Happy 14th birthday to Lydia. She is beautiful inside and out. I am so proud to call her my daughter, and of the young lady she is becoming.
But she is growing up way too fast. I remember these days as if they were yesterday.
The 100 Acre Wood has been my home for more years than any other. Tim and I spent half of our married life here. Moving here
was a bit spontaneous. It was a little, maybe a lot, crazy. I look back on those early years now, and can't quite believe we did it.
The first five years involved a lot of hard work, frustrations, and learning.We really didn't have a clue what we were getting into, and even what we thought we knew was highly romanticized, but it also was a grand adventure. It made me happy to have my kids roaming the woods. We were proud of our meals that came entirely from our farm. I loved our variety of animals, and sharing our farm with friends and family. It wasn't easy, but it was highly rewarding.
Then my dad died, and we had to reconsider how life in the 100 Acre Woods would change. I find it ironic that I am sitting here almost exactly five years later writing the same kind of post as I did then. That post
was written just a few months before Tim would receive his initial melanoma diagnosis. It was here that our adventures started to feel more like burdens.
We did away with our variety of animals, and focused on pigs and chickens. We worked, but constantly seem to take one step forward and two steps back. We struggled to keep up what had already been established. Tackling the many started or dreamed of projects was out of the question. The excitement, rewards, and enjoyment began to dwindle.
I still held on to this place, to those dreams, perhaps out of stubbornness, perhaps out of a sense of needing to complete what we started. Tim and I planned to live here forever. We planned to build our earth bermed off grid house a bit farther back on the ridge. When he died, people asked if I planned to stay here. At the time
I couldn't even process that question, and I also resolved that I wouldn't make any major decisions for a year.
Truthfully, then, I thought the question was more about could I, was able to. In my mind the answer was yes, of course I could. Staying here would be a lot of work. It would require some muscle and skill that I don't have, but it is possible. It didn't occur to me, that the question really wasn't am I able, but do I want to.
In the past month or so, the answer to that question feels more like no. The adventure feels gone. The burden remains, and I don't think I want to work that hard anymore. Everything here feels unfinished and overwhelming. I don't think I want to pursue the dreams we had for the 100 Acre Wood without Tim.
I know I have a impulsive side. I know that emotionally I am still a little unstable. I am trying to stick to the wise advice of no major decisions for a year. Yet, in my heart, I feel like the decision has already been made. This doesn't feel like home anymore. This is no longer an adventure. It is a burden.
We did it. Check those off the list. We got through Christmas. We passed our anniversary date. We remembered Tim. We missed him, but we enjoyed our holidays with friends and family. I didn't end up a sobbing mess at any point.
Then it happened. A first I wasn't prepared for. Notice that theme? It is always the unexpected things that wreck me.
I went to the shop that processes our hogs. I've been there several times since Tim has been gone. I don't know if others in the shop know, but this particular employee didn't. He asked me how Tim was doing.
I don't even know what I said to him. Poor guy didn't know what to say to me. I just couldn't get to my vehicle fast enough. The door closed, and I was an instant blubbering snotty mess. This happened Monday. Typing this on Wednesday, I am much the same. In fact, this whole week I've felt a bit like I was under a cloud. It probably has to do with the post holiday blahs, but it also feels like that one innocent little question has knocked me back onto the emotional roller coaster.
When I posted about our anniversary on Facebook, friends commented, "It's not fair." It isn't. The grief process isn't fair either. We've lost Tim. I want to remember him with warm fuzzies. I want to miss him, but get on with life without the scab on this big gaping wound getting ripped off with a tiny, innocent question.
I am impatient with the process.
We wish you a Merry Christmas. And we are having a merry Christmas. No, really I mean it.
This holiday season has been hard. We are emotional. We've had frustrations and challenges which all seem so much larger while we are mourning. My head isn't all in the game, and I've forgotten things. We have had tears of sadness and of anger. Sometimes it has been ugly.
But we are working through it together. Mom losing her cool one particularly ugly evening unexpectedly seemed to make a breakthrough with one particular child. Nolan and I were having a hard time. There was a lot of attitude. There was a lot of tough guy covering up a wounded heart. Maybe seeing mom break is what it took to break through his shell. I don't know, but I do know since then he has been a much kinder Nolan, the big teddy bear that I knew was still there.
I am excited for presents. If you know me well, you might be surprised to hear that. We normally keep that part of Christmas to a minimum. I did still stick to our four gift strategy, technically. I just went a little bigger with it. I know any therapist would tell you I am totally trying to compensate heart hurts with things, but I don't care. I found some things I think the kids are going to love, and I'm excited to see them open them!
I love having all the kids home this week. It has been a relatively low key week. I've spent a lot of time in the kitchen. We've baked, and I've cooked real meals. Well, dinners anyway. Frozen pizza for lunch while mom is baking cookies does happen here. We had a Star Wars movie marathon. It is nice to have the boys around. With the school schedule, we barely see them during the week. When they are home, I spend most of the time nagging Nolan to get things done. I am enjoying this more relaxed time.
I find comfort in keeping our traditions. Our traditions are pretty low key. I know for some who are grieving, traditions bring sadness, for me they bring comfort. I guess in knowing life does go on. We cut our tree from our property. This one is pretty scraggly, but it serves the purpose. It is even decorated, which is better than we did last year. I baked some of our favorite cookies. I baked a cheesecake, Tim's favorite. We will go to Christmas Eve services. We will stay home for a quiet (or as quiet as it gets around here,) Christmas morning, and travel the next day.
I am in awe of the continuing support we receive from our community of friends and family. People continue to support us with their time, money, words, and prayers. It is awesome to be loved and remembered.
I am learning to quiet my heart, and turn toward the Lord. That is what He has been teaching me through this whole process. When the emotions, the daily tasks, and the frustrations seem overwhelming there still is peace and joy. And isn't this the season of peace and joy?
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