Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Think me crazy, think me stuck, think whatever you want, but I can't take the Rob out of "Rob and Robin."  Several months ago I caved to guilt and removed a picture of the two of us from my social media and every time I look at my wall, I just feel empty. There's been a lot of talk about marriage lately; it's caused me to take a deep look at my own. Rob and I were the lucky ones.  It's a mystery how two imperfect, very flawed people could not only survive 37 years together, but enjoy a marriage as complete and deep as ours. Pure grace which I continue to celebrate, even after death's divide.   
Experts tell me I should be shaping a new identity, one with new goals and purpose. Pardon my chuckle, but it's hard to teach this old dog new tricks. Oh sure, I'm writing some new, shaky chapters, but I'm afraid Rob is permanently etched on my heart and planted deep in my soul.  
This weekend, two teens reminded me that "R-Squared" is kind of a legacy not easily forgotten.  So for now, I'm just placing any guilt and pressure back on a dusty ol' shelf and smiling each time I look at my photo of one happy, married couple. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Grandma's peanut butter cookies, wrapped in gold foil packaging...Funny how images like that pop into my mind two years later. I could always count on finding MD Anderson's comfort food in the little wicker baskets next to the coffee stirrers.  Either Ryan or Bobby would sit by Rob while the toxins dripped, allowing me a quick escape for what was often my lunch and dinner rolled into one.  I can still feel the lump of sweet dough catching in my throat as I remember desperately fighting back tears of reality. Seeking comfort in the silliest of things when hope quickly sinks, when your love is the sickest man on the floor, when cancer eats at your soul... 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Father's Day 2015
I had dreaded it.  I planned to spend a quiet morning at Rob's grave site, avoiding the faces of all the fathers I esteem and the greetings of a Hallmark holiday, but my plans and my heart began to melt with the news my boys were coming home! 
I couldn't avoid church; this was Alex's day and I found myself wanting to make him the focus of Father's Day, not the sadness of a missing husband. We really enjoyed the opening day at Bayou City Fellowship's new campus, enveloped in excitement and a healthy dose of friendliness. We caught up with old friends, Starbucks in hand, of course.  I felt myself smiling throughout the sermon as I sat with my son, the spitting image of his father, and I traveled back to memories of sitting on an aisle as a family of five on Father's Day...sweet, healing thoughts.
Then, boom! God makes his stunning appearance!
At the end of the service, Curtis had all of the men rise for a "commission" of sorts. Each woman placed a hand on their man and we prayed for their influence in our needy world. Words can't describe how powerful it is to watch your son, an excellent father and follower of Christ, stand as a man!
God spoke very clearly to me as we asked Him to send these men out to live as relentless examples of Jesus, to not falter, but to finish strong. He reminded me in those extraordinary moments that I had watched a man for over four decades live that very prayer and now he gets to rest in his Father's arms. We inscribed on Rob's headstone with confidence 2 Timothy 4:7: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith! Now God inscribes it on his heart and tells him face to face, the desire of every child of God.
And Rob's legacy continues...
In the lives of his children

his grandchildren

and countless young men and women.
Friday, I received the most beautiful card ever, a Father's Day card, acknowledging the love of a daddy and reminding me that I am now mom/dad, grandmother/granddaddy all rolled into one! 
A defining moment for me, I felt a powerful understanding of my own commission and a renewed zeal to keep this cherished life fresh in the hearts of our family.
Rob, you are alive in our hearts; your life is forever seared on ours. We will never forget you and promise to carry on the love and wisdom you poured into others. We thank our God for the lessons He has taught us through you. You finished well as a husband, father, granddaddy and friend. We love you dearly!

Friday, June 19, 2015

On any given rush hour,  this little roadster could be seen maneuvering its way through the Katy Freeway evening traffic. The suit-clad driver was intent on getting to a dugout, soccer field or basketball court. He usually made it with only seconds to spare; on nights he was coaching one of his kids, he'd make a complete wardrobe change inside this tiny car and would emerge ready to  give his all after a loaded day of intense meetings.
There were very few nights Rob came home and slipped into his easy chair to enjoy an evening of television. If his child was playing sports, which was most of the time, he was present...never overbearing, always encouraging.  

Rob, you truly were one of the best "hands on" dads.
Thanks for sacrificing your own time to invest in the lives of our children.
This weekend we pause to celebrate you.
You will be greatly missed this Father's Day, but
we will lovingly remember you with all of our hearts.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Loss re-writes one's address book
Yes, that is what I'm learning these dog days of grief. I know I'm not alone; I've just joined a unique club of women void of spouse either by death or divorce. We often find our names missing from invitation lists and social gatherings; I've even found my name erased from the very ministries I've cherished most of my life. 
Many months after Rob's death, I glance at my address book filled with couples and his work friends and realize I'm likely to never hear from these folks again. It causes me to ponder the reason: awkwardness, the reality of busy lives, or the painful thought that I was only worthy as Rob's partner.  
I'm sure I'm guilty of erasure as well; I just didn't understand the great loneliness and assault on one's identity after tragic loss. 
Gratefully, new entries have been added to my edited pages and a few faithfuls have remained through trial and fire. I'm not complaining, just learning a new normal I never anticipated. 
But if I'm honest, I must admit that each crossed-out entry in my worn address book finds me grieving all over again. My life and friendships will never look the same. I'm not married; I'm not single...I have no idea who to invite into this next chapter.