Thursday, February 27, 2014

Packing for one...deep sadness.
It's not like I've never traveled by myself before. I remember the time I went out early for Lindsay's wedding. I packed the ingredients for Laura Bush's cowboy cookies because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find them in San Diego. Really? I wore flour for days! I can navigate Reagan National and the D.C. Metro with my eyes closed.
 But it's different now. Rob's not going to meet me or be here when I get home; there will be no late night calls to recap the day; he will not rescue me when I mess up. 
I want to cancel and hide in the safety of my four walls. I won't, but...
I already hear "It'll be good for you." and "Rob would want you to." Perhaps...but this new anxiety swallows me...I didn't plan this!  Trips to see the grands were  going to be duets; I hate solo! 
Suitcase almost full...can't forget to pack trust and courage and peace for the journey.


Walking through the house, I hear strains of Simon and Garfunkle coming from the TV.
Harmonious sound of.. .
"Time it was and what time it was .
It was a time of innocence, a time of confidences.
Long ago, it must be. I have a photograph.
Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you..."
Paul and Art, you have it only  partially correct. Yes, the photographs remind me over and over of a beautiful history, but I still look into the eyes of many and see rich memories of a life well lived; I treasure wonderful moments of the past in the relationships my husband built. Rob, you remain in the now and the future because of the way you poured yourself into your family and friends. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much more is a life?  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Collateral loss

I unpack the losses. I discover grief magnified by the death of Rob, yet, I continue to see joy.
Staring at the assets and liabilities that refuse to budge, I concede that cheerful giving becomes...well, um...Complicated.  I can no longer give with abandon; I must now count the cost. I hate it!Two-thirds of the world needs one-third to give recklessly and suddenly I must hesitate. 
Joy comes from that?  Of course! My purse strings may have tightened, but time has become my friend; I have much to offer. My heart grows; I live the pain of those I will serve. I see giving in a much healthier way. Sure, money is useful for spreading Hope to a hurting world, but Jesus never once opened his wallet in the Red Letters. He opened himself. Thankfully, I can do both and the latter now has opportunity to flourish.
More painful loss...
Relationships...inevitable...death of a spouse is an uncomfortable place for most of us... it's perhaps, our greatest nightmare. Watching my eyes constantly fill with tears, hearing me mention our life in present tense, feeling my intense sadness proves too awkward, too exhausting and perhaps, even too dangerous for many of whom I've done life over the years.
But, there are always the "deeps"...the patient ones who don't run away; the courageous ones who hold on tight; they remain by my side and I am grateful. He even surprises and delights me with new friendships, ones that aren't wrapped up in memories.
And God reminds me; this really is our grief dance, just Him and me. Running to others seems easier, but, I know that only God can lead, can heal.
And then there is the greatest of collateral damage:
No full house. It's nothing new; It's just re-surfaced in greater proportion.  Rob and I knew long before his death that our family would not gather in our home as often as we would have hoped. Our children and their families are not close. Celebrations are now held with their other families and all our big plans for family cookouts and birthday parties in their childhood home never materialized.  That "Little House on the Prairie" family that we grew up with does not exist in the present. We built it, but they did not come.  Rob and I grieved together long enough; I must now accept it and begin to build a new normal.
This one stumps me; I can't fully name the joy in this loss, but I know it's here. God's presence fills my home and my heart and when I'm ready, new people will fill it as well. 
Joy in the losses.
This I know: I can travel lightly through them as long as I hand Him my grief. He will carry me. 
Yes, this I know

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Joy comes in the unexpected moments.
Jan Phelan, the mother of Sarah Burke, an amazing skier who died from a head injury in 2012, made a profound statement during a recent interview. 
"Before this happened, I would have said that the worst thing that could have happened to me...ever, would be to lose Sarah. Then I realized there was one thing worse and that would be to have never have had her at all in my life, you can focus on the joyful happy times because they were a gift...even for a little while." 
Her reflection smacks me. What if I had never had Rob in my life, even though our time together feels much too short? The thought of someone else is inconceivable. Rob completed me, he challenged me, he chose me.  
Haunting images of Rob's tragic last months and an ever-pressing sense of his absence crowd my mind these days, but this grieving mother dares me to retreat from pain and visit happier times: forty-three years of beautiful love and friendship...a strong, intimate marriage and the privilege of raising three children who reflect their dad... a lifetime of wonderful memories, God-given gifts!
Healing demands this arduous walk through darkness, but the gathering of lighter times seems just as therapeutic and important. 
Joy finds its way into both. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Holding On

Handed off Rob's car to his son 
last Sunday
Not gone forever, but its absence makes for a lonely driveway
A well-worn steering wheel
Can you see?
A man gripping on mile after mile
Yes, Rob held on, didn't he? 
Held on to his God until the very end
New loss rears all too often 
these days
Will I hold on?
So do not lose the courage you had in the past, which has great reward. You must hold on, so you can do what God wants and receive what He has promised. Hebrews 10:35-36
Grief counselor entreats, 
"Lean into your grief" 
Doesn't that require a tighter grip?
I sing it over and over
I am
holding on to You
I am
Holding on to You
In the middle of the storm
I am 
holding on 
I am
Yes, I Am, Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh,
 The Great I Am that I Am
I see it clearly 
I Am!
I might
Loosen my grip
Fear not
I Am!
 holding on 
mile after mile

I am written by David Crowder and Ed Cash

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Just watched u2 perform their new hit 
"Ordinary Love"
Rob would have been so stoked!
What would have followed?
A couple of hours lying in bed quizzing each other on the band's long list of hits which would have led to a 
fill-in the-blank game of unfinished lyrics...
Laughter...a few playful punches in the arm...a couple of "we've gotta go to more" 
I think I'll just sleep on the sofa tonight.

Friday, February 14, 2014

To My Valentine

My dearest Rob, 
Today my sweet husband, you stand in the presence of LOVE! It must be magnificent to be completely healed, forever at peace in the arms of Jesus. I can't wait to stand beside you and worship the One and Only together.
Valentine's Day without you, another first... I must be honest, it kind of stinks being left behind.  I miss that heart-shaped candy box with the plastic red rose and frilly white lace and I miss that ridiculously expensive Hallmark card signed "Love always, Rob."  But mostly I miss your touch, my head buried in your chest, that beautiful smile of yours.  We made a great pair, didn't we?  You always devoured all of the milk's while I savored the dark's, all the while aware you were leaving the best chocolates for me. But wasn't that just like you? On this day, I celebrate the selfless love you poured over me and our kids throughout your short life, knowing you never gave one thought to your own desires. 

Today I will visit your resting place; I'll lay a single rose and savor a love story beautifully lived. I'll smile from ear to ear as I grasp every one of those February memories and hide them deep within my heart. I'll offer up a quiet prayer for our children and their mates, asking that they be graced with even a portion of the love we shared. 

When I depart, I'll leave behind another piece of me, but in exchange, I'll carry you along in my brimming heart as I explore what lies ahead.
I love you, Rob, always and forever...

From your August 1, 2010 facebook... And I know I'll never lose affection for the people and things that went before. I know I'll often stop and think about them; in my life I loved you more.   Beatles 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Sweetheart Dance 1971
Who are those kids?
forty-three years ago...our first dance
high school sweethearts
Still my favorite 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I met a woman today who was quick to tell me her story...a love story that is now only a memory. A beautiful storyteller who needed another soul to listen to her heart, her hurting heart. One remark pierced: "Everyone wants to take the pain away; they want to fix me."  A year ago, I would have fumbled a response, for what would I have known about losing most of my heart? But today, as a woman barely on this same journey, I offered a soft "Yes, they want to fix you, but no one on this earth can heal your deepest grief, my sweet one." Oh, how I wanted to continue with..."and no one can put you on a timetable. Don't believe that the best thing to do is to 'just get busy' or listen to 'don't look back; look to the future.' " 
We are fixers by nature; mourners make us feel uncomfortable so we offer our own plan for healing, often ill-advised, and we hope it ends the pain for both parties. Another's grief often mirrors our worst nightmare so we shield our fear with hasty solutions. Problem solved! We can get on with life.
Some of us are stuffers; we push down pain, while many of us are fillers, drowning loss with more life noise. But few are courageous enough to let grief have it's way until true healing takes place. 
I tried the former, rushing through the loss of four parents. Complicated grief...don't go there...stuff it! Keep moving...over schedule...desensitize the pain with more and more commitment. How did that work for you, Robin?  Today, I grieve five loved ones, a mountain of mourning, all at once!  
This time I will listen to only One Fixer! He will plot the course and season and I will bravely let Him mend this shattered heart, one painful stitch at a time. 
Writing a love story takes time, my friend; sealing it shares the same slow journey.



Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Gifters

I hesitate pushing the "publish" button.
What if I leave out a piece of love or project the idea that tangibles outweigh the intangibles or even suggest that anyone should grace me at all?
All are the gifters, beautiful souls speaking their own love language...each brings healing and joy in unique ways!
Handcrafted to help me meet the One
One who knows this woman breathes a little easier when she safely wears a token of love
Family who senses a rub of the wrist brings courage to take another step
The very words that grant me permission to grieve my way and on my timetable
Pages that evoke beautiful memories
Words of Life lovingly quilted one stitch at a time
Glorieta love from fellow Son worshipers

I only wish I could photograph Marie who bows her head each week from her plane or Alice who pens note after encouraging note while buried in pain and chaos or Diane and Karen who log many hours just listening... The Smith family that pour love out like honey or Tiffany and Rebecca who paint words that reach the soul. 
The unseen just too long to list.
Counting much joy on this Tuesday...

Sunday, February 9, 2014

I miss good morning kisses...I miss goodnight ones too and all the ones in between. All that love sealed with kiss after kiss...and now hidden deep in my heart.  
God fills such loss with new affection: six year old snuggles in the crook of my arm during worship, Rob's little darlings surprise me with hugs so sweet they almost break my heart, and college students drop any pretense and embrace like there's no tomorrow.   
Jesus people simply doing what comes natural...but for the griever...LIFE!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Salty Joy

John Piper says it so well! 
"The taste of life people are aching for is to see a person who is happy in the midst of pain; who's got something so deep, so unshakable, so indomitable and invincible that when all around their soul gives way, their joy doesn't give way...That would be so salty, so bright, so bright that it would look like the glory of God on earth...You'll be the salt of the earth. You'll be what the world needs and even what the taste buds of their soul are longing for and they don't know it."
Happy in the midst of pain...not lighthearted, not fun to be around...instead, Confident!  Unshakable confidence in the sovereignty of God.
Paul and Timothy, with their hearts wide open, declared their state: sorrowful, but always rejoicingtruth for the church at Corinth, truth for us, and truth for those considering a place on a pew.
Authentic suffering held together with deep conviction that God is doing a profound work in the midst of our pain...sounds like JOY that invites souls to taste and see that the LORD is good. Salty joy!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Tiffany Arbuckle Lee gets me...
My shower song... My mourning song...
when no one else can hear...
"I Want You Here" edited
An ache
So deep
That I
Can hardly breathe
This pain
Can't be imagined
Will it ever heal?

Your hand
So [weak]
Held a strand of my hair
So strong
All I could do
Was keep believing
Was that enough?

Is anyone there?

I wanna scream
Is this a dream?
How could this happen,
Happen to me?
This isn't fair
This nightmare
This kind of torture
I just can't bear
I want you here
I want you here

I waited so long
For you to come
Then you were here
And now you're gone
I was not prepared
For you to leave me
Oh this is misery

God help me

An ache
So deep
That I
Can hardly breathe

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A brief rant

I hate the word, "Widow!"
I hate it!
I hate it!
I hate it!
I am not a widow!
I am Mrs. Rob Moore!
Have always been; will always be!
Ears covered...don't use it around me...
The kindest thing one can do is address me as Rob's wife. I earned that beautiful title!
I will not check that five letter word on any form
 without adding a disclaimer and I will not attend anything that includes that name. Period!
Ok; I feel a lot better!

Monday, February 3, 2014

When you've lost most everything

When Job looked around and saw his life in rubble, he worshiped. He grieved loudly, yet among his renting, he fell face down in the dirt that once formed man and Job chose to worship his Maker. 
Intense temptation to turn my grief inward and shut out the world this week... Who can afford to listen to a woman remember 43 years spent with her best friend or wipe away that many tears?  It's been nearly two months; get on with life!  And how does one do that when she left half of her life at the grave? All I know is the two shall become one and in one swift breath, the greater part of me stands in his Presence, not mine. 
Surely grief is a stranger to schedules and loss, no matter the source, knows no final end, only a resting place in the heart.  Yet, I still struggle with bleeding onto paper and into ears.  Appearing "on the mend" seems safer and I'm terrified that loved ones moving faster than me will leave me behind...or just leave me. 
But then he worshiped...
Keep drawing near; sit at the feet of Jesus where I can mourn out loud and praise, praise, praise the One who made Time and gives me all I need. 
Choosing joy might simply mean choosing worship.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Remembering all of our trips to Austin to see our beloved Jayhawks. One year a friend gave us tickets right by the UT band. The more KU lost, the more the students cheered, "Worse than Baylor." Well, since they were insulting both of our teams, we slunk out of our seats and headed for the car. What a quiet ride home! We would return several times to beat the Longhorns and make some fun memories. It's hard to watch my school play without Rob telling me to "settle down."  Oh how he loved his KU boys!