It’s not over until…

21 10 2016

DSCN0353 In the beginning of this Widow’s journey I spent a lot of time on the couch, crying and thinking mostly. Did I do everything right? Did I miss something medically? Was I a comfort to Ed by continuing to work and bring in an income or should I have come home earlier?

Today, more than five years later, I know that I did the best I knew to do. I am still doing the best I know how to do as I continue my journey. I still feel the empty ache in my heart but I also experience something like joy when friends share a good Ed story with me. It is a comfort to remember how honestly funny he was and what a compassionate man he was. He was terrible at telling a joke and yet he made us laugh so hard at his attempt to tell it. Sometimes he would laugh so hard at his own awful jokes that we couldn’t help but laugh with him. God, I loved that man so much. Still do. And I know he loved me as deeply as anyone could.

I have had to learn how to manage my life without my biggest fan and best friend. I will honestly tell you that I do not like it one single bit. However, I am secure in the knowledge that God has more for me.

Ed genuinely loved to hear me sing. He would ask me to sing to him often. After he passed, my song changed. I went through a period of time when I thought I had lost my ear and my voice. Nothing I sang sounded right to me and I finally decided that I just would not sing anymore. I lost my song. I left my beloved praise team and hardly sang out loud in the congregation for quite some time. A couple of people really tried to convince me that I needed to be singing but I thought they were just being kind.

During this time, I was invited to sing in a choir that a dear couple was leading but first I made them promise that they would not let me be the old lady warbling out of tune in the soprano section. They assured me I could trust them to have my back. Every time the choir or praise teams sang worship my heart ached and I cried. I attributed those many tears to grief but I also think that God was cleansing my heart during that time. Music has always spoken to that deepest place in my heart. One step at a time, I began to feel my song again.    I am singing again. From my heart. I am a member of the choir now and sometimes I am asked to lead a song or to sing a special solo. I am honored to worship my Lord and Savior with Psalms and spiritual songs. My heart is healing.

I am blazing a new trail in this Widow’s journey. I am stretching myself beyond the boundaries of only gospel music. I have successfully auditioned for Opera Wilmington out of UNC Wilmington. I also have registered to audition for America’s Got Talent on February 1, 2017, in Charleston, SC. I am ready for new adventures and I want to grow in the journey. Here we go.

 

 

 





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.





Did you just judge me?

6 10 2014

I am a Christian. That means I have come to believe that God, in His mercy, sent a Way for me to get back into a pure relationship with Him. That Way is Jesus Christ. Without getting all preachy, suffice to say that I have decided to follow Jesus. I am a Christ follower.
Chances are, you have just made a judgement about me based on what you know about others. One of your judgements is probably that I am judgmental. The pot calls the kettle black.
Relax. Breath. Open your mind for a minute.
Do you want to know what I really think it means to be a Christ follower?

A-Christian

  • love God with all my heart
  • if I truly love God, I will love His people
  • love without hypocrisy
  • give and it will be given unto you
  • includes helping others
  • when you refresh others you will be refreshed
  • true religion gets dirty, goes where the needs are
  • closest to the heart of God is helping others
  • widows and orphans
  • God did not call me to judge people, he called me to love them
  • I need to judge myself, search my own soul. Not yours
  • I am full of miracles
  • miracles don’t always come with a fireworks display
  • a hug, a gentle word brings healing
  • encourage
  • help others and your life will break forth like the dawn and your healing will come

Now that I have revealed some of my inner thoughts, judge away.

In my over six decades on this planet, I have learned that we are all seekers. Every one of us are trying to find our way through this thing called life. We are not all on the same path. Each of us must find our own way. I believe that I have found mine and I TRY to walk it out every day. I am not interested in convincing you that my Way is right and yours is wrong. I welcome anyone to join me and the many others who are following Jesus, but it must be your own revelation that puts that desire in your own heart. If I truly believe that God speaks to the heart, I must believe that He has you in the palm of His hand and He will direct you. I respect your choice to walk where you feel led. We are not immortal. One day we will draw our last breath and then we will know in truth. Until then, my prayer for each of my friends is that God will lead us to the truth and help us to be true to what we believe.





I call BS.

26 12 2013
deep thoughts

deep thoughts

 

There are a couple of phrases that are always said with the best of intention in the worst of situations. One of these is, “Forgive and forget“. For years I have allowed myself to feel guilty because I have not forgotten. I think it is time to call BS on this one. I do not think it is possible nor practical to forget. I have forgiven some pretty life changing and heinous events Even when the offender has not asked forgiveness. But I do not forget. For example; At the age of fifteen, my virginity was robbed from me in a brutal act of kidnap and rape. After years of alcoholism and drug addiction and some deep counseling by a Pastor and his wife, I have been able to forgive. Truly forgive, as Christ has forgiven me.
Like most fifteen year old children, I thought I was invincible and I left myself open to many dangers. I was rebellious and arrogant and that permitted me to be with the wrong people, in the wrong place at the wrong time. What I did not know is there is always some sicko lurking and waiting to take advantage of just such an attitude. I have forgiven me for putting myself in that danger. I have forgiven the sick man who robbed me. I have forgiven God for not bursting through the night sky and ripping this pervert off of me. Done and done.
I am sixty one years old and I haven’t had those nightmares or re-lived that event in a very long time. My heart is no longer bound in anger, fear and hatred. But I do not forget.

There is another phrase that irks me of late. “Time heals all wounds.”

I must call BS on this as well. I do not see myself as wounded and bleeding any more although my heart is under going surgery right now. My heart has never been so broken as when Eddie the Baker left me here alone. I miss him every single day and feel somehow incomplete without his words of wisdom in my ears and his daily pledge of love to me. This does not feel like a wound. It feels more like an extraction. A portion of my soul has been torn off and the heart ache is quite literally an ache in my heart. It has been more than two and a half years and I still cry every day. Time is not healing my heart and soul. But God…  I know that God is mending this. Every wound my heart has ever experienced has been healed by God and this is no exception.He has promised never to leave me. He has promised to bind up the broken hearted. He cares for the widows and the orphans. It is God, not time, who heals all wounds.

I have recited both of these phrases to hurting people in the past. That will not happen again. And I will politely nod to those who say these things to me, choosing to see their heart and not just listening to the words. And maybe, on the inside, I will find myself calling “BS.”





The Voice

13 10 2012

There! Did you feel that? A soft, subtle nudge, directing my steps.

“That’s right, this way. One foot in front of the other. Follow Me.”

His voice sounds a little like my own voice in my head.
This is a calling I have grown to trust. Under the shadow of His wing, I find peace and rest.
The further I lean into His bosom the clearer my mind grows.
Past the grief. Past the sense of isolation.
Gaining the courage to let go of the life I knew as Ed’s wife.
In my widowhood, I am not alone.
Listen, there it is again. The Voice of my Shepherd.
“This is the way. Walk in it. I will never leave you or forsake you.
There is more for you to do. You are not finished yet. I will be with you.
Every step of the way. Follow me.”




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.





Are you Eddie the Baker’s widow?

10 01 2012

I met Ed in AA. I watched him for a year before we ever spoke and exchanged phone numbers. Our first date was an AA function. It was a Valentines  dance, Feb. 13, 1978. Together, we worked our program of 12 steps, encouraged each other to do above and beyond what looked possible and we grew together as useful citizens in our community. Our last outing together was at an AA meeting where my Love got terribly sick and ended up taking an ambulance ride to the hospital where he died, 36 hours later. It was so hard to walk away from his body that night in the hospital. So much of that time is a blur to me. A horrible blur.

It has taken me more than eight months to finally walk into an AA meeting again. I have been to three, so far, and each one has been horrid. The first one was a Big Book meeting where two leaders read from a chapter of the Big Book of AA and then comment on each paragraph. It is my least favorite kind of meeting. I left early when one person raised their hand to speak and proceeded to inappropriately carry on about his former sex life during his active alcoholism. People don’t know what to do when that happens because we don’t want to stifle anyone but, for the love of sanity, really???

Two days later, I attended my home group meeting that Ed and I are members of. It was January 5, the 35 year anniversary of my sobriety. I did not want to acknowledge it, I did not want to get out of the bed at all. I could easily have pulled the covers over my head and cried all day long. But, I made myself get up and go to my group. I can’t tell you what was said. I just kept hearing Ed say, “We do it to be a power of example. New comers need to know that they can stay sober for long term and get through anything that comes their way.”  I got there on time and I stayed for the whole meeting. At the end of the meeting I went forward and received a chip (a token poker chip) to show that I was sober for 35 years. I enjoyed a few hugs and sweet words from folks after the meeting. One lady asked if I was Eddie the Baker’s widow. I think I said yes. It was surreal.

The next day, I went to a discussion meeting. The topic was how to deal with tragedy and death without taking a drink. Toward the end of the meeting, I did manage to raise my hand to indicate that I would like to share something, but I was too late. Lots of people had lots to say on the subject. I prayed that the young lady who introduced the topic was helped by some of the discussion. During the meeting, two of Ed’s friends told me how much they miss Ed and what a beautiful memorial service we had for him. That blessed me. As I tried to sneak out at the end of the meeting, I was detained by a young lady who is one of  Ed’s good friends. He called her “Kiddo”. As we talked, I noticed a familiar plaque on the wall behind her. It says,”Success cannot be measured by how high we climb the mountain, but by the obstacles we overcome on the journey.” Eddie the Baker. My husband had it made and donated to the fellowship hall before he died. Ed overcame a lot of obstacles on his journey. He was a power of example to many and many people still quote him at meetings all over Wilmington.