First of all, Merry Christmas! This Christmas season has been surprising in so many ways. It has been a roller coaster for sure. Last year seemed so much easier than this year. As I continue to walk and grieve over missing Mike so much, I realize that I have really changed as a person both inside and out. The outward appearance is easy to talk about. I put on extra weight that I didn't need in the few months leading to Mike's heavenly homecoming and also in the year after. But I have managed to make a change and lose some of that weight over the past 4 months or so. I see that as a positive change. The inside is a little harder to explain - moments and things are just more treasured and sweeter.
I truly praise God for moments with Elizabeth. Everyday moments and things like when she grabs my hand to hold during church or when we lay in bed talking about the day. They are just gold to me. I pray almost as much as I breathe. I pray for friends, for strangers, for moments, for guidance, for strength, for family, for direction, and for comfort. I pray for those who are stuck in the hospital this time of year. I have stopped strangers in Walmart and ask about their injuries. I am more aware that life is far from perfect and people are suffering and struggling. Ironically, I find life sweeter because of what I have been through. I don't take good things for granted and I hurt more for others than I have ever done in my life.
Now, on the opposite end, this Christmas season has had more moments of sour than last year. I will admit that I have found tears easier to come by. For instance when Elizabeth is playing Wii and she exclaims, "Mom, Dad and I are running together (Mike's Wii Person he created)!" or "Dad's really good at Tuba (again Wii Music)". I miss him. Elizabeth has had some great recognition moments this fall at school and with her music. I miss sharing those proud parent moments. Elizabeth has needed help with Geometry and I miss his incredible teaching ability. I have made some financial mistakes and I miss his financial practicality. The list goes on and on.
But God doesn't let me dwell in my moments too long. He produces great stand in's to help ease the pain. He has given us family and friends that show up to cheer Elizabeth on and provide the warm fuzzies during those accomplishments. He has provided special deacons at our church to check in on us and ask what help we need. He has provided a great tutor for Geometry that is not only from South Dakota, but has ties to the AF. He has provided a friend that is a financial planner to help me mop up my mess.
Finally, God has places some interesting people and organizations in my path this month. I have placed a call to TAPS and I think I have found a place that can help me in ways I haven't been able to find. TAPS is the Tradegy Assistance Program for Survivors. A dear friend, Norma, signed me up about 4 months ago and I finally gained to courage to call about a resume' question. Anyway, I got a call from a fellow military widow and she got it. She is the first person who really got me, got my situation, and understands all the mental "mess" that makes up my grief. Truly, at this time, it is the best Christmas blessing this year.
I can't end this update without saying again how much I love each of you and how thankful I am for everything you have done since the word "cancer" entered our lives in September 2008. May God fill you with his richest blessings and shower you with His peace and unconditional love this Christmas Season!