Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Back into the World

Yesterday I went into work for a few hours. The young woman who is filling the position I left at the newspaper in 2006 is going back to work - she's a teacher. After going through a few things that have changed a bit and wondering how I was ever going to retain any of this information with such a foggy brain as I have these days, I felt so overwhelmed I just had to tell her I needed a break. I walked home (only a block and a half) and the tears came as soon as I was out the door.
The last time I was sitting at that desk, I was wondering how Kelly was feeling - she was sick at home for a couple weeks and I didn't stay home with her - just thought it was the flu and a wrenched back - hoped upon hope that was all that it was. The memories of being so excited that it was her senior year - senior pictures, planning for her graduation, watching her be soooooo ready to get out on her own. The memories just flooded me and I was blown away at how the world has turned upside down for us. That was about 1-1/2 years ago when I was at work one day and on a flight to Seattle Children's Hospital with a very very sick girl the next day.
I am constantly having to process what has happened to us. Process the suffering, the dashed hopes that maybe, just maybe the cancer was cured.......processing the incredible pain of missing Kelly, missing her smile, her strong place and presence and function in our family.
I can't imagine how I will be able to retain any information. My amazing bosses are already spoiling me - lattes on Thursdays, insanely flexible hours (except for Monday and Tues - gotta be there for those days and some of Wed.), 4-H pork for all employees, a raise in pay from when I was there before (I told her after she sees how brain dead I am, she may want to revoke that pay raise).
So I am grateful for the job - not anxious to start - I just can't imagine how I will be able to do it. But it's necessary - we would like to make good good progress to being much more solid before we retire (hopefully in about 5-6 years). Would be so good to get student loans paid off and make some progress on the house since we bought it later in life...........through God's grace we will be able to get ahead a bit...........
Today was a bit better. But there will be reminders here as well - last week's paper had relay for life pix and on our website, there was a luminary with Kelly's picture on it - reminders all around me of this amazing girl who touched so many lives. The reminders bring tears usually, or sometimes just a huge shuddering sigh. Not of despair or hopelessness, just of lonesomeness for this waif of a child who I loved loved loved.......
I am writing her letters from time to time. It comforts me to think about being able to communicate to her how much I love her and just that as I go about my daily "stuff" I think of her and so look forward to the day when we can be together again.
Ah, to think that when my time comes to leave this world, who will be there to meet me as I enter my new life? The sweetest smile and a long-awaited hug and kiss. Won't that be the day!! And who better to introduce me to my Lord and Savior than the child whose cancer journey led me to embark on my spiritual journey as a daughter of the King?
Please pray for me as I start back to work on Monday - sooner than I wanted but I am grateful for them holding this job for me through the summer so I could be home with the girls. Please pray for the girls as they await that dreaded day - the first day of school!
love and peace to you all

Thursday, July 24, 2008

random thoughts

I was talking to daughter Marcy today and she was scolding me for not posting very often, well, almost never. I feel compelled to make excuses here.....two teens who love to be on the sole working computer in the house, other people's blogs are so interesting to read, i use all my time up reading other blogs and not maintaining my own, oh, there are probably lots of other excuses too. But mostly, I just pretty much forget I have one........a common affliction among ladies my age. (Hah, another excuse!)
Something I have wanted to write about though is about my birthday on May 15th. I think Marcy and Rosie posted about the "gifts" from God that day - the cutest bunny took up residence in our backyard that day, the sunshine and beauty of that day was amazing, and a mama and papa robin started building a nest in our tree in the front that very day. As many of you know, we have had a nest in that tree only one other time in the 16 years we've lived here. That was the year Kelly lost her hair and kept it in a bag to put outside in the spring so the birds could use it to make their nests. She had read that in a book and thought it was a great idea. She would have been just 7 years old. And what a blessing for that little girl (and all of us), birdies did indeed make a nest in our tree and the strands of blonde hair were clearly visible!! That was so cool - thank you Jesus for making that happen!!
Well, I was overwhelmed that we had another nest and I so enjoyed watching the parents build it and that devoted momma sit on that nest warming her eggs. And this tree doesn't leaf out till late.....poor birdie was really open to the elements and just sat and sat on that nest. what determination. Well, one morning I was watching out the window and heard the proud parents chirping angrily. There was a big crow right on the nest and mom and dad robin were trying their best to chase him away despite the fact he was twice as big as either of them. I bounded out the door and yelled at the crow and saw it fly away with something in its mouth. I was just sickened by the thought it had stolen one of their babies!! My birthday present!!! My blessing and comfort for that day!!!!!! Violated!!!! Later the momma robin flew from the nest with a small black chick and we didn't see them in the tree again. She knew she had to move the remaining baby out of danger. We found a beautiful, broken, blue egg under the tree. Darn blackbird.
Then as God will do, He starts nudging me to set aside the anger, the hurt, the worldly perspective on things. I realized that the gift was still just as precious, just as lovely, no matter how the story ended. A tragedy, yes, a very real part of nature and this fallen world, yes, but no less a gift, no less a reason to celebrate the love and intimate concern my God shows me daily. Focus on the beauty and the sweetness of the gift and not the brevity of it. And what a life lesson for this grieving mom. Kelly was such a sweet gift, such a precious precious child - she and I shared so many special times together. So my wonderful Abba Father ("Daddy"), thank you for the gift of Kelly in my life and all the amazing, hard, fun, times we had together. Thank you for the comfort of knowing you had decided the number of her days on this earth before even one of them came to be. That is such a comfort! To know that no matter what the decisions we made - wrong or right, treatments that were consented to - helpful or not - you had already ordained her lifespan before I ever birthed this sweet babe. That takes the weight of the world off my shoulders and puts it squarely on yours, Father, where you said it belongs, where you promise you want all our burdens to be. I give you my whole life Father, every part of me to your service and to your will. For who could ever care more for me or know what's best for me than the Lord of the universe?
Another lesson learned, another step forward, however minute.
I am sitting in my grief, yet resting in His precious love.
Praising Him,

Sunday, July 6, 2008

only 4 on the fourth

for the 4th this year, we decided to take our first camping trip. Two years ago we camped for the first time at Apgar in West Glacier, Glacier National Park. It was amazing! Kelly, Molly and Rose absolutely loved the lake and had a blast swimming in the sun. campfires were wonderful, the air smelled amazing. It was a dream vacation and sustained us and continues to comfort us with the memory of a "normal" time in our lives.
Usually I love the process of planning each meal and packing all that we need......this year my mind is mush and I could not even begin to plan or care about what we ate or needed to bring. And as I packed, I cried and cried and cried as I left behind Kelly's sleeping bag, left behind one floatie for the lake, packed only four camp chairs, held her mug that held hot cocoa each morning around the campfire. Yet I knew I wanted to go camping. Wanted to get past yet another "first time without her" event.
I am thanking our God for this wonderful trip. the air smelled absolutely heavenly - the pines, the fresh rain, the lake close by - i so long for heaven and what it will smell like, look like - it will be close to what Apgar I'm sure!!!!!! Our girls are just so much fun to be with and they patiently hug me and let me cry whenever I need to. I love you girls. And my husband, so patient, so good to us. He took Rose and I up on Wednesday to secure a spot and then surprised us on Thursday night! He was going to wait to come up with Molly (she had to work Wed. night at the movie theater) on Friday a.m. but came early and we were just so happy to see him! life is so much better whenever he's with us.
swimming was not the same, camping was not quite the same, but it was still good, still relaxing, still felt like such an escape - from the TV, telephone, computer, work, putting up a good face as we walk through these tough days of missing our girl.
Thank you Heavenly Father for your awesome mountains and lakes, for the majesty of the Rockies and the comfort of your creation. It will be okay because you love us. It will be okay because you have a plan to renew this world. It will be okay because of you. Thanks for a great weekend.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Journey

Today Don and I are celebrating our 21st anniversary of wedded bliss. Wow - 21 years. And what an amazing journey it has been. This year for Valentine's Day, my wonderful husband gave me a beautiful diamond necklace - a "Journey" necklace. It is a symbol of the journey we are on together and an affirmation that we are committed to walking alongside each other no matter what.

How I love this man. He makes me laugh so much! I just get the biggest kick out of his wit. It's fun to be married to someone who you never know what's going to come out of their mouth.

This week we were talking about a young couple we know who fight - a lot. And the wife shows little or no respect for her husband. And Don was telling me how thankful he is to our God for me. And I in turn am so thankful for him. We never ever call each other derogatory names, not allowed. I have so much respect for him as a person - his integrity, morals, ethics, his faith. I really really like who he is. I can't imagine walking this journey without him beside me. Sometimes it's been frustrating to each of us how the other handles stress or difficult situations. I know it was so hard for Don that I believed Kelly would not survive this last bout with cancer. He was still so hopeful she would beat it, still so hopeful she would survive a while longer, maybe until a cure or better treatment could be found. I was hopeful but I guess I just believed the docs when they said there was little they could do. And it was frustrating for both of us - yet I was thankful Don was hopeful, still upbeat, still positive. I know it must have been hard for him at times to not have me share his optimism. But as in so many situations, God has given us this wonderful balance. And even though we can get frustrated with each other, we can always talk about it and still appreciate each other. I am thankful Don kept his positive outlook, even right up to the last week. I'm sorry honey if I ever "dragged you down" but you can see how it was for me when I saw all the hard things in the hospital or clinic - all the allergies, drug reactions, blood pressure drops - hard to handle and be upbeat about it all. Yet we did just fine, didn't we? We still were grateful for the time we had and tried to make the best of it. Thank you Lord for your strength for it was not by our own.

Thank you for loving me always Don. Thank you for making me feel so loved and valued. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your hugs and tender kisses as we grieve our sweet Kelly. You understand my hurting heart as no one else does. A shared sorrow, a shared gratitude for such an amazing, difficult, rich journey. Wasn't she something? Wasn't it just amazing to be her parents? Aren't you so comforted to know we will be with her again.....that she's running and laughing and living large and healthier than ever - with our Jesus. That gets me through the days - really believing that.

Thank you Lord for giving me this amazing partner to walk alongside in this life. He is such a comfort to me. Thank you for the promise of eternity and the comfort of knowing my husband and I will be together, a brother and sister in Christ, for always. Thank you for 21 wonderful, happy years of marriage. Please could we have at least 21 more???

Monday, June 2, 2008

Well, finally i'm going to start my blog. And what a day to start! I did paperwork all day long, isn't that exciting?
We are getting ready, (mentally anyway, since I haven't done any packing or laundry) to leave for Seattle this Friday on the train. I am so excited to see Marcy, Travis and boys! And this is how much our God loves us - Don is going along too!!! He had planned to stay home since he didn't really have any vacation time left but then, miracle of all miracles, his boss needs a car picked up in Seattle and driven back for a customer here. So Don will ride the train out there with us and then stay til Monday. Please pray for his safe travel back home on Monday. His grandsons will be so happy to see their "Fafa" (Papa in Gavin language).
The girls are done with school and I am so excited to have them home with me. Rose has been homeschooled but now there's no pressure to do any work (not that we succumbed to that pressure much anyway the last couple months.) Will be so good to have Molly home and just love on her. One goal is to get their bedrooms finished - touch up painting, curtains up. Then to get Molly out there driving again so she can get her license this summer. It's painful to see Kelly's little white car parked there, not being driven about town. Moll and I talked about it, she will probably take out the Tinkerbell decor that Kelly so loved. Just painful to see such a part of Kelly sitting not used. Oh how she loved to race around town in that little car!!! It broke her heart to think she might not be able to drive when she got home from Seattle because of all the painkillers. Ah well. I'm thinking Jesus provided her with an awesome mode of travel when she entered her new home!
Well, gonna make this brief - I've been on the computer long enough this evening catching up. Next time I'll try to be profound or something......or maybe not......nothing much profound spouting out of this brain lately.
Love to all.......