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A Long, Winding Road

August 2, 2016
20 Comments

This will be the final post for the Golden Lone Star blog. There may be other projects in the future, but it seems like the right time to end this part of the journey. Thank you for coming along.

Today marks the second anniversary of Simon’s passing. Two years later, there are still moments when it’s unbelievable that he’s gone. Two years later, there is still anger and profound sadness. Two years later, there are still fractured relationships, slowly beginning to heal. Two years later, the kids still ask heart wrenching questions and don’t quite understand that he’s not coming back. Two years later, there is a little more hope and a little more laughter than each day before. Two years later, I still strongly believe in God and His providence yet in the same breath, I don’t understand why some people live 100 years and other only 33 years.

We spent half of July in Ireland for a pilgrimage. Jason has led students on summer trips of all kinds for 16 years; I had the privilege of attending to experience the clarity that pilgrimage provides. Our trip included retreating in a monastery, discovering ancient ruins, hiking in secluded locations, and exploring a remote island. Jason and I also had a few days to ourselves and made a point to visit the places Simon and I visited during a 2008 Ireland trip. The whole experience was healing and cathartic.

j&kThe most prominent time of reflection was hiking up to the Cliffs of Moher. I’m not a hiker. The steep four mile trek along cliff edges in relentless wind and rain was mildly challenging for our well-traveled group but for this novice, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Our driver delivered us to the start point then drove off to meet us at the Visitor Center. The only option was to move forward or be alone in the middle of nowhere. I looked ahead. It was a long, winding road. I couldn’t see the end. I couldn’t see the upcoming obstacles or the hidden beauty. We walked and walked and walked in silence, with the ocean on the right, hills on the left, and the occasional well-cared-for livestock to assure us that there would eventually be human contact again.

Halfway through, I looked back. Behind me was a long, winding road. The same daunting road that had been stretching ahead was now falling behind me. We continued in pouring rain for hours. The discomfort was overshadowed by the emerging views of the Cliffs, each more spectacular than the last. I was beginning to understand why we took the unconventional route instead of just driving to the Visitor Center with the rest of the tourists. In the final push, we each had to navigate a narrow staircase in violent wind just yards from the face of the Cliffs. I clung to the rickety handrail to keep from being blown over. For a split second, I didn’t know if I could make it to the end. Then, as quickly as the fear overtook me, we conquered. The throngs of tourists were the signal that we had made it to our destination.

That hike became a metaphor for the past two years. When the doctor sat with us to deliver Simon’s devastating diagnosis, I became overwhelmed at the long, winding road we faced. How could I put one foot in front of the other and move forward? I had never faced anything like this. Some days, the victory would simply be getting out of bed. A huge victory was being able to love again. A fellow widow told me that grief is a journey no one can take for you. Others will stand by you, supporting you along the way, but it is yours alone. I pushed my body and mind to the limit these past two years. I look at the long, winding road behind me and see how far I’ve come. The person I am today is stronger, more intentional, and more capable than the person from two years ago.

Picture 094-EditOne more revelation that was analogous to this grief journey happened near the end of the pilgrimage. We were staying on the small island of Inis Óirr and spent one afternoon hiking the six mile circumference of the island. The majority of the island is rocks, including smooth stone tide pools near the ocean, jagged rocks along the island interior, and countless rows of mysterious manmade stone walls that some would argue should be added to list of World Wonders. I would agree; it’s a sight to behold. Hours in to the hike, we paused for a time of quiet reflection. I sat on a rock (obviously) and saw an unlikely combination at my feet. flowerA thriving, flowering plant was growing out of the rock pile. Sure, there could have been rich soil, access to ample sunlight, and flowing fresh water somewhere deep under those rocks near the ocean’s edge, but it seemed improbable. Yet, there it was. Something life-giving was growing from something barren. God reminded me clearly at that moment that he can do the impossible. He can heal what’s broken. He can bestow beauty instead of ashes. In the darkest, most desolate place, there can be light, growth, and wonder.

Again, thank you for coming along on this journey. Thank you for keeping Simon’s memory alive for the sake of his wife and children. My prayer for each of you is to love anyway. There may be risk. There may be hurt. It’s worth it. Love is worth it.

20 Comments

  1. Marisa Oste on August 2, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Thank you for sharing your journey and reflections with us. You have reminded us of the importance of living intentionally and of the power of love.



  2. Ramona Calquhoun on August 2, 2016 at 9:12 am

    Thank you Kristy for bearing you pain, suffering, and joy these last 2 years. I will continue to pray for you and your family. It’s so amazing seeing God’s provision through it all



  3. Irene Hahn on August 2, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Dear Kristy,
    I will miss seeing your Golden Lone Star Posts, but as we all should know there is a time and place or season for everything. It’s good when we feel the need to move onto other things to listen to those promptings of the spirit to do so. Bless ya darling. Such a loss will never be “gotten over”, only “gotten through”.



    • Kristy on August 2, 2016 at 9:50 am

      Thanks Irene. You were/are one of my biggest supporters and I am so grateful!



  4. Ariana {And Here We Are...} on August 2, 2016 at 10:57 am

    So beautifully written. I am so happy that you have found love and have that support as you and your kids continue to process your grief and move forward on this challenging but also gorgeous path.



  5. Kimberly Brown on August 2, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Kristy,

    I am going to miss your posts but i know Simon will never be forgotten. He is with us all the time. I think about him often on the Train and and what a great friend and co- worker he was to all of us. He was an amazing Husband and Father . I know the time is right for you and God is with you and your Family. Remember, Simon would want you to move on and be happy and he knows you are. He is your guardian Angel . I want to thank you for all these beautiful posts, and sharing your pain and suffering . Love you Kristy. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3



    • Kristy on August 2, 2016 at 11:03 am

      Love you back, Kim!!!



  6. Diane Brown on August 2, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    Kristy, you do not know me. I’m from Simon’s home town. My daughter was in Simon’s high school class. I’ve kept up with you and your precious family through re-posts from Jill Stanley, a very good friend of Ashleys. I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am to you for bring us along on your journey. I will miss your posts and wish you and your family all the happiness ya’ll
    deserve.



    • Kristy on August 2, 2016 at 12:36 pm

      Thank you for the kind words.



  7. Donna Caver on August 2, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    One of Simon’s last request to me was, “I want them (his children) to know where I come from.”
    Kristy and Jason,
    At the end of the Golden Lone Star and in our individual and collective journey of grief, I want to thank you both for the children’s continued visits to North East Texas. The three are learning the area and bonding with family and friends of Daddy Simon. I am grateful to you both and look forward to their next visit.
    I know Simon would be pleased.

    In God’s love through Christ we will continue to seek His will and grace for our journey ahead.



  8. Daryn Crowell on August 2, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    First time I met Simon was in a small Bible study in a dorm room and he was sitting on a skateboard rolling back and forth. To be honest I thought he was a bit weird but he spoke with conviction with I admired. I also had the privilege of being with him the first time he ever left the United States we were literally in the car about to cross the border into Mexico and he just kind of matter fact said this would be his first time out of the country. I looked at him a bit in disbelief in part because he did not even mention it on the 15 hour car trip and also because having spent my life overseas I knew I was going to cherish watching him take in this new experience. He adapted quickly despite his language limitations and sincerely sought to learn and help the church we were at. I got lucky at some point on that trip and bit him at a game a chess. He was a great chess player. Back in college I was pursing someone and I admitted to Simon it was partly because I wanted to test my own prejudices. I was not smooth at all back then or now. Anyway Simon just snickered and said, “You would do something like that.” Showing that sometimes friends know you better than you think they do. I was very grateful to you and Simon when you helped support my Mission Trip to Domican Republic to work with Mercy Ships. All these things come to mind when I think of Simon and I smile a bittersweet smile inside. Having said all that I have another baby boy on the way and mostly because there are so few names that work well in both Spanish and English, with the exception with of accent over the o, we have chosen the name Simón, but also part of me knows it is to some degree a way to honor those bittersweet smiles, to remember to cherish what we have, and pass on what we love about others who have impacted us onto our children. Cuídate amiga Simon siempre está y siempre estará en nuestros corazones.



    • Kristy on August 2, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      Daryl, thank you for sharing those memories of Simon. Congratulations on another son. Simon is a great name, in English or Espanol!



  9. Angela Garcia on August 2, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    I’m gonna miss “walking” steps in your journey thru this blog! Thanks for letting me hold your hand while we walked together for a little bit! I sure hope you write again at some point! I’m sure gonna miss YOU!



  10. Jane Kelley on August 2, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    Kristy you are a beautiful courageous woman and I feel privileged to know you on this journey of life. Your endurance is inspiring and just knowing that you never give up. God has used you to touch many and your transparency and way of articulating your grief is amazing! Be blessed my friend



  11. Sarah on August 3, 2016 at 5:53 am

    Kristy. I enyoyedbreading your vlogs.



  12. Kristin Romo on August 3, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Kristy, I never cease to be amazed how your words capture and express hard and emotional experiences with such realism and grace. Thank you for allowing my family and I to journey with you. Simon’s strength became yours .



  13. Deanna Wills on August 4, 2016 at 2:05 am

    I love you, Kristy! Thank you for sharing and being so transparent. There’s no right way to grieve, but you have allowed God to work through your pain. Just looking at the replies you are receiving, you can see a glimpse of how you and Simon have impacted others. He was so loved and won’t be forgotten. May God continue to bless you and your family. ❤️



  14. Neighbor on August 4, 2016 at 10:24 am

    Over and over you have put into words what I never could. Thank you for allowing us to walk along your journey. For giving many a glimps into what is is like to loose a spouse and to somehow live and love again. May God continue to pour His grace you, Jason and your 3 babies.



  15. Karen Cox-Torres on August 4, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    Kristy,
    I have watched your journey these past two years from a distance. I am so proud of you for continuing to live and believe through your grief. I believe that often our ministry comes from our misery and your ability to encourage and bring hope to others in spite of your situation is evidence of that.



  16. kw on August 15, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    I looked forward to your posts. If you ever start another blog please let us know. your words have helped in many ways you will never know. God Bless you and your family in the next season of life.



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