So long 2014, be good to us 2015…

Well. Here we are. It’s New Year’s Eve and somehow, someway we’ve survived. We made it through a lot of firsts without Momma in the last two months. A 47th wedding anniversary, my birthday, Jackson’s birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and I think we’ll make it through to the new year. It’s bitter-sweet for us to say good-bye to 2014, BUT let me tell you something 2015, you better have a much better plan for us!

new-year-memes

Please Lord, I beg of you, let 2015 be a great year for our family.

So how did we do it? To be honest, I’m really not sure. Some days we just ran on autopilot. But this is what I’m learning along the way….

To take care of myself and listen to me and follow what I’m feeling. I give myself permission to say NO to people, invitations, whatever and it’s ok if I need to back out at the last-minute. It’s ok for me to want to be alone and it’s ok for me to want to surround myself with friends. And you will find out who you friends are.  It’s ok to cry. Even in front of people. In front of strangers. In front of my kids. They’re struggling too and it does them no good for you to make them believe that all is well with you. They will understand and through this you are giving them the permission they need to express their own feelings and open up more to you. It’s ok that some days all I can manage is to get out of the bed and make it to the couch. It’s ok to laugh and smile and not beat myself up over it and feel guilty (I have to remind myself of that constantly). I have a new normal and I’m trying it on to see just how it fits and feels.

Sometimes traditions need to be put on hold or changed all together. So what that we didn’t do a Christmas Eve dinner after church service this year and instead we ate backstage with the worship team. We didn’t make a birthday cake for Jesus and I’m sure He understood. But I do secretly admit in not doing the birthday cake I was hoping that it would’ve catapulted the second coming. As you see, no such luck. We didn’t ride around town looking at everyone’s decorations and yet the world continued to go on.

It’s ok that it’s all not ok.

We keep Momma’s memory alive. We talk about Momma openly. Whatever comes to mind we say. And often it’s all the things that she would’ve said to us. I love remembering her out loud. I love that my kids talk about her all the time. That Daddy and my Aunt Jo (her sister) and I can share stories of her over the phone and over lunch. And laugh. And cry. And then laugh some more.

The other day Daddy and I were at the cemetery and I did something completely in character of me and graceful and Daddy laughed so hard and we both said exactly what Momma would’ve said to me. And it was lovely to hear him laugh that deep laugh from the heart and gut.

I’ve also learned that I can’t do this on my own. If I try I’ll get stuck in the muck and mire of all the horribleness of this tragedy. So I’ve reached out to a counselor – I’ll let you know how it goes. You know there’s gonna be some good stories. But in the meantime, I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other. Taking one step at a time and with each night I’ll continue to ask in my prayers that Daddy will feel Momma’s arms wrapped around him and she’ll visit us in our dreams.

Happy New Year’s, Momma. We love and miss you hard!

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

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I’ll see you your counselor and raise you a burger….

Because I’m what my kids affectionately call a “helicopter mom”, I arranged for a Bereavement Counselor to come to the house today and talk to them about their feelings. Whatever. I thought it would be good for them to have someone who specializes in this and who would maybe have some tricks-of-the-trade or a quick-fix-it for them. Can you hear the backfire?

So I greeted the counselor at the front door and she appeared to be quite the professional with her hair perfectly done, and a beautiful dress that was certainly dry clean only. Precious. She quickly asked if we have dogs, oh yeah….two black labs that weight 50 and 75 lbs AND who have the grace of bulls in a china shop. Got it pictured? I told her they had already been banished to the backyard and then thought to warn her that we also have cats. Holy Moly! You should’ve seen this woman’s eyes! They about popped out her head but I give her props – she still came in the house, but only after I swore that they wouldn’t come anywhere near her. You do know this is going to end well?

The time she spent with all of us was about as good as it could’ve been I suppose….Haley wouldn’t speak to her and Jackson spilled his guts, which was the complete opposite of what I expected. Jackson told her all about what a fun “Nina” my mom is and everything they would do together and how the two of them would sneak things behind mine and my dad’s backs. Words fail me with expressing how rich it was to hear him speak of momma all the while laughing with his memories.

Jackson and his Nina panning for gold

Jackson and his Nina panning for gold

And then, I heard the back door creak open.

I couldn’t get the words “DON’T LET THEM IN!” out quick enough. They had already made it inside and all that could be heard were 8 huge paws heading to living room. As soon as our counselor saw those two black heads round the corner she started screaming and jumped on the dang couch in her heels and dry clean only dress! It was a sight to behold and thankfully we got the dogs out quickly! She gulped air and apologized profusely saying she was working on her fear…which tickled me because up till that moment I had judged this woman by her profession assuming she had it all together when in reality she needed just as much, if not more, counseling than we all did! We probably do need more though….my kids laughed their hiney’s off at her expense in the kitchen, while she was still here mind you. They’re twisted.

In the end, she offered to come back next week – Haley kindly told her no and Jackson said he’d talk to her again IF she brought him a big mac and a sundae. She agreed with a smile on her face.

So she’s coming back! Bless her heart, she’s one tough cookie!

“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting.” ~ Job 8:21