My brother….

 

 

Len's casketMy brother….
A man who experienced every day, the struggles and the joy of living….
A man who understood the ache of heart-break and the thrill of being deeply loved…
A man who expressed his full range of emotion:  from a flood of tears to the contagious laughter that filled his soul…
A man who was passionate about people: a mentor, a teacher, an encourager, and friend…
A man who loved (and was loved by) his family and added food, fun, laughter, and delight to our family gatherings…
A man who believed in his call to raise up his children through provision, correction, embrace, adventure,  and love….
A man who was so blessed to be a husband to a woman who loved him, honored him, was honest with him, and invited him to live life more fully….
A man who loved and served his country, loved and served his family, and loved and served his God…
A man
A son
A husband
A father
A brother
An uncle
A nephew
A cousin
A friend
Our brother: Leonard Hugh Borgdorff: deeply loved, sincerely liked, truly unique, and  never forgotten.

All my love,

Your sister

Trish
December 31, 2012

Walking away….

I believe one of the hardest things to do in all of this is to walk away….

I was gripped with sadness tonight as I stood at the casket knowing the time of “being with” Len is drawing to a close.

The next 24 hours give me the hard to breathe kind of feeling….

To think about walking away is almost more than I can bear…

And yet I envision faces and feel hugs and know that we do not walk this journey alone….brokenness

And so tonight in the walking away I felt the sobs overtake my body and I was embraced by my Mom in all of her own …

I know there are bright spots in the tragedy in the faces, the words, the prayers, the embrace…

But in many ways the tragedy still feels bigger…

I know the lights will continue to shine brighter and in time the light will shine brighter…in time…yes in time….

Edge holders…

As a family we  have been talking about this analogy that my sister had recently read on a blog she reads….

This is how my sister wrote about it….

If the grace of God is a net that saves us from the darkest, most hopeless places, then all of you are the edge-holders. You are allowing all of us to sit in the middle and be held for a while. Someday, we will get our legs under us again and make our way back to the edges. We will be better edge holders because of what we learned from you. I cannot thank you enough – this community of people we know that spans the world has been a bright spot in a very dark time.

I wonder if you have ever had edge holders in your life….

I wonder if you know how it feels to be saved from the darkest and most hopeless places…..

I wonder if you know how it feels to be an edge holder…

This week we are sitting in the middle of the net.

The edges feel far away and yet no matter where I turn, I see the faces and feel the strength of our edge holders….

I want to be a better edge holder as a result of this experience, Len would want us to return to holding the edges….

But not quite yet…..

Going to bed tonight thankful for the grace of God and the community of believers who surround us, love us and carry us through this very difficult time!

 

 

The heart break of grief….

I am aware that I did not blog yesterday…

I have so many feelings in my heart and yet the words are hard to find…

broken heartI lay in a hotel room and am surrounded by picture boards and my heart breaks….

I reflect on my day and think of the number of Naval Commanders I spoke to about funeral planning and my heart breaks…

I reflect on the hugs and the silence, the tears and the laughter and my heart breaks….

I reflect on the many comments posted in the obit guest book and my heart breaks…

I reflect on the pictures and memories with Len and I realize there will be no more and my heart breaks…

I reflect on the faces of  Marcia, Olivia, Noah, Sonta and Jean Marc and my heart breaks….

And yet…

We  speak of Len and share memories and we laugh and I smile….

We speak of Len and all he brought to each of us and I smile…

We speak of Len’s influence, his faith, his passion, his play and we smile….

We experience the love of a community who loved Len and we are blessed…

It is hard to find words and the deep ache of grief is always present…

I know we are not the only ones who have ever walked this journey….

I trust in time, the ache may change…

It is hard when I wish time would stand still because I dread the burial of my fun-loving, adventure filled, wonderful brother and when I want time to quickly move us beyond this indescribable deep ache…

Obituaries…

I am a believer in deadlines and I know they bring order, but I had an experience today that seems beyond my comprehension….

We spent a lot of family time yesterday writing my brother’s obituary.

It is a hard task….

It is an emotional task….

It is a tension to be factual and to give a flavor of the amazing man my brother was….

We were satisfied with  our final outcome…http://davidcbrownfh.com/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=1885443&fh_id=10873

And today we went to the funeral home and was informed the obituary would not run in the local paper until next week…

We had missed the deadline of last Friday…

Last Friday Len was still living….

How would we make the deadline of last Friday….

I had a tidal wave of emotion begin to well inside me….

By Monday my brother will be buried and the invitation for people to join us in honoring his life will be over….Monday?

I was in tears as I looked at the people behind the counter telling me something I could not comprehend…

I looked at my Mom and we left, in tears, committed to ensuring that Len’s obituary would be circulated so Len would be honored and remembered

I am not sure how deadlines and printed material work, and I am not sure I would have much tolerance for them on this day in my life, but I have to say, if this is the norm, something has to change!

And yet, at the end of today, I know that my brother’s life will be honored and remembered in the coming days regardless of a printed obituary and for that I am deeply thankful!

I love you Len….forever and always!

 

Welcome to our world…

Perhaps my sister says it best on this day….

I find it difficult (actually impossible) to find a joyful heart to welcome our Savior while saying goodbye to my brother, but I know that our hope lies in his birth. So, even with a heavy heart, we sing:

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God!
You’ve been promised, we’ve been waiting.

Welcome Holy Child.

Bring your peace into our violence,
bid our hungry souls be filled.
Word now breaking Heaven’s silence.

Welcome to our world.

 

Raw Grief…

I have very few words tonight…

My oldest brother died yesterday….

Killed in a car crash….

My heart feels shattered….

Marcia has lost her husband, a man she fought for, adored, laughed with and loved….

IMG_2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Olivia (16), Noah (14), Sonta (13) and Jean Marc (9) have lost their adored Daddy…

len family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My parents have lost their son, Aunt Dot has lost her nephew, we have lost a brother, the kids have lost an uncle who loved to tease them and make them laugh…

RK Big family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leonard Hugh Borgdorff:  October 10, 1964 ~ December 23, 2012

sweet brother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deeply loved and never forgotten

 

Banket Making….

This morning my sisters, my niece and nephew and my dad met in my kitchen to bake Banket…

Banket (bahn-KET), banketstaaf or letterbanket is a sweet pastry that originated in the Netherlands and is popular in the Christmas season.

Banket is made by rolling pastry dough around an almond paste filling and then baking it. The log is then cut into short lengths for serving, hot or cold. It can also be frozen and enjoyed after the holiday season, especially on Saint Nicholas’ eve, 5 December.

The term letterbanket or banket letter refers to the tradition of bending the uncooked logs into the shape of letters. The baked letters would then be used to spell out messages such as Merry Christmas on a holiday feast banquet table.

We remember my Dad making this when we were kids and this year we thought it would be great for him to teach us…

Below are a few pictures to show the fun, the work and the wonderful finished product…

We had so much fun and such good product that next year we may be taking orders…

The baking begins...
The baking begins…
Hand mixing makes for excellent pastry dough...
Hand mixing makes for excellent pastry dough…
our taste tester...
our taste tester…
Getting a bit messy...
Getting a bit messy…
obvious delight in beautiful dough...
obvious delight in beautiful dough…
wonderful almond paste...
wonderful almond paste…
Another place that it takes a village...
Another place that it takes a village…
sealing with egg glue...
sealing with egg glue…
a beautiful and tasty finished product...
a beautiful and tasty finished product…

Sorrow and Joy…

I have learned over this last year about the tension of holding two conflicting emotions in the same space in my heart and learning to give space to both….

I find this to be one of the most difficult spaces to create…joy in the sand

Often I believe we want to make room for what is most socially acceptable and squelch the emotion or feeling that feels like an unwelcome guest…

It seems I continue to encounter people who are facing conflicting emotions this holiday season….

I wonder how you embrace conflicting emotions in your own heart….sorrow

I wonder how you embrace conflicting emotions in the lives of those you love….

I wonder how you embrace conflicting emotions when a friend or acquaintance shares this tension…

I have found that acknowledging that you hear both is a very kind response:

I hear that during this season of Joy your heart also holds a lot of grief 

I want to let you know that I understand the tension of both enjoying and dreading the holidays…

I admire your ability to acknowledge that you still grieve your loss after all the years and delight in watching your family celebrate….

As I have gotten older, I have a greater understanding and sensitivity to the tensions many (myself included) will feel in the coming week. When I began to share that recently with a friend, that I am aware of my own anxiety during the holidays, she said, but I thought you enjoyed Christmas and your family.

Yes, I do enjoy Christmas and my family and yes I will have more anxiety than normal in the coming weeks. A change in routine, the tension of maintaining a good food routine and the reality of having caregivers on the road during winter and snow (maybe) and holidays all contribute. But yes, I hold conflicting emotions often and I would guess some of you may understand this in some way…

I hope you will take time to be aware and kind to all your heart holds in the next 10 days….

 

The human heart…

There has been so much sadness with the Connecticut shootings….

I have had a keen awareness of the presence of violence which surrounds us every day…

I grow weary of media and social media’s attempts to lure people to a soap box…

I wonder how love and peace prevail when we seem to grow in anger, fear and anxiety….

I have found myself spending a good amount of my energy thinking through gun control, mental health and insurance for treatment…

My conclusion appears the same, no matter which option I consider, it doesn’t assure a different outcome to the problems we see growing around us.

Tonight I really appreciate this quote:

“Much has been said about mental health treatment and gun laws but there is another much more important area that has been neglected, the heart of man.” – Nathan Oppman

chose hope over fearI want to ensure I focus on the condition of my heart….

How am I dealing honestly with areas of sin in my life….

How am I nurturing kindness towards myself and others…

How am I living a life that communicates my values and beliefs without words…

How am I allowing my full range of God created emotions to be expressed, embraced and shared in mature and honoring ways….

I can not care for the hearts of all people, of that I am sure, but I can choose to ensure my heart is well-cared for and invite others to do the same!

Begin today…..