Promise

milkshakesandheartaches:

I hope on the 

ashen stone

that will stand

above,

you will sing

me a song

of how much 

my life affected

thee.

Do not weep

or leave me

flowers that

will wither,

just promise

to bestow your

beauty for

those whose

eyes still see.

Yes. This. Thank you for writing it. Monday it will be six months since my husband died. “Sing a song” and “bestow beauty.” Life is happening now. We are to live it. Grieving is part of my/our journey. We loved. We mourn. We miss him. We remember. We are still alive. Speaking for my boys and I. So many loved and cared for him and prayed us through. Our family that we made together. We are thankful and blessed. Again and again. “Sing a song” and “bestow beauty.” Got it. Will do. Yes. This.

February 22, 2014

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It is Valentine’s Day today. My boys each received a giant Hershey bar with a big red bow this morning. I was surprised they didn’t have chocolate for breakfast like on Easter morning. They could have, but they didn’t ask or just go for it sorta on the sly.
Instead of wearing red (I’m just not feeling bold like that) I chose my purple t-shirt with the hot pink sea turtles and the words “Aulani • Hawai’i.” We loved there. He and I. Our family of four cocooned together surrounded by Hawaiian island paradise. That was six months ago, at the beginning of August 2012, just three weeks before he died.
This morning my youngest son and I stood outdoors in quickly falling snow with Blue dog too. What began as micro flakes quickly changed to ginormous ones and was really coming down. This unexpected snowfall made me smile, as did the talking and laughing between us while while waiting for the bus. Sweet fifth grade boy has twenty eight valentines with nerd candy attached in his backpack, ready to give to his classmates at the party this afternoon. I’m preparing for a sugar buzz attack this evening, followed by a crash. He held his backpack over his head and asked me to go inside and get the umbrella to block the falling snow. I didn’t budge. Instead my hair turned white from snow accumulation because I’d left my hat inside. Enough landed there that I did blow dry it again once inside. Crazy winter.
I have a lunch date with my oldest son at his favorite restaurant to look forward to. Half day only at his school today. Parents Day in the lower grades. We’ll enjoy our afternoon time, just us two, before his brother gets off the bus returning home. He led me in a merry game of chase when I turned to give him a Happy Valentine’s Day hug before school. What a scene we made. Thirteen year old boy with the long legs staying just ahead, ten year old keeping pace beside me and Blue dog racing, not sure of the objective but not wanting to miss the merry go round of fun. I’ll get that hug. Later. The day is young. Good thing is, he “eluded me” by brushing his teeth before school at my reminder.
I’ll probably make a chocolate cake in my grandmother’s heart shaped cake pans. They are mine now, but they were hers first. If not today, sometime this weekend.
The dog is walked. The boys are at school. The house is quiet. The coffee is brewed. I started to reach for my blue “Oasis” mug. The one I glazed with the soothing colors of the Caribbean in early July while my children worked on 4-H projects alongside. Then I considered the earth tone mug in the unusual shape that I brought home from a summer art fair in 2011. That was longer ago than it sounds, considering all that has happened since. Instead, I chose the bright red heart mug today, on the day it is made for, Valentine’s Day. I bought two of these red heart mugs long ago, as Valentine’s Day gifts for my husband and I. Way back, before the children were born. I still have both of the mugs. Stupid earthly stuff. It stays behind with memories attached, both the good and the bad ones. So much to wade through.
Earlier this week on Monday, February 10, I wrote in an email to a girlfriend:
“Valentine’s Day won’t be as hard for me as our wedding anniversary on May 31. I always have considered Valentine’s Day “a Hallmark holiday” and still say showing your love isn’t about over the top extravagance on one *stupid* day you feel forced to make a gesture, but about the whole year of big, and mostly little things, that you do for one another. My 2¢. I’ll make sure to toast the day with chocolate and will spend it with my children, my two bestest Valentine’s, this year and every one. Hold each other close. Say, “Good morning, I love you” as the day begins and, “Good night, I love you” as the day ends. We got it right for the last month of our marriage, when all pride was finally shoved aside and we loved with our walls down. Beautifully. Fleetingly. It was good and all God. I told my oldest son yet again, on the drive to school today, “There were many miracles along the way, but the biggest one was the way God moved a stubborn man and a stubborn woman at the end of July.” It was all Him.”
I’m thankful for, and humbled by, the ocean of love and prayer that continues to surround my family of three people, one wild dog, and a cranky cat.
Now I’m on today. Valentine’s Day. All day. I’m finishing my last cup of coffee, a special blend sent across the ocean from Hawaii and looking forward to my lunch date. Later, I anticipate laughing later while watching Blue dog play outside on the long leash as I shovel snow, and then being tucked into home with my family tonight, with cake to follow soon. Lots of good stuff right there, in these quiet moments that no longer pass me by.
Aloha means, “hello,” “goodbye,” “I love you.” Feels right. Yes. That. Aloha. My subconscious knew, as I chose my souvenir t-shirt from our Hawaiian vacation to wear today, along with my sparkly heart love multicolor Venetian glass necklace, a gift from two GFF BFF friends, also from August 2012.
Happy Valentine’s Day, from me to you.
Love,
Janean

P.S. See?! I am trying. Getting there. Day by day. Grief is not for wimps…and this rambling post probably doesn’t make a lick o’sense. Oh well. I wrote it anyway. So there. Take that, Valentine’s Day! *sigh*

Ecclesiastes 7:8 Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

February 14, 2014

Heart hurts

Loss is loss.
Grief is grief.
Love is love.
No comparison necessary.
It hurts but love helps.
The more we love, the more it hurts. Time heals.
So does love.

January 12, 2014
The words above were my reply via text to KRB who first wrote, “Parent is not the same as a spouse..but a loss still hurts.” Prayers being said on a constant loop. I carry her heart hurts in my heart, as she did/does mine in hers. That’s what GFF BFFs do. We prop each other up with words via text, email and spoken on the phone. We meet in person too, but that is rarer and “more better” due to the rarity of it, and watch out when we do!

Life whirl

Life whirls by fast, like a marvelous dance.
Then the music stops and you’re dancing alone.

Some couples twirl for many decades.
They marry in their 20’s.
Their family grows with the arrival of babies.
Those babies grow to school age, then graduate from college.
Suddenly your babies have babies of their own.
Decades have flown.
The couple still holds hands and smiles.
They still stand and sway when music plays.
Inside they feel the same.
Outside their hair is silver.
They move a l’il slow, but get there.

Other couples have the music stop abruptly.
It’s the last thing they expect.
They spent a l’il over two decades together.
That’s all ‘twas meant to be.
She sat in the cemetery between their children,
as his body was laid to rest.
They won’t be dancing at their children’s weddings.
He’ll be watching from Heaven instead.

Life whirls by fast, like a marvelous dance.
Then the music stops and you’re dancing alone.
Life still whirls by at a breakneck pace.
Yet, your pace is set on savor.
Home feels good, like a cozy cocoon.
You venture out when necessary.
You pause and marvel at the sunrise.
You lift your face to feel the noonday sun.
You watch the moon wax then wane, and feel a tug.
Days pass.
Nights too.
Family and friends cross your doorstep.
Giving and receiving hugs for hello and goodbye.
Laughter returns, as joy bubbles from within.
Life whirls on.
Dance.
Set your own pace.

I do.
In the kitchen.
Alone.

December 19, 2013
I wish I could tag this “creative writing,” but it is a true story. Mine. After a two year and three month cancer fight, my husband died in August of this year. He had just turned 43. I was still 41. Now I’m 42. We were together over 21 years, counting from our first date. Together nearly half my life, married for 16. I didn’t want to write this poem, but when the words are there you learn to honor them and let them flow. Even when they make you cry crocodile tears that fall as you do. Perhaps this is why my dog was awake extra early today. Coffee and breakfast are next for me while my boys sleep a l’il longer and I can soak up the quiet of the house before chaos and commotion reign again. Zany. Crazy. Wild. Ornery. Rambunctious. Loud. LIFE! It is for living. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of today.
Love,
Janean

P.S. Nearly included this line, “Not quite four months ago, and it’s still hard to believe.” Adding it here as a footnote for now, to mull over later. It’s time to make that coffee, turn on music with the volume low, sing along and sway.

Loving my backyard hangout spot, with my jean-clad butt plopped on a corner of the patio, not in a chair. My bare feet are in the grass and my toes are tapping and I am singing along to the Praise songs playing from my ipad mini. I’m posting this via mobile of course! My silver laptop, with letters long ago worn off the keys, awaits. The luxury of a full keyboard is a new one, after writing so much tapping via a tiny touch screen. That Birthday Dog is eating grass. Ugh. Best of all, the oven timer just went off, which means later today there will be a delectable chocolate cake. Maybe it seems silly to you to make all this fuss over a dog’s birthday, thinking, “Two years old, big whoop. He’s a dog.” It’s so much more than that though, as most things in life are. There are many layers and undertones. We bought Blue seven months into my husband’s two years and three month long cancer fight. That dog saved me. Blue got me out of the house and under the sky, at all hours of the day and night, walking, moving, and helped me take off the stress induced, comfort food eating, weight. A month ago my husband’s soul went to Heaven. He is no longer in pain. It was four weeks ago on Monday, but it is a calendar month today. Since I was a young girl being outside made it better. Whatever “it” was in my life, being outdoors soothed me from the inside out. I need the grass between my toes, the sun on my face and the breeze blowing my dark brown hair. Blue knows Outside Makes It Better too. He’s a really smart pup, my Blue. I love him more than I should, but that’s the beauty of love, you don’t divide it, you multiply it. A lesson from my mother. She’s really smart too!
~ Janean

September 26, 2013

HE LIVES

the sun is shining
as we celebrate
the Son rising
…and then
the sun is covered
by a big gray cloud
the clouds are ever changing
yet Heaven is a constant
there is one sky above
home to a never changing
all knowing
ever present God
who sent His Son to die
that we may believe in Him
and have the gift
of everlasting eternal life
in Heaven
when our time on Earth
is through
Thank you, God
for sending Your Son to die
and bear our sins
today, on Easter Sunday
we celebrate and say,
“HE LIVES”

March 31, 2013

I’m finally mailing our Illinois state taxes.
Snail mail is necessary, to send extra paperwork required.
Doggone Tax Time.
Stapling W-2 then mailing.
Just a week or so after finishing…
There is a grape jelly smudge on them.
Oh well.
A l’il sign of Food, Family and Life.
That about sums it up.
For these are the things that go “in between” the famous Ben Franklin quote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
So we learn to savor each day and happy moment we are given, even as we dutifully see to the need to fulfill all legal requirements.

March 13, 2013