|card from blog reader, Robin|
The adjustments to life here by myself have felt more heavy this past week. Everything has gone well but shouldering responsibilities without Beloved's leadership is a big change.
I could not do this without the Lord's help. I cry out to Him often, and as I've said in previous posts, sometimes LOUDLY with an arm outstretched to heaven, much like a little kid trying to get teacher's attention.
Before Beloved was ushered through Heaven's gate neither one of us was very outwardly demonstrative in church worship but my life has undergone a huge change. The blessings the Lord showers onto me are numerous and I want Him to know I am GRATEFUL. In addition to in-person worship at my church, I raise my hand to the Lord here at home while singing to Him from a hymnal, and my praying involves greater detail.
|"widows" highlighted with blue pencil|
One of my GriefShare facilitators recently pointed out to us that God has a special heart for widows. Whenever I see that word in my Bible, I highlight it with a blue pencil. The frequency on some pages is nothing short of amazing to me. It's an affirmation gals like me need in these beginning months of the new designation. (this surely must apply to widowers, too)
I'm learning there are boundaries I need to set up for myself which at the outset were not obvious to me. Grief is a deep sorrow that scrambles and fogs the brain so our thoughts are sometimes skewed. While one would wish others could read the mind of the grief-stricken, that is seldom the case. We are urged to stick up for ourselves and when we do, others tend to appreciate it because otherwise they may be clueless what defines as comforting and what does not.
Randy Alcorn put it this way in one of his recent blog posts: "Some days no one but God has the right words."
In a Bible study I was attending, the chapter was focused on the crucifixion. I was doing my homework and handling it well enough. But then the discussion questions talked about some details of ancient embalming methods, and asked if we had ever been in the presence of one who died, things like that.
With my current circumstances, I could not handle it. And thankfully I realized I did not have to. I closed the book and sent an email to the study leader saying I would be absent from that session. She understood and we left it at that. That was a boundary I put up for myself that may not be necessary in the future, but for now, it is.
Another boundary I've had to put in place is with flashbacks of Beloved's last three weeks, and his final 24 hours in particular. "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he..." (Proverbs 23:7) In the context of grief, too much dwelling on the hard parts does not lead to peace. Yet sometimes reverting to memories of the happiest of times is short-lived when realization hits once again as to what has been lost.
That happened to me this week. It was like I was stuck and couldn't get free, not seeing any hope for a happier state of mind. I finally decided I needed help and placed a call to my grief counselor, the primary facilitator of my GriefShare group.
She understood and advised me to get busy doing something that required my mental attention, something to preoccupy my mind. Read a book, watch a movie, bake something -- an activity for my brain so I couldn't think about the sad stuff. She said taking a walk would not be the answer in this case because the mind would still be free to ruminate over what I am trying to forget.
Late last week I was feeling drained from the tears, tight shoulder muscles, and loneliness. I decided to take a "personal Sabbath," as I called it, where I slept in as late as I could and wore my jammies long into the day. The food I ate was already prepared, just needing to be heated. Household tasks were put on the back burner for another day. I did some yoga-type stretches and drank a lot of water. Crying dehydrates!
|photo from my walk|
Fresh air and sunshine were in abundance that day, so I eventually got dressed and walked nearly 2 1/2 miles at a leisurely pace. I tried to focus more on deep breathing and enjoying nature than the myriad of memories that were trying to take over.
|statue of fly fisherman--|
entrance to my community
My grief counselor was right. A walk does not occupy the mind enough to keep the memories at bay very well. On my way back to the car, I stopped to snap pictures of this fly fisherman statue. Beloved's favorite hobby was fly fishing in the streams of the Colorado Rockies, so as I drive by this place every time I enter and leave my home, there's a memory. I'm just going to have to frame this with sweetness and trust the tears won't last forever.
|a beef stew from the instant pot|
Cooking for one has dramatically changed my time spent in the kitchen. However, when the kids come, I do reunite with my cooking skills. I also save leftovers to freeze in individual serving containers.
|Florida wildflowers near my home|
The pink wild flowers that pop up alongside Central Florida's roadsides are out in all their glory right now, signaling to me the passage of time since the dark days of my winter. Life goes on, even if I'm at the back of the line this year.