Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Almost nine months have passed and I realize I'm not even close to letting go, moving on, and all of the other cliches associated with healing after loss. 
I'm doing everything "right"...reading and writing about grief, remembering and talking through the pain, and most importantly, clinging to God for his strength. But I still ask the why's and battle demons intent on my destruction.  Others appear to be moving forward much faster than me; my pace looks more like a childhood game: two spaces forward, three steps back and a few "go to jail" turns. 
I'm okay with this.  I know God's plan for my husband was better than my desire, I'm thankful He controls life and death and everything in between, but I also love that He made me to love with such intensity that I struggle to say goodbye.  This is who I am; I love hard, I grieve hard...and long.  My mountain of loss, in addition to Rob's death, isn't quickly removed like an imploding building.  Instead, I've embarked on a slow, arduous process of chipping away and clearing years of mourning. 
Even so, I continue to trust Him to redeem this unspeakable grief, keeping my eyes on my Healer and believing his Name is greater than the pain... the questions... the loneliness.
 For there is a time and a way for everything, although man's trouble lies heavy on him.  Ecclesiastes 8:6

Monday, August 25, 2014

I won't lie! Yesterday was hard! After decades of walking into a Sunday School with Rob, I was beginning the new year solo.  I over-compensated with smiles and class decorations, but all the while, my heart was throbbing. There would be no rolling my eyes at Rob's perennial fact about himself, I met Ferris Bueller's Ben Stein in an elevator, knowing most of the students would be thinking: Who? watching him, arms crossed, banter with Karen, no comparing notes after class.
My class, a great mixture of personalities, lifted my spirits.  
After hugging each one of them (they don't get a choice,) I scoped out the other classrooms with Mama B and our director, Stan.  Suddenly she looked at Stan as if she had seen a ghost.  As usual, I kept chatting and then, my eyes caught sight of it! Rob's old, worn Bible, sitting on a brown paper-covered table.  I had not seen that Bible for years and wondered what had happened to it.
Among the scribbles of junior boys, pages of Scripture, treasure my husband pored over and lived out week after week lay.  I was not alone. God had provided a beautiful reminder that I carry Rob everywhere I go. Again, I am overwhelmed by my God who is detailed in his provision. I wonder what Rob's "so what" would have been after this unexpected object lesson. Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare. Psalm 40:5

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

On our anniversary

To have and to hold...until death do us part.  I recited those words, but never in my wildest dreams did I think there would be an end.
I still don't. 
When I promised to cherish, it was for eternity, no matter what the future might unfold.
Thirty-eight years ago today, to be exact...Today, I pause to keep that forever love alive.  I miss you, Rob, beyond measure. You made the journey, even with all of its bumps and bruises, worth living. Oh, how I planned to grow old with you, to walk together through life's autumn and winter, holding your strong hand. 
I hope you who read this will cling a little tighter to your spouse today, pause from the busyness of the day and speak life into your mate, and simply fall head over heels in love once again...while you have the chance, my friends. Celebrate your marriage...TODAY!
My dearest Rob, I remember our amazing love and carry you deep within my heart. Until I slip my hand in yours once again, Love always, Robin.
Oh, they loved dearly, their souls kissed, they kissed with their eyes, they were both but one single kiss!
Heinrich Heine

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I chuckle when I think of Rob and me dancing. His moves were meant for the basketball court and my grand jetés and arabesques reserved for  a different set of  wooden planks.  Our pas de deux was at best a sweet, slow sway with a few bruised toes. Yet, I would give anything to follow his lead just one more time, feel the warmth of his chest and the beat of his tender heart. But through these tough, lonely days, I'm trusting my Creator's lead.  I've listened over and over (and swayed a little) to this beautiful song sung by Steffany Gretzinger of Bethel Music and am grateful that He is my eternal dance partner.  One petit jeté at a time. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Oh God, I don't think my heart can withstand any more loss! I understand why folks guard them so tightly, especially the loosely bandaged ones.  Please don't make me open myself to another season of painful goodbyes; I've bled enough!
I'm crushed. I'm broad-sided once again.
I want to ask the "whys," but I'm not even sure You will answer.
All of my new dreams are shattered...I'm not building anymore.

Monday, August 4, 2014

August of '71, my seventeenth birthday...
Rob showed up in coat and tie, waving two tickets for a Starlight Theatre performance of Cabaret, starring Joel Grey. I don't think either one of us knew what a cabaret was or for that matter, really cared. Romance was in the air and Rob had planned a special celebration.
But that wasn't the only surprise! He reached back in his blue Pontiac Tempest and pulled out a big, brightly wrapped box.

"Go ahead; open it," he urges, quite pleased with his gift. 
As I gently unfold the tissue paper, I can't believe my eyes. This precious seventeen year old boy has bought me a bright orange, ruffled maxi dress to wear on our special date.

Now, how many teenage boys do you know who would do such a thoughtful (and risky) thing?

To this day, I have no idea if he just guessed my size or had some serious help from his sister, but it was a perfect fit and it was beautiful!

I felt so pretty and very loved that sultry summer evening, something very foreign for me. A magical night... We were dipping our toes into adulthood and grabbing on to our "happily ever after." This girl in orange knew she had found someone very special.  
I would receive many more August tickets as the years passed: surprise plane rides and summer concerts, but forty-three years later, I cling on to ruffles and memories of a sweet adolescence. Memories of a darling blonde boy soothe my heart and time stands still, if only for a few moments.
Yes, the orange dress hangs in my closet 43 years later and I can almost wear it!