Thirteen Days

There are moments that sear into our memory throughout the course of life. Some wonderful, some devastating. We remember the place, time, smells, feels, and any other various stimuli from the experience at that particular second in time. For me, starting on July 26th, 2019, I had one of these moments after another as Jana…

Still Here

Jana, I meant what I said. I told you that I would love you, care for you, and be by your side through sickness and in health. I meant it… So many times, this last year, I have sat on this couch, with the tablet in my lap, crying as I typed. Today is no…

Hope in the Desert

Dry, barren, unbearably hot, and there is nothing as far as the eye can see. Movement feels impossible…the weight is more than one can carry. Looking across the dusty horizon, it is apparent that there is no relief in any direction…no green grass, no bubbling fountain, nothing to quench or alleviate this miserable state. God,…

Emotional Couplets

Storm season is upon us in the Midwest. We’re familiar with watching the radar and listening for radio updates when it comes to severe weather. One way to determine a potential tornado configuration on the radar is to note the presence of a “couplet.” This feature on Doppler shows two completely different high velocity wind…

The Song is Beautiful.

When did the song begin? I don’t really know…until after it had been playing for awhile. Then, one day, I realized…this is my song. The music rose and fell, the tempo followed life… It was beautiful, mesmerizing, and the notes were put together in such a way that they touched my heart like nothing ever…

A Note on Happy

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, happiness is not. It is not “happy” that I strive for, it’s the joy of the Lord! Happy is my emotion that rises and falls as life, and my own decision-making, dictates. This truth is the landscape for my ever-changing mood. Recently, I have had the great opportunity…

Across the Miles

After the mission trip, we decided to officially date. Living several hours apart made traditional courting a difficult task. We quickly began to use the phone more than email, and that was in the days of “long distance” charges. We had some bills! We began planning times and places to get together. Our first date…

A Special Night

I was standing in line waiting behind my church’s youth group members. We were going to receive the name and address for a member of the youth group in the Living Faith church, close to Springfield, Illinois, which is where our youth mission trip was headed. The name was given to us to “pen pal”…

Moments

Wow…I see how she looks at me. After reviewing some videos that were taken of us, I watched her closely…watched the way she looked at me. She studied my face, enjoyed our conversation, and responded with joy to our interaction. I see now what, in some ways, I did not see before… I could be…

I’m Boring Again!

I am becoming wallpaper. Slowly blending back into the fabric of life. My life, my loss, my grief…all giving way to normal, everyday stuff. This “everyday Joe” is where I started, and where I will take my place once again. This is what we all wanted to begin with, isn’t it? Friends and family all…

Vicissitudes

Rising on a tide of hope! I can clearly point to aspects of my life that would help this uplifting of my spirit. I suppose that is life, right? Things go well and things can go not-so-well. And when multiple areas of life seems to swell towards the positive, all at once, it’s kind of…

Braided Thoughts

Let’s try to divide some thoughts. There is one that I can no longer have…Jana. This is thought “A.” Thought “B” regards the fact that there are things in life that are still possible. Things like companionship, closeness, warmth of another, and love. The basis of the two thoughts are: what is no longer possible…

The Tree Out Front

Can I tell of my sadness…yet again? Have I made the point clear? Why is it that when I sit to write my thoughts it is only discussions of loss that flow from my mind. I’m not “ok.” Oh, I want to be there! I long to feel normal and whole. But, I am not…I’m…

Graduation.

We often just talked. Maybe just before dinner, after our day of work, or right after the family had sat down to eat together, we may have relaxed in the living room and visited on the couch. The rattle and clink of pans and silverware were heard from the kitchen as the kids performed their…

Warmth? Is That You?

A box of individual servings of almond butter. A blanket folded and placed on the chair. An adapter for the outlet used to charge a laptop. I know exactly what she left and how she left it. There are not many of these things remaining…items that are still in the exact spot that she placed…

A Photo

Each day is another step toward accepting the horror of my experience. How can one “accept” their worst nightmare? Not sure, but, I am slowly moving in that direction. At times, I get this weird feeling like I just realized that Jana died. Then, for an instant, I want to scream. I imagine that I…

Bouts of ’Really’ Low

Like waves the grief comes, they wash over me…and, sometimes, it seems they are just pounding me down. Down to lows that I have never experienced thus far in my life. It’s a little scary, and very uncomfortable. While in the US Navy, onboard the nuclear submarine USS Portsmouth, we visited many places around the…

Joy in the Mourning

I am emotionally skipping across the bottom… So, I found it fitting to write about joy! Why not? Count your many blessings, name them one by one… Even in the darkness of my grief and confusion with life, there are things to find joy in. Here are a few… Family and Friends. I constantly find…

Wake of the Storm

How does one go about re-setting life goals? When our tentative, at best, plan of the future gets erased, how is a new set of dreams adopted? Like after a tornado hits a city block, I’m looking around at the wreckage of what was our dreams, and trying to pick out the things that are…

All Aboard!

My steam engine of grief, which always seems completely filled with fuel, continues to take me along the highs and lows of this journey. As I approach significant milestones, it seems the grief begins to “ramp up” prior to the date. The engine goes into overdrive and picks up speed. Six months without Jana was…

“Why” is Too Complicated

One of the biggest moments of my hobby/interest life occurred this week. The Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl. I have been watching, rooting, and hopeful for many years, and this week I was able to enjoy the pinnacle of the 2019 NFL season with my team. But…Jana is not here. This is my…

No More Sneezes

Laverne, one of our two new cats, was inching her way from my bed onto the nightstand where all of the stuff from Jana’s funeral sits. I have not gone through those cards, the sign-in book, or letters since the funeral. I am so appreciative of the things that people gave and did for us,…

Getting Dizzy

Missing someone. I had a good friend ask me, yesterday, what I miss most about Jana. Man, what a hard question! Of course, there are so many attributes and characteristics that I miss. Everything that made up her…I guess that’s what I miss! I loved the question. It takes a long time to adjust from…

Good and Perfect Gifts

Let me be clear, I deserve nothing. There is nothing that I have done, or that is inherently special about me that God should be compelled to give me anything. There is nothing that I have gone through that would warrant God’s kindness to me. But, in His grace, He chooses to give good things…

My Un-addressed Letters

“Jana, you would love this.” “Oh, Jana, let me tell you about that!” So many times, I have found myself wanting to share part of my life with her. I carefully write out my thoughts, fold the paper in thirds, place it in the envelope, put a stamp in the corner…but, it remains unsent. It…

Being Social

Had a few friends over yesterday to watch the Kansas City Chiefs football game. This was a step, an experiment, and, as it turned out, a real joy. In many social situations I have often been anxious in the group setting. Sometimes I feel that way in church, too. I have tried not to avoid…

What Happened?

Time incessantly keeps marching. “Time heals all.” I am coming to believe that time, itself, doesn’t heal…it simply dulls. My memories of Jana are not exactly clear…and they feel more distant everyday. What happened to my wife? Tonight, I looked back at a series of selfies that Jana took while in the hospital and just…

Home

Jana knew that I loved her tremendously. She had no doubt that I cared for her and would be by her side no matter what life brought. I know she loved me in the same way, and it would have taken my death for her to leave my side. These days I am considering the…

Divine Appointments Abound

I cannot over-emphasize the meaningful ministry of friends and family who have supported me in the last 4 months. There are days that, without the selfless care of others, I feel that I would have fallen to pieces. Praise the Lord for His people! We have all heard of those moments when God prompts another…

In The Next Hour…

It’s about 6:30 pm where I sit. In about an hour and 20 minutes, it will have been three months since Jana breathed her last. What a difficult journey the last days and weeks have been. I have never felt the ways in which I have felt in the wake of her death. From the…