Another reason (which I can finally share) is that for several months I was wiped out -- literally sick and tired. Normally a night owl, I was ready for bed by about 7:00 and I only had energy for the bare minimum. Homeschooling and trying to keep things running at home won out, and everything else seemed to fall by the wayside (sometimes even keeping things running at home fell by the wayside).
So, here is a little catch-up on what's been going on.
The holidays this year were rough. Last year I think I was in a fog and seemed to be sort of on auto-pilot through the holidays. I honestly don't remember much about my Christmas last year. I know my kids had gifts on Christmas morning, but I don't have much memory of how they got there. I do remember Christmas day and remember being happy and sad at the same time. Just being with my children made me happy and grateful, and yet I was sad because Anne Marie was missing. I also remember going to Bartlesville last year and being so glad just to get away and be with family. I think most of my memories from last Christmas are from the pictures I took.
This year the holidays were different. The fog of last Christmas had lifted and I seemed to feel everything that I was numb to last year. I think I've tried to explain before how the sharp, stabbing pain of losing Anne Marie slowly gives way to a deep pain -- one that will always be with me. The initial pain is fierce, breathtaking -- so sharp it made me wonder if I would truly survive. The deep pain comes with a knowing that, yes, by God's grace I will survive. It also comes with the knowledge and acceptance of the fact that there will always be an ache deep in my heart that will never go away, and that I will miss Anne Marie every day for the rest of my life.
And this Thanksgiving and Christmas I felt that deep ache. I missed her. I missed her when I was surrounded by my family at our Thanksgiving dinner. I missed her when we decorated our tree and hung our stockings. I missed her when I would be out and about and see something that I would have gotten her for Christmas. And I missed her at our Christmas Eve service. I cried so hard holding my candle during that final hymn. I just wanted her with us.
But just like last year, God brought me through and gave me joy in Him as we celebrated Christ's birth. I remember one particular time when I was driving and thinking about how much I missed Anne Marie. God reminded me that I was actually the one "missing." Yes, there will always be an empty space at our dinner table and a knowing that our family isn't complete, but Anne Marie is feasting at the table of the Lord. She is where she belongs and I am not. I am the one missing at the Lord's feast. The empty spot is for me and all who belong to Him but who are still here in this fallen world. I love the words of our former pastor: "Through death, Anne Marie has come to see Jesus face to face and she now knows a joy that dwarfs our own." One day I will know that joy and I cannot wait.
So Thanksgiving and Christmas came and went and we started school and all of our activities again. There was basketball and ballet and homeschooling and filling out more college paperwork. And there was our news that we weren't quite ready to share yet.
To be continued ...
|Here's Jack Henry opening his Sam Bradford jersey for Christmas. You think he was excited?|
|The kids at Thanksgiving|
|Here's Jack Henry playing for his homeschool basketball team, the Storm.|