Amazing at 16….

My nephew is 16….

andrwe johnI am amazed how quickly Andrew has gone from being a cute young boy to a handsome young man…..

Andrew is kind and thoughtful. I often wondered how it would be when all these kids grew up and joined the adult circles in our family. It has happened and it is very good. Andrew is a good conversationalist and a good listener. He knows how to ask questions and shows a genuine concern about the people who surround him.

andrew john at 16I love bragging up my nieces and nephews, but it makes me very proud when I hear from others about what good kids they are. Andrew was recently nominated for a leadership camp and his coach wrote the following: “Andrew is the hardest working student athlete that I have known in my 12 years of coaching. Andrew refused to miss any minute of practice or quit any conditioning activity regardless of how exhausted and physically outmatched he was. Moreover while Andrew was constantly giving 110% effort, he was simultaneously encouraging all of his teammates to work harder He is able to lead both by actions and words. Andrew has also learned to encourage his teammate without alienating them. Andrew has figured out the art of knowing what to say and when to say it.”

Andrew, I am so thankful you are my nephew. I so love being your aunt and am eager to see what the next 16 years holds for you. You are smart and athletic and amazing in so much of what you do, but even more than all you do, I am so thankful and proud of who you are. Continue to grow the way your growing and God will be glorified in your life, words and actions.

I love you Andrew John….

Drive over any time. I will fill your gas tank!

Much love,

Aunt Trish

Hope Anchors my Soul….

I feel the ache of grief tonight…

Not a lot of words to put with it, just a deep feeling that keeps washing over me….

IMG_2188I have had some very touching text conversations today with my sister-in-law and my niece. They are honest and painful. They speak to the great loss of a husband and a father. They speak to the void that was created in their life on a Sunday night not so long ago and how every day they realize it will not be filled by anyone or anything, for Len was unique, creative, crazy and fun (and funny). As we say, in his living he had a big presence and so in his dying he leaves a big absence.

Maybe it was Olivia’s tweet on twitter yesterday: Wishing I could call my dad and tell him about passing my road test#bittersweet

Perhaps it was my sister-in-laws words of  “so many unfinished dreams….”

Perhaps it is my longing to tell him what great kids he has or ask him about the Tiger game we go to each year….

Regardless of what it is, it is hard to journey grief….

I am thankful for my family, friends and community who are so kind to me as each day comes and goes…

I am thankful that we as a family talk about Len and laugh and cry together.

Hope is  an anchor
Hebrews 6:19 a
This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.

I find truth and hope in the following quote:

Grieving is as natural as crying when you are hurt, sleeping when you are tired, eating when you are hungry, or sneezing when your nose itches.

It’s nature’s way of mending a broken heart.

My heart was shattered on that night of December 23, 2012.

I believe my heart will heal and time will change the ache, but that being said, tonight is still hard….

And so as I drift off to sleep, remembering my brother, I am thankful that even in the pit of grief, hope anchors my soul!

Congratulations you passed…

Such sweet words at the end of a driving test…

20110831194018548_0005Olivia Grace passed her driving test today and I am so proud….

I was the lucky aunt who accompanied her….

Olivia is a good driver but she was expressing her growing anxiety as we were approaching the testing site….

We stopped at the cones to practice the parking and it was increasing anxiety instead of relaxing my sweet niece….

And so we stopped practicing, said a prayer together, talked about how much her Dad would have loved to be there with her and reported in for the test…

I was asked to wait inside while Olivia did the parking test. I stood by the window, alone in the office, and watched her move my vehicle through the different stations. I did a little dance with the completion of each one.  I found myself delighting in her success and aching for Len to be there for this moment with his 16-year-old daughter.

And then they came to the door and picked me up for the road test. I don’t often sit in the back seat of my own car, but this time I took that place with pride. Olivia was precise, intentional, careful, bold and chatty. It was fun to sit in the back and observe, delight and be amazed at how fast she has grown up.  And so this morning Olivia did not have the freedom to drive alone and at the end of the day,she is a newly licensed driver.

And so tonight, my prayer before I sleep is offered in a bit of a different way…. Dear Lord, I am entrusting Olivia Grace  to your hands, praying you will stay near to her, protect her and keep her safe.  amen and amen

I love you Livi Lou and am so proud of you.

olivia grace

Gymnasium for my soul…

I can’t quite wrap my mind and heart around the fact that it has only been 8 weeks since Len died.

Is it really only February 23rd?

It feels like I have been going through these difficult days for a very long time…

I can’t always find the words to explain what these 8 weeks have been like and I can’t quite describe what I anticipate the next 8 weeks to hold….

I know that I have had trouble returning to the gym…

I believe that the primary reason for that has been energy….

I seem to lack energy in these last 8 weeks…

I do know that grieving is hard work….

And so as I shared with a friend this week, I heard myself saying that it feels like I keep visiting the gymnasium for my soul….

I feel the ache of being stretched to new places in my heart….

I feel the challenge of learning to breathe through new routines…

I feel the tension of doing familiar things at a changed pace….

I feel the invitation to exercise new muscles…

I feel the embrace of fellow journeyers….

I hadn’t planned to be a frequent visitor to the gymnasium for my soul….

But I must say that after 8 weeks, I can feel some small changes taking shape….

I am thankful that I have learned the importance of spending time in the gymnasium for my soul….

And now to get back to the other gym!

 

It is well with my Soul..

Yesterday was a day full of family, remembering, reflecting, laughing and enjoying and Worship….

It seems like every song sung spoke to my heart and my eyes welled up…

There is something so amazing to worship that even on a good day, I can often find my heart tender and touched by the words of the songs we sing….

And so yesterday, surrounded by my family at Shawnee Park CRC and very aware of Len’s absence, I felt especially tender and expectant of God’s presence.

We sang a hymn to the tune of the Navy Hymn which we sang at Len’s funeral….Len would have loved it….

We sang Wonderful, Merciful, Savior and I was struck by how real the words feel in these past weeks…Len would have loved it….

My two nieces sang It is well with my soul and I wept at the beautiful voices, the rich words and the very true message that echoed and resonated in our hearts…Len would have loved it…

We began our “Christmas” Sunday worshiping together and it paved the way for our beautiful day together…Len would have loved it…

Christmas 2012 has left us changed forever. As we gathered for our family Christmas it was a beautiful time of looking back and enjoying all the moments held. Our hearts are full and I am thankful for my family who lives life honestly together.

It is well with my soul….

christmas 2012

Christmas is coming…

Yes, our Christmas is scheduled for this weekend.

Our Christmas, which was tragically interrupted by the death of my brother on December 23rd is scheduled to happen…

And so we will gather as a family this weekend at my parents home….

There is a sense of anticipation and a feeling of dread in my heart…

I am eager and I am anxious…

I feel more hopeful than what I did 7 weeks ago and I still feel so very sad in some places in my heart…

There will be so much life in the presence of each one who is there and there will be one life that will be so deeply missed..

There will be laughter and there will be tears…

There will be conversations of days ahead and what the future holds and there will be conversations of days past that hold beautiful memories before our loss….

It will be good to be with my family and it is new space for us….

In all of the unknown of what we each bring, I do know we will bring many hugs, words of comfort and hope and laughter and love….

I am thankful for each family member….

My family of origin…(Dad, Mom, Len, Nick, Arlene, Suzi and Aunt Dot)

RK Big familythose who joined in through marriage…(Marcia, Jonna, Dan and Andy and soon to include Matt)

those who joined in through birth (Olivia, Noah, Andrew, Ryan, Janneke, Henry, Anneliese, Karolyn and Ellie, Peter, Isaiah and Johanna)

those who joined in through adoption…(Sonta and Jean Marc)

So thankful that even if Len is not physically with us any longer, he holds a place in each of our hearts forever and always!

I am thankful for a family who grieves together…

I am thankful for a family who journeys together….

I am thankful for a family who believes together….

I am thankful….

United States Postal Service….

USPSI have a new love and appreciation for the United States Postal Service….

For many years I could have easily passed on the little bit of mail I received each day….

But since the day Len died, I have found great comfort in the wonderful deliveries to my mail box….

For the first few weeks there was an abundance of cards every day.

I found it to be such a sweet time in my sorrow to sit in my kitchen and slowly open each envelope…

The words on the cards, the assurance of prayers and love, the faces that I saw as I read the names, it all offered an embrace of my pain and injected love into my broken heart…

As the weeks have passed, the cards are fewer, but still, every few days, I am blessed with a card and I am surprised by a sense of relief that I feel when I sit and I open the card and read the kind words….

I believe the comfort comes in knowing that I do not walk this journey alone….

I believe the comfort comes in knowing others have journeyed grief and share that they understand…

I believe the comfort comes in knowing that in a card, in an envelope, in my mail box, by way of the United States Postal Service, I am assured of love and friendship….

I encourage you to utilize the old-fashioned way of communication and send a card to someone who is dear to your heart….

Join me in thankfulness for USPS and all who deliver hope and love every day to many in need!