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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, 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. 

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