels, a crushing, never ending pain that is squeezing the life out of me.

But, to those who see me on a daily basis, I hide this pain from their view. They do not see the multitude of tears that are cried. They never see the dispondency that creeps over my face as I sit and stare at nothing. They will never see the scenes of his death that play through my head when I least expect them. They can never hear all of the questions that I ask myself as I second guess the decisions that I made on behalf of him…

All of this is hidden from view and I can’t allow anyone to know…how ironic, I just exposed these things to everyone in cyberspace, so I suppose, I have decided not to hide them any longer.

I hurt. I am wounded badly. I am fast coming to a point that I cannot push myself through another day without using all my emotional energy and yet, that is to be expected, right?

Like an uninvited guest, this pain is staying and I have no idea when it will finally take its leave of me.  It is wanting to move in and take residence and I am at a loss with how to live with it and not allow it to overcome me.

It’s Gonna Be Worth It

The Video says it for me….I can’t add much to what the song says.

Everyday, as I, in fear and trembling, leave the sacturary of my home to face new people with serious illnesses, it is this song that comes to my mind.

When I am so tired that I don’t know if I am going to be able to force myself to get into that old car and drive an hour to my first stop, I have to recall that “It’s Gonna Be Worth It”.

When I look into the faces of children and into the faces of the aged, my heart breaks for them and the betrayal of their bodies that bind them into a shell of the life that they once knew, I hear the melody and words that says, ” I don’t understand Your ways, but I give you my song, give You all of my praise…”

I especially don’t understand the pressure cooker of events that seem to befall me as I deal with the greatest loss my heart, mind and soul has ever known. I just know that I must not fail to live. If I fail, then who would take my place to tell of this man who was taken too soon from those who loved him.

But, most of all, there is only one way that I know that I can survive this crushing pain that consumes me body, mind, and soul. It is through my faith that I look past the hurt of my heart and cry out to my Lord…

I especially identify with the lyrics that says that He is using my pain to pull me closer into His ways….and if I must walk the rest of this life alone, I want to see His face. I want to see the Mysteries that my husband now knows.

He would quote the verse that says, “I would see Jesus”.

That was his goal. He wrote in one of his prayers that He wanted NOTHING between him and his Lord…I saw with my own eyes the smile on his face when he left this earth. The only thought I had was that he must have just seen Jesus…

I would see Jesus and I shall give him my “song” and all of my praise…because He is pulling me closer and bearing my pain…

For today, that is all that I need. I no longer live in my tomorrows because my days are full of bringing a little hope to those who are hurting in ways that my heart can understand. It is my hope that I am a “light” into their world and that they are God’s light in mine…

So as my weary heart, soul and body cries out in pain, I play this song and remind myself that Heaven is a little sweeter because my husband is there, but more than that, Heaven is my Hope and seeing Jesus face is worth it all…

In that I have absolutely no doubt….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

School Days III

In 1964, when my husband was 12 years old, the family left the small Indiana rural community to take a church in the northern area of Chicago. They were located close to the Naval Training Base in Waukeagan IL.

Changing schools again, and going into a school system of another state made my husband’s desire to excel in anything academically more difficult. This was the 4th school in 6 years for him.

Instead of a classroom with the same teacher, he was in middle school with several teachers and classes. This is a difficult transition for most children. Add to it that he was the “new” kid in many classes as opposed to the “new” kid in one class and soon it spelled trouble. Again, my husband was fighting and there were many “meetings” with the principle over his behavior.

 Because of the Naval Base, there were many ethnic groups i.e. Puerto Rican, African American, Hispanic. His behavior caught the attention of the “tougher” kids of the school and my husband was invited to run around with this diverse and multi ethnic tough group of kids. Hanging around with these kids was quite an exciting change from rural Indiana.

Because of his fighting, he quickly gained a reputation for being a “tough” guy. He soon became a part of the juvenile system. This brought into his life a person that soon took interest in him; his probation officer.

My husband described this man as a 40 something, big black man who seemed to show up every place and every time he was just about to do something “stupid”. My husband credited this man with saving him from having to do jail time. Many of his other friends had already been in jail and it is only through pray and this man’s vigilance that kept him from following in the footsteps of his buddies.

School was not a priority to my husband. The difference in school systems caused him to be behind the grade level of those in his class. That seemed to drive my husband’s disinterest and he began to focus on the “social” aspects that presented themselves through school.

There were many times that he would walk in the school building and on through it to a local coffee shop across the street. Again, the probation officer came to his parent’s door. This time it was for his truancy.

There were a few bright spots. The name of the school was Jack Benny Junior and Senior High Schools. This school offered orchestra. It was through the director of the orchestra that my husband began his love affair with the bass violin.

This man would give my husband private lessons at his home to ready him for the “First Chair” in his orchestra. Through this avenue, my husband learned and played the classics…Vivaldi, Handel, Beethoven, The New World Symphony,…all of the great music that caused his heart to sore. Music was already an intregal part of my husband. He loved of all kinds and types of music, but the classics was his introduction to another world. One that was full of beauty and grace. His love of classical music was birthed through this teacher’s interest. It was one of the few saving graces of my husband’s young life.

His home life was becoming more splintered and fragmented. His mother was consumed with his now adopted brother. Caring for this child was her main focus.

His father was pastoring the small church and working in a shoe store to earn extra money for his family. When his father was home, he was working on his college courses to finish his degree and to qualify himself for seminary. Like many of us born in the ’50’s and coming of age in the ’60’s, our parents were absent even when they were home.

My husband told of the time when he wanted and needed to talk to his father. I don’t remember if my husband ever said what was on his mind at the time, but he decided that the only way to get his father’s attention was to write a letter to his dad and leave it in the typewriter.

When my husband told the story, there was pain and dejection in his voice. He viewed this story with the saddness of an abandoned child.

When his mother told the story, she viewed it as one of those stories where your child did something that was just “so cute” that you just had to share it.

My husband’s parents never knew the desperation that  was in his heart. As he hunted and pecked out the words of this letter, his heart’s cry failed to be heard. My husband went to the one thing that he knew his father would go to on a daily basis; his typewriter.

i don’t know if my husband and his father ever had the “talk” that my husband requested. I doubt it because it wasn’t long afterwards that my husband began using drugs and staying gone from home for days.

Where does a 14/15 year old get the money to buy drugs? In the mid ’60’s, they work for it.

At 15 years old, my husband began working at the same shoe store where his father worked. He began earning enough money to do as he pleased. He not only worked everyday after school at the shoe store, but he worked weekends for a catering service.

When he told me about the catering service, scenes from Dirty Dancing came to my mind. He told of the white shirt, black dress pants and tie that was required for this job. It brought to my mind those scenes  with the waiters in their white coats serving the guest at the retreat. That movie captured a lot of what life was like at that time.

My husband also talked about hopping a freight train to downtown Chicago. For the longest time, he never told me what he did downtown. I thought that he was just going for the sake of excitement.  It wasn’t until he was in 6ICU at IU Med in 2005 that I learned what he did.

Because, he had thrown two blood clots and they lodged in his left lung after the debulking surgery, he was told to lay still and not to move.  I sat by his bedside as he dozed off. He woke up and said that he wanted those “Goombas” to get this 5 pound bag of sugar off of his chest. Before I could ask any question, he went back to sleep.

I sat there wondering what a “Goomba” was. I could understood  the 5 pound bag of sugar. He had pressure in his chest from the clots, but I couldn’t figure what significance the Goomba had.

He awoke again and said something about getting the Goomba out of here. I finally asked him what was a Goomba and why was he so afraid of it.

It was then that he told me that when he was 15 years old, he would hop the train and go downtown Chicago and “run numbers” for the Mafia. He said that they let him drive a big Cadillac and go to the barber shops and pool halls and pick up the numbers and the money. He was a kid and if he got caught, he would be charged as a juvenile and nothing would happen to him. He said that he made a lot of money by doing this and that he always knew that if anything came up missing, the Goomba’s would hurt him.

Finally, I knew what a Goomba was and why he was so afraid. Even though he wasn’t Italian, the Mob was using kids to run the numbers and transport money. All the “wise guys” were identified by wearing a pinky ring. In this picture, notice the pinky ring on his hand.

It explained how he always had money. How he could buy the “trike” that he kept at his girlfriend’s house,  how he had the money for drugs and how he always was aware of his surroundings. He was “street” smart. He didn’t need school except to meet girls.

It was this time in his life that his father learned that he smoked cigarettes. He was at work at the shoe store when his father came in and saw him smoking in the back room.

His father lost his temper and began hitting his son. My husband said that he couldn’t hit his father and he was taking a hard beating when the manager/owner of the shoe store saw what was happening and called the law on his dad.

With eacg blow, hardness was forced deeper into my husband’s soul. Hardness against God, against  his father and all he represented. This beating hardened his heart against all things spiritual. I believe it completed the detachment that he was developing. He could detach himself from almost anything; even those he loved.The beating provided the determination that he was going to live his own life and he didn’t care what anyone thought. 

My husband said that he most likely would have given up smoking had it not been for that beating. He loved his parents dearly, but he decided that the life that they had, the “church” thing, was definitely not how he wanted to live. If he ever was going to go “church” he didn’t want what his parents had. He wanted what his Grandmother Lela had. He believed all “Christians” in his father’s church were as hypocritical as his parents and he wanted nothing to do with it.

This break with his parents only led to more “acting out” behavior. It led to his “road trip”. At 15 years old he and his buddies decided to go to New Mexico…..

Counting and Counseling

It is four weeks and counting since he left. I don’t know why we humans track time. I think that the Native Americans did it better. They counted moon phases or seasons.

His passing is still so fresh, yet,each day takes me a little farther away from  him, or so it seems.

I have sent out resumes and I have a few prospects. I know that this is what I need to do because the days are empty. I am hoping to be employed by September at the latest. I have to have income; the sooner the better.

I noted how those who are left behind in this world  keep track of how long they have been bereaved. I didn’t do this with my brother, mother or even my divorce. I suppose that those losses are not quite the same as loosing the one that was such a part of me.

As I re enter into a world that I left when cancer came in, I seem to be seeing it with different eyes. I am not disillusioned by what I see. I have been on my own before.

There is a white band on my  left ring finger. It looks so strange. Now, I place a birthstone ring on the finger that was covered for so long. I have to have something to take the place of the wedding band.

My husband was very observant and he would notice if I took off my rings. If I didn’t place them back on, he would begin asking me questions as to why they were not on my hand. Usually, it was because I was in the kitchen and doing something messy with my hands and I didn’t want to have to clean my rings…he always noticed the little things. I suppose they were not little to him.

So, I have begun making small changes. I have major decisions to make regarding finances and I keep hearing my mother’s voice in my head. She always said, “Try not to make decisions in time of storm”.

She knew that whatever decisions you make when life has you rocking and reeling from the waves of uncertainty can cause you to not clearly see the best choice. She also knew that those important decisions are the ones with which you must live for the rest of your life.

My mother was a very cautious person. She was the perfect German, logical and methodical, to balance out my Irish father, who was very impetuous and emotional in his decision making. I hear her words often and I realize that I listened and placed inside my heart her pearls of wisdom.

I am doing my best to heed her advise. I just have pressing circumstances and I know that I can’t make a mistake. At this moment in time, missteps would be a luxury that I cannot afford.

One of the unseen blessings for me in this journey is that I have a dear friend who lost her husband a few months back. Over the years, our lives have crossed paths many times and it would seem that we have met up again for this season in our lives. 

Her circumstances are similiar, but different, but we are learning that grief is something that can’t be spiritualized and sailed over. It must be felt. Tears must be cried, Loss must be faced and anger is a component to grieving. Some of the things that people say to those of us who have lost our identity by loosing our spouses are just plain cruel.

That is the case with my friend. She had few who could understand how much pain she felt inside. When we try and not feel the pain, the emotions catch up when we least expect it.

She “hit the wall”. That proverbial wall is rather big and it is very hard when hit full force.  As my friend and I shared our grief, we realized that we needed to have the wisdom of someone who has walked this road. I knew the right person to call.

I met this counselor 20 years ago when I was trying to deal with the multiple losses of brother, mother, marriage, grandmother and I called this Woman of God.

She presently is the hospice chaplain. I felt such relief  when my husband was in the hospice program. When I saw her again, I felt a comfort that only an old friend could bring at that moment in time.

She was there at my husband’s passing. When my husband left this world, this kind woman put her arms around me and held me as if I were in my mother’s arms. She let me sob my heart out.

This woman also has known the loss of her spouse. She was 39 years old when her husband died of a major heart attack. She has walked through this Valley and she has come out on the other side.

When I realized that my friend and I needed someone who had actually lived the life we were experiencing, I called her. I have every confidence in this person and I know that I knew that I could entrust my friend with her wisdom. I know that I can trust her words of comfort. I know we are safe in her counsel.

How long will this be needed? I don’t know. I don’t care how long it takes. I am determined not to get stuck in this Valley of the Shadows. I realize this loss will always be a part of me because it will define me and my future. I also know that this Valley was never designed for anyone to dwell in it, but rather, it is to be passed through.

This valley is a part of the road of life. All who have married will go through this portal. It may be premature or it may be when all of life has been exhausted, but it will be faced by the the two who became one. It is part of the wedding vows and it is recognized as the ending.

So, each day, I take another step. Some days, it is a very small one and I know for those who look on, it may seem like I didn’t move at all. For me, the smallest of movement forward is progress and I know that I may step back and undo what forward motion that I made.

It is just part of this living again. It is still movement and the days will come when I move outside of myself and re emerge as my own person instead of one part of two…

So, for now, I am counting the days. I remind myself that this injury to my heart is still very fresh and to be gentle with it. But, I know that, as in all things of healing, you must press on to regain whatever the injury cost you.

Counseling is good. It keeps me honest. It will help to know that what I feel is “normal” and not as crazy as it feels.

I had an advantage over my friend. Because of those who meet me here on this blog and whose blogs I read, I had an understanding of what was approaching.

For what I find lacking in this physical world, I have found satisfying in the cyber world. I want to thank you all for the wisdom, comfort and support. Before and even now, you are my counselors and comforters as much as anyone.

Thanks ever so much.

These Are My Shadows

Long Shadows of Seasons

    Until July 1, 2008, I walked this journey with my husband. It was his Valley of the Shadow of Death. It was mine to share with him and I have no regrets that we walked the last steps together.

The moment that he left this world and entered into the arms of Glory, I began my own journey. I began trying to find my way out of these shared shadows. After yesterday’s melt down after filing for the Death Benefit, I realized more than ever that the Shadows that belonged to him are now my own to dwell or to dispel.

Even though, I understood in my mind that this journey is not over, but entering into a level that requires me to move alone through this Valley, I am finding the grief and the pain deepening. Each day, I awake to this trial and I don’t know if I have the strength to pull through this darkness.

After coming home from the Social Security office, I was struck by the visual illustration that was laying on that desk. As I viewed these documents, it was a sobering moment. I saw his worn and tatered Social Security card, my social security card, birth certificates, marriage license, death certificate, his and my drivers liscenses,  all of these document were silently stating that he had lived, loved and died. As a collage, these fragments of time, was illustrating how terribly short that our life together was.  Most of all, it brought my loss of future, my loss of happiness and my feeling of despair to a new level.

All of these pieces of paper were necessary so that the agent could certify that I was entitled to a death benefit.  It was the essence of his existence that was missing from the inanimate paper. It was a hollow ring of a bell that I heard in my head. It was the realization that it wasn’t just his life lying there in a scrambled pile, but it was my life there laying in random order. My birth certificate, my marriage liscense, my social security card, all of my life events were represented and presented with a death certificate. The full weight of understanding that my life was over as well.

Irish Cross

For the first time, I realized that life as I had known it died on July 1, 2008. All of my dreams that were once shared and were a part of my very fiber are as gone as he is. My future has been consumed with dark shadows and total emptiness.  I was born, I loved and married this man, and I remain as his beneficiary. That is all. That is my sum total at this moment.

I realized in that instant, that I had no hopes and no dreams that were outside of him. I had no secret desires of self promotion that excluded him. The shadows of my future lost was bearing hard against me.

My feeling of being so cheated and short changed was hitting me like a tital wave.  As statistics, I was so impacted by the lack of substance that our lives are. For a moment, I understood that I was as dead inside as this death certifcate states that he is physically.  My future, my hopes and dreams, my other self…all gone.  I was not prepared to endure this stark revelation and another deeper wave of grief blindsided me that at that very moment in that setting. I felt the panic rise inside me and I desperately wanted out of there.

It was a revelation that began to grow and it was overwhelming my soul. As I sat in that chair in a gray and cold cubicle,  I felt my life with my husband reduced and diminished to the point of extinction. It is over. It really is over…my dream of loving him and growing old with him is over.

I made it out of those sterile offices and got in my vehicle. For the first time in a long time, I wanted to drive to the nearest bar and get totally drunk. I wanted to make this pain stop…I hadn’t had that thought or desire for years. This was an old shadow that I thought that was eliminated, but apparantly not.

As I struggled with this strange need for obliteration, I decided that this temptation was one that I could not allow myself to bear alone. I needed help and I needed to call someone that understood what this kind of desire brings to a soul.

I called my brother in law. My husband’s brother has known this same temptation and I knew that I had to hear words from someone who knew how deep this desire goes and how dangerous it is to give into it.

At this darkest of moments, I recalled how my husband told me that he knew that I wanted to “check out” but I had to stay because my grandsons would be devastated and I told this to my husband’s brother. Until this very moment, I explained to him that I never had those thoughts on a conscience level . I knew that I was in deep, deep trouble.

The pain of the finality of all my hopes and dreams, the realization that this life as I knew and needed it to be was lost. Being reduced to a few pieces of paper was almost more than I could bear. I didn’t know how to make a life without his brother and I didn’t want another life without him in it….the pain was so deep and raw that I wanted to just go somewhere I didn’t feel it for a moment. I needed something to break this overpowering hurt that seems to build on a daily basis.

As I knew he would, his brother began to pray. He prayed for my release of this torment and he prayed that this terrible pain would pass as quickly as possible. He also reminded me that my husband has joined several people that are friends who have unexpectedly and recently passed. He reminded me that they are a part of that “great cloud of witness” that is talked about in Hebrews.

He said that he truly believed that all of those who love us and that we love are concerned with the things that take place with their loved ones. He reminded me that they see with a clear vision as we only see as in a “glass darkened”. His words began to fill what was so empty a few minutes before and I began to feel this terrible pain inside subside.

It isn’t that I didn’t expect this kind of emotional devastation. I knew that this loss would reduce and diminish me. But, no one can help you understand the potential pain that becomes a force in and of itself. It looms over your very existance to kill your heart, steal your future and destroy your soul. At this moment, my feelings were not only my shadows, but they were becoming my enemy. Ones that I could not allow to take control.

What frightens me more is that I know that this pain isn’t totally fulfilled. I know that I have yet to experience its total intensity.  I know this in my head and  it paralysis my heart with great fear.

These are my shadows. They are as dark a time as I have ever known. I know that I must make a new path but I am frozen here in this deep well of pain for whatever time is…

I have to learn to deal with its intensity. I have to also know when to not push and to rest.

I am in the deepest of forrest surrounded by dark and deadly obsticles that purpose my fall. I am so tired and weary of the emptiness yet, I realize that this is the beginning and there are many more trials ahead that are just as painful, if not more so, than my present pain.

 I am also afraid of the next

revelation.                                                                                                                   How much will my heart be able to endure. How long before I begin to find my way out of these shadows?

 I have no answers, just a slight glimmer of hope that has no source, but God, Himself.