Wednesday, July 16, 2014
People praying for us at Joey's Maui memorial service in June 2008
I just found this picture. I forgot I had it. It touched me so much to see all these people surrounding us in prayer. I can't make out all the faces in the crowd, but I recognize some of them very well. My mother and I are near the center of the picture with leis on our necks. Joe is out of the picture, on stage, and to the left of me are my daughter and her husband. Rachel and her family are next to the stage on the right. It is mostly a sea of unidentified loved ones gathering on our behalf, supporting and loving us, and holding us up to God.
The first thought I had is that two of the precious people in the picture have gone to Heaven themselves since this was taken. I also see one of Joey's closest friends with his head bowed for us, and next to him another "brother from another mother" . I see my daughter's best friend near us with her beautiful blonde hair. And though I am not certain who the boy is whose head is bowed on the stage, I am so moved by his obvious concern for us.
These prayers were needed. I was broken, and for the first two years, I seemed to get more and more broken with each new day. As my new reality sunk in, I sunk down. It seemed the pit of grief had no bottom. I had no strength. My skin hurt, my chest ached, my brain was high-jacked by anguish and sorrow. I cried every day and at every mention of Joey's name. The prayers were needed.
It takes faith to live through the loss of a child. I didn't have enough of it when I started this journey, but I have grown into it. My peace has grown as God has comforted me a hundred different ways. I know God better now than when I started down this road, and I also know I only touch the surface of who He is. I am glad there is One bigger than me who can hold me, help me, and heal me. I am in His hands.
These are some of the people who put me there.
Overflowing thanks to all who have prayed for us.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Tuesday, June 03, 2014
and the long hard hills.
For the sound of a thousand conversations
For the people laughing and
crying and remembering
at the end.
I wish you could have been there.
Posted by Karen at 5:24 PM
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
not fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
Posted by Karen at 3:16 PM
Thursday, May 08, 2014
When Death Comes
by Mary Oliver
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.
Sunday, May 04, 2014
If it had been a heart attack, the newspaper
might have used the word massive,
as if a mountain range had opened
inside him, but instead
it used the word suddenly, a light coming on
in an empty room. The telephone
fell from my shoulder, a black parrot repeating
something happened, something awful
a sunday, dusky. If it had been
terminal, we could have cradled him
as he grew smaller, wiped his mouth,
said good bye. But it was sudden,
how overnight we would be orphaned
& the world become a bell we'd crawl inside
& the ringing all we'd eat.
~~by Nick Flynn
Posted by Karen at 4:14 PM
Thursday, May 01, 2014
The glory of my beautiful small vibrant child
To Bhain Campbell
by John Berryman
I told a lie once in a verse. I said
I said I said I said "The heart will mend,
Body will break and mend, the foam replace
For even the unconsolable his taken friend."
This is a lie. I had not been here then.
Posted by Karen at 9:56 AM
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Today commemorates the Thursday of Christ's Last Supper, and this picture features the last time I saw my son before he went to Heaven. He is at the Maui airport going through TSA. Our friends accidentally captured this picture while photographing some arriving friends. I love the "UP arrow" reflected from the door onto Joey's t-shirt. I know he is in Heaven. I can't be with him yet, but someday, in God's time, I too will enter Heaven and be with him. I am so very thankful for the promise of eternal life and the resurrection made possible by Christ's death for us all on Easter. It is my greatest hope and the reason I can celebrate these sacred days.
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
Yes, I do.
Posted by Karen at 5:07 PM
Friday, November 29, 2013
I was struck again by how much struggle there is in life.
From overwhelmed military wives carrying the weight of the world from their kitchen sink,
to grieving parents who are spending their first holiday season without that precious child,
to broken homes and separated families who live in different places,
to ailing friends,
and dying friends,
and the people taking care of them.
Not to mention typhoons, tornadoes, and mass scale trauma not so very far away.
Someone dumped a pile of broken rubble on my chest.
Tears trickled out my eyes and down my cheeks and onto my neck.
I nervously hoped no one would come into the room and find me like this.
Stuck and sad and confused to my core.
At moments like this, I do. not. get. The Plan.
So I mentally create my own plan.
When I ask myself how I would run the universe, my mind swirls.
Would I create people with free will?
Would I allow the free will choices to accumulate into tragic consequences?
Would I allow the wildness of nature and its harsh upheavals?
Would I allow broken history to go on as long as it has?
And the world I create in my mind is admittedly a blandly pastel Pleasantville.
No conflict. No pain. No sorrow. No loss.
A place where nothing hurts and nothing happens.
Which also means:
No stories, no heroes, no victories.
No art, no music, no humor.
No invention, no research, no solutions.
No achievement. No celebration. No gratitude.
No true love.
All that is born of struggle.
Strangely, suffering somehow seems to be the necessary prerequisite of better things.
And even though there are so many mysteries and questions,
I am glad again that I am not God.
And acknowledge that God may know something I don't know.
And hope that He has a better plan than I can imagine right now.
That there may be a magical purpose in all this suffering and struggle.
And a bigger story to tell than my pea brain can conceive.
And of course a beautiful world to come where overcomers will tell stories and celebrate victories.
I hope so.
I am counting on it.
That there will be answers.
That there will be a fix.
For now I open my hands and willingly give it all back to Him,
breathe deeply, refill my heart with hope,
thankful that He
has the whole messy confusing tragic world
in His hands.
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
In Munich last summer, we got the idea of hosting an Oktoberfest party for our big 40th anniversary. So out came the blue and white checked banners and fall decorations.
The sign was made by Crystal and is in traditional Bavarian style. It says "Happy 40th Anniversary".
German Chocolate cake, Black Forest cupcakes and apple strudel and ice cream will be here soon. Yum!
Hubby and I are enjoying this wonderful day that we waited forty years for...now we are waiting for the guests to arrive and the fun to begin.
Saturday, August 17, 2013
It's Joey's 6th birthday in Heaven. It pains me to write the words. It's also a rainy gray day at the beach, which somehow seems entirely appropriate.
But in spite of the gray, the sun breaks through, and strangely, that too, is a reflection of my heart today.
Little bits and pieces of hope all around me. Almost negligible, but together they amount to enough for each day.
I love you beautiful son.
I miss you so.
Thank you for taking me on a journey deeper and harder than I ever wanted.
Thank you, Lord, for leading me to higher ground.
When birds are sold, two small birds cost only a penny. But not even one of those little birds can die without your Father knowing it.
Friday, August 09, 2013
Rachel, our daughter-in-love, just found this picture in her archives. It's an old one, when my hair was still red and our youngest grandchild was only 2 years old. Almost a decade ago. On beautiful Keanae Peninsula on the island of Maui. We'd been hiking as a family, and my dear son-in-law and grandson are in the picture too. We all stopped to look at the breathtaking ocean before us. We were in awe and I was wrapped in the kind of hug you will only get from a son.
I could die happy in that embrace.
In a week it will be his 34th birthday. I take this as a gift from Heaven.
I love you, beautiful boy. Thanks for all the love and happiness you have given your mama.
I miss you more than words.
"I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living my baby you'll be."
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Our grandson graduated high school. This was the proud crowd who came to witness the big occasion. Okay, yeah, there were a couple hundred other graduates. The convention center handily packed all this pomp and circumstance into one enormous room.
I also caught the proud parents and other grandmother at just the right moment. I loved that his parents were holding hands. An 18 year job well done!
Outside in the beating son, this kid in a gown and several leis, bore up patiently as numerous photos were taken.
The whole fam damily!
A week later we had a luau for him at the farm. The guys cooked a pig in the ground for 16 hours.
Here they prep it for cooking.
Here they are at midnight, the night before the party, loving every minute of this new experience. It takes a lot of hands to get a pig in an oven.
It's going in this underground oven they built, now filled with firewood.
Imu pig Hawaiian style--you fill the pig with hot rocks and wrap it in banana leaves. Then bind it all together in chicken wire, and place in the underground oven, already full of more hot rocks. Bake for 16 hours.
Cooking away, all night long.
The curious crowd.
The graduate with a lei sent all the way from Hawaii by dear friends.
Let the eating begin!
The Hula Hoop brigade provided entertainment.
Grandpas in leis congratulated each other.
Luau decor just makes everything taste better.
Real banana leaves on the tables.
Proud mama and dad. Chief Pig Chef and Hostess with the Mostess.
It was a lazy fun afternoon celebrating a wonderful kid and a great milestone.