Monthly Archives: May 2014

Running the Gauntlet

“A gauntlet is a double line of people with clubs, whips, tomahawks, fraternity paddles, or other weapons; the poor bastard being punished runs between the lines and everyone hits him as he goes by. Depending on weapons and circumstances, this has been used as an initiation, a test of courage, a way to decide which prisoner to let go (to take the message back that you are holding hostages), or a way to execute someone without making any one person responsible.” (http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Run%20the%20Gauntlet)

This post was to be called “I’m OK” in response to the many people who are expecting me to fall apart as the anniversary of losing my Paul looms.  But the more I took an honest look over the last year the phrase “Running the Gauntlet” just kept popping into my head. So in true morose style I gave in to the fact that although I really am OK, there is also a welling backlog of emotions waiting to surface. I hate that! Each emotion a powerful and formidable weapon awaiting its opportunity to take me out. Not one willing to take the full blame or strike the deathly blow, but all pounding away together weakening my resolve.

I am of course “the poor bastard” in this story that the above definition speaks of. But I hate pity and remember that not everyone dies that runs the gauntlet.

Is it hard?

Yes.

Are there injuries?

Yes.

But there are survivors. Injuries heal and I hope that as those mental images of hospital wards and ICU equipment taking over my Paul lose their sting more and more, I too will join the list of the brave that survived.  “A test of courage” indeed it is. To open my eyes, heart and soul to another day and another hope indeed feels like a courageous move that I hope I am brave enough for.

I intend to be that “prisoner let go”, in fact I insist! There are few comforts in grief, and although it took me a year to accept it, I am now encouraged to see if I can help another soul lost in grief see the light of day, to find some bravery, and to see hope again. Somewhere, somehow, I hope for that. To be that one running back to the King pleading for those still held hostage by their grief. The King will help, how do I know that? Because He helped me.

So, I am through the gauntlet…you know, I hope! Still some wounds to heal, but all in good time. No rush, no shortcuts (unfortunately), but I am OK. The memory of the gauntlet is strong and still very powerful, but I survived and will continue to do so.

I am OK.


It didn’t kill me.

winter sring

 

One year gone is just around the corner. Such a conflicted thought. What emotion do I feel first? I’m just not quite sure.

To tell the truth I wasn’t quite sure I’d really survive a year, really, I couldn’t see how such pain could yield anything but darkness. Complete despair is blinding, and hope doesn’t seem to take root. But what I’ve found is that it is more like a bleak winter. Snow, ice, and bitter cold destroy all signs of life but when springtime finally rolls around shoots of life can appear. Sure some things have died completely, but other things begin to flourish again. It’s also a time when new things can be planted, but I’m careful, the shoots are very delicate. Roots not yet established only hold enough nutrients for right now, so easy does it!

Part of me feels ready to burst forth and try to live again, I welcome that, it’s a new feeling. Yet not other parts, hence the conflict. But I hope the good parts will take the lead and the rest follow suit. I need to feel purpose again, feel love again, and continue to actually live. I think my Paul would welcome that, and my heart feels his smile just at the thought. It’s nice to remember him.

I will always remember him.


You Loved Me Well

383384_10200668001495730_496952534_nWhat was it that felt so much like love? What was that thing that sent my heart racing, and had it keep up pace over 20 years? You loved me so well, I will always be thankful for that.

It wasn’t an action, an event or words. It was who you were, who you still are in my heart. I am forever changed; forever will I know what true love is. Whether I have that again or not. I knew a love with you that stirred me to grow. Stirred me to look beyond myself and try to offer that love in return. Now, with you gone, I can still do that, still offer what I have. That’s an amazing gift.

We were certainly not a perfect couple, and trouble found us like it does everyone. There are things I would rather forget, I would be happy if they fell out of my circuit of memories and just left me with warm thoughts. But, those times were part of us, part of fighting it out, working it out and loving still. They showed me that hard times do not equal rejection, hate or punishment. But that loves uneasy times can serve to strengthen us as much as the good ones.

I need that now my Honey, to know that the hard times serve a purpose and that I can still draw on the love you invested in my heart. There is a deep well that will benefit me for a long, long time.

I still miss your touch, your warmth beside me, racing home to tell you something before anyone else in the world, the way you loved to kiss way longer than I did, your unabashed checking me out and goofy love stares that I couldn’t match. I miss all of you.

You’re nearly a year gone from me. It’s ridiculous how time and life can go on and by without you. But I have found it does. So I have a choice.  I can stay locked in my memories of you or I can choose to move on and keep making memories that you aren’t in. The former is tempting, it’s quite a safe place, but it’s a very lonely place. Of course you are forever in my heart, part of my heart and soul. Part of who I have become. I cannot and will not deny that. But I must move forward or the absence of life that casts unrelenting shadows will strangle me. I must choose to live, you know that right? I think you do, I think that’s what you’d prefer, because love prefers the other, you taught me that.

You loved me well.


Mothers Day

Some days have joyous written all over them. Some are plain. Some put you in a time warp and take you to that same day in another year, like a familiar smell that triggers your senses. This time last year it was the beginning of the end.

I woke in my cold, sterile motel room near the hospital. It was Mother’s Day; alone I readied myself and began like many before and a few after, coffee then hospital. “Would he be better today?” I’d hope and pray thinking it couldn’t get worse, but it became much worse, 2 more weeks until the end, less till our last sparse conversation.

Those painful times are survived as if they belonged to someone else. This life cannot be mine. What happened? Who took my life away…..

Yet somehow, you do, like surviving the Holocaust, you’re in the same place but it’s all changed, nothing is the same. And after a struggle to breathe you reach out and try to find life again. Never the same, but life none the less. Rebuilding begins.

So now I am not alone on Mothers Day, I am home with my kids, I love that part. They are wonderful. I just may need a few more years for the haunting memories and associations to subside. The one year mark approaching fast, I’m not ready for that. But I am ready to be alive again.

It really truly didn’t kill me…I’d had my doubts.


Legacy of Grace

Hey my honey, how are you? Rhetorical question! Because I know you are better off. I understand the suffering had to end, the pain was too much.  Was it just the cancer though, or had life beat you up too much? I wander about that sometimes. You were hard on yourself, always wanting things to be better, to be free, to make sure we had enough…well for a lot of the time anyway. Your last couple of years were different.

Thank God they were.

You taught me so much just by who you were and the freedom you lived out. Gone was the self punishing doubt that sometimes crippled motivation and good intentions. Gone was the fear that you weren’t enough or that punishment was around the corner. There was freedom in your words, freedom in your very gait. There was no longer anything to prove, I’m so very glad to have had that example and to see you live it.

It was a total revelation of grace. Of God’s Grace.

His complete love and favour towards you that could not be earnt, could not be bought and could not be suffered into. It was just a complete and utter trust and knowing that the God of the Universe was in control and that He had love in His eyes for you. That is such a comfort to me now, knowing you felt that this side of eternity. I will miss you forever, but I am thankful that I live on in your legacy of His Grace.


It’s the 2nd again

It’s the 2nd of the month again.

The day that screams “loss” at me every time it rolls around. Not happy thoughts. Not a birthday or a celebration. Just a huge reminder that I don’t have a partner anymore. It’s when he left and I had to stay here and figure out how to go on. 

Sometimes I’m angry that he left me. Not because he cheated or walked out, but that death cheated me of his life. It caused him to leave me. I feel selfish to even admit it. He suffered, he didn’t choose it or want it, but none the less, I am now a widow. That word packs a punch! I should be facing life with my love and quite simply I am not. Marriage wasn’t easy, we had to work at it, choose to prefer each other, make tough decisions, but I loved it. Loved being married, well at least loved being married to Paul.

Some days are just hard.

Some days have the predetermined power to drain life before they ever arrive. Anticipation is not always a happy thing. But it does serve a purpose. Without it, the suddenness, the shock of realizing what day it is can knock me to the ground. It’s as if sadness planned for, anticipated, has somewhere to go, a space to fill. Otherwise, it takes control of all other emotion and usually surfaces as something horrible and grotesque.

Some days are just hard.

Unable to call on ‘Selene’ Goddess of the moon to alter the lunar patterns, I cannot scrape the 2nd from my calendar. So as each new month approaches I brace for the 2nd, give it space, I remember my love, I miss my love, and hope the 3rd brings greater hope.

It’s just the 2nd again.

“It is because of the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness that we are not consumed, because His tender compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great and abundant is Your stability and faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23.


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