Welcome to Christian Widow's Walk

Dear Readers,

Thank you so much for visiting. If you care to follow my story from the beginning, I encourage you to click on the oldest post first and make your way to newer entries. In so doing, hopefully, you will see the hand of God in my healing journey that started in April, 2009.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Hooked On Haiku!

Posted Oct 6, 2010 (17 months into widowhood)

Prior to my sweetheart's illness, I was known to write a letter now and then, but keeping and sharing our journal brought something to the light that I didn’t know about myself, until last year. Thanks to the many messages of encouragement along the way, I now think of myself as a writer and have experienced great joy from sharing our story. It blows me away that as busy as everyone’s lives are, so many of you are still following my journey! That fact is a tremendous blessing to me!

Much to my delight, the new church I am attending has a significant focus on the arts. I was excited when I learned that there is a writers group that meets once a month. The art director collects submitted written work from the group members and prints it in an in-house publication titled Inklings. This takes place four times a year, for distribution in the coffee bar~gallery area, where people gather for meetings and fellowship. It is also available to read online.

Being involved with the writers group has required some steps outside of my comfort zone, but has opened up a whole new avenue of inspiration for me. I have attended two meetings and last month’s gathering introduced me to a form of traditional Japanese poetry that I was not familiar with called Haiku (high-coo). Most English and home school teachers have their middle school students give it a try. There are a few simple rules. The poetry is comprised of three lines. The first line has five syllables, the second line has seven syllables and the third line has five syllables, hence, the 5, 7, 5 rule and the words can… but, need not rhyme. You must sum up your thoughts in very few words and each one is it’s own little story. As a warm up exercise, our art director challenged us to try our hand at it. Then, we were invited to share our Haiku with the group if we so desired.

That day, I was in cleaning mode when I woke, so I was inspired to write about that.

This new day began.
Urge to clean, how can that be?
Love when that happens!

I was hooked! For the rest of the night and all of the next several days, all I could think about was Haiku. Before our writers meeting broke up, our director invited us to email our Haiku to her. So I sent her a handful of mine. They are all about our journey… our story: past, present and future. I am very excited to have my writings included in this issue of Inklings, which is now available at the church and also online. I have included my Haiku below if you are curious or interested. I can’t wait to read the work that all the other writers submitted. I encourage you to try Haiku for yourself. It’s fun and anyone can do it! Please share yours with us. I am greatly encouraged and inspired by this new opportunity to share my writing. I know it will be instrumental in my healing process, just as my Carepage continues to be!

A Life Shared

Once upon a time,
You were here with me to share
Life, love and laughter.


New Year’s Day began.
How could we know…that in spring,
You would meet your Lord?


Breathing in and out
And moving forward with Him
One day at a time


Surrender my love
To the Maker of our souls.
You are with Him now!

Death Of A Dream

The death of a dream,
Different future it seems;
Your will for mine Lord.

Joy Will Come Again

Weary, worn, broken,
But joy comes in the morning.
Speak to my heart Lord.


Wounds heal… scars remain,
Where your love dwells in my heart.
Made whole once again.

Tandem Journey

Never forsaken.
Alone, but never lonely.
The Lord walks with me.

Thank you for continuing to care about my journey of restoration. God is doing good, exciting and wonderful things in my life! I am so thankful!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Better And Not So NICE!!!

Posted Sep 17, 2010 917 months into widowhood)

My life has taken a drastic u-turn, returning me to my home full-time, as my role of caretaker is no longer needed. Thank you to all of you who have prayed for my mom; she still needs the prayer support. I wish I could report that she is doing much better, but she is still dealing with nerve pain and her physical therapy takes its’ toll on her. However, she is living somewhat independently as she so desired. I know Mom is happy to have us out of her hair.

Since returning to my home, I have been doing so much better emotionally and I have been trying to restore the order I crave and catch up on my homeowner responsibilities. One task I was dreading was some outdoor painting. The exterior of my home is pretty much maintenance free as we planned, but the outside doorways needed painting, because our home arrived with only a primer coat. The final coat was our responsibility. Two years worth of exposure to the elements was starting to make the primer disappear. I knew I couldn’t procrastinate any longer.

Did I mention I hate to paint! That would be because, even with all my efforts to do a good job and doing all the prep work, I still inevitably make a mess in spite of the fact that I am the slowest painter you will ever know! If my Bofren were still here, this would have been his job, which he would have tackled with no problem. He was quick and gifted in his painting skills and rarely even used a drop cloth. He always did a fine job, effortlessly! I try so hard to paint neatly, but it never happens. I always end up with paint all over my hands and clothes. I wear my painting uniform because I know myself. I would be embarrassed to mention how long this project took, but I was semi-pleased with the outcome, and moving on to the clean up process.

I had been using a children’s sand bucket full of water to clean my paintbrush. My plan was to dispose of the milk colored water, down my kitchen drain, as I don’t have a utility sink. I was one step away from my target, when the handle on the bucket broke and I was facing an enormous mess! The diluted paint decorated all my lower cabinets and very quickly spread across three quarters of my sizable kitchen floor. I surprised myself with the volume of the four-lettered word that slipped from my tongue. I am happy to be able to say that the not so colorful word that escaped was a hardy: NICE! Had my neighbor not been operating his weed eater, I know he would have heard me.

At first, I was frozen with shock, but knew I better think fast or it was going to get a lot worse. So, I grabbed a bunch of my white bath towels and corralled the pond as best I could. Then, I cried as I cleaned up the mess! Crying over a gallon of spilled milk seemed quite legitimate to me.

So, obviously, I have more reason to detest painting. I still have the final coat to apply, so I solicit your prayers for tomorrows project. Never again, will I use a children’s bucket to do an adult’s bucket job! Thanks for checking in on me.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Waterworks, Giving Thanks For Treasured Memories And Adjusting Focus

Posted Sep 2, 2010 ( 16 months into widowhood)

It doesn’t take much to inspire the tear ducts these days; a well shaped gray beard on a round face, a muscular arm, a large hand with stocky fingers, a couple in church with an arm around the shoulders, or a couple holding hands in public and of course, any personal memory of the man I loved so much. I have been extra sensitive and so easily brought to waterworks, as my 10 year-old granddaughter, Kaylei, referred to her Nana’s teary eyes last week.

Kaylei, along with her seven year old sister, Aalyssa, and I spent the afternoon at Muddy Run Recreation Park the Friday before school started. We had a pleasant time together picnicking and they played on the playground while I took pictures. We had fun playing one of their favorite games: Timber, which I had brought from home. We went for a couple walks and the second one brought back a flood of memories that I just couldn’t hide. Aalyssa held my hand and did her best to comfort me as we walked the same path my sweetheart and I had tread so many times.

Muddy Run was a favorite local destination where my Bofren and I often went hiking around the man-made lake. We spent many hours and walked many miles on the beautiful grounds there. It was during one of those hikes that we once saw an eagle at close range. Oftentimes, we would drive through the park just before sunset to hopefully catch a glimpse of the many deer that lived within the park’s fenced walls. The girls and I saw several deer during our walk on that beautiful afternoon.

I was having a classic pajama day one day last week…waking at noon and having no will or energy to get out of bed. My day was off to an emotional start while I studied the engagement ring on my finger, which Buck had given me 13 years ago. The memories from one of the best days of my life left me torn with bittersweet feelings. On one hand, reliving the cherished moments brought such joy as I thought about the romantic day Buck had planned for us; but the painful reality of his absence took over …and now again as I write …and the grief makes it hard to breathe.

It was a gorgeous early-August day and we had set out to celebrate my birthday. Buck was taking me back to Skyline Drive, where we had fallen in love on our first date. He had spoken many times of a particular trail that he wanted to hike with me. It was steep and rugged, but the beautiful view was more than rewarding! There was a narrow ledge at the summit that overlooked the many wooded peaks and valleys in the distance below. This overhang was where we enjoyed the Chinese carryout dinner he had picked up just before entering the Shenandoah National Park. Although it was summer, it was cool and breezy at that elevation and the ledge gave us privacy and protection from the wind as we watched the sunset. It remains a magical memory and a favorite among the many experiences Buck provided for me.

I was very full from our Chinese picnic cuisine, when my Bofren pulled a box of Crackerjacks out of his backpack. He had to do some coaxing to persuade me to join him. At his insistence, we shared the caramelized popcorn, until I came to the toy surprise. Inside the wrapper I found my engagement ring and a note in his handwriting asking: Will you marry me? I was beside myself with excitement as he slipped the lovely marquise diamond onto my finger. I loved its simplicity and was utterly delighted with his choice! Talk about a mountaintop experience! Buck had gone to great lengths to make sure his marriage proposal would be a highlight that would live forever in our hearts.

A few weeks ago, I was talking to Aalyssa on the phone and she asked how I was doing. I told her that I had been feeling sad a lot lately because I have been missing her Pepaw. She quickly replied, “Well, read a book or something; get your mind off of it and maybe you’ll feel better, Nana”. I had to smile and thought: if only it were that simple.

I have been contemplating how I handled my grief before Easter, when I experienced a great healing of my emotions. I remember that I deliberately choose Joy and searched for things that brought delight and pleasure in spite of my brokenness. It is important to embrace one’s grief and to give yourself permission to grieve, but it is equally imperative to deliberately change your focus after a time, so as not to get stuck in grief and sadness. I don’t want that to be my identity.

I didn’t pick up a book as my seven year old granddaughter recommended, but I did get my mind off my sadness by thinking about something else. I decided to count my blessings again, for they are so many and I felt better as I thanked God for His Love , Strength, Grace and Comfort, as well as for my family and friends, who have loved and supported me so well as I continue on my journey! Thank you Aalyssa, for helping your Nana to adjust her focus and to feel better because of your suggestion… Out of the mouth of babes!

Yesterday would have been Buck's 62nd birthday. It wasn't as hard to face as I anticipated. Thanking the Lord for the wonderful years we shared! A thankful heart is a happier heart!

This is a message from a sweet friend in response to my post that day. I pray it will bless and encourage your heart as it did mine.

Continuing to pray for you as you face this next chapter of your life. A recent quote I read said "We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us." I know this may not be much comfort because of what you had to give up...your loving Bofren. But I pray it may give you hope for what God has waiting for you. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mowing By Moonlight

Posted Aug 19, 2010 (One year and four months into widowhood)

My new role as my mom’s caretaker has created an opportunity for neglect of some normal homeowner responsibilities. Last night, I mowed my lawn by moonlight and lawn tractor headlights. It was 8:30ish when I made the last pass around my front yard and for the first time, I had to mow my stone driveway. Weeds are not discriminatory about where they live are they? I have decided it is time to get some estimates on what it will cost for a blacktop driveway. Necessity is always my most potent motivator.

As it darkened, it was harder to see of course, and I couldn’t help but think: I wonder what my front yard is going to look like when daylight arrives tomorrow. I never cut the grass in the dark before. Just for the record, I still love mowing the lawn in the daylight or the dark. I find it very therapeutic and I understand why my Bofren also enjoyed tending to this seasonal task. I thought for sure, the morning would inspire a giggle or two via some crazy pattern on the lawn; but this morning I was surprised to see that it wasn’t obvious that I couldn’t see what I was doing last night. I could have used a good belly laugh, as I have to confess…joy has been in short supply lately, since another round of the grief wave has shown its' ugly face again.

I thought I was past these intense feelings of vulnerability and emotional pain, but now each remembrance makes my heart hurt. Consequently, I also felt that I had disappointed my Lord, since I had shared that He had healed my emotions on Easter. I still believe He did just that. He healed my heart in an amazing way for nearly four months. How thankful I am, that I was able to share how powerfully He removed my grief. It is a part of my testimony that I will always treasure, because I know without a doubt, it was a personal miracle just for me! Perhaps it was to prepare me for the difficult season I’m in now: a new valley full of challenges and the unknown.

It seems a new wave of grief arrived with my family’s new situation. My very wise daughter, Sarah, pointed out that this is another huge "first" without Buck at my side. He would have been such a comfort to me throughout this new season. My parents thought so highly of my sweetheart; they miss him too! I would have leaned on him heavily and he would have been the one I looked to for support, wisdom and his problem solving skills. I know he would have been so willing to do whatever he could to help my family through this time of transition from individual home to apartment living. Now that I am a widow, I'm depending on the Lord to help me to be there for my parents one day at a time. It is the desire of my heart to be a blessing to my parents during this difficult and demanding time of upheaval and change from everything once familiar to them.

I need to constantly ask God to help me not to worry about tomorrow. His Word commands us: Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34. Many of us are in the midst of such a valley, with a different set of circumstances. I encourage all of us to talk to God often and to look to Him to help us through today…strength for today, just as He promised.

Friday, February 7, 2014

A New Season

Posted Aug 3, 2010 ( a year and four months into widowhood)

Sunday was my second birthday without my Bofren at my side. These significant days continue to be very difficult emotionally, in spite of the healing God performed in my heart on Easter Day. I thought it might be easier this year, but the truth is, it was more painful this time than last year. I’m certain that the circumstances of my new role as caretaker and my lack of sleep the night prior, greatly influenced my emotional condition on Sunday. The tears flowed freely as I revisited my beloved Mt. Zion for worship.The Pastors message was a perfect reminder that God is an unchanging constant whom we can always turn to regardless of the circumstances of our realities. I am so thankful to know and to be able to depend on that truth, having experienced the challenges of the past and seeing God’s hand in every turn; it makes it so much easier to face the future.

Some of my dearest friends: Tom and Ricky, made my birthday special by treating me to a wonderful dinner at The Cracker Barrel and later a visit with my daughter, Sarah, and her family, greatly raised my spirits. I was also very blessed to see an eagle fly across the roadway at close range, as I drove across a bridge on the way to Sarah’s home. Seeing that immense wingspan and majestic white head and tail always thrills me to my core! After a very pleasant time spending the next day with Sarah and my grandchildren, getting some much needed fresh air and exercise on a five mile walk, I thought I was doing better; when on my way home, I heard a song on the radio that always reduces me to tears. It happens every time, but this time it produced an ugly cry that has been brewing for several months.

The song has great significance to me, as it is one of the songs we used as background music for Buck’s memorial slideshow, that Sarah so lovingly put together to depict and summarize Buck’s life. This song was the backdrop for his hospital days and ends with a picture of my sweetheart on the roof of the garage he was building. He had his hands held high, just as many of us remember him doing so often and openly in church, to praise his Heavenly Father, whom he loved so much! The song was wrapping up as I pulled into my driveway and I could visualize his silhouette against the evening sky, inspiring the painful sobs once again. I have posted the lyrics and video below to this powerful song titled: Praise You In This Storm by Casting Crowns.

The Bible says we will have trials and tribulation in this life and we all know that is true. Life is full of ups and downs and my new assignment as caretaker brings new challenges and responsibilities. I just want to continue to testify about God’s Faithfulness and the way He sustains me in supplying the daily strength and all I need as my journey goes on. I can’t imagine how my life might be without Him. It is my prayer that all of you have or will experience what the Lord offers to all of us who depend on and have Faith in Him. He is always there for us, the never-changing God! “…I will never leave you or forake you” Hebrews 13:5. HIS WORD IS TRUE!!!

Praise You in This Storm by Casting Crowns
words by Mark Hall/music by Mark Hall and Bernie Herms

I was sure by now,God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining
as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone how can I carry on
if I can't find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away

I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth

Monday, January 13, 2014

Summer Memories

Posted Jun 13, 2010 (One year into widowhood)
Heavy heartedness has been my companion several times this week as I enter my second summer without my sweetheart. The emotions arrive each time one of my favorite symbols of the new season appears announcing that summer is upon us once again.
On Monday, May 31st, I expressed my feelings in my daily journal: another message to my sweetheart. ~ Well Bofren, it’s 8:30 PM on this Memorial Day, almost dusk, and the yard is coming alive with tiny golden lights: the first light show of the season. The magic of the twinkling dancers begins on the ground and slowly ascends until the throng of tiny jewel-like amber flashes find their way to the treetops and back and forth between the earth and sky. The lightning bugs are a tangible proclamation that summer is here! Like so many other things, the appearance of one of my favorite signs of summer brings you to the forefront of my mind. The tears spill as I relive sharing these treasured moments from summers past with you. I miss you and contemplate if there are seasons in heaven. I wonder how we would have celebrated today, if you were still here.
In rereading the paragraph above, I had to smile to myself, because I never talked to my husband like that- only in my heart. Buck never would have tolerated so many words! He really didn’t know that part of me very well. That realization made me feel sad to the point of tears just now and then just as suddenly I had to laugh out loud knowing that my sweetheart would have summed it up by saying, “The lightning bugs are back!”

Last week, I swayed on the glider as I sat on the wonderful front porch that Buck and I built together. It was Buck’s highest priority after our new modular home was delivered and set on our foundation. We worked on the porch floor while the builders finished the inside work. Buck was anxious to finish the porch, so we could use that outdoor living space before we moved in. Most evenings, I would prepare our meals in our camper and serve them on the porch. Our home was set in mid-June of 2008, but wasn’t ready to move into until the end of September. I’m so thankful we were able to enjoy our front porch throughout most of the summer while we waited.
As I enjoyed the glider that night, I was blessed with a double light show as the blinking dancers had already started their performance and I watched real lightning as it flashed in the northeastern sky. Buck taught me that the storms often follow the path of the Susquehanna River, just a few miles from our home. We loved watching the lightning in the distance as it made its’ journey along the river. Enjoying our porch quickly became a new favorite pastime.
I have a memory from our first summer together that made me question the sanity of this man I had fallen in love with.. It was during our courtship days, when a terrible storm was brewing with lightning, loud claps of thunder, scary, high winds, and dark, ominous clouds. Buck was driving me home in the late afternoon, as the storm gathered strength in the north. I was looking forward to getting to safe shelter, as we were on my road, very close to my home. Imagine my surprise, when Buck decided to turn just before my driveway onto a road that would lead us in the direction of the storm! Did I mention that Buck loved thunderstorms? I also love to observe them FROM A DISTANCE! Buck’s sense of adventure inspired him to want to get closer and my common sense made me very vocal about my opinion that he was insane and I wanted to get home NOW! Thankfully, he never did that again, at least when I was with him anyway. On the other hand, he may have been a storm chaser, when he traveled alone.
I often eat my meals on the porch and tonight I was treated to a pleasant surprise. A hummingbird came to visit my geraniums. It was the first time I have seen one here. It’s brief visit inspired tears again, as I remembered how much Buck and I enjoyed watching them at our old house on that porch. One of my last Christmas gifts for him was a hummingbird feeder, which he never got to use. Time to find the perfect place to hang it in his memory! Once I get past the initial sadness that the memories bring, I find great joy in all these wonderful summer blessings.