In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Father's Day Wave

 It probably does not come as any surprise to someone from the outside that I feel like I am riding in a wave a grief right now.  How could I not be?  Going through a traumatic trip to the hospital, surgery and Father's Day, all without Dave is just plain rotten.  I cry very easily at this point in my life, so suffice it to say, I have cried a river over Dave this past week.  It's hard to say that, because I don't want to diminish what anyone has done for me lately, but I just miss him.

It's not like life would be just fine if Dave were here.  He would be saying all the wrong things, just like he always did, in serious crisis situations.  And he would certainly not be giving me one more ounce of sympathy than what was minimally required.  But he would be here, doing everything he could, (with a bike ride or two in between) and he would be here for our kids.  And he would be steady, as I rock like a southbound train.

Strangely enough, it seems that in the biggest waves of grief, I also receive a peek into the silver that God is drawing around a cloud or two.

On Friday night, my family joined a host of other families at our pool for dinner.  For a small slice of the night, we reminisced over some Dave moves at the pool.  Like the the giant back flop he did one night when trying to execute a flip.  Or how he would load all three kids on his back and swim all the way across the pool.  Dave's absence was thick, as he lived for nights at the pool.  But when I watched my kids throughout the night,  they were not lacking.  Dave's friends all had a part in my kids' night.  One let my girls sit on his lap for 45 minutes while they ate pizza. Another rallied Spencer to have a water gun fight with him. Another tossed my kids around the pool and one more just let my kids hang on him in the deep end.
2012 - A typical Friday night at the pool.
2014 - Terminator Spencer

2014 - The girls (and Josh) getting some pizza and some love. 

Before Dave died, I sometimes hated sitting in church, because it felt like it was all these perfect looking people, pretending to have perfect lives, and then they went home to their perfect little homes.  But now, my family really sees what the church REALLY looks like, when it is living out the call of the church.  It looks like the pool on Friday night.  It looks like meals showing up long after I should really have needed them.  It looks like friends sleeping over, when I need drugs administered in the middle of the night.  It looks likes friends kidnapping me to go to Bible Study, because they know it is what I really need.  It looks like families taking in my kids to spend the night for the 5th time, because I can't move.  I mean, my kids are experiencing what it really means to be a part of the body of Christ.  What a gift.

Example number two.  Seeing as how it is Father's Day,  I asked my kids what is one thing they loved about their Daddy.  Maci rambled about some things that never really happened. Leah said that she just loved that he got to be her Daddy.  And Spencer said, "I love that he loved Jesus and worshipped Jesus, which means that he is in heaven and that means that if we love Jesus that we will get to go to heaven someday and see him."  Then I asked if there was anything hard about him being gone.  The girls said that they were sad, but Spencer said he was starting to get used to him being gone.  But then, (and this is the point of the paragraph) Spencer said, "What about you, mom?  What did you love about Daddy?"  I answered.  Then he asked, "Is it hard for YOU that he is gone?"  The fact that Spencer, at seven years old, can look outside of himself and see people that are hurting, feels like a result of the hard he has experienced.  He just continues to amaze me with his heart for Jesus and his heart for others.  I can't imagine that he would be that far along, without all that he has been through.  Again, what a gift with eternal value!

In conclusion, (going back to my 5th grade writing roots there), it's been a week.  A rough, grief filled week.  But it has also been a week.  A week with these two HUGE gifts.  And let me tell you - I have needed these gifts.

Friday, June 6, 2014


I am usually the recipient of hearing the word, "Mommy," many a time a day.  It is a label that I feel grateful to possess and I feel lucky to hear it bouncing around these walls. Albeit, on occasion, when it is overused and said with a whiney lilt, it can wear on my nerves a touch. Right now, I miss hearing it, as my kids are away for another set of days. So, to keep the word fresh around here, I have been adding it to my vocabulary.  I, typically, just say, "Mom," but what I really mean right now is, "Mommy."  I have needed my mommy in a huge way over the past few weeks.

That is not to say that I haven't needed my friends, my Tony and my dad in a huge way, because I have, but sometimes, you just need your Mommy.  You need someone who isn't allowed to leave, even if you say the most reprehensible things.  You need someone that you know will love you, even though you have cried for the 600th time in a 24 hour period.  You need someone that you don't feel bad keeping up all night, because you are scared for the 700th time that you will never be even semi-normal again.  You need someone who is willing to repeat, "you will make it through this," as many times as needed.  

Actually, I really, truly, believe that all of the aforementioned people would do the same, but there is still just something different about about needing your mom.   It's a long road with me right now.  Surgery went well, as far as I know, but it will be a few weeks, or even months before I know where my symptoms will really land.  I am fighting like a madman to stay out of the freak out zone, since my symptoms are still present.  I still have weakness, numbness and a little bit of pain in my leg.  So, thank you, everyone, for hanging in there with me and spending the night with me and bringing me treats and giving me the gift of normal conversations and thanks, mom, for being my mom.  
My mom - always taking care of someone

Monday, June 2, 2014


Last week I did a lot of whining about how long it has taken to get into surgery from the time that I first went to see the surgeon.  It included waiting for an initial appointment, then waiting for a shots appointment, then taking a detour to the ER, then waiting for another appointment with the surgeon, to waiting for the actual day of surgery.  Since last September,  I have been in quite a bit of pain and the last three weeks I have encountered having a baby type of pain, but without the miracle prize at the other end.  The last week, I have spent mostly laying in bed, until my dad found me this great zero gravity lawn chair at Costco.  Just when you think you can't love a store any more . . . .

On Friday, I was dreading the weekend.  Just more wasted days to wait, in pain.  I had hardly laid eyes on my kids and I was sinking into a bit of a scary place for me.  But with this new found chair that I could actually sit up in, a book that a friend gave me, and my journal, God took those wasted days and brought about some serious purpose and beauty.

While I have read pages here and there from some books, I haven't read a book from cover to cover since before Dave died.  And while I write on my blog, I hadn't done any real personal journaling since this pain started, I don't think.

The book I read was Wildflower Living, by Liz Morton Duckworth.  She has encountered her own tragedies throughout her adult life.  I felt like I could relate to her and she would be able to relate to me.  It was perfect for me this weekend, as it was an easy read and at the end of each chapter there were questions to journal about.  After all of my rampant journaling, my last entry of the weekend ended with this:

"While the wait has been long and the pain so frustrating, these days have also given me a bit of a gift.  I have had a few days (where I could actually sit to read and write) to press my faith roots down a little deeper.  It's like the hurricane winds and tornado skies had pulled my roots up some.  My tree is leaning.  It's a little tippy and not only have I wondered if I was going to fall to the ground, but I think others have wondered the same.  I feel like this unasked for time to reconnect with God and to read has helped me water the soil around me and allowed my roots to grab hold and sink in again.  Roots of faith, and roots of trusting that Jesus has a plan. . . . I think God knew that I needed this time to gain some perspective, to evaluate if I REALLY trust Him, and to do this - journal about how I am really feeling."

My surgery has been moved up to tomorrow morning at 7:30.  I am a mix of nerves, excitement for a new lease on life, fear of great disappointment, peace in knowing that God has got it all and giddiness that this day is finally here.