I’m a grateful girl.
You’re wondering how I can say that. I didn’t feel it yesterday, and I may not tomorrow. But for some reason I do today.
I had the privilege of spending 33 years with the man I loved. And here’s one thing I can say with confidence – he loved me back. He brought me flowers, and made me coffee. We got to go on fun tropical vacations. (Think Don with an umbrella drink.) He made me laugh. I miss him more than I ever imagined possible. But still I’m grateful.
Don was part of a wonderful “band of brothers”. (Sorry for the horrible misuse of your quote Brian). These guys showed up one Saturday to put Christmas lights on our house. Granted, it’s a big house, but there were probably 12 of us hanging lights in trees, bushes, on rocks, and places that had never before seen Christmas lights. It took a few hours. We had sandwiches after, and sat around the fire pit in the back yard telling stories about Don. They showed up again last Saturday to take down the lights. As I said, it’s a big house, but this part took about 15 minutes. They stayed and cleaned the gutters and raked the leaves from the eaves. As Jeff said. “I know we don’t need a lot of hands, but it’s the gathering….”
Dave stops by every other evening or so, ostensibly for his “scotchsicle”. He checks in with the kids, asks them about school and work. He eats the candy on the counter. We talk about Don and laugh about a memory. Although it’s a different kind of grief than I feel, he’s just lost his best friend. He’s craving that connection with Don that we all need.
I probably couldn’t write this entry without Kathy in my life. I don’t know how I would have gotten through the last weeks without her. As my friend Lore said the other day, “My tears could probably fill a jacuzzi”, and a good part of them have been shed on Kathy’s strong shoulders. She is my rock.
We have three amazing kids. Don poured wisdom into their lives that I can never even begin to replace. I said to Carrie the other day, “He had so much more to teach you”. Her reply was, “Yes Mom, but look at what he already taught us”. Talk about gratitude.
The kids have stepped in and stepped up in what often seem unbearable circumstances. They have shown grace and maturity that floors me every day. They have parented me when they need to. One Friday evening a few weeks ago I told them to all please go out and be with their friends. I then decided it would be a good idea to listen to the audio portion from the memorial service on my computer. At this point it’s 9:30 at night. After I finished that, I decided it would still be an even better idea to read all of Don’s blog entries from start to finish. As the kids started trickling home about 1:00 in the morning, I was a blubbering mess in my bed. I tried to explain what I had been doing, they all three took in the scene, shook their heads and Andrew said, “Mom, what were you THINKING??!!”
So many others, too numerous to count, have shown up in ways to meet needs I didn’t even know I had. Some friends have started sending me photos of Don over the years. I’m startled by my own gratitude to receive them. Karen sent a photo that has become one of my favorites – of Don hosting our family and friends at his office to watch the Rose Parade. He looks so happy to be with the people he loved.
Today, at least at 6:30 in the morning, I feel grateful. I don’t know what tomorrow, or even the rest of today, will hold. I trust in my God who promises not to show me what’s on the road ahead, but to walk with me on the journey.