Sunday, November 24, 2013

When the Dust Settles

The marker at Bunky's gravesite finally came in. I think he would be proud of it.

I knew it would begin happening for me. The dust would "settle" and reality would come crashing in. Grief is so interesting how it comes in waves and at the most bizarre times. I believe for 3 months, I kicked in to "Super Missy" mode. Anyone who knows me at all, knows that it is my personality to stay calm and non-emotional when something devastating happens. I have my moments, but they are just that….mine, not to share with many others. They happen late at night (or early in the morning) when my kids are sleeping. The evenings are truly the loneliest times imaginable.

I cannot begin to explain the amount of paperwork and phone calls that need to be made soon after you lose a spouse, especially when you have young kids. It is emotionally exhausting and draining in every sense of the word. And yes, it really does take hours every day. I still have some stacks of "unfinished business" that I had to just give up on for now.

Then, the pumpkin patch came along. Thankfully, I wasn't required to be involved with it this year, nearly as much as I have in the past. Nonetheless, it was still a focus of attention and honestly, a good distraction.

So, here we are at the end of November. Thanksgiving and Christmas are upon us. I have found that the tears flow more freely and frequently. They are triggered by some of the most simple and strange things at times. In fact, had you been at the car tag and title renewal office the other day, you would have witnessed one of my more random occurrences. Of course, in God's provision, the cashier lost her husband 3 years ago. Needless to say, she ended up on the other side of the counter hugging me while I sobbed. I can't even tell you exactly what brought it on.

In all honesty, I dread the holidays. Everything is a reminder that I am not only grieving the present, but also the past and the future. It is sometimes hard to even look into my boy's faces right now….knowing what they miss and will miss out on in the days to come. I am heartbroken for them.

The dust has settled and my new reality has come crashing down around me. So, this Thanksgiving I would challenge others to really take a minute to think about what you are thankful for. Don't just skip over Thanksgiving in anticipation of Christmas. Go one step further…let someone know if you are thankful for them and why. It may be your last opportunity. Don't let it pass. If you see me, please don't tell me your complaints about family and holidays. I can't hear it right now. I would give anything to have him home for even one more Christmas.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sunsets Will Never Be the Same

After the CTF pumpkin patch (about every other year) our small group tries to get away to the beach for a week together. I told a friend, not long after Rod went home to be with Jesus, that I longed to go to the beach and see the sunset. Of course, I am finding now that everything that may feel enjoyable for me is tempered with an underlying loneliness, that I fear, may never really go away. You see, this was one of my husbands absolute favorite things in life. It was referenced in his Celebration of Life service and a video that would be played at his service in conjunction with "Amazing Grace", was actually captured on the beach trip the year before. You can watch it HERE if you have time.

I remember countless sunsets with him. I remember many conversations between the two of us, as we watched in awe of God's brilliant ability to create something so magnificent. Many beautiful moments shared with the love of my life as we watched sunsets together. We talked about our hopes, our dreams, our children. We talked of how we would one day like to own property close to the beach, because it was the place we relaxed the most. I, of course, was going to have to take golf lessons, to keep the game somewhat interesting for him. We would grow old together and play all the beautiful golf courses close to the beach, as long as our physical bodies would let us. We would hopefully get to enjoy our kids and grandkids for years to come. It was "our" plan. God's plan was different. Still, I am thankful to have those sweet memories made while watching many sunsets over 17 years.
One thing I remember most about sunsets with him, was that he truly wanted to watch the sun ALL the way in, it is dark and the moon is glistening on the tides coming in. Once that happened, he was happy to pack up and join the other couples, who were typically showered and waiting on us to go eat dinner somewhere. I would often get frustrated and want him to hurry, knowing that others were waiting on us. He was steadfast and unwilling to give in to my requests to leave until he had watched it go completely down and turn dark.
This year we did a girls vs. couples trip to the beach. I am grateful for the sweet sacrifice made by my friends, as I know there's just something wonderful about being at the beach with your spouse. Five out of seven nights we were there we were able to watch a full sunset...."Bunky style." And let me just say, I loved every second of it. I probably for the very first time just "got it"...why he loved it so. It was breath-takingly beautiful and unhurried. Stunning. Comforting. I felt as close as I could humanly feel to his presence with me. I had dear friends who sat with me in my tears and heartache, surrounded me with prayer and music playing on the iphone, and who stuck it out in the cold sand and rapidly dropping temperatures, until I was ready to go. Just what I needed.

I was ever so aware that I would never get to experience another sunset from the vantage point I was at, with my Bunky. It hurt at a deep level that I can't even put into words. I know that what he sees is indescribably more beautiful than my most beautiful sunset experience on this earth, yet it tore me to pieces when the reality of him never sitting beside me again to watch the sun set washed over me. Reality is harsh, but necessary for healing. In spite of it, My Heavenly Father, the very ONE who created the sunsets, is close to the brokenhearted and I feel Him near. I long to see what is in store for me in Heaven, because my sunsets here on earth will never really quite be the same again.

I miss you more than words can say, my love!