Category Archives: Faith

Forever and a Day ……

IMG_0038…… is how long it seems since I last posted.
Usually, when there’s not too much going on in my life …… I find it difficult to post.
And then there are other times.
The times that require too much of me to even begin to think of a title of a post, let alone write a few paragraphs.

So here we are.
It’s been quite some time. The last time I posted I caught you all up with my comings and goings in NY.
I really, truly, need to move to NY full time. Life is much simpler there.

The week before I was to head back to Texas I received several frantic texts and a few phone calls from Daugter #2. The time differencee is only an hour, but depending upon how late you stay out the night before …… that hour can make a huge difference.
We finally connected.
It seems that poor J-Bear had slipped and fallen on the floor (nothing more exciting than that) and broken his femur.
Yes. His femur.
What the what???
Of course they did full body xrays to see if there have been other breaks in the past, but nothing showed up. Which is a huge sigh of relief to any parent, adoptive parent or foster parent.
His bones looked good. His break was just a fluke.
And of course I was not in town to be of assitance.
Luckily for J, our local hospital has no pediatric ortho doc so they loaded him and D#2 in an ambulance and took them to another town. He loves to tell you about the ambulance ride.
At that hospital he was put into a cast that went around his waist and down his left leg …. to his ankle. His foot was set at a 45 degree angle.
And then the fun began!

D#2 took off one week of work to stay home with J.
Then D#3 took off a week from her job in Austin and came to Waco to watch him.
(Day cares don’t seem to like these kind of casts …… and who can blame them?).
And then it was my turn.

I flew out of NY, flush with the memories of all good things on Broadway (GO SEE “DEAR EVAN HANSEN” or you will regret it for the rest of your life!!).
I flew back to Waco to take over the last two weeks of cast-wearing.
Or so I thought.

Now let me just say up front …… that I love my grandson fiercely. Exactly as I loved my children. Fiercely. Ferociously. With an Agape love that will never change. Now you need to note that an Agape love is not a love that condones misbehavior, foul deeds, stuff like that. It’s not a love that says, “I will love you and support you no matter what you do.”
No.
An Agape love is a forever love. I will always love you. No matter what.
But ……. I will not condone, excuse, make exceptions for your behavior. Your behavior is yours.
But love is forever.
There’s a difference.
For those of you who don’t get that, feel free to message me to talk more about it.

So back to the 2 year old.
I love that boy fiercely.
But MAN!!! That can he drive me crazy! He’s two. He’s a professional.
And for that, I have to give him respect. ūüôā

Fortunately, he’s getting closer to being 3. His personality shines forth now and he is mostly hilarious. When he’s not mad at you. Actually, he’s even more hilarious then, which makes him even madder.

He and Gracie have a love/hate relationship. Which means that when one loves the other, the other hates him/her.
They are JUST like siblings! They actually bicker and fight. No kidding. I’ll have to record it sometime.
It drives me nuts.

But, for the most part, the two last weeks of his cast went pretty well. We went for walks, visited the zoo, visited the neighbors, and watched way too much Daniel Tiger. At 2:00 in the morning I still wake up to strains of “What Do You Do When You’re Scared”.
Sigh …….

Then came the day when J got his cast removed.
If only it were as simple as that sentence.
We tried to prepare him with the sounds and actions of the saw as it would cut into his cast.
We thought we did a good job.
Ha!
When it came time to cut the cast off, his screams far outshone the sound of the saw.
Daughter #2 held him down and talked to him closely to his face as he cried and screamed, “Mommy! Mommy!” in a blood-curdling way. I held his legs down and helped the saw tech by moving the diaper out of the way and the other leg.
And then …… about 2 minutes in, when J realized that his mother was of no use to him …… he screamed out, “GIIIIIIIII GIIIIIIIII!”
Several times.
My heart broke into a million pieces because there was nothing I could do to get him out of that situation.
I bent down to his face, cuddled him as best I could, and tried to reassure him that it was almost over.
I have no doubt that he will never trust Gigi again.

Oh well.
So the cast was off! Hooray!! Yippee!!
But ……. he couldn’t walk. Which meant that he would not be able to return to daycare.
Which meant that Gigi would still be on duty. Sigh ……

In the meantime …… I’d been trading calls with my father, who lives in Oregon and who I don’t get to see all that much.
He’d been in the hospital a couple of times with some worrisome symptoms and now he had a diagnosis.
Stage 4 Lung Cancer.
AKA: Mesothelioma
Thank you to the U.S. Navy for the work that he did that will now end up killing him.

It seems that this horrendous disease moves quickly. Way too quickly. After speaking with him a couple of times I realized that I needed to go see him sooner, rather than later.
So I took care of J for 3 and a half days and then flew to Oregon, the state of my birth.
And here I have remained for the past week or so.

This is never something that anyone of us sees ourselves doing, I dare say.
My father is 77. Too young to be told that he will probably be dead in 2 months.
I can’t keep up.

The hopice guy came over to see him a couple of days ago and they really like each other. They have a lot in common, other than this death thing.
They chatted for a while and then Mr. Hospice asked if my father had a walker (he thought he had) but my father shook his head. He said, “That’s ok, I’ll order one. We’ll also need to get a portapotty to put beside your bed. And then a hospital bed which will help you breathe easier.
My father asked, “When do you forsee all of this happening?”
Mr. Hopsice: “A couple of months.”

Holy Shit.

How do you get past the thought that right at this very moment …… you can do whatever you want? Yeah, you might get short of breath, but you’re still in control, for the most part.
To …… in two months you’ll be bed-ridden and totally helpless?

This.
Sucks.
So.
Much.

My father and I have never been close. I didn’t even know him until he came back into my life when I was 14.
There have been sporadic visits and the usual cards.
But this wasn’t the Dad who raised me.
This wasn’t a man that I really knew.

We’ve kept in touch over the years and I’ve come up for visits here and there. Fortunately Son #1 has come with me on a couple of visits so he’s been able to learn a bit about this side of the family.

I think that most of my children will come up here this summer to reaquaint themselves with their grandfather and say goodbye.
I’m proud of them for that.

I have a sister up here who I didn’t grow up with, but whom I still love. And I love her precious children as much as I love my other nieces and nephews.

I tried to explain this to her, as well as to my father.
I’m not sure why I’m here.
Except for this.
He is alone..
No one should be alone at such a time as this.
My life, at this point, allows me the time and flexibility to be here.
For him.
And maybe for me.

I would hate to think that anyone would be alone at a time like this.
And if I can help it …… he won’t.
So here I am.
I hope that when my turn comes …… I won’t be alone.

Yes, there’s more to write. Like how Gracie got poisoned by cannabis and I had to rush her to the ER Vet, but that story will come later.
Suffice it to say that she is all better and I am 1,000% relieved.
Yesterday was a very scary day/night for me and I’m not sure how I would’ve handled a tragic outcome.

But I didn’t have to.
So yay for that.

I will be going to NY in a couple of weeks for a short visit, to celebrate my girls’ birthdays and see some shows, but then I’ll be back in Oregon.
For as long as it takes.
All prayers, positive thoughts, good wishes, etc. are appreciated.

I Feel Ugliness ……

…… raising its head from deep within my heart.
It came out of nowhere, like a sword cutting into me.                          
It came so quick, so deep, so painful that I feel overwhelmed. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† And so I do what I’ve learned to do when I’m overwhelmed, with tears flowing down my face. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†
I write.

I was minding my own business this morning.  I fixed myself a cup of coffee, settled down on the sofa and picked up my phone to check my emails, texts and FB thread.                  
And there it was.  
On Facebook.
Out of the blue.                                                                                  
A post by a friend whose husband died the week before Jim. ¬†We haven’t kept up with each other, except through FB, but it was still a shock. ¬†One that I didn’t see coming. ¬†Nor, evidently did a lot of her FB friends. (Which is perfectly fine, in my opinion.)

She’s married.

That one small post took my breath away.  Literally.                          
It truly felt like a knife in the heart.
As I sat there, staring at my phone, trying to control my breathing, trying not to cry, I wondered, “Why?”.
Not why did she get married.
Why do I feel this way?
Where is this deep, stabbing pain coming from?
Why in the world does my heart feel like it’s turning green and then black?
What is going on??

I put my phone down and tried busying myself with other things …… but my brain kept going back to that post.
And my heart kept feeling ugly.

Don’t get me wrong (though that would be very easy to do because I, myself, feel very insane right now) …… I’m happy for her. Very happy.
I’m glad that she’s found love again. She had a wonderful husband who died way too young from a horrific disease, leaving her to raise their 5 children.
Of course, I felt a connection with her.

Where was this pain coming from?

So, here I am …… sitting at my computer, pouring my emotions out onto a keyboard like I have so many times before.
Only this feels a lot like the early days.
The days when all I could do is cry and write.
Write and cry.

I had decided that another marriage is not in the cards for me.
Why?
Well, most of me doesn’t want one.
After being in two relationships I didn’t want to be in another.
And really, it was the second one that did me in.
That’s the one that, to this day, makes me feel nauseous if I get a rare email from an online dating service.
I hate them with a passion and can’t delete them fast enough.
So yeah, there’s that.

I travel a lot.
I do a lot. Sometimes.
I do what I want. Most times.
I live in two cities.
I don’t see a man fitting into this life.

Could this life change …… for the right man?
Yes.
But …… do I want it to?
Ahhh …… there’s the rub.

Do I want to be in another relationship?
Not an easy question to answer.
It’s not just a no.
It’s not just a yes.

If I thought that God would give me a man “like” Jim, I’d jump at that.
I think.
Not like Jim, exactly.
But like Jim in that he’s a Godly man, knows how to treat a woman, knows how a Christian man treats a woman and loves me in spite of myself.

Do I believe that God could do that?
Yes, of course.

But do I believe that God will do that?
No, not at all.
Another rub.

I feel like I had my love.
God gave him to me once and it’s all I get.
I don’t deserve another.
Hell, I didn’t deserve the first one.

So, maybe …… just maybe …… I’m trying to convince myself that I don’t want another love …… because I don’t believe I’ll get another one.
The ol’ “reverse psychology thing”, eh?

I guess most of the time I can convince myself that I’m good alone.
In fact, I’m great.
I can travel, see shows, play with my grandson …… all whenever I want with no one to answer to, consult with, check in with.

And then I read a Facebook post.

And I cry.

So there you go.
No answers really, but I do feel calmer.
And yes, I’m publishing this just as I’ve always published the not-so-pretty-side of widowhood.
Because maybe I’m not the only one out here.
Crying over a Facebook post.
Surprised once again how fast and strong those damn waves can be.
But I’m still standing.
Painfully.

Nine ……

…… years.
One hundred and eight months.
Four hundred and sixty eight weeks.
Three thousand, two hundred and eighty five days.
Seventy eight thousand, eight hundred and fifty eight hours.

However you count it …… it’s been eons …… and it’s been an instant.

I know that to you, my first and only love, it’s been a blink of an eye.
And in that, I envy you.
Actually, I envy you a lot more in other ways, too.

I still …… and will always …… wish that it had been me.
Mostly.

I wish that you were still here to continue the good that you were doing.
I wish that you were still here to be with our sons and to continue to guide them.
I wish that you were here to give our daughters away, to love their partners, to be blessed by their children.
I wish that you were here to do a better job than I have, or will.

But I don’t wish you the pain.
I don’t wish you the loneliness.
I don’t wish you the missing of half of your heart.
I don’t wish you the cold, inky darkness that comes less often, but still comes.

I don’t wish you the loss of the expectations of “what was to be”.
I don’t wish you the loss of friendships.
I don’t wish you the loss of innocence.
I don’t wish you the loss of joy.

Joy is still here, though it took a while to make an appearance.
Or to be felt.
But it’s not the same joy as before.
How could it be?

Yet it is joy, nonetheless, and I don’t take it for granted.
I don’t take anything for granted.
And thankfully …… I can honestly say …… that I never took you for granted.
I felt thankful, almost every single day of our life together, that you were in mine.
I felt surprise, almost every single day of our life together, that God gave me you.
I have no expectations that He will give me another love.

You see, I never felt that I deserved you.
Ever.
Which made me all the more grateful for you.

So now, nine years later, I can publicly admit that “what I deserved” …… caught up with me.
Nine years ago today.

Part of me would like to have love again.
Part of me feels exhausted at the thought.
And most of me knows that it’s not in the cards.
Lightning won’t strike twice in my life.
And that’s ok.
Mostly.

I have a good life.
I can’t complain.
Or …… I shouldn’t complain.
So I try not to.

All 6 kids are now amazing adults.
Daughter #2 has blessed us with a grandson.
Not in the usual way, but then she rarely did things in the “usual way”, did she?
Daughter #3 married this year.
She married a man who reminds me so much of you when we were that age that sometimes it catches my breath.
You’d love him, too.

Daughter #1 has had quite the life in the last 9 years, starting with Harvard, which you didn’t get to know about.
She’s had more of a struggle finding out where she belongs, but she has love.
It might not be the love that we expected, but it’s love and it’s a constant in her life.
She’s doing well and she’ll be ok.

Son #1 is doing pretty much what we thought he’d be doing …… working hard and living life on his own terms.
He’s happy …… and I’m proud.

Son #2 took the hard road, as we knew he would. I wish that you could see him now. Maybe you can? I’d love to think so. He continued to march to his own drum beat and is successful and living life to the fullest.
My heart nearly bursts when I think of him.

And Son #3.
Truthfully, he’s the one who makes me miss you most.
I miss you at Homecoming.
I miss you when I’m watching the games on TV.
I miss you so very much supporting him at our school.
He’s a Cowboy through and through.
The pride I feel for him and how hard he’s worked to be involved and yet maintain an excellent GPA is indescribable.

I love each of them fiercely.
Because I love them for both of us.

Yes, my life is good.
Different, but good.
I live in a town I never would’ve believed I’d EVER live.
I spend way more time with a two year old than I would’ve ever imagined.
And I have a tiny little dog that I never would’ve believed I’d love as much as I do.
Who’d of thunk?

It’s a different life.
One I didn’t plan.
One I wish I didn’t have to live without you.
But there you go.

I miss you.
I will never stop missing you.
And I will never not cry when I type those words.

I hope you can see me.
I hope you can feel my love.
And I hope, more than anything else, that you’re proud of me.
It’s been hard, Jim.
So very hard.

But I’m living.
For me …… and for you.
And I think that’s something.

I love you tons.
And I’ll see you soon.

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.

It’s Been a While ……

…… and I’m not totally sure why.

I had a great time my last few weeks in NY.  Saw a couple of shows, hung out with friends, enjoyed cooler weather.

Then two weeks ago I came to Texas. ¬†Big change. ¬†Huge. ¬†But good. ¬†Except for the warm weather, but that’s slowly changing. Very sloooooooowly. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Patience is a virtue. ¬†Or so I hear.

I’ve been staying busy getting the house finished. ¬†Unpacked the last few boxes, put stuff away, hung up my cross collection (and it’s a doozy!). ¬†I still have a few pics to hang upstairs. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† I’ve been putting furniture together and rearranging things, you know …… just trying to make everything feel like home. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† And it’s working.

Of course it’s been hugely wonderful to be around J Bear so much. ¬†We’ve gone to the zoo two weekends in a row. ¬†He’s spent the night a couple of times and seems to love coming to Gigi’s house. ¬†At the moment he’s very terribly two and you never know what will set him off (oh, the memories!), but so far I can usually talk him down and make him laugh himself out of them. ¬† ¬† So far. ¬†ūüôā

I haven’t met many people yet, but am working on it. ¬†I’m working my way through a short list of churches …… haven’t settled on one yet. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†I’m playing Bunco Thursday night and am really looking forward to that and the chance to meet some fun ladies.

I also got a gig writing movie reviews for our community magazine so that should be interesting. Hopefully.

So things are going well and I’m happy and content. ¬†Most of the time. ¬†I’ve been going through a wave of missing Jim more lately. ¬†I can’t put my finger on it, but it may be because I’m seeing more of the kids, especially Daughter #2 of course, since she lives here. ¬†Maybe in seeing them, I’m reminded of how much he’s missing, and of how much they’re missing him.

Oh, and Gracie is doing well. ¬†She’s as fun and playful and sometimes aggravating as usual so all is well in her department. ¬†She’s definitely going to have to improve in one area: ¬†the house backs up to a golf course (I don’t know what hole) but when she sees golf carts go by or golfers walking by she goes nuts and starts barking. ¬†One would think that she’d get to used to them and stop paying attention to them …… wouldn’t one? ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†For the love of all that is holy she’d better because there are days when that barking can just set my teeth on edge. ¬†Fortunately for her …… those days are few and far inbetween, but they’re there. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†It’s a good thing she’s so cute.

OK, that’s it for now. ¬†I had planned to give you a post with a lot of pictures, but it’s 10:45, about 20 minutes past my bedtime (which, for some odd reason, is so much earlier here …… must be the Texas air) and I’m tired. ¬†Doing a post with a lot of pics is sooooo much work. ¬†(Yes, that was me, whining.) ¬†It’s not that you’re not worth it. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†It’s just that you’re not worth it tonight. ¬† ¬†ūüėČ

I’ll try to do better and not let so much time go by between postings. ¬†Try.

ūüôā

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.