Friday, March 30, 2012

Closing the Door

I'm sitting here in my bed on the last night in my house.  All my things are packed, and along with it all my dreams.  This was my dream house. It was the place I was going to fill with children, raise my family, and grow old with my husband.  Its everything I ever wanted.  But tonight its empty.  Its void. Its merely a frame.

All my belongings are packed, and along with it I am taking the dreams, the hopes, and the visions of happiness I once equated to the house.  I have realized through this entire packing, selling my belongings and moving process that a house is simply that: a frame of wood which we purpose to fill.  What makes a house special isn't the size of the walk in closet, the jetted tub, or even the gorgeous cherry kitchen.  Its the people inside. Its having a family that loves each other inside of it.  Its the husband coming home, and the wife and children excited to see him.  Its the talks on the back deck, snuggling on the couch, and family discussion around the dinner table.  

I had none of those things here.  My dream house was more of a nightmare.  The hardest years of our marriage were here.  The darkest moments my husband had were here.  The utter emptiness which rested upon our marriage happened here.  It was here that I took a stand against emotional control.  It was here that I watched my husband fall apart.  It was here that I equate with his death.  Tonight my house is empty.  Its empty like my dreams for the family we once had.  Its empty, just as my marriage was in those last months.  The house is empty.

The house is empty, but I am not.  I am full of hope. I realized that the dreams I once had of raising babies, and growing old with the man I love are still possible.  God isn't done with me, or my son.  I've packed my dreams, and placed them in God's hands.  Yes its gonna look different than I had planned.  It will be in a different house, with a different man, and a different family dynamic.  But change can be wonderful.  I'm ready to let go of this house, the failed dreams and the scars.  I'm ready to leave the memories, the hurt, the struggles.  I'm ready to close the door on this part of my life and step forward into my future.

I am sure when I leave tomorrow I will cry.  How can I not?  I plan to walk through the rooms of this empty house leaving behind what was.  And as I close the door one last time, I will close the door on my painful past, and step towards my wonderful future.  I will grab my Daddy's hand, and say "I'm ready God.  I'm ready for the plans YOU have for me."

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.  -Jeremiah 29:11 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Pile of Rocks

All through out the Bible God was encouraging His people to make memorials.  The purpose of the memorial was to remember.  Sometimes it was to be a way to remember a victory, or a miracle which occurred.  Other times He wanted them to remember a significant life changing event, and the longer we live we realize those events are not always pleasant.  When the Israelites crossed the Jordan to enter into the promised land, God said, go into the river, and one man from each tribe take out a stone.  Set those stones along the banks as a remembrance for you and your children to remember what God has done.

Remembering is a healthy part of life.  In modern days we continue this tradition, however our pile of rocks looks much different.  We hold on to pictures, videos, and programs.  With the loss I have experienced over the last few years, of my father in 2009, my husband in 2010, and my closest sister in 2011, I have made many of my own piles of rocks.  I try to pick something very meaningful as my "rock", something that was of great importance or significance in my loved ones life.

For my father it was some of his books.  My dad loved to read.  His grave stone reads "He found comfort in the written word", and to have kept the book he toted back and forth to chemo during those 9 months holds multiple layers of meaning.  His notes are still stuffed inside, along with pictures of his grand kids which he wanted during his hospital stays.  Although I will never read this book, it reminds me of my dad's wisdom and intellect.  His love of learning, which was a thrust no amount of books could ever quench.

For my late husband, the rocks are the two most important things he had: his business and his children.  I am the new leader of the business he successfully built.  It was his baby.  He ate, slept, and breathed it.  It was his source of satisfaction and accomplishment.  It also was the biggest burden and stress he knew.  Several months back I was wishing I had something more meaningful of his, a shirt or his bible.  But I quickly realized that having the business was the most meaningful thing I could have.  And keeping it growing and successful keeps his spirit alive.  I also have two beautiful children of his. So many times I am reminded of him when I am with them.  Whether it be looking down at my daughter and seeing his arm instead of hers, or hearing my son talk about things his dad would have found funny, his memory is alive in the next generation.

The rocks of remembrance for my sister are different.  While I do have a few tangible items: her baby doll from childhood, her favorite movie Beauty and the Beast, and a bear made from her clothing, the most important things which remind me of my sister are hidden in my heart, and shown in the compassionate woman I am today.  My sister was mentally impaired and we had a close and unique relationship.  Growing up with a special needs sibling forms who you are.  It teaches you to have compassion, to never fear those who are different, and to love the simple things.  My sister taught me these.  Today I remember her, and created a symbol which I can look at, my own pile of rocks, to remind me of the amazing sister I was honored to have.

God had a reason He encouraged us to remember.  There was a reason we need a visual reminder, a pile of rocks.  In my own journey of life, through trials and grief, these rocks have been my strength, my fond memories, and my tears.  The rocks won't let me forget where I came from, what I have gone through and why I am the woman of strength and character you see today.  I don't want to forget the people in my life. I don't want to forget the grace of God.  I don't want to forget.  So I build a pile of rocks, on the banks of my life so my children and I will remember.

Monday, March 5, 2012


I did it! I have sold my home.  About a week ago I accepted an offer from a buyer.  It seemed so simple and easy to do: say yes, sign the papers, and its done.  Even though a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders, and I'm excited to move forward, it isn't really that simple.

This weekend, I met the purchasers.  They came for the house inspection, and I was still getting my son ready to leave.  As they walked in the house I realized the new buyers are young.  Much younger than me.  Perhaps they were 25.  They are an engaged couple who are marrying in June.  My dream house, the one I didn't get into until I was 33, after living in 2 other homes, was to be their very first home.  I have to be honest and say I had one of those "holy" moments, "Why do the wicked prosper?" (Jeremiah 12:1).  Why am I, a faithful woman of God, seeming to go backward in life, and these young people getting THIS for their first house.

I admit it was a bad attitude to have.  Quickly I realized that they were also getting the ginourmous mortgage payment, and the financial weight it carries.  I thought, yes I have been young, entitled, and stupid before.  I quickly realized that I was glad to give it up, to walk away from this stressful financial situation and into financial freedom.  Selling this house is a life changer for me, in a good way!

Despite my moment of bitterness and pride, seeing someone younger than me seeming to achieve more than I have, I really liked this family.  The couple was there with their parents, and all of them were very genuine and nice to my son and I.  It was extremely hard to watch this new bride ooh and ahh over my dream home, as I had just 3 years prior.  I remember holding onto my husband, and saying, "I love it.  I want this house."  And he made it happen.  He didn't give me much affection, adoration, confirmation, or even attention in our last few years together, but he gave me this house.  It was his way of showing me how much he loved me.

I wonder what it felt like for this young couple, so full of excitement, to see a woman just 10 years older, crying as she walks away from the dreams she once held.  The dreams which ended so abruptly as her life fell apart.  To have once been that excited wife, picturing filling the bedrooms with children, and those children running through the house.  The joy and laughter echoing through the halls as the family grows over the years.  I had those dreams.  And they didn't happen for me.  Not here.  With many tears, I leave those dreams here in this house, for her to pick up and carry.  I leave the struggles we had here.  I leave the hurt and pain here.  I leave my shattered life here.  With those same tears I walk away into freedom.  I walk into a new hope, a new dream, and a new future which God has prepared for me!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Another Birthday

This past weekend I traveled to disneyworld to run the Disney 
Princess Half Marathon.  This trip was such an important event for me on a variety of levels and I am so glad that I took the time to make it happen.

On Saturday I celebrated my 35th Birthday, in Disney, as a princess.  That in and of itself was awesome.  I love my birthday.  It's a symbol of a new year, new adventures and excitement over the future.  The past few years have not been filled with that. But this year was different. My situation this year is different. I am different. This year my birthday felt like a turning point, and being away, on my own, at Disney accomplishing a major life event, was symbolic.   

My birthday and the new year it signifies started off full of adventure, independence and confidence.  I am not the woman I was last year.  I am strong, physically and emotionally.  I'm okay... No I'm more than okay.  Im loving my life.  I am doing things I never thought I could, and doing them well.  I am proud of myself and that personal feeling of satisfaction is enough.  I'm doing it for me, not for anyone else, or for anyone's approval.  

It seems like my journey through grief has hit a major turning point.  While I feel it, I dont entirely know what it means.  I do know that I am a survivor. The hardest days are behind me. The moments of "no one is here" are gone.  Because no one has to be here, I'm here and I'm happy and that's all that matters. I can celebrate on my own, or with strangers and I don't feel like anything is missing in my life anymore.  It's a freeing feeling.  If this past weekend was any indication of the road I'm on and the course this next year will take, I am ready!