Sunday, November 6, 2016

The First of Many Firsts

Please excuse the variety of Font sizes. Blogger has a mind of its own and its messing with my fonts at the moment.

For now, my blogs won't have many pictures. But it is important to me to put my thoughts and feelings into words and in doing this, maybe there is someone out there in blog land who is dealing with the loss of a loved one, and just maybe they might find something in these words that will help them.

Today was a first of many firsts. Going to church by myself. Church was something that Joe and I did together. Even when we were on the road on Sundays,we would take time for singing and listening to God's Word via blue tooth as we traveled down the highway.

Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  This has been my life verse for many years, and not once has He failed me Including today.  As I walked through the doors in the downstairs of the church it smelled like breakfast....because that's what was going on. A church breakfast before Sunday School started.  Everyone was friendly and invited me to eat with them, but number one I had breakfast and number two, if I would have said anymore than "no thank you" my eyes would have started leaking.  I walked up the stairs to the sanctuary and it was empty except for the worship team, pastor and his wife.  The team had finished their practice time and left just Pastor, his wife and me. Perfect. Because they really knew me. Pastor had visited Joe in the hospital and at home many times. He also played the piano at Joe's Celebration of Life. We talked about how hard it was for me to come by myself this morning but it was a "first that needed to be"  Next Sunday and the Sunday after that will become easier as time goes on. The next "first" was taking Communion without Joe. Now that was a tough one. It was something we always did together. So tough, the quiet tears would not stop. For those of you who don't know all about me, tears usually means a bloody nose.  Don't know why but it happens more times than I can count. So all I could do was pray Lord don't let my nose bleed today. He answered my prayers and the next time I take communion it will be easier. Just got to get past those firsts.
I was cold the other night and put on one of Joe's favorite pile lined flannel shirts. I noticed it didn't have his "smell"  I had washed it and the "smell" was gone.  All his after shave and cologne was gone. Yesterday, while doing my walking in Fred Meyers store I spotted his favorite...."Stetson" I opened a bottle and put a dab on my sweater. Awh......it smelled like my Joe.  After continuing my walk I went back and bought the bottle (yes, the one I opened ;). When I got home I put a few drops on my pillow. It doesn't take away the pain of missing him but it helps.

Now for some news.  I have a new address. 
Betty Graffis
P.O. Box 564
Boring, Oregon 97009

For those of you who have concerns that I am having major changes too soon, under normal circumstances those would be valid concerns. Joe and I had a year to process the fact that there would need to be changes when he was gone. We talked about my selling the house and moving to a place where I would feel safe. I believe that the Lord's timing is perfect. In this case very perfect.   The house sold before the realtor put it on the market for a cash price that was very acceptable to me.  And I have a sweet little apartment that makes me feel very safe, and close to family and friends. The motor home sold also for a very acceptable price to me before we could even get it on Craig's list. I am now debt free and can live comfortably on my Social Security income. God is so Good and Faithful. My kids have been so helpful. Two of them have had to travel back and forth from Washington State. Not an easy task when they both have families and jobs there.  It's so nice when you have former bus drivers, organizers and prayer warriors in the family. All play an important part in helping mom get through the grief and getting her moved. 

The last thing I want to mention is I had no idea how much paper work that needs attention after your loved one dies.  The only way I could get through it was one line at a time.  Fortunately I had a great funeral director that knew pretty much how many death certificates I need. He knew who needed just copies and who would need originals. He also taught me about a "short copy" I would need when I sold the house.  We have known each other for 27 years and being able to "just be me" around him  helps immensely. Thank you Rob.  

I'm so thankful for friends. Friends who open their home to me when I have a melt down, friends who listen and let me cry, friends who understand when I am having a "don't touch me" moment.....

Tomorrow is a new day. I try not to think too far ahead. I try to remember to drink enough liquids to keep myself hydrated and eat a small amount every few hours to keep the sugar numbers where they belong.  I start my day talking with Lord and end it the same way, with a lot of talking to him in between, thanking Him for his faithfulness to me and His watch care over me.  This transition period has been the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I would have thought working in the medical field most of my adult life, and being a funeral director and GriefShare Facilitator for years, I could do this with "no problem"  Boy was I wrong!!! The pain is indescribable, I've been blind sighted, The feeling like I have been kicked in the chest and stomach by a horse, Nothing prepares you for the loss of the love of your life. I asked a counselor friend of mine one time years ago, "When will it ever quit hurting"?  His answer.... Talk, Time and Tears.  So you my blogger friends are who I talk to, Time will be my friend, but I know it will take a long time. and Tears.....again, those of you who know me best know that tears come easy especially when I don't want them to. I didn't get rid of any of Joe's hankies and he had a lot of them........
Thanks for listening. I'll be back.

6 comments:

  1. Dear Betty,
    I think you are doing remarkably well, given your circumstances! You may not think so, but I believe the Lord had you and Joe plan very well and with Jesus by your side, this walk will be made bearable. Life is oh so fleeting! The moments of time we are given are ever precious! I am thankful for the few that we manage to truly live and enjoy. I think of the many photos you took and posted in your blog as you and Joe travelled. You captured the moments, appreciated them, and then shared for others of us to enjoy, too. Thank you!
    May our Lord snuggle you in his arms and flood you with his incomprehensible peace, dear friend of long ago. Sending love and asking Jesus to deliver it!

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  2. Betty you are so right, talk with your friends and time healths all and you do have some wonderful memories to look back on.

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  3. Wiping my tears as I read this blog. Hugs from afar even though you don't know me. Yes it's very very painful to loose a loved one. At first I use to get angry and ask all the 'why' questions and I cried a lot alone that way I could scream if I wanted while walking in the woods or driving. Physical activity saved me because I hiked and noticed butterflies, flowers, the blue sky, the gentle breeze, the chirping birds and knew I was among beautiful spirits. Also, I hiked with a friend who only listened to me and never interjection opinions or answers to my questions...she listened and let me figure it out. I thank her immensely to this day and I treasure her as my very best friend. Take care Betty.

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  4. Cyber hugs to you, Betty, at this time. I have friend going through a similar experience. Love knows no boundaries of time, space or dimension. Remember to share the funny stories too. My father-in-law used to drive bus - charters mostly - up here in WA; he had a ton of stories that made us laugh - I'm betting Joe did too. Not to mention those funny things that happened while the two of you travelled. Grief takes many forms but I know that our loved ones take refuge in knowing those they left behind are well taken care of. Many blessings to you.

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  5. This will be very helpful to us all. I hope we will have a little time to plan for the future if one of us is left alone.

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  6. You are a very strong woman Betty, I can hear it in your resolve that each time after "the first" will be just a little easier. I'm glad you are happy with your new surroundings. I hope someone has suggested that you check into Joe's social security to see which one would afford you the most since you would be entitled to it as his widow along with a portion of his pension perhaps. One day at a time is the only way I know to get through impossible times. I know one day I will be where you are having lost my husband too to cancer so I cherish your experience and advice.

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