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.

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.