Tuesday, July 21, 2009

She's So Close... but yet, So Far Away

Yesterday, I went to be with my Mother. I had not been to her cemetary since the day we buried my Grandmother... right beside her, just a little over a week after Mother died. It is so pretty there. It's out in the country. It's quiet. Cows graze in a beautiful pasture across the rural road. It is where my Mother grew up... near the things of her childhood... her family, her school, her church. We took her "home" in a sense. She lays next to her parents. I know my Mother isn't there. But her body is. Underneath that red Georgia clay is my Mother. In the pretty pink jacket she picked out, given by a friend to fit her shrinking frame. Gently folded are the hands that I held. Closed, the eyes that watched my children enter this world. Cold is the cheek that I rested my own upon in those last days when it was too painful for us to hug her. The ears that heard a gazillion of my problems hear no more. Silent, the mouth that always said "Hey, Aim" when she left a message on my voice mail. The arms that were the first to ever hold me are motionless. The ribs that were broken in a car accident 30 years ago no longer expand with breathing. The legs that rocked her babies are resting. The feet that walked around the kitchen and cooked my supper are still. They are there. And while she is gone... parts of her remain. Precious parts. Parts that will be raised and glorified and perfected. Parts of hope and anticipation. I loved being there. I loved seeing her name. But hated it at the same time as it served as a proverbial "nail in the coffin" that she is gone. I am glad my friend Kim went with me because I am afraid I may have not left before nightfall. Walking away was hard. I cannot wait to go back again.

I think it's beautiful.
My sister chose the first flowers for her headplate and I brought a small bouquet from her yard to lay next to her name.

My Daddy had her favorite saying put on the plaque.

Me smiling & happy with a broken heart.
The body that rests beneath me is not longer sick, but healed.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Introducing for the first time...

Bob & Judy Niedrach
July 20, 2009
Covenant Presbyterian Church
LaGrange, Georgia

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Where is Everybody?
Our end of the lake was pretty dead on Saturday. I took this picture in the middle of the afternoon and there's not a boat or a jetski in sight. Not even a stray duck or lone bird. For the biggest holiday of the summer, looked like maybe others stuck close to the pool or remained inside in the air conditioning. What did you do?

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Thursday, July 2, 2009

My Mother died 4 months and 12 days ago. She's been dead 132 days and my Dad is getting married. Yes... I mean married. There was a proposal, there is a ring on a finger and a tentative date. I will introduce her in the weeks to come but for now I will just tell you briefly that my Father's fiance is lovely. A dear friend of my Mother's for 35 years, she lives 800 miles away and has been a widow for six years. I have known her my whole life... for as long as I can remember, her family has been friends with my family. God does amazing things. But, again... more of that later. Today I just want to address the FACT that my Daddy is getting married.

I had a friend tell me recently "if your Dad thinks people aren't going to talk... that they aren't going to raise an eyebrow... he's crazy!" To her I would honestly say... I hope they do talk. But what I want them to talk about is probably different that what she intended with her comment. I want people to talk about the fact that my Father was a loving, committed and faithful husband to my Mother for 38 years. I want them to talk about how hard he worked to provide for her and her children... that she loved him unconditionally and that it broke her heart to think about having to leave him behind on this Earth. I want them to talk about how he was her greatest cheerleader during her illness. He encouraged her and fought beside her and prayed for her. I want them to talk about how he made her protein shakes of every flavor and consistency to help her gain weight. I want them to talk about how he poured over articles on the Internet about pancreatic cancer trials and studies and treatments. I want them to talk about how he took her to any restaurant she wanted on "chemo days" because he knew her appetite was best on those days and wanted her to have as delicious a meal as she could get down. I want them to talk about how he sat in the recliner next to her couch for days & weeks & months keeping her company when she got too weak to be up much. I want them to know how he mixed Miralax into her Starbuck's Frappacino every single night before she went to bed. I want them to talk about how he knew her pills and prescriptions backwards and forwards... for them to talk about the countless pills he dispensed with precision and care so that my Mother would be comfortable. I want them to talk about how he cared for her bed sores and helped my Mother to the bathroom and changed her clothes... without passing the buck on to someone else. I want them to talk about how my Mother in her final days would perk up when he passed by her bed... the smell of his cologne rousing her to consciousness. I want them to talk about how he laid in that hospital bed with her... patting her gently and kissing her forehead softly... telling her how beautiful she was. Call ME crazy... but those are the things I hope they talk about. He fulfilled his vows to her. He loved her for better & worse as long as she lived. He never broke his covenant vow made before God.

And now this man is alone. Not lonely... but alone. When people want to "raise an eyebrow" at my Dad's quick engagement I want them to think about how many times they have raised the phone to call and see how he was getting along? How many times did they raise a pen to write him a note of encouragement? As we all go about our busy lives do we think about those who come home to an empty house? Who's social calendar has been erased by the death of their partner? My mother would not want him to be alone. She would not have wanted him to be forgotten. She loved him and wanted him to be loved.

It is going to be different seeing another woman married to my Daddy... perhaps even painful at times. I'm not denying the fact that it is soon for him to be moving on with his life. Widower-hood is almost like a purgatory... no longer in the first life, but without "permission" from society to move along to the next. Him being alone isn't going to bring my Mother back. No amount of tears is going to bring her back to life. She is gone and he is here. Would I change it if I could? Yes. But I can't. So we go on and pray for the grace to be gracious. We hope for the best... being thankful for God's provision for my Father... and to wanting be a friend to his new wife.

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