Tag Archives: death

Bidding a not-so-fond farewell to 2016

I’m not going to whine about and harp on all the celebrity deaths this year.  While some were timely (Gene Wilder) and some were tragically early (Prince and a bunch of others); and my girls and I will miss Alan Rickman’s smooth, deep voice <3, the truth is, I didn’t know any of them personally, so their deaths aren’t as painful to me.

Between January and July, we attended six funeral or memorial services, including our private graveside service as we buried Miss Kitty, a sweetheart of a torti and the first cat my husband and I adopted after we married.  Not including Kitty, the mean age of those who died was 60 – way too young.  My grandmother died Memorial Day weekend; she was 90.  I thought maybe we were done with death for the year, but no.  A lovely saint at church died on Christmas Day at the age of 93, and the 34-year-old son of a dear friend of mine died in a snowboarding accident two days before Christmas.

Last New Year’s Eve, my car was in the shop and my knee was in a brace.  I despaired of ever even being able to walk without a limp, let alone kneel for any reason.  This year, while I’m painfully aware of how vulnerable my knee is to injury, it’s pretty much back to normal and I’m looking forward to hitting the soccer field again.

My husband got laid off in July.  Thankfully, we had months of notice, during which time he created a plan to start his own business.  It was tense; the lay-off date kept changing, so we never knew month-to-month or even week-to-week when he’d be getting his last paycheck.  We wanted the wait to be over already, but then again, we knew him starting a business as I was deep in my rebrand would be awful.  In June, I rebranded my business.  I don’t know what happened or why, but my web developer/friend dropped out of existence, leaving my new website undone and me absolutely at a loss as to the coding.  I haven’t heard from him since.  We weren’t in conflict at all, and we’d always worked together well.  I miss him.

In September, after months of tension, it came time to bid a tearful adieu to a significant relationship.  I was devastated, and I’m still not completely over it.  This came on the heels of the worst betrayal of my life – worse even than that time when my supposed best friend in high school slept with my crush.  Three deaths over the summer and a bitter, heartbreaking betrayal…  I guess some people just can’t handle being present for the hard parts of life – or they don’t like having to take a back seat to in-my-face crises.

I’m not making resolutions; I’m honestly not at a point where I can think that far ahead.  I started a diet/exercise program in early October that’s showing some good results, and I’m going to keep working that.  I have a plan for growing my business with execution happening now.

All I wanted was to get to the end of the year with my loving husband and our precious daughters well, happy, and healthy.  I’m pushing a cold out of my body, but it’ll be OK, because that’s such a minor thing in the grand scheme of things.  And those I cherish the most are here with me – safe, healthy, and happy.  We’re anticipating 2017 to be a much better year with great new promise.

Happy New Year to us all!

The Sacred God-Moment

This week has been insane for our family.  Last Saturday, my husband’s mentor, friend, and supervisor, Lenny, died after a brief battle with cancer.  Sunday night, I got the call that my grandmother had died.  Lenny’s funeral was an hour-and-a-half away on Tuesday, and Grandmother’s was 3 hours away today.  I feel like I’ve spent most of the week on the interstate.  Naps were missed, the emotional energy was high, we didn’t sleep great.  We’re completely wiped out by this point and savoring the idea of a weekend of rest.

As we came home from Lenny’s funeral Tuesday night, this amazing vertical rainbow appeared in the sky.

Fascinating vertical rainbow in the sky Tuesday night

Fascinating vertical rainbow in the sky Tuesday night

We were awed, as we’d never seen a vertical rainbow before.  Taking a look in the rear view mirror revealed a gorgeous sunset (sorry, no picture of that).  It felt like God was hugging us.

Then, this evening we were returning home from my Grandmother’s memorial service.  I was driving, and I was tired.  Traffic for the first 25 miles had been hellacious, with normal Friday-summer-afternoon-eastbound-traffic meeting the Construction Zone from Hell for 8.5 miles.  I was sustaining on a frappe and determination, watching cars, attending to the light traffic and the road, enjoying my Jim Brickman play list.  My eyes rose to the sky ahead, and there right in front of me was a rainbow.  I pointed it out to my family so they could enjoy it, too.  It was faint, but there, and we eventually were able to make out the other end of it.

Around this time, I took a peek at my phone to see which selection was playing.  It was “Sacred Moment,” and I recognized the tune as “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded.”  Wow.  Just…  Wow.  The rainbow.  That symbol of God’s promise never again to destroy the world by flood.  And God has kept this promise.  If God keeps this promise, would not God also keep the other promises he’s given us?  My cousin Mark read the words of Jesus from John 14 today:  “I go to prepare a place for you.”  I looked at that rainbow and listened to that tune and thought, This is God’s promise, fulfilled for us in the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.  This rainbow served as a reminder that God keeps God’s promises – all of them.  I seized the holy teachable moment and took the opportunity to talk to my girls about it.  My younger one said, “It’s like the promise for Great-Grandmother.”  Yes!  Yes, it is.  And that promise is for us, too.

I haven’t cried for Grandmother.  She’d been sick since February and psychologically ready to die for over a year.  But I could cry over the magnitude of God’s promises and how they have been fulfilled for her.  She’s with Grandpa again, turning 67 years of marriage on Earth into an eternity of marriage in Heaven.

Random Reflections on Today

It’s nearly 11:30 p.m., and I finally get to sit down for an appreciable amount of time that doesn’t involve crafting soap or eating a meal.  It’s been a very full, busy day.  I rolled over this morning, well rested, saw the sun, and thought, Woohoo!  Feeling great!  It’s 7:30ish, and I can grab my shower, eat breakfast, and run to the winery early, then have hours to work.  Then I looked at my phone, which told me it was almost 9.  So much for that idea.  I threw down a mere 3 batches of soap today, but in my defense, I also delivered soaps, filed my 4th quarter sales taxes, and had other attention-grabbers.

Today my family and I went to a service celebrating the life of our neighbor and friend, John.  While there, I learned that another neighbor died this week.  After we got home, I checked Facebook while I wanted for oils to melt and discovered that a friend had had her baby this afternoon.  “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven…  A time to be born, and a time to die.”

I told Sheila, John’s widow, that we were going to look out for her.  She’s perfectly able-bodied, only in her 70s.  She and I serve on our HOA Executive Board together, and we have a meeting Tuesday.  Sheila told me she’s feeling overwhelmed and ready to get back to…  I knew what she couldn’t say.  It won’t be normal, because her life won’t be what she thought of as normal ever again.  She’ll find a new normal, though.  The family members will go back home, the children and grandchildren will go back to work and families.  The girls will deliver hugs and we’ll take food over, mindfully caring for her through this first year and beyond.  John liked Tootsie Rolls; I wonder if I should add 23 February (the birthday of Tootsie Rolls) to the bereavement care calendar?  “To everything there is a season…  A time to mourn, and a time to dance.”

I received an order for 300 bars of soap and 200 lip balms this week.  I was only prepared for 150 bars of soap, and that’s on top of another order I’ve been putting together.  I sat down with the girls while a batch of soap was going and watched Bambi.  Even as a Disney girl, it’s not my favorite movie, but even with the sadness of the mother getting shot, I can still laugh at the whole twitterpated scene.  (I can’t help but wonder if my girls have yet made the connection between the role of Man in Bambi and the venison they like so much.)

“To everything there is a season…  A time to cry, and a time to laugh.”

And now it’s nearly bedtime, thank God.  Literally, I thank God that it’s close to that time when I can get horizontal and snuggle down under the warm covers.  I worked.  A lot.  And there is more work ahead of me.  My wicked fantasy for tomorrow includes two 11-pound batches of soap along with chauffeuring the eldest child to youth activities and enjoying the Superbowl with my family.  I’ll have three hours between church and chauffeur responsibilities.  “There is nothing better for a person than they enjoy their work, for that is their lot.”

And now comes a time for rest, a time for sleep, a time to find peace in sweet dreams and deep slumber.