The Punctuation of Life

The past couple of months have been hard.  They have been defined by loss, grief, sadness, a broken heart, and reflection.  But they have also been punctuated by happiness, faith, hope, love, and joy.  And let’s just say that punctuation is what makes ALL the difference.

 

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Three wonderful people have said good-bye for now, although it always seems too soon, and I have realized that it is not for us to decide.  As I have reflected on these wonderful people I can’t help but think about important people in my life and truly for life itself.  Today is the nine year anniversary of my seizure– aka- my second chance of life.  It is always a solemn time for me to be reminded of the life I have lived since that fateful day in September.  It is a time for reflection on the goodness of others and their willingness to help me and fight for me, when I was truly helpless.

This year is has been different though.  It feels different due to the loss around me.  It feels joyful to know that there is hope and that even though there is hope and that even though grief is not a great friend, it can be a wonderful teacher.  I have realized this time how I have been grieving for a long time for someone that I love and my heart feels like it has been broken for a long time.  She is still here, physically, but has slipped away slowly each year getting farther away from who I know her as.  Her mind is fogged, her words don’t come to her lips, her fingers don’t play the piano anymore, and her hands are unsteady.  It has been a cruel process to watch, especially from 300+ miles away.  The decline has been felt and watched from each member of our family.  We are grieved, we are all unsure, and it is hard going to memorials/funerals because I know that someday it will be me behind the tear-filled eyes.

But it is not me officially, so it feels foreign to feel that unwanted friend of grief.  My heart longs for some more punctuation and fewer run-on sentences.  That is all we have, two dates with a dash in-between, but it is the dash that makes all the difference.  For now, I am trying to make the most of the punctuation and enjoy those little things of life.  I have done a lot of living since nine years ago- brought three precious kids into the world, have a wonderful husband, and have not always made perfect decisions, but I have tried my best.  I am praying I can do my best with my time with my mom and help her enjoy the punctuation as well.

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Simplify

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A long time ago my mother-in-law gave me a little plaque that says, “simplify.”  It has held a lot of meaning for me through the years but recently that plaque has been catching my eye.  As I have been pondering on this, it seems like I have always just lived simply.  I haven’t wanted to do or have extravagant things, just have always longed for the basic things in life.  I grew up with the knowledge that our family didn’t have a lot of money and sometimes that was frustrating to me when I was comparing myself to others, but looking back I am grateful for the small and simple things in my life when I was growing up.  We would take turns going to my grandparent’s homes on Sundays after church and what sweet memories those are to me.  I loved going to their homes.  My Grandpa and Grandma on my dad’s side was always an adventure.  They had this amazing hanging bench swing in a gazebo in the back yard, so many wonderful memories there.  My Grandma and Grandpa on my mom’s side lived on a little farm in the middle of nowhere land, but it was always so much fun to go.  My Grandma would play cards with us almost every time we went and she would always make us think that we were going to win, BUT she always won and won BIG!  She was also an avid reader.  I loved looking at the books on her shelf and asking her what she was reading.  My mom in past years told me that I was a lot like my Grandma and I am so grateful for that.  Today some of my most prized possessions are some of my Grandma’s books that I have.  They are tender and sweet memories of my beloved Grandma.  I guess this is where my love of simple things comes from, the simple memories of my life that I treasure.

I know that my kids will not remember the “stuff” they get but the feeling that they had when they worked hard for something and the small memories.  I hope they remember all the silly tickle fights we have and the kissy hugs and long road trips to their Grandma’s and Grandpa’s homes.  When we were looking for a home, instead of a big house with all the room that we want for cheaper, we decided a smaller home closer to my husband’s work was more important.  Our home we live in is nothing fancy, but it FEELS like home and we love to have fun.  We don’t have any streaming video or cable or video gaming systems, we have PBS and we have each other.  Every night is a gift to spend together and it usually goes too fast, bedtime seems to come faster every night.  We don’t have money to have expensive clothes for any of us, but I am grateful for all the people in my life that have passed down clothes to us, what a blessing.  We don’t have a huge budget by any means but we have the basics and we choose to live simply and enjoy the small things.  I can’t imagine life without my amazing husband and my precious little ones, who are teaching me so much.  I am grateful for the memories of those that are not here physically, but who I can hear cheering me on, when I am feeling down.  I am grateful to live a simple, yet full life, where I can hopefully make a difference in a little way, just like my Grandma.