Saturday, November 8, 2014

Amy's Legacy

1. a gift of property, especially personal property, as money, by will; a bequest.
2. anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor: the legacy of ancient Rome.

Today is the 19th month anniversary of Amy's leaving us. 
Has it gotten any easier?
In some ways. But I don't think my life will ever be the same; there will always be this sadness that is now a part of my soul. There are still tears, times where I feel like I can't go on. But there are more times of peace, contentment and joy than there are tears. 

Tis the season.....right?
Last year I tried to avoid Christmas. We went away for three weeks. I couldn't abide being here. 
This year we are staying home. We are facing Christmas. We are going to celebrate the best we can. 
It was painful to get out the fall decorations. I can't imagine how painful it will be to get out the Christmas ones! But I'm going to do it. 
Coming home from a shopping trip with my oldest a few days ago, we drove through a little town that always has a huge Christmas tree lit up right alongside the road. It was already lit! I was still weepy from the movie and this was just too much. Amy loved seeing Christmas lights. She loved to see that tree on our yearly shopping trip. Sometime the missing is so intense. I cried buckets.

A few weeks ago I heard the promo for a new song and I finally found it on YouTube. I have enjoyed the music of Mark Shultz since I first heard his song, "He's My Son" in 1998 or 99.  When I saw the promo for this new song I knew it would touch my heart, but not expecting it to so dramatically say what I am going through this year.

A Different Kind of Christmas
by Mark Shultz

Snow is falling Christmas Eve
Lights are coming on up and down the street
The sound of carols fills the air
And people rushing home, families everywhere

Putting candles in the windows
Lights upon the tree
But there's no laughter in this house
Not like there used to be
There's just a million little memories
That remind me you're not here
It's just a different kind of Christmas this year

In the evening fires glow
Dancing underneath the mistletoe
A letter left from Santa Claus
Won't be the same this year in this house because

There's one less place set at the table
One less gift under the tree
And a brand new ache to take their place inside of me
I'm unwrapping all these memories
Fighting back the tears
It's just a different kind of Christmas this year

There's voices in the driveway
Families right outside the door
And we'll try to make this Christmas like the ones we've had before
As we gather round the table, I see joy on every face
And I realize what's still alive is the legacy you made

It's time to put the candles in the windows, the lights upon the tree
It's time to fill this house with laughter like it used to be
Just because you're up in heaven, doesn't mean you're not near
It's just a different kind of Christmas
It's just a different kind of Christmas this year

The last lines shook me to my core.

And I realize what's still alive is the legacy Amy madeIt's time to put the candles in the windows, the lights upon the tree
It's time to fill our home with laughter like it used to be
Just because Amy's up in heaven, doesn't mean she's not near
It's just a different kind of Christmas this year.

But what is Amy's legacy?  She didn't own property, she didn't have anything of worldly value that she left to us. She couldn't speak or write, so there is not even anything in print that was from her hand. What is her legacy?

These are some of the things that Amy left me:

--because of Amy I have the ability to see all forms of disabilities with love and compassion 
--Amy loved with unconditional love.No matter my physical or mental pain, can I love others the way she taught me to love?
--Because of her love for certain things I have the knowledge of every line to Veggie Tales and Disney movies memorized. (I'm trying my best to forget Hannah Montana).

I asked my husband to think on this and gave him a few days. He said that Amy's legacy is the impact she made on other people. 

If Amy made an impact on your life, if she changed you somehow by knowing her, if she left you a legacy............
will you tell me? 
I need to know to be able to DO Christmas this year. 
I need to know that her life meant something to others beside just me.  
Please comment, message me, email me, or the old fashioned way of writing a note. 
I am going to print them out so I can remember, when I hit those low moments, of what Amy's legacy is.

Friday, October 31, 2014

So many deaths or so many gifts?

The last few weeks have been filled with grief.  A dear friend of ours that I have known for over 37 years, passed away unexpectedly. He was a man in some ways a lot like my husband, an avid outdoors man, a hard worker, dedicated to the church, and "keeper of stuff."   Unlike Bill,  he was father to 5, grandfather to many, even a great-grandfather to a few!   Two of his grandsons were in James and Laura's wedding. He and his dear wife made the trip all the way across the country to go to the wedding. At the wedding,  one grandson met Laura's sister and last year they were married. Another trip across the country!  The other grandson works with us in our business.
His funeral was one week ago. This was the first funeral I attended since Amy died. It was hard. Very hard. Especially when one of the songs, sung by some of his children and grands,  was "Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone."      Amy's Song.   I could hardly keep my sobs silent. 
He was a Marine, and like my daddy proud of it. They did the military salute at the end and with each gunshot I wondered if the next military funeral I would attend would be my Daddy's funeral.

Last evening I went to the first viewing I have been to since Amy died.  Bill and Emily have been to many viewings in the last 18 months. I did briefly attend one held in our church for a dear elderly lady who loved Amy so much. She was such a jewel, that I had to show my respect to her family.   But I just could not make myself go to a funeral home to a viewing. Last night I did.
Our neighbor, a few houses down the road, has been battling with cancer for about 4 years. A few weeks ago we became aware that she was home to stay as nothing more could be done. Just waiting. I would drive by her house and my heart would break as I knew what the family was going through. To my shame I never got to know her very well. But her sister is the mom of the two young men that were in James and Laura's wedding.  So much grief in this one dear family in such a short time. I felt the need to reach out and tell them how much I cared, but I did not. I only cried. 

To be able to be with someone as they live their final hours of life on this earth is a blessing, but also leaves memories that will never stop from hurting. Because those hours are the final hours of this life as we know it. Those hours are our final memories of our loved one.
All the memories of Amy's last few days, the plans for her funeral, the funeral itself, have been replaying in my mind. The worst part was giving in to the devil whispering in my ear that I never did enough for Amy. Those final hours I could have read to her more, I could have held her more, I could have held her longer once her life was gone, I could have looked at her longer one last time before that lid was shut on the casket. 
I could have.....I could have.........goes on and on and it is only the strength of God that gets me through each of my days. It is only  by His strength that I tell myself...... I did do enough!

It is only His strength that has carried this dear family through the last few weeks and only His strength that will get them through the days ahead. 

As Bill and I were coming home from somewhere a few days ago and pulling into the driveway, I was overwhelmed with the sadness of not having our dog come to greet us anymore. I said out loud to him, "Why has God taken so much away from us?"
My dear wise husband replied, "Why has God given us so many gifts?"