How sweet it is

15 08 2016

 

August 15 is a special day. It has been since 1982 when I married my soul mate. Ed has not been here to celebrate with me since April of 2011. This makes me sad and every August 15th I feel the ache in my heart and I cry a little, usually a couple of times throughout the day. I have come to accept that it is normal to miss someone so much that it can cause tears. What was surprising to me is the actually ache in my heart. I used to think the term “heartache” was a metaphor but my heart physically hurts when I think of how much I miss him and still love him. This all sounds a bit morbid but if you can stick with me, you will see I am going in another direction with this. I believe all the actions I just described are normal parts of grief. Grief is not a dirty word. I have had to give myself permission to express my sorrow. It only means I have loved deeply.
I have loved deeply. What an honor that is. What a gift to be able to grow and mature in that love and learn to trust another human being. I had that one person that I could count on through all of life’s winding roads. One person who knew I was filled with insecurities, imperfection and inconsistency and he loved me anyway. He couldn’t help himself any more than I could turn my love for him off. We were both far from perfect and we accepted that in each other. If I was mad at him, yes, it happened, he learned to leave me alone for a while until my hot Italian temper had time to cool off. Before the day was through he would put his arms around me and remind me that I couldn’t stay mad at him. He was so stinking cute, and he was right. We practiced the Biblical principal of not letting the sun go down on our anger. There is a free wisdom tidbit for you. it is important to the life of a relationship. Do not leave things unresolved.

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Today is a special day. I have felt the familiar ache in my heart and I have shed some tears because I miss my Eddie. But sorrow and grief will not define this special day. I have washed my face, brushed my teeth and put a little mascara on. I have called the florist and ordered flowers to be sent to the house. I will celebrate that fact that I have loved so deeply that I am still in love with one man. I am celebrating the fact that I have been fortunate enough to be loved and understood by a soul mate. I honor my husband today and I feel a touch of pride that I was Eddie the baker’s wife until death parted us. This is a joyous day.





This widow’s walk

9 01 2016

2016 might just be the year of the big breakthrough for this widow. There, I said it. Widow. I still don’t like to say it but I am gradually giving in to the  concept. I am not in denial of Ed’s passing. I know in the depth of my being that Ed is with his Savior in Heaven and he is not coming back!  I  wouldn’t  want him to.

I have been in denial of the fact that I am no longer married. It doesn’t seem quite fair that I have no say in the matter. I did not fall out of love. I was not cheated on or angry with or in any way mistreated by my husband. I was in love with Ed right up until his last breath. I am still in love with him.

We talked about some things pertaining to his imminent  passing away but none of our talking or thinking was about the fact that I would no longer be his wife. When Ed died, I became his widow. I hate that part. I could not reconcile it in my heart or in my mind. It has not been a graceful transition, to say the least. It felt all wrong to take my wedding band off and yet it felt like a lie to keep it on. Although, I did keep it on for a long time. I finally found a way that felt “okay” not to wear my wedding band on my hand. I found a necklace that allowed me to wear both our rings around my neck.

This has been my 5th birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year without my Ed. I am coming to terms with the fact that I am not married anymore. On New Years day, I did not put my necklace on. I have looked at it every day since and made a decision not to wear it today. I have tried this before and after a day or two have experienced such anxiety that I had to put it back on. It has been 9 days today without my commitment being worn around my neck. It is okay. I did not break my commitment. I fulfilled it.

I have said it before, grief is different in everyone. We each have to find our own path through the process. Sometimes we can follow a portion of the path that someone else has traveled. Most of the time we have to blaze our own trail. I can still weep with the thought of how much I miss my man. I am on the journey. One step, one day, and sometimes one hour at a time.

Last night, I had a small dinner party with 4 of my close friends. I cooked a pot of marinara sauce and meatballs like I used to do. As we sat around the table in my modest kitchen with full bellies, I took a moment to look around the table. Everyone was at peace and looked contented. Everyone there knew my Ed and were not self conscious to speak his name in a conversation. What really struck me was that we were all laughing, sharing food, stories and talk of movies. Fellowship. My home was alive with fellowship. Ah, but that is for another post.

 





A widow’s journey. Year 2.

15 09 2013

Photo 97yep< i am still wearing the rings. I just don’t see any point in removing them. I am not interested in a relationship because, well, I am still in love with my husband. I tried taking them off once and it felt weird. Plus, it didn’t make me think of Ed any less. So… they are a piece of me and they remain.

I am learning to trust my decisions more. This last year has been filled with some pretty tough ones.

I fired my family physician of twenty years! I have been uncomfortable with him and his office staff for a few years but I thought it was just me being particular. It wasn’t. Got a new doctor and I am much happier.

I left my church of 10 years. They have been an amazing family to me and it was one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make. I still love the Rock church and it’s members. This whole seeker friendly thing has become a thorn in my side. I just can not reconcile myself to it. The best thing for me to do is get out of the way. I have prayed HARD about all of this and God has given me some clarity on my situation. My choice is not right for everyone. It is right for me. I am patiently waiting for God to put me where He wants to use me for His glory again. In the meanwhile, I am quite busy praying for those precious people God puts in my path in my marketplace. So many folks need prayer and encouragement right now. It is my honor to touch Heaven with requests on their behalf.

God is teaching me hard lessons. He has stripped away most of the people that I thought would be with me through thick and thin. Some of that stripping has been excruciatingly painful. I have mourned the losses that I do not comprehend. Sometimes, I ask myself if I have done something to offend or if I am being judged… but, through it all He has spoken to my heart over and over again. “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

He is teaching me that He alone is my source and He is well able to handle my every need. As I depend on Him for my support and even the breath I take some days, He puts people in my life. Not to depend on but to lean on. I am reminded that even Moses needed help from people. Life can be demanding and hard. It is okay to lean on people some times but… they better be the people that God has placed in my life for this purpose.  God knows exactly what I need.

God knows who needs me too. It is a challenge to stay alert and aware of who God is putting in my life and what I can do for them. Sometimes it is as simple as a smile. Amazing how many people need to be smiled at. Sometimes I am called upon to just listen. It is amazing how many people feel unheard. I have become very good at keeping things told me in confidence too. My secret is simple. I bring the matter to God right away, before it has time to take up residence in my mind and make me think it is MY problem to solve. Then, I walk away and most of the time, forget. I am not sure if that last step is a gift or just a very bad memory. LOL. Either way, it seems right.

I still weep when I stop to feel the longing in my heart for my Eddie. I am not generally a weepy person, so I fight this a lot. Wet face, runny nose, puffy eyes. These are not pretty things and I like things to be pretty. But, alas, these are some of the things that make up life. So, I dry, blow and apply make up, pull up my big girl panties and march on.

 





…. light the corners of my mind

9 09 2012

There is a great story about the trees Ed planted in the front of our home. When we had this house built, we took down all the scrub pines around our property. They were scraggly and when they grew tall, the hurricanes either up rooted them or blew them down. The constant dropping of pine needles and pine cones were a nuisance to clean up. Ed decided to replace the ones in front with some nice, thick evergreen shrubs. He assured me they would grow to about 5 feet when they matured. We liked the idea of having two 5 foot Christmas trees to put lights on during the Holidays. The first year, the shrubs were kind of spindly looking so we decorated with one set of lights on each tree. I say we, but Ed really did all the work. I say “work” because my husband was gifted in many areas but handyman work was not one of his areas. And so it was work to him but he did enjoy the fruits of his labor. Every night, he would turn on the lights and remark on how they made him feel the joy of Christmas.

By the third year we were adding strings of lights and using a ladder to get them around the top. I was out there helping Ed and the Christmas lights became a family chore. I say chore because….. well, you know how it goes. But, we still got much joy each time he lit the trees.

What we never bargained on was the fact that these shrubs were going to keep growing every year until we could no longer get anywhere near the top. I don’t know which year it was that Ed couldn’t even get the lights off the trees and so, in utter exasperation, he decided to just leave them there and we never plugged the lights in again.

twenty years later:

this is how big our two shrubs have grown!!!

Today, I noticed that a lot of the inside branches are dead. I have no idea what to do about it. I am hoping that it doesn’t mean that the trees are diseased and are going to fall on my house sometime soon. I could feel the anxiety beginning to rise in me as I pondered what to do. And as I peered into the tree, i saw something that made me chuckle.

If you look close at the middle of the bare spot, you can see the green cord with evenly spaced, small, white bulbs hanging off it. That old string of Christmas lights conjured up the memory of my love, out front one day, wrestling with an evergreen tree until he finally gave up and let the tree keep her captured treasure.

When I am gone and this home becomes someone else’s, I hope they laugh when they find the string of Christmas lights strung on the inside of their giant trees. Maybe they will be inspired to make up there own Christmas story of how the lights got there.





One whole darn year!!

29 04 2012

This is a photo of one of the church vans at My church, the Rock Church of Wilmington. The tall white guy, second from the left is my Eddie. He used to drive one of those vans downtown and to pick up some of the homeless folks who wanted to come to church. He also drove through some neighborhoods to pick up folks who simply didn’t have a ride to church.

April 20, 2012 marked one year since Ed passed away. It was amazing to have my whole family together during the week and a blessing that they all came to church with me. We all sat together in one row. That is the first time ever. Pastor Ron brought a great message about what we do in the meantime. Those times when we are waiting for something to happen. He reminded us that God is in the “meantime.” He has the plan for our in between times. After the service, we all went out to see the pic on the side of the van and my friend Tony took this pic for us.

             It was kinda fun to pretend that we were all together one more time.

Our time together was spent as a beach vacation. Daughters, sons in law and grandchildren all under one roof at a beautiful beach house in Topsail beach. (just leave a comment if you want the info on the house.It was perfect and so reasonable!) The original plan was just to have a family reunion but the dates that the house was available and the kids spring break coincided with the one year mark of Ed’s death. So, being the cool fam that we are, we made it a family reunion / vacation / memorial. My personal opinion is that God knew we all needed to be together on this anniversary. Several times through out our week I saw God winking at us. I even imagine that Ed was getting a kick out of seeing us all together, acting like a family. We are all so different. Each of us is processing the loss of our loved one in our own unique way. I am proud of my girls.

I sure do miss my Love. I have cried more this past year than I had in the previous 10 years put together. But healing is happening. Last night, I saw that Ed’s favorite movie of all time was on TVand I didn’t squall and ball like a baby!! Forrest Gump. I bet he watched that movie thirty times. Whenever it came on the TV, he would watch. Even twice in one day!! And his daughter, Christine, and her hubby, Ruben, bought it for him on DVD so he could watch it anytime he wanted to. I can almost hear his breath catch as he tried so hard not to cry at his favorite parts. I used to love to tease him but the truth is, I was so proud to have the love of a man who wasn’t hard hearted.

Annnndddd, back to the beach!

Now that right there is a beautiful bunch of women. I guess we will have to do it again sometime because I don’t have a picture of all 3 of my awesome sons in law. I feel so very blessed.





Life as I am learning it.

11 04 2012

Every day I have important decisions to make.

  1. get out of my bed; (harder than you would think some days)
  2. cry whenever I have to. (although I try to do this in private)
  3. lean on God more than I lean on my friends. (He always has my back)
  4. pray for others (so many friends need prayer)
  5. re-model my 20 year old kitchen. (which I am loving!!)
  6. take control of my diet. (Ugh)
  7. balance work and pleasure. ( say what???!!!)
  8. cherish family time whenever it is possible. (looking forward to all the fam coming in town)
  9. eliminate the drama mammas. (puh-lease)
Widowhood is not for sissies. It takes some learning and God knows I am trying. I miss Ed every day and, truth of the matter is, it is not getting any easier to be without him.
My work has been a life saver. I just completed an independent film starring Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly and Lily Collins. The title is “Writers”. It was a fun show to work on. I did Greg and Lily’s hair and Patrick Schwarzenegger among others. You will be happy to know they were all very nice.
I love the work I do for television and film. It is not always easy to keep it in proper perspective though. There is a weird sense of urgency to always find the next job. Insecurity runs very high in this industry and lends itself to the feeling that every job finished could be the last job I will ever have, which is complete nonsense. God is my manager and my booking agent. He opens doors that no one can close and closes doors that no one can open. He has put me in some pretty cool positions and He is not done yet. Knowing that helps me to relax and let Him do what He does best; take care of me.
I am actually taking some time off on purpose to spend a week with my family. We rented a house on Topsail Beach and all the girls, SILs and Grands are coming in on Saturday!! The house sleeps 12 and we will fill it. I am so excited to see everyone together. The weather is going to be fabulous, in the 70s and 80s. God is smiling on us right now. Coincidentally, our family time is going to be during the one year mark since Ed passed away. The mere fact that we will all be together on that day is a God thing. I did not plan it that way, it is when the beach house was available and the school vacations worked out. Ed is smiling on us too.
Many pictures will be taken. 😀




Still breathing; still learning.

18 03 2012

I never had to think twice about it. Ed always had my back. Whenever there was a business decision or a relationship that I had qualms about, he always had the right answer for us. I never doubted that he had our best interest at heart. That is because we were one. If it was a bad decision for me, it was bad for him also. Good for me, good for him. One.

There are some tricky things to this widowhood trek. Making decisions alone can be nerve wracking when you are not used to it. I am trying to transfer my dependence on Ed to dependence on Jesus. Only, Jesus doesn’t sit at the kitchen table and brainstorm with me. It is much more difficult for me to get His take on a situation. It takes patience and waiting and listening.

As I continue to take a personal inventory, I realize that I am not very good at those three things. Patience has always alluded me as I want what I want when I want it. (Usually immediately) I am learning that, even as timing is the key to comedy, it is also the key to many of the good gifts in life. Some things need time to marinate or time to age.

My inclination is to make the decision right away and then jump in with both feet and work like crazy to make it work. (Usually exhausting) Any chef will tell you that waiting  for that sirloin to absorb the flavor of the spices is imperative if you want a delicious experience. Sometimes, I need to wait for every thing to line up before I can make a good decision.

My Mom used to say that I could talk a dog off a meat wagon. I think it is a family curse as I recall my own daughter trying to convince me of implausible things and now I hear my 20 something grandson prattle on about what he thinks is the brilliant answer to life’s questions. (Usually annoying) God gave me two ears and one mouth, which implies that I should listen twice as much as I speak. If I can quiet my own thoughts and self talk, and the voices of those around me, I can actually hear the still, small voice telling me the direction to go in.

  I realize that Jesus has my best interest at heart. He proved that when He laid down His life for me. If I am making a bad decision, He wants to save me from that. Since He has the plan for my life, He also knows what is good for me and He is far more patient with me than I am with myself. I don’t always have to understand that, but I absolutely believe it. Even in times of deepest sorrow He is my comfort. In times of success He is my Joy. In times of insecurity He is my shelter. In times of weakness He is my strength. He is my loudest cheering section, always wanting me to win. He is the lover of my soul, taking all of my sin onto Himself. He is my redeemer, purchasing my pardon on Calvary’s cross. He is my eternal home.

Knowing all of that helps me to be patient, to wait and to listen for His answer. I am sure that I will have to be reminded as more decisions have to be made. It is all a learning and growing experience. As long as I am still breathing, I am still learning. Learning to be One with my Lord.