Tag Archives: Jim

Thank You ……

…… to those of you who understood.
Or tried to understand.
My last post.

It was nice not to have to read the “judgey” posts that some people have written in the past.
No judgement is needed.
At least, not in my opinion.

I write what I write …… because it’s inside of me and I need to get it out.
Yes, I could write it down ……. and then delete it. But I don’t believe that’s what I’m called to do.
I write it down …… and publish it …… because there are so many others out there who feel what I feel.
And so we connect.
This is my calling.
It certainly won’t change anything.

Jim is dead.
I know he’s dead.
I know he’s never coming back.
No matter what I want.
No matter what I wish for.
He’s dead.

Someone asked me this yesterday: “Are you still grieving?”
I was a bit surprised by that question.
I answered truthfully.
“Yes, I will always grieve for him. Always.”
But I’m no longer in the dark, cold, all-consuming grief that once was.
Thankfully.

His death no longer occupies my every waking moment, my every thought, my every breath.
But I will grieve for him until my last dying breath.
This I know.
And this I can live with.

But my days, my life, are not consumed by my grief.
I continue to live.
I continue to find joy.
With grief in the background.

I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching lately.
Truthfully, it hasn’t been a difficult job.
Before I continue with this post, I need to tell you that I am not writing this as a “woe is me” post. I’m not looking for sympathy, or a “poor you” attitude.
It is what it is.
And it’s for me to deal with.

I never took Jim for granted.
Hard to believe?
Probably.
But if you were to read through all of my journals …… you’d see that it’s true.
I always thanked God for giving Jim to me.
Always.
I never took him for granted.

And now, I know why.

I never, ever felt good enough to have married him.
I never, ever felt that I deserved him.
Ever.

I have no idea why …… I wonder if anyone ever knows …… why they feel so undeserving.
But I did.
I’ve never felt that I was “good enough”.
And I certainly never felt “good enough” for Jim.
Never.

I was so thankful for him. For the gift of him. To be his wife.
No, we didn’t always agree on everything, nor did we always get along on certain points.
But we moved past that.
Always.

And I was always so thankful that he was in my life.
I was thankful for our beautiful, wonderful six children.
But more so, for him.

So when he died …… it almost made sense.
I was never good enough.
And that finally caught up with me.

I didn’t deserve him.
And so he died.
I finally got what I deserved.

So here I am.
Living life without him.
Not the life I wanted.
Not the life I’d planned.
But the life I deserve.

And now I have to navigate this road that tells me that God does indeed love me, but on which I feel most unloved.
I have to move past these feelings of being unloved, undeserving.
And I hope that I will.
I’m trying.

It’s easy enough to say, “God loves me”.
It’s all together different to really embrace it.
It’s a work in progress.

I am a work in progress.
I don’t think I’m the only one.
So to those of you who find yourself on this path …… hopefully we can navigate it together.

My mind knows that I’m good enough ……in God’s eyes.
My heart just needs to catch up.

People Say ……

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…… they won’t forget.
But I think they do.

Not that I blame them.
Because life marches on.
For everyone.
And if you don’t live it every single day …… how can you not forget?

This is the month that the American Heart Association holds their annual Heart Walk. Last year our school district in Texas participated in the walk. They did more than participate …… they formed a team in Jim’s name.
When I received the email asking if I’d be ok with that …… I was speechless.
And touched to the depth of my soul.
Because they remembered.

Jim died of an aortic dissection.
In perfect health one minute …… at death’s door the next.
Four months later, his mother died of complications after having valve replacement surgery.
The American Heart Association is close to my heart …… no pun intended.

This year Team Eggers will walk again.
They still remember.
And it still brings tears to my eyes.

I hate asking people for money.
I’m not very good at it, so I try to do it only two times a year.
Once for this walk …… and once in December around the time of Jim’s death …… for my beloved Soaring Spirits.
The organization that gave me hope and continues to do that for millions (yes, millions) of other widowed people.

So this week I wrote a post on Facebook about the walk, and shared the link of my donation page.
I didn’t make a big deal about it.
I just shared it and asked people to donate.
In memory of Jim.

Maybe I should’ve made a bigger deal.
I don’t think anyone checked out the link.
One person “liked” my post.
And she’s a widowed sister.
She also tries to raise money each year to fight the disease that killed her husband.
There are a lot of us out here.

And there are a lot of causes asking for money.
I get that.
And I get that time marches on.
I also understand how memories fade.
Heck, sometimes I can’t remember what I did last week.

Maybe I should take lessons in fundraising.
Or maybe I should stop bugging people about donating.
I certainly wish I didn’t have a reason to want to raise money for the Heart Association.
I also wish that I didn’t live with the memory of that night.
Almost eight years ago.

Yes, some memories fade.
Some …… never will.

Sometimes I Wonder ……

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…… if Jim would be proud of me.
Of our family.
Of how I’ve done.

I wish that I could answer in the affirmative. 100% yes, of course he would.
But I can’t.

Our children were all at such vulnerable ages when he died. I think they’ve questioned so very much since that day almost 8 years ago.
I myself have had my fair share of questions. And my fair share of shifts in beliefs.

I don’t pray the same way I used to.
I don’t believe some of the things I used to.
Fundamentally, I still believe that I am a follower of Christ.
But I no longer pray for specific outcomes. Instead, I pray for peace, strength and love to surround people who will need those things.
I don’t believe that prayer changes the outcome.
If I believed that, then I’d have to believe that God sees some people as better than others.
That some people are worth saving, while others are not.

I can’t, and I don’t, believe in a God who thinks that way.

If some of the beliefs I used to hold have changed, then how can I not think that my children’s beliefs have changed?
Of course they have.
I just wish they hadn’t changed so much.

I can understand the changes.
Truly, I can.
Our life was one way.
And in a matter of hours, it was not.
I can understand how that can change a person.

I just wish that these changes didn’t scare me.
Didn’t make me feel that I, in some way, have failed my children.
Because I do.
100%.

Maybe if I hadn’t grieved so long and so hard, their beliefs wouldn’t’ have changed.
Maybe if part of me wouldn’t have died the day Jim died, they’d still hold on strong to their faith.

Or maybe none of this would’ve mattered anyway.
My children are individuals, with their own thoughts, their own beliefs, their own faith.
And maybe, if Jim were still alive, they’d still be struggling with their own individual beliefs.
Maybe.

I’ll never know.

All I know is that one day we seemed to be a family of one faith and one belief …… and now we are not.
What could I have done …… what should I have done …… to avoid this?

What would Jim say?

I wish I knew.

Or do I?

Life Is ……

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…… something I never, ever thought I’d say again.
Ever.

Life is …… pretty darn good.
All in all.
All things considered.

I’m 7 1/2 years “out” from Jim’s death.
I will never be happy that he died.
Of course.

But I am happy.
Ironic, no?

Of course I’d give everything up if that would bring him back, but …… it won’t.
So I’ve chosen to move forward.
And to live life the way I would have wanted him to live it.
Fully.

I know that I am beyond blessed to be able to live my “after” …… my “second plan A” …… fully.
He’s responsible for that.
He planned ahead for the unimaginable.
He always took care of me …… of our family.
And he still does.
I will love him fully …… to the moment that I draw my last breath.
And beyond.

And who knows? I may love another man that same way.
I’m ok with that.
And I know that Jim is, too.

I’m in love with the city where I’ve chosen to live.
Beyond in love.
I am absolutely crazy about New York City.
Head over heels.

Who knows how long I’ll live here? I have no idea. I’ve learned to not plan too far in advance.
But right now, in this moment …… I want to live here.
And so I do.

I’m in love with all of my children and where they are in their lives.
It’s been a very, very long 7 1/2 years.
It’s been a long and arduous journey with some of them.
But right now, at this moment in time …… they’re doing well.
They are thriving.
None of them are perfect.
But neither am I.
And neither was Jim.
None of them live perfect lives.
But neither do I.
And neither did Jim.

I don’t wish for them to live perfectly perfect lives.
I wish for them to live fully, to live to their utmost.
I wish for God to lead them and for them to follow.
Whether they do or not is up to them.
I will love them unconditionally.
As a parent should.

I love being able to connect with widowed people.
I love helping them know that they are not crazy, wrong, or alone.
I love giving them hope.

I love that I’ll be doing that at Camp Widow West in a little over a week.
I can’t wait.

Life is something I never thought it would be again.

Life.
Is.
Good.

And I am blessed beyond measure to be able to say that.

Thank you, Jim.

Thank you, God.

Such A Simple Act ……

…… can bring forth so many emotions and memories.

I went to the theatre last night with several friends. Four of them were married couples. I sat next to one of them, chatting and laughing until the lights were turned down and the play prepared to start.
At that point, the husband simply laid his hand on his leg, palm up. With no words, and hardly any time at all, his wife lovingly put her hand in his.
And there they remained.

So simple.
So full of unspoken words and swirls of emotions.

I miss that.
The simplest of acts.
Yet it can speak volumes.

Jim and I never talked about holding hands. It just grew into a natural occurrence. Whenever we walked anywhere …… on a path, into a building, around an exhibit …… anywhere, our hands automatically found each other. It wasn’t even a thought most of the time. It was like our hands were magnets that drew each other together.

So simple.
And yet so very, very missed.

As I watched my friends hold hands throughout the play, I didn’t feel sad. I felt more wistful, I guess. I felt warm memories and I was happy for them …… that they, too, had this simple act between them.

I smiled.
For them.
And for me.

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Here’s What I’ve Realized ……

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…… in the past two days.
Everybody …… absolutely every single person on this earth …… needs to know that they have been missed.
Because being missed means that you matter.
To someone.

Yes, I realize that this seems like a basic piece of knowledge, or maybe it should be. But I’ve found that it’s not really. We all need to be told that we are missed …… and we all need to tell people who matter to us that we miss them.
This is not one of those pieces of information that you can take for granted …… but we do.

Sure, you think that your loved ones know you miss them.
So why bother to get all mushy and tell them, right?
After all, they know.
Right?

No. That’s not right.
We are human beings, and as such, we can be very fragile, no matter how hard we pretend that we aren’t. Because being fragile is negative, isn’t it? We should be strong. Who cares if we’re missed or not missed? We can do just fine on our own, thank you very much.
We just slip on one of the many masks we keep hidden in our closet and voila! No one knows what we look like beneath the mask. No one can see the tears, thankfully.
No one can see that we’re …… God forbid …… human.

And so we help to perpetuate the myth that all is well. We’re all strong. We’re all just fine, thank you very much.
If we’re missed, great. If we’re not, no problem.
If we’re loved, nice. If we’re not, it’s your loss, not ours.

What a load of crap.

I’m just as guilty as anyone else in this category. I miss so very many people. On a daily basis.
Hell, on a second to second basis.
But I rarely tell all of those people how much I miss them.
First of all, it would take all day.
Second of all, what if they don’t miss me back?
Ouch.

I have deeply missed the people at my “old” church. And the responses and comments that I received telling me the same (from my previous post) made me cry.
I didn’t realize until then how much I need to feel missed.
How much I need to feel loved.

There are people in my life who tell me this on a regular basis, as I do them.
I’d say that 99.9% of them are widowed. Or have experienced a profound loss, too.
Once that changes your life forever, you can’t help but love people fiercely and tell them so.

It’s the people in your “before” life that fall into the cracks. There’s no finger of blame to point, I can’t come up with a reason why, it just happens. On both sides.
And that’s a shame.

I need my “before” people in my life.
I need people who knew Jim.
Who knew Jim and Janine.

Yes, it can be a huge relief to have people in my life who only know the “after Janine”, as I’m sure any widowed person feels.
But I think we still need those who knew and loved the “before us”.

I think I’ve been pondering this more lately because my heart has been hurting so much for my sweet friend whose son died recently.
I’ve never experienced the death of a child. And yet, the two of us are connecting with the grief our hearts hold. I’m not sure if it’s because I loved her “before”, or because she’s a single parent and so she’s going through this loss alone. I think it’s probably both.
Her heart not only breaks for the future her son will never have, but for the future she’ll never have with a partner. Both losses are slamming into her on a constant basis.

I always thought that if one of our children died, Jim and I would get through it together. The loss of him was greater than the potential loss of one of our children.
But now, with him gone, the loss of one of my children would …… I can’t even go there.

Yet my friend wakes up there every single day. I want to take her pain away. But I know I can’t.
I want to tell her that things will get better soon. But we both know they won’t.
All I can do is be there for her. Sit with her, listen to her, cry with her.
But she needs more than just me. She needs a boatload of people who can, and will, do this with her.

Grief is exhausting.
And hard to carry alone.
If you know someone who’s carrying it, please help them.
Just offer to sit with them.
Tell them that you love them.
Tell them that you miss them.
Tell them, above all, that you miss their loved one.
Because that matters.

You matter.
Your words matter.
Your feelings matter.
So share them.

And help someone know that they matter.

Life is too precious to do alone.

The Day is Done ……

…… and  we  she survived the groomer.

On Thursday I was told that it would take two hours.
This morning, when I dropped her off at 11:00, I was told to pick her up between 3:30 and 4:00. Four and a half to five hours??!!
Holy cow! I didn’t say much, just passed over her treat bag that they had told me to bring so that they could bribe coax her into holding still.  She was so nervous that she wouldn’t take one from me.
She’s a lot like me …… definitely not a stress eater.

Since it was going to be such a long appointment, I decided to get some errands done and see a movie, which I did.
I finally saw “Still Alice”. Now, I read that book a few years ago and thought it was very good, though very disturbing …… to me. And depressing.
So, it’s taken me a while to be able to see it. When I know that a movie is going to be horrendously violent, horrifically depressing, or anything that touches too close to home (dead spouses and such), I don’t just run out and see it the first chance I get. I have learned that I need to be in the right frame of mind to see a movie like that.
Some people don’t understand that, and seem to get frustrated over it, but that’s not my problem. I know my mind …… and my heart. And I know that something like that can send me into a tailspin for a few days, and trust me …… tailspins aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
So if I wait until I’m in a mood to see, and deal with it …… it’s all good.

I’m glad that I had read the book, so I knew what to expect. And really, the main reason I went was to see Julianne Moore’s acting. She’s nominated for an Oscar (which she well deserves) and I wanted to see her for myself.
So I did, and I’m fine.
No tailspin.

It’s the same thing with “American Sniper”. I’d like to see that. But the time hasn’t been right. Knowing the end beyond the end, makes the thought of this much worse.
Also, my father-in-law was a Marine Sniper in WWII. He was shot on Okinawa …… by a Japanese Sniper. Ironic?
I think he spent the better part of 2 years hospitalized and recuperating. He was told he’d never walk again.
But the man is nothing if not stubborn.
(Yes, all six of my kids have a double dose …… ALL of them. Sigh ……)
And he showed them.
He not only walked but farmed his own land for decades. He’s still living on the farm and still putters around out there, though I think he leaves the harvesting to his youngest son. By the way, he’s almost 88 or 89.

I know that I have totally digressed from my original post, but I’m going to digress some more. Just because I think this is a great story.

One day, back in the old days when we had only 4 children (I think. We could’ve had 5 …… maybe.), my in-laws were visiting us down in Texas. I had an appointment to take one of the kids to see our pediatrician. On a whim I asked my FIL if he’d like to come along with me.
Now, you have to know that I have no idea why I did that. I didn’t make a habit of asking him to accompany me anywhere, and if I had, he most likely would’ve said no.
But for whatever reason, I asked …… and he said yes. So we loaded up the one kid (I have no idea which one and it’s not relevant) and off we went. We got out of the car at the office and started walking up to the door.
My FIL read the sign on the door, listing the doctor’s name and said, “Hmmmmmm, ___________. I wonder if he’s any relation to the surgeon I had in the war?”
Now the doctor’s last name was not a common name. So I asked him where that would have been? He couldn’t remember exactly, but knew it was either on the ship, where he was for a very long time, or the hospital in California, where he ended up for a VERY long time.
Suddenly, I remembered that our doctor was in the Naval Reserve, which I told my FIL. “Yes”, he said. His doctor had also been in the Navy.

Now, I knew that our doctor was older, but I didn’t think it was possible that he was THE doctor we were talking about. But I told my FIL that I’d ask him once we got called back.
They called us back and I took my child while my FIL stayed in the waiting room. I don’t know if he was just reading or if we had brought more than one child (though I don’t think so) and he was watching him.

When the doctor came into the exam room, he started to examine my child (which I really think was one of the boys). I cleared my throat and did my best to not sound like a stalker …… and asked, “Was your father in World War II?”
He stopped looking at my child and looked at me.
“Yes”, he said, kind of cautiously.
“Was he a doctor in the war? Either on a ship or in California?”
At this point the doctor was looking quite suspicious of me. Yes, we’d been patients for a few years now, but I guess none of his others had asked about his private life before.
“Yes, he was. Why are you asking?” he said, warily.

“Well, my FIL was a sniper in WWII and was shot on Okinawa. He had surgery on a ship and after several months he ended up in a hospital in California. He said that his surgeon’s name was ________. Your last name.”

He stood up straight and just stared at me for a minute. I wondered if I’d have to perform CPR or something, which would’ve been a bit awkward, since I hadn’t taken a CPR class since I was pregnant with Daughter #1.
His prospects, should his heart have stopped …… did not look good.

Thankfully, he finally looked at me rather incredulously and said that yes, his father had indeed been a surgeon on the USS _______ (if you expect me to remember that then you obviously don’t know me very well), AND in a Naval hospital in California.

He asked where my FIL was and I surprised him with, “In the waiting room.” He could hardly contain his excitement as he followed me back out to the waiting room and met Jim’s dad. Yes, his father really was my FIL’s surgeon/doctor who cared for him back in the day. Way, way, WAY back in the day.
And our pediatrician was over the moon about that. He loved it.
From that point on he always asked how my FIL was when he saw us, whether that was in the office or in a grocery store.
He told his dad about meeting my FIL and his dad always asked about Jim’s dad whenever they saw each other.

I ran into our old doctor sometime last year. We are past the point of pediatricians and he’s long since retired, but he still knows me and stops to inquire about Jim’s dad. He told me that his father had passed away in the last year, but that he always asked about his former patient. He loved the story of us putting two and two together and realizing that it is, indeed, a small world.

There you go.
A wonderful, poignant story.
And it’s true.

And with that …… I shall leave you with before and after pictures of my adorable, precious, precocious puppy. 🙂
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Look at all of that hair in her eyes!  This is a couple of weeks old, so her hair was even longer that that this morning.

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And Voila!  She has eyes!!  She can see!  And she looks a whole lot smaller and weighs less than she did earlier in the day.
She’s just as feisty though.  And is chewing on everything she can get her teeth on.  Though it’s a bit more difficult now because she’s lost her bottom baby teeth.  She’s now gumming everything to death!  ROFL!!

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I hope you all had a good weekend.
Stay warm.
Or cool.
Whatever floats your boat.

🙂