23 06 2011

I am trying not to be morbid or a downer. Just trying to share the process and maybe, just maybe, help someone else who is going through the same thing.

I am not in a position to give very much of myself right now. I am learning things by trial and error. What works for me may not be anyone else’s cup of tea.

I guess that’s why they call it a process. Keeping it real and honest.

Finding my new normal

21 06 2011

It’s a new day. funny how the world just keeps on turning.

I am on a new journey. searching  and discovering a new normal.

Working, playing. laughing crying.

Family and friends. faithful dog companion.

Frustrations, fears. hopes and dreams.

It will all come into focus with Jesus adjusting the lens.

Who makes the rules on grieving?

20 06 2011

Today marks 2 months since the love of my life passed away. Three days ago I had a routine doctors appointment. I am fine. My doctor is the same doctor that took care of my Mom, and for the past 19 years, took care of my husband. As soon as he walked into the room and said he was sorry that Ed passed and that he misses Ed, I cried. Now, it is not in my normal behavior to cry this much but I do find myself crying at least once a day. I think it is normal.

I have also gained a considerable amount of weight in the past several months. Hospital food and stress will do that to a person. After Ed died, I took all restraints off my food intake with full knowledge that I would get back to it when I can handle it. Well, that time has come and I am starting to eat more responsibly and exercise again.

The way my doctor responded to me made me take inventory of where I am in this foreign process of grief. He asked me if I need a little help to get me through. Have I considered grief counseling? Do I need something to make me less anxious?  If I am still grieving six months from now I should contact him for some help. That seems to be a pretty responsible offer from a doctor but here are the things that I am pondering…

Really? Six months should be my limit? Why not 5 months or seven months? Who sets the limit on how long a person should feel some sorrow about losing their life partner? If I cry for 5 minutes every day for the next 6 months, does that mean I am depressed and should be on medication? If it takes me seven months to find the new normal in my life should I go into grief counseling? (disclaimer- I am not against getting this kind of help if a person needs it. There are some great programs and groups out there that help with this process and I am strongly in favor of finding and using them IF you need help. There is no shame in reaching out.)

These are some of my thoughts as I muddle through this process:

  • Grief is profoundly personal and there are as many ways to grieve as there are people.
  • I am not sad for Eddie in the least.
  • I do not grieve as those who have no hope. Ed has won his race and I have a sure faith that he is with his Savior right now.
  • I am grateful that I have known real love and Ed and I have completed our wedding vows.
  • Nobody gets out of this life alive.
  • There is appointed a day to be born and a day to die. (for everyone)
  • I miss my husband every day.
  • Nothing in my life is normal right now.
  • I will give myself a year before making any major life decisions.
  • I will give myself permission to cry whenever I need to.
  • I will be gentle with myself.
  • I will reach out to my friends and family when I can.
  • I will reach out to help someone else when I can.
  • I am going to find my new normal and I will continue my journey with Jesus.

Thank you to my friends.

18 06 2011

“The Gift of Friendship” Friendship is one of life’s most precious gifts. It is a sacred trust, ordained by God, to be a living sign of His love.

A friend is someone who truly cares, someone who knows your needs and responds to you in full. A friend accepts you for who you are. You dare to reveal your secret fears, failures and hopes to your friend, knowing that your emotions will be gently treated with the utmost respect and care.

With your friend you can remove your masks, your plastic smile. You can be YOU and it’s OK. There are no phony airs necessary in friendship.

A friend listens carefully, then gives a response. The answer isn’t always what you want to hear, but a friends risks saying what can be best for you.

When you have been given a rich blessing, it is a friend who truly shares your joy, who at the deepest level rejoices with you.

You can call on a friend even when it is inconvenient and know that it’s all right. Friendship suspends rules of etiquette. A friend willingly sacrifices time, energy, and even worldly goods.

A friend is always present — perhaps not always physically — but very much alive in your heart and in your mind. Miles are not measured by a friend.

A friend will take your hand and walk with you however long you need a companion. Whether you go to the summit of joy or the depths of the valley of desolation, your friend goes with you.

When your burden is too heavy and you cannot go on, it is a friend who says, “You rest. I’ll carry the load.”

A change in your mood can be perceived by a friend without a word ever having been spoken. Sometimes that caring alone can heal a deep pain.

Feelings of unworthiness are removed by a friend who invites you to see yourself reflected in the mirror of God’s acceptance.

A friend can be a spouse, a family member, a neighbor, a co-worker — anyone whom you love in this very special way. Friendships may start with “Hello,” then expand, reaching to greater depths and heights.

Friendship requires GIVING, but must also include RECEIVING to be complete. Life is not always easy. God in His infinite love and mercy knew this and so He created friendships for the journey. He knew that His love might seem intangible to our humanity. To be more real to us, to concretely manifest His love, He said, “LET THERE BE FRIENDSHIP,” and there was — and He saw that it was very, very good.

God gave us a model of the ultimate height of friendship. It is portrayed in the life of Jesus Christ, our most faithful friend. He taught us through His life just what it means to be a friend. Jesus said, “My commandment is this: love one another, just as I have loved you. The greatest love a person can have for His friends is to lay down His life for them. And you are my friends if you do what I command you… I call you friends because I have told you everything I heard from my Father.” (John 15:12-15)

Dear Lord, Thank you for your faithful friendship to each of us. And thank you for the devoted friends you have given to me. Lord, let ME truly be a friend to others. When they feel like you are far away, teach me to be LIKE YOU and be present to their needs. Amen. (Please feel free to share this reflection with others.)

He is with me

14 06 2011

Ed was such a fighter. As many trips to the hospital ER as we had taken, he always rallied and came home. Sometimes after a day or two , but he always came home. We began to call him the energizer bunny because he kept going and going. If you are old enough to remember a certain commercial about a Timex watch, you can repeat this with me… “Takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin.” I guess that slogan doesn’t translate well in this age of digital time pieces but Ed felt that it still applied to him.

It took some time for us to come to grips with the seriousness of Ed’s illness. We vacillated between acceptance and denial. After one of our discussions on what Ed would like for his final arrangements, I heard this song by Mandisa while driving in my Toyota. The words struck me deep with a measure of acceptance and encouragement, reminding me where Ed and I would get the strength to walk this journey ahead of us. When I got home, I went to iTunes and down loaded it, then I played it for Ed. Together we listened to this song about 4 times in a row that first day. Whenever we would ride someplace in the car he asked me to play that song. Then he asked me to sing with the song. Then he would ask me just to sing the song to him. Ed always loved to hear me sing. I always loved singing to him. I sang to him at our wedding reception and just never stopped. He was my biggest fan and always my greatest supporter.

I was blessed by my friends, Becky and David, to be able to make a recording of me singing “He is With You.” It was a gift to My Love for our 28th wedding anniversary. (thank you again guys) I had no way of knowing at that time that Ed would request that recording to be played at his memorial service. Many of the folks there were under the impression that I wrote the song but I cannot take the credit for that. The words were so fitting that it was easy to sing it straight from my heart.

Today, I am struck with the irony that I sang a love song to my Eddie on the day that we entered into our covenant and I sang to him again as we fulfilled our vows, “… until death us do part.” He has been with us. Jesus Himself promised that He would never leave me or forsake me. That word never  means NEVER. He is with me until death overtakes me. My work here is not finished, my time has not come. But when it does, I will be ready to rest in the arms of My Savior and let Him take me home. Until that time, I know He is with me.