Oct 7 7:32pm – Life seems to keep moving ahead whether I want it to or not. But so it goes, I suppose. I guess it is a good thing, actually. I have many moments when I would prefer to simply crawl up on the bank of life’s river and find a tree and watch it all flow by. Unfortunately (or not), this can’t happen so I am ferociously paddling and death-swimming upstream and floating downstream and puttering back and forth and all the while mostly just splashing water and choking a lot from mouthfuls of surprises and unexpected detritus. I am not yet able to demonstrate a strong even stroke and I can’t keep the breathing smooth and rhythmic.
– I took in two movies this weekend. First movies I have done since the beginning of the year. I impulsively stopped on the way home from work on Fri (the traffic on I66W was horrible) to see one flick and then I decided at lunch today (Sun) to take in another one. I ordered a box of Goobers and some bottled water at both. Same thing happened at both – I snoozed about half way through for a few minutes, I wiggled, I wondered why I had spent $10 for these movies, and I actually was comforted to know that I could do a movie on my own. Yes, something else to mark that is doable. (But I sure think I like reading books better.) It did , of course, take up a few hours and that was nice. Watching the previews, I might want to go see later this year The Hobbit, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, Cloud Atlas, Anna Karenina, and The Great Gatsby. Maybe I will become a movie buff. (Don’t think so!)
– Relationships continue to change and adjust. Some for the better and some not so much. I had been told that this would happen but wondered how it would roll out. I am finding some new relationships and am experiencing existing relationships that are evolving into deeper and more meaningful relationships. Other relationships are becoming stressed and less cordial – less communication and understanding and patience. It is interesting to consider the dynamics of how relationships exist and what makes them tick when we are a couple compared to how the relationships function when the couple is now one. I find this a bittersweet experience.
– I enjoy and draw hard-earned strength from my Haven and GriefShare support groups. As I walk down this long path I am learning – for me – how important being with these people has become for me. Maybe more later but suffice it to say that I am glad that I searched out and have become apart of these groups. And I am especially mindful and prayerful for my mates – men and women – who are in these groups. I have never been around so much pain and hurt. Ever.
– Two quotes (out of hundreds) from the past week that I have focused on from my group experiences. ”Some survivors try to think their way through grief. That doesn’t work. Grief is a releasing process, a discovery process, a healing process. The brain must follow the heart at a respectful distance.” – Carolyn Standacher. And, “You can’t go through your grief if you aren’t willing to take a risk.” – Robert C. De Vries.
– And from my anecdotal survey… Middle-aged females who have experienced ‘sudden death’ of their husbands and who still have children at home have the most heart-rending, aching, brokenhearted, and absolutely sad stories that I have ever heard from any of us who have lost our spouses. This is not a contest – of course – but I can’t even begin to express my profound hurt for and with them – I don’t know how they make it. Positively horrible and so, so sad.
– Also from my anecdotal survey… Females seem to have it harder when trying to make the ‘business’ of the family function after the loss of their husbands. It seems companies, agencies, businesses, and any other organizations that need to provide some modifications or cancellations to a family’s policies, finances, or other legal matters make it hard for widows. I don’t think it is intentional – but it is a man’s world! (I know this from my over 35 years of working with the federal government.) I’m not sure why but I have heard this challenge over and over and over again from widows. Not every widow, but I would say the majority easily. Again, no conclusion but I hurt for the ladies who have had and are having it so hard right now trying to take care of family matters without their husbands. Sad.
– I continue my reading. Reading, since the beginning of this epic grief journey (but it has always been this way, too, for me) has been the place I like to go to find some solace, relaxation, and comfort. I have said before that I have read many good books in the past four months on dealing with grief. Almost exclusively. I am glad that I did. I am now currently in the midst of a 90-day chronological read of the New Testament. I enjoy the story being told in order the way that this read is going. I also decided to take a chance and see if I could get back into something I have always enjoyed – Dostoyevsky. I am reading again Crime and Punishment. This time, I am probably empathizing much more than I ever would have been able with Raskolnikov and his inability to think straight and figure things out and keep what is right from wrong. No, I am not plotting to murder a pawnbroker and her sister but I am understanding the psychological pain that comes from intense suffering. (Talk to me if you want to talk about this book!) I love to read.
– My freezer is ready for winter. See the picture below. I spent much of last Sat doing up my veggies and meats to freeze for later use in my ol’ standby crock pot. Good stuff.
– I had a dream this past Sat morning. I was in the front seat of a car (it had a bench seat) with some friends. Others were in the back seat. We up front were talking about something and laughing (I remember distinctly the laughing) and we happened to drive by a house of some note for some reason. I don’t know why it was important but I felt an urge to tell Regina about it. I stopped chattering and turned around to the back seat to tell Regina something about the house – and she wasn’t in the back seat. Other people were in the back seat. But not Regina. I woke up and wasn’t able to go back to sleep. (This happens very often. I look forward to getting home after a long day at work and I want to talk about it with Regina. But she isn’t at home.)
– Pat Johnson, the principal at Rockhill Elementary School, called a few nights ago. Staff and parents have taken up a collection and have planned something in memory of Regina on Wed Oct 24. I am overcome by emotion and thanks. So many good times and good friends… (I wish I could tell Regina about this.)
– Thank you, Madison, for making me feel special today. You are special, too.
– I was notified last week that my retirement papers are ‘in the system’. So far, no glitches. I truly look forward to retiring. My work is becoming frustrating (or is it my inability to focus and cogitate like I was once able to do?). I feel strongly that I have given the government (and taxpayers) the best that I had – and, admittedly, the government has been very good to me. A good balance. But I am more and more convinced that it is time to move on. I’ve done what I do (over and over and over – it is government, after all) for a long time and it has been good so I’m ready to pass the torch. Come on Feb 28, 2013!
– Big news! Laurie is pregnant. Baby Z #5 is due around Mar 2013. Prayers and thoughts and kindness to Nick, Laurie, and Lilly. Life will get even more complicated but my hope and prayer is that love and patience will bridge the gaps. For those who have raised two little ones – you can understand. But won’t it be neat to see Lilly with a little brother or sister? I love these kids!
– I brought out my ‘Autumn Leaves’ candles by Yankee Candle. It smells so good in the house. And Belvedere Plantation is open for the Fall down near Fredericksburg – a yearly trek for us. We’ve been going down there since Zak and Nick were little boys. Regina and I went down last year, as I recall, but even then Regina had a hard time climbing up the incline between the hay barn and the plantation entrance. I guess this year it will be a little different…
– Keep my best friends Ady and Luma in Romania in your prayers and thoughts. Luma lost her elderly mother several weeks back – family and friends are grieving the loss. She was a mighty woman – short in stature but big in strength, wisdom, and spirit. We met her – she couldn’t speak English but she smiled big and prepared beautiful and healthy meals for us and kept the house clean and painted clean-white for us. We will all miss her greatly. And along with the loss, Ady and Luma are dealing with other challenges in their lives – Satan can really pour it on when good people are down.
That’s all for this evening. A soccer game begins in a few minutes – the final game in the Cascadia Cup series between the Portland Timbers and the Seattle Sounders. Zak will be recording this game so he has instructed me to NOT say anything, tweet anything, text anything, or email anything until he has seen it much later tonight or maybe even tomorrow. I don’t know. That will be hard.
Love your families. Give them some slack. Hug them. Tell them you are for them and that you support them. Don’t hold them to higher standards than even what you can attain – we are all in this together and we are all broken and what matters is how we serve each other in care and love as best we can. It works a whole lot easier if Jesus is in the mix, too. Don’t let Satan kid you – if you are angry at someone else then Satan has convinced you with a lie. Rise up! Rise up and be better than the dirt that Satan would have us be – love and care and forgive.
Thanks for letting me ramble.