Good Grief

A few months ago I was at my annual Gynecologist appointment.  As I checked in the receptionist was going over my emergency contact info.  She asked, if my current address was the same, and what my cell number was.

She then told me she has my husband Curt listed as an emergency contact.

I didn’t say anything for a few awkward seconds.

She asked if I wanted to make a change to the emergency contact.

After a long pause again with a long sigh, and I said, “Yes I probably should”

It was at that point she proceeded to tell my how she was recently divorced and had to get her ex off of all her emergency contacts.  She said, “Look I can remove him easily, it’s no problem, then you are free of him!”

I said nothing

Just a simple, thanks and gave her the names of my kids to put in for the  emergency contact.

 

I wanted to tell her He is NOT my ex, he is my sweet husband who is struggling with the horrors of Alzheimer’s and can no longer dress himself, feed himself or use a bathroom with out help.  I wish so much that he was still my emergency contact, the one who can take care of me in an emergency!!!

But I just didn’t feel like getting into it on that particular day.  Heck I was just thinking lets get this stinkin annual evil deed over with, after all this is the gynecologist’s office.  I was not really in the mood for chit chat before hand!

That kind of thing happens frequently

It’s a constant reminder to me of loss and grief.

 

Just tonight as I wheeled Curt around his new skilled nursing facility exploring it a bit.  I found myself meandering down a long hallway.  We came to a door and several windows.  I looked through the window to get my bearings as to where I was.  It was then that it hit me…….

those batting cages are right across the street.

………We sat right across the street from the very batting cages Curt would take Tyler to constantly.   They would work on Tyler’s swing and hitting a fast ball.  Oh the contrast was almost paralyzing. 

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Another reminder to me of the depth of our loss.

 

That is how grief is, when it hits, it hits hard. 

Alzheimer’s is a weird disease in the sense  you are confronted with grief while the person is still here.

With school starting next week, I always grieve the loss of starting back to school with out Curt.  This is the 5th year of Curt not starting back to school with me.

I start alone.

This October will be 6 years since Curt was first diagnosed. 

6 years!

Madi was in 8th grade running cross country, she had not even started her lacrosse career.  She couldn’t drive yet and was still short (ha ha, for those who don’t know my tall girl stands at 5’10)

Tyler was in 10th grade just beginning to dream of a drivers license and was starting the recruiting process for baseball after a trip to the College World Series. He was anticipating the start of High School basketball season.

I of course was young, athletic, skinny, cooking gorgeous healthy meals for my family every night while working full time……ok ok, but you get the idea.

Here they are starting school a month before Curt was diagnosed.

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Here we are this summer….a lifetime of high school and college memories that Curt does not know

View More: http://bekahgracephotos.pass.us/bethany2016

 

Oh the life we have lived with out Curt understanding or realizing the significance of so many family events and milestones.

You see this grieving has been going on for 6 years.

We have grieved many losses;

The day Curt had to stop driving

The day he stopped teaching

The day he could not longer dress himself on his own

The day he could not longer pitch to Tyler

The day he needed help being fed

 

And I could go on and on.

 

Life has been a struggle.  This summer the wrath of the storm of the last almost 6 years finally caught up with me.  Early summer was hard as I was really coming to terms with the onslaught of the grieving process and all we have lost.

I have learned a lot on this journey and honestly that is one of the biggest things I have learned…that it is a journey.

Grief, struggles and difficulties are a journey. 

They don’t go away in an instant.

I often pleaded with God to just make this easier, send a magic Easy button down to me that I could push and everything would be okay.

But yea, that didn’t happen. 

You have to keep pressing on

Keep seeking

Keep pleading

Acknowledge that you can’t do this with out God, and realize God is not always the quick fix God. Struggles can last for a long time, but God is still in it. 

I am reading a book by Elizabeth Eliott, “The Path of Loneliness.” She shares a passage from her journal shortly after her husband was brutally murdered in the jungle of his mission field.

” Yet I find that events do not change souls.  It is our response to them which finally affects us”  and little farther down in the passage…”The power of the Cross is not exemption from suffering but the very transformation of suffering.”

 

Yes dear friends, those of you who are struggling with fears, worries, grief, weariness, loss. 

God will see you through it, it took a long time for me to understand this.  I wanted God to fix it, heal Curt, make this nightmare all go away, make life easier.

But He didn’t

And after 5 years of struggling through all of that, I am now emerging from the cocoon of His provision.  I now see that His grace is sufficient, and God’s strength is what has sustained me. 

2 Corinthians 12:9

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you My strength is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore most gladly I would rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

It has taken me 5 long years to understand that and believe it. I am only starting to understand the GAIN of LOSS.  What I have gained in relationship to the Giver far outweighs our loss.

Hang in there dear one if you are struggling, rough days may not go away but if you keep seeking and pleading, God will see you through it. The Gain of Loss is yours to find and cling to in the storm. ❤

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Curt in his new facility!  The transition went really well….yes He is seeing us through it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The A’s of life!

I remember about 8 years ago or so, our church was having all it’s members take part in this “spiritual gifts survey.”  As part of the program we were to meet with one of the pastors to discuss our “results.”  I specifically recall the pastor  asking me, “so you have had no major traumatic life changing events?”  I replied, “not really, my grandpa died in 8th grade and my other grand mother died that year, that was rough….but it was 8th grade.”  I remember telling him how my life has been good, so blessed in many ways and not any big traumas or drama!

Well lately I am feeling the trauma and drama of life. It seems to have all hit with a vengeance lately! I feel as if I have become a drama trauma momma!  Really we used to be a real low maintenance family!🙂

C and I hoops banquet

All our trauma drama seems to to start with  the letter A.

Alzheimer‘s  – It’s been 2 and half years since a Dr. first told us Curt has Alzheimer’s.  The disease continues to reek havoc in his brain.  He is really having trouble communicating what he wants.  If he wants some milk to drink, he may say something like, “it goes good…………can i have………..um…..please be patient with me I will get it.”  Then he looks at me so sweetly and ask, ” can you get that for me?”  So many times I don’t know what he wants, I feel so bad.  Just today, as we were heading to a Lax game and I had Curt all layered up with jackets to embrace the changing weather conditions.  He tells me he may have to shag some later?!?!?
Mmmm, well being a baseball mom, I figured he was talking about shagging baseballs for Tyler in the outfield (quick baseball lesson, shagging balls simply means picking up or catching baseballs in the outfield after batting practice).  So I say, “you are going shag balls for Ty today?”
He replies, “what the heck are you talking about??”
When he says that it is usually a sign, that I need to do a little detective work to figure out what he really meant.  Finally after some tricky detective skills that I have become accustomed to, I realize he was saying that, he may have the shed some of his jacket layers later.

So now you get the picture of how this communication thing can be tough at times!

Ankles – As most of you already know, Tyler broke 2 different ankles during basketball games of his senior hoops season.  He is healing well and enjoying a good senior season of baseball!!

ty at bat senior season

Appendix – Madi ended up in the emergency room two Sundays ago at 3 am.  She awoke suddenly in pain in the middle of the night.  After a few moments of prayer, I decided our best option was to take her to the emergency room.  We arrived at 3:30am, she was diagnosed by 5:45am and in surgery by 8am.  It all moved so fast…….but it did just about send me over the cliff of chaos.  I was exhausted and emotionally drained from the whole thing.  But, I am thankful for the friends who came to our rescue and helped with Curt and provided me a much needed crutch to  limp through the whole thing!🙂

M hospital

Thanks goodness 2 and half weeks later she is back playing lacrosse and sporting a cool new scar.

Accident

Well this “A”, I really don’t want to talk about.  Yep I did this to our beloved van!

Van

It was the result of the perfect storm of everyone, including the dog, yelling for me to help them at the same time.  It was just one of those chaotic moments, and I forgot a small detail (detect sarcasm), I got out of the van to get the dog, while the van was still in reverse.  And with in seconds I put on my Wonder Woman suit and jumped back into the moving van and guided it out the garage.  Tyler who was behind me in the driveway, gets out of his car to see the ensuing damage, and simply says, “what just happened?”  I think the worst part of it was the realization I would be with out the van for 4 days and all the paperwork that ensued.

But today is Saturday and I am FINALLY finding a moment to update my blog…..today feels like a normal Saturday.  We went to Madi’s Lax game this morning, I am heading out to run some errands with Curt, and Tyler went to baseball practice.  A NORMAL day…… there is such comfort and peace in these kind of days.  I am praying for more normal days, and special moments to cherish in these wanning moments of a fleeting life. So I have today, and today is good…..and as the saying goes, take it ONE DAY AT A TIME.

Yes we are thankful for TODAY!  And I am working real hard not to worry about tomorrow!🙂

Matthew 6:34  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Been jammin!! – Freezer Jam

I just LOVE strawberry season!!  Fresh strawberries are in abundance where I live in farm country!

So every year I make lots of strawberry jam…….unfortunately I did not have a lot of time to make my usual 12-15 pints of jam.

So I bought ONE quart of strawberries and made 4 pints of jam…….it took about 30 min. from start to finish!

S.I.M.P.L.E!!!!!!

Have you made freezer jam before?  If not let me show you HOW simple it is!

First start with this – ONE quart of strawberries

Wash, cut off the stem and mash.

Add 4 cups of sugar (yep 4 cups!!) – Let the berries and sugar sit for 10 min.

Stir

Boil 3/4 c. of water and a packet of Sure Jell

Pour the sure jell mixture into strawberry mixture, stir well and there you have it Homemade Strawberry Jam!!

In case you are wondering why the jam upper right side container is almost empty….well what do you expect I made the jam 2 days ago!!

And it is SO delicious!!  It makes great PB and J sandwiches, great on toast and biscuits in the morning……and my all time fav, it makes a wonderful topping for vanilla ice cream!

I am off to enjoy some on ice cream right now.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Snow/Slow!

Isn’t it nice how a simple 3 inches of snow can just slow life down for a moment!  We had a glorious 2 hour school delay, and it was so nice to just ease into the day.  Sleep in a bit, sip some coffee while I read the newspaper, do a little evil laundry, (sorry but laundry is always evil to me), take in the morning at a slower pace.  I even enjoyed a morning devotional at this site.    Snow can just bring a busy life to a screeching halt, so tonight I am thankful for the slow snowy morning.  They are calling for more snow this weekend, I am actually really looking forward to it.

Trying something new

I have been quite addicted to Twitter lately.  It took me awhile to figure it all out…..but now that I am getting it I love it!  As a result I have found tons of new blogs I like.  Including Elizabeth Esther.  She is starting a new blog carnival called Saturday Evening post.  The goal is to pick a family-friendly favorite post from the last month.

So I thought I would give it a try.  My favorite post from Decemeber is this post about the Nativity that still stands in my town.  I live in the coolest, most quaint town around.  And right in the center of town is a lovely, traditional Nativity.  It just touches my heart every year to see it there, so that is why it is one of my favs.🙂

It’s a cold, frigid day today and I am looking forward to staying home and reading some blogs!  A nice way to start the new year.  I think I will also start a pot of beef stew in the crock pot and make some cornbread to go with it.  Wish you all could join me!🙂

Happy New Year dear friends!


5 minutes in a car

I was thinking about something The Inventor told me the other day, and that reminded me of  something SportTman and I had been discussing.  It was at that point I realized that both of these insightful, bonding conversations took place during our drive to school in the morning.

I am so fortunate to teach in the same school district/school my kids attend!  We drive in to school together every morning.  Some mornings we even stop for a bagel and coffee at my fav local coffee shop, or a donut at Dunkin Donuts ……but what is actually better than the coffee, donuts and bagels is our conversations.

I pray for the kids every morning while we drive in together.  We talk about our day and what lies ahead, the good and the bad, we observe our town, and just savor a brief but increasing special time together each morning.  Now that I am the mom of teens, I see such VALUE in just spending time together and talking and interacting during that time.  Not just cranking up the radio and guzzling down coffee on the way to school, but talking……..what a treasure!

Talking to Teens is certainly something to Treasure!

And on this Thursday before Thanksgiving, that is something I am thankful for today!

Here is a fun picture of SportTman and Drums in my classroom before school in the  morning.


Corn

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The corn is gone,  I noticed it the other day while out for a bike ride workout.  I could now see the beautiful fall view beyond the tall corn.  It has now all been harvested, and stored away for the winter.   There is nothing left but a brown faded stump of a corn stalk.  It seems like just yesterday I was out riding and noticed those teeny stalks of green corn emerging from the soil.  Now the field looks so bare and empty.  The splendor of a healthy summer crop is gone.

While continuing on my bike ride I was reminded once again that to every thing there is a season!

Ecclesiastes 3

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot

I am in a busy season right now with my kids and family, but it seems like not that long ago  I was a stay at home mom with a 2 year old and 4 year old. Or I was up nursing babies in the middle of the night and wondering when I would ever be able to sleep through the entire night!

Now I am sleeping through the night, but I am still exhausted! :)  But I am reminded  this is a season, things will change, just like the corn does.  It’s all part of God’s plan and I am so thankful that I can see God’s handiwork and plans in our life.

I miss the tall, lean corn stalks that greeted me on my summer rides, but I love the farm view that  the corn stubs now give way to.  Seasons change, and so does my life, it’s all part of God’s plan, the good and the bad.

corn-stalk

Friday Fave Five

Friday again….how did that happen!?🙂

What a week, I am thankful for some down time to reflect on the week.

I LOVE the stunning fall colors I see in my front yard!

fall colors

T shooting hoops

orange mum

I got out for a nice, long bike ride on a beautiful evening yesterday.  I love the stunning beauty of this time of year!

Well going with the fall theme, I am really LOVING this coffee each morning!

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We are Phillies fans, so we have all be staying up to all hours of the night to watch our Phillies win the National League Championship and head to the World Series for  the 2nd year in a row!!  It’s been a fun week, but we are all tired!🙂

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Taking my students on a field trip today, we are heading to Subway for lunch and walking into our town.  Should be a great day for it!

How was your week?

Please visit Susanne for more Friday Fave Five!

Friday Fave Five

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Wow this week sure went fast, can’t believe it’s time for another Friday Fave Five!  Susanne is such a wonderful host of the Friday Fave Five each week, please stop by and visit her bloggy home.

It’s spirit/homecoming week at the high school I teach at this week, so I got to wear jeans twice this week!  That is ALWAYS a favorite of mine!  Here I am with 2 of my students wearing jeans and my favorite football teams shirt for sport’s day.

wearing jeans

Typos, yes typos!  It’s such a good thing I proofread!    But they sure have given me a good laugh this week.

Almost sent this to a parent – “thanks for keeping me in the poop!”  meant to say keeping me in the loop!

Almost sent this one to a teacher – “please stop by our class boob”  meant to say stop by our class blog!

Watching Drums be a cheerleader at our HS football game!  It was “Dad night” for the cheerleaders.  One of his students didn’t have a dad that could be there for the special night.  So she asked her favorite teacher and he graciously filled in!  What a hoot to watch, he is a heck of a nice guy, but has no coordination!

cheerleading hubby

I had a bit of a migraine Wednesday evening, but it made for a great excuse to lay around and chill out the entire night!

Homemade soup!  It was a very cold and rainy night yesterday, I came home from school and made yummy chicken vegetable noodle soup.  It was so soothing  and comforting on such a chilly fall night.

How was your week?

Friday Fave Five

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This has actually been a rough week! Well, that is a great way to start off my Friday Fave Five?!  So let’s see if I can come up with for some favorites amidst a frustrating week………

  • SportTman and I were stranded in a Burger King one night for about 2 hours, while we waited for Drums to pick us up, but he could not get to us.  He was surrounded by a parade, he parked in a neighborhood to watch SportTman run a race, but apparently there was NO way out.  He was totally closed in by the parade route!  So SportTman and I tried to make the best of it and made tons of goofy recordings on our cell phones of our adventures in Burger King.  The videos were actually quite hilarious!🙂

  • We had a free spaghetti dinner at our church for The Inventor’s cross country team.  It was a pre-race pasta party.  About 40 kids from the team showed up and it was a GREAT outreach.  The kids got to hear testimonies from 2 local runners, and they clearly heard about coming to  a saving knowledge of Christ.  What a great outreach for a public school cross country team.

  • I was having a crazy day yesterday, going to school and taking care of the poor Inventor who was just diagnosed with swine flu/H1N1.  After a long visit to the Dr, I dropped her at home and made a much needed grocery store stop.  It was right before dinner, but I must confess that I indulged in the most scrumptious pumpkin doughnut I have ever had!  I am looking forward to heating one up in the microwave for breakfast this morning.  Pumpkin doughnuts….Mmmmmmm!

  • I live in the greatest small town around!  The Inventor and I had such a glorious, relaxing, FUN Saturday morning last week.  We went to a few yard sales, got a NY style bagel and cream cheese and coffee for me at my fav local coffee shop.  We then hit our local farmer’s markets for yummy baked goods, fresh made concord grape juice and some delicious raisin bread.  It was a beautiful fall morning and the two of us had fun together and had vital time to chat about things that had been on her mind.

  • Today is a dress down day at school, it’s a rainy Friday a perfect day for a dress down day!

Yipee, I came up with 5 things!  Now I am off to put my jeans on, eat my pumpkin doughnut with a good cup of coffee and head off to school with a better attitude!

For more Friday Fave Five visit Susanne.

* For those wondering about my daughter with H1N1, it was running rampant at her middle school!  Several of her friends have already had it.  It tends to last about 2-3 days, and kids usually run a high temp with it.  She is on day 2, and had a much better night last night.🙂

Not Me Monday

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I have not participated in a Not Me Monday in some time, but after a few vintage goofs on my parts I decided to let the world know that us busy women can all be prone to losing their minds at times!  For more NOT ME fun visit MckMamma.

  • It was NOT ME that put my black dress pants on inside out with out realizing it……until I was about to walk out the door to go to my teaching job!    It was a good thing I thought to myself as I glanced down at my pants while drinking my coffee running out the door, “man these pants don’t have a thick stripe going down the side!

  • It was NOT ME that actually encouraged the 6th grade neighbor boy to climb into a dank, dark, drainage tunnel in our neighborhood.  It was NOT ME that held a flashlight as he climbed in………………to rescue my daughter’s pet bunny that had run 30 feet  into the tunnel!  And it was NOT ME that exclaimed to the kid, “Oh I could kiss you!”  when he came out with the bunny.

  • It was NOT ME that slept all night with my contacts in, and had no idea I had done it!  It was NOT ME that woke up the next morning perplexed as to why my eyes were so dry, and painful.  It was NOT ME that actually thought for a split second that maybe God had healed my vision while I slept since I could  see so well.  It was NOT ME that had no idea as to what was wrong with my eyes until I discovered my EMPTY contact case!!

  • It was NOT ME who helped with a cross country team car wash, and “accidentally” sprayed some of the teens with the hose!

Yes, being a busy mom is s fun life, and one of the best cures for the “NOT ME’s” of life is to look back and laugh at yourself!🙂