Sunday, September 21, 2014

Where I am Right Now

Grieving for one you love is truly so unpredictable. And, if you know me…well, I don't like unpredictability. I guess no one really likes it. I think for most of us in this world, we like some sense of control. We have dreams of what our lives will look like. We have expectations. We want to have what we want and how we want it. Sometimes the story God writes for us is very different.

I think I have always expected that there might be bumps in the road. I have braced myself and been on guard for life's curve balls. I think losing your mom at the ripe ole age of 8 will do that to you. It forever skews your view of this world…it certainly did for me. Unfortunately, that is now the reality of my own children. On the flip side, it also forces one to live life more fully and take nothing for granted. It encourages a person to make meaning out of things that might otherwise be meaningless and to just let some things go. I can only pray that it draws my boys into a relationship with Christ at the deepest level, to fill the needs that only He can.

As much as I thought I grasped what difficulty in this life looked like, I realize I had absolutely no idea. Yes, I lost my mom to cancer. Yes, I lost a child to miscarriage. Yes, I had a child diagnosed with cancer. Yes, my husband lost his job. Yes, we have been in serious debt. These are all horrific things to endure. There are many who have endured much more difficulty in life than I have. It wasn't until I lost my husband, that I truly got a taste of such deep despair. I wanted to scream at God, "Isn't that enough pain?" And at the same time, I knew my ONLY hope was and is anchored in Him. My whole identity and everything that was feeling secure and settled in my life, was ripped away in an instant. I am not even sure what to do with that. I am not sure who I am anymore. All of the other "difficulty" was comforted by my husband's presence and what we were together. How we went through the hard together. This great pain and loss caused an awakening of my complete dependence on my Heavenly Father.

I want to be really honest here. I wish I could say that I am moving forward in the process. I wish I could say we are settling in to what is our new normal without Rod. But, I would be lying. This "2nd year" has only brought with it a clearer view of what is gone. The reality is heavy. The fog has lifted. As a new widow friend I just met stated so perfectly the other day, "the anesthesia has worn off, and the pain is intensifying, as the 2nd year begins."

I am still dialoging with God about my anger. He is big enough to take it…even if I need to throw in a few cuss words! As we sang in church this morning, "Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me…" He hasn't given up on me. He is waiting in the shadow of my bitterness and anger to rush in and wrap me up in His arms, at the very moment when my ranting turns to sobbing. He gently whispers, "you are never alone," when I am feeling loneliness so deep that feels like it's burning a hole through my soul. He never fails. He never leaves. His love never runs out on me.

So, when you see us, we may have a smile on our face. I will be overwhelmed and busy with pumpkin patch for the next month. But you can know…I need prayer. I am desperate for it. I still appreciate a warm hug or a text to say you are thinking about me. The little things still mean a lot, because my heart is still broken. God is mending it, but the pieces will never fit the same again. I will learn to live with it better or differently, but I will never "move on". I will never "get over" losing the love of my life. So, will you continue to pray as God brings us to your mind?

Please do one thing for me if you happen to take the time to read this. Tell your spouse that you love him or her and then do something to back that up through your actions. Forgive them for whatever you might be holding on to. Hug them more. Kiss them more. Be grateful for who they are, even in their imperfections. Do the same with your kids. Tomorrow may not come. Don't have any regrets. I am thankful that I didn't.

God's love never runs out.

Saturday, September 6, 2014


The boys and I went camping for Labor Day weekend this year. We have a group of close friends who go a couple times a year and are pretty much "camping experts." They invite us to go every time and have for years now.

Rod's answer EVERY time was "No thank you." He said that he had done his camping days out in Texas, under the stars, and he had no desire to do it anymore. Until, a couple of years ago. He decided we would go, as he wanted the boys to have this experience. Have I mentioned we have some pretty persistent friends? So, off we went, and let's just say that about everything that could go wrong, did! His words as we were driving away from the campground…"Never again."

So, fast forward to Labor Day weekend 2014. As always, we were asked to go. With some hesitation, I agreed to go. After all, the boys wanted to do it. Well, for the most part. Carson, who is the personality clone of his father, wasn't too thrilled, but he agreed nonetheless.

The place we stayed was beautiful with gorgeous hikes and a magnificent waterfall. The friends that went with us are really like family and so enjoyable. Being in the outdoors and unplugged is just good for the soul. Campfires and s'mores do something great for my mood. Having so many expert campers take care of the details and cook all the food makes it unbelievably easy. Watching your kids run free without a care in the world and play flashlight tag for hours vs. looking at an iPod is refreshing. Still, two nights has been declared the Cook's maximum camping threshold. 

Pouring rain, lightning, and thunder all night long. Watching drops of water begin to form inside the tent and proceed to run down the sides to make everything damp. A mattress that deflated every 1.5 to 2 hours with a slow leak to lower a 41 year old woman's back to the rocky terrain beneath. Bug bites and an 11 year old with a cast on his arm. These are what drove the Cook's to load up and drive right on out of that beautiful park one day earlier than anticipated. Not to mention, all of the emotionally hard parts for me, in not having my husband there with me…but that's another story for another time.
Memories were made and it's possible we will go back again (most likely in a rented pop-up camper). Honestly, though, we were all quite happy to be in our beds with the A/C pumping once we got home.