Monday, March 30, 2015

There is something quite sacred and sweet in the tending of a grave. The Marys knew as they carried spice and linen to the garden tomb.   In the quiet of the night shift, I've tenderly prepared many who have passed...honorable work, but these grieving women, theirs was  holy work.   
 Today, I gave Rob's grave marker a thorough cleaning before decorating it for Easter Week. Soft cloth, car cleaner and elbow hour later his name sparkled in the afternoon sun. A lot of dirt collects in the crevices of the raised letters, making for a tedious task.

I was reminded that Jewish women all over the world are completing the cleaning of their homes this week for Passover. They started a few weeks ago, ridding each room of hidden leaven, the chametz, which symbolizes the haughtiness that lies within a person. It's a big deal in many Jewish homes; there's no hiding yeast or pride during Passover.
As I scrubbed the stubborn grime, I found it impossible to clear it all. Isn't that like our lives? Sin at some level is always present and it always takes a Savior to remove it. 
This week, I'm dwelling on the hidden places as I prepare for Resurrection Sunday. Searching for the deep ugly, I want it exposed, laid open before the Lamb.

 Cleanse me with hyssop and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

To my friends in France...
I'm so honored that you would even take the time to read my words. 
Today, my heart is heavy for you and your neighboring countries over the air disaster in your beautiful Alps. My prayers have been many.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sometimes it would seem easier to be filled with emotional concrete.
Oh, but what beautiful things our hearts would never feel.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Weddings... attendance since Rob died has been downright painful! It's not just the beautiful bride and handsome groom pledging their lives to each other that's so difficult, but watching the older couples dotted throughout the congregation.
That was supposed to be us.
But today, I attended a good friend's wedding and loved every minute of it.  I suppose that measures good progress in this grief journey.  Rob mentored this young man and they became good basketball buddies. Sonny has an old soul and Rob, a young one, evening out the age difference and making for a solid friendship.  Jamie, his sweet bride, compliments Sonny perfectly.
I think I see a lot of "us" in "them.
As in many ceremonies, 1 Corinthians 13 was read, but today a golden nugget of the Love Chapter touched me in a fresh and healthy way.
The first part of verse 8 in the ESV:
Love never ends.
Even death cannot end love.
I love Rob more today than when I shared life with him.  Love, this transcendent and powerful mystery that knows no time or physical barrier...
This afternoon I sat alone on a row of white wooden chairs feeling very much in love with my Rob and thankful that I get to witness others commit to a path that I already know to be eternal.
And the greatest of these is love...

Friday, March 6, 2015

“Missing someone is the love that remains.”
~written by an 11 year old cancer patient

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

I didn't see it coming. "I would prefer that we not talk about him when we are together." Had this stinger been delivered by a casual friend, perhaps I could have questioned the emotional quotient of the sender, but not this individual, so adored and cherished by Rob.
How do I not talk about my best friend? It's as natural as the breaths I take. 
I could feel my heart plunging into a tailspin. Does everyone feel this way? Do I make them feel that uncomfortable? Are they rolling their eyes in disgust...or worse, pity? 
Those were the easy questions!  More devastatingly, I thought: Is Rob fading from the hearts of those he greatly loved?  Here yesterday, gone tomorrow? Are we that insignificant; if so, why even work at leaving a footprint?
Perhaps this is the wake-up call I need to hear: let him go.  Just stop breathing him in and out.
But I'm afraid I might stop living if I have to bury him any deeper.
The rational side assures me this is dysfunctional grief, the 'don't mention him and it won't hurt so much' kind that re-surfaces later down the road. The dangerous grief that eats away at us bit by bit. But is it rational for grief or the memory of a person to remain so alive? 
All I know is Rob died again tonight and grief sucks any life out of me. Maybe I'll never escape this emotional quicksand; maybe if I just bury deeper, no one will make such a request again.

Monday, March 2, 2015

I began the task of thinning out Rob's music collection this weekend. I got through the cassette tapes (remember those?) and was pleased that the Webdells actually wanted some of them.  I chuckled at the wacky bands, like Lips and the Trips, featuring an old high school friend, and teared at more familiar ones that hold such fond memories...driving to Galveston with Michael Jackson's Bad and Thriller blaring, chaperoning a birthday sock hop filled with 50's classics and giggling girls, drifting off to sleep to a host of jazz artists.  CD's and vinyls will have to wait for another emotional day.
When I think of Rob, I naturally think of music.  It was just part of his fiber. When we first moved to Houston, living in a Westheimer apartment, our cheap dates often included dessert at House of Pies and a trip to Sound Warehouse where Rob would study the back covers of records for at least a couple of hours. That "homework" proved profitable as many a friend would phone Rob to pick his brain on back-up musicians and release dates. Age never being a deterrent, he often quizzed his kids, nieces and young employees on new artists and with great pleasure, often stumped them! 
Near the end of his illness, Bobby and I found a way to get him to two last concerts. 

Dave and Jess Ray
Both nights took everything out of Rob (and us) and he faced serious setbacks in the days after, but during the concerts, Rob was young again and momentarily free of the world of cancer and uncontrolled pain.
I can't imagine his playlist in Heaven, but I know he is amazed by the beauty of singing angels.  I wonder if Rob is listening to David strum his harp or an even grander instrument.  Is Rob playing the piano for his King?
 Music plays on and Rob couldn't be happier.