Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Long Weekend

It began Thursday evening.
Already, everyone I encountered out in the marketplace was saying,
"Have a good weekend."
"And so it begins," I thought.
"Memorial Day Weekend is upon us again."

By Friday, I had a sort of mixed anxiety running through my mind.
I was excited to have 
the long weekend
 that has always signaled the beginning of summer.
I dreaded
 the long weekend
that would forever mark the loss of my beloved daughter.

"You really hit us with a double whammy, Julie," I thought.
"We don't just have one anniversary date of your death.
We have the actual date of your death 
to deal with,
and we have a holiday weekend, when your death occurred
to deal with."

When the greetings came,
"Have a good weekend,"
I simply composed myself and said, "Thank you."
I needed all the good wishes I could get.

Jim asked what I wanted to do for the weekend.
"I think the best plan is to keep busy," I replied.
On Friday,
we went flower shopping and got my small little garden planted.
This year my garden will be pots of flowers.

I supervised the removal of much rock, the roots of Russian sage that invaded the property, and planned in my mind how I would plant the new planting spaces being created around our new home.

Our new gate for the deck.
On Saturday
we went to a matinee at wonderful old theater downtown to see "The Great Gatsby."
We loved it.

On Sunday,
We went to church.
The hymns for the day were just what I need to hear, sing, and ponder.
Only God can move a mountain; 
Only God can calm a sea.
Only God can heal a wounded spirit...

O joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain, and feel the promise is not vain,
that morn shall tearless be.
A photo of Julie, Amy, and Me
The painted rainbow rock that Julie painted for me when she was a child

During communion, I was renewed in my spirit and thankful that my faith has sustained me through all of the days before and after Julie's death.
I am grateful for the great measure of grace that God has given me throughout all of my days.

After church, Jim and I took daughter Trinette and her husband to the airport.
It was wonderful to see this beautiful couple off to Florida for a small "honeymoon" after all these years of marriage.  Trinette looked so young and beautiful and so excited.

We then went to the cemetery to leave flowers on Julie's grave, and on the grave of my father.

On Monday,
we went to the small little town of Monument just a few miles from our house.
Jim wanted to check out a coffee shop/cafe that was there.
Serrano's was great!
My sister met us there.
We had a wonderful lunch and visit. 

We spent much of the weekend walking in our neighborhood,
sitting on the back deck,
socializing with neighbors,
and enjoying the beauty of the world that surrounds us.

May 29, 2013
marks the third anniversary of Julie's death.
I'm going to lunch with my dear friend, Linda Button.
Dr. Linda Button
Sally Wessely
presenting at CCIRA Conference 2013
Linda has been there for me as a friend, sounding board, encourager, and sustainer throughout these three long years.  I treasure her friendship.  It is unbelievable that we now live in the same town and attend the same church. I don't know what I'd done without friends like Linda these past three years.

I try to keep my memories of Julie alive and well.
I find that in my mind, Julie belongs to another realm now.
Without my wanting to, I've assigned her to another domain.
She seems to be a part of a life that no longer exists.
A part of me died when Julie did.

Does the death of a child ineluctably cause a part of a mother's heart to die?

There are days when the clouds fill the sky and threaten storms.

In those moments,
I am reminded 
that the sunshine follows the storm,
that rainbows bring hope and symbolize promises,
that with each spring there is new growth.

I've not walled off that broken heart.
I'm allowing it to heal.
I am moving forward.

This weekend,
I focused on

For those of you who wish to remember Julie
I'm adding two videos.
Watch them later in they are too real of reminders of that beautiful woman that we lost.

In Memory of Our Beloved Jules
April 8, 1976 - May 29, 2013

Julie & Mason
Mother's Day 2008

Julie & Hannah
Mother's Day 2008


Terra said...

Your words and the hymns are powerful, "I have not walled off my broken heart, I am allowing it to heal". I hope your summer is filled with blessings as you go foward, dear one.

Terra said...

Oh, I forgot to mention that your covered deck is gorgeous, a nice place to sit and rest.

thisisme said...

Oh my dear Sally, I am sitting here with tears in my eyes after reading your post, and thinking of you in your sadness at the loss of your beloved daughter, Julie. You were wise in trying to keep busy over the weekend. Thank heavens for family and friends to help you along the way. I shall watch the videos, but in a little while. I can't imagine what these past three years have been like for you but, of course, a part of you would have died along with Julie. The sheer shock of it all as well. Talk about Julie in this place as much as you want to my friend. All I can do is pray for you and send you love & hugs. Please take care x

Betsy Adams said...

Love your deck and the new flowers, Sally.. Hope you can keep them away from the critters....

Sounds like you all had a great weekend despite the dates. BUT--you have made the best of everything. I'm proud of you -and so would Julie...

God Bless You, my friend, and lots of HUGS.


Jeanie said...

You share your thoughts and feelings about Julie's death in such a profound way. I hope that writing about these feelings helps you with your healing. You have such a strong sense of ways in which you have healed and ways in which you have not. I'm glad you are finding strength in friends and faith.
I also hope that your are finding answers about you health issues and that you are feeling better.

Perpetua said...

So hard to have these anniveraries at any time, but particularly when they come after a holiday weekend. A deeply loving and moving post which goes to the heart of what it means to lose a child. Praying for healing for your grief and unfading memories of your beloved daughter.

KathyA said...

And love is such a doubled-edged sword...

I think you are one hell of a woman!

Blessings, Kathy

troutbirder said...

And fathers as well. It been all of 15 yeara now and the phone call I got in the middle of night seems as but yesterday. I remember the words of my daughter in law.."he flyfishing with God now" and the lost dreams we shared.

Tom Sightings said...

I know, I know, but thanks for sharing your post. And your flowers.

Olga said...

Sally, you are strong in so many ways. I am especially glad to read of your friend. How wonderful that you are now close in location as well as in the heart.

#1Nana said...

I can't believe that it has been three years. I notice in your writing that your focus is frequently on the gifts that Julie brought to your life. I'm sure you will never forget and never stop missing her, but the blessing of healing is that your memories revolve around the joy of Julie's life. I'm glad you had a good weekend and I'm glad you've allowed us to walk the path of healing with you. Hugs

Jeanie said...

Sally, you are so eloquent, so open, so generous in sharing your words and thoughts and again I am filled with admiration for your strength and grace. For whatever reason, I thought that anniversary had occurred earlier. What a double whammy to deal with the holiday and the anniversary. I am reminded of Rick's former tenant who took his life on Thanksgiving Day -- there will always be two anniversaries as you have experienced. So much for the "holiday."

In your words,in your gestures, I see such strength, such will to both feel and remember and move forward. It's a tough combination, but I have no doubt you will succeed and always remember with love.

Your flowers in pots remind me of mine -- only your yard looks much neater! A good time to plant.

Sending love, jeanie

Linda Reeder said...

My sister, whom I don't see very often, has lost two sons and a granddaughter. She has trouble voicing her feelings, so reading your words and thoughts helps me to better understand what she deals with daily, and especially on these memorial days, when the memories come flooding back and the "what ifs" bombard.

DJan said...

The grief is still fresh after only three years, but you have made incredible progress, Sally. I am so glad you have shared this lovely post with me, showing without any doubt that you are indeed healing. Sending you big hugs through the ether...

Lynilu said...

There are no words I can offer that seem meaningful. Grief is individual and personal, so we can only try to understand from afar. I'm sorry the coincidence of this weekend is so strong for you, but your busy-ness is good. Warm hugs, Sally.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I know the pain is deep, but I so admire all the ways you are helping yourself to heal. Gardening, even in pots, is a life-affirming activity in itself, and you've chosen a great way to plan for future, more permanent plantings.

Barb said...

Dear Sally, I thought of you this weekend, wondering how you were feeling. Your loss is immeasurable. I have never experienced a grief so painful; I truly cannot imagine. That said, you always seem to look toward life, remembering Julie and expressing your grief, but also allowing joy to enter your heart and flow outward. I send you all my good wishes and also a hug. I hope you find solace in your new home, your beautiful plantings, your loving husband, your supportive friends, and your caring family. (Also enjoy Boston who I can see will have a super deck for a nap.)

Arkansas Patti said...

When the passing of a loved one corresponds with a holiday it is so hard to celebrate with everyone else.
I am so pleased that you managed to fill it though with good people and the touch of God.
This was a painfully beautiful post with feelings both raw and hopeful. Sending hugs.

John Paul McKinney said...

This post is like its author: courageous, love filled, and full of hope and grace. Thank you, Sally

Linda Myers said...

Thinking of you today even though I am far, far away.

Chatty Crone said...

Dear Sally - I am late in reading this - but I feel so bad and I know you hurt and you always will. There is no answer. I know you loved her and she knows that. Hugs to you. sandie

Rose said...

I can't imagine how you must feel, Sally, but I think "allowing it to heal...moving forward" is a positive way to deal with your grief. I think I've mentioned before that my best friend's daughter (and my goddaughter) was killed in an accident about six years ago. She has learned to move on with her life, focusing on the sweet granddaughters who were left behind. But there are still times when a special day or a memory brings back the tears. Julie will always be a part of your life, even if she has moved to a different realm.

I missed your last post somehow--I'm so sorry that you have been unwell! I hope that the doctors can find a cause for all your distress and give you some much needed relief soon.

Blessings to you, Sally.

Liz said...

I doubt if there is any pain like the loss of your child. I am so sorry you had to suffer that.

Kay said...

I'm so sorry for the pain you are working through, Sally. I can only imagine the scope of how difficult that has to be.

I'm sorry I haven't been able to visit. While we were gone to China, I was cut off from my blog. Although I couldn’t access my blog, I got your comments via e-mail and they always brought a smile to my face.

I’ve just finished my China blog posts so I need to work on our photo album because we have too many things happening this summer that will take up our time. Life does tend to occasionally intrude on our blogging. Thank you again for being such a wonderful friend.

Sending you lots of hugs from across the ocean.

Isabelle said...

That was so sad and so lovely and so brave.

Maggie May said...

That was a very moving post and I felt choked up reading it. However, you are moving on and I do admire you for that. I think that there are some occasions, like the death of a child, where a piece of you dies too.
It is good to know that light follows the darkness because otherwise I don't think it would be bearable at all.
Maggie x

Nuts in May

Friko said...

Dear Sally,

I am so very sorry for the pain you have to bear. Remembering Julie as you do and writing about her here, opening your heart to your many friends, is such a sign of trust in your readers and I hope it helps to heal the wounds.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Cape Cod Kitty said...

Very beautiful tribute to Julie and to living, Sally. Thinking about you and hope you are feeling much better.

Bossy Betty said...

We who have not experienced such a loss can;t really comprehend the depth of the loss you've experienced. Life goes on, yes, but your life will never be the same. Write about Julie, talk about her, celebrate her life. I send you big hugs.

Kathleen McCoy said...

It's such a blessing that you share a bit of Julie with us. Your loving words and those precious videos bring her alive to us in a whole new way. Grief is so complicated, especially when you have lost a child. The pain will probably always be a part of the person you are now, but I hope that writing about her and sharing your beautiful Julie with all of us helps your healing.