Category Archives: regina’s rest

Family Passage

pasgesI never met Regina’s natural mother. She passed away when Regina was in her early teen years. I actually only met Regina’s father several times – once when I was on the boyfriend-checkout-trip to Missouri, once when we were in Missouri for our wedding, and then, I believe, one more time when we were traveling through Missouri on a trip. Regina’s father passed away when Regina was pregnant with Zak. If I remember correctly (I may not be), Regina never had a chance to tell her dad that she was pregnant.

Anyway, Regina’s dad remarried a nice lady named Bernice when Regina was a teenager (I think). I met Bernice a few times, too. She and Elmo (Regina’s father) seemed to get along okay and always were pleasant with me. Regina, of course, missed her mom but always cared for Bernice, too.

Bernice had some children that were close to Regina’s age so they all become siblings, of sorts. They, too, we nice kids and Regina always cared for them, as well. When Regina’s father passed, Bernice’s kids assumed most of the care for their mom.

Sadly, I received word a few days ago from Patsy that Bernice recently passed. Bernice had been sick for a few years. Before I lost Regina, I remember Regina talking about Bernice and some of the help that Bernice’s kids were giving Bernice to help out.

I hope Bernice passed in peace and that her family is as good as they can be, under the circumstances. Patsy said that Benny (Patsy’s husband and Regina’s brother) will be leading some songs at Bernice’s funeral in a few days. I, too, hope the service goes well.

I mentioned to Patsy that I believe that Regina and her parents – both natural and extended – might be able to have a few laughs and some good conversation now that they are all together.

I hope it is good times.

· 1 Comment. Posted in daily goings on, regina's rest.

6/30/12

Thanks, Beth, for your note. It was a different, special, and sad day in so many ways. (The derecho news article referenced below is here.)

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· Leave a comment. Posted in grief, regina's rest.

Slippah Sistahs

Jamie, Beth, and Cheryl carry on the tradition of the four sisters. Regina is missing. Last evening they wore Regina in their necklaces. Thanks. I love you. (Thanks, Helen, for the picture.)

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· Leave a comment. Posted in friends, regina's rest.

Normal Unnormal

Facts are important but so is context. What has happened – happened. There’s nothing that can be added or subtracted. It isn’t about fault, blame, destiny, karma, providence, or anything else. When something like this is over – it is over.

But context adds all kinds of insight on top of facts. Fact without context is like birthday cake without icing. It’s like dropping a rock in a lake but not seeing any ripples. It’s sort of okay and kind of normal but it isn’t completely whole.

The added context on top of the event is that my life is completely different now after losing Regina. Life will go on for awhile, things will be accomplished, there will be good times and not such good times, friendships will come and go, health will ebb and flow, and so on. But – bottom line – the context surrounding everything about me is much different now than before.

Piddling arguments and nuanced solutions don’t matter as much to me anymore. The highs will never be as high and the lows will certainly never be as low. Finding love has now been balanced with losing love. Giddy arm-waving, hand-clapping, foot-stomping, punching-the-air spirituality is long past. God is now more a trusted, listening, feeling, walking companion and less an I’ll-give-it-all-to-you-if-you-pray-enough benefactor. Relational conflict (even in jest) isn’t funny to me anymore and, in fact, brings tears to my eyes. Friends lists and followers is less important than a handful of trusted, loyal friends. Sick and hurting people seem more important to me than ever before. Quietness, I realize, is meant to be more than a perk – it’s actually something that brings wellness. Respect and tolerance, I now know, is worth it’s weight in gold – snarkiness and cynicism isn’t worth a hoot.

And I also realize that my time here is limited so it’s a good idea to not get too comfortable with things.

I loved Regina for who she was and I now love Regina’s influence and legacy. If you think I carry on too much about her, then you are not respecting my context. She was and is as much apart of me as my own body. That will never change.

In these two years, the new normal for me has become the unnormal for many others. I’m not doing it to be different. It’s simply where I am between the two bookends of eternity.

· 1 Comment. Posted in grief, regina's rest.

6/20/12

Nothing big really happened. The doctors, nurses, and staff continued to perform their assigned duties in the CVRR after they solemnly had escorted us out. They showed emotion and hurt, but they were professional and kept pushing through. Once we were out of the CVRR, there were families milling around in the waiting area anxious for news from their own doctors and nurses about their loved ones who were in for various surgeries and procedures. We stood in an open, lobby area in front of the elevators – the elevator doors kept opening and closing. A candy striper or two hustled by doing their volunteer duties. The slight bong bong of the hospital public address paging system regularly sounded out – looking for somebody. I stood under a blowing duct of air-conditioning. It felt really, really cold but I didn’t move because I was in a corner and out of the way of everything and everyone and I didn’t know what to do.

We stood with a few of our nurses who had been with us the whole time – all of us in shock and with dry tears. No words. I heard some phones ringing – they kept ringing. Lilly kept running.

Shouldn’t something happen? Shouldn’t the world stop for a few minutes or seconds? Shouldn’t there be a big voice out of the sky that announces something profound? Shouldn’t there be something?

A nice lady arrived. She invited us back into the small family room where only an hour or so earlier we had decided to let Regina go. The counselor was very gracious and patient. She had a bit of paperwork. A few signatures. It was simple. She wasn’t pushy. I felt kind of sorry for her – having to do such a hard thing with families right after.

I signed one, last form. She closed her folder and looked at me.

I remember saying, “What now?”

She said, “Well, we’re all finished here.”

“Do we go home?”

“Yes, you are done.”

And with that, it was over. I was going home without Regina.

· Leave a comment. Posted in grief, regina's rest.

34 Years

reginawed

· 2 Comments. Posted in family, grief, regina's rest.

More Yellow Notes

2013-08-26 21.22.07-2I continue to sort Regina’s things. I recently went through some of her books and pictures. I found more yellow Post-It notes…

In case the photo is hard to read:

Evangelism is not telling
     people they’re lost
Evangelism is persuading
     people to change their lives

developing a relationship
Connecting with people
getting to know people
helping people
journeying with them

This note was stuck to the front of her Daily Bible Reading in Chronological Order 365 Daily Readings book by F. Lagard Smith. (A good book to have. She and I both liked and read this book off and on over the years. Recommended.) I’m not sure what was behind the note, why it’s on this book, or what she was thinking or doing. I don’t know if the quote comes from this book or another. Regardless, this is typical of her notes that I found. There were several.

Some notes had to do with spiritual matters, encouragement, hanging on. Other notes were about her health issues. For example, one yellow Post-It in tiny handwriting.

proper footwear
wash feet daily
cut nails straight across
no bare feet
no extreme hot/cold water
socks that do not cut @ top
be active – avoid standing/sitting too long
pump feet up & down at ankle
elevate legs when reclining
hand washing!!! using sterile supplies
ear temp is slightly higher than oral
oral – above 100° – fever
ear – above 101° – fever

Poor thing. It was so hard for her. These notes break my heart. I’m thankful she is over all of this. But I miss her so much.

· Leave a comment. Posted in regina's rest.

Things To Remember

Many months ago and almost to the day (was it coincidence or what?), Beth and I called each other with an idea about creating some sitting or lap blankets for Zak and Nick that would be made out of some of Regina’s favorite blouses, shirts, pajamas, and school bags. I thought it would be good to have the blankets done by Jun 20 of this year for the boys and their families. I had collected up all of Regina’s goods and clothing over the months and had donated most of them, kept some of them for my memory boxes, but had also set aside some of her comfy and colorful clothes and items for something else. I just wasn’t sure exactly what.

Beth, who was in sync with me, said she knew that Malisa, a teacher at the school where Beth taught, did blankets on the side and had done some very nice work in the past. A week or two later, Beth set up an appointment for me to meet Malisa and turn over a big box full of items for Malisa to spend a few months working on. I met Malisa and her daughter. Malisa, as I recall, had lost her father recently and she showed me the blanket she had made for her family out of some of his clothes and with some of his favorite colors. It was very nice. I liked Malisa and was glad that things had worked out the way that they had worked out.

And then I went on a long trip…

Back around the first or second week of Jun when I was in North or South Dakota, I think, Beth texted me that the blankets were ready. We talked on the phone. She and Helen took some pictures and video and sent them to me. I was sitting in a parking lot after having come out of a car wash. I looked at the pictures and video and wept. It was sad but it was a happy thing, too. The blankets looked so good. Simple and colorful. I recognized the clothing squares.

I asked Beth to do something I hated to ask her to do but I asked if she could wrap them up and send them off to Zak and Nick – with a note explaining what was going on – so they would get them before Jun 20. Of course, Beth took care of it and had, I think, the boxes in the mail the same afternoon. She sent me the tracking numbers. I knew I wouldn’t get to see the blankets before giving them to Zak and Nick but I had hoped all along to get the blankets to the boys by Jun 20. Thanks Beth. Always an angel!

And the blankets arrived right on time. Zak texted me. Nick texted me. I received a few pictures. And later Nick posted a photo of his blanket on his website. I reproduced Nick’s pictures below. I was so happy with the look of the little blankets. Just like Regina – simple, frilly, colorful, paisley, swirling, happy. And Malisa had filled in the gaps with excellent choices of colors and patterns – it all fit together. The blankets were perfect!

But more.

This past Sun, Beth surreptitiously placed a big bag in my car. I had an errand or two to run in the afternoon and I went to a (very stupid) movie to waste some time and so it was a few hours until I made it home to see what was in the bag. And it was a beautiful pillow made out of Regina’s things. I had no idea. (This stuff is hard for me to talk about but it means so much to me.) It was made from some of what was left over from the blankets. Beth, Cheryl, and Jamie had had a hand in making it happen. The pillow sits by me here now.

I know I go on and on. I’m not really sure how a person is supposed to act after losing a spouse in her prime. I don’t know what the timeline is or what I’m supposed to say or not say. Little things, though, like simple Regina blankets or pillows – for some reason- just make me emotional when I think about the stories, activities, places, and emotions behind each little square of cloth. I can’t explain it other than it is precious to me.

And maybe to you.

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· 2 Comments. Posted in family, friends, regina's rest.

10am Sat, Jun 30, 2012

It has been a year since we came together and said goodbye to Regina. Remember? It was a blustery, stormy, rainy, derecho kind of Sat morning and we weren’t sure if we would even have power, lights, and A/C when we met at the church building for Regina’s ‘Celebration of Life’. Trees and branches were down on many of the roads. It was so bad outside that I know some of you couldn’t even make it to be with us. I’m sorry about that.

But it was a beautiful day, too, in its own way. At least for me, not a day has gone by since that I haven’t thought about losing Regina and how sad I am about it. But mixed in with all of my grief and sadness, I also know that we realize relief from and confidence in knowing that Regina is now without pain, is completely healed, is safe, and is back on her eternal track after her short detour to and from life here with us. We reminded ourselves of this a year ago and the idea and belief is the same today. If not more profound and stronger.

Thank you for your encouraging words, cards, letters, emails, laughter, and tears this past year. And I especially thank you for your many donations, in Regina’s name, to the Washington Hospital Center Foundation, Advanced Heart Failure & Transplant Unit. Your words and actions have made it not as hard for me these many months.

I couldn’t have hoped for a better 33 years, a better companion and friend, a better foil, a better wife and mother, or a better example. I hope she would say the same about her time with me. While I miss Regina terribly, I know she is much better off today than she was a little over a year ago.

And I will get better, too. Slowly but surely. Each day brings new opportunities, vistas, and hopes.

You probably remember this Bible passage that I found on Regina’s bed-stand. She had written it out on a yellow Post-it note at some point. It was under her bedside clock. It is special to me for many reasons. It can be special for you, too.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  – II Corinthians 4:16-18

May God grant you and me peace, understanding, patience, and perseverance in the coming weeks, months, and years.

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· 3 Comments. Posted in regina's rest.

1:51pm Wed, Jun 20, 2012

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ONE YEAR

It can’t end

Tides ebb
Stars flicker
Rain drizzles

People don’t know what to say
People put on faces
People come; people go

Laughter peels
Music plays
Stories tell

It’s noisy with clatter
Chatter is filler
Talk is sugar

“Get on with life”
“She’s healed”
“It happens”

“Double occupancy”
“Table for one”
“Single”

No one to tell a secret
No one to discuss with
No one to listen

It’s not we
It’s not us
It’s not ours

Each day is more distant
It gets hazier and greyer
Sounds and smells leave

It echoes
It’s empty
It’s lonely

It can’t end

Providence brings hope
Patience brings comfort
Silence brings rest

· 4 Comments. Posted in regina's rest.