Saturday, April 30, 2011

Walking Through Hell

Yesterday it became obvious. I am taking another trip through emotional hell. I love those. Not.

Yesterday I paid off the house. It is a good thing, a glorious thing, and Rob made sure I had the money from his life insurance to do that. However, I kept thinking of how we were going to do this together, and then we would travel, take pictures, and enjoy the rest of life. I almost didn't make it through the 30 minutes it took to finish the paperwork and wire the money. I was sobbing by the time I reached the van. I just sat there, with my head on the wheel, and cried.

Tonight the children and I are walking at Relay for Life. Our team is special this year. Everyone is either a cancer survivor or caregiver. It is a special team to be on. It is also hard. I miss my mom.

Tomorrow is our delayed family Easter dinner. I usually love these things because I have an incredibly cool family, but this year my thoughts and heart are heavy. Last year I knew Rob and I were coming apart, and I was at a loss of what to try now. Rob went to the dinner with us and pretty much isolated himself. He didn't want to play games. He didn't go outside with us for the Easter egg hunt. We have family pictures from last year with everyone in them...but him. I remember seeing him sitting in one of the stadium seats in the theatre room. That is the only place I remember seeing him last year. Will he still be sitting there when I walk in tomorrow?

This week is Anna's birthday. Yesterday I met one of Rob's friends--one of our family's friends--to order Anna's gift. Rob had it on his list on his computer. As dumb as it sounds, I can't bring myself to erase it. Anna is sort of dreading her birthday because Rob isn't here. I totally understand.

Next Sunday is Mother's Day. Not only do I have no one to buy a card for, but there is no one to take my children to buy a card or gift for me either, and they love to do that. The last text I have from Rob on my phone was sent the evening before he died in the night. It says, "Thank you for being such a great mom for our kids." It's my pleasure, Rob.

And my tears fell fat and hot yesterday, and they fall even as I type.

It is a very rare thing for me to want to drink myself into a place of oblivion to silence the noise of the last year or its effects right now, but yesterday was a rare day, and it is seeping into today.

However, instead of succumbing, I worked out yesterday morning, mowed a yard, walked nearly an hour last night, and spent time with my children. Today I will mow my yard, buy a new fridge since mine went out Monday and is not worthy of repair, and I'll reread the speeches I gave the last two years at Relay and the thoughts I jotted down in case I was asked to speak again this year and remember why I walk. And I will pack water bottles and snacks, put on my good walking shoes, and head to the track where hundreds are gathering to honor the lives of those they love--to mourn the ones lost, to encourage the ones still walking, to stare death in the face and declare, "I still believe in life."

And I do.

So I choose to keep walking.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Who I Really Am



One of the hard things about being separated and looking at the possibility of divorce is the change of identity and roles. Sometimes it is hard to get my feet under me concerning who I am and exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m a wife, but I’m not. I’m a single mom, but I’m not. I’ve always been the strong one that people depended on, and now, I feel like it is a great accomplishment to make sure we have three meals a day.

Most days I don’t feel like me, like the me I’ve been or the me I’ve wanted be. I’m not sure who this person is that cries so easily, struggles to battle feelings of rejection, and can’t function without a to do list. But surely, surely she isn’t really me.

This morning I lay in bed feeling heavy with the weight of everything, feeling like I’m fighting to get to get my feet under me, and I pray all I know to pray. “God, please give me a foundation to stand on because I’m sinking.”

I hope for a verse. Instead, I get love notes all day long.

(To read more, join me today at (in)courage .  Look forward to seeing you there.)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Resurrection, part 2

(Resurrection, part 1)
For years my goal had been to see my marriage healed and made whole. Now, I seemed to be adrift with no clear direction. I had no idea what I was supposed to do or what I was working toward.
I do.
“Lord, what is the desire of my heart?”
That is when I saw it.
Hanging down, snagged in the fork of a limb, a result of last night’s storms. The broken end close to the children’s swing set. A rather long limb big enough to do a lot of harm to any body, most certainly a child’s body.
Broken limbs. I sighed deep. A common occurrence in Texas in the spring. Not one I enjoyed, especially not now when I had to figure out how to get them to the ground.
Were there more?
I stood and turned to see the top of the house. Sure enough. Lying on the garage roof just hanging onto the electric wire a nice size one, too large to push off with the rake like I had last week’s sacrifice.
God, I don’t want to have to call anyone for help. Really? Was this necessary?
I studied the limb and remembered one of my favorite things: PVC pipe. I went to my extensive collection of pipe, found a long piece, attached a T-joint to the end, and put two short pieces on either side. I put the “T” end of the pipe against the limb and pushed.
The limb leaned, resisted, and suddenly flopped backward off the line. At least I wasn’t going to be a crispy critter today. How to get it down though?
Again, I studied the limb. What if I could…?
I shimmied the T into a fork of the limb, twisted it slightly, pulled gently…
Snagged.
Excellent. Just what I wanted.
Then I walked far from the wire, pulled the limb toward me, and ran when it fell off the house. One limb down. One to go.
Feeling proud of myself, I took my ingenious T pipe, put it against the bottom of the hanging limb, and pushed. The limb obviously had not been well advised because instead of popping up and falling out of the fork, it sort of grunted at me and didn’t budge.
Maybe I hadn’t pushed it far enough. I added to my length of pipe and pushed again. The limb still did not budge.
I stepped back and studied. I saw where a broken limb created a fork. Aha! I’ll snag that just like I did the other one, give a pull, and run when the limb tumbles down.
The snag was easy. The tug was easy. The top section of the pipe left hanging attached to the limb was unexpected.
I tried different angles, different pipe sizes, different everything I could think of. The limb did not budge.
Finally, I sat down.
I had spent who knows how long working on those limbs, and I hadn’t even had a chance to hear God, which is why I was out there anyway. And now, I had to cut up the limb from the house and still had to figure out how to get the limb out of the tree, and I didn’t want to call anyone because although I know God says He blesses people who take care of widows and orphans, I don’t want people getting blessed on my account.
Actually, that isn’t true. I don’t want to bother people or be a burden, and it’s only a limb for crying out loud.
A limb I couldn’t get down.
The rocker creak. I stared at the limb.
“God, really? Was this necessary today? What are You doing anyway?”
“Giving you the desires of your heart.”
I looked at the limb on the ground, and in an instant, I was over three decades away in a wooded area, my hands on the handle of a crosscut saw, my dad’s on the other handle. We were sawing up a tree for winter firewood. I wasn’t even in school yet, but Dad patiently taught me how to pull the saw, not push it, and when he carried big pieces of wood, I carried small ones. We spent many Saturday afternoons in the early fall felling trees, cutting them into woodstove size chunks, and splitting those with an axe.
It was one of my favorite things as a child. Dad and I spent time together, talked…as much as a preschooler and adult can, and were just there…together. I learned about teamwork and found out I could move big trees if they were cut into small enough pieces, and sometimes pieces were just too big for me, and Dad took care of those.
In another instant, I was back at the limb on the ground, the smell of cut wood floated around me, and the shwhoosh of a bow saw grinding its way through the flesh of the limb followed by the thwip of the back-pull kept my attention. Only this time, I wasn’t looking at my dad. I was looking at my daughter. A young lady in the becoming whose hands have never known a blister, much less a callous, with gloves on her hands and her hair pulled back into a ponytail, pushed and pulled  the saw in her grip, buckled the blade, and tried again. This time the coaching voice was mine.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw my son, tying another bundle tight, spool of twine and scissors at his feet.
I smile with pride.
They are learning…
…That hard work won’t kill, how to work as a team, that big things cut into small parts are manageable.
And we talk. We blurt out our frustrations. Buckled saw blades really can jerk the body hard. Limbs are not the most cooperative things ever. It’s not as hard as we thought it might be. By the way, did you know…? And, I was thinking…
In that instant I saw them.
The desires of my heart.
A family that understands the value of a team, embraces doing what needs to be done…even when it is hard or new, is prepared to face life whatever comes, and is sure they can move any obstacle as long as they get it into the right size pieces. My preparing them for when I’m no longer here and it is their turn to be the coaches. Life skills not discussed on a comfy couch but learned in life ways so they really mean something.
What was I to trust God to resurrect?
Our family.
Our sense of wholeness.
Our knowing we are a team.
Our ability to see obstacles and know there is a solution.
Our joy in being there…together.
My vision for how to get us where I want us to be and the wisdom to see prayers answered…even in the form of broken limbs.
Speaking of broken limbs, what about the one still hanging there?
I looked up, and I saw the answer: A rope with a loop on the end threaded through a long pipe. Use the pipe to place the loop around the broken part of the fork, give a hard tug, and run.
Yep, that should be fairly easy to do. In fact, we’d get it done later that afternoon…as a family…living the life I really wanted.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Resurrection, part 1

I looked out the window. There was no sunrise. The clouds looked like they could dump rain any time . I flopped back on my bed and pulled the covers to my chin.
“God, it’s Easter. It is a special day, and I still don’t know how to celebrate it.”
“Come out to the deck with Me.”
I pushed back my covers, rolled out of bed, pulled on sweat bottoms and a hoody jacket, and headed toward the deck. I didn’t really feel like going, but after the last ten months, I knew I would be glad I did.

The rocker creaked, and I tried to listen for His voice, but my mind kept finding places to wander.
Wonder if the purple rose bush is going to come out or if it really died. Still need to work the front beds. I don’t know if the zinnia seeds made it through leaf cover or not. Maybe I should just mulch everything, but when it rains hard it’ll wash the mulch under the eaves. Maybe I should put down gravel there and mulch everything else. There is grass coming up in the gravel walk by the house. I need to weed the gravel.
Sorry, God.
I tried to pull my mind back to focus on Him.
After a few more mind adventures, I prayed in disgust, “Dear God, help me concentrate. I really want to hear what You want to say about Easter.”
“Don’t call it Easter. It’s Resurrection.”
My mind floated back over the last year: marital separation, Mom’s cancer and death, my husband wanting a divorce, his sudden death due to a heart attack, friendships spanning decades coming to abrupt ends, circumstances leading to family split, and…
“Lord, what should I be believing You’ll resurrect?”
My mind was filled with thoughts of the many times the Lord had spoken to me in the last week and repeatedly promised, “I’ll give you the desires of your heart.”
“Lord, I still don’t really know the desires of my heart. You keep asking, but I don’t know.”
“I do.” The words were filled with kind assurance and a gentle smile.
I leaned my head back in the chair and stared ahead.
I used to think I knew the desires of my heart, but in the disintegration of what I used to call my life, they seemed to have disappeared with everything else. My compass for what I was moving toward had disappeared with them. It seemed that life had simply become a to-do list of getting Rob’s estate settled and finding the horizontal surfaces in my house, which had been mostly missing since he died. What happened when the to do list was finished? What happened when the piles of “deal with later” had been dealt with and conquered? People kept talking about forward motion, but I wasn’t sure what I was moving toward anymore.
For years my goal had been to see my marriage healed and made whole. Now, I seemed to be adrift with no clear direction. I had no idea what I was supposed to do or what I was working toward.
I do.
“Lord, what is the desire of my heart?”
That is when I saw it.

(Please join me tomorrow for "Resurrection, part 2)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fantastical

Tomorrow is Easter, and I am trying to figure out how to celebrate it.

Honestly, I thought I could let is slip by mostly ignored, but I can't.

It's not the children or the need to do the traditional Easter basket. It's...trying to grasp it...Easter that is.

Oh, I know. Easter is the celebration of Christ rising from the dead after being crucified and lying in a tomb three days. Pretty crazy and far fetched. I mean, really. A man is nailed to a cross, left there until he dies, is buried and sealed in a tomb, and just comes back to life three days later. Pretty fantastical, if you ask me.

And if you ask me, I'll tell you I believe every word of it. I believe the same God who created life from an empty void can create life in an empty body. I believe tombs are not defined by their looks but by the lack of life, and I believe God has no problem speaking into tombs...even the tomb where I feel like most of my life got buried in the last year...and creating life.

Not just any life, but life we've never seen before, could never imagine, was too amazing to hope for.

As I look to tomorrow and wait for Easter, I am standing outside a tomb, disillusioned by what is inside, but still wondering what amazing thing that seems too great to hope for is being created by a God who has power to speak life where death seems to reign.

Sound fantastical?

Yep, and fantastical is exactly what I am hoping for.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Everywhere

It's one of those days when I simply miss Rob. Everything seems to remind me of him.

We went to the movie theatre. I'm not one for movies, but Rob loved them. He was big about first day movies. Well, some of them. As we walked in, I saw the advertisement for Thor. He was looking forward to going to that one.

I mowed the yard this morning, and there are trees growing in the rock retaining wall. This time each year we'd spend the day working in the yard. I'd mow, clean out flowerbeds, and put leaves in the compost pile. Rob would dig up the trees trying to grow between the rocks, cut limbs over the sitting area, and clean off the roof. When we were done, we'd take a long nap and watch TV. Usually one of us would rub the other's shoulders or legs or back, and we'd just be. It wasn't glorious...and it was.

On the way to the movie theatre, we listened to Ray Stevens. I could hear Rob spurting quotes.
"How did you get that big ol' motorcycle up on that high dive."

I thought about one of the funny text conversations we had. He texted:

"Standing in line at Walmart."
"Wearing nothing but my fezz."
"People keep staring. I think they are jealous because it has a propellor on top."

When he was on the road, he'd call, and sometimes when I answered, he'd say, "It's me again, Margaret."

I always laughed and asked, "Do you have a rubber chicken and peach preserves?"

His laughter would ring through the phone, and he'd say, "You know it, babe."

He had an amazing laugh and an amazing smile.

Tonight I was going to make chicken kabobs on the grill. I just stood at the grill and stared. I can use the grill. I know how, and I know how to make chicken, but it makes my stomach turn because I see Rob there in his shorts and t-shirt, working his food magic. He was a Grill King.

And I wonder how long days like this will come. I wonder how long I will have days that would be easier spent in bed trying to sleep through the sadness.

I know. The key is to look forward because God is doing wonderful things, and He has great plans. I do know that.

I also know Rob and I got a lot wrong, but when we got it right, it was amazing, and there were a lot of things I didn't like about our marriage, but there were a lot of things I loved about him, and today, those things seem to be everywhere.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

When I'm Not Holy Motivated

"Jerri, can I ask you something? How 'bad' is it when the only thing stopping me from giving in to similar temptations is the fear of someone else finding out? There's such a long, complicated story behind the temptation, but it's there nonetheless. Am I just plain rebellious or does it count that it's coming from a place of hurt and abandonment?" --question posted in response to "Tempting, Very Tempting Indeed


That is a fabulous question!


In fact, I have asked myself that question...what feels like a few million times. I wish I had an answer for you...for us...but I don't...but, maybe I do.


I would love to tell you I was motivated to decline the invite for righteous, holy, and humble reasons, but I think today I shall refrain from adding to my hypocrisy resume and just tell you the truth.


The truth is I was afraid of getting caught and the HUGE ramifications of that.
I was afraid of my children finding out.
I was afraid of pissing God off.
I was afraid of the spiritual consequences.
I was afraid of the damage to my reputation as a Christian writer if anyone found out.
I was afraid of the effects on the promises God has made me (ie., "Jerri, you're too much of a failure for the stuff I promised, and my offer is now null and void.")


All of those things were elements that played into my final decision, but none of them was the deciding factor.


The real reason I didn't go away with him was because I didn't want to hate myself when it was over, and I would have.


I wasn't as worried about facing God as I was facing the mirror.


Since Rob left, it has been a huge struggle to overcome the feelings of rejection and all the stuff that goes with that. As you said "hurt and abandonment." I'm so familiar with those feelings.


Then there is this man who is handsome and funny and...inviting me to be with him. I wasn't delusional. He wasn't asking for forever or even coffee next week. I saw it for what it was, but still, it felt good to be attractive and desirable...even for a few days.


However, we were not in the same place mentally or emotionally. For him, it really was nothing more than a fun romp. I totally understood that. Could I actually do that? I know the right answer is, "No, I could never do that because it is a sin, and I would run the other direction." Sorry to disappoint. The truth is yeah. I'm an adult woman with a sex drive, and as such, yes, I think I could have a nameless weekend fling. However, that wasn't what I wanted.


What I wanted was to be wanted...really wanted...for me.


This was not going to be that, and I am all too familiar with the feeling of simply being "convenient" and how cheap that feels. I didn't want to be just convenient or cheap.


I didn't want to feel like I meant nothing. I didn't want to reinforce the feelings of rejection or agandonment. I didn't want to know I had failed in my spiritual convictions. I didn't want...to lie in bed with memories of how I had embraced a lie just because it felt good at that moment.

I didn't want to hate myself . And I would have hated myself.

My real motivation for saying no wasn't God. My motivation was not wanting to look in the mirror and being disgusted by what I saw.


Is it bad that my motivation wasn't "because God says so"? If I am a real Christian with real devotion to God, why did I even entertain conversation that could lead to the invitation? Obviously this was not a spur of the moment thing, so why did I allow myself to wander in this inappropriate thought life and relationship? Why was I ever tempted? Was it rebellion? I knew the right thing, but I didn't choose it. For a long time, I chose what felt good at the moment. Does that make me a hardhearted sinner...or incredibly human?


The black and white religious me says (in a low military bark), "It's horrible! Your motivation for holiness should be fear of God, humility before Him, and deep gratitude for the sacrifices He made for you! Anything less is a pathetic representation of supposed Christianity, and you need to search your heart and get right before He gets tired of your lukewarm commitment!"


Trust me. I know that is what it says because I hear it scream at me daily.


BUT when I asked God about it, I felt like He said, "I look at the heart."


When I asked what kind of heart does what she knows is wrong anyway, He reminded me of my drinking problem and addiction to prescription pills.


When I was seventeen, I was raped. I "coped" with alcohol and pills. I knew the alcohol was wrong, and I knew the pills and lying to get them were wrong, BUT I really liked feeling better. When I did put those things down, God started healing me, and after awhile, I didn't want those things because I didn't need them to feel better.


When my dad died, I couldn't sleep. Insomnia is a common thing with grief, and I went to my doctor to ask what to do. She suggested a beer or glass of wine before bed, and I nearly hyperventilated. When I told her I thought that was a bad idea because of my past addictions, she said, "I don't think there is a problem. The reasons you drank then are settled, and you're not an alcoholic. You'll be fine."


In a huge step of faith, I trusted her wisdom, and she was right. I didn't crawl back in a bottle. Last fall I had a few drinking times, but I haven't even felt the desire since Rob died. I'm not an alcoholic. I was just a hurting person who wanted to feel better.


Is that what I am now? Am I a rebellious sinner that looks good on the internet, or am I hurting person who wants the pain to stop...even for a little while? Does God know the difference, and if so, does it matter to Him?


I don't know.


I know I confessed to God from the time Rob left that I knew I was vulnerable and could make stupid choices, and I asked Him to protect me. He has been faithful to do that. I know this is not the first invitation I've received, and I said no then, too. I know I'm not sorry I didn't go.


I also know whatever this is, this is not where God wants me to stay.


Oh, temptation will be there. I'm a human being, and temptation is just part of the reality. Annoying fact, but true. However, I don't have to be an easy target. Instead of saying, I am tempted to do this because of the feelings of rejection and abandonment, I'm asking God to address those feelings and heal the wounds that causes them. God doesn't want me to be wounded. Jesus said it's not the healthy that needs a doctor but the sick. Well, my sick heart needs a Doctor. I can hold on to being sick as an excuse from now on, but that only becomes my prison. I don't want to be in prison. Jesus came to set the captives free. I want to be free, and I ask Him for that.


Jesus never called me "just convenient", and if He is willing to die for me, He doesn't consider me "cheap". Why would I believe a mere human who says those things about me?


Is saying no for "the wrong reason" or not saying no for "the right reason" rebellion? My motivation for being healed isn't all about God or His glory either. My motivation is a lot about my wanting to feel better. Is that rebellion...or is that incredibly human?


I don't know.


However, I do know God has offered me healing for the things that make me an easy target, and it is rebellion to refuse that healing. It is rebellion to refuse His grace because of my pride.


As for everything else, as a parent, if my children are offered drugs, I hope they say no. I don't care why they say no as long as they do. God is the perfect Dad. Maybe He thinks the same way. And maybe He thinks if I just let Him heal me, all of this will be moot anyway.


Praying for your healing...for your peace...for you to be the woman of God you want to be...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tempting, Very Tempting Indeed

"Why don't you go away with me three or four days?"

I stared at the email. One line. One simple question.

I never knew butterflies could make a person want to vomit, but the ones fluttering in my stomach did just that.

I won't lie to you. It was tempting, very tempting. The idea of spending the evenings laughing and talking, having dinner with someone who wanted to talk about something besides Smash Bros, going to sleep in his arms and waking up in a bed that wasn't empty...

Because sometimes beds can be really empty.

I could go. I knew a few friends who wouldn't mind taking the kids for me to have a few days away. They'd been telling me I needed time away. They would be thrilled I was actually heeding their advice. I wouldn't have to tell them how I was going to spend it. I had a few meetings, but I could reschedule them. It would take a bit of work, but I could do it if I wanted to.

And suddenly the butterflies that were fluttering wildly that had seemed so excited...made me want to vomit.

Did I really want to go?

He is handsome. Amazing eyes. Beautiful smile, and at one time, we had been very attracted to one another. The attraction was long gone for both of us, any idea of what could be had been lost, and we were more sure of what we didn't want it to be. I had no idea why he even asked the question. At that moment, I didn't care.

Honestly, I didn't care about sex. Obviously the unspoken part of the question was did I want to go away for a sexual romp no one but us had to know about, and at one time, the offer would have been very tempting, but this time, that wasn't the temptation.

The temptation was simply having someone in bed that filled up the space where Rob had been, and yes, for two or three nights, I could have had that. I could have had a warm body to reach out and touch with my hand or my foot in the middle of the night. I could have drifted to sleep breathing his cologne. For two or three nights I could have stepped into a fantasy world, and I wanted that fantasy world. I wanted to hear a heartbeat. I wanted to feel his arms. I wanted to be kissed. I wanted...to feel better...to not feel so alone...

...Except when I came home...and my bed was empty...my king-size bed would be the size of an ocean, and once again, I'd be drowning in its emptiness. I'd still wake up in the night and reach over to touch Rob. I'd still curl up to my pillow and wish it had his heartbeat. I would still....

...have a king-size bed that feels like an ocean sometimes...and I didn't want to drown in it all over again.

"I can't go. I have meetings."

The truth...mostly. I didn't mention I could change them. I wouldn't change them.

I paused with my finger on the "Send" button. Oh God, it would feel so good...

...until I came home...

Finally, I clicked the button, and the email instantly disappeared into the electronic nothingness.

I closed my computer, rolled over on my bed, and stared at the wall.

This was my only chance to be with him. He wouldn't invite me again. That was okay, though...because this was never really about being with him. It wasn't about his warm body in bed with me. It was about an empty side of the bed and wishing Rob's warm body was there. And sometimes not being without Rob--even when it is the absolute wrong way--is tempting. It is very tempting indeed.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

My K2

Okay, I confess. I ahd to go back and read the "About Me" section. I needed a reminder. Do you have those? The little things you read or see that help you get perspective when you've just tripped over the crack in the sidewalk and scaling the sheer face of K2 is on the calendar for next week?

My K2 is simple. Okay, it really isn't, but it feels better to say it is.

Last year my husband and I separated less than a month after our 19th anniversary. It was kind of strange in that I was devestated but not surprised, and in some ways, I was relieved. I don't know if you've ever been so tired of fighting for something or against something that you're just glad to not fight anymore. That was me.

I thought I was getting a handle on a new normal when my mom was diagnosed with cancer a month later. Two weeks later she was living with the children and me. Two weeks after that, she returned to live with my stepdad. A month later I received a call. Mom was sick, and my stepdad didn't know what to do. He didn't know what was wrong. I did. The tumors had won, and we were in the final days of the battle. Five days later, my mom died.

I can honestly tell you that was five months ago, and I'm not sure I have had the time to consciously miss my mom.

A month after I told Mom goodbye, we buried my uncle. I had lived with him when I was in college. He was wonderful, and he was gone.

A few weeks after that, my suspicions were confirmed, and I knew my husband wasn't coming home. The separation had transformed into preparation for divorce.

I went to bed and cried...for about two weeks.

Christmas came, and I tried to soak it in. Well, I tried to soak in the good stuff. It seemed like only a piece of what it had always been. I had no parents there. My dad died years ago. Mom was gone, and my stepdad was with his family. My ex-husband-in-the-making, my brother, and my children were there, and I tried to memorize the moments knowing next year there would be no husband and my brother planned to be gone. I tried to grasp anything that looked like what it used to be while letting it be a stepping stone into what life was becoming.

Two weeks later, I filed a petition for divorce.

And I went back to bed and cried.

As we approached mid-February, my mind seemed to count the days until my divorce was final and my marriage was over. It wasn't the marriage I had dreamed of, but I had dreamed it could be, and saying it wasn't going to be was harder than I ever imagined. As each day passed, on one hand I wanted to move on, to get beyond the farce we had created...even in our separation. I wanted to start a new life like he had already begun to do. On the other hand, with each passing day, we came closer to the reality that we had failed, that "till death do you part" had been exchanged for "unless I think this is too hard and want something easier".

Then about 12:15 am, February 15th, I wrapped my bathrobe around me to answer the door. I hoped it was a neighbor in need of something...anything. It wasn't.

My husband had suffered a massive heart attack. He was gone.

Nearly seven weeks later, I am a widow, not an ex-wife. I am figuring out the balance of being a wife whose husband left nine months ago and a mom whose children's dad died less than two months ago. I am trying to roll with the grief of losing so much and the reality that we wouldn't have been getting a divorce if there really was that much to lose. I am mostly finished settling the estate, and I ready for my life to no longer be focused on the dead. I'm ready to focus on the living.

I am ready to actively pursue and live a life that I love, not just tolerate or endure. It is the life I want my children to live, with courageous abandon of the normal so they can wildly pursue the extraordinary.

I want to be an extraordinary example of that kind of living.

That is my K2.