Saturday, March 29, 2008
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Sunday, March 23, 2008
A few months ago, Abigail went through a stage like this for about three days. During that time, Jason took her in his arms and prayed aloud for her and things that were going through her little mind. It always melted my heart. I miss him, so much. I wish he was here to hold us and pray with us. In his absence, perhaps you can join me in prayer for Abigail's little mind and sweet sleep.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Anyway, in preparation for Easter this year, our church planned a Sader, which is a traditional Jewish Passover meal. I haven't been to a Sader meal in probably 15 years, so I was excited to attend tonight. Being a total history and culture geek, I loved the meal and learning about significance and origin of the elements of the Jewish Passover Meal. The church did an excellent job of hosting and explaining the meal. (Plus, it helped get me out of my funk for a couple of hours.)
I'm not normally a music person, but recently I've decided that music is really the language of the soul. Currently, I can't listen to music without being moved to laughter or tears (more frequently tears). Today, everything I heard touched me, so I turned off the radio only to get frustrated by the silence and turn it back on again.
After an hour and a half of driving and crying I decided to go to a friend's house for a hug. I know I didn't have to explain my tears to her, which is good because my pain is too deep for words. she just let me cry and hug.
If you noticed that I've been a bit distant lately, it is because I don't even know how to put what I am thinking and feeling into words. I feel like half of me is missing.
Jason and I had kind of a difficult first year of marriage. We deeply loved each other, but it took the two of us a while to learn to communicate and understand each other. We both said that we never realized how stubborn and selfish we were until we got married. However, that first difficult year helped us to learn about each other and understand each other needs and thoughts. I definitely attribute much of our happy marriage to God and the difficult lessons He taught us that first year.
Now, almost five years latter, I know Jason so intimately. I know what he would think and say about almost everything. It makes it difficult for me to do simple everyday tasks like grocery shopping or driving around town. I find myself picking out food and things that Jason would choose. I also find myself shaking my head at things that would irk him or make him laugh. Today, without thinking I ordered myself a large Mocha with 1/2 chocolate and 1/2 raspberry. (That's Jason's froufrou coffee drink of choice.)
Jason had an efficient method for almost everything. When we first got married it sometimes drove me nuts. I'm a bit impulsive and messy, but Jason was always logical and efficient. However, almost without noticing I've adapted many of his methods. It is not as is I ceased to be my own independent person when we got married. However, in a very real sense, the two us became one. Now half of me is missing, and I crying for the missing half.
People who have gone through intense grief before tell me the days get harder before they get easier. When will it start getting easier? I'm not sure how much more of this I can take. I miss him so much it's gut-wrenching. I can't even fathom hurting more.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I realize that people mean well, but sometimes their words come across the wrong way. I want people to feel free to express their thoughts to me without feeling like they need to walk on eggshells. However, there a few things you just shouldn't say.
Over the last few weeks, I've mentally complied a what not to say list to someone who is grieving the loss of their spouse. I'd like to share a few of them with you...
5. "So what are you going to do now/in the future?" - I was so frustrated with people who asked me this question the first week. I was still in shock...How the heck was I supposed to know what I was going to do in the future, when I couldn't even figure out how I was going to get through the day... I was okay with close friends and family members asking me and helping me sort through some immediate options, but it was awkward coming from people I didn't know very well.
4. "Are you doing okay?" I was fine with people asking "How are you doing?" because I could come up with answers without lying. However, I never knew how to respond to people who asked if I was okay. What I really wanted to say was, "Of course I'm not okay! How can I be okay? My world is falling apart..I just lost my best friend and closest companion. Would you be okay? What is your definition of okay? If you mean that I'm not curled up on the floor in a fetal position bawling my eyes out, then yes, I'm okay?"
3. "I guess it was God's Will." Several people said this to me at the funeral or via cards. While I know that God works all things together for good, I don't want to hear this particular phrase at that time. It is a good thing I know and trust God, because if I didn't, I think this statement would have completely turned me off to God and Christianity.
2. "My dad died when I was six months old ,and it was so horrible on my mother and my family." An older gentleman in our church said this to me at funeral. He then proceeded to go into more details about how difficult it was for them. While I know he was just trying to relate to me and empathize with me, his description was so discouraging. I my mind, I was screaming at him, "You're not helping!" Outwardly, I just smiled and thanked him.
1. "Oh honey, you're young. You'll find someone else." Believe it or not, one lady said this to me at the funeral. I was shocked!
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
Basically the report said, (in non-medical terms) Jason died of a heart attack due to clogged arteries.
You can pray that I can manage to stop the "what if/guilt" scenarios that keep playing over and over in my head. I know that there really wasn't anything I could have done, but that doesn't stop me from questioning.
They say this guilt complex is a common part of the grieving process. Let me tell you...it sucks! I hope you never have to go through it.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
The broken clock is a comfort
It helps me sleep tonight
Maybe it can stop tomorrow
From stealing all my time
And I am here still waiting
Though I still have my doubts
I am damaged at best
Like you've already figured out
I'm falling apart
I'm barely breathing
With a broken heart
That's still beating
In the pain
There is healing
In your name I find meaning
So I'm holding on (I'm barely holding on to you)
The broken locks were a warning
You got inside my head
I tried my best to be guarded
I'm an open book instead
And I still see your reflection
Inside of my eyes
That are looking for purpose
They're still looking for life
I'm falling apart
I'm barely breathing
With a broken heart
That's still beating
In the pain
There is healing
In your name I find meaning
So I'm holding on (I'm still holding on)
I'm barely holding on to you
I'm hanging on another day
Just to see what, you will throw my way
And I'm hanging on, to the words you say
You said that I will, will be okay
The broken light on the freeway
Left me here alone
I may have lost my way now
But I haven't forgotten my way home
I'm falling apart
I'm barely breathing
With a broken heart
That's still beating in the pain
There is healing
In your name I find meaning
So I'm holding on
Barely holding on to you (I'm still holding on)
Barely holding on to you
(In case you are wondering, I gave up looking for ringtones, and settled for a the standard ringer. Let me know if you have any ringtone suggestions.)
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
It's almost midnight on my third night home alone. I'm exhausted, but I can't quite convince myself to turn out the light and try to go to sleep. As I lounge here, a million thoughts keep rolling through my head. I have some confessions to make:
- I ate two bowls of Mayfield ice cream yesterday.
- I am still sleeping in the guest room, since I don't have the guts to move back to the master bedroom yet.
- I cried today when I saw a car drive past with two kayaks on top.
- I don't know what I want to be when I grow up.
- I want to run away somewhere, but I know that there is no place I can run that reality won't follow me.
- I'm trying to be brave and strong, but I'm scared about the future.
- I've eaten food or leftovers from a restaurant 9 of my last 10 meals.
- I've been surrounded by family and friends. My phone has been ringing off the hook, but I'm still lonely.
- I like emailing and talking to Jason's mom because I know she understands.
- I'm trying to hold things together at CP, but if I don't get help soon, it is all going to fall apart.
- I don't want to go to sleep because I don't want to keep dreaming about giving CPR.
- I am avoiding writing Thank You notes.
- I don't know what to do with this upcoming weekend, so I almost wish I had to work.
- I went on mini shopping spree and bought two new pairs of pants, two shirts and a sweater.
- I went and applied for Social Security today. Instead of feeling humiliated, I felt a sense of relief.
- I'm not sure I want to get the autopsy report back because I'm afraid that maybe there was something else I should have done to help Jason.
- I'm scared to be a single mom.
- I've felt humbled and encouraged by all of the people all over the world who prayed for me this month.
- I'm supposed to be an adult, but I feel like a little kid in way over her head.
- Whenever I find Jason's clothes or things laying around the house, I put them back where they belong. (I keep thinking that he's going to need to find them).
- I'm relieved that Jason was so insistent about keeping all of our paperwork neatly filed.
- I slept in a skirt the last two nights because I'm too lazy to do laundry.
- I've only read my Bible twice in the last month. (Partially because Jason gave it to me for Christmas).
- I want to be a stay at home mom and just love on Abigail, but I'm afraid I'll have to put her in daycare. It breaks my heart because I want to be the one who gets to stay with her all day.
- If Abigail and I had passports, I think I would have gone to Italy last week.
- I had a bizarre dream about a grief support group last night.
- I'm kind of feeling guilty that this entire post is all about me and how sorry I am feeling for myself when I know there are so many people suffering so much more than I am right now.
- I'm avoiding a lot of stuff I just don't want to deal with yet.
- I watched two movies last night, so I didn't have to deal with the silence.
- I hope Abigail doesn't start crawling for a while, because I'm not ready for her to grow up.
- It is after midnight, but I still wish someone would call me on the phone and tell me about their life and their day, so I don't have to think about mine.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Have you ever noticed that people give plants at funerals? I’m not sure exactly why people choose to give plants. I guess plants are supposed remind the grieving that life goes on or that growth can occur even after such sadness. Perhaps, it is to serve as a living reminder of the dead loved one. Whatever the reason, I ended up with several plants.
After the funeral, I looked at the number of plants I had received and laughed. If Jason were alive, I know he would be laughing too. I am infamous for my black thumb (the opposite of a green thumb).
The spring after we got married, I decided that I wanted to plant some flowers and a tomato plant. Since we lived in a little duplex, all of our plants had to be in a planter or a pot. Jason humored me by letting me go all out and buy a bunch of flowers and pots. He even bought me a plant stand for my planter. I was so proud of my flowers. Two days later, a freak late frost killed them all. Jason laughed and told me to buy another round of less expensive varieties. I waited a week before I planted them. Unfortunately, I planted them just before summer staff training. During training, Jason and I lived out at camp for three weeks, so my poor plants did not receive any TLC or water. They were almost dead when we returned home. I tried to revive them, but Samson knocked over the planter one day when I was a work, and I came home to plants and dirt everywhere. I managed to salvage a few, but some including the tomato plan just didn’t make it. I replaced the tomato plant and a few of the flowers. Throughout our busy summer, my poor flowers, barely survived. The tomato plant had stunted growth. It managed to sprout two small tomatoes, but they turned black and fell off the vine before they ripened. I was proud that a couple of flowers survived my neglect and managed to make it to August. Later I learned, that the only reason they survived was because our neighbor lady felt sorry for them and she would sneak over to water them while we were gone. After that disaster summer of flowers, Jason managed to convince me not to buy any more flowers.
So…back to the funeral plants. I decided that not all of the plants should suffer my neglect. I sent several home with my mom for safe keeping. (After all she still has a plant from my Grandfather’s funeral 15 years ago). I gave one to a friend to replant for me. I kept the other two. When I was out of town, I asked some friends to water them for me. While I was gone, my plants accidentally got left outside overnight. I returned home to find them in rough shape. I’m not sure they’re going to make it.
It is a really good thing that I know that Jason would laugh to know my poor plants might not make it. He would have expected it. At least this way I can think of Jason and laugh if they die instead of cry these plants that were supposed to be a living reminder of Jason didn’t make it more than a month or two.
Abigail is spoiled. She’s had a month of constant activity and numerous people to pay attention to her. Not to mention the fact that for the past couple of weeks, she’s been drifting off to sleep in Grandma or Grandpa’s arms as they rock her into her afternoon nap.
Today was our first day back in the office and back to our normal routine. The morning hours flew by as I tried to get the office in some semblance of order and catch up on mail and phone calls. The afternoon was a different story all together. Life was good until it was time for Abigail’s afternoon nap. When I put her down for her nap, she pulled out her ear-piercing “I’m mad” scream, and wouldn’t stop screaming and crying for a half an hour. I only picked her up briefly to help her calm down a little bit, so she could drift off to sleep. Not working…
She’s spoiled that’s all there is to it. I told her she was spoiled and she was to have to get it together and get back into our routine (like she understood a word I said.) Then I let her cry. As I watched her cry, I sat down on the floor next to her and started sobbing right along with her. It realized that I too am spoiled.
Jason liked to spoil me. He took care of all of the stuff I didn’t want to do. He managed our money, paid the bills, fixed the cars, dealt with insurance, took care of computer problems, researched our big purchases, did the taxes, planned the house remodeling projects and much more. He also helped me with daily task like cooking, cleaning, and changing diapers. Not mention the fact that he brought me flowers about once a month, and he always went crazy buying gifts for me on the holidays. He made sure I was taking care of myself by going out with the girls on a regular basis. He fixed me bubble baths, complete with candles, music, something to drink, a bath pillow and a warm bath robe.
I’m spoiled that’s all there is to it. I’m going to have to get over being spoiled, and start dealing with the things I don’t like. I’m going to have to begin new routines, and start being thankful for all the things I used to take for granted. I don’t want to…I’d rather be spoiled and cry like Abigail until someone picks me up and rocks me to sleep.
Monday, March 10, 2008
A couple of months, ago Jason and I were having dinner with the pastor’s family. We commented on the fact that in the four years that we’ve attended our church, we didn’t recall ever seeing a ceremony. When we asked about the lack of infant dedication services, the pastor responded that they were waiting until all of the expected babies in the church were born. The comment made us laugh because our church is large enough that if we wait for all the babies to be born, we’ll never have a baby dedication service.
Low and behold a week or two after our conversation with the pastor, an announcement appeared in the church bulletin. The church was having a baby dedication on March 9th, and any family that wanted to participant in the service should sign up in the church office. Of course Jason and I signed up right way, especially because we felt like we helped instigate the service.
March 9th is tomorrow. I can’t even think about the baby dedication service without crying. (As you can probably imagine, I am sobbing as I type this blog.) I know I have to participate, but I don’t know where I am going to find the courage and strength to stand in front of the church body and not breakdown. Baby dedications are supposed to be a happy ceremony, and I think at least six other families are participating. I don’t want to ruin the joy of the ceremony for the other families involved.
I don’t want to stand before the congregation alone to dedicate Abigail. Several people have offered to stand with me, but I don’t feel right about that either. Abigail is my daughter, and I have to take the parental responsibility for her spiritual upbringing. It is my duty and privilege.
Right now, I am feeling weight of being a single mom. Please keep me in your prayers this Sunday morning.
While I was gone, I left them a key, so they could water the plants. Before I left for Iowa, they asked me if they could help me out by hanging the pocket doors for me while I was out of town. After nine months without bathroom or bedroom doors, of course I agreed.
However, when I walked in the house on Thurs evening, I was amazed. Not only had they hung the doors but they also had gone all out. They hung the crown molding, baseboard, put a railing on the stairs, and finished tons of trim and odds and ends that Jason and I hadn’t gotten around to yet. In essence, they finished the entire house except for touch up paint and the fireplace room. I could not believe how much they accomplished in a week.
Not only did they do all the work, they did it the way Jason would have wanted it completed. For those of you who know Jason, you know that he is particular to say the least. He wanted to make everything as perfect as possible. I can’t tell you how many hours we spent perfecting details that no one else is ever going to notice.
After taking a tour of their work, I profusely thanked Dennis and Lee. After everyone left and I was alone, the tears came. First, they were tears of thankfulness and gratefulness. It was so incredibly kind of my friends (and my family, who knew what was going on) to take care of so many things, so that I didn’t have to even think about them. Later, tears of pain and disappointment came. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. We were supposed to finish these details together. Jason and I had such plans and dreams for this house. We worked so hard for three years, and now he will not be next to me when the last detail is completed and the house is finished.
While it was wonderful to walk into a mostly completed house, I would rather have walked into a messy house without bathroom doors to find Jason waiting for me.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
We arrived in KC around 9:00pm and checked into the hotel that Jay and I always stay at. I probably would have tried to find another hotel, but it is extremely difficult to find hotels that take 100 lb Chocolate Labs...even if they are as cute and lovable as the Samson Dog.
It's difficult to be here without Jason. When we stay here we always get Chipotle Burritos and stay up until the wee hours of the morning watching Dirty Jobs and Law & Order reruns since we don't have cable at home. Sitting here typing in the dark is just not quite the same.
Despite this seemingly cozy picture, my stomach is knotted with fear. Deep down, I know sitting here blogging is really just an act of procrastination. I should be organizing and packing. I need to get moving, but I feel paralyzed with fear.
I don't normally live in fear. Despite the craziness of the past few weeks, I can't say that I've experienced fear until I woke up this morning. (I truly think the lack of fear up to this point is directly related the the vast number of prayer warriors that I know have been on their faces before God upholding us in prayer.)
Today, I begin long trek back home to TN. I'm not scared of the long drive; I've made it many times over the past few years. I'm scared of going home. I fear how I will react when I'm alone in our big house. I fear having to return to normal life without Jason. I dread having to sort through clothes, pictures, tools, mail, bills and memories. I can't even begin to fathom how I will manage to attack the pile of Thank You Notes I know I need to write. Most of all, I don't want to crawl into bed and not be able to snuggle up next to Jason to debrief my day.
While I know I need to go home, I don't feel ready. (I doubt I'll ever be ready.)
Scriptures about fear keep popping into my head...(my paraphrases)
"Do not be afraid, for I am with you"
"So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows"
"When I am afraid, I will trust in you."
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Despite the fact that I know these verses in my head, they are currently not doing much to disperse the knot of fear in my stomach/heart. So, I continue to sit here all snuggled in the recliner procrastinating and trying to keep fear from overwhelming me...trying to summon the courage to start packing the car...trying to find the strength to begin the journey home.
Please pray that I have the strength and courage to face today and the next couple of difficult days.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
The week after the funeral, my sister stayed with me. We spent most of the week in and out of the office trying to get caught up, pay bills, and get everything in a place where I could leave it for a few weeks. A week later my sister needed to fly back to Korea from Omaha, so I ended up deciding to drive her to Omaha, so she could fly back to Korea without having to change her plane tickets. I spent about a week with my brother and nieces in Omaha, before making my way to my parent’s farm.
I am planning on returning to Tennessee either tomorrow or Thursday, depending on when my car is finished at the shop. My dad is planning on riding back with me and helping me make a plan to finish our house renovations. He will then fly home, but he is trying to bring a crew of people to TN to work on the house around Easter.
My longer-term plans include, taking one day at a time. I should to be back at work at CP on Monday. I told the Board of Directors that I plan to continue working at CP through the summer season, and I will reevaluate in the fall. While I am not quite sure how I will get through a summer with a baby and without Jason, I feel peace about staying on for the season. I’m not sure what is next for us, but at least I have some time to make some decisions.
Personally, I am doing as well as can be expected I guess. Currently, I think I am still in a state of shock and denial. Reality hits me in waves, but I have been trying to cope by keeping busy and surrounding myself with family and friends. Each day, seems to be getting harder instead of easier. I miss him so much. I just miss having my best friend to share the everyday moments of life. Several times, I have caught myself dialing his cell phone, to share a thought or ask a question. I think everything is really going to hit me when I get home and Jason is not there. I think subconsciously, I feel like I am on vacation, and Jason will be waiting for me at home. I can really use your prayers and encouragement these next few days.
Thanks for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers!
Almost five years later, that dream has come to an end with Jason’s sudden passing. While certain parts of the original dream came true, (We had a loving home, a fixer-upper house, a mailbox, a dog, a baby, and I even occasionally cooked for Jason.) the rest is not possible. We won’t buy a hobby farm together, have a barn (with or without writing on the side) or sit on a park bench and watch birds in the birdbath when we are old and gray.
I am still reeling from shock. Truthfully, I really don’t care if we ever bought a farm, had four kids, traveled the world or sat on a park bench. The important part of the dream was that we were together sharing life and love.
How do I mourn the end of our dream? How do I even begin to find the courage to begin to develop a new dream for the future?