Chapter 12–If I Step Back And Look, I Can See That I Am Growing

IMG_7459It seemed as though I would have three or four good days, and then I would be down in the dumps. But I was making progress.

In the morning I would systematically pray, and I felt spiritual growth.  I opened my heart to God and told Him just how shaken my faith had been. I was honest about my doubts, and I could feel Him working in me. Like I have said before, sometimes I wondered if everything was true.  Everything in the Bible.  Everything about Heaven.  Everything about where Roger was.  If you are an unbeliever, I’m sure you have had your doubts.  The difference between you and me is that I do believe.  I was just so vulnerable to Satan’s lies.

Being the Woman in Charge


On September 1st I had to take the Escape in for a recall issue. If you know anything about me, you know that I hate to make phone calls. The story behind that is long.  I’ll save it for some other time.  But I made the call, set up the appointment and when I arrived I timidly asked if they could look at the trunk handle.  It was loose. Justin said, “Aw, we can fix that easily.”  It was so thankful that I even wrote a thank you note to Bob Ridings for having good employees who weren’t afraid to help a widow!

It was just so odd for me to have to check in the car at the service department.  Roger used to do all of that.  I would follow him and wait for him while he checked it in etc.  This time good friend Kari followed me, and I had to be the “man.”

Termite inspection

The Terminex guy called to set up an appointment.  I was glad I could find where Roger had kept the policy and pay history for that.  After the inspection he said, “No termites.”

To move or not to move?

Scott and Jess and kids came over the Labor Day weekend.  We got so much done organizing a closet or two, working on music, and spraying the moss on the north side of the house.  Scott even mowed.  Jess and I spent an afternoon in Springfield for her birthday.  It was so sweet that Scott volunteered to watch the kids.

As we played games one night we heard a drip-drip-drip.  Come to find out there was a leak involving air conditioner condensation.  How do I deal with that?

Before they left, Scott gave me an opinion.  It made me think.  I told him to share his thoughts with his siblings.

  • He thought that the house was too big and too old for me.
  • He gave a couple of options.
    • If we could work through the next year to downsize and keep cleaning things out and get things ready to sell, then I could find someplace that would be large enough to house the kids when they visit but would also be newer with fewer headaches.
    • He said Jess and he were looking for a place further out of Saint Louis—either to build or buy.  They wanted to find something that would include a “mother-in-law” spot.  I told him that Chad and Steph were also thinking of what they could do to their house to include a spot for me.
    • Scott said that if Lisa didn’t want to move back here, I shouldn’t be alone.  The house was too much for me.

So I began to think.  If I had about 5 more years of singing with State of Grace, should I consider buying something here?  4 bedroom, 2.5 bath with storage.  That way the kids could still come and stay with me.  But then I would have to sell again when I had to move.

Jim and Tom from church came over to fix an outlet, and I shared with them the possibility of selling…not soon, but maybe someday.  They advised to start fixing up things that need to be done—nothing major—just cosmetic things.

Tearing Down the Garage

Roger and I had discussed tearing down the outside garage.  Now that it was empty, I pursued having it done.

This was just another instance of where I missed Roger so much. It’s another first that I had to do. I had to see if this guy’s bid was reasonable.

Jeff looked and walked around, and we spent about a half hour together. We discussed whether I should get the dumpster or he should haul it away. We negotiated a fair price and sealed the deal. It was ok, and I believe he was very fair, but I just didn’t like being in charge. God made Eve the helpmeet for Adam, but I know Eve needed Adam more than she realized.  I needed a man. I knew I was capable. But I still needed someone to take care of me.

Then I went back to God, my Father who was also my husband—the best husband. But He didn’t make the phone calls and stand and negotiate deals. Sounds harsh and ungrateful, doesn’t it?

By the way–thanks Jeff.  You were very thorough and did a great job.  Ask me for his contact information.

Doing for Others is the Best Thing

I had invested my time in working on music for several people.  Using that talent helped me feel like I was moving forward.  I even cleaned.  And cooked.  Believe it or not I deliberately put two chicken breasts in the crock pot to shred—for ME!

Being active gave me purpose and focus.

Memory Triggers

So many thing triggered memories of Roger.

This was my first year alone doing Fantasy Football, which, I was pretty good at.  Last year Roger helped me with the first round draft, and then he got disinterested.  I didn’t pay much attention either, as my focus was on Roger in 2014.  But boy he would have loved what Gronk did in September 2015 for the Patriots!

His rosebush that we replanted to the front was growing.  And even though we thought we got it all from the back yard after yanking it with the truck and chain, there was still growth!

Odd Emotions and Actions

Friends Gary and Carol asked if I would go to a concert with them, and I was thankful.  I didn’t have to sit at home on a Saturday night.  But I found out something unusual/uncomfortable about myself.  The One Voice concert was great, but after looking at the men’s countenances, I found my eyes go to their left ring fingers.  Why?  I was kind of embarrassed.  I had not done that for 44 years–actually “checking” prospects out.  (My face is actually blushing as I type this!) Like a teenager, I was not sure how to handle those feelings.

I made another trip to Scott’s to spend a few days celebrating Savannah’s first birthday. She was born in 2014 in the midst of Roger’s treatment.

More Memories

It’s funny. I had been back to Scott’s several times since Roger died, and I had met those “firsts” head-on and cried and mourned.  But I still had subtle instances where my heart grieved so deeply the loss of Roger. Sleeping in the bed…I remembered how it was when he was there.  The bathroom…I remembered how I had to help him with the colostomy issues. The kitchen…the kids even reminded me how he wanted to remodel Jessica’s kitchen. Going to church in Wednesday night. He sat in the pew with us during treatments. The folks at church were so friendly and caring.

No.  The memories didn’t go away.  They were still there.  They were raw, but not as raw as before. They were becoming sweet. BUT if I was not careful, I could dwell on the negative part of those memories, and they would become fresh in my mind.

It’s like the illustration of picking at a scab. Let it heal, or it will keep bleeding as you pick at it. Sure it will scab.  But it will still bleed. Sometimes it feels good to have the scab off. That’s why you pick at it. In the human body, if everything is healthy, the scab will get smaller and smaller. Eventually it will go away.  I think emotionally the wound gets bigger the more you pick at it.  Just let it heal.

Friday Nights

Friends Gary and Carol took me to another concert.  The Booth Brothers were great, but the best thing to me was NOT being at home alone on a Friday night.  They will never know how much it helped me to be somewhere instead of moping at home.

Saturday Memories

From my Journal

I’m cleaning the house.  It’s a pre-fall day.  I have the Easy Listening channel on the TV.  I did this for many years on Saturday mornings. Roger would go to work at church on those days, and then call me to give me a heads up he was coming home so I could get him something ready to eat.  He came through the door, we would eat and then maybe watch a Notre Dame game on TV.   I expect to hear the garage door going up and hear the kitchen door open.  There’s Roger with a soda for me in his hand.

A Text to my daughter-in-law Stephanie

It’s just that I’m in the stage now of remembering things. They are so different from the memories that I have had before. The ones that would make me cry. Or the ones that I would avoid because they would make me cry. But now I’m remembering so many other details. And it makes me tear up. But not sob. Can’t explain this journey I am on.

And Yet, I was Managing

I felt like such a big girl.

  1.  The garage door did funny things.  I removed the sensor and put it back.  It worked.  Yay me
  2.  I contracted a guy to tear down the garage.  I ordered the dumpster.  He knocked it down. The dumpster came.  And I did it all by myself.
  3.  I mowed.  Without any incident.
  4.  The downstairs air conditioner wasn’t working.  I checked everything EXCEPT the simplest.  I had turned it off for a few days.  Yup.  I just had to turn it on.

I was feeling pretty good about myself.

And Then This

From my journal

Rough day.  Spent the night with Della last night.  Then rummage sale at their daughter’s.  Left and tanned.  I was ok.  But then music came on the radio… sad….pity party.  Alone again on Friday night.  To Starbucks on Saturday.  Friend Julie cheered me up.  Rest of the day.  Blah.  Alone.  Sad.  Missing Roger.  Will this ever end? 

OBSERVATION:  The path of grieving is a winding, up and down rocky trail.

OBSERVATION:  The task of “aloneness” is daunting to someone who is not used to being alone.

OBSERVATION:  Memories are a big part of life, and death.

HELPFUL HINT:  Sometimes you just have to pull up your “big girl pants” and get on with things.  That feeling of accomplishment is rewarding.

HELPFUL HINT:  I said it before, and I’ll say it again:  Your kids will often have a better perspective than you.  Consider their opinions.

HELPFUL HINT:  As trite as it sounds, life DOES go on.  Just grab an oar and float if you have to.  Just get going.