Sunday, September 20, 2009

Why Me?

Yesterday I went to a wedding. There are times as a widow when you feel more alone than others. Although I was surrounded by people, I felt alone. I was feeling sorry for myself. I had a wonderful husband, but only for a little while. Why did God take him? Why not someone else? I went home alone. I watched Ghost and Dirty Dancing mostly just because I knew that somewhere out there someone else feels my pain. It is like a membership to this terrible club that you wish you were chosen especially for because you meet all the right criteria, which is that you have lost your spouse. Why me?

Today in church, which God has wonderful timing, our preacher spoke about prayer and how sometimes prayers are not answered the way that we wish for. I did pray for husband to live, but he died.

I used to hate when someone would find out that Mike had cancer and they would callously say but we're all dying. But the difference was that Mike had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. It was a fact that his days seemed more numbered than most of it. Of course it was also this fact that allowed him to live in a way that he had never before. He did not have to worry that stocks were plummeting and that his 401K plan had lost significant value. He actually laughed about it, which was something he would have never been able to do before. In the grand scheme of things it did not really matter.

But what did matter?

The times that we spent sitting out on the deck enjoying the evenings. The times we spent with family and friends. The trip we took to Virginia to visit his sister and her family. The trip he took to Tennessee to visit his other sister and her family. The average, ordinary days that we spent with one another. Those memories are precious. 

What did I get out of such a short marriage?

I got a relationship with a wonderful, loving man who showed me what real love between a man and a woman is supposed to be. And yet I got an even greater gift because I also got a better relationship with God. And although there are times when I physically feel so very alone, I know that I never truly am.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Last Song

"Nights in Rodanthe" and "The Wedding" are two of my favorite Nicholas Sparks books.  His new novel, "The Last Song" does not fail to deliver. The novel is about Ronnie, who is 17 and forced to spend the summer with her father and her little brother. It is not a summer that she is looking forward to. 
During her stay, she gets in trouble, gets a job, helps save turtles, and she falls in love. I'm afraid of saying too much because I would hate to spoil it for you if you decide to read it. I encourage you to find out what happens to Ronnie and her Dad as well as the other people she meets that summer.
I promise you will laugh, you will smile, and you will cry. It wouldn't be a Nicholas Sparks book without tears and laughter.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stop, Look, and Listen

My children lost their father last week. It was a shock for them. My children are adults, 20 and 22. To me they are still my babies. To add to the horror, my daughter also lost her father in law the very next day. Have you ever heard of such a thing? Only in soap operas, but this really did happen.

I was amazed at my children. They had their moments, but they were so strong, so tender, and so caring especially to their spouses and each other. My daughter in law was there with my son. She helped him, she encouraged him, she supported him. And wow, they are so young. I was in awe of the bond that these two share.

I have been praying for my son in law James. I have to admit, he is not who I would have chosen for my daughter. But I am not always right. I was concerned because they were so young. He made some poor choices in his youth, but nothing really that bad. But he is a good young man with much more promise than I initially saw. I'm thankful that my daughter did. And he loves my daughter dearly. I am proud of the man he is and especially this past week. He was also saved at my ex husband's funeral. His choice was even more clear at his own father's funeral a few hours later.

I am proud to be their Mom. And now that they are adults; I'm also proud to be their friend. The only advice I have to give to mothers struggling with teenagers is to talk with them. Don't lecture. But most importantly - listen. I wish that I had listened more. I wish that I had stopped whatever I was doing and gave them my undivided attention instead of multi-tasking. Dishes can wait. The phone call can wait. Everything can wait if your child is willing to talk with you.

We teach our children to stop, look, and listen when they cross the street. We as parents need to stop, look, and listen to our children no matter how old our children are.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Toothbrush, Toaster Strudels, and Reading Glasses

It was the morning after Mike died. I went to brush my teeth. And there on the sink, side by side stood our electric toothbrushes. It was there waiting as if he would be coming back for it. I picked it up and threw it away. His clothes hanging in the closet didn't bother me, but the toothbrush did.

After several days, the family and friends left and I was there alone. I was going to make myself something to drink and there by the ice sat Mike's toaster strudels. They were his favorite, especially the raspberry. And there was an unopened box just waiting for him. Into the trash they went. A cleaning frenzy followed. All of the goodies that were just for Mike were gone. I couldn't bear to see food that was there for him. Food he would never eat. And food that I didn't eat. I tend to be an emotional eater and I knew that I had to get rid of all the sugary goodies.

One day as I was searching for a pen, I opened a drawer to find a pair of reading glasses. Mike was forever misplacing them so he had several pair. Over the next few days, I found a half dozen pair in different places throughout the house. I did give them away.

It is funny how grief is. There are some things that bother you while there are others that give you comfort. Why a tooth brush, toaster strudels, and reading glasses? I have no idea.

The other day as I was going through a box of cards and letters I found another pair of reading glasses. This time it made me think of one Saturday morning. Mike was sitting at the table with his paper and cup of coffee. He took a sip and delighted in the flavor. He adjusted his glasses and went back to his paper. It was just an ordinary moment preserved in my memory that I cherish.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth Review

Daisy Chain is the story about the son of a preacher. He has a beautiful friendship with a girl who is constantly telling him that one day she will marry him. At fourteen, his thoughts are not on marriage. He lives in the shadow of his father. Everyone comments that he looks just like his father. Jed hopes that he will not grow up to be anything like his father.

Jed in fact is terrified of his father and one day instead of walking Daisy home, he rushes home to supper. Jed is the last one to see Daisy. She's missing. People are worried that their children will be next.

Jed's family is in crisis. He makes unlikely friends with Hixon the town prophet and Bald Muriel. And of course there is Jed's little sister, Sissy, who believes that Jed is her hero. And there is Jed's mother who is prone to leaving written messages of encouragement on the petals of flowers.

Strange things begin to happen around town. People are talking.
Can Jed save Sissy? Can Jed save himself? Will Jed find Daisy? Read Daisy Chain, which is the first part of the Defiance Texas Trilogy written by Mary E. DeMuth and published by Zondervan.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Bougainvillea Blossoms

Mike’s favorite flower was the bougainvillea. It is really more of a flowering bush that produces small colorful flowers. The most common color is magenta, which is a bright pink. These could be found growing all over Africa. They also grow well here in South Carolina, but only during the summer months.


When I first met Mike, he was telling me about Africa and he spoke of the bougainvilleas. One day while I was out shopping, much to my surprise as I was looking at plants, the card attached said it was a bougainvillea. I bought it immediately. I could not contain my joy at having found it and drove immediately to Mike’s to surprise him. It is very difficult for me to keep secrets, especially about gifts.


Mike was thrilled and the plant thrived. The blossoms came and it was covered in flowers. It continued throughout the summer. Each time, I visited Mike the bougainvillea had its place of honor on the deck.


The plants rarely survive the winter. So each year, I would anxiously wait until I would find another and we would enjoy it for the summer. Last year, the one we had took over the entire corner of the deck. The limbs were heavy with blossoms. It was truly a glorious sight. The bougainvillea was positioned just so that when Mike looked out the window from his chair, he could see it.


This year, I did buy another. And a friend also bought one for me. I watered them just enough. They get plenty of sunshine, but this year, there have been no blossoms. The leaves are green and healthy, but no flowers. I am grieving right now. My life is much like this year’s bougainvillea. I take care of myself. I do what I am supposed to, but no blossoms. One day, they will return for me. But for now, I focus on doing the next right thing.