Friday, December 18, 2015

A Brief Encounter

I had a brief encounter with “normal” today. It crept down two long aisles and snuck up on me from behind the art supplies. I startled momentarily because I could not immediately identify my interloper. Gradual recognition dawned, and I realized I was face to face with the person who used to be me.

I was a little surprised that between the front door and the back of the store, I had not noticed her stealthy advance. I cannot blame her solely. The soft sounds of Christmas music, the pleasant sight of beckoning merchandise and countless shoppers who seemed not to notice the half of a woman I have become all abetted her.

My first impulse was to send her away. What business did I have keeping company with someone so carefree and happy? I was perplexed by this turn of events, but she was a familiar companion, and I found it refreshing to let her stay, if only for a while.

Together we shopped, walking among the other women as if life were normal, as if I was not half of the person I used to be. A stranger asked my advice as if I were just any grandmotherly type. My suggestions enhanced her project, and she was grateful. In return, and without knowing it, she gifted me with a few moments of being just any woman.

For a couple of hours, with normal at my side, I was caught up in the spirit of giving. I had no burden other than checking off the boxes on my errand list. I think I was happier than other more harried shoppers, who found the crowded stores and seasonal traffic their greatest woe. I finished my tasks and headed home. Normal slipped away as the brightness of the day was fading, but not before I had the chance to call out softly, “Thanks for a pleasant afternoon.”

I have taken over twenty-four hours to process Friday’s experience. I had not realized the great extent to which “normal” went away until suddenly it reappeared—although only for two hours. Loss multiplies loss, and in the equation, I have lost not only my husband but also any notion of who I am. I am an oozing, gaping wound; the crippled half of what was once a vibrant whole. Loss of identity is my widow’s wear. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Thousand Miles From Home

I was a thousand miles from home the day George died. The day was as unfit for travel as it was for hearing such terrible news. Storms raging in Dallas grounded my flight from Des Moines. After a two-hour delay, the plane lifted off in defiance of the menacing sky.

At 22,000 feet, the pilot informed us of what we already knew; we were in for a bumpy ride, too turbulent for beverages or trips down the aisle. He added, “I am requesting clearance to ascend to 33,000 feet. The higher we go, the less turbulent it will be.” What he spoke as aviation truth, I heard as an apt metaphor for how I could weather the turbulent days ahead.

Even at 35,000 feet, we saw neither sky nor sun. On either side, there was nothing but relentless gray. For the second time that day, I had a picture to explain my life. I, too, was lost in a cloud, unable to see what lay ahead or came at me from either side.

As the pilot relied on his instruments, I knew I could fly by faith, trusting the all-reliable guidance system of my heavenly father and following every word he said. In my personal world so abruptly plunged into darkness, I am hanging onto this promise, “For with you is the fountain of life: in your light we see light.” (Psa. 36:9).

Now at Christmas, in this season of lights, every twinkling bulb reminds me “in your light we see light.” Through the fog of my current existence, I am looking toward the Light, knowing clarity will come.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Giving Thanks Day 2: Nikki

I am so blessed by a daughter who loves me enough to undertake (and succeeds) at the task of purchasing me new shoes that would look good and in which I could stand for four solid hours the first time I wore them.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Giving Thanks Day 1

The beginning of the season of giving thanks slipped by me, making its appearance the same day I realized that in addition to a far weightier loss, we had also lost an hour. Now as I see the posts of those who choose to celebrate November by declaring their gratitude for their blessings by posting them daily on FB, I see that I too have so much for which to give thanks.

And so today, seven days into this month, when 'pop up showers' make a regular appearance on my face and I think that if I had foreseen this sorrow, I would have been wise to invest in Kimberly-Clark, I choose to post the things for which I am grateful. I trust this does not offend anyone. I am taking a stand in my belief that grief and gratitude are not incompatible, and so...

I am so grateful for having been loved well by the best husband ever, a man picked by God for me and one who knew me well and loved me anyway. I am so grateful we were at peace, our hearts were as one and we had no unresolved business. I'm grateful we had plans for our future that brought him much joy.

PS: Remember I am seven days behind, so there will be multiple initial posts.