Tag Archives: Love

Eight ……

…… excruciatingly long years that seemed to have flown by in a heartbeat.
I know that most of you get that.

Eight.
How is it possible?
How is it that Daughter #1 went to, and graduated from, school for her Masters degree?

How is that Daughter #2 worked for a year and then did the same thing?
How is that she’s been a foster mom to the most precious baby boy for over a year now? And she has her own home?

How is it that Daughter #3 has worked in Texas and New York while getting her Masters? How can it be that she’s engaged to be married in less than 3 months?

How is it that Son #1 graduated from high school and college and has a wonderful job and life in Dallas?

How is it that Son #2 survived his teen years, graduated from high school, went to barber school and now lives in Austin where he loves his job and his life?

And how is it that Son #3 made it through middle school, high school and is now in his third year of college at our favorite school, Oklahoma State? How is it that I’ve attended at least three Homecomings there?
At that place where we met.
And fell in love.

How in the hell is it that this all happened without him?

Eight years ago …… this day …… I thought that my life came crashing to an end.
And in a sense, it did.
That life died with Jim, just as part of me died with him.

I have missed that man every second of these past 8 years.
I have cherished our memories, our children and our blessing of being best friends, as well as husband and wife, these past 8 years.
I have loved him with all of my heart these past 8 years.
That won’t stop.
No matter how many years go by.

That doesn’t mean there’s not room in my heart for more love.
Fortunately, hearts grow bigger.
If you don’t believe that you’ve never had more than one child. đŸ™‚

Now eight years later …… here I am …… still alive.
Not only alive, but thriving.
Happy.
Joyful.
Blessed.

The “before me” would never have believed that I would make it this far.
The me that was left behind 8 years ago would never have dreamed this would be my life now. That me didn’t …… no,couldn’t …… see a future for herself at all. She saw nothing but cold, inky darkness.
For what felt like a very long time.

Eight years later, the blackness is gone.
Most of the time.
Every once in a while a rogue wave roars over me, knocking me to my knees.
But not down.
And definitely not out.

In that way, I don’t think I’m so very different from any other human.
In spite of being blessed, there are still times of grief.
There are times when that night eight years ago comes charging into me. And it feels like I’m right back in that hospital room.
Saying goodbye without knowing it was really goodbye.
I hate being back in that room.

Thankfully that doesn’t happen very often.
Mostly just once a year or so.
Usually around this date.
Around this day.

Eight years.
It’s amazing.
And horrible.
All at the same time.

Eight years.
Eight years of bad.
Eight years of good.
Eight years of growing, loving, learning and finding joy again.
Eight years of knowing that God never left my side.
Even during the times I couldn’t feel him.
Probably especially during those times.
Eight years of grief.
Eight years of blessings.

A lot can happen in eight years.
And though I couldn’t even think this 8 years ago ……

I’m looking forward to what the next eight hold.

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?

Misplaced Anger ……

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…… is something I’ve been dealing with lately.

Now before I continue, I need to say that there is no finger pointing contained in this post. I’m not writing about anyone personally. I’m writing about my feelings, which are mine, and mine alone (although some readers will perhaps relate to them).
When I read about good things happening in the lives of my friends, I truly am happy for them, no matter how else I also feel.

Now, where was I?
Oh yes …… misplaced anger.

Has anyone else noticed that there are a boat load of wedding anniversaries in the summer?
Well of course there are. There always have been. Always.
I’m sure that in the past 7 1/2 years there have been just as many as there are this summer. But for some reason, I’ve never noticed them as much as I have this year.

If you’re on Facebook then perhaps you, too have noticed.
It’s been constant.
I dare say that it’s been daily.
Friends wishing their spouses a happy anniversary.

Again, I’m very happy for all of my friends who are married and who’ve had anniversaries this summer. Truly.
But …… all of these posts have started to trigger something inside of me.
And that something is anger, pure and simple.
I’m not proud of that, but it’s there.

With every additional post I can feel another log thrown into the furnace burning within.
A slowly building fire that starting to gain strength and heat.
It’s probably also kind of a greenish color.
Because I’m jealous.
Every time I see a post that says a couple has been married over 25 years, the fire becomes a deeper green.

I don’t feel angry towards any one person.
Not a human person, anyway.
But I surprised myself when I finally realized that I’m angry at God.
Or should I say …… I’m still angry at God.
And getting angrier.

There’s a second thing going on that’s been stoking that angry fire inside of me.

Have you seen a new TV show this summer called, “Answered Prayers”?
If you have, and you’re widowed, then you know where I’m going with this, don’t you?

It’s on TLC and is hosted by Roma Downey. She and her husband produce it.
I know that they are Christians and that they’ve done a lot in faith-based movies and TV. And I’m glad about that.

But this show …… this show makes me angry. Or maybe, I make myself angry when I watch it.
But it seems to me that it tells only half of the story.

The show features 2 or 3 people a week and their true stories about life and death situations that happened to them.
All of these stories have had happy endings. People are brought back from the brink of death, or rescued from sure death accidents …… because of prayer.
And not just prayer.
But “answered prayer”.

God heard their prayers and said, “Yes”.
And these people were healed, rescued, saved, etc.
Happy, happy endings.

But here’s the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey would say.
God doesn’t always say yes.
Sometimes he gives you a big, fat, “NO”.
But that’s still an answer.
Isn’t it?

This show makes me feel …… strike that.
When I watch this show I feel the same way I feel when I hear someone say, “If you’d only had enough faith …”; “If you’d only prayed hard enough …”; “If you’d only truly believed …”
Yes, I’ve personally heard all three of those partial sentences. They start out the same: “If you’d only …”.
And they end the same: “God would’ve saved him”.

Is it any wonder that some people turn from their faith, and others never approach faith at all, when their loved one dies and they hear something like that?
From “Christians”?

Nothing stokes the anger inside of me as fast as those kind of words.
Nothing brings my anger level from zero to a million faster than those people.

And this show, without giving the other answer, without giving the rest of the story, really does make me feel white hot anger.

From my experience (and I can only cite mine) God gives three answers to most of our questions:
“Yes.”
“No.”
“Wait.” Which will ultimately end in either “Yes” or “No”.

God, much like most human parents, sometimes says, “No.”
Yet loves us as much as those who received a “Yes”.
The answer has nothing to do with the love.
I have no doubt that He loves me.
In spite of my anger.
And maybe because of my anger.

To claim that, because people prayed and someone escaped death, God heard and answered prayer …… is to tell already hurting people that God only hears some people.
And he evidently doesn’t hear them.

Who wants to follow that kind of God?
Who can feel love from that kind of God?

And who can give sound Biblical evidence of that kind of God?

That’s not the God I know.
That’s not the God I love.
That’s not the God who loved the world so much that sent His only son to die for EVERYONE.
Every.
Single.
Person.

So, while I’m happy that these people were saved from death …… I’m going to stop watching “Answered Prayers”.

Because it’s time for me to finally let go of my anger.
And because God did answer my prayers that day/night (and thousands of others’).

He said, “No”.

“She’s Going to Be Famous” ……

…… is what a woman told me yesterday while she was petting Gracie.

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Daughter #1 was in town and we were down in Hell’s Kitchen at a flea market and I was schlepping Gracie around in my bag. It was blazing hot and I think she was still tired from our two mile walk through the Park the day before.
She also doesn’t really care for walking where there’s traffic and a lot of people.
Oh, and hot cement.

So yeah, she was in my bag. I thought she’d draw less attention that way, but she has some inborn talent for drawing attention no matter where she is. She also has an inborn talent for making people smile. And even, dare I say, making some people happy.
It’s a gift.

It’s a gift more humans should have.
Or maybe work on.

But I digress.
Evidently, if this woman has a talent of foretelling the future, Gracie is going to be famous.
From her mouth to God’s ears.

I told Daughter #1 that maybe I should just sit in Central Park with her, day in and day out, to see if maybe a talent scout will discover her.
I’m pretty sure we both thought that would be a huge waste of time.

So instead, I’ve applied to have her trained to be a therapy dog. I believe she could be making people smile, who, for whatever reason health-wise, don’t have much to smile about.
We shall see.
While I’m writing this she’s evidently trying to dig to China through her dog bed.
I’m not all that confident of her intellectual ability to pass a course.
Any course.
Unless it’s for cuteness.

Oh, and she now has her own Facebook page.
It’s “Gracie Takes Manhattan”.
In case you’re interested.
I can’t blame you if you’re not.

In other news …… there really is no other news.
Not any “new” news anyway.
There is a bit of old news.

For the past couple of days my emotions have been brimming at the surface. You know, when you feel if anyone says, “How are you doing?”, the tears will flow over the dam?
There’s really no reason for it.
Other than the same one I’ve had for over 7 1/2 years.
I miss Jim.

Some days it just comes out of the blue.
I miss him.
I mean, I miss him every day. I think about him every day. But I don’t always feel emotional about it every day.
Thank goodness.

The missing of him rarely crashes over me now. But it does sneak up on me every once in a while, with no particular pattern.
As it has does done this weekend.
Maybe it had to do with D#1 going back home.
I don’t know.

All I know is, I was working at the theatre last night when my “boss” asked me what brought me to NY.
I get asked that a lot, and I rarely get emotional about it. I just tell the story matter-of-factly …… and say “thank you” when the person says, “Oh, I’m so sorry!” when I mention that my husband died …… and then I move on with the story.
I can’t leave him out of the story because he was in it from the beginning.

So I started telling her. And the tears started brimming, while I dug my fingernails into my palms, trying to keep them from falling.
I persevered and they didn’t fall.
But she saw them anyway.
Especially when I said that, yes, sometimes I feel lonely. But I feel less lonely in NY.
Still, loneliness can creep in anywhere.

So that’s where I am.
The tears fall as I type this.
I don’t feel particularly sad.
But, oh do I miss that man.
And always will.

I know that I am beyond blessed to live the life I live.
To have the children I have.
To have the parents and siblings I have.
And …… just as with Jim …… I never take any of this for granted.
Ever.
I knew every day that I was blessed to have him.
I know every day that I am still blessed.

But that doesn’t keep the missing of him from creeping up on me every once in a while and bringing forth tears.
Nor will it ever.

It’s the cost of love.
For there is a cost.
The deeper the love, the higher the cost.

But he was definitely worth the price.

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.

Sunday Was Just Short ……

…… of a miracle.

Not because it was my birthday, though birth, in and of itself, is always miraculous.
(Please accept my apologies if you just gagged. I did, too.)

Not because it was Father’s day, though it’s difficult a day for many people I know.

It wasn’t a miracle for those two things alone, but their occurrence together induced the miracle.

The miracle was this: I made it through that day …… through those two occasions …… without a tear.
Not one.
My eyes didn’t tear up at all.

I realize that most people wouldn’t see that as a miracle …… but I also know that most of you reading this …… know that it is.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel my heart tug a couple of times when I thought of Jim …… and of his absence. But I immediately turned my thoughts to the memories of him, instead of dwelling on the empty space he should be filling.
And I smiled.

I still miss him every day.
I will always miss him.
I will always wish that it had been me who left, while he stayed and did a better job of parenting.
Of being a better person.

But here I am.
And life is good, most of the time.
I am happy, most of the time.
And I’m thankful that I’ve reached the point where I can choose to sit and cry over Jim’s absence, or I can choose to sit and remember him, remember us …… remember all of the good stuff.

I’d much rather smile than cry.
Mostly because I’m an ugly crier and you can tell I’ve been crying even an hour after I stopped.
It’s a curse.

So anyway, I’m thankful for the miracle I experienced on Sunday.
I’m thankful for the father that Jim was to our children.
And I’m thankful for all of the birthdays I had while he was here.
(I’m not thankful that he’ll always be much younger than me now ….. that’s just aggravating!)

All this to say …… when you can …… choose to smile at the memories, rather than cry at the loss.
When.
You.
Can.