Category Archives: Christ

So Thankful …… And Yet ……

…… Jim, and the missing of him, is never far from my mind. Most especially at 2:34 in the morning. Sleep has been elusive since 10 p.m. Its elusiveness leaves a gaping hole inside of me …… where the missing of Jim slides into, and runneth over. A lot.
I miss that man.
Always.
Daily.

The missing of him no longer brings the acute pain it once did. It can, and usually does, bring some tears, but not the debilitating torrent it once brought.
But make no mistake …… I miss him. I love him. I crave him. My heart hurts from the missing of him.
Even in the midst of so much thankfulness.
And maybe especially in the midst.
Because he was, and always will be, the person I am most thankful for.
Always and forever.

There is so much for which I am thankful:
* Our children
* Our parents and siblings
* Our grandchild, who looks at pictures of Jim and gleefully calls out, “Gran pa pa!”
And as sweet and precious and wonderful as that is, it also saddens my heart. It will always be bittersweet, this raising of grandchildren. Because he should be here to experience the pure joy that is grandparenting.
Instead, this amazing experience was stolen from him.
Or that’s my take anyway.

I am so very thankful for him.
For what we had.
For all we did.
For all we said.
For how we loved.

Over the past few years I’ve come to the realization that there will be no other man.
And while that realization can cause me to feel sad at times, it also brings acceptance, contentment, and peace, because it’s exactly what I want.
Or don’t want.                                                                                                                                         Either way, I know that I don’t want to have another relationship.

I experienced life with my best friend. It wasn’t always perfect, but it was always right. We knew that God brought us together, that was never in doubt. Once in awhile we questioned His plan …… SIX kids, God?? SIX??? Are you sure??! …… but we knew it was His plan so we just went with it. Because …… what else could we do?!

I do believe that we were soulmates. And while I think you can have more than one, I don’t believe God has that in store for me.
And I’m good with that.                                                                                                                             It’s what I want.
Mostly.
There are times I feel sad at the thought of growing old alone, but my life is full and busy and satisfying right now.

I am thankful.
For so very much.
But especially for 27 years of knowing, and loving, that man. And for being on the receiving end of his love. Which was huge.

And now, it’s 3:08 a.m. Maybe now that I’ve expressed these feelings via a keyboard, sleep will come.
Hopefully.

But if not, it just gives me four more hours of remembering. And loving the remembering.
Even when it hurts.

A Ball of Sadness ……

…… is a post that I’ve been considering for almost 3 weeks now.
I have hesitated to write it because of the subject matter …… and the mixed feelings I have about it.

It started with a Saturday night dinner with my wonderful friend J and her family here in NY.  There were 10 of us and we had a great time.  The food was terrific (Indian … yum!) and the wine was delicious.  We had a great time                                                                                                            .

As we walked out of the restaurant, J noticed that its next door neighbor was a psychic.  He had a sign up to do readings for $10, I think.  His store was downstairs, below street level, but it was a nice looking store in a good neighborhood.  J decided to go down and talk to him.  Then she stayed for a “reading”.  Her brother in law then decided to go down and wait to have one done after she was finished.

I had never seen, or talked to, a psychic.  I’d never even been tempted to do so.  I grew up in the Southern Baptist church, where such a thing is preached against.  Even after Jim died, I never thought about talking to a psychic.  Now that I know a few hundred (at least) other widowed people, I have several friends who have done so.  All of them have reported positive outcomes.  But still …… I’ve never given it a lot of thought.

That night, after J was done, she came up the stairs and back to the sidewalk where the rest of us were waiting and said, “This guy is real.”  I said, “Really?” and she nodded.  She said that she really liked him.  And suddenly, I thought, “Why not?”  It was only about 10-15 minutes and I wanted to see what this was all about.  I was skeptical.  I was beyond skeptical.  Even as I sat down on the sofa across from him.  Maybe he knew that.  Maybe he didn’t.

He didn’t tell my fortune.  He didn’t tell me that he saw dead people.  He did nothing amazing. Except this:   As I sat down and made myself semi-comfortable on the sofa, he did the same.  Then he looked at me.  I looked at him, totally waiting for him to say something that I could laugh about later.  He paused for a moment …… and then he said, “I sense in you a ball of sadness.  It’s deep within you and you hide it from most people.  You smile and laugh on the outside, and most of the time you even feel the laughter, but it’s still there. You don’t let everyone see it.  Something happened …… I’d say it happened about 9 years ago.  It changed your life forever.  You’re moving forward with your life, but the ball of sadness is still within you.”

Jim died 9 years ago this December.  To say I was stunned is putting it mildly.  Though I never gave him any indication that he was right.  I just kept looking at him, waiting to see what else he would say.  I never nodded or said anything.  I just waited.  And listened.

He also said that I had experienced another hurt after that.  A friend, a good friend, had betrayed me and hurt me tremendously.  That hurt had done a lot of damage and many things changed after that.  He said that I didn’t let it stop me, or control me, but that I used it to move forward and to let go of the negative in my life. He was right.

He only spoke a few minutes more and then we were done and it was the next person’s turn.  I’m not sure I connected with the rest of what he said, but to be fair, I also wasn’t listening at 100% because I couldn’t believe how spot on he had been.

Again, he didn’t do anything spectacular.  There were no thumping tables.  No lights going off and on.  Jim didn’t  “come forward”.  Or speak through him.  Or whatever.

He just read me.  He saw me.  He saw into me.  He saw my ball of sadness.  The one I don’t talk about too much anymore, because honestly?  I don’t think anyone wants to hear about it all that much.  (Excluding other widowed people, of course.)

Yeah, I write about it sometimes, but I do that for the people who are on this path with me. So that they’ll know they aren’t alone.  So they’ll know that someone else gets it.  Even after almost 9 years.  As obscene as that number feels to me.

My take away?  I’m good.  My life is good.  I am blessed.  Beyond belief.  I have 7 wonderful children (don’t forget Son #4).  They’re adults but they’re still, and always will be, my children.  I have a beautiful, adorable, amazing gift of a grandson.  I live where I want to live and do what I want to do.  I’m blessed to be able to help people …… in all kinds of ways.

I can say, “God is good” …… and believe it.

But.    There is, and always will be, a ball of sadness within me.  I miss him.  Every. Single. Day.    Even when I’m not aware of it.  Even when I’m happy.  Even when I’m feeling blessed.

I miss him.  And there’s nothing I can do about it.  Nor would I want to.

I didn’t learn anything that I didn’t already know.  I was just surprised that a complete stranger could say it so well.

I Don’t Deserve ……

…… any of the kind, supportive words that I’ve been given. I’m sure my children would be the first to testify to this.

I didn’t do anything except finally admit publicly what I’ve known, but could not reveal, for several years.
My children have been much braver than I. I don’t think they worried for one second about what people would think about them being their true selves.
I’m sorry to admit that I did worry about that.

Again, I didn’t really care what people would think about my children … or me. I cared about the friendships that I knew would end once people voiced their thoughts to me.
I’m not sure that even makes sense.

My views, beliefs, and thoughts have changed a lot since Jim died. I’ve come to learn that things are not always black and white.
But many of the people I’ve loved and respected for years don’t see the varied hues.
I’m ok with that. I don’t think we all have to totally agree on everything. I can respect someone who thinks/believes differently than me.

What I can’t deal with is someone who would vocalize their judgement of my children to me. Especially for something they did not choose.

So I remained quiet. In order to keep friendships. In order to keep the peace.

So much for peace.

I am a Christ-follower.
I am a mother.
I am rarely, if ever, totally right.

But as a Christ-following mother …… I can tell you this …… who you love is NOT a choice. Not for most people anyway.
Not for my children.
Not for me.

As a Christ-following mother …… I can tell you that I know my child has always been gay. Just as I have always been heterosexual.

As a Christ-following mother …… I can tell you that I do NOT believe that my child is sinning by being gay …… by being what he/she was born to be.
What kind of god would label love a sin? A love you have no control over?

I know that many would disagree with me. I wonder how many of those people have children who are gay?

And …… as a Christ-follower …… I can tell you this: Christ was/is/always will be about love. Love.
Love is love is love is love.
Love.

I think that’s about all I have to say on this subject. Of course, I can always change my mind, but I don’t want to turn this blog into a religious/political forum on gay rights.

It’s just about my life.
My life without Jim.
My life in spite of being without Jim.

My children are a part of that life.
Which probably doesn’t thrill them at all.

Love is love is love is love is love.

Love is Love is Love is Love ……

I have been blown away….. by the support, encouragement, and love that I’ve received since my last post.

Really.  I haven’t been too sure as to how to respond, so I’ve waited.  But I don’t want to wait too long because I want you to know how much you’ve meant to me.

The depression thing …… well, that’s only a part of what’s been going on and it’s not something that I’m concerned about.  Trust me, if it were, I’d be back on the meds in a heart beat.  Because I have.  Several times.
This time it feels different.
I know that part of the reason I don’t want to be on them is because I never needed them before Jim died.
Damn it to hell.
His death changed so much of me.
Without my permission.
Without my knowledge.
But there you go.

I’ve been mostly on anti-depressants for 8 years.  Enough is enough.  Or so I hope.

My last post wasn’t so much about depression, as it was the trifecta that was occurring in my/our world.

First, I’ve been missing Jim.  I think that usually happens this time of year.  I just want to hear his voice.  I want to know that he’s here, that he sees us and that he cares.
And that he approves.  I guess that would be the biggest thing.
But, as the age old song goes, “You can’t always get what you want.”

And then that damn Orlando thing happened …… and I decided that I’d had enough.
I’m done with hiding my children from my “friends”.
I’m done with pretending that one’s just too busy to be dating and settling down.

You see, I grew up and have remained in a conservative Christian background.  I have loved the people I’ve worshipped with and yes, worked with. Immensely.

But I knew that if I were to even whisper that I thought one of my children were gay, relationships would change.  Some would even end.
And I wasn’t ready for that.

I loved certain people so much that I couldn’t tell them that I had a gay child/children because I didn’t want to hear the condemnation that I was sure would come spewing forth.  That would mean the end of a friendship.  And I wasn’t ready for that.

But then came Orlando.
And now I don’t give a damn what people think, or believe, or spew forth, about my children.

I, and I alone, along with Christ, know my children.  I know their hearts, and I know their souls.  I’ve watched them grow up from toddlers in the church to teens.  I’ve seen some of them leave the church because of the hypocrisy they encountered there.  Heck, I saw my own parents leave the church for the same reason.

Yes, I knew early on that one of our children was gay.  Or was most likely gay.
No, I never said a word to Jim.  I can’t know for sure what he would’ve said, but I believe that he would’ve had a more difficult time accepting it than I did.

I do believe he would’ve come around, though.  And I don’t believe for one moment that he would’ve dis-owned or kicked our child out of our home because of this.

I know that this will come as a shock to certain family members, as well as friends.  And for that, I’m sorry.
Again, I didn’t feel it was my story to tell.
I still don’t.

I think it’s obscene that we expect our gay children to “come out”, while our heterosexual children just grow up and marry.

So there you go.  I have two gay children.
Whom I love very much.
And whom I hope find love and happiness and family life, in the same way I hope that for their siblings.
I know that Christ loves all 6 of my children.
No if’s and’s or but’s.

I wish that Jim were here with me to have my back now.
But he’s not.
It’s just me.
And that’s ok.
Because it has to be.

To those of you who will no longer be in my life because of your beliefs, it was nice knowing you and I wish you the best.

To those of you who don’t give a rat’s ass about who my children love, thank you.
So very much.
Because I need you.

I love my children.
All 6 of them.
I’m proud of my children.
All 6 of them.
And nothing, no … nothing, can change that.
I may not always agree with their choices or decisions, but I will always love and accept them.
As would Jim.

Depression ……

the whole Crew…… And so much more.

Depression……. never seems to visit at a convenient time.  Or maybe that’s just me.

The past few days have been hard for me, and yet I’m unable to say why.  We made it past May, our anniversary, 3 of our children’s birthdays, etc.  It’s now the middle of June.  My birthday is around the corner, but that doesn’t seem to be looming large.
Or does it?

Maybe I’m not giving it enough credit.
I’ll be 56.
Still single.
Still expecting to be single for the rest of my life.
But that can be good ….. and yet not so good.

I weaned myself off of my antidepressants early this year (Yes, I can hear your tsk, tsks, head shakes, and finger wagging from here).  But it was very slow and hey ….. if I was able to make it through my daughter’s wedding (where I looked worse than I have (weight-wise) in YEARS) and survive, then I think I did pretty damn well.

I made it through moving homes (and not selling one …. YET), through adopting Little Man, unpacking an entire house by myself, and then moving back to NY.

I’ve been doing really well, if i do say so myself.

And then.

Then these last few days have brought me no sleep, and an onslaught of tears.
I am in the throes of missing Jim.
Missing him hard.
Missing him constantly.
Missing his voice.
Missing his hand.
Just ……. the missing of him.

No explanation.
No answers.
No whys.

It just is what it is.

And then add to this missing of him …… the unfathomable horror that occurred in Orlando this weekend.
Orlando — a place that has meant nothing but fun for my children, for me and for Jim.
Many times.

And now it means death.
And hate.
And horror.

It also means that it’s time for me to stop hiding behind my children.
I have 6 wonderful, beautiful children.
Two of them are gay.
One, I had no doubt about as this child grew.
The other, I really never saw it coming.

I haven’t been public about this before because I’ve believed it’s not my story to tell.  So I still won’t tell it.
But I will say that I love these two children just as much, or maybe a bit harder, than the other 4.
They were brought up the exact same way their siblings were.  They received the same amount of unconditional love, the same expectations, the same discipline.
I believe that God loves them the very same way that He loved them when they were barely inside of me. I don’t believe that Christ’s love changes with the wind. Or depends on who you love.

I don’t believe the way they love/who they love is a sin.  I don’t believe in a God who would create love and then penalize certain children for experiencing it.

I may lose many friends over this.

But that’s ok, because they most likely weren’t my friends anyway.

More tears come now as I wonder if my children will feel forever unsafe ……. solely because of who they love.  Not who they CHOOSE to love, but who they fall in love with.  Just as I did.
Just as Jim did.

The tears flow.

And now I will lose more friends.
Meh.

I have no problem with Americans owning guns.
I agree it’s a right in this country.
But I can no longer condone the ownership/usage of assault rifles.  Guns that rattle off bullets by the second.  Guns that are used because the user wants to feel “tough’, “masculine” ,  “macho”,  “in control”.
Or because he wants to kill as many people as possible in a very short amount of time.

I am done. I can’t stand by any longer, no matter what area of the country I’m from, no matter who I’m related to, and say nothing.
I am sickened by the lack of action on getting these types of guns out of the hands of our children and out of our country.

Delete me if you must.  Because isn’t that what this country’s come to?  If we don’t agree with someone, we delete them.  We used to talk to each other, to share our differences.
Now we delete.
From Facebook.

From Twitter.

From Instagram.

From Life.

Living the Vida Loca ……

…… in Waco, Texas.

Well, I’m not all that sure that it’s the “vida loca”, but it’s been interesting.
I went house hunting for two days. I found a couple of houses that I like very much.
But I need to sell one or two homes before I acquire another. I mean …… I’m not all that into real estate.
And I do NOT want to own more houses than I do right now.
At all.

So we shall see what happens.
The lake house goes on the market tomorrow.
I have mixed emotions about selling it, but not as many as I would’ve thought.

The last weekend of Jim’s life was spent there.
With our three sons.
We had a wonderful time.
The weekend before Christmas.
I’ll never forget it.
It’s engraved in my memory.

Jim loved that lake house.
I did, too.
Then.
Not so much since.
It’s just not the same.

And now the kids are older and further away.
So there are no more weekends at the lake.
It hasn’t become what we dreamed it would.
And that’s OK.
That actually makes it easier to part with.

I don’t particularly enjoy spending time there now.
It’s not the same.
It was supposed to be for us.
And now there is no us.

So it’s time to sell it to another family.
A family who can make the kind of fun memories we made.
It’s a great house.
On a great piece of property.
Right on the lake.
It’s beautiful.
I’ll miss it.

But then, I’ve been missing it for 8 years.
Because it’s not what it was.
But I hope it will be for another family.

In other news …… I’ve been on Gigi Duty for the last 24+ hours.
Daughter #2 had a conference to attend, so I’m here taking care of Little Man.
Boy, am I glad that I’m a Gigi and not a mom to a 15 month old.
Don’t get me wrong …… he is amazing.
And I love him more than I can put into words.
But holy cow …… 15 month olds take a lot of energy.
Which is why God designed us to have them at a much earlier age than I am now.

Although I have to tell you …… that I’m very proud of myself.
For teaching him/getting him to finally say …… mama.
The kid has refused to say “mama”.
In fact, he’s made a game out of it.
I’ll say, “Say Mama”, and he grins and says, “Dada”.
Every single time.
But two nights ago, for the first time, he uttered the word, “Mama”, after I put him to bed.
Of course he did that without me being able to capture it on video.
And I have no doubt that he did it on purpose.
The stinker.

Daughter #2 left last night around 6:00.
So I fed him dinner, cleaned him up and put him to bed.
And he may, or may have not, uttered the word, “Mama”.
Once or twice.

Tonight, after I put up with a couple of tantrums, fed him, cleaned him up, put his pjs on him, brushed his teeth, and finally put him in his crib, he decided to stand back up and chat with me.

So I got my phone out and started recording him, knowing that I could eventually get him to say, “Mama”.
And I did.
Whoop!
I was very proud of him, and of me.
And I immediately sent the video to Daughter #2.

I think it might have made her day.
Which probably wasn’t all that hard to do since she’s at a work conference.
But I think she was pretty happy with the video.

Gigi duty has gone pretty well.
Last night he went to bed very easily for me.
As he had done the night before when Daughter #2 went out to dinner with a friend.
Evidently he gives her a harder time.
As they are prone to do.

Last night he was out cold by 7:20.
He cried out at around 10:00, I patted him on the back, and he went back to sleep.
At 2:00 a.m. he woke up and cried. He could not be consoled enough to go back to sleep so I took him out of the crib and put him in bed with me.
Which, I have to admit, was the same horrible experience it was when my kids were small and I would let them in bed with me when Jim was out on an Indian Princess/Indian Guides weekend.
Meaning that he rolled all over that bed and did indeed kick me in the face more than once.
But hey …… instead of carrying each child into bed so that we could all get at least half a night’s sleep …… I just put up with his feet being in my face.
And so he slept.
Until 6:00 a.m.

Have I told you lately that I am NOT a morning person?
If you know me well, or even kind of well, you know that.
But heck, he was up so it was easier to get up than to fight it.

Which meant that I could fix him breakfast, make his lunch and drive him to day care by 8:00 a.m.
And then come back to get some much needed rest.

Yeah, maybe I’m not such a good Gigi.
Or maybe I am because I’m a Gigi who knows that she needs some down time in order to be the best Gigi she can be.
Thank God for day care.

Little Man is creeping up on his Terrible Twos. Which actually start around 18 months, but he seems to be ahead of the pack.
He was pretty bratty tonight …… until I got him set up for dinner.
The boy loves to eat.
No kidding.
He lives to eat.
And if you’ve seen a picture of him …… you understand.

Daughter #2 Face Timed us tonight, before dinner, but it didn’t go as well as we’d hoped. He was right in the middle of a bratty Terrible Two’s episode.
He totally loved seeing her on my lap top, but only for a couple of minutes or so.
After that he was off to bite me or scream because I wouldn’t let him take a bite out of one of the dogs or my toes.
He’s not very discriminating when it comes to biting someone/something.

But he did calm down once I changed his diaper, put his pjs on him and coated him in some kind of Johnson’s Baby Bedtime Lotion.
I’m not sure what that really is, but I was told to put it on him, and so I did.

The funny thing is …… he goes to bed much easier for me than he does for D#2.
I need to preface this with the fact that they are living in a one room, studio apartment. The whole thing is smaller than my bedroom (in Texas).
So when she puts him to bed she turns off all of the lights, the TV and anything else that might shine a light into their space. And then she sits in the dark while working on her computer or whatever else she can do in the dark.

Now me? Not so much.
He’s gone to bed three nights in a row with not only a light, but also the TV on.
And he’s had no problems with it.
I put him to bed, tell him “Night Night”, say his good night prayer (Now I lay me down to sleep …) and he lies down and goes to sleep.
Tonight he stood back up and chatted with me for a bit …… thus, I captured the “Mama” moment …… but he soon lay down and fell asleep.

I’m loving this Gigi stuff.

Which brings us back to the reason that I’m deciding to sell my home(s) and move to Waco.
I want to be close to Daughter #2 so that I can help out when she needs it.
Plus it puts me closer to Daughter #3, Son #1 and Son #2.

I still plan to divide my time between NY and TX, but we shall see which place I decide to spend the most time in.

So there you go …… the Vida Loca.

Enjoy!!IMG_2733.JPG

 

Fifty six ……

…… yep, 56 …… that’s how old you’d be today …… if you were still here.
Instead …… you are forever 47.
Not fair, Jim.
Totally not fair.

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In case you’re wondering, though I don’t think that you are, I miss you.
Every single day of my life …… I miss you.

You have missed so much.
Or have you?
Do you see us?
Are you a witness to everything our kids have been through?
Do you know how far each of them has come?
If so, I know that you are bursting with pride.
For each of them.
And all that they’ve accomplished.
All while missing you.

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My life is so different now.
You’d hardly recognize it.
Or would you?
Do you see me?
Are you aware of how much has changed?
Are you proud of me?

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I hope so.
I hope that you see.
I hope that you’re here …… nearby. Watching and cheering me on.
I’m not sure if you are.
But I hope so.

When you died, most of me died.
I thought I would die.
I wished I’d die.
But here I am.
Eight years later.
Not only alive …… but living.
There’s a difference, you know.

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I’m living.
I’m joyful.
I’m happy.
I’m content.
Mostly.

There are still days.
The missing of you still brings tears.
The loving of you will never end.
Not by me.
Not by your children.
Not by anyone who truly knew you.

Thank you for loving me unconditionally.
Thank you for our children.
Thank you for striving to be a godly man.
And a loving father.
And a Christ-like husband.

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Thank you for wanting to grow old with me.
Even though you didn’t.
It’s the thought that counts.
And you are always in my thoughts.

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I love you, Jim.
Always and forever.
And I’ll see you soon.