Saturday, January 2, 2010

"Be stong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord." Ps 31:24

I hope each of you reading this had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. It seems like time has passed so slowly since the Thanksgiving update. I hope time doesn't pass that slowly as you read this post!

The Christmas season hit me much harder than I ever expected. I thought I was ready. I've read grief books, gone to grief counseling (Mom and I even went to a seminar about how to handle the holidays), I get daily email devotions about grief. I had prepared my head like I was cramming for a final exam. But my heart must have skipped class. I cried every day for a solid month. Anything and everything set me off.

I felt so bad when Chase asked me one day why I wasn't be happy and did it have anything to do with him. I tried to explain my tears as best I could and reassured him I how much joy he brings me. There are times I see the "little boy" in Chase that just melts my heart. No matter how grown up he trys to be, he is still so vulnerable and tender. Chase watches me like a halk. When I do cry, he is usually first to my side to try and make it better. I pray for wisdom in how I deal with Chase. We'll have more time together at home than I will with the other two. And at his age, our relationship is different than it is with Chandler and Zach. I worry more about the absense of a father in his life. And then I cry again... because whenever Frank opened up about his prognosis, the first words he'd uttered were "What about Chase? Please Lord, just let me get Chase grown up..."

The kids and I devised a plan to do something different for this holiday. (something I learned in my holiday grief seminar!) We went to my parents for our traditional dinner with the family. But after that, we jumped in the car and drove all night to Panama City. A dear friend let us stay at their condo and we were so excited to be going to the warm beach for Christmas day!

Except..... it was not warm in Florida! But we still had a great time. We began the DVD series of Lost and got hooked! Nocturnal by nature, we stayed up till 3 and 4 in the morning watching tv, slept till mid morning, went out to eat and came back to the condo to play games and watch more Lost. It may seem weird that we drove all that way and only watched tv, but not really. Had we stayed home, the kids would have gone out with their friends, worked, played Xbox, etc. I was thrilled to have them all to myself for 5 days!

Monday was the warmest, sunniest day in Panama City. We went to the beach. For an 2 hours. We were covered up from head to toe with sweat shirts, socks, and blankets. Chandler and I snuggled up while the boys fed and chased the birds. Just being able to see the ocean and hear the waves was soothing. Being in the mountains or at the ocean is alway a good reminder of how awesome our God really is. How majestic is His creation! It reminded me that He is in control and loves us so much.

Another neat thing that happened in Florida was my being able to meet a college friend of Neely's. Through Neely, Stefanie follows this blog and has been praying for us a long time. We met one afternoon and had coffee together. What a blessing it was for me to see face to face someone who has invested herself in praying for our family.

We made it back in time for New Year's Eve. I felt really good all Thursday and Friday. Celebrating the New Year conveys such a message of renewal, moving forward, and new goals. I felt hopeful that 2010 would be a year of continued healing. I am looking forward to seeing what God is going to do in each one of our lives this year.

Today is Jan 2. On this day last year, Frank and I were returning home from a very emotional trip to Little Rock. This was the night we gathered the kids around and told them he wasn't going to do anymore heavy treatments in Little Rock. Frank told them the treatments weren't stopping the cancer and that he would only live a few months. Only by the grace of God...

Zach and Nana comforted each other. I cried with Chase in the middle of our living room floor... the same room we were in when Frank passed away 4 months later. And I will always remember hearing heart wrenching sobs of Chandler crying together with Frank in her room. A year ago......

When I remember that I can only thank God for the blessings He gave us each day with Frank. We are thankful that we knew in advance and were able to make the most of our time together. Whenever I hear of a tragedy that took someone's life unexpectedly, my heart goes out to the family because their goodbye is so different. I can't imagine that kind of loss.

It's 2010. God is still in His throne. The kids are doing well. I am feeling more hopeful than I have in a long time. We are 8 months into our "year of firsts". The memories are vivid, yet each one of them have helped us through the healing process. We are getting stronger each day.

"We have this hope as an anchor for our soul, firm and secure." Hebrew 6:19

Thank you so much for the continued support and love for our family. It overwhelmes us so much. May God bless each one of you..... peg