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Part 2 of Plan A

 

Today marks the last day of the fourth month since Steve went home.  I have been processing by writing nearly every day, though I’ve only updated the blog a handful of times.  I’ve been reluctant to share this part of the journey publicly, not just because it’s pretty raw, but also because I haven’t really trusted my feelings from day to day. Well, no. That’s not right.  My feelings are my feelings; they don’t need to prove anything to be valid.  Even if those feelings don’t last all day, they are legitimate emotions when I feel them.  What I haven’t been able to trust are the conclusions I tend to draw from them because my brain has been so crowded with questions – the noisiest, bossiest questions I have ever faced.

 

Some are general living questions, like: What do I do with the house? How do I use my money wisely? How much should I travel and speak? Or manage my time in general?  Who do I call with questions about my sprinkler system?

 

And then there are intimate, edgy questions, like: When do I move Steve’s collection of golf hats out of the closet? How do I parent kids who are living through grief while I am also living through grief?  Who will take care of me when I get the flu?  Should I keep wearing my wedding ring indefinitely or not?

 

The first month was like living inside a ball of yarn, trying to punch my way out. The harder I punched, the more the tangle tightened. Around day 27, I finally reverted to the old technique for escaping a Chinese finger trap: Relax. Go limp. Stop fighting. Rest. Countless times, I have stopped a runaway train of thought by saying out loud, You don’t have to know right now, Bo. Just relax.

 

I’ve learned a lot in this season of waiting and resting and I’ve mostly been letting life happen.  If I feel like getting stuff done, I get stuff done.  If I feel like binge watching Parks & Rec, I do it. When cooking sounds fun, I fill my kitchen with my favorite food and people. When it doesn’t, I grab a kid or a friend and go out for dinner.   In my very short time as a widow (a word that I’m not sure will ever sound right), I’ve been to more movies than in the previous ten years combined. Instead of three miles a day religiously, I run…whenever I feel like it. It’s like I’ve turned into the anti-Bo, but it’s been really good. I will always look back on these 120 days as an oasis in the back country of the Shadowlands.  I’ve been kind to myself and I’ve learned that the questions don’t go away at the oasis, but they can wait.   This is not a season I would be anxious to repeat, but I will be grateful for it forever.

 

Having said that, in the past couple of weeks, I’ve felt the unmistakeable movement of a  turning tide.  It’s not that the season of grief is over, or ever will be (it helped a lot when I stopped expecting it to end.) It’s that I feel my heart moving from recovery mode to reconstruction mode.  I remember the first morning I woke up with a strange excitement bubbling beneath the surface.  Is there such thing as “solemn excitement”?  If so, that’s what I felt. I began writing down some new ideas and reminding myself of some old dreams. Then a few trusted friends posed carefully-worded suggestions that I knew were meant to nudge me toward the daring idea that maybe my future had not been buried with Steve.  Ironically, from the day of my husband’s diagnosis, he began telling me that no matter where the road took him, he believed my best days were still ahead.  It used to annoy me so, so much. I would sob and shake and tell him, “I can’t hear you say this right now. I can’t think ahead that far without feeling like my whole life is ending.”  He would smile sadly and pat my head and say, “But someday you’ll be glad I said it.”  And he was right.  I’m already glad he said it. Maybe someday I’ll also believe he was right.  I’m not there yet, but maybe someday.

 

So, today, on the threshold of month five, I am here to say that I am changing. I am growing. I have wrestled down answers to the immediate, essential questions (keeping the house! found the sprinkler guy!)  and am hearing whispers for those that will shape my future (hint: it involves tuition and tests and scares me a lot!)  I am rebuilding on this broken ground and grief is still very present here, but it’s partnered up with hope and they’re dancing – sometimes well,  sometimes super awkwardly – together.

 

Over the next few months, I’ll talk a little more about the answers to some of my questions and the plans that are forming as Part 2 of Plan A unfolds, but for now I want to close out month four with this promise from Jeremiah, which hangs over my desk and has become the only thing I really need to know:

 

I will give those who are weary all they need and refresh everyone who is filled with sorrow. Jeremiah 31:25

 

With hope for all we need,

 

Bo

November 17, 2015 - 8:36 am

Teresa - Excited for you and what lies ahead. (thinking about going back to school?) Will continue praying for you and the family. 🙂

November 17, 2015 - 9:27 am

Karla Jeltema - Love you Bo, been praying unending for you and the kids. I think our souls feel your pain and just want to gently rock you to sleep at night.
Be blessed
Karla

November 17, 2015 - 9:51 am

Rhonda Abellera - Thanks for your amazing words Bo! What an encouragement you are to so many! Many Blessings to you and your family!

November 17, 2015 - 11:44 am

Tamara Tennison - no words. just HUGS!!!!

November 17, 2015 - 3:56 pm

Susie Kay - I love you.

November 17, 2015 - 5:35 pm

Sue Powell - “Thank you”,Sister-Friend…for sharing this ‘hope-filled’,and honest ‘update’ on this part of your journey…*I loved the ‘visual’ of ‘grief and hope’,dancing together;’sometimes awkwardly! As I am a part of The Mundane Faithfulness Community on FB…So many Sister-friends dealing with the grief and struggle’s of cancer,treatment’s,losses,and ‘just showing up’ for others who are going through a ‘hard time’…the Book;”just show up”,by Kara Tippetts and Jill Buteyn,co-written while Kara was still living,is another extremely informative and ‘real’,’raw’,and ‘hopeful’book for everyone who long’s to ‘be there’ for a hurting loved one,*family member or friend..or whomever the Lord might bring into their lives…I know you are a busy lady,just wanted to suggest this for when you might have some ‘down time’,as I believe you will be blessed,*just as I,and so many others,were blessed by your books,written from your heart.You are loved,and I know that Abba will be ‘close by your side’,as you go forward,holding His hand,as He’ll never let go of yours.Sue4Him

November 18, 2015 - 11:37 am

wyvonea Allen - Bo,
be encouraged I can truly relate with your journey. I say to you my sister that you will grow even closer to the Lord than you ever imagined possible.
He has truly become my sole provider, encourager , and friend. I can remember when my husband passed last September 7th. I could not even see myself going on one day without him after 32 years of marriage. We were high school sweethearts.
Yet the Lord God has truly blessed me I now look back and know that it was only Him who carried me these last 14 months.
I too was blessed by the fact that my husband gave me his blessing of living life after he was gone home. I too said i don’t want to talk about it.
Thank you for your transparency i thought i was the only one willing to share, your blog is encouraging so many thank you.
One final thought I want to share with you I have been blessed by the Grief Share bible study, for lack of better words I tell people when talking about this group.That misery loves company, we are all miserably going trough grief but some how us all being together is brings us comfort and support.Through the help of the Lord he is healing our hearts one day at a time. I agree with you this is not a journey I would have chosen for myself, yet God saw fit to call me to it. I know He will see me through it.
Be blessed Bo as you join so many of us in this journey of God’s grace and mercy, truly they do follow us all the days of our life. God is a widow’s provider.
wy

November 18, 2015 - 1:30 pm

Jody Collins - Bo, there is so much hope in these words…..you’re doing things just right, ’cause they’re just Bo.

November 21, 2015 - 11:06 pm

Jewl -

November 21, 2015 - 11:08 pm

Jewl - just a smile : )