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Thursday, February 18, 2021

Single Parenting

Dealing with the loss and the grief was one thing and I believe I found my way through it and I'm able to cope with those feelings as they still come up now. The biggest struggle is being a single parent. Not having somebody to toss ideas around with or having somebody to have your back when you try to do something hard. I know I have support from family and friends but it's different having another parent.

I have been trying to get my youngest to be awake and do school work during the day. I struggled to get him out of bed this morning and when I came downstairs in tears, my middle one said to me, "It's not your fault. No one expects us to be okay. It's only been 3 years."

He's right. We all grieve differently and in a different time frame. But I do feel that society thinks we should be okay and we should be able to do the daily routine things like school and work. Being in a global pandemic also doesn't help with keeping routines and receiving support.

I trust that God put me here in this time frame to be the best mom I can be and I'm working on that. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

a note from a reader

With the money I make from the sales of paperbacks and e-books I've been donating books to others that are grieving,  especially widows. I received a note from someone who had read my book. Her husband passed away 2 months ago. They also had three boys. However he was in his 80s and they had been married for 57 years.

Here is part of what her note said: "Thank you for sharing your poignant book on grieving with me. I found it quite therapeutic. I started journaling as well, but it tended to be more mundane things like daily activities and meal prep. After reading your entries, I have moved on to (joyless) grieving notations. Your Bible references were also a great comfort for me. As other widows have told me "things don't get better they just get different". It sounds as if you and your sons are gradually moving on. Keep putting one foot ahead of the other. I'll keep you all in my prayers."

When she brought me this note, she asked me how I was doing and when I told her that I was doing really well, she told me that that gave her hope. I pray that I am able to help others by sharing my story.

There are still hard times and there always will be but I also have found it to be therapeutic to focus on the joy each day. I thank God every morning for giving me the life he has and pray that he continues to bless me on this journey.


Sunday, December 20, 2020

3 years and also 3 months

It's weird how time works. In some ways it seems like Steve has been gone for so long and in other ways I feel like I saw him yesterday. It's been 3 years since he left this earth and started watching over us. 

It seems like we've gotten grip on the new normal... not having him at dinner, not making him coffee in the morning, not getting any hugs, making decisions on my own and being okay without him here.

My new normal now includes a new person as well. It's been 3 months since I started seeing someone. I spent a lot of time this past week feeling weird. I was in a space where I wanted to be with Chris but also really missing Steve. I know Steve and I would still be together if he hadn't died. I also know that Steve wouldn't want me to be alone. Chris told me that It is okay to be sad and to miss him. He said that Steve left suddenly and that I've got a lot of responsibility with the boys and my house. 

I wasn't sure how I was going to spend the three year anniversary day and if it would be okay to spend it with Chris. It was. We went and visited his niece and her critter farm. It was something so different that it made the day easier.

I feel so blessed that God has given me two men to love, to be in love with and to love me. I will never forget the love that Steve and I shared and our marriage. But I'm now learning that I can keep that love and also have new love. 


Friday, August 28, 2020

unconditional love

I think I have gotten to a place where worry is so useless and I'm so confident in God's plan that I worry so much less. Surviving grief and realizing how much losing Steve has forced me and allowed me to grow as a person and as a mom proves to me that God was right. I know He always is but to accept that He knew what He was doing, feels incredible. To accept Steve's death, to know he's in heaven, to know that God knew I could be without Steve and be okay and to feel good, is amazing.

God granted me him for 25 years in a relationship, longer if you count being classmates and friends. He knew that was long enough to learn about unconditional love from a non-family member, to become a mom, to understand marriage, to grow in my faith, to learn the hard way about honesty and budgeting, to learn what being a partner involves and to know and feel loved and wanted.

Since Steve died, I've also learned that my faith was what was most important. Without it I couldn't have loved, been a mom or a wife and our marriage wouldn't have been as strong. My trust in God allowed me to grieve, to be sad, depressed, anxious, overwhelmed, angry, hurt, confused, scared and at the same time so happy and blessed to have had him. My faith allowed me to be okay some days, to get out of bed, to comfort others, to believe in myself, to increase my confidence, to be still, to ask questions and be okay not getting the answers, and to know that I'm loved no matter who is in this physical world or watching us from in heaven.

Through prayer and journaling, meditation and healing, through myofascial release and through counseling, I worked with my faith, my body, my soul, my mind and my spirit to allow peace to enter, to use my strength to find joy and allow myself to feel happy, good, okay and to accept that whatever I feel is what is meant to be. I'm allowed to be okay and not okay at the same time.

There's no wrong in grief. No specified rules. No timelines. No book to say what to do or how to do it. We each just need to travel to joy on our own and accept help and healing along the way. Our loved ones would want us to be happy. They did when they were here. That hasn't changed because their bodies aren't here and we don't get to go for a long car ride with them.

The signs Steve gave me; leaving quarters, moving the shower curtain to touch my leg, and a fruit fly in a strange place, all were saying, you've got this. You're good. Suck it up buttercup. I'll always love you. Be happy.

Moving forward, I know I need to make decisions for myself based on what's right for me. I should have always been doing this but I didn't. I always wanted everyone to be happy and at peace and I still do but I also now want that for myself and realize it's not separate. I can be happy and others can be happy at the same time even if they don't trust my choices.

Thank you God for always being there and for giving me Steve, his family and my family and friends and to be supportive and to love me unconditionally.

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Every morning I write a couple lines that I hear God saying to me. Here is what I wrote this morning after this journal write:

I love you unconditionally and so do your family and friends. Steve did and still does too. I want you to be happy and that will ultimately happen when you get to heaven. You are on that path but you need to share more of the trip with others. You are a travel agent helping others see my way. To know that I am the truth, the way, the life and that love is all that matters.

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All year I have been reading daily reflections from a book called "Stop Worrying and Start Living" by Gary Zimak. Here was the reflection for today: 

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end. (Lamentations 3: 22) 
As much as we try to love unconditionally, we fail far too often. We might be able to forgive someone once or twice, but eventually we reach our limit. God, however, doesn't operate that way; his love is unconditional. He is so merciful that he will never stop forgiving us for our sins. This is a great meditation for you, especially if you're having a bad day. no matter what you are facing, you can take comfort in the fact that God loves you unconditionally. nothing you can ever do will change that. If you think about it enough, you will start to feel very grateful. Eventually you may even forget your worries and cares.
God, thank you for loving me unconditionally. Teach me to extend mercy to others, showing them a love without any strings attached."

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I absolutely love when God works in this way! He puts words in my heart that I can then share. Then he connects it to everything else I do in my life. I know I am meant to share my journey with as many people that are open to hearing it.

Friday, August 14, 2020

Moving Forward But Not Forgetting

In the past couple months I realized that I have accepted Steve's death and I'm okay. I'm even good most days. I completely accept that everyone is at their own time frame and there are no rules to this grief journey, but I also know that I cannot stay in a place of grief. I must move forward for not only my boys, that have kept me going, but for myself. I have the right to be happy. I have the right to be sad, to miss Steve and to grieve the loss of the marriage we had. I have the right to do activities by myself or go out to dinner with a friend. 

My newest right I'm realizing is the right to potentially find someone else to love. I have done a lot of praying and a lot of journaling to decide to move forward. Who I am now is because of who I have been in my past and the events that have happened. I believe that God has put me here to love others, to be accepting, and to experience absolute joy. He has given me the strength to suffer through and survive loss, grief and heartbreak.

When my friend died in 2010, Steve and I talked about people moving forward and getting remarried and what the time frame should be. We agreed that we had no idea how long it would be or if we would ever try to be with someone else if it was us in that situation. There is no time frame other than what is right for each person. 

At that time I wrote a note to my friend's husband telling him, "I thought about how I feel and if it’s okay that it is happening already.  Like I said before, I don’t have a definition for “rush into it”.  I have no idea what it means or how long is “long enough”. Here is my conclusion: I never dated anyone other than Steve and he never dated anyone other than me.  I have no past loves to remember and never had to move on and start over.  I assume that you loved someone before and that it was weird to be with her and to not be with the other person at first and then the past became the past and you lived in the present and planned for the future.  I never had to do that and so I have no idea how to do it….and I can’t imagine trying.  I think you moving on means you are coping and living in the present.  I am not getting to the present as fast as others and I think that is okay too. I will catch up eventually and if not we will all be at different places. In the song I wrote for Brian when he was born is the line, “In our hearts, a new space grew”.  I think that is what is happening now.  No one can replace her. Her space is taken. But a new space grew and gets filled with someone else and new memories are formed.  I believe that you can love more than one person. I have three boys and although I love them all and I love them the same amount, the love is different with each one.  I love my family and I love Steve.  I love my friends.  All of these loves are different." I again think her death prepared me for where I am now.

Since Steve died numerous people have sent me a YouTube video about moving forward not moving on. (I put the link to both the video and the transcript at the end of this post.) The speaker, Nora McInerny, in the video talks about losing her first husband, Aaron, and the life she has with her current husband, Matthew. I agree with Nora so much when she says, "By any measure, life is really, really good, but I haven't "moved on." I haven't moved on, and I hate that phrase so much, and I understand why other people do. Because what it says is that Aaron's life and death and love are just moments that I can leave behind me -- and that I probably should. And when I talk about Aaron, I slip so easily into the present tense, and I've always thought that made me weird. And then I noticed that everybody does it. And it's not because we are in denial or because we're forgetful, it's because the people we love, who we've lost, are still so present for us. So, when I say, "Oh, Aaron is ..." It's because Aaron still is. And it's not in the way that he was before, which was much better, and it's not in the way that churchy people try to tell me that he would be. It's just that he's indelible, and so he is present for me. Here, he's present for me in the work that I do, in the child that we had together, in these three other children I'm raising, who never met him, who share none of his DNA, but who are only in my life because I had Aaron and because I lost Aaron. He's present in my marriage to Matthew, because Aaron's life and love and death made me the person that Matthew wanted to marry. So I've not moved on from Aaron, I've moved forward with him."




I initially struggled with how to tell my boys and when I did finally tell them that I was thinking of joining a dating app they all laughed at my choice of app. They didn't seem phased. They are ready for me to go on a date with someone. I believe they understand that this person will never, ever, no matter what happens, replace the love I had for Steve and the love he had for us.

I now have to decide how to tell my family and Steve's family. I know that no matter how they find out there is the possibility that they are not going to be ready for me to move forward but I also know that they want me to be happy and right now this is what's making me happy.

I am moving forward but I am not forgetting.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

IN heaven

In studying Ephesians chapter 3 verses 14-18 today, I realized that we say "in" heaven and "on" Earth. For some reason the words "in" and "on" caught my attention.

I looked up the definition of in and it means to indicate inclusion within a place space or limits; within something abstract or a material;  during a period or limit of time;  to transition from one state to another. The definition of on is: so as to be or remain supported by or suspended from; so as to be attached or unified with.

My goal is to be included in a place. I do not just want to be supported and suspended. I want to have inclusion. When we get to heaven we experience eternal life. We no longer are just on a planet being supported. We are now included within and in a state of being. We are in a position.

I looked up synonyms of the word in. They include words like contemporary, current, all the rage, latest thing, popular, upscale, well-liked, with it and prevailing. The antonyms are antiquated, the old, old, past, and unfashionable. Another word suggestion for in is to belong. To belong is to be a member, the allied to, associated with, the one of, be included in, in with, who support, fit in, and have a place.

I don't just want to be on. I don't want to be about, above, against, beside, held, close to, upon, or just be along, at or by. 

I truly believe that Steve and others that have passed and left Earth are in heaven. I don't feel like heaven is a place that you travel to like we do here on Earth but is an existence that you have.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Holy Saturday 2020

Holy Saturday. How sad angry and confused the people in Jerusalem must have been. Did anywhere else know? How quickly did the news spread? Did many parts of the world not know about his death and Resurrection for weeks or even months?

Those that didn't know he died weren't ever upset. When they heard the news they got to focus on the resurrection. We also don't need to be upset when somebody dies. We already know that they are in heaven with no pain no sorrow, only that ultimate Joy. 

we are upset because we miss them, we regret not saying certain things, we worry about those left behind and how they will go on, we worry it will happen to others of the same age, but we shouldn't. We don't have to worry. God has got this. God knows what he's doing.

I'm not saying to not be sad, to not comfort each other, to not take time to grieve, to miss them, to love them. It's healthy but it's not the only way. You can grieve and feel joy at the same time. You can be angry and upset and still believe in eternal life. You can worry about how you will go on and what life is going to look like, but God is always in control. 

You will go on for as long as God's plan allows. 

You will have eternal life too.

You will experience the ultimate choice.

Trust.

Love.

Believe