Sunday, September 16, 2012

The more things change....

Many people dislike change. Sometimes I am one of them. Change can be painful. Even when it looks good on the surface. That is the case for me this last month.

I wanted to stay right where I was. I liked my cute little house with the poppy covered mailbox and the Christmas shed built by my sweetheart. I wanted to stay near dear friends and to have everything just be the same. Except it wasn't the same. My sweetheart is not physically present and that makes a huge difference. For reasons I won't go into here, I knew there was only one choice; I couldn't stay.

Nervously, I began looking for another house. I reconsidered many times, but each time I did, something would happen to let me know I needed to move and that it was ok. True to the way Robert and I did things, the entire process moved fairly quickly once I settled into acceptance. People asked how I could leave. How could I stay? Isn't it hard to stay in the house with all those memories? It was harder to move away and be all alone. My sweetheart, confidant and caretaker was gone- unable to do things for me as he had in the past. Every move to a new home is filled with tons of little handyman projects- connect the washing machine; why isn't the hot water heater running; this needs to be mounted to the wall; this hose fitting doesn't work here; oh, that's what the AC sounds like in the middle of the night; this little thing, that little thing. The part of my life who did half of the little things wasn't present, and at every turn I was reminded of that. I would have much rather stayed right where I was and be reminded of it in familiar surroundings. As if facing hard things is easier when we are in our comfort box.

And then there are our children. They knew all the reasons, and they knew there was no choice. My kids were supportive, knowing how hard it was for everyone. His kids were supportive, even when it was hard for them. I'm sure it is and will be a bit strange to see familiar things in new surroundings. Just as it does for me, I'm sure it reminds them of the reason for the change. And it makes me want to be with them, all of them. To share happy things with them, and continue the living in the way Robert wants.

I have been so busy this week that I have not met this change with the same plan as I usually meet hard changes. As I reviewed the last couple of weeks, I recognized the hand of the Lord prominently in all that has happened. That alone gives me comfort. I've also received two blessings, one from a Priesthood leader and one from my sons which have reminded me of the need to greet the changes in my life as the next step and find joy in service and in my family. "Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal." What a gift!

And so this week I am making new plans for new traditions, new happy memories with old familiar things. My friends may live further away, but they are still here and still treasures in my life. I actually live closer to almost all of our kids (they call that Fortuosity). And as I look around me, I am looking forward to spending time with each and every one of our children and grandchildren- breakfasts, barbecues, dinners and more. I feel loved and happy and not nearly so alone. My life is rich with beautiful people. I am loved, not only by my sweetheart, but by my Heavenly Father. I am comforted by His Grace. And that has never changed.

"I love this life, even when it hurts;
Even when I'm weary from the race.
The Power of Heaven lifts me up in this day of Grace."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

For My Children

What a time we can have with grief. I don't know about you, but for me, I want to surround myself in the comfort of familiar things, things that remind me of my sweetheart. His shoes on the closet floor, his hat on the shelf, his journal and scriptures near the bed...everything is almost the same, as if he never left. Seeing his familiar things makes the space created by his absence not quite so, um, empty. Our home is filled with a mix of things that have become 'Us'. Treasures from his time in South America and Samoa, treasures from my passion for Church History, indications of our mutual love for music, and walls filled with pictures of our families, the real treasures of our lives. Even now each day I am surrounded by sweet familiar comfort. Each morning and evening, sitting at the table he made brings me comfort too...he touched this table, therefore he is still present.
Now I do believe that he is certainly present, watching and blessing his loved ones from the other side. While I don't need the table to feel comfort, it helps. Stability in a table. :)
His children want comfort too. They want, even need to have some of his things. In the same way that I gain comfort from the sameness of having these things near me, they want and need to have reminders of his presence in their lives. This becomes problematic. There is only one table. The table is central to their memories. There were several bookcases made by him...most of which the children have put to use in their homes. But there is only one table. And his children have said they want the table, too. What to do? Hmmmmm
As usual, my answer came in a song. Neil Diamond was in town and I lucked out with an invitation to his concert from my sweet daughters-in-law. Oh, the memories! Oh the rhythmic, happy music! I was literally dancing in my seat. :) And then...well, what are the chances he would sing a rather obscure song, one that I had fallen in love with many years ago, Morningside. A song about a man who died and left a handmade treasure for his children.

"And the legs were shaped with his hands
And the top made of oaken wood
And all of the children who gathered around this great table touched it with their laughter.
Ah, and that was good...
And when he died he left a table made of nails and pride
And with his hands he carved these words inside, 'For my children'."

I sat in that concert and cried. Dumb, I know.

Now really, the song is about leaving legacies. And Robert did that. He left a lifelong example of faith, devotion and service. He loved and served everyone he met. I knew what he wanted his children to remember; he wanted them to remember to love others more than themselves, and to serve God with all their hearts. He left lasting treasures in the many friendships he created, as well as the beautiful works of his hands. Treasures from his heart. Those treasures should be quite enough for anyone to have.

He also left treasures he made with his hands. And just as having things of his that remind me of him bring me comfort, having these things he made with his hands would also bring his children comfort and hopefully remind them of the real treasures of his life, the treasures from his heart he hoped they would remember. I have loved the times with Robert, with children and grandchildren around that table. Meals, games, pumpkin carving, coloring pictures, beautiful memories have been made around that table. Those memories bring me joy. Neil Diamond reminded me of that. The table belongs to me, but it was made for his children. So in a few days, Brenda will bring her car and take away the treasure left by her father. I will miss using it daily...that will be hard. But when I do, I will think about how our grandchildren will still gather around it, and it will always be good. I will find joy in thinking about how when the children talk about Grandpa, who made the table, they will talk about all the good things he did, and how he loved God and served others, and...that will be good, too.

"And with his hands he carved these words inside, 'For my children'"

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad