Monday, September 30, 2013

Weekend Away

The last time I visited my sister, who lives 6 hours away in another state, Amy was with us. My oldest daughter, and Amy and I attended the high school graduation of my nephew. He is now a junior in college.

Amy loved that trip! She always liked to travel and her aunt, uncle and cousins loved her and made her feel so special. 

My husband and I just got back yesterday from a weekend there. We had a nice and relaxing time. They have a house on a lake and it was so beautiful and the weather was perfect.  
My sister and I did a little shopping. 
The guys watched football and ate pizza.
We went to their church and I cried during worship, remembering the last time Amy was there and the music. 
She loved the music! They have a full band and wonderful vocalists. Last time we happened to meet another family with a Rett girl and so I looked around for them this time but didn't see them.  It might have been really hard to see her, but I wonder if she is ok. We didn't keep in contact and my sister didn't know the family. (Her church is really large.)

I always thought Amy would be  with us forever! I never considered that she might die in a few short years. If only I could give her a hug, just one more time.  

I had hoped for a time when my husband and I might be able to travel if the Lord decided to take Amy home, but I never let my mind go there and never thought it would be a reality NOW.

We did have a good time. It just seemed so strange to not have Amy with us or know she was waiting back home. We stopped about an hour before we got home for a bite to eat and they were selling giant KitKat bars by the register. Amy loved KitKats. I told my husband how weird it felt to not have her with us anymore. We always tried to go away for a weekend every year, just my husband and me, so this was no different than any other of our weekends away. I voiced this to him. My husband is a man of few words, so when he does speak, it is worth listening to. He said that whenever we were away before I always worried. No matter how much we enjoyed ourselves, I always worried about Amy. No matter who was taking care of her, I always worried. 

I realized that was it. That is what was so strange to me. 
I didn't have to worry about Amy.
I don't have to worry about Amy anymore. 
She is in God's hands. He is taking care of her. 

And this little cutie was waiting for us when we got home. 
Her name is Little Bit and we call her Bitty. She is 3 months old.

Praise God for His marvelous beauty in nature.

Praise Him for worship and thought provoking preaching. 
Praise Him for safety on the road.
Praise Him for family.
Praise God for Amy.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Three Years Ago

Three years ago today we were 2000 miles away, attending the wedding of our son. 
Amy loved that trip! 
I had made her a special dress. The dress, that less than three years later she was buried in.  
I made a special vest of the same material as her dress to cover up the black vest that was used to hold her up straight in her wheel chair. I also made a blue cover for her right elbow splint because she would chew on that hand. 

That vest cover and the splint cover have been thrown away. The arm splints and wheel chairs have been given away to those who could use them.

Amy no longer needs any help to sit up right. She can walk and run. She can sing praises to God and does not shed tears like I am doing right now.

Oh dear God why can't I be happy for her? Why am I in so much pain? I know she is with you and happy. Will I ever be able to move on? I can't wait to see her again. To be with her in heaven. 
I don't sorrow as one who has no hope. 
But I do sorrow. 

Come quickly, Lord Jesus. Take us all home to be with you.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Dancing With Jesus

I have really enjoyed my daily study in the book of John. Anytime that death is talked about, it is like I am reading it for the first time! I loved the story of Lazarus. I  wonder if Jesus' tears were for having to bring Lazarus back into this world and take him away from heaven rather than because He was so sad that he died.  The Bible says that the people saw Jesus' tears and said, "Look how much He loved him!"  I am reassured every time I read His words of His love for me and for Amy. 
Yesterday I read a portion that was one that Amy also enjoyed so much. 

1 John 14:1-3
 “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also."

I talked about heaven a lot with Amy. We would dream together about what it would be like to be there and she would be able to talk to me and we would sing praises together.  We would run and ride horses together and climb mountains. Now I guess I can't say "would" but need to say I will...... but Amy is........... now doing those very things. I am waiting for that day that we CAN do those things together. 

I stopped by the cemetery one day and they were installing her memorial stone. My youngest daughter and I went back that afternoon and I just fell to ground and sobbed.  I have been waiting for the stone, but it seemed so final, so horrible and awful. I caressed the butterfly and Amy's name. It is the worst thing ever to see your child's name engraved on a tombstone.  I used to enjoy wandering around cemeteries. I don't know if I could ever do that anymore.  
We just wanted a simple stone. What Amy would have wanted. I'm going to take her butterfly and angel lights back tomorrow and plant some crocus and daffodil bulbs that will come up in the spring. 

I started fall cleaning this week and stored away all my garden items that I keep handy in the house during the spring and summer. It brought such sadness to me. I never took the time to set up the humming bird feeder and even stopped feeding the songbirds halfway through the summer. I just didn't care at the time and now it is gone. It seemed that we didn't even have spring and summer this year. Time has a way of swiftly moving on, but yet standing still when someone in your life is missing. 

But I guess that is my whole problem. Amy is not missing. She is more found than I am right now.  I still feel so lost without her. 

I am doing my best to hold on and receive comfort from the Word. 
Today's reading had these words:

John 15: 9-11
"Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.  These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full."
I so look forward to that day when my joy will be made full!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Because She Lived!

I have been crazy busy this past week with therapy, a doctor's visit, getting apples at the orchard, shopping with my daughter and going to a Beth Moore conference! My knee is doing much better, but I sure can tell when I abuse it. I had already spent about an hour and a half on my feet at Hobby Lobby before my appointment and the doctor told me that I was doing good to do that much. Well, we proceeded to shop for a couple more hours after that! Why not?

Somehow I found the time to finally finish the bathroom. It was the bathroom that Amy and I had shared together so I had all my stuff and Amy's stuff in various drawers and cupboards. My husband's stuff has set in boxes on the floor or crowded on the counter for the last 4 weeks! It was time to get it done! I had already sorted through Amy's stuff so I didn't think it would be an emotional event for me, I had just kept putting it off because I knew we had too much stuff for the space I had to store it. I also brought down the medicines from the cabinet upstairs in the bathroom as I wanted everything down in this bathroom.
In the process of sorting through things, I discovered some of Amy's toiletries that had been put in under the sink when her room was prepared to be turned into a sort of hospital room when she came home. I knew it was there, but I guess I had ignored it the best I could. I was able to reorganize that without tears. Then I was sorting through the medicines and came across some of the items that at the time of her death, I had decided to keep as they could still be used. Tiny bottles of peroxide, liquid Tylenol, gaze bandages, etc. I couldn't bear to be remembered of our time in the hospital and her few days here at home when she had to still use some of those things, so I just put them in a box to give away. I just wanted what I knew was hers out of my sight. I still managed to not cry but just cringed thinking of why we had to use that stuff. (I will share Amy's last month eventually, I just can't face it yet.) 
Being the OCD person that I am at times, I decided I needed to cover the shelves and drawers with the liner paper that I had already purchased about a year ago that was just sitting in the corner of the closet. I even contemplated painting the inside of the cupboard, but realized that I was using that idea to procrastinate more so than to beautify! So I continued on to the last which was the travel bags that still had toiletries in them and needed to be cleaned out. I had forgotten that Amy had a small one of her own. Inside was a comb, lip gloss, a few hair ties, deodorant, and a small bottle of perfume. I could no longer hold it together, but completely lost it. Knowing we would never take any more trips together tore me apart. I rubbed the lip gloss on my lips and smelled the perfume and even cherished a few strands of hair that was caught up in the hair bands. I still feel at times that my heart is being ripped out of my chest and that I just can't go on without her. My sweet darling Amy, I miss you so very very much.

That evening some dear friends of ours called to let us know they will be visiting in a few weeks. I was so happy and blessed that I bawled my head off again. I met my friend when I was 17 and she 16 and we worked for the summer at Mount Rushmore National Park. We were in each others weddings, have kept in touch, and visited as often as we can as we live 6 states apart! Her children are close to the same ages as mine, but she proceeded to have seven more children after I did!  I can't wait to see her and her husband in about three weeks.
Another friend, I have mentioned a few times in this blog-the one with the red haired baby boy, had a new little boy this week. What a blessing to have a new healthy life enter this world. I can't wait to see him and give him a little squeeze.
Another blessing this week was to attend an all day conference with my daughter and two friends. Even though we sang two of Amy's songs, "Victory in Jesus" and "Amazing Grace, My Chains are Gone" and I cried so much I was afraid I would be sick, I was still able to listen and learn what God was trying to teach me about legalism. I will share that in another blog post.

Before I continued my Bible study one morning I asked God to show me something special that would comfort my heart. I am in the book of John now and I am enjoying it very much. This is what spoke to me that morning:

John 9:1-3
As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.  And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?”  Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him."

That the works of God might be displayed. Yes, this was true about my Amy. That the works of God might be displayed in her. And even though she is gone, I can still see God's work in my life and the lives of others who knew her, because she lived! 

The next chapter is also a favorite of mine. The story of the Good Shepherd. Verses 27-30 of chapter 10 are very dear to me now.

"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;  and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.  I and the Father are one."

Someday I will see Amy again and I will see her with Jesus. I can't wait for that day! 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Only by God's Grace

Yesterday marked the 5th month. I was able to go to church and be blessed by many friends giving hugs and listening to my oldest play "It is Well With My Soul" for the offertory.  I had a few tears, but I made it through the morning, only by God's grace.

Today is my mothers 83rd birthday. I talked with her this afternoon for awhile. She has experienced the death of a daughter, as my sister, Erin, passed away from melanoma when she was 41 years old. Mama says she pictures Erin and Amy running and singing together. She is older than me by 8 years and so she was like a second mother to me. I picture Erin brushing Amy's hair, teaching her to do some of those crazy 60's dances and both of them laughing together. 

I just read one of my favorite blogs. It ended so perfectly. With a butterfly on a thistle bush.
My life is sure different than Ann's, but I have still have pain as we all do.
These words jumped out at me.

"God only allows pain if He’s allowing something new to be born."
"Drink the thankful sweet out of each thistle —
because this is how you fly."

"And it’s right there at the beginning….
and it’s quite something….
how even at the sharpest edge of things –
there are wings."

Read the whole post here:
  How to live through the hard weeks

Picture by Ann Voskamp
And this was my favorite quote of her writing today:

"Christianity is the only hope for this broken world because there’s no other way for the broken to get the Nails they need to rebuild."

Saturday, September 7, 2013


Tomorrow it will be five months. 
All day today I kept thinking about what happened the last full day of Amy's life. 
It was a Sunday. We had our own worship service in Amy's bedroom. We sang songs, shared some Scripture, sang some more and talked about heaven. Amy was so weak, she wasn't able to smile anymore but her eyes told us she enjoyed it. We had a few friends visit, and before bed we let Amy finish watching a movie that she started the night before that I had given to her for her birthday. We all watched it with her and I don't think I will ever watch it again. It will bring too much pain. ( We Bought A Zoo)  
If we had known it was to be her last night on earth, would we have done something different? 
I assumed she had a few days left. My oldest said she felt the time was near.  My daughters and I stayed down in her bedroom that night taking turns being in bed with her. She didn't sleep that I know of.  I quietly prayed, sang with her, talked about heaven and tried to keep the tears away, when I was with her. It was easier when I had to be strong for her than it is now.
The next day, as I have written before, Amy's soul left her body around noon. 
Tomorrow is Sunday. We plan on going to Sunday School and Church. I would like to stay home and hide but I know I must not. How can I ever get through the morning, knowing that about the time the service is ending, is when I held my sweet Amy for the last time?  
I know that God will give me strength and comfort, but I am afraid.
Will the 8th of each month always bring me pain? 

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

 "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ."

Thursday, September 5, 2013

It's been a hard week.

This has been a hard week. I think when I am in physical pain that the emotional pain is harder to keep under control. I have cried a lot.

I couldn't bring myself to go to church Sunday. Sometimes it is just too hard to be around other people.  I know that it is not that way with most people. I have said in the past I have never been a people-person; I've always been content to stay at home with Amy. I also know that some people would say, "Just make yourself go and you'll feel better."  Well, that is not me. It is hard for me to always be fake if I'm not feeling well, and I hate crying in front of others outside my family.

We had a girls night and my daughters (my daughter-in-law is considered one of my daughters) went to the theater to see a movie. We had a good time. Hurrying to get there, ordering the refreshments, fighting over who would pay, and then seeing previews! I enjoy the previews sometimes as much as I enjoy seeing the movie. Then the movie started and the tears soon after that. Although none of my daughters cried, it must be where I'm at in my life right now. We went to see "The Butler." 
Spoiler:  If you plan on seeing the movie--skip to the next paragraph!  It is based on a true story about an African American man who witnesses his father's murder as a boy, goes on to become a butler in the White House under the administrations from Eisenhower through Reagan.  In the years between he has two sons and the oldest joins the freedom movement and the other goes to Vietnam. The youngest gets killed in the war and the butler turns his back on his oldest as he joins Malcom X in his quest for freedom and justice.  His son eventually turns around, goes to college, becomes a politician and then works to free South Africa. His father finally reconciles with him and in the end after his wife dies he lives to see the election of an African American to the White House. I cried through most of the movie. I don't think I'm up to seeing reality movies for awhile.

As our kids were away on labor day, my husband and I went to Lowes and bought some supplies for our bedroom remodel. As in the past we enjoyed ourselves but on the way home I started crying again. I finally realized why I enjoy getting away so much, but the coming home is hard. It is because Amy is not here and I feel I have no purpose without her. Again, I hear voices telling me to find a purpose! Just do something! But I'm not ready to get involved in anything yet. I just don't want to commit to something and then not be able to continue. I'm trying to get the house done and that is what keeps me busy right now. After our bedroom is done, I'm going to fix up our old room upstairs with Amy's stuff and that can be used as a guest room. Right now, all of her stuff is still in our dining room and I know I need to do that job soon.  I enjoy decorating, but it still is hard. Memories of Amy always haunt me. I hope some day I can say they bring me joy.  When I am done with the house I will see what God directs me to do. Pray for a purpose for me, for my life. I know He has one for me. 

Today, after therapy, I went to Wal-Mart and told myself I was not going to stop at the cemetery on the way home, because it would just bring more tears. All the garden stuff was on sale and I saw this beautiful solar lighted angel and I knew I had to get it for her grave.  So I stopped at the cemetery. There is still no headstone yet and just all the dirt with a few flowers we  planted. I hope it is in place before winter sets in. It will just be a comfort to me to know that it is finished. I wanted to have her buried here on the farm, but my husband didn't. I know that was the right choice now, because Amy's teacher told me that she stopped by and even stopped by with one of the "kids" from her school. I never thought about that before. I was so much into my own pain that I never stopped to think about other people wanting to visit her grave also. 

I still haven't stopped by her school yet. I want to at least by Christmas and take  in some treats. It will be hard. But I know I need to do it. 

There was one wonderful thing that happened this week that brings me joy. We got a kitten! We named her Little-Bit because she is so tiny. I don't have a very good picture yet. She is an outside kitty and she finally is getting used to our dog and three other old cats. She has also finally stopped crying for her siblings and mother. Poor little thing! I love to cuddle her.
She kept falling asleep and her paws would slip off the bench or her head would bob! I got a picture through the screen so I wouldn't wake her up. Isn't she adorable? Amy would have loved her and her nice soft fur!