God, every area of my life, every point of prayer
It all seems to begin, and end, making that full circle
Around being Rick’s widow, and Your woman.
I can thank You for sparing Rick this year of 2020,
- I know him good enough to know that all of this would have driven him crazy!
I can thank You for what You have done in my life, living this alone
- I have seen Your hand in my life, and felt Your comfort in ways that makes it hard to describe
I can thank You for the healing of my hurt and my heart that you are doing,
- now knowing that the ultimate healing will only be when I get there with Y’all
And I thank You that healing in any degree does not mean our love never existed, or that it died with Rick.
On that thought - “healing does not mean our love never existed”:
I talk to a lot of widows and widowers, and I hear the questions and the ache within their hearts, time over again.
So between my own experiences, and those shared with me, it all got me to thinking of a badly mangled/broken leg:
- how as it heals it progresses from a cast to a brace to a wrap to then nothing is needed for support
- and the person moves from a wheelchair to a walker to crutches to a cane to just walking on their own
- then begins the rehab time, of strengthening the muscles that have not been used during the healing
- and once that is complete, perhaps it looks and responds as though nothing happened ... but let the weather change, and the person is reminded of the injury
- or perhaps it healed, but leaves a limp in the walk, a different way to get dressed or move about
How we all accept it, whether it happens to us, to our loved ones, even to our fur-babies, or the animals under our care
- we don’t rush the healing
- we don’t beat them about with our words to hurry up and get well
- we listen as they recount their injury, time and time again, so often that sometimes it is though we are feeling the injury in our own bodies
- we pray for them for however long it takes to move along the healing journey
- and when the healing is complete, we do not tell them move on and forget that it ever happened
- nor do we deny, or insist that they live as though, the injury never took place
- we do not insist that they no longer speak of the injury or the healing
- we do not ask them to give the performance of a lifetime as though they had never been thru the injury and the healing
- we actually expect it to change them, mentally, emotionally, physically, even spiritually
But, wait! Isn’t that a picture of grief as a widow?
We are walking just fine, living life, loving one another, laughing and planning
And then BAM! Death happens to one.
The other is left broken, mangled.
- there is no cast or brace or wrap to put around a broken heart
- and even if there was? It could not be seen by anyone else
- we progress in our healing, but again, it’s not seen by others around us, except perhaps in our actions or words
- we must “rehab” ourselves, learning to love again, learning to laugh, learning to live
- we have to teach ourselves to be just “one”, not a “we” or an “us”
- we learn lessons that we never knew existed
- taking and passing, sometimes failing, tests that we didn’t study for
- hobbling around trying not to upset anyone with our tears
I know that people cannot truly understand without the experience
- and not one of us as a widow, or widower, wants anyone else to experience the nightmare that we are living and learning our way thru
- but just as people show compassion on those who have an injured leg, without having an injured leg themselves
My one question is: Where is the compassion, the understanding that compassion brings, for the widow?
- why are we told that all the firsts happen in that first year, so after that very first angel-versary, things are easier?
It has been 5 years & 7 months for me, and still I face FIRSTS time after time after time ... alone
- why are we told to “get over it” when it has been 2 years or 5 or 10 or 20? What difference does time make when it’s your heart that is broken?
- why are we told to “just get a life” when we are struggling to just breathe, to live? When our “life” was torn from us, and the wreckage that remains is shattered beyond what we can comprehend.
- why are we pressed into another relationship when we still are so attached to the one just ripped from our hearts? If there is to be another relationship, we need space (and just for the record? There is NO time for grief, it’s just a word) to accept what has happened, to give our hearts and souls the chance to breathe deeply of life once more, to convince ourselves that it is “OK” to be alive.
I do not want anyone else to know this by experiential knowledge.
I know they will.
Simply because death is a part of life.
The real sucky part!
But there is so much in life that we have no experiential knowledge about,
yet we are compassionate, caring,
reaching out a hand to help someone up from the pit of muck and mire that life throws them into.
- has your heart been touched by a starving child that you have seen on a TV commercial?
- have you ever given money, time or supplies to a disaster relief fund?
- have you ever given toys to a Christmas project, even though you did not know a child involved?
- have you ever prayed for an accident victim that you heard about, or read about?
- have you ever reached out and opened a door for someone struggling?
- the questions are a thousand or more of the kindnesses you have done, the patience you have shown, the love you have given, the mercy you have shown.
And yet, have you ever thought -
- goodness it has been 3 years since her husband died, why isn’t she dating again?
- oh my word! It’s been 10 years since his wife died, and he still misses her?
- really? She has been a widow for 5 years and she’s still alone? She still can’t figure out how to do things for herself, such as work on a vehicle, change a light bulb, etc ...
We have all lost someone close to our heart.
A dad. Mom. Brother. Sister. Uncle. Aunt. Child. Cousin. Friend. Co-worker.
Do you still miss them?
How long has it been since they died?
If they have been gone over 1 year, have you forgotten about them?
Do you ever wish you could pick up the phone and call them just one more time, to tell them a stupid joke, to share good news (or bad)?
Do you think about them when you eat their favorite foods?
Or when you go somewhere without them, that you went with them?
We all show comfort and compassion to one another for this type of grief.
But we so often fail to extend the comfort, the care, the compassion, to widows and widowers.
We just want them to "get it fixed".
God, life moves forward
And I am forever changed
But that’s not a bad thing, right?
I am different now alone than I was with Rick
And isn’t that the way it should be?
That Rick’s absence makes a difference in me -
- doesn’t that prove that his presence made a difference too?
For I have heard it said many times, mostly speaking from the point of view of a break up:
- If my absence makes no difference in Your life, then neither did my presence.
So why should I be beaten about for being different now?
And why am I told time and time again what to do, how to do it?
- not in a way that is encouraging or inspiring
- but in a way that, at least seems, to come from a point of frustration from those saying it
**Rick, I’m going to make it.
I miss You like crazy.
And I love You with all my heart.
Please do not let go of my left hand
God holds my right hand
I am held on both sides!
Walk me thru this life
And wait for this woman of yours ;)
I’ll be there
But I have a job to do here first.
A thousand years is as a day unto the Lord
And there is no time where You are -
So, in Your world, I’ll see You soon
In my world?
God hasn’t told me yet ;)
I love You Rick
Oh how I love You
I am sorry for all the mistakes and missteps I have done these 5 years & 7 months.
- I really hope You will forgive me, and still long to take me in Your arms when I get there.
- please, forgive me and do not push me away. I could not bear it.
Oh Rick, I am sorry. I screwed up! When I lost You, I lost my anchor for a while.
- And I didn’t mean to put all that on You in the first place!
- You were just so strong and good to me
- You loved me with a passion
- And You were so easy to get wrapped up in!
I have a new anchor now - Jesus
- learning to live this life without You, Rick, has been a challenge
- and to be honest? I still don’t like it!
- I much prefer being Your wife, instead of Your widow!!!
But I am trying now to only Honor God with all that I am, with all that I have - and with all that I am not, all that I don’t have.
- Trusting Him to carry me thru these storms
- After all, He is the God of the storms, and I am His.
Rick, if You can, love me loud today.
I have learned a lot about me, especially in these last 90 days.
I know now, I’m ok with just being me, Your widow, and God’s woman ;)
Whatever He wants to do with me,
Or in my life.
I love You honey.
And I will never stop missing You, or wishing for life with you.
Always and forever.
To infinity and beyond!!!
Several weeks ago, I began a new tradition for me.
On Sundays I will only allow myself to watch inspirational movies.
I am limited on the movies I have at this time, so I find myself watching the ones I do have over and over again.
Each time I watch one over again, I catch something I didn’t before.
I learn a new lesson.
It was that way tonight.
I watched “Amazing Grace”, again.
From the first time I saw it, years ago with Rick, it became one near to my heart.
William Wilberforce’s dedication and commitment, his passion for what was right, against the evil and wrongs in his world.
Tonight the message to my heart was a reminder that:
Yes! One person CAN change the world!
One person with PASSION!
One person with God on his/her side.
One person who is willing to step out and lead.
So often I have been told to be quiet, to settle myself down
To keep my passions quiet
To act like a good-sensed woman!
However, God has been speaking to my heart, especially of late, about passion
There is a time to be still, be quiet - and that is before God in prayer, listening as He reads His Word into our hearts
My focal reading the last 3 months has been the book of Isaiah
And as I only have one chapter left to read in the morning, I know that God has indeed changed my heart from the reading
This movie tonight has solidified within my spirit the change,
That I have heard the Voice of God these 3 months
That I am where I am supposed to be
And that He is leading me to use my voice (perhaps my writings) for His honor
I do not know the plans God has for me, for my life
But that’s ok -
Because I know Him, and He knows the plans
So I rest in His promises
And I trust in His Amazing Grace
This is Sunday, the first day of Thanksgiving week ... this year, also the first day of Rick and Mandy’s birthday week.
When Rick and I got married, he told me that he was not a “big holiday person”.
He wasn’t a “Bah-hum-bug”, but he just wasn’t into the commercialization of the holidays.
But he told me that I could do whatever I wanted for any of the holidays, or for none of them.
That he would help - and taste ;) ,
and that he would make sure I had the money and resources to do whatever I could dream up.
He was absolutely true to his word.
We decided together that Thanksgiving would be an open door to anyone who wanted to come,
and that we would invite - “the more, the merrier”!
And that Christmas would be our little family day, we would not go anywhere.
It would just be a quiet day at the house.
If someone wanted to come over, they were more than welcome to, but we would not have a big cooking day.
We also decided that instead of celebrating birthdays just on the day of birth,
we would celebrate the whole week that the birthday was in for that year.
The only “holidays” that Rick truly celebrated was May 3, in his words, “The birth day of my Beloved”;
and September 5, the day of “his greatest gift besides his salvation” - our wedding anniversary.
He nearly always managed to be off work on both of those days, often taking a day of vacation.
We never had a lot of money,
but we were both creative and somehow always managed to buy the kids presents, decorate the house,
and have the food we chose for that year.
My memories are working over time today.
Remembering all those years together.
The different menus.
The baking, and how he loved to lick the beaters and bowl.
Then as the kids got old enough, they wanted to help -
so there was plenty of laughter in “helping” clean the bowl!
The music playing in the kitchen.
How he would come up behind me, wrap his arms around my waist and dance to the music.
- I at first thought it was so sweet, but I quickly found out that it was his way of sneaking a bite! Lol
The look on his face when I would scoop him out a taste of whatever I was cooking and hand it to him.
The smile and the “mmmmm...that’s good!”
The long walks we would find the time to take on a back country road,
or if the weather didn’t permit a walk, the long country drive -
- just to get me out of the kitchen for a little while.
The smell of cleaners as we worked together to get the house ready for our guests.
And that moment when all the baking was done,
the dinner was ready,
and I would step outside to the porch for a breath of fresh air -
- he would wait a few minutes letting me breathe and get centered ...
Then he would come up beside me.
Put his arm around me.
Pull me close to him.
The sweetest and most tender forehead kiss.
And with a husky voice filled with emotion: “You done good, girl.”
I would look up into his eyes,
and see nothing but pure love and acceptance there.
God in Heaven - I miss that man!
I miss everything about our life together.
But this day, on this first day of this week?
I didn’t think I could miss him more ...
But. I. Do.
I love you Rick.
Thank you for these memories.
I read these words of a prayer the other day,
Words that came across my Facebook feed -
From Janene thru www.awidowsmight.org
They spoke volumes to my spirit when I first read them,
And since that first reading, they have become a prayer from the depths of my being
Lord God, Savior and Shepherd to my broken heart,
I am found in You but feel lost in this world.
It is altered by a single absence - my husband, my love.
How could I be ready?
There is no readiness for the amputation of two made one in marriage,
the knife of death in this life
and the grasping for hope in the aftermath.
I lean into You in the boat in which You have me.
You carry me forward.
You care for me.
Your compassion surrounds me and I am swaddled as Your child.
You look ahead for me.
You know the thoughts and treasured love behind every tear that drops.
I am fully understood and completely loved.
I am secure.
I am Yours.
The lost that I am continues these 5 years 7 months after Rick died
Complicated grief is what I have been “labeled” with
Every one processes grief in a different way, at a different pace -
Just as everyone had a different love story, and depth of love
I have tried to stay around people more than to withdraw and isolate myself
(although I must admit that the isolation has been more since moving into this apartment, for one reason or another)
Couples have been a painful reminder that I am not one any longer
- but I am learning to smile as they hold hands, or give that knowing look to one another
The struggles of raising kids serves to remind me that my nest is empty
- but I am learning to rejoice in the memories of those sweet days, and to enjoy the blessings they are enjoying now ;) lol
The voices and busy-ness of life when around people tends to drown out the cries of my own sorrow and sadness
- and selfishly? I have let it.
But now, living alone -
And being alone more hours each day, more days each week, more weeks each month ...
That has brought about a change in the grief
It has made me face the fears
Listen to the sorrows
Acknowledge the anger, the hurt, the frustrations
Look deep into the eyes of worry
Question how am I going to handle this life - alone
So many questions
Not enough answers
There has been a letting go of those I have held on to
They have their lives
I need to find mine
I think the thoughts that wander and wonder have been some of the greatest struggles in this quietness, so far at least
Those that take me to a time past
- forcing me to admit that there is nothing more I can do about the regrets I must bear
- leading me to believe that God knew my stupidity when He created me, and when He called me. So, nothing has caught Him by surprise, nor shocked Him.
And more especially those that take me into an unknown future
- where the song, “Trust In Jesus” takes on a much deeper meaning and comfort than I can explain
- it’s ALL I can do
Oh I’m still lost
But my roots are going down into His Mighty Name with every passing day and night
His Promise is that He will not break a bruised reed
And bruised I am
But He knows that
He is God over all these storms in my life
And I am His.
So, when it’s all been said, or written, it’s just that simple -
I. AM. HIS.
I. AM. HIS.
I. AM. HIS.
So what shall I do?
The next thing
Whatever is in front of me
The next thing
Laying down the burdens of this life
So that I may go undistracted into the night, and then the day -
Listening to His voice as He sings over me, quieting me with His Love
Feeling His arms around me, holding me - just holding me
Smelling His coffee and sugar cookies ... cause that’s what I believe God smells like. ☺
And that makes me smile -
When nothing else can
That makes me smile
Thank You God for understanding me completely ... and loving me anyway
You sure have Your hands full with me, don’t You?
I love You.
All for Jesus
I watched The War Room again a few evenings ago.
If you have not seen this movie - PLEASE! Watch it.
But I offer this warning: It will change your life.
Lord only knows how much we ALL need our lives changed in these days.
My take away with this watching:
- I wrestle not against flesh and blood ... not even against my own.
I never once thought about it like that.
I have prayed that verse in the Bible for years - reminding myself, reminding others
“We wrestle not against flesh and blood”
But not once have I prayed that verse over my own life, for ME
- I wrestle not against my own flesh or blood
God, the battle is Yours
For my mind, my thoughts
My body, my very life
The Victory in the Battle belongs to You, God
Just like I do
Teach me Your ways to pray over me
Teach me Your ways to live this life
Rising above the circumstances that life has placed me in
- a widow, alone
God, teach me how to let You love me dearly
And teach me how to love myself - like You do
So that I may learn to love others the way You already do
God, you know the thoughts that I have wrestled with for oh so long
- some for longer than Rick has been gone. Those were the ones that only You and he knew about.
- others I have shared in the words of my blog, and at different times with others
- and then there are those kept in darkness and secret, that only I know ... well, You and I.
God, I am oh so tired and weary of the struggles
There is nothing good in me, of my own self
Galatians 6:14 - May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
The only good in me is You, God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
But no where in Your Word does it tell me to beat myself up - on any level
God, You have forgiven me of my sin
How can I do less?
Romans 6:1 - 2 - What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?
This is true repentance
And it is a gift of God’s Amazing Grace
With the Faith You have given to me, I accept the gift of repentance
Teach me Your ways to live it out in my day to day life
Teach me Your ways of Honoring You with every word I speak, every move I make, and every breath I take
God, I love You.
Oh how I love You.
In Jesus’ Name
And for Your Praise
I had these words printed and they now are on the wall in front of my computer -
So as I sit here writing, I can raise my eyes and see them
“A day will come when the story inside you will want to breathe on its own. That’s when you’ll start writing.”
I cannot remember a time when I did not write
As a kid growing up, I was always writing - mostly poetry at that time
I gave almost all my poems to our pastor, Bro. John.
Not long ago, I saw Bro. John.
After hugs, he told me that he still had all those poems.
And that one day soon, he was going to have them all printed and bound into a book.
What amazed me the most was that he had kept them all these years!
One of my poems was published in a book of poetry in the UK several years ago.
After Rick and I got married, I wrote in bound journals.
I wrote poems, stories, thoughts and ideas
I wrote as I studied the Bible, things that were just “wow” to me.
Many of those I read out loud to Rick as we sat over coffee in the mornings
He asked me to write a book
Just a book of all these thoughts and emotions, as well as memories
He would often tease me, saying, “Are you working on that book? I’m ready to retire and ride my Harley!”
He was convinced, or so it seemed, that I could write a book, sell enough copies to buy him a brand-new aqua blue and white Harley Soft-tail.
When we lived & he worked in Idaho, he bought me a website to write in -
Simply because 1. It was easier to keep family and friends updated as to where we were and what we were doing; and 2. We were living in a small RV and did not have a lot of room for storage of all my journals.
So, www.kamelotrose.com was born - the thought of my Sweetheart.
I had no idea how to create a website, much less what to call it.
Rick worked with me on it. We bounced around ideas and thoughts for days.
Then, one morning we were sitting there over coffee and he said,
“I know what to domain to use for your website.”
I just looked at him, and waited.
“kamelotrose”, he said
When I asked him why, his answer made soft tears in my eyes, and they found their way down my cheeks. He stood up, came over to me, lifted my face, and kissed those tears.
“Kamelot - because you not only love King Arthur so much, but you have the heart of Camelot. Rose - because you love roses, your Momma’s middle name is “Rosie”, and you my love - you are my precious Rose.”
The name of my website has often changed, depending on where we were, and what we were doing.
Currently it is titled with “Coffee Love” - which I do not think is hard to figure out, lol!
My little website has grown in these years since that day.
I have many pages, and several sections.
Lately, I have been tweaking it.
Sometimes taking things away.
Sometimes adding other ideas and areas.
I will continue to do this - even more in these days to come.
Every day that I open my editor, I ask God for the wisdom and creativity to work on this.
- that the words of my mouth and fingers, as well as the meditations of my heart, will please Him and honor Him, my Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
When we first began the website, it was a way to share stories and pictures of where we were
Then it became a way to share the stories and life of our kids and grandkids
When our health began to change, Rick came to me one day and said,
“I want you to get out of your comfort zone with your blog. I want you to share our good days, our bad days, and all the days in-between. Be brutally honest. Perhaps just one person will be helped in some way.”
So as difficult as it was, I did as Rick requested.
Some people said I shared too much. That I was too honest. But to every one of those comments, Rick would answer for me. Defending me. Standing behind me. Always having my back.
After Rick died, it was hard to write in it at all, or do anything to it.
Rick was my reader. Everything I wrote. Everything I did.
He would look at the website. He would read my writings.
And he was the one to stand for me, when others came against me.
When he was no longer here to do that, it became almost impossible for me to write.
Yet, just a month before he died, he had pulled me into his arms and made me promise to keep on writing, no matter what.
I remember his every word, just as though he had said them this morning:
“Honey, I believe in you. I believe in your ability, talent and gift to write. I want you to promise me that you will keep writing, no matter what. If just one person can be helped, or encouraged ... or just one person can read of our struggles and trials and be inspired to make the changes needed, thereby being spared our fate - then all of this will not have been in vain. We will go thru a lot between now and my final breath. Then you will go thru a lot more without me here. I want you to continue to be brutally honest, sharing your thoughts and feelings, the good days and the bad nights. Be real! Be YOU! Promise me that you will not stop writing.”
With many tears I promised him.
And every day that I did not write, I felt the weight of that promise.
I came back to the website, and I wrote some.
I wrote about being a widow.
I cried a river of tears with some of those writings.
Then I began to share some of our memories, stories of Ricky Lee & our life, our love.
Still I struggled with the writing
- just because he was not here to read the words
And then, I found these words that are printed and on my wall ...
I realized the truth of those words
And how that the story in me is breathing
Gasping for air
Wanting so much to breathe on its own
I’m finding my way to let the story write itself
I would rather ride the waves of life
Than to know those extreme highs and lows
Give me the waves any day
Momma taught me to be thankful
To always have the attitude: it’s better than nothing!
Life in the extremes is a hard way to live
But as long as we have ups and downs?
We know we are breathing, alive
Think about the EKG’s that show the ups and downs of our heart beating
Ask your doctor what extreme ups and downs mean to the heart
Even physically it is so much better, easier on the heart and body, to go with the waves
How many times have I been told in these 5+ years since Rick died that I need to:
- not wallow in the grief
- not be so down
- stop being so discouraging with my words
- smile more
- cry less
- think positive
- and the comments go on ... and on ... and on
No one, much less a widow or widower, can live at all times on the mountain tops
I remember Rick preaching about this very thing - often
And he would ask what kind of growth is on the mountain tops?
Not a lot.
Take a good look at a mountain - not a hill, but a mountain
But then, look at the valleys that surround that mountain
The lush & green growth
Some of the best soil in the land is at the base of a mountain, in the valley!
That’s where we grow - in the valleys
We can go to the mountain tops ever so often, but even experienced climbers will tell you, you don’t want to go to the mountain top often - it’s hard on the body!
Now, look at the rolling hills in our land
There is growth on the hills and in the lower places
I want to ride the waves, the hills, the lower places, in this life
To be able to grow as I need to
I enjoy the mountain top experiences of life as much as anyone else does
But the waves ... that’s where my heart and life are, that’s where I want to live!
So to anyone who feels led to say, “don’t be sad” ... that’s in my lower moments - I will be sad!
I will spend those moments being sad at all that I have lost
I will spend those moments being sad to not have my Sweetheart here with me now
I will spend those moments breathing in the sadness
Knowing that there is a hill ahead of me, a rise to make
And rise I will
I will rise above the sadness, the loneliness, the storms of life
Then, I will dip back into them again
I choose to ride the waves!
To experience every high, and every low
To gather and glean all the learning and growing that I can in each moment
Do not deprive me of this
If you don’t want to ride your waves, that’s your choice
- but try to find growth and life on the mountain tops!
- try to keep your breath, and your heart pumping up there
I don’t judge you
I just know for me I can’t live on the mountain top
And if you can’t handle me on the waves?
Have a good life without me -
I will have a good one with me!
In these 5 + years since Rick died,
I have talked to many widows and widowers
We all have our unique “worst times” of the day and night
For me, my worst day time is between 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
The whole evening is lonesome
But those 3 hours
I guess because that was always when I was finishing up my day and getting ready for Rick to be home
Oh I know that many say, “After 5+ years you ought to be used to it by now!”
After 35 years of looking forward to him coming in the door between 4 - 7 p.m.?
5 years and a few months is not enough time to stop the thoughts and emotions tied into those hours
Especially now that I am living alone
The worst night time is between 1 a.m. - 4 a.m.
Going to sleep isn’t all that difficult, most nights
Staying asleep, that’s a different story
I have woken up around 1 a.m. for as long as I can remember -
- either to check on one of the kids when they were growing up
- or to check on Rick after his health turned and we were doing home dialysis
- and if insomnia is going to hit me, it will be somewhere in those hours
- even as a kid myself, my wake up time was around 4 a.m. because of chores that needed done before school
But in all the years of being married to Rick,
Whenever I would wake up in those hours, those were the sweetest times with him
He would wake up and sleepily ask if I was ok
Then he would stretch out his arms and tell me to come lay back down
He would take his other arm, and wrap it over me -
Then holding me in this soft and gentle bear hug
I would lay my face against his hairy chest
Feel his beard on the top of my head
And without fail,
He would give me a forehead kiss and say,
“Do you know I love you?”
Then he would begin to breathe that deep sleep breathing
Sometimes I would go back to sleep
Often, I would lay there for a long time, just feeling him holding me
Smelling deeply of him
Listening to his breathing
And I would thank God for allowing me to be his wife
So now, even after 5+ years, my mind and heart still wake me up in those hours
Only now, I wake up to emptiness and aloneness
Every widow or widower has their own times that are the worst
These are mine
Bittersweet moments frozen in my memories
Gentle smiles and soft tears
It’s my life
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here