Weekly Photo Challenge: Selfie

My brother and sister-in-law, learning the fine “art” of taking a selfie!

My brother & sis-in-law

The “selfie”…a fun way to take a photo and remember an event.

For more interesting photos, take a look by clicking on this link.

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this time last week

This time last week I was traveling north to be with my daughter and her husband, to celebrate the 1st birthday of our youngest grandson. A sweet little blue-eyed boy, with a sparkle in his eyes, and the infectious belly laugh of a one year old.

Happy Birthday, little guy!  I love you so much!

Rick looking up at me

This time last week, 26 lives were ripped from this world in a horrific shooting at a grade school in Newtown CT.  The lives of mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, grandmas and grandpas, were changed in ways that I can’t even imagine.  Changed in a way I don’t want to imagine, because it should never have to be imagined.  It just shouldn’t be.

The extreme contrast of the two did not go unnoticed by anyone in my family.  Our event was to celebrate a life, a milestone.  In Newtown, they were mourning. It was a tragedy.  Plain and simple, as there is just no other way to describe it.

My heart, it is so full.  It’s full and overflowing with the memories of the week-end, and struggling with the wide range of emotions.  The sorrow for the families who are in so much pain. The blessing of a wonderful husband, the gift of amazing children, and the joy of precious grandchildren.

I feel a little like Mary right now, “pondering all these things in my heart“. It was a very special moment in my life.  Our time together as a family was full of laughter, and hugs, and smiles. In Newtown, there are only hugs and tears.

And once again I am made aware of life and its brevity. How abruptly it can end, and how important it is to cherish my family each moment that we have together.  I am reminded by the powerful message of the inability to control, and I am overwhelmed by the security and knowledge that we are all in the Hands of God.

Don’t shut your eyes tight

We were sitting at the kitchen table playing with the play doh. She was making ” spaghetti and meatballs” and he was making “solid shapes”.

I grabbed a chunk of the play doh and started mashing and squeezing it through my hands. Transported back in time at the smell of the fresh new play doh.

Then I just listened.  I listened to the happy chatter of our 4 yr old granddaughter and 6 yr old grandson, as they talked about their lives!

And as I listen, I find out that the life of a 4-year-old in preschool includes taking a nap, and she is not real fond of this requirement.  It is in fact, a very traumatic event in this little girl’s life.

So apparently her big brother has come to her rescue, and has been giving her some advice on the matter.

“Did you do what I told you to do?” he asks?   “When it’s time to take a nap, you just lay down, but you don’t shut your eyes tight, just squeeze them almost all the way closed, and it will look like you’re asleep, but you can still see everything that is going on!”

Sounds like good solid “big brother” advice to me!  I ask him if that is what he did when he was in preschool.

“Yes! One time when my dad came to pick me up, he thought I was sleeping, but I could see everything”.

“Do you think your dad ever found out that you weren’t  really asleep?”   He assured me that his dad never found out.

Ahh…the “innocence” of youth!  Or is it?

A life changing moment

My heart, my thoughts and my prayers, are with my daughter-in-law and her family this week.  Her only brother passed away after a long. hard fight with the vicious disease of cancer.  He was 17 years old.

I have felt the gut-wrenching pain of death.  I have had my loved ones ripped from my life, and I have had them slip slowly and silently away.  I know of grief, and yet I can’t take hers from her, and make this walk just a little easier for her.

The sympathy cards.  Oh how I hated getting them, simply because of the reason for the card.  I didn’t want to be “that person” in need of sympathy.  I welcomed the comfort, but it was the sympathy that I didn’t want to be a part of.  I didn’t want to keep being reminded over and over again of the pain.

I just wanted the pain to stop, and I wanted my loved one back again.

I know that my daughter-in-law wants this more than anything else in life right now.  She wants the pain to stop, and she just wants to hug him, and see his smile again.  She wants him alive, and healthy, and back in her life again.

The tears are so tiring, the pain grows weary, and some days the burden of the loss is just too great. Will I ever feel normal again?

The answer is, no.  Never again.  This is a life changing moment.  She will never look at life through the same lenses, she will continually be aware of  his absence, and there will be days when she just won’t want to go on.

I know this is true, but I also know that my God will be her only Source of strength and comfort.  I am praying she finds this peace and comfort.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ”   John 14:27