Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Process

Grief is a process. That's what I told Amber today as she watched me cry and cry over missing my mom. A friend of mine who lost her mom nearly 20 years ago, said she cries a bit every day. For me, the tears come in waves. Not predictable and never calculated. I may shed a tear or two (almost every Sunday in church) or the floodgates might open wide, like this afternoon. I wish there were a simple formula to follow regarding grieving. Do this, do that and then you are healed. Step one, step two and then no more tears. But it isn't that simple. And do I really want it to be? When my brother died three years ago, it was the most precious time in my life with the Lord. I never felt more close to Jesus than that day and that week when Steve died. Had I followed a simple formula for grief, I would have missed that sweet time with Jesus. And so here I am in the process again and again. Some moments I can hardly breathe, other times I am "okay." Almost every day, though, I want to call my mom and ask her about a recipe or a craft I'm doing or--when Autumn is driving me crazy--ask her "Was I like that when I was 5 years old?" Then it hits me all over again. Mom is gone.

My dad moved into a studio apartment yesterday. It was a win-win situation for him in that he qualifies to live in a Veteran's Administration retirement home for about $200 a month. Three meals a day in the dining hall is a nice bonus, too, since my dad never cooked for himself a day in his life. My parents had a precious, "old-fashioned" marriage. My dad went to work every day. My mom stayed home and cooked and cleaned, even long after the kids moved out.

My dad would have had to move eventually anyway, since the owner of the house my parents were renting recently put the home up for a short sale. It wasn't the home I grew up in, but it was the home my girls remember as "Nana & Papa's house." So it does sting a bit to think that we will not be visiting "home" next time we go to Arizona. Meanwhile, I've been on the phone daily with my dad as he packs up the house and gets ready for his estate sale next Saturday. There's just too much stuff for him to fit into his tiny apartment. He's set aside all kinds of sentimental things that he plans on mailing to me in a huge box. Each day I remember something else that is just too precious to sell, and he adds it to my box. Photo albums, of course, framed pictures, jewelry, anything the girls made my mom and--yes--even that 1970s orange Tupperware measuring cup and spoon set! Every time we use it, I will think of the days when I watched my mom make culinary delights for the family.

Good memories.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Berries for Books.

This evening an adorable college student from the Czech Republic came to our door selling books. Now I don't like buying food or magazine subscriptions from door-to-door salespeople, but I can definitely get into books. I love books! These were more like really cool textbooks. We liked the science series, and I thought it would be a great investment for our homeschooling this year, to use as curriculum. Autumn was definitely into these books, as well, and so Eric decided that if we all wanted them, the girls had to contribute $5 each. They agreed. Sold!

One way the girls earn extra money is by picking wild blackberries and selling them to Steve at Farmer & the Cook. So, we all set out this evening to pick berries. We were having a great time, but the patch of berries I was in front of was slim pickins. I had more cuts than berries in my bucket, so I took my dozen berries and headed to where Eric and the girls were. Crossing over a big log, I decided to sit down to retrieve a sticker from my shoe. I'm glad I did because as I sat down, the log gave way and I was tossed from my seat. Imagine if I was standing on it! Anyway, as I was tossed off of the log, so were the few berries I had in my possession. They went flying, and I was left with an empty bucket! Amber had a similar problem, tripping over a vine and spilling half of her berries! Oh well, at least it made for a good story.

While we were picking, a man walked by and scolded Autumn for getting too close to the berry bushes. He said, "Honey, watch out, those are berry bushes and you could scratch yourself."

I said, "That's what we're here for; to pick berries," and then he went into an intense tirade about how he crashed his mountain bike into a berry bush when he was 17 and got all scratched up." When he was out of ear-shot, we all had a good laugh...not at him or his story, but at how intense he was!

When we could no longer see in front of us, we decided to head on over to catch the end of Music in the Park. It was such a fun evening!

In the end, we were too late to go to Farmer & the Cook, so I decided to buy the berries from the girls for $5. Now all they have to do is sell another $5 worth and they will have paid for their portion of the books.

Berries for Books. Sounds like a good idea to me!