Tag: widow

Post #1,499 – 10 Years A Widow: Non Sum Qualis Eram

 

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Today is the 10th anniversary of becoming a new creation. Ten years ago this morning Joe suffered a stroke caused by a blood vessel rupturing at the base of his brain.

 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17

 

I went kicking and screaming into this transformation. It is the day I came home from work, pressed the button on the answering machine and found out what Non Sum Qualis Eram truly means.

The History Behind Non 

My coworkers and I were sitting at our desks working crossword puzzles on a winter day when I worked for a savings and loan.  I do not remember the clue for the answer, but I looked up “Non Sum Qualis Eram” in the dictionary (this was BG – Before Google) and I discovered it meant

 

I am not what I used to be

 

I cracked up laughing. I told my coworker that is what I want on my tombstone – I am not what I used to be. It is true. When you die you are not what you used to be. You are a new creation.

Well, that is not what is on our marker out at the cemetery.

 

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Putting This Post Together

When I started putting this post together, I thought it would be how I summed up the last 10 years of being a widow instead of a wife.

 

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Instead, it begins a series of lessons, opinions, and observations based on my experiences during the past 10 years.  They are a mixture of good, bad, and ugly. They are intended to prepare you a teeny, tiny bit for what you may face if and when you become a widow. Because that is what I do best, educate, inspire, and train – just call me your Grief Cheerleader.

So come along with me on a journey of looking back and fondly remembering while moving forward with life as a new creation.

 

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Oh and if Non Sum Qualis Eram is not on our marker – what is? A line from Joe’s favorite song from The Phantom of the Opera:

 

Think of me, think of me fondly when we’ve said goodbye.

 

 

 

red-rose_signatureBio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills while managing call center teams, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of chocolate, red roses and golden retrievers and is an amateur photographer.

Remarriage: An Eye Opening Perspective

One of the books I’ve given grieving people is Healing After Loss; Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief by Martha Whitmore Hickman. My copy was given to me by Joe’s Aunt at his wake. You read one page per day of this little book.

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The devotions are not geared towards any religion. There are quotes from authors, scriptures from the Bible and proverbs from other religions. After each quote, there are thoughts from the author and then at the end a one-sentence thought/prayer. I enjoyed reading this book and my copy is now in 2 pieces. It fell apart at April 17th, which is the day I started reading it.

Time For A Re-Read 

Since this year is the 10th anniversary of his passing and our 25th wedding anniversary, I decided to read this book again. Now for some reason January – March is much neglected. I do not know why and I’m kind of wishing I did not have this brilliant idea to read through it again because God showed me a different perspective on remarriage.

Today’s devotional is very brief but powerful and deals with the hole left behind by a loved one’s passing.

The quote is:

It is the nature of grace always to fill spaces that have been empty.

Goethe

Whitmore-Hickman’s thought is:

Not that we can’t tell the difference. Not that we are being disloyal. But if life gives us something else to do with all those impulses toward the one no longer with us, how can we not be grateful? It’s like an extra inheritance -a blessing even- from the one we have lost, going to someone else who needs what we have to give. So we are refreshed by the memory of the loved one, and at the same time offering a gift, creating a new relationship.

The thought/prayer is:

Keep me on the lookout for someone who needs me now. 

Ouch! God.

So the love and commitment I gave Joe in our marriage, needs to be given to someone else, a new relationship, with a new man. I never thought of remarriage that way until today.

Remarriage scares me. I am afraid I would get hitched to a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde type of person. He is sweet and loving until we are pronounced husband and wife. Plus, blending two households is a lot of work. Houses would have to be sold and a new one bought. He would have to get along with Joe’s family as well as mine, then I would have to get along with his family.  UGH!  Too much work, too much stress.

Yes, I know if the right person came along, all the work would be worth it.

Other Relationships

This devotional can be applied to any relationship and not just the loss of a spouse. If you lost a daughter, as Whitmore-Hickman did, then you find an opportunity to “mother” another child. Whether it is through a mentoring program such as Kid’s Hope, teaching Sunday School, or spending more time with the single neighbor lady’s child.

But obviously, I see this from the perspective of a widow and remarriage.

Still Recommend? 

It’s almost 10 years since I first read this book. I loved it then and I still love it and still recommend it. My suggestion is when you give this to someone, keep a copy for yourself and read it together. You could email each other daily or meet weekly to discuss the devotions. I know the grieving person would appreciate having someone walk through the devotional journey with him/her.

 

red-rose_signatureBio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills managing call center teams, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of red roses and golden retrievers and an amateur photographer.

 

 

Has It All Been In Vain? Questions After 9 Years of Widowhood

Was Joe’s passing all in vain?

Did people learn lesson’s from his passing?

Here today and gone tomorrow

What lessons if any have I learned?

I know marriages and family relationships are not perfect. Relationships are made up of humans, flawed imperfect humans. There will be bickering. but why do we resist spending time together?

Here today and gone tomorrow.

It was 9 years ago today Joe had a stroke at the base of the brain, it will be 9 years tomorrow that he was pronounced brain dead.

He was alive mentally and physically on the 27th. He was vibrant, full of life, love, laughter, joy. He frustrated me because I had to go get the other TV cart in the TV lounge in the rehab department. One TV cart is the same as the other –  right? No, not to Joe.

So full of life one evening and gone 11 hours later.

Knowing my heart aches for slow dances, hugs, cuddling while watching TV, or just aches in general. Is that not enough to get other couples of any age to appreciate one another?

Is my achy breaky heart not enough to get people in general to appreciate and love one another?

To take or make the time to spend together?

Here today and gone tomorrow.

When a spouse passes, your heart and soul ache in nooks and crannies you do  not know you have. The ache from grief can and will invade the same nooks and crannies when other family members move to heaven as well.

Questioning whether or not people learned lessons from Joe’s passing hurts and grieves me immensely. Fearing that there are people who did not learn lessons tears me up inside.

For your sake, love one another.

For your loved one’s sake, love one another.

Remember, here today and gone tomorrow.

Not them – you might be here today and gone tomorrow.

Leave no love unspoken or acted upon.

Don’t let yours or your loved one’s passing be in vain. Love one another – now.

 

 

The Hardest 287 Calories I’ve Ever Burned

Two years ago I joined Faithful Finish Lines fitness program when it was in Beta. I am still a member. This week is the last week in the most recent 7-week challenge. Seven weeks filled with making small changes on a different topic (e.g. more protein, less sugar) each week. The less sugar week is tough as I have a big sweet tooth.

At the end of each 7-week period we have a goal to do. It could be a 5k, 10k, a plank or push up challenge,  or any other fitness goal. It does not have to be an organized event.

I was schedule to do Michele’s Mile Mall Walk this week but cancelled it as when God blesses you with upper 60’s on a February day in Northeast Ohio, the last thing you do is walk the mall!                 😉

Instead I did the 1 mile Duck, Duck, Goose Waddle at one of the area parks. The waddling started when I got out of my car, then I did 2 laps around the pond and ended when I returned to my car huffing and puffing worse than the Big Bad Wolf.

I walked 1 mile. It is not a lot but when you have a sinus infection that morphs into a asthma event, it is a lot. (Yes, sinus infections can do that.)

When the weather permits I get out and walk because asthma needs to go bye-bye. When the weather interferes, you can find me doing a lap around the mall or several laps up and down my basement steps.

Marvelous!

As I sit here typing this post, I can tell you I feel marvelous! I have to keep this up as the 2017 Tour de Parks is coming up (walking one Northeast Ohio park every weekend). More on that later.

Now on to the good stuff.

Pictures

Here are pictures from the 1 mile Duck, Duck, Goose Waddle event. All photo’s taken with my Moto Z phone – Yes, still an Apple virgin.

Duck, Duck

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Goose

wp-1487892874193.jpg Selfie-on the bridge at the back of the pond.

Cattails and last years leaves.

Look who decided to walk with me after passing the 3/4 mile mark.

Final Stats

2,003 steps.  287 Calories. 42.28 minutes. 1 mile walked. 2 laps around North Park pond, picnic area and parking lot.

Want Community? 

Check out the Faithful Finish Lines program. Sara Borgstede from the Holy Mess is the founder. You will not find a better community of friendly, supportive women.

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Is Valentine’s Day Cheesy?

 

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A lot of people either don’t or reluctantly celebrate Valentine’s Day because to them it is a cheesy made up Hallmark day. It’s just another excuse for companies to get their grubby hands on your hard earned money.

Do I think Valentine’s Day is cheesy? No.

 

Life get’s busy and while we should celebrate Valentine’s Day every day, we don’t. So once a year we get a reminder to express love to our family and friends. Cherish Valentine’s Day because next year, some of the people you love may not be here.

You will wish they were here even on a day you consider cheesy.

Happy Valentine’s Day. 

Love Always, 

thinbutterfly

 

 

 

{ Day 31 } Finale of 31 Tricks to Scare Away the Grief Monster – GROW

Hallelujah! We’ve both made it through the Write31Days challenge. Thank you for sticking by me through thick and thin this month. It was an rough journey for me, one that I did not expect. Here we are crossing the finish line together.

Today’s Word is

GROW!

Scripture Meditation 

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.

1 Corinthians  3:6

God uses your grief to grow you in your spiritual walk with Him.

You do the work, walking baby step by baby step and God uses those baby steps to grow you. You grow with every smile or wave you give someone. You grow by sitting with someone as they grieve. You grow by dreaming and crafting a new life. Every little step you take, God is using to mold you into the person He wants you to become.

That is His plan for everybody – growing your character. It is not about achievements as that is boasting. It is about who you are as a person that is important to God. He will use all sorts of life circumstances to grow you.

You can be a ditch digger but as long as you are serving God right where you are at, you are accomplishing His will for your life. If you are a motivational speaker but not helping others up to the next level in their career, you are not accomplishing His will for you.

So take baby steps every day in confidence knowing God is growing you and yes, growth is painful. But He is your comforter.

Quote Meditation 

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.

Benjamin Franklin

Coming Tomorrow – Final Thoughts About This Series and How I Made It Through the First Halloween Without Rommie

{ Day 29 } 31 Tricks to Scare Away the Grief Monster – Laugh!

The finish line is in sight!  Only a few more days.

Today’s word is

LAUGH!

You will laugh again at some point during your grief journey. Joe’s nieces and nephew laughed at the funeral home when I confirmed their uncle loved Yanni and would air guitar, drum and any other instrument while listening to Yanni. Their dad told them but they did not believe him. Laughter made a painful situation a little easier to bear – even if only for a moment.

Laughter puts the grief monster in his place. It shows him that you will not go down without a fight. Laughter is just as healing as tears. Sharing funny stories brings back fond memories and gives you something to which to cling. It helps you focus solely on the good the deceased did and not remember the bad memories.

Remember to bring laughter back into your life after your spouse’s passing.

Watch this clip from the movie Mary Poppins if you need a good laugh today.

Quote Meditation 

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.

Robert Fulghum