Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The dam breaks all too often...I fight to hold back tears, but they spill and embarrass me. Those around me often remind me that I try to do too much or I take hiccups in the journey too seriously.  I suppose they will never understand my tender heart...the emotion, the energy, the toll each step takes.  I don't understand myself! Be patient with me; you haven't traveled my road.  Dry my tears with a hug or a prayer, not with a scolding. I'm fragile!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Plain white tees lay crumpled in the light blue laundry basket I once bought for his dad when cancer hid in his brain.  A couple pair of Hanes still rest between the folds.  I've passed by them for weeks, not having the courage to hide them from the folds of my broken heart. It took everything I could muster to wash away the familiar smells of almost four decades, so how can I bury the other senses as well?  I gather his soft bundle of cotton to my face, hiding my grief in it, if just for a little while.  As a young wife, I remember grumbling over the double portion of wash, especially the grass-stained softball uniforms and smelly jerseys.  Oh, how I would give for that prized chore once again.  Loss is a good teacher of what's sacred.
I let Rob's garments fall back into their now familiar home. Maybe I'll get to them another day... or maybe not.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Saturday, March 22, 2014

God's Time

Rob listening to old Friends alumni talking about the good old days

Dinner's on the table and it's getting cold. Where is that man? 
How many of us have repeated those words in our lifetime?As our years together leaned into an easy stride, I wised up, learning our nightly fare needed to take a back seat to something bigger. Rob was usually late because someone had stopped him to talk. Rob lived on God's Time, not Robin's or even his own. 
He didn't schedule his life so tightly that he would be rattled if life threw a curve ball into his day.  Rob enjoyed the conversations with the people who graced his day, never thinking of them as interruptions. Chats after Sunday night basketball, Wednesday night meetings, or while packing up to leave the office, Rob, "all in" when it came to people, made time for his friends.  He wanted to know about their families, their dreams and most importantly, their trials.
I love how he would follow up to see if an interview went well or a family conflict was resolved. He just enjoyed doing life well with his friends at a leisurely, live-giving pace. 
A lot like Jesus, don't you think? A wise young ruler, a tax collector, a woman with a twelve year long health problem,  just to mention a few who altered his day... And Jesus would stop and make that individual's need the most important appointment of the day. No irritation, no annoyance, everything and everyone would wait, time stood still while the Master loved on his Father's time.
I'm learning from both. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Keeping Him Alive

Yesterday, we laughed, we cried at the mention of Rob's name. 
But we spoke his name, our attempt to keep him with us.
I'm grateful to those who still miss Rob, who spill stories with great affection, and who talk about him as if he sits among us.
I order flowers in his memory, send his 2013 basketball bracket to his relatives, frame his photos. 
I'm desperate to keep him alive;  I'm desperate not to forget every detail of Rob.
I close my eyes hard, memorizing his smell, his touch, his voice; I can't forget!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I can't sleep, I can't finish a project, I can't find the motivation to do anything purposeful. 
I play hopscotch most evenings: watch half of a mindless t.v. show, then stare at a computer screen for a few minutes, try to read a few lines, then, reread them in hope they won't flee.   I escape into a lonely game of solitaire, but usually find myself staring once again at actors who are safer than real people. My sewing machine hums no longer, my easel remains as blank as my mind. Words occasionally appear on paper, but even they seem a jumble.
Hold an intelligent conversation? Too exhausting...
New activities? Too overwhelming...
How long will this wilderness continue? 
All I really want to do is sit and remember.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Perhaps this is not the life you expected or trained for. Dave Peterson, did you know my heart before you began to speak this morning? I almost missed the message with my name inscribed all over it, the safety of my bed beckoned to win. But I knew my Aarons and Hurs would hold me up on this gloomy Sunday morning. 
You know there's power in the pews.
I asked the hard questions this week. Is this all there is? What could You possibly have planned for me after life with Rob? How do I start again, LORD?

Jesus presses us into new territory. Yes, Dave, you can say that again!  But, God, there are just so many giants in the land.  Things I've never done, decisions to make, people to trust, so much NEW...
But the One who really fills the pulpit knows exactly what I need.
Get started, keep going, finish the race, keep your eyes on Him.

Oh those lyrics that keep me running. Don't look to the right or to the left. Keep your eyes on Me. I AM the hand to hold, 
Am the Truth, I AM the Way...
Again, I'm reminded of 2 Corinthians 1:4 living.
Perhaps a pioneer, paving the way for others who will eventually join this difficult journey,  just as Jesus prepared the way for me? 
A new joy...In training with the Perfecter, one step at a time.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Pi Day

Alex wearing his dad's Ottawa jacket

March 14th ranks high as one of my favorite days of the year and not because it's Pi Day! 

Two of my favorite men were born on this day and both are "Einsteins" in my book!
my Poppy and my Alex
 My life would have been empty without them.
Think I'll celebrate these two loves with a big piece of pie!

Alex's Great Grandpa "Hook" Hand
My Poppy

Alex in Chocolate Soup
Alex driving his dad's Alfa
Poppy is on the top bleacher-second in from the right
WWII Navy Baseball Team  
Alex's High School Baseball Team

Thursday, March 13, 2014

I was so excited to visit Rob's grave today. He loved the Hill Country and our impromptu drives out to see wildflowers. We loved finding new "mom and pop" cafes or just picnicking along a lonely back road on lovely days like today.  So I put together a big bouquet of silk flowers, including Indian paintbrush and bluebonnets, all wrapped in a western bandana and even found a small basketball to honor his love of March Madness and off I went to decorate his small piece of sod.
And there it was, his new bronze headstone! Placed without my foreknowledge, his full name stared back at me with all its finality. And that relentless date of death, glaring in the afternoon sunlight... Totally unprepared!
My visit didn't go as I wished, my sweet time turned into anxious conversations with cemetery employees over a list of wrongs. They even warned against leaving my flowers as they tried to correct their oversight.
Plans foiled, disappointment and frustration colored the afternoon, but in the midst of my own tears, I was drawn to a young father and daughter leaving the funeral home. He gently leaned over her and whispered, "Your mom would be so proud of you." 
I quickly snatched my own grief, because honestly the thought of that precious 'tween making 
arrangements for her mommy was more than I could bear. What wisdom her father displayed through his own pain!  What unspeakable story produced their grief?  Did it include the ugly "C" word? I'll never know, but I can't shake that brief encounter into another family's brokenness. 
Yes,  another lesson learned.   My life will never be the same, I am forever drawn to the hurting ones and this strange world of loss. My own trials are preparing me to walk deeper on a 2 Corinthians 1:4 journey, no suffering will be wasted. 
I'll have another opportunity to decorate Rob's resting place with Texas love, but I'm reminded that the sacred moments don't often repeat themselves. Whether it be a simple word or smile or a "fall on my knees" assignment, I've been enlisted...forever!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The 11th of March, 2013...court date to finalize Rob's estate. A five minute proceeding that is cemented in my heart.
The regular judge absent this Tuesday morning, instead, a female magistrate, hovering my age, presides over my probate hearing.
Even as she enters I am keenly aware that she is a divine substitution. She speaks with such kindness and concern for each person who approaches her bench. 
My turn...surreal and so final. We never take our eyes off each other as  I take my oath and answer each tedious question. She reaches across her stack of papers and tells me how very sorry she is for my loss. Then, she says something that nearly tears me apart. "So young!" she spills through teary eyes and shaking head. I whisper back, "I know."  Perhaps she is looking at a mirror image of her own life or through empathy or even fear of the possibility of standing on the other side of her raised desk. I'll never know, but her observation rips open another festering wound. Why, God, why so young? We survived the growing pains of marriage, the turbulent years of parenting and saw the land of milk and honey just ahead.
 I don't even know this woman so earnestly looking into my soul, but she dares to ask the question I have been afraid to cry. Camaraderie and courage found in the most unexpected place. I'm tempted to  run through the mantra: well, life is not fair, only God knows, what if I received what I truly deserved, but today I choose honesty and ponder the same confusion. 
I'm not really looking for answers, just another arduous step in healing.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

She leans in close; wise friend wants to hear my heart. She never tires of the tears, the pain, the mention of his name. She holds long and tight as if she understands there is unspoken healing in such an embrace.
Wise friend is a busy one, but, like Jesus, she refuses to place agenda over brokenness.  I walk away a little lighter, leaving a piece of my grief each time we meet. 
She places no demands, offers no advice, only tenders herself and I know God has graced me with a rare gift. And I am grateful...