May, part deux…

Can I be blunt? (Oh please do say her readers…)  May sucked. From start to finish. It just sucked. Yes, some of it was due to #firstworldproblems but a lot of it was just plain suckiness.

I’m on the pastoral staff at my church. That’s my job. It’s also my calling and my passion. I’m the children and youth minister, which is the best job in the church. I serve at a progressive Baptist (no that’s not mutually exclusive) congregation in northwest Oregon where, up until April 27th, a good friend of mine was the Senior Pastor. He accepted a call to a congregation on that other coastline and for the first five weeks of this transition for us here, my workload doubled. While it was an honor to serve by doing the extra duties, it did take its toll. June 8th was a red-letter day in my book as our interim minister (also a good friend) joined our staff and immediately lifted the load. 

During those five and a half weeks, death reared its unwelcome head a couple of more times, bringing the total number of unexpected / sudden deaths (deaths to which I have some connection) since Danny died on December 13th to ten. Ten. In six months. 11 when counting in Danny. Simply put: That’s too much. Just too much.

So I haven’t been writing. Or reading. Or paying bills on time, or remembering to clean out the fridge, take out the garbage, or feed the pets. But I have been grieving…and that’s about all I have the energy to do.

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here’s how I do it…

I’ve been promising these for weeks now, but haven’t been able to post due to the domain name expiring on my blog. I am trying to get it back up, but the “late fee” is setting me back. In the meantime, I can post from this “freebie” WordPress address, but I do hope to get the regular one back at some point. In the meantime…

There are so many people I know, or know of, who are grieving so deeply right now. In the five and a half months since Danny’s death, I know of nine other sudden / unexpected deaths. Yes, NINE. I’ve recommended these same things to the people I know and love who are most-connected to, and affected by, these losses, but like I said, I’ve been promising to put them here for easy reference, so, without further delay, here’s how I do “it” ~ ~ “it” being this unwelcome, hard, twisted, confusing journey of grief. I hope these are helpful to you and your loved ones as well….

Grief resources I am using and HIGHLY recommend:

BOOKS

I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye – surviving, coping, and healing after the sudden death of a loved one, by Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair, PhD There is a companion workbook as well – same name and authors.

The Question That Never Goes Away, by Philip Yancey

Stitches – a Handbook of Meaning, Hope, and Repair, by Anne Lamott

The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion

Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss, by Pat Schwiebert, Chuck DeKlyen, Taylor Bills http://www.griefwatch.com/tear-soup-home.html

FACEBOOK GROUPS

Heavensbook

The Centre For the Grief Journey: Among Friends

WEBSITES

http://forums.grieving.com/index.php/forum/15-loss-of-a-partner/

www.griefwatch.com

 

(I will add to this list – I know I am overlooking a few books and a couple of websites.)

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May

I love my birthday. I always have and it’s never bothered me to say so. When I saw that Danny and I shared a birthday,  I think I knew right then that “this” had potential. Turns out, he was pretty fond of his birthday too. (Must be a May 26 thing.) This year is very different however and as I turned the calendar over to May a few days ago, it hit me like a ton of bricks.

I’m not celebrating my birthday this year. I can’t. It’s just too hard. I’ve taken my birthday off of my Facebook page and I’ve told my co-workers to pass by the staff meeting celebrating this year. It’s just too hard.

I’ll find a quiet way to honor the day. It is, after all, the day my love came into this world. It also happens to be on Memorial Day this year.  Yes,  it’s just too hard. But then again, this whole journey is as well.

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December in my heart…

It’s one of “those” nights.  Sleep is elusive. Tears overflow. My mind spins and I just miss my love so much.

There’s still such a big part of me that doesn’t believe this is real. He can’t really be gone. He can’t be  because… well because it’s April. How is it that the world – that my world – has continued to move on without him? How is it April? 

That’s why most of my Christmas decorations are still up.  It’s not April in my heart. It’s December. December 12th to be exact. That’s where my heart is. That’s where my heart will always be… with him on December 12th when we still had everything before us.  Every plan. Every dream. Every hope. Every Christmas.  That’s where I am because that’s where he was; where he is. So, yes, it will always be December in my heart…

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I go to the sea…

The ocean has always been my refuge but I haven’t been able to go since Danny died. I think I’m going to be able to but the closer I get, I simply can’t do it. Tonight I saw this picture and think that maybe, just maybe, I can. Maybe, just maybe I should…

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Stay tuned…

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Here Comes the Sun…

This week’s weather forecast calls for sun, sun, and more sun.  I’m dreading it.  Gray, rainy days “fit” right now.  Gray, rainy days are perfect days for closing the blinds, putting on jammies, and sitting down with a glass of milk and a stack of Oreos.  Gray, rainy days fit my gray, rainy mood just perfectly.  Warm sunny days do not.

Warm sunny days were Danny’s favorite days.  A lifelong Oregonian, he’d grown quite weary of the rainy weather, but give that man 70 degrees and sunny, and he came to life! Long walks with the dogs, drives over to the beach, reading in the backyard, or just strolling through Portland’s Hawthorne District, or Mac’s quaint little downtown… all of those things were staples for us when it was 70 and sunny.  And I miss those things. A lot.

When my now 19 year old daughter was in preschool, her best little friend’s father had died suddenly and unexpectedly when my daughter’s friend was just a baby.  At a playdate for the girls one afternoon, this young widowed mom shared with me how everything heightened for her after her husband’s death – immediately after her husband’s death.  She said she walked out of her house the next morning (heading to the morgue of all places) and she was struck by how blue the sky was, how brightly the sun was shining, and how beautiful the flowers in her garden were.  She was so struck in fact, that she simply stopped on her front porch, looked around, and took everything in.  “In that moment,” she said, “I vowed to never take anything for granted ever again.  The blue of the sky, the shine and the warmth of the sun, and the rainbow of colors growing right in my front yard’s flowerbeds.”  

If all goes as forecasted, the sky here will be blue this week.  The sun will be bright.  The flowers, already in bloom (and only just a wee bit beaten down by our recent rains), will shower my drive to work and my walks with Fern with color.  I wish I didn’t feel so sad about that…

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Together

I miss my man.  I miss my friend. I miss my champion, my advocate.  I miss his calm voice of reason.  I miss his voice – “I love you so much sweetheart,” at the end of each day, and, “That’s my best gal right there,” when looking at pictures of us.  I miss our long talks. I miss walking the dogs together.  I miss his dog.  I miss his smile.  I miss his tender heart.  I miss all those emotions he wore so proudly and freely on his sleeves.  I miss his laugh.  I miss laying my head on his shoulder.  I miss holding his hand.  I miss his baby soft cheeks.  I miss the lists we used to make – our top ten favorite albums, or books, or third basemen (Brooks Robinson).  I miss sharing books with him. I miss making plans with him.  I miss The Rooftop.  I miss the view out at Youngberg.  I miss walking on Third Street. I miss watching the game, or his beloved “Pawn Stars” with him.  I miss all the texts throughout the day, just letting me know he was thinking about me.  I miss his funny stories and goofy narratives.  I miss reading the Sunday Times together.  I miss love notes.  I miss cards in my mailbox. I miss his apartment.  I miss saying “I love you” and knowing how much it meant to him to hear it.  I miss dreaming together, planning together, shopping together.  

I miss “together”… so much.

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