GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Shopping for cemetery markers


It’s one thing I never thought I’d have to do – but then one ugly day it became a reality – picking out the marker that will mark my husband’s and I final resting place. I could have made monthly payments but it would then take 2 years for my husband to have something to mark his place now.  I knew he wouldn’t want something fancy or too expensive – but I picked out something that would meet my needs now for remembering him and then later for when the children have to remember us both.

I’ve waited since March to get this rendering and as soon as the cemetery worker called I called to the children get ready we’ve got to go! Knowing if I didn’t go on Friday it would be another two weeks.  It could be 6 weeks before it’s actually made, here and installed or it could be shorter – no one really knows.  I was hoping to have it installed in time for Father’s Day (nice Father’s Day present huh?) but that isn’t going to happen.

I will admit – this is sort of the finality – it marks that everything will be completed and all is done. Even though I’ve had about 5 months for it all to sink in – seeing my husband’s name on a cemetery marker makes it feel all very fresh and real again – sort of like that whole scab thing 😦 Another issue was seeing my name on the marker – in a way I know it’s good, it’s one thing my children won’t have to worry about later – the cemetery will add my other day and it’s already paid for – but seeing it? It’s very disconcerting – my oldest didn’t even want to look at it, I understand. I sent a picture to my dad and I knew when I sent it it would be weird for him, and it was.

The rendering is already blurry so my picture doesn’t help it any but a quick run down is that under my hubby’s name it says: his dates, then Loving Husband and Son, then his life verse of Philippians 4:13. We chose a drum set as he loved playing the drums, even after he sold his set to pay bills one year, he never gave up the dream of owning another set. Under my name are/will be my dates, Loving Wife and Daughter, then my life verse of Jeremiah 29:11. My picture is a Bible and Cross. In the middle, the circle represents where our vase is, then the banner says Together Forever married 1-1-2001 and under that is Loving Parents of …… then our family name. As hard as it was to design this and buy it I’m glad we’ve done it although it is still weird to see my name on there.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Help us get to Project Dance Detroit


In June my girls, my son and I travel to Detroit, MI for Project Dance Detroit at which they’ll be performing with their Dance Company, Illuminate.  This is a time to show the love of Christ through dance and music to the city of Detroit, and any others who come out. If you’ve read my blog, you’ll know that I became a widow in December and I’m still a homemaker trying to make ends meet on a meager survivor benefit pay out. The hotel for our stay is around $800 that does not include gas or meals. I’ve set up a gofundme campaign, if you’re led to give, please do so – I’m only asking for enough to cover our hotel, anything over that will go towards gas, meals and dance related fees. Please know gofundme does take a portion of the donations, good for them, bad for us – but any little (or big) donation helps. Thank you for considering donating to get my girls to Detroit!

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Armstrong Air and Space Museum part duex


We first visited the Armstrong Air and Space Museum back in 2011 – that time my husband was with us, so it was one of those hard firsts. My husband really enjoyed this museum, especially the end with the Star Trek figures at the end. My mom went with us this time and overall it was a good time.

My mom, seeing if she’d make it as an astronaut.

 

Then there is me – don’t I look thrilled?

 

And my son – always making some kind of weird face!

And the middle daughter (oldest refused and I pick my battles).

The ultimate reason we went to the Air and Space museum was because the oldest was working on completing her Living and Working in Space, American Heritage Girl badge and one of the requirements was to make a glove box.  I prefer other methods of learning other than making a very confusing glove box (the handbook is not written for girls or their families who homeschool and travel a lot) and I knew this museum had one.

Trying out the glove box.

Inside a lunar module simulator. My husband’s favorite part.

 

After we finished, we headed outside, if you look at the post from our first visit you’ll find a similar picture as to the one below.  I thought it was neat to see how the children have grown!

All three.

So that is it.  I’m working on updating the blog from some of the stuff we’ve been doing – it’s hard to write anymore as finding the time needed is not what it used to be as I’ve become much more busy.  If you’re still reading my blog I appreciate you hanging around and waiting for content, if my reviews aren’t your thing, again thank you.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Some days I meet myself coming and going…..Part 1?


I’m saying this is part 1, because, well things have been BUSY around here.  As a widowed parent there is so much more that I have to do on my own and that makes things harder and busier than they used to be.  As it says I feel like I meet myself coming and going – run in the house for a moment and run back out for the next activity.

I’m not complaining mind you – I don’t mind being busy and staying busy keeps the grief from hitting too hard on any one day – if I let myself stop for a day I may never get back up, or at least that is what it feels like.  I’m still not used to this whole gig and it’s tiring – physically, emotionally and if I let it, spiritually as well.

I’m also behind in blogging – I need to blog and show you all what we did on our vacation in February but I’ve decided to skip that for now and write about some other things that have been going on.  I paid off the funeral in it’s entirety so I don’t have to deal with the funeral home again.  I paid off the cemetery marker as well, and hopefully soon I’ll have the rough sketch of what it’ll look like and after I approve it, it will be cut and then installed.  It is both a good feeling but also once that marker is installed I know that is it – it is final – not that Don hasn’t been gone but it’s one more fact of life that sort of brings it even closer to home.

I also began making my arrangements.  I’ve picked my vault.  I’ve picked my casket.  Yes, at 36 years old I’ve picked my casket and my vault.  WOW!  I cannot stress enough – don’t wait.  If you have children, do your pre-planning now and start paying on it.  That way, when the Lord calls you home, they won’t be like me and having to scramble to get arrangements made quick enough so there can still be a service or so that you can be buried where you want and how you want.  Since I’ve paid off the marker all that is left for that is for the cemetery to order my date of passing panel.

Of course in all this, real life still happens.  Dance class, karate, Cub scouts, American Heritage girls, tournaments, recitals, 4-H, and on and on….

On a good and lighter note – both my son and middle daughter received their religious awards on 2/22/15 at our church. It was great to see the culmination of their hard work pay off in learning about our Faith and our Lord.  I gave a bit more about that in my Random Updates post.

Both of them up front with our Pastor.

My son telling the Pastor that he doesn’t remember what he learned. That was embarrassing!

Then there was the Blue and Gold Banquet on 2/28/15.  Don would have been very proud of our son.  He achieved his Bear rank and will be a Webelos next school year.  They do a cake auction and each boy is asked to bake a cake with their dad, or in my son’s case, his sister and I and it’s auctioned off to raise money for the Troop.

Here is what a $300 funfetti cake looks like. The winning bidder even let him take it home.

On the auction block.

Up close – he was nervous being up there on his own with the auctioneer.

He and I are in the middle – the moms got to hand the boys their rank badge.

Here is he is with his war paint – each color signifies something – but at this time I cannot remember what they are.

Okay, so I think that is for now, there is much more to come such as our trip to W.Va., D.C., some American Heritage Girls stuff as well as some really awesome field trips we’ve taken.  I also have some reviews to get up so those will be coming as well.  If you’re led please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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A Helping Hand


Imagine, hating the grocery store.  Hating the looks you’ll know you’ll get.  Hating the snide comments from those behind you.  The cold glares.  The change in demeanor once they see your debit card isn’t really a debit card.

“She has too many children”

“Maybe if she didn’t have that expensive purse, nice shoes, etc”

“She should just get a job”

and on it goes.

I NEVER thought I’d be on the receiving end of these comments.  Confession:  We used to use WIC – briefly – I was told by a cashier when I had a few extra dollars and bought a cross stitch magazine that I shouldn’t be allowed to buy stuff like that if I had to use WIC.

WIC is totally different than what I face now.

I purposely seek out stores that have self check out or chose a line that looks like I can get in and out quickly.

I’ve had a cashier be so friendly then when I bring out our food assistance card, commonly called Food Stamps, she then ignored me and began a conversation with a bagger, letting me know I was no longer worth her time.

I’ve seen many a meme going around about how terrible it is that we abuse the system, there should be drug testing because all food assistance people are using drugs or selling their benefits for drugs, or what have you.

I understand there are many who do use the system, who abuse it and who may use drugs and so on.  I am not that person, not all of us are.

I’ve been asked by fellow Christians, “doesn’t your church help you?” or put another way “Christians shouldn’t use food stamps, go to your church.”  Really?  I love our church – they are great, godly people but we are also small – very small and most are elderly and on fixed incomes, how is my church to provide food for 4 people, 3 of those VERY hungry children who eat a lot?  I agree churches should do as the Bible (and God) says to help the widows and fatherless.  Our church has and is supporting us but they simply can’t support us financially – I don’t see where in the Bible that the Lord said it had to be financially.

That said – and I’m going to be honest here, we get a measly $169 a month in food benefits.  4 people – $169 a month.  I get the same amount of food benefits as a single person with no children.  We spend that a WEEK.  My son alone could probably eat that much a week on his own, if I let him, and never gain a pound!  Trust me we are not rolling in the money here with what we get in food assistance.  I will not divulge what I get in survivors benefits – I will tell you our yearly income has been cut in half, maybe even more if I took the time to figure it what hubby used to bring home to what we get in benefits.

Out of our monthly survivor benefits I have to pay our utilities, clothing, shoes, curricula, needed repairs, gas for the car, vehicle repairs, and anything else that comes up and food.

The donations that were given to us are being kept safe and not being used unless I absolutely need them.  If you feel led to donate there are instructions on how to do so on the right side of my blog, and thank you if you do donate.  I know there will be months that something comes up and there is zero money left.  I’m so appreciative of the friends and family who have given generously to us – it will help in these months of trying to figure everything out.

Now to answer some of those comments I mentioned above:

1.  I have three children.  3.  That isn’t 10 or 20. 3.  I cannot have anymore children because I no longer have a husband, to infer that the reason I’m on food assistance because I have too many children is ridiculous and hurtful.  If Don was still here we’d welcome more children, but I’m not one of those women who is on food assistance because my children’s dad has walked out and abandoned us, I’m not on F.A. because I’m having more children just to get benefits.  Unfortunately, many cashiers and the people in line behind me only see a woman with three (too many) children using food stamps, which they mistakenly believe I’ve never worked.

2.   Something else people don’t consider is that maybe that purse I got for free by simply holding a Thirty-One party and I paid $0.  Maybe my nice shoes were a gift from my mom.  My clothes are nice because they were bought before hubby passed and I’m not hard on them.  Just because what is on my body doesn’t mean I’m abusing the system.  Should I and my children, because I’m on food assistance, be wearing dirty, ragged clothing?  Then there will be those who claim I can’t care for my children and should therefor not be allowed to have them anymore.  it’s a vicious cycle, one that I can’t win.

3.   I do have a job – it’s called being a homemaker.  I worked, I had several jobs ever since I could work, I’ve worked.  I’ve paid into the system everyone wants to say I haven’t.  My husband worked and paid into the system.  My job right now is to be a mom to my children and continue to educate them at home, as my husband told me was his desire should anything ever happen to him.  By the way, for those who may want to still further say something – I’m an United States Navy veteran – yep at one time I was protecting you and your ‘right’ to say these things about my children and I.

I’m writing this, not to point fingers at any one person, I’ve been there.  I’ve been the cashier looking down on that mom in my line.  I’ve been the person behind her (or him) thinking well if only they………  Just remember as you stand behind that mom or that dad – you don’t know their story.  Take your thoughts captive.

Maybe that mom, like me, has lost the love of her life and is trying to keep things as normal as possible.  Remember she isn’t getting $1,000’s a month, she’s still finding it hard to make ends meet.  Maybe she needs a smile, instead of your glare or ire, maybe she needs to know that it’s okay she’s asked for help, even if it’s from the government.  If she’s a Christian like me, she doesn’t need condemnation from the church, she needs prayer, she needs support.  Maybe if we weren’t all treated like trash, criminals, drug users then maybe we could hold our heads up in the store like the rest of the world, instead of fearing that check out lane, we’d be treated like everyone else.

Again, because I know someone will forget what I’ve said – I know there are exceptions, I’m not blind, I know there are those on assistance that are abusing the system and yes there should be ways to weed those out but again, not everyone on assistance is like that or desires to be like that.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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I have HOPE


I have hope.

I didn’t think that I would be able to ever say or think that again back in December of 2014.

I knew then and I know now that God is there – He is for me and with me BUT in the midst of grief, caring for my children, planning a funeral – one doesn’t recognize that all the time – all you can personally feel, see, touch, taste is the grief.

Overwhelming grief.

I’ve lost before – all my Grandparents are gone.  I lost class mates in high school.  I’m no stranger to loss but I’ve never lost a spouse and that is a loss so different from losing a friend, a Grandparent – it rips a hole in your heart, your mind, your soul that feels like it will never mend.

Going to bed alone at night.

Reaching for a hand that isn’t there.

Wanting to make a phone call to a person who can’t answer.

In Ecclesiastes 3 we are told (not including the whole text here):

a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

Don’t get me wrong – I’m no where near acceptance but I’m finding it a little bit easier to find hope in the everyday.

I don’t dread going out into public like I did the first two months.

I can tell people easier, not without tears, but I’m not hysterical like I was in January had someone asked.

There is still a time to weep and we just did that on Sunday in church as a young lady sang a song about earthly and Heavenly dads.

There will be no dad to protect my girls from boys.  Their husbands will never know the man they are measured against.

So we are still weeping.

We are laughing – when we remember Don’s laugh or one of his many sayings:

“It builds character”

We can remember him with laughter and I find myself laughing at life.  Watching my son at a karate tournament, where even though he didn’t place, he was MUCH improved from the last one – Don would be happy.

Lately, I’ve been taking solace in journaling and Bible journaling – drawing, writing, painting, and stamping in my Bible gives me a relaxing way to get into God’s Word and soak it up.  Many verses have been speaking to me and one day I’ll have a keepsake my children and grandchildren and hopefully great grandchildren can treasure and see the legacy I’ve left for them.

March 9th was Don’s birthday.  He would have been 45.  On the 13th we marked the 3 month mark of his passing.

We put flowers and released balloons at the cemetery.  We laughed.  We laughed that he would have been upset that I spent good money, even if it was only $6.99 for crazy daises.  We laughed that he would complain I spent too much money on his casket.  We cried that he was gone.

We also agreed that on this birthday he didn’t have to go to work, he was not in ANY pain, he wasn’t stressed about bills.  We cried that he isn’t here, I know he’s with the Lord but he isn’t here and so we come back to the point where I’m not at acceptance.  Even three months later I’m still waiting for him to come through the door, although not as much as I was in December.

The sound of his laughter is fading.  The sound of his voice is fading.  The feel of his soft skin and beautiful hands is fading.  The only smell of him is what is left in his cologne bottle.  My son even told me the other day, I can’t remember what dad sounded like.

This post isn’t about tears though – it’s about hope and while I feel guilty for laughing, for living, I also know Don would not want me wallowing in sorrow.  He was never one to let the world get him down, oh he may have gotten sad, or mad but he wouldn’t stay down.  He would want me to have hope.

The sun has been out quite a bit lately and that helps.  It tells me spring is here, even if it’s still cold,

The Son gives me hope for where I’ll be when I pass – while the Bible tells us there will not be husband and wife, mother or father in Heaven, I think we’ll know each other and I’ll get to see Don in his glorified body.  I’d like to think he’ll be there waiting for me with our baby we lost, standing next to my Grandparents and Great Grandparents, welcoming me home and the Lord most of all and I pray to hear the words “well done, good and faithful servant”.

So I have hope – yes there are still days of tears and pain but there is also the days of laughter and joy.  Even as I finalized the order for our cemetery marker I felt a bit of hope – it wasn’t too fancy but honors who we are/were – husband and wife, son and daughter, and the parents of three wonderful, if sometimes trying, children.  It symbolizes our faith and will show the legacy we’ve left.

Hope, because sometimes that is all we have to hold to.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Tossed upon the rock(s)


 

**I began this post before we left on vacation, as of now we are almost to 11 weeks.**

It has been eight weeks.  8 weeks since our lives changed forever.  8 weeks since my husband fell asleep and left us.  8 weeks since we were tossed upon the rocks that is our lives.  While I may not be physically hurtled on the rocks my body and my mind feel battered and beaten.  The wounds are not visible.

I can’t explain all the feelings and all the things that I’ve had to go through these past weeks, and even if I did tell you – everyone is different and so your loss isn’t the same and your feelings won’t be the same.  Having to fight to get the benefits that are due to us has put a huge strain on me and I’m hoping, now that I have the paperwork in hand I’m hoping I can lighten the stress and regain my health.

I’ve been clinging to my verse that I’ve claimed as my life verse before any of this happened – in fact it is engraved on the ring that my hubby bought for me for last mother’s day.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

I don’t know why the Lord gave me that verse, but He rightly knew that there would be something to happen in my life, something HUGE that would rock our world.  Now, don’t get me wrong I still ask Him, “why?” but I also try to rest that He knows what He is doing – I cannot, in my human-ness, in my sinful nature, in my frailty know what that is but I know He understands my questioning, my wondering.

As I’m tossed upon the rocks of the world and let myself be overcome, stressed, sick and tired I need to also realize there is another Rock.  I can cling to for safety, peace, health and rest.  Yes, easier said than done.  As humans we want to solve it all ourselves but when we realize we can’t we can turn to Psalm 18:1-3 (ESV):

I love you, O Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

I’m so glad, so thankful that as I finish this post after vacation that I can rest in the Lord.  My friend gave me rest when we visited her and the rest that comes from the Lord is so much sweeter.  It doesn’t take all the ache away.  It doesn’t stop the questions.  It doesn’t stop the tears.  But I can rest.  I can leave my questions at His feet.  I can put my worries on His shoulders.  He knows the heart ache when one loses a loved one.

While the world is throwing me against the rocks that are life I know I can find my refuge in another Rock.  I can sit on the Rock and give Him my all – all my ache, all my grief, all my worries, my fears, my hopes, my dreams and He will comfort me and the Rock will be my foundation on which I will continue building our new life.  The hard part?  Remembering that, especially on the really hard days.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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Random Updates


I thought it might be nice for me to do a post about some things other than being a widow, because that hasn’t been the only thing going on in our lives.  We’ve had several good things happen lately and lest anyone think that all I’m doing is dwelling on my husband’s passing (yes, there are days like that too) we also have been living, or trying to.  I don’t have a lot of pictures to share but some things have been put aside just so I can enjoy my children and one of those is taking a lot of pictures, eventually I’ll take more but not right now.

  • Both my son and middle daughter took their P.R.A.Y. classes, they began last November and ran for several weeks.  My son’s was God and Me and he had to make a G.A.M.E box which stood for God And Me Exploring box.  My middle DD’s class was God and Family and she had to make a pizza.  They both completed their classes and have earned their respective awards – usually awarded at the church where they took the class – we are opting to have our Pastor give them their awards.

The start of her ‘pizza’

  • One thing Don and I discussed before his passing was to become members of the church we’ve been attending for awhile.  Both of us tired of church hopping.  The church is very Bible based in it’s teaching, homeschooling isn’t an issue, they use both hymns and contemporary, among others.  So on the 25th I became an official member of Trinity Missionary Church.  Bittersweet as I had to do it alone but I know that is what Don would have wanted.  Middle daughter will begin baptism classes soon and son is asking to as well.
  • We have started the testing for son – since I’ve been working with him for almost 2 years and still is not grasping the reading thing and since finding out our original optometrist gave him the wrong lenses and made his eyes worse we are doing some testing and seeing another optometrist who is hoping with his new lenses and exercises will make his eyes stronger.
  • The girls had their Let It Shine dance concert on the 25th (it was a busy day!).  Again another bittersweet moment because, my husband believed in always being at the children’s activities, he didn’t get to see their new Company dance, which was beautiful.  This was a fundraiser sort of concert to help get the girls who are going to Project Dance Detroit there.

We have a couple other good things coming up but I can’t post about those right now.  I’m trying to focus on the blessings in our lives.  We are surrounded by family, a great church, many friends and prayer warriors who are making this road a bit more bearable but by looking at our blessings it also helps me focus on what God is doing, even though I still wonder why Don needed to leave us too soon.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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The death of our dreams


When one’s spouse passes away one thing that the surviving spouse must do is not just face the death of their loved on but also the death of the dreams that hadn’t come to fruition.  It’s one thing that I’ve been ruminating on lately – all the dreams that have died with my husband.  He and I loved to travel – and when finances allowed we’d find someplace to travel to – that may have been to Sandusky and Kelley’s Island or to Kentucky or to Tennessee.  One place we wanted to go was to Europe, we both wanted to visit Ireland and he wanted to see Greece and I wanted to see Germany.  The land of our ancestors.  We never came up with a ‘bucket’ list because we both thought the idea of that was lame but we had dreams.

  • we both wanted more children – either biologically or adopted – this is a huge one as we both didn’t feel our family was finished.  I do believe though that the Lord was saving me from further heart ache by not allowing me to be pregnant or having an infant or toddler while dealing with the grief and loss of my husband. Of course that doesn’t mean I’m not sad.
  • we wanted to establish a DD transportation company when he retired in just 7 years!  We were going to invest in a bus and transport clients to and from the local workshops in our area.
  • then there are the small dreams – seeing our children perform in their dances, seeing our son progress in his karate and move up in his obi’s, weddings, graduations, father-daughter dances.
  • our dream to grow old together and see our grandchildren and great grandchildren.  Now the future generations won’t know their wonderful, kind-hearted (great) Grandpa.

This is just a short list of the dreams that have died.  There are more like him wanting to see Bob Smiley in April at the homeschool convention.  Wanting to go to concerts and ball games.  While I need to talk about his memory – the good times and even sometimes the bad – I need to remember the dreams.  I need to remember what we aspired to be as a couple.  We met with disagreement from those who didn’t think we took enough time for us, for our marriage.  In the last year we became more focused on us.  I tried to be more aware of his needs and he mine.  No, we didn’t do date nights as they simply weren’t feasible or financially able to be done.  We talked more, held hands more – we simply loved.

Honestly, this is one thing that makes me mad – is the death of our dreams.  I know my hubby no longer has any issues with his heart or his weight – he is free from all that but we had things to finish, we had dreams to carry out.  I know the Lord has some plan in this – but it doesn’t take the ache away, it doesn’t dry the tears – and yes I would like to know His plans.  I know there are dreams for those who lose a sibling, parent, grandparent, but when one loses a spouse especially those who literally became one the dreams seems much more bigger – the loss seems bigger.  There are things that can’t be done without a spouse and so the space can’t be filled by a surviving sibling or parent – unless one re-marries but then there is a chance the new spouse won’t have the same dreams that the spouse who passed did.

As a widow I’m not merely mourning the loss of my husband, I’m also mourning the loss of my protector, my co-dreamer, my protector, the dad to our children, the principal of our school and so much more.  Some say the pain will lessen over time – I don’t think so – maybe, but at this point I don’t see it.  There are so many things that I’ve learned that come with a spouse’s passing – the death of the dreams is just one of them.  Some have said not to dwell on the loss of the dreams but on the other hand our dreams showed what kind of people we were, what kind of couple we were – we were different, we weren’t content to sit at home and watch travel shows, we wanted to be part of them.  We weren’t content to let others serve, we had to serve – whether it was hubby’s coaching the Special Olympics softball team for our County or us as a family serving a meal at Interfaith.  So while our dreams won’t come to fruition I also know I won’t let our dreams dies – even if it only means remembering and talking about them – they show who we were and where we wanted to go.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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What I don’t need…..


I feel like that woman on the bench – alone.  Yes, I am surrounded by my children but I’m still alone.  The world is going on around me whether I want it to or not.  Even on bright, sunny days I feel like I’m walking through a dark, cloudy day where the fog is so thick you feel like you’ll never make it out.

People ask me what I need, what we need.  I so, so appreciate that but I cannot come up with anything that we NEED right now.  They throw out ideas – and again I so appreciate it.  That fog?  It honestly keeps me from thinking what we need – I have a hard enough time remembering that it may be time for lunch or to try to get some sort of dinner to eat.

You may see me with a smile on my face and think I’m doing fine, that my brain is working – but they aren’t.  I’m going through the motions.  I’m learning that people either think I’m doing great because I’m not crying or that I should be crying all the time. What I don’t need is people thinking I’m grieving wrong.

Grieving is so individual to each of us, just because one woman may cry all the time doesn’t mean another will.  I’d love just to stay in bed, pull the covers up and cry all day.  But there are children to raise, a house to clean, activities to run to, reviews to write and well life.  I know my hubby wouldn’t want me to just give up or to spend my days crying over him.

What I don’t need is comparisons.

I have encountered many in this time that think they can compare their loss to mine.  “I lost my brother, father, mom, uncle, etc”, “I’m divorced so I’m sort of a widow”.  Right now my loss, my pain is all I can think about.  I know people are trying to sympathize or empathize with me but right now – I need to know that my loss is all there is – right now, my loss feels bigger than yours.

At the risk of offending someone, please, please what I don’t need is to hear that you’re a divorcee and that you’re “a new kind of widow” or that “you feel like a widow”.  Yes.  That.  Has.  Been.  Said.  To.  Me.  Really?  So you’ll never, ever see the man you married again?  You’re children no longer have a dad that they will never see again, never walk them down the aisle, see them graduate, see their next belt test or watch them perform in their Dance Company?  Please.  Don’t.

I understand and respect that a divorce is a loss, I understand but there will always be a chance of reconciliation, that person is still alive!  My husband is gone – there is no chance I’ll see him on the street.  No chance my children can call him up or visit him on the weekends.  Please don’t try to compare your divorce to my widowhood and don’t ever say you’re a new kind of widow or that you feel like a widow.  You’re not, I am.

I don’t need false promises.

If you tell me you’re going to call, call.  I may not answer the phone – but leave us a voice mail.  Picking up the phone is one of those small things that while it’s not biggie to most people it can completely overwhelm me.  If you say you’re going to send a card whether it’s now or even in the next year, do it.  Let us know you’re thinking of us, that my husband is missed.

I know life happens and phone calls go unmade, cards get lost, and so on – that is fine but I need to know who I can count on and I’m finding out who my real friends are in the midst of our grieving and our loss.  Yes, you can even stop by.  I may be in my PJ’s and my hair may not be done, my breath stinky and the house may not be clean – but you’re there and that is what matters.  Will I carry on a conversation with you?  Maybe, maybe not but just being there is priceless.

I don’t need you to forget my husband.

I may have had times of frustration.  I may have even been mad at him at times.  But I loved him.  For almost 14 years, 14 1/2 if you count our dating time – we knew each other, we loved each other.  Don’t forget him.  Don’t ignore him.  Let me talk about him, let me cry, let me yell.  Let me tell you about our elopement and how we had Boone’s Farm (yes, we had alcohol) and beef jerky for dinner at 1:00a.m.!  Let me tell you how his vast knowledge of music and horror movie facts would drive me bonkers.  Let me tell you how he loved me even when I gave him the silent treatment.  Let me tell you how even though his back went out when I was having our middle daughter he still walked the halls with me as I tried to avoid another c-section.

I don’t need you to tell me I’m at the right or wrong step in the grieving process.

I have a social work degree that means I’ve taken many psych classes and other classes about grieving and loss and all that.  I KNOW the order of the grieving process, I am NOT following it.  Most people don’t.  One day I may be at acceptance.  The next I may still be waiting to hear his car and see him walk through the door.  The next I may even be mad at him (that will be another blog post).  Again it’s that fog – it’s not really letting my mind work as it should – I think in a way that is good, it’s protecting me but at the same time it’s also not moving forward.

So while many are asking what I, what we need maybe the right question to ask me or any widow is what don’t you need?  I can tell you when we are good on meals, when we don’t need visitors, etc.  I can’t tell you what we need because I honestly don’t know.  If you visit the house and see something that needs done – please do it – in my state of confusion and grief I may not notice the dirt on the floor or a light bulb that has gone out or even the sink full of dishes that need to go in the dishwasher.  But don’t ask me if I want it done or if I need something – you’ll more than likely get a blank stare and a “I dunno” response.  If you see us out, and a child has uncombed hair don’t mention it because I more than likely don’t know just give me a hug.  Please, don’t take this post as me not appreciating all that has been done for us so far – I’m grateful beyond words and feel so blessed but just know I can better tell you the things we don’t need than the things we do.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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