Grace to Carry On

IMG_1614

 

I wrote the post titled “Life and Death” on June 15, 2018. I never dreamed, could never have imagined that two years later I would lose yet another person I love so dearly.

https://angie5804.wordpress.com/2018/06/15/4326/

This quote from that post is so true –

“We fear it (death), yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.” – from A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Chuck didn’t fear death. He knew where his hope was. I knew that, too. I know that. But, the sadness is still here. Sadness that his face will no longer light up when his children or grandchildren enter the room. Sadness that we talked, dreamed, and finally planned for his retirement and our return home to Jacksonville.  That return was overlaid with sorrow. For him, that return lasted one month. Now he is truly home, and I’m left here to carry on.

Hebrews 4:16 – Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

New World

48363143_10218759029626009_2344250865927323648_o

Spring – 2014

 

we talked of a new normal

as we hid in our homes

but, the old still abided

in the hearts of those who love

good news cheered us everyday

the drive-by birthday greetings

teddy bears on display

meals freely delivered

a husband who stood outside the window

of his wife’s room

where he could no longer go

there, on either side of the glass,

they sang Amazing Grace together

this was a sweet new normal

I didn’t  want to lose

but then that normal

changed for my world

the words pancreatic cancer

turned my world upside down

now we are back home

but not the way we dreamed of being

our days are filled with tests and procedures

and the endless repetitive questions

name? birthdate? 

have you had fever, chills, change in taste or smell?

and I see the hollow look in the eyes of my love

the one who has been by my side for over 41 years

the one who protected me

kept me from falling when I lost my way

and all I want to do is to

take away the sadness

 

A lot of of packin’

 

A lot of movin’, A lot of rollin’
A lot of drivin’, A lot of strollin’
A lot of leavin’ here
A lot of arrivin’ there
Trying to go just about everywhere
A lot of thinking about where I’m going next

I could add a whole verse here about a lot of packin’ :

A lot of packin’, A lot of sortin’

It’s nerve rackin’, We’re transportin’

A lot of leavin’ there

A lot of arrivin’ here

Goin’ on a lot of love and prayers

A lot of thinking about where we’re goin’ next

 

I’ve wanted to write a post for a while but have been so overwhelmed by life. To try to make a long story short, I’ll share my husband’s facebook post.

From my husband…

As some of you are aware, I put in for retirement effective June 1 and we placed our home on the market. The house went under contract immediately and we close on 5/19/20.

Unfortunately a few weeks ago I was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. We have consulted with UAB oncologists and decided to return to Jax, FL as planned and I have an appointment at Mayo Clinic this Thursday.

I wish all of you the very best in all life as to offer. Angie and I covet your prayers for strength, wisdom and that the Lord be glorified in our circumstances.

According to the Scripture all ‘our days are numbered’ so whether mine are few or many “I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for my sins…”

Please forgive me if I ever offended you in anyway, it is never intentional but still there is no excuse.

I pray his blessings upon each of you.

 

So, here we are in Jacksonville. We are home. One more night in a hotel and we move into an apartment for six months.  This is not the move we planned. We were going to buy a house -our last home -in Jacksonville with cash so we would have no mortgage payment going into retirement. God had others plans. And He has provided for us.

My husband will start chemo next week. Our lives will be much different. But I look forward to a sweet time.

There have been many silver linings in all of this. I have seen God’s providence. Had there not been this “pandemic” our two daughters would not have been free to come help us as they have. We have seen amazing things with these two girls. Young women. Their love and care for their dad and me has been overwhelming. From cooking, packing, and making phone calls for me to massaging feet, taking vitals and tracking meds and food for their dad, they have been here for us. I could never have done it without them.

Our sons, too, have poured out love and help on us. Our oldest with his nursing skills has been a comfort to lean on, traveling back and forth from Tampa, which is NOT a hop, skip, and jump away.   The younger son, thankfully working a new job, maintains constant contact and cheers us up. A few weekends ago they were all at our house in Bham. It was the first time we had all been together in over 13 years.

Silver linings and blessings from God.

 

 

Determined

I am so sad about a bird. I don’t know his name, but he has been diligently building a nest under the roof that hangs over our front door. It is a very muddy, messy undertaking.

A few days ago we had our house pressure washed in preparation for putting it on the market. The guy who washed that area told me he knocked down a nest  and that there were no eggs in it. I didn’t even know it was there; I thought it was a mess that had been  made by dirt-daubers.

The bird began rebuilding. My husband knocked it down again and sprayed a lubricant to try to discourage the bird. But, he was back again yesterday Again, hubby cleaned it off and put a foam roller piece there to discourage the bird, but he’s back again today building on top of the foam . . I am sad about having to get rid of the home he is building. If circumstances were different I would leave it there.

foam

One Determined Bird

I don’t think it is a sparrow, it looks like a bigger bird. I had to read up on sparrows. Turns out they are quite social. The article I read said there is a lot of communal chirping before and after the birds settle in the roost in the evening. Sounds just like my grandchildren!!

I’m going to put this Bible verse here just because I can:

“I lie awake and am like a sparrow on the housetop.”  –  Psalm 102:7

I wonder if the Psalmist was talking to his wife, or if he had thoughts in his head and was talking to himself.  I imagine many of us are lying awake talking to ourselves at night these days. 

 

Bookcase Browsings #5

IMG_7161

Girl Sick in Bed (1937) — from Norman Rockwell’s American Children by Marian Hoffman

 

Kids are home, or at grandma’s. Teachers (including substitutes like me) are home.  It’s not a vacation but I am seeing some of the upside. Yesterday as I walked Ruby in the neighborhood I saw two young teen girls walking a dog. I’m pretty sure I recognized the dog, which means these girls were probably staying with their grandma. I saw two tiny boys walking with their grandma. On two roads where, in six years, I’ve never seen a kid, I saw boys on bicycles. Seeing all these kids makes me happy. I know they are home for a very uncomfortable reason, but it is heartening to see them getting the sunshine and fresh air that is so good for us.

In chapter two, Sick Days, of  Norman Rockwell’s American Children by Marian Hoffman, the picture above  is accompanied by a story. Here is an excerpt:

“During the time Julia was sick, Joanna stopped by after school to drop off the day’s homework. Julia wondered why she still had to do homework when she wasn’t allowed to do anything else. “

I’ve seen a gazillion different takes on what kids should be doing during this time. I understand that not all homes will be concerned about the kids’ education while they are home. Some are just wondering how to survive the financial crisis. My opinion, as a teacher and mom and grandma, is that I’d much rather see a kid on a bicycle, or reading a book of their own choosing, or just hanging out with grandma, than plowing through a bunch of meaningless worksheets. For highschoolers, maybe they do need to keep up with some of the academics.

As a sub, a sort of “fly on the wall”, I can tell you that there is so much wasted time at school that if you added it up it would probably be about as much as the time these kids will be home. But the time at home will be better spent.

 

41 years

wedding

November 25, 1954

IMG_6206

December 16, 1978

Today is our 41st anniversary.  I can’t help but think of my parents who had 41 years of marriage. Less than two months later Dad was gone. I didn’t realize then just how young he was, just 63. Mom was younger than I am now when he died, just 59.

Mom and Dad started dating when she was 14, he was 18. They married on November 25th after Mom had graduated from high school that spring. Less than two years later my brother was born. I was born on the evening of their fourth anniversary. Eventually my younger brother came along.

Mom and Dad did not have much growing up. Neither one went to college, but Dad became a very successful businessman. He worked hard to provide for his family and Mom worked hard at home and stayed involved in the various activities of her children.

My parents weren’t very demonstrative, maybe because they didn’t have a lot of hugs growing up. But I knew they loved me, and in their later years they learned to express it physically.

I am thankful for the example of my parents. I am thankful for the 41 years I’ve had with my husband. I’m thankful for the children we have been given and the grandchildren.

And said husband surprised me this morning with tickets to see our favorite band.

img_6204.jpg

Say Love

Avetts in October #22: Brothers

 

 

Katherine Paterson is another one of my favorite children’s authors. Many of you may be familiar with her book, Bridge to Terabithia, which has been made into a movie. Twice. Two others that are also wonderful are The Great Gilly Hopkins (also a movie) and Jip, His Story.

 

“…among  children who grow up together in a family there run depths of feeling that will permeate their souls for both good and ill as long as they live.”  – The Invisible Child- On Reading and Writing Books for Children by Katherine Paterson

One of the first TAB songs I ever heard was Murder in the City. It’s still one of my favorites.

 

“I wonder which brother is better

Which one our parents loved the most

I sure did get in lots of trouble

They seemed to let the other go

A tear fell from my father’s eyes

I wondered what my dad would say

He said, “I love you and I’m proud of you both

In so many different ways”

 

 

 

Thoughts inspired by MY GRANDMOTHER ASKED ME TO TELL YOU SHE’S SORRY #2

myg2

 

“Ashamed of herself as mothers are when they realize they have passed that point in life when they want more from their daughters than their daughters want from them.” – Frederik Backman

I hit this point many years ago. It has taken a while to settle in my heart that it’s a natural progression, this growing away from our mothers. And sometimes there is a point where we tip back towards them. I was still in that tipping back that comes when the empty nest makes you realize your mother’s nest has been empty a long time, when Mom died. Now there isn’t even a nest for her except in memories. Yet, I try to follow in her footsteps and reach out to those I know are lonely. I have a long way to go, but I have Mom’s example to guide me.

And all is not lost on the mother/daughter front. Sure, I yearn for the days when they were young and occasionally thought I hung the moon. But, I see in them a spark of Mom’s kindness and know that they will always tip back to me now and then.

 

Monday Music #16

 

jax

Home is where the heart is. How many times have I heard this? But what if your heart is in two places?

 

 

 

“Home again

One day I know

I’ll feel home again…

Moving on, moving on

So I close my eyes

And the tears will clear…”

 

 

Crossroads

ff

Friendship Fountain

 

“It isn’t as though we were simply standing at the crossroads wondering what path we should take. It is more like we’ve been grabbed by the ear and dragged down a road we had never meant to travel.” – from On Reading and Writing Books for Children by Katherine Paterson

creek

Mandarin Park

 

I can’t say I’m exactly standing at the crossroads. It’s more like I’m looking down the road and wondering what’s over that next hill and thinking, will this road lead me back home? And I (we)  weren’t exactly dragged down this road in the first place, but more like told this is where you are going and tried to go with great expectations. Perhaps those expectations were too great, or perhaps we have failed ourselves. I think it’s a bit of both. And so many deaths, some expected, some swift and unforeseen, have taken their toll on my heart. Now, I just want to go somewhere that feels like home.

 

They say that home is where the heart is

I guess I haven’t found my home

And we keep driving round in circles

Afraid to call this place our own

And are we there yet?

Are We There Yet? – Ingrid Michaelson