Kissing The Face of God

Kissing The Face of God
Kissing the Face of God

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Ok so I've been away for a bit.....

I apologize to my one follower (lol) that I have been away for a bit. I have been going through--and am still going through--a severe depression following my husband's death. At first I felt numb. Then I felt somewhat vaguely anxious, followed by crying jags which no one in my family approved of or understood (all males).

Also I just noticed, as I tried to post confused looking guys URL 's here for photos, that suddenly none of the URL's are "valid" and all are 8,000 miles long, so one more thing has fallen to to pieces. So I apologize profusely for no entertaining photos in this post. I'll get my son to look at it when he gets back from camp.

Anyhow, I note that (some) guys just don't have a ton of patience and tolerance when it comes to female catastrophizing--even when it is a genuine catastrophe, and believe you me it doesn't get more genuine than having your sweet husband die in your arms.  I am getting through my days as best I can.  I get up, get Daniel (13 year old with high functioning Asperger's) off to whatever he has going on that day, and get to morning mass, which calms me and centers my day. We have just lost our associate pastor Father Wade, my spiritual director for the past two years and the man who got me through my husband's funeral and my breakdown at his coffin graveside. Our replacement associate priest, though extremely sweet and gentle, is difficult to understand having come directly from India and is unfamiliar with certain words still (widow being one of them), so we are all feeling a little lost and off balance  However, we've still got Father Isidore!

(I hate that shirt--it makes me look huge)
So, after Mass I do a variety of things to try and occupy myself--working in library at church, coffee with friends, adoration, grief group on wednesday days and on monday evenings, visits with both my son's therapist and psychiatrist and my own, all of whom are a good 45 min drive away, visits with my Stephen Minister, and so on. It all helps a bit, but inevitably those moments of panic and distress return and my family (by which I mean my 3 boys, my dear sister in California, my far flung nieces and sometimes my ex husband (long story--we rent our house from him and he comes by on the weekends to help out and micro manage until my brain spills out my ears--he IS helpful but makes me feel like a nincompoop--ex: "Your tags are expired on your license plate Kerry!!!! Are you an IDIOT?", etc when I have never ever had to do that stuff before and  am doing well to remember to feed everyone and buy groceries and do laundry.

Then comes the dreaded evenings. I struggle with my youngest son often, as he and I go round and round on the "I bet I can say something to make her cry" merry go round, and my nerves are such a jangled mess by that time of day that it doesn't take much to dissolve me into a puddle, which just worsens the situation.

At a funeral I recently attended, I sat next to a sister who was with the sisters of St Eudice of the 11th hour--an order for women ages 45-65. They wear a full habit and have a wonderful apostolate that really appeals to me. If, when Daniel is raised, I still feel the same pull towards full time service to God as a religious, it's nice to know it's possible for someone my age.

I am still struggling to know my place in life, now. I don't like being a widow, but I can't imagine anyone as wonderful and ideal for me as my dear one in Heaven.  I don't know how many years I may have left but I feel unproductive, unloved and afraid right now. I cannot go through the remainder of my life this way. I have gone to widows forums and they are so sad to visit--it helps to know I am not alone, but oh, the pain there, and the anguish, and it goes on and on, for years.     Right now that is just too frightening to comprehend. So I am trying the one day at a time thing.

Please keep me in your prayers.

Friday, June 7, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

1)  I knew it I knew it. No sooner does your beloved die and leave you alone with a terrifying pile of bills and a terrifying lack of income than the flood of broken stuff behind to roll in. I used to tell him all the time, "You cannot die and leave us because we cannot fix the computer, or the TV, or anything else remotely electronic, nor can we get the cell phones to work again, or fix my blow-dryer when I get water in the plug somehow, or any number of other things that only he could do.  Now I have trouble with my widgets on my main screen--I can't see them and I don't know if anyone else can either.  Anyone know how to fix this? Anyone have an electronics tech I can borrow? Oh Dear Lord Jesus, I miss him so--please take good care of him.

2)  Which sort of brings me to my next rant. Which I warn you won't make any sense.  But here goes.  Why is it that there are "no marriages in Heaven"?  I think the Mormon religion picks up a lot of converts just by promising them they will be "sealed forever" to their spouse and family in Heaven. That thought is very attractive to most of us earth-bound humans who have a hard time imagining that they won't desperately want to see and be with their dear ones when they get to Heaven. Yet the image I keep getting is one of well, you might catch a glimpse of a familiar face now and again and wave across the streets of gold, --MAYBE--but you really won't care because all the focus is on God. Now, I realize that this is one of those mysteries we won't fully understand til we hit the Pearly Gates, but....but.....I want to think I will see him again, hug him again, that we will know and recognize each other as special to one another in the earthly plane, and that we will continue to have some sort of friendship/relationship in Heaven. It makes me sad to think we will just pass as ships in the night. I mean, do we retain our personalities, and whatever things made us special to others in life on earth? Or what?

3)God, what are you calling me to do?  I don't understand. I don't have the foggiest idea how to be a great mom to a teen with Aspergers and ADHD . I'm too old to be a nun, too young to be so alone, to poor to start up a business or begin a new career. I don't know what God wants from me.

4)  Family is tired of listening to me talk about my dead husband, my grief, my financial concerns, etc. Kids (ages 29 and 21) tell me it is boring, that I can't "lay" my sadness on them by ever speaking of it or crying in front of them, that I need to pretend to be happy so I'm more entertaining to talk to, or they just will stop talking to me altogether.  I should leave all that for a paid counselor, they tell me, not for family.  I thought that was what your family was for--to help you bear the burdens during the rough times, and share your happiness in the good times.  I can't pretend a happiness I don't feel two months after losing the love of my life so I will be more "fun" to hang around. And if they don't want to be around me they will have to take a number and get in line.    
When I read blogs or hear about other families who cling together during crises, who express love and caring, I feel a pretty big (if I am honest) twinge of jealousy.

Wallowing in self pity again

 5) How much self pity do we get per day? Someone told me 15 minutes--set the clock, cry about your lost loved one for 15 minutes, then resume your normal life. All well and good but my normal life is no longer here.  He took it with him when he went. Now all I have is horrible surprises behind every phone call , ruined credit from medical bills I can never hope to pay ($75,000 for one day in ICU, and he was there 3 weeks), kids who don't want to talk to me because I'm not "fun", a closet full of clothes he will never wear again and trying to deal with the Social Security nightmare.

Better set my watch.

6) I wish they didn't only sell Delaware Punch in Louisiana and South Texas. That was one remarkable canned beverage, by golly, and it  was always around my house when I was a kid. Whenever I got sick, I got Delaware Punch, Welch's grape juice and Flintstones orange Push-Ups.  

7)  Took our dog Max to the vet today. He has a nasty yeast infection in one ear. Poor guy. It's a dog's life.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Can't I Even go to a Movie?

Well, my youngest and I decided to go see "The Croods" this afternoon, an animated movie about cave people. I thought it would be a nice treat for us, as we almost never go to the movies, and man was I amazed at the PRICES!!! I recall a few years back joking about how one day soon it would be $10 to go to the movies, and lo and behold, it is. Not only THAT, but they wanted $6 for a small bag of popcorn and $4.75 for a small SODA! I was flabbergasted.  Even if I had the money, I would not pay that much for a soda anywhere.

But be that as it may, the movie was actually very sweet--until it got to the ending, where the world was splitting up into separate continents, and the dad who is a big strong guy, throws his family one by one over the gap onto the other, much nicer side, knowing he will be left alone on the soon to be destroyed other side. He then goes back to a cave and draws pictures of his whole family on the cave wall, then draws a figure of himself with his arms wrapped around them all in a huge circle.

By this time, Daniel and I were both sniffling and weeping.  But somehow, this being a movie, the dad figures out some fantastic plot and manages to get back to his family--which is totally something Robert would have done.  He always had something up his sleeve, whether it be a $20 bill tucked away somewhere when we were desperate for food, or a computer part we needed, or whatever. He loved to be able to say to his family, "Don't worry, I got'cha covered".  And he did. Always.

SO, we left feeling like we had been run over, and looking like we were staggering out of the scene where Old Yeller gets shot.

But when I got home, and was telling a friend by text, she said "Maybe it was just Robert's way of saying he is still there with you, just on the other side now."  And somehow that comforted me a bit.   Like he was saying "I'm still here. I got'cha. And Jesus has us all!"

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Benedict Arnold Dog

You know it's bad when even your dog rejects you. My husband and I used to have the most wonderful dog on earth, named Zenith--a Catahoula Leopard Dog that we were blessed to find at a local shelter. We had never heard of the breed but we got her as a birthday gift for our then 3 year old son, and she was am amazing dog-a once-in-a-lifetime dog who was so smart, she trained us, and so comical and sweet and manipulative--but in a nice way--we adored her. She passed away two years ago from cancer  of the spleen, and our hearts were broken when we had to put her down.  SO broken in fact that we all went out immediately to get a new dog, as we just could not stand the idea of not having one, and Max, the other dog, belonged to my middle son, Tanner.

So, we ended up with a small German Shepherd-cattle dog mix named Sukey.  She's a sweet dog, a bit of a troublemaker, likes to chew things up, but we loved her. Not like Zenith, no, but she was a friend.  She always slept on the bed between Robert and I.

Well, since my youngest son Daniel--who has been sleeping in my room at the foot of the bed since his dad died most nights--began usurping her spot on the bed, she refuses to sleep anywhere on the bed. She umped up as usual the first night we came back from the hospital in Houston where Robert died, and when she saw it was Daniel and not Robert, she hopped right back down. She won't come back ever since.  I feel extra-rejected somehow.

Friday, May 10, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

1) Can I just please cancel all "special" days and holidays for the next year or so? I had a birthday and it was just way too painful without him, even though dear friends and my middle son tried to make it better....and I did win a wonderful St Therese Journal giveaway at Shower of Roses blog, which I could not help but feel was a "present" of sorts from Robert, as I never win anything. But missing him is just slaughtering me.  Nothing is the same, and I mean nothing.

2) This has got to be a super-depressing blog to read. I know I wouldn't want to read it if I were still happily married and trying to make a place for myself in the catholic wife-and-mom blogosphere. But I can't seem to find a way over to the "widow" blogs without  losing what I was looking for in the "Catholic" blogs and child raising blogs, so I don't really know where to go. Looking for a widowed catholic mom with kids still at home blogosphere seems a bit I guess.  There is no such thing apparently anyhow. So for now I have no idea where I fit in.

3) SO let's change the subject.......Amtrak Trains! How many have ever ridden one any distance, like, overnight somewhere or further? When I was little, we took the train from Union Pacific Station in Los Angeles across from Olvera Street to Beaumont, Texas to visit my aunt Bessie. She was really my great aunt and was like a grandma to me, and I loved that cool as all get out train ride.  I always read every word of the brochures, and we got a bedroom and there was a neat blue nightlight above my bunk, and the rails would sing you to sleep. And the next day as we went through El Paso, we went past  a big mountain that looked like an Indian chief lying down--Cochise, I think it was called.  Union station itself was a beautiful landmark of art deco design that really made you feel like you were getting ready to go somewhere BIG! And the train in those days (60's and 70's) had not only a dining room but also an "automat" car where everything was dispensed from vending machines (corned beef hash, I remember particularly) and they had all kinds of neat stuff.

Amtrak Automat car

Bedroom on train

Interior of lobby of Union Station--you KNOW you are going somewhere major when you enter here!
4)  Why don't nuns wear habits anymore? I mean, yes, some do, and those orders seem to thrive--the Nashville Dominicans, and the Mary, Mother of the Eucharist Dominicans for example. But so many don't, and I just can't imagine going to all that study and love and dedication to be a sister and want to help people, yet not let your identity as a woman consecrated to God be known to all upon sight.  I can't help but think it must have something to do with the fall off in vocations, among other things.

5) Russian Nesting Dolls--how can you not love them? My faves are the ones that have jillions of tinier and tinier ones inside til they are so tiny you can hardly believe it. My middle son got me a lovely owl one for my birthday this year.

6)  I can't read anymore. So many books and my brain doesn't work any more to read them. It's just.....broken somehow.  I can't think anymore.  My husband took my brain as well as my heart when he went.   I really should donate them to the church library.

7) Which reminds me.....I need to go try and find two books I am missing from there. I got a call today about it.  Oh, the guilt.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Panic Attack

I have suffered for three years with severe panic attacks. Up until now, they have all been health-related--I was forever convinced I was dying of cancer, or, in the rare moments when I was not , I was convinced my husband was. Very sadly, he did turn out to have cancer and we lost him in March.  Somehow that completely cured me of my own fears of having a fatal disease--I guess because of the thought of being with my beloved Lord, and my sweet husband again, now holds such beauty for me I no longer fear it.  But it was a high high price to pay to cure that worry.

Today I am having a minor-ish panic attack for the first time since he passed and I am trying to pray my way through it. I don't know what has brought it on exactly--maybe just the howling misery of not having him here with me. It's just a nameless fear, but it scares me. Maybe it's my upcoming birthday on tuesday--my first without him. I don't know.  But I ask for prayers that the Lord Jesus will help sail my boat to calmer seas.

On a lighter note, what a cute picture I found today of my now 13 year old son in first grade :

#3 son at age 6 on a butterfly garden field trip. What a sweet baby. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

1) I love the new Pope--such a humble man, how can you not love him? I can't wait to hear ore about what he will be doing in office. I love that he says a public mass each day! I wonder who gets to come?

2)  May is the month of the Blessed Virgin.  I think often of how much she endured--losing her husband, then her son. Then going on to help build the new Church--without the physical presence of either Joseph or Jesus. Such a brave, wonderful woman.

3) How on earth do people manage when a spouse dies? Even the support groups I go to and the blogs I read hold out little hope for improvement in the icepick  like pain, no matter how long goes by.  I can't imagine ever being with anyone else. He was my soulmate.  My friend.  I could always trust him.  He never lied to me. He always loved me. He never looked at anyone else. And he had the longest, most beautiful eyelashes on earth. How do people do it?  My mom died 20 years ago and as much as I loved her and as bad as it hurt, this is no comparison.

4) Went for a delivery with Mobile Loaves and Fishes last night, to take food and clothing to the homeless. It was unseasonably cold last night and people were begging for warm clothes.  We drove by the Salvation Army, and saw some through the windows upstairs making their beds, and the unlucky ones downstairs outside freezing and huddled around the building, racing up to get the food.   So much misery in the world, in so many ways.

Mobile Loaves and Fishes truck

5) I hate weekends. For some reason they are so hard to get through. I don't know why exactly--they just are.

6)  I am grateful for the support group I have been attending at The Christi Center.  It's a couple of hours out of the week I don't have to feel weird about bawling my eyes out til I break out in hives (as happened last week in the shower), or not being "over it" yet.  Everyone there knows what it's like--they know the awful, indescribable pain of losing your partner, your other half--and way too soon.

7)  Oh my Robert---please come back.  Please come back. Please come back.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Sadness

I am a widow, I am not a wife anymore. I no longer have the right to check "married" in the "marital status" blocks on various forms.  I have no partner.  No one to listen to me read them interesting tidbits off the internet or read to the in the car while they drive. No one to say "that's my girl" when I give him a hug.  No one to love our son, who can be a real handful, like I do.

I am not exactly "alone". I live with my two younger sons, 21 and 13, and two dogs, but the house feels empty. My days feel empty. Seeing his clothes makes me cry.  Seeing his handwriting makes me cry.  I cried so hard a few days ago, wailing in the shower so no one would hear me, that I actually broke out in hives.  My doctor told me this was a normal response to deep grief.

I have people in my life who think I should be over it by now.  I have others who totally understand.  I went to a grief support group last night for adults who have lost spouses.  Several were very fresh losses like mine.   So much pain in one small room.  Yet it was somehow comforting too, and crying was ok.

But still......

I am a widow.  I have no husband. No one who would move heaven and earth for me if I needed him.  No one human anyhow.  I know, I need to lean harder on God.  I know this.

I miss my husband.

I pray he is safe and happy somewhere and that wherever he is, he loves me still.

Friday, April 19, 2013

what to do when someone's spouse dies

I read this on another blog and I hope they forgive me for reposting their ideas here but I thought they were perfect ideas and that's all I have the strength to say today. Here is the post:

 here's what I have to say about what friends can do for a friend in grief.

I'm going to divide it into different time frames.

First ...... immediately upon hearing about the death:

Go to your friend's house.
Take several friends with you.
Answer her/his phone.  Take messages.
Call her/his family/friends to deliver the news.  No, no one wants to do that, but good friends will. 
Mine did.
Get food.  Accept food that's brought.  Stock up on paper goods like paper towels, napkins, toilet paper, paper plates, plastic cups, plastic silverware.  It will be needed.

Go through all of her/his photos and find some to copy and use at the funeral/memorial service.  A very good friend of mine did this with Son #1.  She made several posters with pictures of Jim, us, our family that covered our family over the years.  Son #1 made a slide show for the service that is still on line to this day.
This friend also set out several framed photos of Jim from different times in his life.  Thankfully, we've always taken a lot of pictures.
(Which is one piece of advice I'd give you now ...... before you get to this point.  Take pictures.  Lots of pictures.  All of the time.  And make sure that you, the picture-taker, are not always the picture-taker.  Be sure that you're in pictures, too.)

One friend took care of all things medical.  We had a lot of those things since we weren't sure why Jim died of what he died from ...... and were told that my children would have to be scanned for the rest of their lives, to make sure they didn't die from the same thing.  So my friend (who was a nurse, which helped) took care of all of that.
And she did a fabulous job.

Friends drove me wherever I needed to go.  For a few weeks.  Whether it was to the funeral home (never let them go to the funeral home alone), the attorney's office, the bank,  the funeral of one our district's high school principals (who died the day before Jim did) ...... I always had a ride.

Friends took turns staying with me.  At night.  And overnight.
I have no memory of how many of my friends spent the night with me, in my bed, but I know that they did.  And I can't thank them enough.

As days turned into weeks, they took turns coming over in the evenings, to just be with me.  They stopped spending the night, which was how it should've been, but they stayed until I was ready to fall asleep.
And I loved/love them for that.

Friends took care of all of the plants/flowers that were sent.  I couldn't take care of myself, let alone a bunch of potted plants.  I tried it for a week, but then felt totally overwhelmed by the sight of them.  So I called my friends and had them come and take them out of my house.
They planted some in my yard, which was nice.

As time went on, friends still took turns coming over.  Friends still took turns providing meals.  Friends took turns taking my children anywhere they needed to be, or keeping them busy.

Some friends wrote thank you notes.  I did not.  And that's the number one piece of advice that I can give:  make sure that your newly-widowed friend doesn't feel the need to write thank you notes.  I think that's the most barbaric practice that we, as Americans, have.  Who sends flowers/a plant because of a death, and then expects a thank you note?  If anyone does, tough crap.  You don't deserve a thank you note because you didn't send the gift for the right reason.  It's horrific to have to write someone and say "thank you for sending flowers/providing a meal because my husband died".  I have been/and am horrified when I've received such a thank you note.  I didn't send flowers/provide a meal with the intent of receiving a thank you note.  And I don't want the grieving person to even think about sending me a note.  The thought of that makes me nausous.

So those are the things the came to my mind.
The things that friends can do.

The biggest thing you can do is to just be there.
That's it.
It's simple.

Be with her/him.
Sit with her/him.
Follow their lead.
Watch TV with them, if that's what they want.
Bring funny movies/TV shows.  I needed to have my mind preoccupied and I needed to laugh.

Sit with them in silence, if that's how they sit.
Sit with them in tears, if that's how they sit.
Sit and listen, if they talk.
Sit and talk, if they listen.

Follow their lead.
But just be there.
For as long as you can.

That's what they'll remember.
That you were there.

Friday, April 12, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

Ok, I promise not to be excessively depressing and morbid today though it's hard, really it is.  But I don't want to drive everyone away when I just started blogging. Still it was hard to take my husband's picture down and list myself as a "widow".

(not me--but close enough)

1) I am thrilled to hear that both Jen and Hallie's little boys are here (from Conversion Diary and Moxie Wife), but concerned about and praying for Jen's little one who is having breathing issues and is in the NICU. Please pray for little Joseph Thomas, that all will be well, that Jen herself will be protected from blod clots, and that the family will soon be reunited.

2) Pope Francis--I missed the whole thing while I was in Houston with my darling during his last days, so I am only just now getting to know anything about him.  I thought he was Italian until just a couple days ago, lol! But he seems like a very decent sort of guy--very much a "man of the people" who does not put on airs--and I like that. He has a friendly smile, too.  And I love the name he chose! I can't believe no one chose it before!

Pope Francis, smilin' away!

3)  I have a TON of wonderful books to read, as I have gotten quite behind on my reading, as you might well imagine. My sweet husband got me a subscription to National Geographic just before he passed, so I get to read about all my fantasy destinations--the Congo, Denmark, Greenland, the Northern Lights, Yellowstone at Christmas, etc.  I will probably never get to any of them, as I am not the type of person who has that sort of income, but it's nice to dream, and I hope my Robert is up there in Heaven seeing every inch of God's creation and marveling over it.

Christmas at Yellowstone

4)  I really want to start celebrating the liturgical  year with my son Daniel, who is 13. But how do I do this when I don't know much about it in the first place, as a relatively new Catholic, and when his interest is minimal to moderate at best, and when we are both grieving over our loss, and when I am a lousy creative person? He's too old for most of the "kid" stuff but bored by the adult stuff, and has ADHD as well as Aspergers. Any suggestions?

Liturgical Year

5)  haven't been doing much cooking or cleaning beyond the basics--laundry and dishes--since coming home from Houston.   I want to create a peaceful space for myself, at least in my bedroom.  Our house is older--1980--and small--what they call a "starter home"---and hasn't been repainted, recarpeted or had the linoleum changed since 1987. It's hideous. I have never painted, laid carpet or linoleum, etc in my life.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around paying the bills.  But it would be nice to have at least one clean, comforting room to go into.

Not my house but you get the general idea

6)All the meaning of life is contained in the original version of Disney's Fantasia.

7) Hard core grief sucks.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Not One Bit Strong

I was reading my fellow blogger Jen Fulweiler's blong today over on Conversion Diary (I would make that into a clickable link but I don't know how--someone please tell me), and firstly I want to welcome her beautiful new son into the world, as well as Hallie Lord's over at Moxie Wife.  Lovely, strapping young men!

Unfortunately, Jen's son is having some breathing issues and had to be taken to the NICU in another hospital.  She said something to the effect that people were telling her how strong she was being, and if what she feels is being strong, she wants some examples of what "not being strong at all" feels like.  I could agree with her completely on that point. (and please join me in prayers for her young son).

I have had several people tell me lately I am handling my husband's death "well" and that I am being "strong" and one lady said she had no idea how I could do it--that she could never be that "strong".  Frankly I would love nothing more than to collapse into a permanent pile of weeping, raging terror and agony. Nothing. And I do so on a regular basis.  But, once you run out of strength to howl and scream and beat the wall and beg him to come back, please please please come back, I cannot bear it, I need you so much...........what are your choices but to get up and keep going?  Especially if you have a child, and especially-especially if you have a special needs child--one you swore to your dying husband to do everything for that he would want me to, to the best of my ability?

It hurts. It hurts when someone was picking up some ham radio equipment my husband had been repairing for him and  said while giving me money for the repair that he "certainly would not want to take advantage of a widow" (a widow??? That's me now? I don't like the sound of that at all. I feel I should be 95 and wearing black crepe).  He meant it kindly, but it's not the identity I always had of myself.  Wife, wife, wife--someone's wife--that's what I was, and still am, in my mind.

It hurts to flip through facebook and see a photo posted by my dear stepdaughter of her dad and my husband just weeks after we got together, when he was healthy and strong, holding her now 14 year old son and seated next to her now 17 year old son, who served as a pallbearer at his funeral, wearing a shirt I bought him so long ago, as a birthday present.  I wanted to die.  The pain was exactly like an icepick being driven through my heart and into  my soul.  How will this ever ease? I cannot fathom it.

I have to remember the blessings of these past few weeks--that he survived the initial esophageal bleed which almost no one does, because he was in the ER already when it happened, giving Daniel and I time to get there, and that a kind friend was willing to drive us 3 hours in the middle of the night to his bedside.

That he woke up from his post sedation coma after being given a good week to do so by a kind, caring Catholic doctor and a wonderful Catholic nurse.

That he saw us and recognized us and knew we were by his side.

That he had one good, lucid day when he was able to talk to us, and to tell me he loved me and kiss me, and even tell us a joke.

That he was baptized into the catholic faith, given an Apostolic Pardon, and went, presumably, straight to Heaven.

That I was able, despite earlier events indicating I would not be able to do this for him, to bury him where WE both wanted to be buried--in a beautiful Catholic cemetery, with a Catholic funeral service in our parish church, by my spiritual director and pastor, and using the funeral home I wanted. This was due to incredible kindness on the part of a family member.

That I was with him when he passed, and that he passed peacefully, with me holding his hand.

And finally, that a kind woman I barely knew at church said to me yesterday, "You think your relationship with your husband is over--but it is not over! It's just changed, that's all.  He's still here and you still have a relationship with him!"  That was the best and most encouraging thing anyone has said to me since the funeral.

But it's still so very very hard.  Please keep us in your prayers.

Friday, April 5, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

1)   Hanging in there. Trying to hang in there. Slipping off pretty regularly, but trying.

2)  I took some stones with words on them to the cemetery yesterday to place on my husband's grave. One said "Beloved", and one said "Watch Over Us". As I stood there crying and begging him to intercede with our Lord Jesus, I wanted to hear his voice so bad, I dialed my home phone line just to hear him on the voicemail. It broke my heart to hear him say "Bye!" at the end. 
Goodbye, my true love, goodbye. 

3)The incredible kindness of friends and those who loved him and our family has been the most radical, amazing example of true Christian love I have ever seen. Every time I turn around, another hand is reaching out, with prayer blankets, Irish soda bread, pumpkin bread, money, help for my son,  flowers, or some other much needed and gratefully appreciated item. I thank them all from the bottom of my heart. 

4) This weekend the cemetery is having a day for families, with lunch, nature walks through their wooded property and trails, and a chance to fellowship with other Catholics who have lost loved ones. It is SUCH a lovely place, I wish you all could see it.  

Beautiful spring day
Garden of Precious Love, where Mary watches over miscarried babies

St Francis path

5)I think often of how Mary must have felt when she lost her husband, St. Joseph, who had always protected her and Jesus, and provided for their earthly needs. I wonder sometimes if she asked Jesus to heal him?   Losing a wonderful protector and provider like my Robert--a man who worked for us to the very end--leaves such a large and frightening hole. Only in God can that hole be filled.  But I will always miss his earthly presence. 

The death of St Joseph

6) I am praying today for Jen Fulweiller of Conversion Diary as she undergoes a difficult medical procedure to protect her heart and lungs from clots during her delivery monday, and for Hallie Lord of Moxie Wife who is delivering today, I believe. I wish them both blessings, successful deliveries and that Jen's medical procedure goes well.  Please join me in praying for them. 

7) What does one do with one's wedding rings when your spouse dies?  How do you go about going through their personal items, clothes, etc, and when? 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Funeral

Today was my husband's funeral.  It was a lovely Catholic funeral mass in the church, followed by interment at Our Lady of the Rosary cemetery in Georgetown, Tx--a beautiful cemetery with wildflowers, lovely headstones of all types, and windchimes everywhere, and wooded paths to walk along.

Many wonderful friends came--my beloved friends from Church who have walked this journey with us, and Robert's ham radio buddies. Also, his two grown kids from his previous relationship, grandkids, and my 3 boys.

We were all brokenhearted to lose such a wonderful, gentle, caring, unselfish soul.  A man who did everything he could to the very last for his family, though disabled, and who tried his best to help in any way he could. Though I had him only 15 years, they were the most blessed years of my life.

I don't know who I am now.

I'm not a "Catholic wife and mother" anymore.

I haven't worked in years and have many health issues that may prevent that.

My son has Asperger's syndrome---something that requires two parents at a minimum, and for which I am ill equipped emotionally to deal with right now--but that's another post for another day.

AT any rate, I was blessed today to have so many who cared for me come out--even many old friends I had not seen in over ten years.

I will miss my Robert with all my heart. The sky weeps for him as well today.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Tragic Loss

In future post, I will go into more detail but right now I just wanted to let some friends know that I lost my beloved husband, Robert David Wolf on March 26 to cancer. We knew his time was short but not that short. Our son Daniel and I spent the last 3 weeks at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas at my husband's bedside as he tried to recover from an unexpected esophageal bleed. We are now back home in Austin. His funeral will be Tuesday, April 2. He was baptized Catholic by a priest, and this was a great blessing. More to follow as soon as I can.

Friday, March 1, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

1) God puts exactly the right people in our lives at exactly the right time we need them.  I am constantly amazed and warmed to the cockles of my heart by my beloved friends from Church, and their kindness and compassion in the valley of the shadow my family is trudging through right now.  May He richly bless them all.

2) Sede Vacante. No Pope.  Something so sad about that--and watching the Pope Emeritus fly off in that helicopter for Castel Gandalfo reminded me of a presidential changing of the guards, minus the private luncheon with the "new guy".  I hope sincerely that the new Pope is a man of great character and overwhelming love for his fellow man.  I pray for that. And I wish Benedict a life of peace and prayer.

3) Found some great new shoes at the Birkenstock In Step store today. They call me whenever they get cute new patterned shoes in in my humongous boat-shoe size (size 42 eur.) because they usually only get one per design in that size, so I raced over there, and found a pair of mary jane type shows in a beautiful rose pattern.

I long ago developed an attachment to Birkenstocks and similar type shoes and I have about 4 pair of clogs for winter and four pair of sandals for our eternal summer here in Texas and that's it. I won't wear anything else. Gotta catch them on sale though, as I did today. $69!

4) Which is your favorite church-approved apparition of Mary?  I am torn between Our Lady of Guadalupe and  Fatima. I love the beautiful Tilma that still exists today and defies scientific explanation, and I also love the miracle of the sun that so many witnessed at Fatima.  It makes me kind of sad that Jacinta and Francesco died so very young, even though I know it shouldn't, though.

5) One day, I hope to live somewhere in the north, in a woodsy area with snow in the winter and reasonable temps in the summer, and lovely lakes and  quiet valleys and no more stickers and cockleburrs and flying tree roaches and other such sub-tropical nonsense.  Anyone want to trade residences with me?

6) My son and I are watching a really interesting documentary called "Bully" about the bullying problem in today's schools.  It's so extremely sad and so frightening to watch what these kids go through.  And I remember being bullied severely when I was in the lower grades myself, and how much it hurt. We really have to listen to our kids when they talk about being mistreated by others at school.  Tragedies do occur.

7)  Th Th Th Th Thats All Folks!

Friday, February 22, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

1)  Some dear friends from my CRHP group committed to fast a meal today for my husband and son, and several of us carpooled down to our diocese's cathedral, St. Mary's, for the noon rosary and mass service to pray for my home situation.  It was made even more special by the unexpected fact that, this being the feast of the Chair of St Peter, our Bishop, Joe Vasquez, led the Mass. It was my first time to meet him, so I was somewhat star struck, I must admit!  We also saw one of our parish's Deacons who is working with my husband, who had stopped by for the mass as well. I am truly blessed by such special friends.

St Mary's Cathedral, Austin, Texas--outside


Bishop Joe Vasquez, Diocese of Austin

2)  The gift shop at the Cathedral had the neatest traditional liturgical calendars! WOW! They have everything you'd ever want to know, both the traditional feast days and beautiful artwork. They are made by the Seraphim Company.

3)  Watching "The 300" on TV. Talk about weird filming techniques! Interesting film, though--those Spartans sure were......spartan.......weren't they?

4)  Speaking of movies--I sure wish they would produce more Catholic-themed movies that were not dubbed into English or have subtitles in English.  With the subtitled ones, I can't even shut my poor bleary eyes for a second without missing something.  I am hoping to see more in English one day soon.

5) If you could go anywhere....where would you go?  A trip all alone, say? I think I would love to visit what used to be called the "Mountains of the Moon" in Africa, between Rwanda and Uganda, and see the mountain gorillas.

6)  I am so so tired.

7) I need just a small break, God, please.  Please, just a small one.