Thoughts on Gratitude

When I took my dogs, Roger and Violet, out this morning, the birds were singing.  It had stormed during the night and early morning hours, but the rain had passed for the moment.  Listening to the songs floating through the air, I thought How grateful they must be for a new day.  It got me thinking about gratitude and the role it has played in our lives, particularly since the death of our son, Lacy.
Years ago, I learned the power of gratitude to uplift and encourage in hard times.  Lacy was in the hospital, on a ventilator, with strep pneumonia.  All together, he would be there for over a month.  The first three weeks were the worst, since he was in ICU and we could only visit three times a day.  I'd go in during the visiting hours and pray for our son, put lotion on his feet and hands, and read a story to him from his picture Bible.  What relieved my anxiety the most, however, was the time I took to express gratitude.  I'd list out loud what I was thankful for - a sunny day,…

A New Journey

So this hole in our hearts is now permanent, healed but never closed.  Lacy seems far away and so near at the same time.

Grief ebbs and flows with the times.  Right now, we are close to the 3rd anniversary of Lacy's death and we are both thinking of him constantly.  Happy times and gut wrenching ones, too.

Kenny and I are in the last third of our lives.  We want to finish strong.  As we walk forward, we don't know where our road leads.  Join us on this journey of rediscovery and reinvention. 

Spring Cleaning

This spring I'm determined to get through all the pictures my mom boxed up for storage.  As I've been looking through albums and envelopes of pictures, seeing them through eyes of experience, I understand that these icons of memory don't tell the whole story.

Pictures we keep are often staged with everyone smiling at the camera, sometimes wearing their very best clothes, but always in an arranged pose.  It is for us, who lived during that time, to put context to pictures. 

Two pictures stand out to me.  One is of my mother and I, smiling into the sun.  Mom is obviously pregnant, wearing a maternity suit that she wore in so many of the black and white photos taken during that time (1957-1958).  It must have been her best, or maybe the only one that she wanted to be photographed wearing.  She was pregnant with my brother, George Edward. 

The second picture is of my mother, father, and me,  smiling into the sun.  Mom is wearing the same suit, but has obviously given birth.  T…

Holiday Dread (hint: There is light at the end of this tunnel)

I've already begun to dread the holiday season...Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve.  Grief rolls back into my life like a heavy fog.  I have to remind myself to walk with my back straight - I feel myself slump off and on all day long.

I know there are other folks like me out there.  The constant parade of commercials depicting families joyfully celebrating; the music that seems to never, ever end;  these remind me of what I've lost. 

I could make a list of my losses, but that's not the point of this post. 

What I've realized is that the dread of the holidays is much worse than the actual celebrating of them.  I find so much joy in our families.  Kenny's brother and sister-in-law will be nearby this Christmas, and we'll be able to see them much more often in the years to come.  My extended family gets together at Thanksgiving, and we always have a great time.    Christmas Eve services at our church comfort us in ways we have not always appreciated.…

To my HD Facebook Friends

The grief and sadness of losing and missing Lacy hits at odd times.  I think I'm doing well, have moved past some of the worst of the pain, when a song, or a memory hits me and I'm weeping.  I've learned to let my tears flow.  The tears seem to heal the pain, and if I let myself feel the loss, I'm able to move on with my day once the worst of the sorrow is over.
We never get over our loss, but we get accustomed to the loss, and the hole in our hearts is not quite so tender.
I have so many Facebook friends who are experiencing that loss right now as their children, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, siblings are dying from Huntington Disease.  As I read their posts I feel afresh the pain of losing inch by inch the person you love.  I remember how burying a child is impossible to fathom, even as you sit across from the closed casket.  I cannot imagine the pain of losing nearly everyone you love to this disease - sometimes your spouse and all your children.  
These courag…

That Day...Edited!!

Note to readers:  I have edited this post because I realized I did not include the meaning I felt upon seeing the fallen pictures.  My edited comments are in italics below.   

May 28, 2018.

The day was beautiful.  Sunshine and green leaves and grass everywhere, perfect for a trip to Decatur and Falling Springs Cemetery.

I'd bought flowers for our immediate family graves:  Lacy, Mom, Dad, and my infant brother, George Edward.

My brother, Dave, came with Kenny and I.  We drove the 20 minutes together to Falling Springs and placed the flowers near the resting places of each of our loved ones.  I never feel that they are "there" but I am so grateful that we have a place to go and reflect on their lives and the love we shared with each other.  The little Nativity I had put on Lacy's stone was still there after 6 months.  We moved it over and placed our small offering of love and remembrance next to the tiny creche.

I brought a prayer to read at the gravesides; a prayer of…


Four weeks from today will be two years since we lost Lacy.

I keep getting reminders on my Facebook feed of the last few weeks of Lacy's life.  The last year, I took a picture of him every week.  I wanted to make sure I could remember him, and the good - and bad - times we had together.

I feel a sense of dread about May 28.  I am thankful that it falls on Memorial Day, so we will not have to go to work. 

I am also thankful that we took every opportunity to spend time with him.  The last time was 5pm on May 27, 2016.  Nine hours later, he was gone.

As I drove away from the nursing home that evening, a scripture popped into my head: 

...that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection... (Philippians 3:10)

That power has sustained us for nearly two years.