Written by a Drew Employee a fascinating look at women in the prime of life.
Read to the end to get a prequel of the book.by
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Many things have happened in my life over the last few years and not all of them have to do with being a widow and while I do believe that mourning a person; that is, the missing of their presence in your life, never really ends, I do believe that when you have done the hard work of grief sometimes life can begin anew.
I met L and asked him out on a date before I realized I was head over heels in love with Don. L has been there for me since I began Seminary until graduation and ever since. He was there when I married Don and he was there when Don died, he was the friend I called when I fell apart and couldn’t hold it all together anymore and he has been there whenever I needed him.
We began dating in July of 2016. We went for ice cream with only one umbrella on a night when two were definitely in order. He brought me home to my friend’s house and he dried off in her living room while her three dogs checked him out thoroughly. After passing all canine examinations I walked him to the door and he kissed me goodnight.
A goodnight kiss from someone you have been friends with for many years can be pretty scary. It is a kiss that changes the friendship no matter what. His kiss that night told me that I would never ever think of him the same way again.
Two weeks ago he kissed me again. It was another kiss that told me that I would never ever think of him the same way again. It was a kiss that took place after he got up from being down on one knee to ask me a question, a question that I answered yes to. The question that we will both soon say “I do” to.
We are engaged to be married.by
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Twelve hundred days have passed since I stopped being a wife and started being a widow. It is a change in title that no one ever wants to experience but so many of us will. You might be surprised that I am still counting. Let me reassure you that I don’t mark off each day on a calendar and count them individually, but please realize that they do all count. The Birthday Days, the special to only us days, the holidays, the anniversaries of everything; from the first kiss, to the first I love you, to the proposal, the first dance, the first vacation, the first everything that was supposed to be followed by years more of first’s, second’s, tenth’s, twentieth’s and so many more.
Widowhood doesn’t end with a new relationship, a new romance, a new first kiss. Don will always be the person I thought I would spend forever with and didn’t get to. Will I fall in love again YES! Have I already fallen in love again and had my heart broken again, yes! Will I risk it all again for love, ABSOLUTELY!
Becoming a widow doesn’t mean my life is over it simply meant that my life as I had thought it would be, never will be. Twelve hundred days are many more days than Don and I did get to spend together but life is not in the quantity of someone’s days it is in the quality of the living of those days.
Don taught me to live all of my days with passion, love, inspiration, truthfulness, transparency, and humility. I try to remember those things every day. I still to this day do not watch television, drink alcohol, smoke anything, or let the balance of my bank account determine the generosity of my heart, my time, or my passion.
My job as Director of Community Development at Butterfly Wings is a volunteer position that may never earn me a dime but it is something that I am passionate about and that is what helps me honor the things that Don taught me. Will I ever be rich? Yes, rich with the love of my family and friends, rich with the fullness of heart that comes with helping someone out who needs a hand up, rich in the knowledge that I am a beloved child of God. Will I ever have enough money to buy a brand new car again? Probably not. Do I care? No.
Life is not about the destination, life is not about the journey either, life is about the person, and people you get to spend the journey with. My wish for you today on this 1200’th day is not that you never ever have to lose someone, because that is unrealistic and not how this world of mortal souls works, my wish is that you love the people that you are on this journey with and that you love them fully, without reservations, without limitations and my wish is that you feel that love in return from your family, from your friends, and from God, because you also are a beloved child of God.by
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It has been two years since I published the thoughts that follow. The anniversaries still come, the memories still bring a smile or a tear, the calendar continues to be a reminder of what once was, but it is also a tool to help plan what is to come. There have now been more milestones since Don died than we actually shared together. More birthdays, Thanksgivings, Easters, and soon Christmases will be celebrated since his passing.
As I look forward to more birthdays, weddings, graduations and celebrations of all kinds it is good to also look back and remember what once could have been, and thank God for what there still is. There is still love, kindness, forgiveness, family, friends, and hope! Hope for a future that contains joy, love, happiness, and family.
As we all look towards Christmas this year during Advent let us not forget that for some this will be the first Christmas without someone near and dear. So please pick up the phone, send them a note, or just visit the person who is missing someone for the first time this Christmas.
I seem to have a different relationship with the calendar since my world came to an end six months ago. The painful passing of time being marked in increments of greater and greater length. First it was hours, then days, weeks, now months. Each leap meaning I am continuing to live and go forward.
Going forward also means sometimes looking ahead, which is not the same as it used to be. Looking ahead to the next meaningful date on the calendar means mixed emotions at best, or with fear and dread of the survivability of the date most often. First it was the blur of days before his funeral, then his memorial service in our hometown, and now all of the little, but oh so meaningful, anniversaries from our way too short life together. The first time we met, the first e-mail, the first card, the first letter, the first concert together.
That first time we hugged and felt the spark of desire. The first look into his eyes knowing that I would never be the same again after sinking into the deep blue pools of love that they held. The first time my lips accidentally brushed his cheek as we embraced to say goodnight. The first kiss. The first time he said “I love you” and the first time I replied. The first time we danced and the delight in his eyes while we clumsily made our way around the room.
Little anniversaries that we celebrated in small but meaningful ways, flowers, cards, a special dinner at home or a night out to hear some music. We both kept a dated journal to remember special days. There would be notes tucked into books to surprise each other, or sometimes a special sweet treat from the freezer or the oven.
I have also “survived” the big dates on the calendar; Our wedding anniversary, Thanksgiving, his birthday and my own. There are special dates in the Church Calendar that have great meaning to us as well. All Saints Day was a date not just to remember that he has gone on to join the Great Communion of Saints but it had special meaning to the two of us before this year as well. We had both suffered losses in our lives and it was through loss and through our faith that part of our connection was built. One of the early things Don did for me in our friendship was to go up in my place and bring home the rose offered in our local church for my Mother when I couldn’t be there that day due to obligations at school.
This week we have had the First Sunday in Advent and World Aids Day. A year ago those two dates coincided with Communion Sunday and I had the privilege of helping to serve communion to Don for what I thought would be the first time. It was the only time I offered the elements to my husband and I am eternally grateful that I had that chance.
There are more dates to come as I look at the calendar and sometimes I am not sure if I can endure the memories and other times I know that without the memories I could not endure.
In this season of preparing for Christ, in this season of Advent, I will prepare my heart for the pain it must go through and I will prepare my heart for the JOY of Christ, because in ‘All My Days’ I know that Christ is with me, just as I know Don is with me always.by
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