Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Always With Us

Nicks Bible

January 29th, 2011: At about 3:10 PM today, on a beautiful, sunny Saturday, Nick went to be with the Lord.

 Two years.... Two years without that smile, that warm hug, those long walks, our morning coffee on the back porch, celebrating special occasions, going to church together, precious family time, and the words I miss hearing Nick say the most, "I love you."

 Time has a very unique way of easing some of the pain, but the wounds seem to open up slightly more on days like today. Although we are blessed with marvelous memories of an exceptional man, it is hard to think of them and not have your heart fill up with tears from missing him and all that he so lovingly and unselfishly enriched our lives with. 

I used to dream often about Nick and I loved that. I loved that through those dreams I could see and hear him so clearly and for that brief time things felt so normal again, and even though sometimes I would be sad when I awoke, because I wanted it to be real, I was still grateful to have had that time with him in my dreams. But as time has gone on those dreams have become much less frequent, in fact I could not remember when the last one was. Then a few mornings ago I awoke with tears streaming down my face. I had dreamed that I was holding on so tightly to Nick and asking him to please never leave me and he was holding me just as tightly and promising that he would always be with us. What a treasure I found in that dream!

I started to pray and thank God for never leaving or forsaking us and for pulling us out of that grieving pit each and every time and, although I cannot always see or feel Him doing it, I am able to sit and write this today because He has.

I am amazed at how I can grieve and rejoice at the same time. I am grieving at what has been lost, yet rejoicing at the splendor of what it must be like for Nick right now as he basks in the eternity of  Heaven.  To truly understand that the ones we have loved and lost have been set free...frees us as well.

Thank you all for your kind sentiments over the last few days and for always remembering my man. Please know I am truly grateful for your unconditional love and your never-ending prayers for me and my family.

“It isn't for the moment you are struck that you need courage, but for that long uphill climb back to sanity and faith and security.” --Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Blessings Always,


Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Year of Seconds

Priceless Treasure

As I was organizing some things last week I came across this little gem. It was a card Nick had attached to a Christmas gift he had given me a few years ago. Can I tell you that I feel like I have won the lottery when I find these things! Seeing his handwriting, remembering that time, and for a brief second becoming enveloped in the indescribable joy of that memory, was wonderful, yet bittersweet.

 I have often heard others who have lost loved ones say how much harder the second year seemed to be than the first. I couldn't imagine that, but have since realized just how true that is. As January 29th  approaches, I can tell you that year two has proven to be very emotionally painful in ways that I was not prepared for. When I look back over that first year I see a person who was really just trying to keep her head above water and who was and is rather emotionally vulnerable.

I know without a doubt that God's strength has brought Aaron and me through many painful days. Yes, there has been joy sprinkled in between those days of sorrow, but His plan for our lives is far from being over and we still have much healing that needs to take place. One of the things that year two brought on was the awakening of many forgotten memories. The human mind has a way of being able to tuck away a lot of the memories that involved the pain and suffering, and it begins to remember the Nick before all of that, the Nick that was healthy and happy. Although they are good memories, they can be painful. The reality of "this is life now" has a way of really just taking your breath away at times.

Year two also leaves me wondering who I still am, what God's plan really is for me, and still coming to grips with not being a wife. I often find myself looking at someone's hand just to get a glimpse of that little circle of love and for that moment getting a lump in my throat as I still feel for mine. My thoughts will occasionally drift to what once was as I notice a couple walking hand in hand, or hearing others speak about their anniversaries, or special occasions with their spouses and think that used to be me.

I have to redirect my thought process on many days and remind myself how blessed I was to have shared life with Nick for as long as I did and to have been loved so deeply. Joy comes in different ways now, like seeing the mannerisms of their Dad that both Erika and Aaron mirror. One thing for sure is that Nick lives on through those kids! I have learned there is no timeline for grieving. As much as I may not want to feel the deep pain of this great loss, I cannot control it. With the power and strength of my Heavenly Father and the unconditional love and support of my amazing family and friends, I will survive this. In the process, I pray I continue to grow in the right direction.

These verses from James 1:2-4 have come to my mind and heart so often over this last year: "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

Honestly, there are times I grow weary in finding the joy throughout the trials and I become tired of having my faith tested. But I know if I let ago of my faith, the one thing that has brought me through every trial I have ever faced, then I am rendered hopeless. 

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 Peter 1:6-7.  I am wholeheartedly clinging to these words! 

I always think about Nick saying "I want you to be happy. Please promise me that you and the kids will find happiness when I am gone." It's funny I always thought I was his encourager, but as time goes on, and I remember all his sweet words of wisdom, I realize he was mine. I would say our year of seconds were still full of many firsts and even though we may not see things as clearly as we would like too we have moved forward, we are healing and our faith remains strong through the trials.