12 Reflections from the first year
Updated: Jan 7
This past year is just a tad bit more than a year, because it really started on Christmas Eve when Terry left to be with Jesus.
As I sit here pondering what 2018 will bring, I also reflect on what 2017 brought.
It was 3:30 in the morning, last Christmas Eve when I was woken by the sound of her struggling, called 9-1-1, began CPR, called family and friends, and made my way to the hospital. Nearly 3 hours later, we let her go home.
That was notably the most difficult decision I have ever had to make. Yet, in my spirit and mind I know it was the right decision. I know that it really helped me through this time by having members from our small group, the church pastor, and especially my kids and Audrey with me. The decision that we made was a family decision, and we all know that it was the right decision.
Reflection #1 – without family, without friends, without the love of God (especially during this time) it would have probably been unbearable. Instead, I was (and am today) surrounded by so much love that I am held up by this outpouring; each and every day.
Christmas last year was pretty rough. What can you say, it was the day after. But, our family has always been strong. Terry helped us with that in more ways than I can imagine. So, we came together and celebrated together. There were many items that was special for the kids and grands; because these were special things that Terry helped pick out.
Reflection #2 – Family is number one. If it were not for the strong family that came out of Terry’s and my relationship, we probably would have fallen apart.
During the following days, there was such an outpouring of love from all of our family and many, many special friends. “Beautiful woman, inside and out”. “Such a sweet, sweet spirit”. “Our hearts are heavy and filled with prayers for your family”. “This morning God took home my best friend ..”. “Love you Sis, dance with the Angels”. And many, many more.
Reflection #3 – I am so thankful for all of these memories. Reading them again, and listening to the heart from which they are poured out gives me strength, hope, and thankfulness for all the time I had with my special angel.
Birthdays. First, was Lesley’s. Then came Hailie, Audrey, Me, Johnnie, Lillie, and then Chris. Each of these, in a unique way brought both pain and joy. The pain was not being able to celebrate these with Terry. The joy is knowing that she loved each and every one of us so much and is celebrating these with us in her new home in Heaven.
Reflection #4 – Terry and I have wonderful kids, and grandkids. She was such a role model of strength and love for them. Please help me continue this in them.
Prophecy. As I was putting together things for her funeral, I came across the prophecy that Harold Eberle had spoken over her. “Women of God. You set your heart to serve. You are doing well. You did well, you took a stand. I will keep you and preserve you”.
Reflection #5 – I can give thanks to the woman of God that became my life partner. She did so well. Never complaining, always loving, nurturing, and caring. The final part of the prophecy – “Don’t give up in Jesus name, you secure others”. She did.
Coffee time. During these past few months, I have been blessed by having the chance to meet up with both Chris and Lesley for coffee, dinner, lunch, movies and many more times. It would be hard to imagine not having these times with my children. For they are such a blessing to me.
Reflection #6 – Thank you God, for giving me such wonderful children. And, I pray that I can continue to be a support to them and model your love into their lives.
Heaven. Nobody says it best, than the Newsboys in their song “Big House”. Heaven is a wonderful place. Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven does such a wonderful job of mapping out what (from a Biblical perspective) heaven is like. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me. My Father’s house has many rooms… I am going there to prepare a place for you” John 14:1
Reflection #7 – Heaven. This world is only temporary, but Heaven is eternal. The hope that carries me day-to-day is rooted in the knowledge that there is a better place, a place with Jesus that awaits us. In that place, I will not only be reunited with my sweetie, but get to meet Jesus face-to-face.
Me time. I have taken a few trips that I call “Me Time”. It is in these times, that I can reflect upon our life together, visit places and people from the past, and spend some one-on-one time with my Lord, and even listening what my sweety would have me hear. Me time has become a very important part of me moving forward into the new journey that I find myself on.
Reflection #8 – Spending Me Time has been a time of refreshing, remembering, and honoring. Honoring the life that we have shared together.
The Church. During one of his messages, Mark Grange made three points that continue to serve me today (especially in times of pain). First, maintain awareness; especially of God and His purpose in my life. Second, be Intentional. Third, it’s OK to be vulnerable. I will trust in God, my friends, and my family.
Reflection #9 – The love and support of the pastors, leaders, small group, and the rest of my church family and friends has become a rock in helping me through some of the darkest hours during this past year.
Valentines Day. This was a hard day. I put a rose on Terry’s memorial. I took my grands to lunch. I went out to a bible study with my friends. Went to a gun cleaning workshop with Chris. Saw a special angel sent by God to lift me up during the day of painful memories.
Reflection #10 – God sends us angels when we need it most. Valentines Day is a day of love. Terry and I have had 45 years of love, but there is also love in celebrating with Family, friends, kids, and even just in the memories.
God still sends signs. During this past year there have been many signs, sent from God, that have provided comfort, and peace. I can remember when I visited Alki, that I saw her presence standing at the beach. Or, when we said goodbye to her in Ocean Shores how a seagull stood guard while the waves took her out to sea. Or, when we laid her to rest from the Ferry, a pod of whales surfaced just at that very moment. And, when I was walking and a cloud painted a beautiful picture of an angel in the sky from her. Yes, even when I was crying at our “River Spot” and an eagle flew over me, squawking, “It’ll be OK”.
Reflection #11. Signs are all around us. It is important to be open to them and receive them. For God’s desire is for us to be happy and have Joy. Usually these signs are there right at the time that we need them the most.
Happy Birthday, Sweetie. Happy Thanksgiving. Merry Christmas. Holidays have been tough. Especially on her birthday, and especially, especially Christmas Eve. Yet, just when I need it I am lifted up by someone or something. After a recent class, the instructor said, “You are doing well”. Now, I didn’t see that one coming. But, in reflection, I have to admit that I am moving forward. Even I can start recognizing a stronger countenance, more smiles, and more joy when I look at my pictures. A stronger commitment to leaning in and finding the next path for my journey drives me every day.
Reflection #12. In spite of all the pain, there is joy. In spite of the loneliness there are many, many memories. In spite of wishing for something different, God is in control and He has spoken to me that “Moving forward is not forgetting the past. Instead it is embracing all of the past, while forming new paths and plans.”
2018 starts tomorrow! Symbolically, this is an opportunity to start afresh. The reality is a fresh start does not mean starting with nothing. There is so much there that it would be impossible to throw it out. There is so much there that is good, it begs to be repurposed. For me, this is going to be a year of ReImpact. Reimpact in my life journey, Reimpact in my family, in my friends, in my church, and a love for people for what they are, who they are, and where they can go.