My lack of blogging, Facebooking, replying to texts, and anything else I’ve slacked on the past week has simply been because we have been enjoying life. Christmas moved slowly for us, but in a way that allowed us to savor the moments, not dwell on loss. I have truly felt present. Present for the kids while they take a break from school and activities. Present for each day and the adventures it will bring. Present for the reason we celebrate Christmas. My mind has been so much clearer the past month and I am feeling ready to focus on others now – to comfort others facing loss, to be a listening ear for friends in need, and to celebrate milestones and victories.
We have spent so much intentional time with the ones we love the past few weeks. An old friend from high school was in town and we got our kids together. They were playing and wrestling like old pals within a few minutes. There was something comforting about it all. It reminded me of a psychology term from college: generativity. The idea that, in middle age, we develop this need to nurture and contribute to society. I love that part of aging. I love seeing my friends grow from goofy teenagers to responsible adults (that are still allowed to be goofy, of course!) I love seeing childhood friends become caring parents or advance in their careers to make a mark in this world. Here’s my middle daughter having a blast playing.
On Christmas Eve, we grabbed a friend’s son and took him to the park for a few hours. The weather was spectacular – a crisp 70 degrees with clear skies and abundant sunshine. We ran into another friend there and chatted lazily while the kids expended energy running, swinging, and exploring. My son is becoming an expert climber and I’m still not sure how he and his buddy got up here, it was quite a few feet off the ground.
That evening, we attended the Christmas Eve service at our church. I used to sing in the worship team regularly but had not sung one note publicly since Simon was diagnosed. Every time I even tried to sing from my seat I would just lose it, sometimes due to sadness, sometimes joy. They had asked me to sing just one song and it was the perfect segue back into a passion of mine. The song was one of my favorites, O Holy Night. I made it through with zero tears and a renewed spirit.
Christmas Day was another day of happiness. The kids were thrilled with every present, even though we kept things small and simple. We ate a nice breakfast together and headed back to the park to soak up the sun and keep us from getting stir crazy at home. If I’m totally honest with myself, knowing that Simon would have wanted us happy and together kept me strong. I even woke up that morning to a distant train whistle blowing. I feel like he is acknowledging our pain and reminding us that we can do this. He was a good, good man. I have no regrets about our relationship and he didn’t either. On a silly note, the kids’ favorite present, by far, was this light bulb that basically turns the room into a disco. Here’s my youngest daughter living it up.
The weekend after Christmas I had a meeting scheduled in Palm Desert with a well-known pastor and his wife who were both widowed and remarried fairly quickly. I wanted to pick their brains on navigating relationships as a widow and hear their thoughts and experiences from a Biblical perspective. It was encouraging, refreshing, and inspiring. Probably the biggest take-away was to trust in God’s timing. We trusted is His perfect timing for Simon’s illness and fate. That trust should never stop. God’s timing can be fast, it can be slow, it can be unexpected, and it can be surprising.
A friend that works in the entertainment industry was doing a Christmas Revue in Palm Desert and helped me secure an amazing room at the JW Marriott Resort in town as well as tickets to the show. My folks generously offered to keep the kids and I found myself in the lap of luxury, lounging poolside, ordering room service, and sleeping in until *gasp* 8 AM! Here was the insane view from the upgraded suite.
Lastly, here is the most recent picture of my family – my folks, two brothers, their wives, children, and us. We usually have a specific layout of who stands where but we just had to switch it up this year. We feel Simon’s absence and it makes us even more thankful for one another.
I look forward to what 2015 will bring and sharing it with all of you.