Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Everything brings sadness

I thought once we got home from the holidays, I would start back up blogging about Amy's last month again and all would be well and I would be able to get on with my life.  Oh what a fool I am sometimes!

Three weeks have passed and I just haven't had the desire to share anything of my life or of Amy's story.  

As I said in the last blog, this is not my home, not my forever home, and maybe that is why it was hard to adjust to life once again after the holidays.

My oldest daughter, Tessa, had wonderful news when we arrived home. She had gotten engaged New Years Eve and is planning on being married here in our back yard on Feb. 15th. I am happy for her, but deep down I still grieve. I even burst out crying when she was telling me her plans. Amy should be here! She was going to be a bridesmaid in her wedding! She should be here now, to experience all the fun of a wedding and to see the ecstatic happiness of her sister. She should be here! But she is not............

I haven't had ambition to do much of anything. I do what has to be done and little else. My husband started some quick remodeling projects that need to be done before the wedding and I can't even get very excited about that. 

Tessa, Emily and I went dress shopping for the wedding dress and the bridesmaid dress. I had no desire to try to find a mother of the bride dress. We all cried when she found the right one. Not because of the usual reasons, but because of Amy......

Emily is wearing a butterfly on her dress in memory of Amy and they are both wearing her fingerprint necklaces.

I don't know what I am wearing. I'm shopping tomorrow and I just pray the Lord leads me to something special and that it won't take too long. Even having just said that, I feel guilty. This should be a joyful time. 
Today I went out to get the mail and was consumed with such sadness that I had to let it out in tears. Everyday for years I would shout hello to Coco (Amy's pony, that died a week before she did) when I got the mail.  I missed him intensely today and just couldn't shake it. 

It seems that everything I do brings sadness to me. I still read my Bible, I'm in Corinthians now. I still go to Sunday School and Church, but don't feel the joy that I did before. I'm not sure why, but I do know that God is still with me, holding me, supporting me, loving me. I try to see joy in little things. The birds outside and my silly 7 month old kitten/cat. 

Even now the tears are running down face as I type this, but I still praise God for what He is doing in my life, although I don't know where He is leading my or why He has led me this way. I just know according to Corinthians that  
"He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."
2 Corinthians 12:9

Am I boasting? I think not. I am just telling you how my life is right  now without Amy.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Nine Months

We arrived home yesterday. We spent eight days with two different families, seven days with my parents and six days of traveling. Our new little car (Hidey Ho) does well in the bitter cold, snow and ice! We spent 2830 miles in Hidey Ho on this trip. If we ever travel that far again, I hope we are not so packed in as we were this time. My husband could barely see out the back window. We laid the back seats down and piled things up on either side! Needless to say we plan on staying home for awhile.

I thought of Amy every single day, but only a few times really cried. 

As we were leaving, driving out of our driveway,  I felt like I was abandoning Amy.... as if by staying here, I could somehow share Christmas with her, because her grave is so nearby. I also felt like I couldn't leave her here in the snow and cold. I had to keep telling myself that she isn't really here. Just her body is here and she is celebrating with Jesus.  As I was excited about our trip and seeing my parents and friends after such a long time, it was not a feeling that I imagined I would have. I never know when grief will hit me with something new.

Our first Sunday, the Sunday before Christmas, we worshiped with some good friends at their church. It has contemporary worship which I enjoy so much. As we were singing a song, I glanced over at the Pastor, who was sitting in the first row of chairs. He had his hands outstretch with his palms up and I so envied his freedom to be able to worship like that. Having grown up in a Baptist church, where hardly an amen was whispered, and then living my married life in a fundamental Bible church,  open worship doesn't come easy to me. I slowly unclasped my hands and just opened my palms at my side to the heavens and then I realized, MY HANDS ARE EMPTY. 
I always held Amy's hand. I always sat to her right and held her right hand. This was the hand that she liked to chew on. (One of the symptoms of Rett Syndrome) So whenever we were somewhere, I would hold her hand. Now my hands are empty. Tears dropped silently as we continued singing and I felt empty. Very empty.
On the 24th I continued to read my devotional book that I was using for advent,  The Greatest Gift, Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas,  by Ann Voskamp. She writes. "Tonight there are only those who tramp to the manger with nothing; there are only the manger tramps.  We who tramp in with all our poverty of there can be an abundance of God. What can all the manger tramps do but wrap the vulnerable God in strips of our bare, broken hearts so He can lodge in the intimacy of us?
The greatest Gift laid into our empty hands....
Grace is weightless."

It was like this was written just for me. I do not have empty hands, they are full of Jesus. I need to remember hands are not empty. Jesus is with me every moment.

When we were visiting my parents, I spent some time walking around outside. Even though my parents are 83, they still live on the farm that I grew up on. They have lived there for almost 60 years. As I was walking from the mail box to my dad's wood shop, I remembered how it used to be. The apple orchard, the grain bins, the corn crib and other buildings are all gone. Only the old hog house, that housed hundreds of chicks when I was young, is now my dad's shop. The old barn is still there and the machine shed. They now house other farmers' machinery stored there for the winter. The trees are now so old and most of them are gone. A big windstorm went through a few years ago and took a whole grove of cottonwood trees down. 
 I remember everything being so much bigger. The farm seemed endless, back when I was young. I realized that this wasn't my home anymore. I have lived twice as long with my husband as I had with my  parents. Where have all the years gone? Then I realized that even where I live with my husband is not my home. This whole world is not my home anymore. I have an eternal home in heaven with Amy, my older sister, Erin, my grandparents, and mother and father-in-law. All those who have gone before and those who will live there someday. That will be my home. 

These past nine months will seem but a speck in the time of eternity. 

There were tears on Christmas day, listening to my father read the passage from Luke 2. There were tears when we opened presents that reminded us of Amy. And there were tears  five days later as we clasped hands in prayer and prayed, just the four of us, before we left.  My 83 year old parents, my husband and I and we each prayed for the time left on this earth to be precious. 

We journeyed on and visited some friends we have known since I was a teenager. Special times together, visiting with their children, holding grandchildren, reminiscing over times gone by, talking about Amy and more tears.
But joy, knowing that even though there are more than 1000 miles between us, we will all be together someday. We will see Amy as God sees her now. Happy, talking, walking, running, singing, free of pain and the confines of her earthly body. 

JOY...... I feel it now and I feel content.