Friday, October 21, 2016

Wounds, Scars and a Soft Spot

Today, in the wake of recent deaths and also some discussions about death, I was pondering grief. This is where my thoughts went:

A few years ago I had infection in my leg that caused a deep grievous wound in my shin. The Biker described it as a bullet hole. It literally kept me off my feet for six weeks. It was a long recovery. The  scar is deep. It hurt on occasion for a very long time.   

When Leroy died it was a deep, infected grievous wound that took many years to heal. I traveled a long journey though the dark winter of grief. The overwhelming emotions that came with his death, shock, fear, anger, pain, and confusion no longer weigh me down but they did leave scars. Scars that hurt from time to time. What causes these scars to hurt? Sometimes just missing Leroy. The wounds of grief can heal but the missing part never goes away. He will always be gone from this life and we will always miss him. Another thing that makes my scars hurt is thinking about the suffering of my kyds because Leroy left us all behind. Not only did they lose a brother and best buddy, they lived through some of the most crucial years of childhood with both parents lost in the wilderness of grief: broken, wounded, often without strength to cope or just be there for them. 

Secondary losses also make scars hurt. The fact that my grandsons will never know Uncle Leroy in the here and now of this life is one of those. The lost possibility of another beloved daughter-in-law and more grand children is another.

When I hear of the death of yet another child, it doesn't tear open old wounds but  Leroy's death left a soft spot that wells up with compassion for those left behind. I know there is a long, hard road of grief ahead of them. I know their life will never be the same. I worry about siblings. I pray in the night hours for peace, for sleep, for forgiveness for everyone involved. I also remind myself that healing will come to them. Yes, healing comes. And joy. After the long night of grief joy comes in the morning.

I love you bunches and joy in the morning,
Pat

Friday, March 11, 2016

What is life really like...

About a month after Leroy died, the ALC Fall Services were held at the Battle Ground High School. A man, whom I recognized by face but not by name, came up to me and asked if I was Leroy's mother. I answered "Yes". He looked into my eyes and said "What a tragedy." Only those words. They resonated deep within me and I have never forgotten.

A few months later Rick Wiinikka joined the Biker and I for supper on my birthday. As we settled into a booth at Denny's, he asked "So, what is life really like without Leroy?" Just a simple question but it spoke so many things. It let us know that talking about Leroy was not considered a taboo subject. It was a willingness to listen. It acknowledged that our life was indeed changed. Leroy's name was spoken. The honesty of the question gave us permission to be equally honest in our answers. I don't recall what those answers were nor any of the conversation that followed but I will always remember the question.

Until then, Richard E, until then...

Make a simple honest statement.
Ask a simple, honest question.
Wear red shoes for courage - Pat

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Words

Words. Words at my house. "Is SISU a just a word?"  Words. Good words. Different words. Forays into philosophy. Types of government. Presidential assassins. Presidential candidates. The Scholar. The Reader. The Biker.  Bill Gates sandy white beaches. Calculator. Pentillion.  Folding a piece of paper fifty-two  times. EMP.  Lyrics. A song three times. Fat king. Google: cycle. Google: un.  "It's a frame of mind." 3:30 til 3 am. Iceland. Greenland. Too much shampoo . Kooky Cloud. "Is that Leroy?" Banana bread. Pizza Haven. Popcorn. Misfired twice. With his cane. Polynesia. Ewoks. Cubic inches. cc's. "I've never heard his voice." $100 bet. Doc said all went well. A sliver. Arthritis. Pen nibs. White grout. Iraq. Iran. The Listener.

"In three minutes I can hurt you with words.
 In three minutes I can love you with words."


Words and red shoes...  Pat


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

This Boy

I talked to this boy in my dream this morning. He looked like this but he was not two year old boy. He was a school boy. In my dream there were boys sleeping upstairs, other boys, not this boy. I got up in the night to pray the blood of Jesus over everyone in the house. I was standing in the middle of the living room with my hands lifted up when he came downstairs.
I said "Do you want to climb in my bed with me? I haven't seen you for so long."
He climbed in my bed and I got in with him. It was a single bed with a light color quilt on it. 
"What time does school start?" I asked.
"9:19 but only for today." he said.
"What time do you have to catch the bus?" I asked.
" I have a basketballer on my bus." he said.

My alarm went off and I cried. 
Little boy, please, come back to my dream. I still need to talk to you.

It was a teary day and I forgot to wear red shoes....

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Celebrate Anyway

I have been reading posts about the holidays, how awful they are when a loved one has died, how hard it is for all who are grieving. Well, I have had a different experience. Our 8 year old son died in July of 1991. He is one of five siblings. My husband and I both come from large families. Holidays, especially Christmas, are a BIG deal in our family. After the Runner died I grieved deep and hard. It pushed the depression I already lived with even deeper. The holidays were a relief to me. It got me out of my house and out of my own little grief filled head.  Also in my world that had suddenly changed into a dark scary place, the ancient carols and the Christmas story remained the same. That was a great comfort to me. We always include the Runner in all our memories and celebrations; no one has ever had a problem with that. Yes, it is different, sometimes we cry and someone is missing but celebrations are still important. 

With big families someone is always missing because they live far away, may be traveling or celebrating with the other side.  My sister's oldest son died when he was two. She now has a big family and for many years would never have a family photo taken because one was missing. Then one year she came to the conclusion at some point her kyds grow up, one by one they would leave home and not be in the picture anyhow so she takes family photos now with whoever is there.  
 
Celebrate anyway. Choose joy. Wear red boots for courage.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Stone Keeper

I have a friend who lives far away. She has been through hard things and many obstacles in her life. She has freely given her best years to help others. Today, from far away, I am able to help her. I gather a few cleaning tools, some rags and a bucket of water. These are the tools of her trade. The wind is wild in the treetops but fallen leaves are too wet to twirl and dance. This day is chosen for this task because the lichen is rain soaked and more easily removed. The first time I went looking for this stone I wandered searching because the names  are so obscured.


The first step is to scrub the stone with a dry brush. This removes a fair amount of lichen.
I soon find the tools I collected for the job are not sufficient so I improvise. A crunched empty water bottle, a Snapple bottle and a pick from a long faded rose are put to good use.
As I scrape, scrub and rinse I ponder things. Scrubbing is good like that.  I am intrigued by double middle initials. I wonder what J. M. and A. E. stand for.  I think of the baby girl who lived from June until July, all of one day. I picture the little boy playing in his front yard behind the stone wall, waving at the pay loader driver. I cannot imagine  the heart of driver when his brakes give way and he goes over the stone wall.  The mama who went through the heartbreak of laying these two angels here has long since been laid to rest herself but someone still remembers. Someone remembers the life, the death, and the heartache. Someone's heart still bears the scars. 

I think of stones on other little graves and other little ones from times past. I walk up the hill to remember.
The pinwheel whirls in the wind like life and time whirling by. It stops for a brief moment. Time stops and stands still when death comes crashing into our lives or at least it stops in our hearts for a season. 

Bubbles for Kerry and Mary

There is deep peace here but the wind and rain are picking up. The perfection part of me is loath to leave any lichen hiding in the cracks but I have long been on my knees. Anything that brings us to our knees is a blessing. It is indeed a blessing to be reminded how much Jesus loves the children. 

Lichen is beginning to grow on the Runner's stone. I wonder in the long years to come if someone will scrub his stone and find his name.  I wonder if we should scrape the lichens from stones. Should we clean the dust and cobwebs from little red bicycles? Maybe we should leave them be to show the years going by and time whirling on but today I am the stone keeper because someone still remembers. 




Thursday, October 16, 2014

Rain and Red Shoes

In the morning we have appointments. I wear red shoes for courage. The weather is a special gift: seventy one degrees mid morning in mid autumn. There are trees, gowned and ready for the October Ball, just glowing in the rain.
The morning has many moments of waiting with book in hand: "With malice towards none; with charity for all; with firmness as right as God gives us to see right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations."  A. Lincoln

We dash through the rain into the Diner. A friendly lady at the next table shares her spinach artichoke dip with us while we wait for Yankee Pot Roast, a fitting feast for a late lunch after a long morning that needed courage. The friendly neighbor table is eating New England Boiled Dinner and a Hot Roast Beef Sandwich.
Home again through the pouring rain, the red shoes get swapped for red boots to go out to check the chickens. They have had enough sense to come in out of the rain, half in the coop and half under the coop. A little persuasion from scraps and some gentle lifting they are all in the run, raindrops rolling like crystals off red feathers. Except LunaMae. She runs around going back and forth and around again, frantic, looking like the proverbial wet hen. She finally goes in and the gate is shut behind her. There are six warm brown eggs  rain speckled in the egg basket.

Today I am grateful for books and boots,
 rain speckled eggs, 
and red shoes for  courage.