"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling."

This is a blog about widows,
mothers and daughters,
facing change and challenges
and receiving ordinary, everyday blessings that don't seem quite so ordinary anymore.
It chronicles the journey from grief into the restoration of what has been lost.

*** I am no longer actively posting to this site, so please come visit me at my new site ***

http://www.jrrmblog.com/ - "Starting Over ... Again"

Showing posts with label growth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label growth. Show all posts

Thursday, June 19, 2014

At the Three Year Mark

Well, today marks three years since my husband died.  Three years that sometimes seems to have been an eternity, and other times seems to have gone by in a heartbeat.  Depends on which day you ask me.

As I was driving home from work last night around 10 p.m. I suddenly felt very quiet inside, and a little empty.  The very next song that came on the radio made me tear up a bit.  I didn't know what was wrong with me.  It's not "that time of the month!"

During the drive home (it's a 30 min drive) I thought about what might be causing this sudden melancholy.  As I tried to shake this feeling, I switched gears to thinking about the rest of the week and what I had planned.  Then it dawned on me - today is the 18th of June.  And that meant that tomorrow (well, today as I write this) is June 19th.

THE day. 
June 19th, 2011 - Father's Day, that year.

They say that your conscious mind may not remember right away, but your body remembers.  Your unconscious always remembers; always keeps track of the days and dates.  And even though I don't mark time now quite the same way that I have over the past few years, I still am brought face to face with certain days - whether I want to be or not.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Issues in the classroom for grieving kids

My youngest daughter had a rough time last year in school.  It was a combination of several things, but the underlying reason was that she was still dealing with grief ... even though it was hard to tell that from how she looked or acted.

Her teacher said she always seemed happy enough to be at school, so she had a hard time accepting the fact that my daughter was actually suffering from some depression during the year.  The teacher's request - have her tested for ADHD.  Why do so many teachers just naturally go THERE?!?!  Sure, my daughter was having trouble focusing at times in school, but her physician and two therapists both confirmed that this was NOT a child who was ADHD.  It was grief.  But the school and the school's Special Ed "specialist" didn't really buy into that.  So last year was a little discouraging and stressful for both of us.

This year?  Things seem to be on a totally different track.  She's in 5th grade, with a more experienced teacher, who is disciplined yet makes it fun to learn.  The change in my daughter has been great!  I am sure her teacher is not the ONLY reason for the change; I know that my daughter has worked through much of her grief issues, and seeing a therapist a couple times a month has helped a great deal.  But it's been great to see her begin to blossom again, and be encouraged about school again - instead of being beaten down each day, and come home with her shoulders slumped and a discouraged look on her face.

I guess my point in writing this post is this:  kids you are grieving have different needs in the classroom, and teachers need to be able to understand the grieving process in kids and facilitate their learning during this time.  It's not uncommon for kids who are grieving to be distracted; anyone who has grieved can tell you that it's hard work!  It takes a tremendous amount of emotional and mental energy to cope with grieving the loss of a loved one AND to function as a normal person on a day to day basis.  Add into that the stress of a classroom filled with kids and teachers who don't "get" what you're going through - and no wonder grieving kids seem "spacey" and "out of it" at times.

And the worst part was being told that, "It's been a year.  She should be over it by now."

Grief is not experienced on a timetable.  There is no fixed time limit for grief - we all grieve differently, and at our own pace.

If you are the parent of a grieving child, you may be called upon to be their advocate when it comes to the school system.  Many schools are very helpful (and most try to be helpful) but you may need to educate a few teachers and administrators (and yes, even the occasional special education specialist) about how a child grieves, what is normal, etc.

Stand up for your child, and make sure that they aren't being unfairly labeled.  Make sure that their needs are being met in the classroom.  Don't be afraid to speak up! 

And let me assure you - it does get better!

Oh, and just a side note:  neither last year's teacher nor the Special Ed "specialist" are employed at my daughter's school this year.  Both have moved on to other schools.  I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS!  But I know God did ... I have prayed that anyone who did not have my child's best interests in mind would be removed from her life.  So ... prayer works, and now my daughter doesn't have to deal with either one of them this year.  :)

(9/30/2013 - this post has been shared with :

The Frill of Life

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

New posts on my Pinterest "Grief" board

Come and share - I posted some new pins on my Pinterest board entitled "Grief."

Monday, September 17, 2012

Just saying "No" ...

Used to be so difficult for me.  I am a people-pleaser, by nature.  I have always had a hard time saying the word "no" ... OK, not to my kids (as I am sure they would tell you) but to others who would ask me to help with projects, take over lessons for them, fill in for them when they were too busy to do what they were supposed to, etc.

But I found out this week that my curse is being lifted.  I can now use the word NO and not feel sorry about saying it!

My mom called me on Tuesday night and told me that there was an important business meeting set up for the following morning in Salem at 8 a.m.  I work with my folks on the family farm, so it isn't unheard of for me to get calls like that.  I was expected to attend this meeting.  I didn't hesitate a moment - I told her that I could not make it at 8 a.m. but would be there by 8:30.  My daughter gets on the bus at 8 a.m. and Salem is 30 minutes away.  A few months ago, I would have told my mother I would be there  at 8 a.m. and then spent the next 1/2 hour worrying about how to make that happen, and then would have ended up calling my sister to see if she could put Youngest Daughter on the bus in the morning (thereby not only messing up our morning, but hers as well.)

I am so proud of myself!  And it didn't hurt a bit.

Another example - I am a member of the local fire department rehab team (we help out on the scene of large, multi-alarm fires by supplying food and water to the firefighters), and we have some training coming up over the next two months on Wednesday evenings.  I got an email this weekend from the director of our Sunday School program telling me that all the teachers (I am one of them) will have some special meetings about our new curriculum for the next 6 Wednesday evenings ... and some of those times will conflict with the rehab training for the fire department.  Without hesitation, I sent back an email explaining that I would be available for about half the trainings, but would not be available for at least three of them due to a prior commitment.  BOOM!  No guilt, no stressing over what I would do and how I would make time for both trainings.  Just explained the situation, and went on with my day.

This is so liberating!  I love being able to say NO with no guilt.  :)
Over the past two years ... well, almost two and a half years now ... I have been at the mercy of everyone else's needs and schedules.  Doctors appointments, radiation appointments, meetings with lawyers and bankers ... everyone it seems had a say in how I spent my day, my week, my month.  But now I am finding that its OK for me to say NO ... in a loud, clear voice ... and let it be.  Not feel guilty, and not stress about what will happen when I say NO.  I have dealt with enough ... I refuse to let others make me take on stress that is not mine in the first place.  That is my declaration for my life right now.  I will choose how my days will be spent, and how I will structure the hours in those days.

I feel stronger already!  :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Inspired by grief

I was checking out some other blogs by widows this morning.  I headed over to Network Blogs, where my blog is listed (see the link in the right hand column) and chose to follow some of the many blogs that deal with grief and loss. 

Morbid, you may think.  All of us wallowing in our personal grief, having a collective pity party.  No so!  I find that when I need encouragement and hope, the best place to go is my fellow widows.  We are a plucky bunch, tis true.

I came across a blog by someone who is definitely "Not Your Average Widow" - that's the name of her blog, BTW.  Our military connection (both our husbands served in the armed forces) was what drew me first to the blog, then the fact that she is 3 years into her journey - not as new to this journey as I am, but someone to whom I can definitely relate.

Her post entitle "Project: Unleashed" caught my attention.  And sparked something inside of me.  I have been feeling many of the same things she speaks of in her post.  So I am posting her link here:

Please feel free to check out this post, and her blog.  :)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Here's a great blog I found ...

I have been following this blog for a short while now, and I wanted to share it with you.  I won't spoil it by telling you too much about it; just say that the posts are funny and very touching.  So here it is:

The Real Full House

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lesson #3 from the Garden - Sometimes You Just Need to Start Over

I had such high hopes for my garden this year.  I started planning for it in January.  I went to the local farmers co-op and get seeds, and Youngest Daughter and I spent a Saturday afternoon planting seeds in little paper cups and plastic trays.  We set up a cardtable near a sunny window, and kept the soil moist for the seeds to germinate.

Sprouts started growing from all the cups and plastic trays.  Everything was going fine.  But then I wasn't able to get a garden plot tilled up for awhile, with the weather so wet.  By the time I got the soil ready and got the sprouts in the ground it was too late.  They didn't survive.  I had such great plans for a big garden, but they all just withered and died.

So now I had a choice - give up on a garden for this year, or try a different approach.  Off to the farmers co-op again, this time for 4" vegetable starts.  I came home with two cucumber plants, two cherry tomato plants, two "pear" tomato plants, and two canteloupe plants.  Put them in the garden and prayed for the best.  And they took off and grew!  Everything grew and then outgrew the space I had alloted it.  The cucumbers took over, the tomatoes outgrew their cages, and the canteloupe plants are spread everywhere.


So what has all this taught me?  I see a parallel with my situation - having to "start over" in many ways.  Seeing something you have planned and work toward and hoped for wither and die.  Like my future with Robby.  We had so many plans and dreams for the future.  We were working so hard to put together a good future for us and our daughters.

When Robby proposed to me, his question was "What are you doing for the next 50, 60, 70 years of your life?"  We had planned on spending a lot more time together.  We only got 20 years.  A lot of people would say to be thankful for the time we had together.  That is one of the things that people say to those who are grieving - thinking that "looking on the bright side" will somehow make it better, and the grief will be easier to bear.  And I am thankful for the time we did have - but I still grieve the time we DIDN'T have together.

But having to start again in the garden has made me realize that sometimes you just have to begin again in other areas of life.  And sometimes when you being again, your harvest is even greater than it might have been originally.  I am still waiting to see what kind of "harvest" God will bring about in my life.  :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lesson #1 My Garden Taught Me This Year

Here is the first lesson in which God used my garden to remind me of something important.  He used cucumbers to do it - God can be SO creative sometimes.  And He has to be creative when teaching me - sometimes very random things get used by God, and that's all part of the fun of being His child.  :)

This year my cucumbers have been growing like gangbusters.  Last year it was zucchini, this year it's cucumbers.  I only planted two plants, but they are taking over the garden.  I don't have much planted in there - at least, not much that has survived to grow and produce anything.  I have four tomato plants (two cherry tomato plants, and two "pear" tomato plants), a couple cantaloupe plants (which right now have about six little melons growing on them) ... and the two cucumber plants which are conspiring to take over the world.

So I went out there about a 2 weeks ago, and started looking for cucumbers.  I'm thinking there HAS to be some produce in amongst all those green leaves.  There had been so many little yellow flowers, and there still were many there.  So of course some of them had to have matured into cucumbers by that time, right?  I started poking around the edges and lifting a few leaves - nothing.  I'm not seeing anything that resembles a cucumber.  So I get discouraged and go inside, wondering what's going on.

Next day - go back out to the garden.  This time I am really curious - where are those cucumbers?  So I get more aggressive, starting to move the vines around and getting into the center of the plants.  There they are!  I had to get down in there, because there was so much growth (it seemed to be all leaves and vines) but there they were - three perfect cucumbers.  Well, as you can see from the photo they weren't really perfect.  But they tasted perfect in a salad that night!  :)

OK, so here's what those cucumbers taught me - since you've stuck with me through this blog thus far.  I learned that even thought we don't see the "fruit" (or veggies) that we are expecting to see in our lives doesn't mean it's not there.  We may have to look a little closer and investigate a little harder - but it's there.  It may remain hidden for awhile.  We may not be sure it's there, or we may not see it there on the surface.  But it's there.  Just like the work that God is doing inside us as we walk through the hard times that we experience.  We sometimes get through a tough time, and having been told that God is using this season in our life to produce the fruit of the Spirit, we start to ask God, "OK, Lord - where is it?  I don't feel any different.  I don't see this great and wonderful work You have been doing in my life and/or in my heart.  What gives?"

Maybe we just need to be patient ... which brings me to my next blog for tomorrow; lesson #2 that my garden has taught me this year.  :)