Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas

We wish you a Merry Christmas. And we are having a merry Christmas. No, really I mean it.

This holiday season has been hard. We are emotional. We've had frustrations and challenges which all seem so much larger while we are mourning. My head isn't all in the game, and I've forgotten things. We have had tears of sadness and of anger. Sometimes it has been ugly.

But we are working through it together. Mom losing her cool one particularly ugly evening unexpectedly seemed to make a breakthrough with one particular child. Nolan and I were having a hard time. There was a lot of attitude. There was a lot of tough guy covering up a wounded heart. Maybe seeing mom break is what it took to break through his shell. I don't know, but I do know since then he has been a much kinder Nolan, the big teddy bear that I knew was still there.

I am excited for presents. If you know me well, you might be surprised to hear that. We normally keep that part of Christmas to a minimum. I did still stick to our four gift strategy, technically. I just went a little bigger with it. I know any therapist would tell you I am totally trying to compensate heart hurts with things, but I don't care. I found some things I think the kids are going to love, and I'm excited to see them open them! 

I love having all the kids home this week. It has been a relatively low key week. I've spent a lot of time in the kitchen. We've baked, and I've cooked real meals. Well, dinners anyway. Frozen pizza for lunch while mom is baking cookies does happen here. We had a Star Wars movie marathon. It is nice to have the boys around. With the school schedule, we barely see them during the week. When they are home, I spend most of the time nagging Nolan to get things done. I am enjoying this more relaxed time.

I find comfort in keeping our traditions. Our traditions are pretty low key. I know for some who are grieving, traditions bring sadness, for me they bring comfort. I guess in knowing life does go on. We cut our tree from our property. This one is pretty scraggly, but it serves the purpose. It is even decorated, which is better than we did last year. I baked some of our favorite cookies. I baked a cheesecake, Tim's favorite. We will go to Christmas Eve services. We will stay home for a quiet (or as quiet as it gets around here,) Christmas morning, and travel the next day.

I am in awe of the continuing support we receive from our community of friends and family. People continue to support us with their time, money, words, and prayers. It is awesome to be loved and remembered.

I am learning to quiet my heart, and turn toward the Lord. That is what He has been teaching me through this whole process. When the emotions, the daily tasks, and the frustrations seem overwhelming there still is peace and joy. And isn't this the season of peace and joy? 

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015


I came across this picture yesterday. We were sitting in Huntington airport waiting for our plane to Florida. I wish we were taking a Florida vacation again, all together, all six of us. I wish I was sitting anywhere, doing anything with that man at my side.

It has been almost four months, and in many ways we have found a new daily routine. Occasionally, in the middle of this routine, disbelief will work its way through to the surface. I still can't believe he is actually gone. He was far too young. Besides melanoma, he was the picture of health. I think I could count on my hands the number of days he missed work before cancer. It isn't fair to the kids. It isn't fair to me.

Other times in the midst of our daily activities the smallest things will set the tears flowing. Yesterday, it was this picture. I don't even remember why I was looking through pictures. There were tons of pictures with Tim, but this one made me cry. A few weeks ago, it was grilled cheese that started the crying.

It was one of the first really cold days of fall. Grilled cheese and tomato soup is one of our favorite cold weather meals, and it was on the dinner menu. Tim loved grilled cheese. He loved to pick the little crispy bits of cheese that would fall onto the griddle. That evening there was no one picking while I cooked. That started the emotions, but when I realized I'd made too many sandwiches, the tears began to flow.

Our griddle makes six at time. I loaded that griddle up twice, just like I've done a hundred times before. But we aren't six anymore. We are five. There is always an empty space at the table, and I don't need to fill the griddle twice when I make grilled cheese.

I convinced myself that the holidays wouldn't be too bad. We never made a huge deal about things like that. Our traditions were loose and somewhat fluid. Yet, several days before Thanksgiving heaviness and sensitivity began to settle. It is still here. I imagine it will stay through the holidays. I imagine it will be with us in varying degrees at varying times forever, but it is ok. It is part of the process. We suffered a great loss. He was a great man. He is gone, but will always be part of us. We still have joy. We still have peace. We still have hope.

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I hope in Him!" The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. ~ Lamentaions 3:21-26