Tag Archives: grief

Memories.. 

 I grew up a 1/2 mile from my grandparents’ house. An easy walk or ride from my house to theirs..

So is it any wonder that so many of my first memories had them in it?

Most of them were good memories.. at least until that heartbreaking day in fifth grade.. when they loaded up their new 5th wheel and drove to Florida for the winter ..

Even after that LONG winter FINALLY ended..  I collected good memories with them.

As the years passed, the visits became less frequent. I moved to Missouri with my husband (for his job). I became busy with my children… and schedules didn’t always  line up.

… still visits were a treasure ..

The last time I saw my gram, she didn’t recognize me. My aunts warned me ahead of time that it might happen.

But in that moment? That moment that I realized she indeed did NOT recall who I was?

It hurt .. for a moment ..

Then she smiled at me.. and patted my hand..

and I realized..

it didn’t matter if she remembered me..

Why?

Because I remembered her..

I remembered her keeping special toys at her house for us.. A little people’s school and camper..

I remembered how she would always keep fruit around to give us..

how she taught me to eat rhubarb with sugar…

how she loved the color blue, but “hated” her red hair..

How she loved working with her roses and her rhododendrons.. and her fruit trees..

how every card I ever got was simply signed “Gram K”…

I remember how she greeted every LEFT handed person she met.. how she taught us to make her potato salad.. her spending hours with us sewing clothes.. her salt & pepper collection.. and Norman Rockwell plates..

…singing with her.. laughing with her ..

And when I said “good-bye” at the end of that last visit? She smiled and said “I’m so glad I got to meet you.” That same smile that would light up her eyes.

So you see? It isn’t important that my Gram didn’t remember me in the end.. because it wasn’t really about me.

It was about her.. 

..and her legacy that she leaves behind. And as long as I remember her? As long as I continue to retell her stories and sayings?

Then she will continue to live on in our hearts ..

So tell her stories I shall..

A rainbow…

 Growing up, I had a brother who lived next door. He wasn’t actually related to me.. but my heart adopted him as a brother just the same.

With 5 brothers of my own.. and a sister…? Some would ask why I would want to adopt another one. Others explain to me that you can’t just adopt new siblings.. like puppies…

.. but adopt him I did … Him and his older sister were almost as much a part of our family .. as the siblings who lived with me. We laughed together.. we argued… we planned elaborate schemes… we succeeded .. and sometimes we failed. And at times? At times we all got in trouble together.

This brother next door? Terry… He was best friends with my older brother Paul. Where ever Paul and Terry went? Well .. I was never far behind. Me and my moppy head of curls.. often in a dress… would trail behind the boys waiting for whatever mischief they could find. I never had to wait long..

Surprisingly? They never seemed to tire of waiting for me to catch up. They never rolled their eyes at having to nail steps into a tree for me to get into the tree house. They never forgot to warn me to stand clear of danger.. or swarming bee hives.

These 2 boys were my first friends.

When my brother Paul enlisted in the Navy.. it left me and Terry to finish out our Senior year alone. I sure did miss my brother that year.. but it’s the year I got to know Terry the best.

And MAN did we argue that year.. We debated whether Mail Order brides would have worked.. OK.. I debated.. Terry flat refused to believe that anything less than true love in a marriage would succeed… We argued about my boyfriends.. and his girlfriends.. We argued about the best season to visit the beach.. and once we even argued about arguing…

Occasionally I would frustrate him so bad?? He would clamp his mouth shut and walk out the door…

..but he would still pick me up for school the next day… without fail.

 But all the while we were arguing.. I got to know Terry really well.  I knew he wanted to SAVE the world… so he planned on enlisting in the Navy with my brother. I learned more about his “actual” siblings… I saw that he would give away his last dollar.. and even his shirt if he needed to. He loved country music… He loved “hero” movies.. especially Steven Seagal ones. He loved his truck… His family was so very important to him…

… and he wanted to find true love…

Well after graduation .. we parted ways. He enlisted in the Navy and I didn’t hear much from him for years. He was off keeping the world safe… having adventures…

10 years later.. he started calling me when he was home. Especially when he was upset. He would tell me how proud he was of his kids.. and how he still wanted a love that would make him happy.

Eventually he found that love…

He had a couple years with her… Those years made him so happy… His smile practically jumped out of the photos I would see. And he adopted more kids .. (We are very alike in that way..)

Those years made me so happy for him…

I never actually saw Terry again after graduation. I heard his voice so many times… but I never got to see his face in person.. It just never worked out..

… and I will have to wait a while longer it seems…

You see? Terry was in a car accident last week… and God called him home.

Today I sat in church and listened to my brother’s voice shake as he stood in front of everyone… Talking about his friend… sharing about how they had finally reconnected after all those years of going in different directions because of the Navy. I admired how strong Paul was to stand up and share his story.

I am not that brave.. I am not a great speaker.. I have to let my words flow through my fingers…

.. but I loved my adopted brother just the same…

I know that Everything will be Beautiful in its time… and in Time we will see why Terry was taken from this Earth so early… and it will be Beautiful..

…but I have still shed a few (ok.. more than a few) selfish tears.. because I will miss him…

… but I am so glad Terry was put in my life… God knew I needed a good friend.. a faithful and stead fast friend for those frustrating teen years… and I will gladly shed these tears and feel this heartache in exchange for all those wonderful memories…

.. and his smile will always shine through my tears… because he hated anyone to be unhappy… Making it his goal to make people smile..

.. so I will smile for him… and I will see him again soon…

Love you Terry…

My poor cup..

My cup runneth over…

I always tell people that you can’t write about life .. if you aren’t out there living it. So I am out there.. living life. But life isn’t just exploring, meeting new people, learning, having a good time, and laughing. Sometimes it is fixing things, moving households, comforting loved ones and saying good-bye. But I wouldn’t give up the “good” living to avoid the “sad”.

In fact… If my life was a cup? It would overflow frequently with all sorts of emotions.. all sorts of activities.. all forms of life…

For the last couple months, my cup has indeed been very full. My “living” consisted of hard work and a busy schedule as we prepared to perform Seussical the Musical at our High School.. During this time, my daughter found that Dr. Seuss must have agreed with our family’s philosophy.. because she found this among his many famous quotes…

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”  Dr. Seuss

But sometimes I cram too much living into a small amount of time.. Or Life comes crashing into my schedule and overwhelms it. This month? My cup was definitely running over with Life. As much as I tried to stay organized.. YES you guessed it.. IF you came to my house during the Seussical shows, you would have found piles.. Sewing piles.. laundry piles.. paperwork piles… Chaos! All organized chaos.. but chaos just the same.

As Christians, we constantly tell ourselves and remind others that God only gives us what we can handle. Sometimes we wear it like a badge.. sometimes I use it as a cattle prod.. (to get myself out of good book… Or out of bed… or to leave that glorious sunshine.. to get back to work)… but sometimes I think we get stuck on “accepting” God’s Will for us.. Kind of like a “stop your whining” reminder.. I find myself forgetting that God sent a model for us when our Life Cup floweth over.

God sent us Jesus to model for us what He expects… When Jesus was not looking forward to the hard work that His Father had set before Him? Jesus was overwhelmed!! Jesus knelt in prayer and cried out to His Heavenly Father…

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42 NIV

This was not Jesus whining about hard work.. or whining because He knew He was about to die for our sins. No. This was Jesus being overwhelmed with the task before Him. What does this mean? This means that God says He will understand if we need to tell Him we are overwhelmed. God is giving us PERMISSION to ASK if a task can be taken away. We can ASK if He will heal a loved one.. we can ASK if He can change the Path before us.. The answer might be “No”… but it is okay to ask..

Then God shows us that He expects us to accept his Will.. accept his decision in all things. “Your will, not mine.”

God ALSO shows us through His Son that He doesn’t expect us to be strong all the time.. He expects us to fall apart when our cup runneth over with Life.. Then we have to rise.. brush off our knees.. and get back to Living.. 

 How? You ask. How do we know for sure?

“Jesus wept.” John 11:35

Jesus wept when He found that He was too late and His friend had died.. Jesus was so overwhelmed.. His cup of emotions ran right over the top… And He gave into His tears. 

This week should have been a relaxing week for me.. Our production was over.. the set cleared away… the stage clean.. Yet my calendar filled to the absolute brim.. My Life Cup filled with Activities.. Good activities… fun activities.. but definitely too many.

And then my mom called.

It seems that God called one of His children home to Him this week. While my uncle was in India.. visiting his grandson.. he had a heart attack and passed away. Now.. I imagine my uncle was one of God’s favorite children… Because he is an amazing man.. and I can imagine God couldn’t possibly wait any longer to call him home…

but still…

..still… My Uncle will be greatly missed until we see him again in Heaven.. I can see my uncle standing at the pearly gates.. inviting me in with that Great Smile of his… inviting me to stay at his mansion until mine is ready to go.. and especially offering to help me explore those streets of gold.. 

 But today? 

Today I think God will understand if my cup runneth over.. and I think God will understand if I ask that my aunt and my cousins have their cup of sadness taken from their lips… I think He’ll understand if I ask Him to pour some of those emotions into my cup.. as full as it is.. so that I might share this heavy task with them.

..but as always.. it is His will.. and not mine..