Saturday, August 31, 2013

Talking To Myself

Before I was a widow...wow, that sounds lonely. When Steve was alive, we would talk at night about our day. So, all day I would mentally store up stories. Maybe I hit all the lights green driving John Deere Road to work, or my co-workers and I had a good laugh about something. Sometimes I'd think of so many things I wanted to be sure and tell Steve, I'd make a list.

So now, I still think several times a day, how I'm going to tell him something. What do people do who go home to an empty house? What fun is that if there is no one to tell stuff to? Hitting all the lights green on John Deere road is huge!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Stolen Hugs

It's funny what can affect me. I went to the lawyers to sign some papers and by Steven's name, it said Deceased. Now I know Steven is gone but the word...it took my breath away. What do they mean he's Deceased. He's was the most alive person I know.

I'm still crying all the time. I'm sure I could quit if he could just hug me one more time. Our hugs over the last month of his illness were kind of stolen moments. I would dress him and have him stand up so I could pull his sweats up. He would hold onto me. Then I'd hold him, and look in the mirror over his back and say, "Girl, you better remember this coz it's gotta last a long time." But it didn't

Monday, August 26, 2013

Circle Of Life

The circle of life is never more evident than when death and birth happen in a family. I love this little boy. He makes me so happy and we are going to be the best of friends. I wish so much that he would remember Papa Steve but he won't. He won't learn the things only Steven can teach. It will be through stories, videos and pictures that Parker will sense the love we feel. And then he will feel it too.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Richter Scale Of Pain

To have the idea that there will be no suffering in life is misleading. Levels of suffering vary from person to person, and how we cope also varies.

What if I think of my suffering as a weaning from the old habit of getting my way. Funny, how I think I deserve my way because I try to lead a life honoring God.

There was my era of tending to Steve and watching his pain, only to know he was going to die, that was pretty high on the Richter scale of suffering. Certainly for him, and for me in my helplessness. But now, this pain is different. I'm not helpless. And if I think about it, there are others whose pain is much, much worse. I think of those who wake daily to physical pain without relief, or those whose lives are ruled by an addiction. There are those who are lonely and without hope, and those who live in fear.

Does this mean I'm supposed to get over it and quit feeling sorry for myself? No, but it does mean I have hope. I have God on my side, and I have to think every day is going to be a little better than yesterday.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dear Steven

Dear Steven, I'm really confused by everything and I'm kinda mad at you for leaving me like this. You kept saying I'm stronger than I think, but I'll tell you what I think, you were wrong.

There's too much to do with everything you left. My head is going to explode. Gosh, I wish it would. It would stop hurting. I don't want to meet you in any dream tonight. You're probably having way too much fun anyway. I'm really mad at you for having fun too. I'm not having fun and this is all your fault.

I knew, too, that your sickness was inevitable. I even said to someone that it wasn't a matter of if you get sick but when. I know I should feel like I cursed your health, but you could have done more to prevent all this and you didn't even try. Not once did you ever try. And how many mornings of waking and coughing like that did you need?

It's ironic, I'm the one who worshiped and you are the one who shook your head at my 'obsession'. Now you are in this glorious place with the One I worshiped and I'm stuck shaking my head.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Grip And A Backbone

So much reminds me of Steve. I came out of the building I work in and smelled the summer air with a tinge of burning. It was so like a campfire. A question in a meeting about how our husband would react. I can't answer that can I? Even though he was breathing 33 days ago.

I used to be thought of as the lady whose husband is dying. But now... I'm the lady whose husband died. It's over. Over for them. For me it's just a new phase of hell.

Oh goodness, where is he to not help me with all this? I don't make these kinds of decisions. Not only was I not making decisions in our marriage, I wasn't even consulted. A vacation was planned. New windows were put in. A newly purchased car or truck would show up in the driveway. Why ask? What was I going to say, no?

I've got to get a grip. And a backbone. A grip and a backbone, a grip and a backbone. Or maybe just my bed.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

When Prayers Have No Words

I was reading Romans 8:26-27 this morning which talks about how sometimes we don't know how to pray when we are distressed. And how our Holy Spirit within us, prays for us, in harmony with God's own will.

It reminded me of a time when I was holding Steven in bed, as we waited for the morphine to kick in. I told him I wanted to pray. Then, I started crying, as I told God I had no idea what to pray for. The previous pleadings had become mantras that went unanswered. Asking for a miracle, asking for more time, begging for no pain. I know I trusted God. I had to, I was powerless and desperate. I believe in that moment the Holy Spirit prayed for us, saying just what was perfect to my Father's heart. I know, laying there, drained of all energy, we both fell asleep.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Letting Go And Blessings

I'm becoming too anxious about too many things. I had no idea the legalities and paper work when someone passes away could be so taxing. If it was just one issue I would be okay but it's too many. I'm waking with migraines in the morning and am having stomach issues. I'm pretty sure it is all related to stress.

So, I'm going to list all my anxieties and give them to God and try really hard to not worry about them. I say this with trust that God will work them out. I hope he realizes how big some of them are. But, knowing God, I'm categorizing what I think is 'big' as incorrectly anyway.

I had a God moment last week. I've been harboring some disappointment and anger over some issues. You really can't go anywhere with these emotions when the other person is deceased. So during a crying spell, I told God I wasn't going to dwell on it anymore. I was letting it go, and would 'turn the channel' if it came into my head again. Well, the next day I found something I swear was not there the day before. It was the letter from Steve I've been waiting for. It was words. Words I needed, that are all mine. He talked about the three prayers he prayed everyday and they...were so bittersweet.

I let go of what I should not be carrying and God filled my arms with a blessing I can hold on to forever. I can't wait to see what He does now.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

I Cry

In this period of mourning I can cry and no one would think twice about my tears. It's not to be blamed on PMS or being pre-menopausal,or just an emotional female. I've experienced one of the biggest losses in an extremely painful manner that there is. It is expected that I'll cry.


So I cry. Lots. I cry when I look at the river going by, and when I put lots of paper in the fire and he wasn't here to complain. I cried when I walked by his boat and reflected on the fact I would never see him motoring to his favorite fishing spot. I cried when I wore his undershirt to bed. I cry when I see his toothbrush still in the holder. I cried when I woke up with a headache from crying so much before I went to bed. And that was just yesterday.

I wonder how long this season of mourning complete with the freedom to cry will last?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Remembering

I remember last fall I got this lounger chair from Walmart. I couldn't get it in the car and some nice young man helped me push and pull to squeeze it in. I HAD to have this chair. I felt it would be my survival after...Steve was gone. I would lay in it and feel the sun. I'd look up through the trees and imagine him in heaven somewhere beyond the clouds. In the fall, I'd brush the leaves off the chair and have a blanket around my shoulders. The leaves would be oranges and browns and rustle as they moved. I saw myself just looking off and remembering times we spent on this deck with our frosty mugs of beer and something yummy smelling on the grill. When it got cooler, we'd turn on the propane heater and I'd prop my feet up on his chair and we'd talk about the kids or our day.

We had this unspoken game we'd play to see who would suggest moving in when a storm would move in. The wind would blow cooler, the sky darken, and we would both carry on waiting for the other to mention picking things up. It would always be me. Many a times we'd be scrambling to get our food and radio out of the rain. We would giggle and tease and banter and I miss him so much.

And here I sit, just like I imagined. Remembering.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hello, Joy? Are You There?

I'm having trouble with joy. It's just not there. Maybe it would be weird to have joy a mere 25 days after ones husband dies. But as I go into scripture and read God's promises, it doesn't say joy is only for when life is going well. In fact it says the opposite. Romans 8:15-17 talks about receiving the word with joy, sharing in His suffering and also in His joy. I have shared. I have shared both in unwaivering love to the sad, sad end of Steven's life, and I have shared with words that it was not by my own strenght I was able to do this.

I'll settle for peace now, but I want joy.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Dearest Steven

My Dearest Steven, you've been gone 24 days now, but it seems like just a week since that day. I've had a barrage of emotions to deal with. Some are scary to me because they are not my norm.

I am so sad I can hardly stand it. I don't know what to say when I'm asked how I am. How are you Steven? Does it feel good to be healthy? Have you seen Loretta, my Dad, Gram or Granny? Are they young or old?

Why didn't you ever give me the necklace? I think you bought it for me to wear on our wedding day. You tucked it away really good, and when it's time to get it out you can't find it. You look and look and of course can't tell me because I'd be tearing the house apart.

You'd be so proud of the boys. They are showing this protective side. We all feel so much closer. Almost like 3 adults instead of a mom and sons.

I love you so much. I't a deeper love out of saddness and remorse. It's raw emotion that makes me want to beg God for you. But my days of begging prayers for you are over. I can feel peace when I think about God. But then the grief comes back. Maybe the peaceful moments get longer and the grief shorter in time.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Slowly, Quietly, She Moved

I tried so hard to be quiet for Steve. And the more I tried, the more I dropped and banged things. Well, it's now a habit to move slower. That is probably a good thing. So the microwave door remained opened out of habit, because the noise of closing it was too loud if Steve was sleeping.

Now, I walk in the kitchen and when I see the microwave door open, I slam it. I guess, because I can. Something tells me I'm going to have to replace this oven in the imminent future.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Anger

I'm not doing well. My head is in a whirlwind. Am I just waking up to reality? Has the shock worn off? I'm finding myself angry about some things.

Sometimes, when we feel justified in our anger, we don't really want to let go. It wasn't fair, and we dwell on that fact and want to share the injustice. I think in my case, I'm not dealing with a full deck, toss in a joker and the game is over.

So I pray for acceptance of life and things I can't change. In my humanness I'm limited on what I can do. But I know what God can do. Like the flip of a switch, He can soften my heart and make my thoughts bearable. The question is... do I want to let go of it?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Missing Steve

I miss Steve so much. When he was sick and I came home from work, I would set stuff down and find him in bed. I'd crawl up from the end of the bed and lay next to him. Maybe we couldn't talk much because he didn't feel good, but he would run his hand through my hair and brush it out of (or in, if feeling funny) my face. I need that touch from him and he's not here.

I keep seeing him in my mind like he was at the end, so frail. I could usually get a response if I woke him. I would say, "Love you." and he would say "hmmm hmmm" in a growl voice. His way of saying I love you. I knew he loved me. And I would think, is that 'hmm hmm' the last I love you I'll ever get from him?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

First Day Back

I went back to work yesterday for my first full day since the end of May. Wow, that was a long time ago. An era I will never forget. I think the hardest moment was when I marked my status as widowed in our system. Widowed. It sounds like an old person. Am I old and I don't know it?

My drive home was one of the things I was most worried about when I would think ahead. My house was now just me. Steve and I had such a routine. So I made phone calls as I drove to take my mind off the emptiness awaiting me. Then I went out and started pulling weeds. I came across these lilies that Steve liked and I hated since they attracted mosquitoes. I started yanking them out of the ground. They came out so easily with the still moist ground. I knew he would have been mad if he were here but I hated them. And he is not here to get mad. I don't think they have the mad emotion in heaven, so I'm probably good.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I Did It My Way

Steve and I had a friend who lost his wife last year. I remember that friend saying, "Everything has changed, I even think different." Now I know what he meant.

When I used to wake up, I would start my day praying for that miracle. Now, when first up, I think of Steve, usually because I'm alone in bed. And the remote is mine as I put on his robe and turn on the channel I choose. I go in and make coffee the way I like it. There is no reason not to. I fill the house with my music and candles scents. I walk outside to the deck, no longer tied to a ringing bell. And I leave my phone inside. Something unheard of 3 weeks ago. I take my keys to go and do not need to call someone to come and stay. I leave no note on the counter. And when I stop the car there is no hurry. No one is waiting for me to get back so they can leave. I'm not worrying about if Steven can communicate what he needs while I'm gone.

All this doesn't mean I don't mourn or miss him something terrible. It means there are moments where having things my way can make me smile.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Steven's Stuff

I am dying from grief, my years are shortened by sadness. Misery has drained my strength. I am wasting away from within. But I am trusting you, O Lord, sayin, "You are my God!" My future is in your hands. Psalm 31:10, 14-15

First I slept on Steve's side of the bed. I found if I left all extra pillows in the bed, it almost seemed he was next to me. Then I moved to the middle of the bed and all the pillows got tossed.

No one sat in Steven's chair at the table. If a visitor didn't know and sat there, he would give them a look that said 'not that chair'. Now I sit there.

Steven would always have to drive. He finally agreed, as his health declined, to let me drive but he wasn't happy about it. His car sits here and I'm going to drive it soon. It would be really bad if I wrecked it right off the get-go. Or would it? Who is going to get mad about it?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Need Help With Happy Thoughts of Steven

It's funny how some verses in the Bible perfectly explain how I feel. My devotion yesterday was Lamentations 3. Verse 19-22 say this;

The thought of my suffering and hopelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.

There is no doubt to me I will get through this. When I think of Steven, I'm sad and I cry. I need to have happy thoughts and I can't get there. I can't get beyond both of us in that bed, with me holding him. It's what I have right now and I have to cling to this pain because I'm afraid when I stop...Steven will be gone.

Friday, August 2, 2013

My Dearest Steven, Meet Me In My Dreams

My dearest Steven, I found your keys. They were lost for months and were hanging in the camper on the key holder the whole time. I haven't been there in so long. I wonder what all the keys are for. A wife should probably know that.

The toilet seat stays down now. And the bed is made when I leave the room. But I would give all that up to have you back. What are you doing? Do you think of me at all?

Remember how sometimes when we went to bed at night we would say, "Meet you at ________, in our dreams." And then we would name a place we had been to. Well, tonight I want to meet in the Lake Geneva gazebo. I'm smiling through my tears my love. Please don't let me down.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hi God, It's Me Again, Praying

Hi God, it's me again. I am still praying for relief from a broken heart. I'm hurting more than I ever have. When my dad passed away or I miscarried, I had Steven to share my grief. Now where is he? Somewhere having the time of his life and I'm stuck here. I know other women have gone through this, but they must be stronger than I am.

I know You are with me and that I must go through this crushing pain. I know my sadness will not be gone tomorrow or the next day. What good will come from this? I read somewhere that heartache can soften a heart so it will be more aware of You. I know I've seen You in the friends and family who are checking on me and I'm grateful.

Lord, I prayed all that time for a miracle. One tiny little miracle and it didn't happen. That's okay, but You probably feel sorry for me now and want to answer my next prayer. I'll just sit here and wait.