Lessons Learned

August 6, 2011

I haven’t been here in awhile. We were on vacation, life got busy, and I just haven’t been here. I don’t quite know how many people read this anyways, so I assume I’m safe. I will say that life is a series of climbs and free falls, ain’t it? I never really took the complete attention to realizing just what losing my wife meant for my kids. And now, for probably the first time, I am seeing how I’m not just grieving the loss of a wife, but I’m grieving the mother of my children. It’s been a strange and difficult couple of weeks with lots of lessons learned.

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Moving Along

May 31, 2011

Moving along, moving along. I stumble and fall, but I’m moving along.

June was Caroline’s favorite month. I don’t think I ever, in over 25 years of a relationship with her, quite knew the actual reason why. Heading into this June, I feel relaxed. I feel genuinely happy. I feel ready to finally truly and perhaps fully accept what happened; things out of my own control. To accept that cancer is a nasty part of the world’s vocabulary. To accept that life doesn’t come with a how-to manual. It’s messy. It hurts. It sucks. I don’t know if acceptance is even the right word, but I really believe it’s time to heal. Not the fake healing that I often will generate when my kids give me that glance. Not the weak attempt at smiling and showing a positive belief in life and its wonders. I want to really embrace healing. I want my children to see a father living life again; remembering yet, as I said before, moving along. I want to rid myself of the stagnant. I want to pull up a memory and smile. I want to reminisce without breaking apart. I want to live. I want my wife to be proud of the man she married. I want God to forgive me for ever doubting His ultimate purpose. I want my kids to roll their eyes at goofy Dad. I want them to understand that the void we feel can’t be replaced, but we can continue to live. Life, though difficult, moves forward. What is here one day isn’t always there the next, and I want them to realize the beauty of what is here in the present. I want June to become my favorite month as well; the month that I find myself again.

The valley is deep, dark, and painful, but it doesn’t last forever. I just have to keep walking.

May 21, 2011

“Putting is like wisdom…partly a natural gift and partly the accumulation of experience.” – Arnold Palmer

April 28, 2011

 

Newest enjoyment of mine. It even has a radio.

Rainbow Bridge

March 19, 2011

Thank you, Jackie, for helping to get us through the worst days of our lives.

The Rainbow Bridge-Author Unknown

“By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill

Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.

Where the friends of man and woman do run,

When their time on earth is over and done.

For here, between this world and the next,

Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.

On this golden land, they wait and they play,

Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.

No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,

For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.

Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,

Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.

They romp through the grass, without even a care,

Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.

All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,

Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.

For just at that instant, their eyes have met;

Together again, both person and pet.

So they run to each other, these friends from long past,

The time of their parting is over at last.

The sadness they felt while they were apart,

Has turned into joy once more in each heart.

They embrace with a love that will last forever,

And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.”

 

The Weekend

March 13, 2011

I had a relatively nice weekend with the girls. My youngest has decided lately to take up golf. We went out yesterday and played a round. She’s learning. For being an instructor’s daughter, she’s sort of raw. But at the same time, she’s not that bad either! It’s nice to see the smiles; especially when you know that you had a part in making them.

Home

February 19, 2011

There’s something special about being home. Walking into the doorway that I used to run into when Mom called for my brother and I to come in and wash up for dinner. This afternoon, the girls and I arrived back home to spend the weekend. It’s been awhile since I’ve been home. For old time’s sake today, I opened the door and ran up the stairs to my room; third door on the left. It’s the one with a poster of Al Kaline still hung on the wall. Good old #6.

February 9, 2011

This was sort of one of “our” songs. I heard it today for the first time in months.

“Grandpa”

January 21, 2011

I found out today I’m going to be a grandpa. No, it’s not T.J. Or the girls. It’s actually my fourth “daughter.” In 1998, Caroline and I “adopted” a family. Single mom raising three teenagers on a fixed income. Dad wasn’t around. What was originally going to be a Christmas presents offering  turned out to be a 12 year (and counting) relationship with this family. The oldest daughter, Keisha, who was just 16 when we met her, is now 28. Married with a great career, she phoned me today to tell me the great news. She’s pregnant. I answered the phone to, “hey Papa Jon” (a joke she for some reason finds funny). Great news. You’re going to be a “grandpa”. I’m eating for two.” 🙂 I don’t see her as often as I’d like. After she graduated, she moved up to Atlanta. She worked her way through college, and she made a stable life for herself. I get e-mails and phone calls a couple times a week. The relationship we have with that family has been incredible, and I’m sure Caroline is smiling at the news today.