Thursday, July 08, 2010
It seems I need to go back to go forward. It's difficult to blog about the little daily incidents of my health and weight-loss journey without sharing something of what I've been through the past six weeks since my mom died. Writing can be therapeutic and part of the healing process, too. So here I am today.
Grief is the context of those daily happenings and it colors my life right now: Gray for the fog that sometimes sets in during those times when I can't seem to feel anything. Green for those times when the word of God or a word from a friend encourages me and gives me hope. Green is also the color of the woods and fields on the beautiful summer days that we're enjoying here in southern Germany right now. That makes it easy to get out and run or walk, especially in the evenings when it cools off a bit. Blue is, well, blue. I haven't figured out what color best describes some of the other emotions. I'm working on that.
Grief is colors, but it's a journey, too, and one that I know is going to take time. Grief is also a place. I know that I need to go there, but sometimes I just don't have the strength. I sometimes just keep busy with work or studying, or puttering around the house. Fortunately, my schedule at the language school is light right now so I can attend to this kind of work, grief-work you could call it. Financially, I really could use more hours but I'm taking the time as being part of God's plan for me right now.
A dear friend who recently lost his son warned me about some of the insensitive things people might say that are meant well. I'm glad he prepared me for that. But people have been, for the most part, very, very kind and thoughtful. Here on my blog, I've been grateful for all the comments and for all the prayers that have been said for me and for my family. I know that God is sustaining me through those prayers and I feel his presence almost tangibly at times.
One example: When we went out on the fishing boat to "bury" the little box of Mom's ashes in the Gulf of Mexico, it was a beautiful Florida morning. On the horizon, there was a line of towering thunderheads as there often is in the summer. They wait out over the Everglades and usually move in about 4 o'clock in the afternoon and dump showers on the coast for about an hour each day. But this was 8 in the morning, and the clouds were waiting. In the middle of one of them there was a fragment of a rainbow visible, something I'd never seen before - and neither had any of the other people who were along for the ceremony. The message to me was that God sends hope in the middle of our storms. Before we headed back into Naples Bay, I prayed a prayer of thanks for this sign of his love and care.
That was on a Saturday morning, just a few days before I left to come back to Germany afer three weeks. Those weeks were busy ones with the planning of the funeral, reunions with family members, and visits and calls from friends. I also spent time clearing a lot of Mom's things from the bedroom, but I had to pace myself on that project. On the day my sister was there to help, it was easier. One day, I dusted and swept Dad's art gallery and spruced up the plants in front . I did a lot of yard work back at their house as well. Keeping busy is good.
In 10 days, I have a deadline for the course I just finished taking. I need to write a term paper and finish some reading assignments. I haven't had a head for this kind of work at all - but it's coming back. And in two weeks, I fly back to the US for two weeks to attend my denomination's biannual international conference. It's in Florida this year, so I'll get to spend a week checking on my dad and taking care of some of the other things that need to be done there.
This has been a long post! Gold stars to those who've read it to the end. I'll keep it shorter next time.
P.S. If anyone would like to read the obituary and/or eulogy, send me a Spark Mail and I'll send it to you privately.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
As many of you know, my mother has been struggling mightily with her health over the past few years - COPD, then a serious head injury, hip surgery, carotid artery surgery, two stays in rehab. Last night, that struggle finally ended, quietly and quickly.
She had been admitted to hospice in-patient care for respiratory trouble a few days ago and we hoped she'd improve enough to go home. She had gained weight over the past few months, her memory had improved, and she had begun to use a walker again sometimes instead of the wheelchair. Then a bronchial infection got a hold of her and her body just didn't have the strength to fight it anymore.
I got to speak to her on Friday when she was still lucid, and could tell her I love her one more time. God's amazing grace.
Now I'm packing to fly to FL to be with my Dad and my sister, and to help with all the things that have to be done when someone dies --- someone with a BIG circle of family and friends who live all over the USA. The next week or two is going to be busy --- probably a good thing. I know that I can count on you all to pray for us. Thank you!
Monday, May 17, 2010
I have an exam in missiology on Wednesday. I need all my "spare" time (whatever that is!) to study, so I'm going to be taking a break from Spark for a couple of days.
I even plan to overnight at the school where I'm studying so I don't have the long commute in the Wednesday morning traffic. It evens out expense-wise since I'll save on gas. And I'll be fresh in the morning for the test.
I'll be peeking in, though. I may be on a Spark break but I'll still be Sparking - watching my food intake and getting my daily exercise in. But I won't be posting till the end of the week.
Just wanted to let y'all know!
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