Who’s in Charge?

As soon as I realized I Randy was gone, I wanted to know: who do I blame? I was stunned, hurt, and angry. One minute I was shaking my head and sobbing; this couldn’t be my life. This isn’t how my life was supposed to go. The next, searching for answers and blame.

In my case, I knew a driver, presumably drunk, had crossed the line and struck Randy’s car head on. I knew the other driver was in worse condition and life-flighted first. At first they told me that Randy was unconscious, but it turned out that was not true. That was the police and EMT’s way of protecting me. That didn’t protect me because life-flight team told me the truth. That’s all enough to make a person angry. I would like to sit here and sound noble, tell you that I understood why they sent the other driver first. Tell you that I appreciated the effort to protect me. The truth is, I was mad. Logically, I understood the worst patient goes first and the ethics that go with all that, but in my heart I had trouble coming to terms with someone being saved after they just killed my husband. Intellectually I knew their actions were well-intentioned and absolutely towards helping me. In my heart and my head, I had to reprocess those feelings and come to terms with the fact Randy quite possibly knew he was alone, that the other driver was saved, and that he was going to die. I chose not to know the extent of his injuries, but I have a lot of common sense and put pieces together to create my own picture of what happened. I knew in my heart (and head) that he probably would not have lived either way. Most likely, his chest was compressed and he bled out into his chest when they extricated him. That would have happened either way they did it. All of that information was neither here nor there, I was angry furious and frustrated with everyone involved. 

I eventually came to terms with reality of why things were the way they were on scene. I worked through knowing the truth: he was conscious. I really understood he was probably going to die either way and that living might have been worse for him to tolerate, because of the extent of his probable injuries. Those were hard words to think, harder to say. My focus switched, I focused on being mad at God.

How can a loving God do this to someone? Why would a loving God do this to a couple who had been to their breaking point and back again, happier than ever and then rip their lives to shreds? Does a loving God do that? Only as punishment. God would only do that if someone had to be punished. What could I have done to warrant that punishment? I went to church, we had just been baptized together. I chose to believe that I didn’t deserve that, that my kids didn’t deserve that. My God wouldn’t do that. That only left one person to be mad at–the drunk driver.

I decided that sometimes terrible things happen to wonderful people and if anyone was responsible it was the man who was drinking and driving. How could anyone else be to blame? It was hard to be mad at the drunk driver. Hard because he was still recovering himself. He had two broken legs, blood on his brain, and a few other injuries. He spent months in a rehab facility. I think it was partly to avoid the charges his family knew were waiting for him and partly because he had some rather severe injuries and lasting effects from the accident including amnesia. So, I blamed myself. 

I know it seems strange to blame myself. I had nothing to do with the accident or rescue efforts. I blamed myself because I felt like I had wasted all of my time with him. I had finally discovered what an amazing man he was, or perhaps he had finally grown up and revealed himself, and then he was gone. He finally was the father I always wanted him to be. We had the relationship I always felt we were meant to have. We had the family I had dreamed of. He had the job he had dreamed of and we were starting to live the life we had worked so hard to make for ourselves. How stupid I was for wasting that time! All those months, and even years, wishing he was someone else or that he would do this or be like that. Stupid, stupid me. It was rather easy to forgive everyone else, but it took a very long time to forgive myself.

I finally cut myself a break. The fact is, life is a process of growth. It comes with its own set of growing pains, failures and successes. You can’t have success without failure. No one gets it right the very first time. It’s a process. You fall down and you get up. Eventually, if you are doing it right, you stand up enough times to reach your destination. We met our destination.  There was nothing to be mad at. It took work, but I understood.

We took an unusual path and we did the best we could. It was bumpy, but those bumps made us grow up. I came to the understanding that God is all-knowing. His plans often not understood. I know now that God knew Randy’s life was going to be short. He brought us together early, He tested our wills, and He let us grow up together. He forced us to grow into each other instead of growing apart. We did exactly what we were supposed to: we fell in love. We stuck together through the puppy love, solved our problems that could have ended us, and fell in love. His death wasn’t my fault. His death wasn’t a punishment. We didn’t do anything wrong. We were rewarded with our time together. Our love was the reward, his death was just our goodbye. Everyone has to say goodbye. God let us fill our time here, together. That’s an almighty and loving God.

So, never doubt someone is in charge. It may not be easy this way. It may leave a lot of questions and uncertainty, but there is a plan. Trust in the path, live the journey.

Holes in the Floor of Heaven

Holes in the floor of heaven.

My grandma and grandpa are getting older. I never thought it would happen, but it’s here. I have noticed them ‘slipping’ over the last few years. Now, it’s evident that dementia is present. My grandma seems to be slipping away faster than my grandpa. Normally I spend a day or two, unless there is something they need me for, like appointements. We have help that comes in nearly every day and then my mom does the rest of the caretaking. Lately, I have spent two days a week with my grandparents because the winter has brought on some extra depression for them. I have been there every day for the last 5 days, which is really hard with five children. It is easier when they are out of school, like now, but still takes a lot of time away from them.

I handle the mood swings, crying, and complaining in stride…most days. There are some days when it is hard to push aside the frustration. There are days that are so hard, when I get home, I want to do nothing, but sleep. Sometimes I’m a little short-tempered because I don’t have a lot left to give my family. Other times I am home for a few minutes before she is calling me needing me to walk her through how to use the remote, or wants to know why I wrote down a certain TV show for them to watch. It’s hard.

Some days are better than others. There used to be a big difference between a bad day and a good day. Now, the good days aren’t much better than the bad days.

December 30, I was on my way to see them. Grandma was having a really rough day. She has been crying often, not eating, and reeling in paranoia. All of that is dementia related.On the way to her house, I looked out over a farm field. The whole sky was full of these large rays of lights shining down on the thinning blanket of white.

I love it when the sky looks like this. I immediately think there really are holes in the floor of heaven. I always feel a feeling of peace wash over me. Whatever I am worried about, disappears. Whatever preoccupied me and keeps me out of focus, fades away. I’m instantly transfixed on the awesome beauty before me. The vast sky opens to let us see its infinite beauty and depth. How can that not be God?

I’m sure scientist and weather people have the reasons laid out, all scientific-like. And, they are right, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t God. They can share what they know all day, but for me, it isn’t what scientist know that gets me through the day–it’s what I believe. And I believe, God is ever-present. Those clouds making way for light is a reminder of just that. It’s as if his loving arms are reaching out for me. It brings me back to center.

It’s also an exact picture of my philosophies for life. The storm clouds give way to light. Pain gives way to release. And Grief gives way to life.  Maybe you see nothing, but dark clouds right now, but that doesn’t mean the light has disappeared. As you heal, the clouds will thin and part. Slowly, but surely, those clouds will give way to that warm light. The warm light will wrap around you and show you the beauty life brings.


Never Before-1999

Randy and I went through a very rough period. I felt like I had grown up. Like I had given up all of me to be a wife and mother while he slept, worked, and played like we were still 18 and kid free. I tried talked to him about it. I tried talking, I tried screaming, I tried throwing things, and I even tried ignoring it. Nothing, and I mean nothing worked.

One day I just told him, we had to be done. We had to separate or he had to change. I knew full well I could end up a single mom and miserable. Since I already felt like one, I figured it wouldn’t make too much of a difference. He was very unhappy about my decision. His way of dealing with what I told him was to ignore it, just as he had done all the conversations before.

To drive the point home and maker sure I was prepared if this lead to a life apart, I got a full-time job and put Kayla and Brendan in day care. Kayla still carries that scare today. She hated every second of it.

Getting that job really drove the point home. He was remorseful. He wanted to turn things back to the way they were. He hadn’t noticed how unhappy I was during that time. Even though I was practically shouting it from the roof tops! I guess it was easier being blind to how unhappy I really was.

I wasn’t giving in this time. I knew he hadn’t wanted to change before. I didn’t believe he really wanted to change now. I think he just wanted to be comfortable again. That wasn’t enough for me. I guess maybe part of me wanted him to stay uncomfortable, too. I know I had been for so long; it was his turn.

I kept trying to get him to actually move out. I wanted him to see what life would be without me. I guess, if I am being honest, I wanted to know what life would be like without him. I guess I probably did want some freedom. I had gone straight from my parents house to his house with a baby. That is a lot to wonder about. A lot to soak in. And, at some point, your mind wonders: what did I miss?

One night he came home early for work, which scared me. That is never a good sign. He was in tears, literally. He told me he was a mess at work. He was a machinist at a metalizing company. They would spray metal onto parts and he would machine the parts back down to specs. He worked on aircraft parts mostly, but did some parts for NASA as well. He had messed up a couple $50,000 parts because his mind couldn’t stay focused. He was afraid he was going to lose his job. He also was afraid of losing his life. He felt unstable, like he could snap and take his own life.

Those words scared me. That is never what I wanted. We started talking. We talked and talked. We talked and cried together for over six hours. It turns out, how we were raised conflicted with each other and created some huge misunderstandings. We told each other things that were unpleasant to hear. For the first time, we were acting like adults and we were very honest.

That was the turning point. That is when I knew we were salvageable. We could be us only better. We could be the us that I had dreamed about.

We put a halt to all plans of separation. For the first time in a long time, I let him hold me until the kids woke up the next morning. We only got a few hours sleep that night, but it was the most restful sleep I had had in years.

I was tired the next day, but somehow, I had plenty of energy as I walked on cloud 9 all day. I knew the worst was behind us. Even though I knew we still had plenty of work to do, we were going to be fine.

While he slept before work (he worked nights), I wrote this….

Never Before

Never before have I ever felt

So safe and loved

Never before has anyone let

Me come before them

Never before have I wanted

Something so badly

Never before has being alone

Felt so scary

Never before had I felt I had found home

Until I found you.

February 23, 1999

Times are rocky still, but after long talks that last the night through,

I feel much better.  Better with each passing day.

Oh, it’s so cheesy, but what a glimpse into what I was feeling then. I find it amazing to view my old writing.

Original Poem: Serving Up Love (1998)

I wrote this in 1998 in my journal. Back then, journals or diaries were all hand written (gasp! the horror!). I later transcribed them and saved them on a jump drive so that I could save them forever and have all of my writing in one spot (that’s yet to happen).

So, for your reading enjoment, my original poem from when I was 22 years old (oh, those were the days)!

Serving up Love


Equal Parts…..

Freedom and Opportunity

Hugs and Kisses

Hopes and Dreams

Talks and Walks

A Dash of Twist and Turns


A pinch of intuition 

Start with Freedom and Opportunity; add two people and mix until well blended.

Add Hopes, Dreams, Walks, and Talks.  Use a pinch of intuition

-when you are comfortable-

add Hugs and Kisses.  At first, batter might be thin, but the more time you nurture the dough, the easier it is to work with.

Add a dash of Twist and Turns; Serve warm.

Hold tight and NEVER let go.