Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Does Time Heal Grief?

Does time heal all wounds?
Does time heal grief?

The first year I started this blog in 2013 after Amy died I wrote 55 posts. In 2014 I wrote 29 posts. Last year 14 and this year so far only 5.
Does that mean I'm healing, that as time passes my grief isn't as great? Or do I just not feel the need to share details of my life with whoever happens to read this? Does that mean I'm healing if I don't feel like sharing my soul anymore? Or have I just become better in my day to day life with others of concealing my pain? 

Amy died on the 8th. For months and months that day was so hard for me. Then we had new days to remember. A birth on the 10th, a wedding on the 15th, births on the 21st, and 23rd. Too many days to keep track of and somehow the eighth of each month passed and I would realize it didn't hurt as much anymore.  This last month on the 8th, I was walking for a cure for Crohn's and Colitis. This was the third year I walked for my little friend, Chloe.


Emily walked with me this year and it was so good to see all the people involved and to hear Chloe's speech as she was the honored hero!  Emily and I enjoyed a nice lunch out and shopping afterwards. When I got home I checked Facebook and my memories showed me that I had shared three blogs that day. When Amy had been gone 6 months, 18 months, and 2 and 1/2 years. I realized that this was the 3 1/2 year anniversary of her death and I didn't remember. I didn't remember! I immediately started crying and felt so guilty. But I realized that this meant I was healing and that was a good thing.

Last month Bill and I spent two weeks vacationing in the Black Hills. We had a great time, had fun with friends we met there forty years ago, saw a lot of the things we remembered and were amazed at some of the changes, and many, many times I thought of Amy. So many little things bring reminders of her. Although we made plans with our friends to meet there every 5 years, I have a feeling I will never go back.  
My friend and I met 40 years ago when we were roommates
working at Mount Rushmore for the summer.

Two weeks ago, Emily and I flew to Maine to visit my Mama. She lives with my sister, and my niece and her family live nearby. It was so good to see her and the family, but very hard, too. It will soon be the  first anniversary of my Daddy's death and to not see him when I visit Mama is really difficult. To see all her 'stuff' that has always been on the farm and now in her new home is comforting but just really hard. Our goodbye was difficult.  I don't know when the Lord will call her home. This life on earth has no promises. Only God has the promise of eternal life in heaven.

Isn't it so strange how one can smile for a camera but feel like they are crying on the inside? Before the tears could start falling, I said my goodbye quickly.  Once we were finally in the privacy of our car, after 4 hours of airport waiting,  our flight, and finding our car, I wept, wishing I would have hugged Mama one more time.
One More Time. Oh to have Amy back for one more hug. Or to have Daddy's arms around me one more time.

While Bill and I were in the Black Hills, Emily, Laura and a friend went to a Beth Moore simulcast.  
Emily shared with me some of the message and I decided to purchase a pass so I could watch it online. I was able to watch it before we went to Maine and I learned so much. The theme was that we each have a seat in the divine symphony and scripture is our visible concert master. At some point during the day "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" was sung. This was one of Amy's favorite songs and of course it brought tears to my eyes. To close the simulcast, Psalm 16:11 was shared.
"You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever." Then the worship team sang a medley of songs.  I was so touched with the choice of songs, I knew I had to share these with Mama when we visited. Emily and I were able to sing them with her and she asked us to type up the lyrics for her. Here is a brief account of the songs.
Soon and Very Soon
Soon and very soon we are going to see the King
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, were going to see the King
No more crying there, No more dying there,.......
I'll Fly Away
Some glad morning when this life is over, I'll fly away
To a home on God's celestial shore, I'll fly away,........
Unclouded Day
Oh they tell me of a home far beyond the skies
Oh they tell me of a home far away
Oh they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise
Oh they tell me of an unclouded day,........
Will the Circle be Unbroken
By and by Lord by and by
There's a better home a waiting
In the sky Lord in the sky...........
Do Lord
I've got a home in glory land that outshines the sun,
way beyond the blue............
Then they ended with Victory in Jesus
Another of Amy's favorites that we sang at her funeral.
The promises from the Word of God, shared in these songs sustained me while I was there, as did prayers from others.

We've been home a week now and I have experienced grief like I haven't for a very long time. I'm not sure what triggers it, so many things will remind me of Amy and Daddy. Yesterday I planted a few flower bulbs on her grave and cried and cried. I miss her so much. I just want this life to be over. The cares of this world seem to weigh me down. I'm so sick of politics and how it has stirred up division between my family. I get so sad that so many Christians can't see the needs in the rest of the world, but only care about America and their own little life. We had a family get together last evening to celebrate Bill's and Brad's birthdays and I had no desire to go. It was difficult, even the little ones didn't seem to lift my despair. But today I have felt better. Working through my feelings of the last months, writing this blog seems to help. And remembering....
Remembering the promises of God. Knowing that I am here for a reason. That God has a plan for my life, for a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

So will time heal all my wounds, will time heal my grief?
Yes!
But not in this life. Only in the life to come.
I'll end with one of my favorite authors.
“And as He spoke, He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before." C.S. Lewis "The Last Battle"

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Vacations

Almost every summer since I can remember, we have taken a vacation. Daddy was a hard working farmer, but he loved to travel and spend time with his family so we would try to go somewhere each summer. Sometimes it was to visit family in other states or travel to interesting sights within our own state.  The first vacation I can remember was to the Black Hills in South Dakota when I was 4. We stayed in a little camper and I loved it. The summer I turned 18 I was working in the concessions at Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills. I had just graduated from high school and was living in a dorm with other girls working there and that was the summer I met my future husband, Bill.
 When Bill and I got married we were too poor to travel much. Our first family vacation was when Amy was about 3 and we took a long weekend and went to Niagara Falls. I'll never forget the raincoats that Tessa and Amy had to wear to go 'under' the waterfalls. Amy's almost touched the ground and the sleeves were rolled up so many times her arms stuck out!  Then when Emily was 2 we went to Chincoteague Island in Virginia and we started taking vacations every year after that. Even though we had to save those dollars and sometimes do without the rest of the year we always 'got away' for awhile and Amy was always included. She was very small and easy to carry and we were young and full of energy ourselves. As the years passed it got harder. We took most of our vacations in September as we homeschooled and the crowds weren't as heavy then. Too soon Tessa went to college and we had one less on our family vacations. Then Emily left and then James. Our last 'vacation' as a complete family was to James' wedding in Montana. Although we all made our way there separately we stayed in a rental house for a few days together. 
On that trip Bill, Amy, and I started a new chapter in our lives as we journeyed out there together.  We took a few more vacations together, just the three of us. We visited Emily in South Carolina when she was in college, a wedding in South Dakota, my sister and her family in Maine, and then Amy died........
Last week Bill and I rented a yurt at a local state park for 3 nights. Bill, Emily and I stayed overnight and the rest of the family joined as much as work allowed them to. We were close enough for them to go home to sleep, making it easier for the little ones. We had extended family come one day and  dear "like family" friends visit two other days. Our last night there it was just us, Bill and I and our children and their children. But I felt like something was missing. Someone. We were a complete family, but one of my children was not there. It just didn't feel right. James brought his guitar and we sat around the campfire and sang. The little ones started bouncing and dancing to the music and my heart broke......
I was overcome with grief of missing my dear sweet precious Amy. She would have loved to be there with us. My oldest tried to comfort me and tell me she was there. But I couldn't see her or hold her. I miss her so much.....
Whether James planned to sing the song, "I am Free" or if it was just the next one in his book, I don't know. But I do know that God had it planned. This was one of the songs that was sung at Amy's funeral. The Associate Pastor, Laura and I sang it.

"I Am Free"
Through You the blind will see
Through You the mute will sing
Through You the dead will rise
Through You all hearts will praise
Through You the darkness flees
Through You my heart screams
I am free
Yes, I am free

I AM FREE TO RUN
(I AM FREE TO RUN)
I AM FREE TO DANCE
(I AM FREE TO DANCE)
I AM FREE TO LIVE FOR YOU
(I AM FREE TO LIVE FOR YOU)
I AM FREE
(I AM FREE)
YES I AM FREE
(I AM FREE)

Through You the kingdom comes
Through You the battle's won
Through You I'm not afraid
Through You the price is paid
Through You there's victory
Because of You my heart sings
I am free
Yes, I am free

I AM FREE TO RUN
(I AM FREE TO RUN)
I AM FREE TO DANCE
(I AM FREE TO DANCE)
I AM FREE TO LIVE FOR YOU
(I AM FREE TO LIVE FOR YOU)
I AM FREE
(I AM FREE)
YES I AM FREE
(I AM FREE)


Amy is free because of the You in this song, she can run and dance and sing. The You is Jesus. He has taken away her limitations of this earth and has truly set her free. I looked around at my husband, my three children, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law and my three sweet grandchildren. How could I not feel blessed? And because of Jesus, our family will be complete again.
Beautiful views of the lake and mountains.

Looking up through the ceiling in the yurt.

No running water, but microwave, stove top, and full size fridge.
Room enough for six at the table, but we always ate outside.

A double bunk on the bottom and single on the top
Single bunk beds

We had a huge area for the kids to play.

Our Yurt.
In a little over a week, Bill and I will be taking our own vacation. To the first place I can remember that was 'vacation' to me, where 40 years ago this summer Bill and I met and fell in love. The Black Hills of South Dakota.