Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Fifty


I don’t know what to do with this day…your “would-be-fiftieth-birthday”.

I haven’t found anything in the Bible about birthdays and heaven.  I don’t know if you age there or not.  I can’t imagine there is any significance to your earthly birthday anymore once there…but it is still an emotional day for us here.

Gone at forty-five.

When I turned 45, I spent the year keenly aware that it was the age you were when you left us.  Surreal doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling.  Too young.  You were far too young to leave us.  Then, I turned 46 and in this year, I have felt an urgency to LIVE.  I have emotions of guilt that I have now outlived your age here…I feel heavy responsibility to live for the both of us…I have utter exhaustion in doing this life without you.  Forty-six has been tough and beautiful, deep and healing, difficult and reflective for me.

But today, today you would be 50.  And I cry at the thought.  I found myself mentally, emotionally, and physically weakened with the knowledge of this date’s approach.  Five years from our planned retirement.  This time with the kids as they battle their own grief monsters, complete high school, and launch into college is precious to me; and it comes with such a deep heaviness in my soul.  As I told you in your final weeks, 
“I know with God I CAN do this; I just don’t WANT to do this life without you.” 
It isn’t fair.  It stinks.  It is lonely and more difficult than I ever could have fathomed.  Not that there aren’t wonderful times and beauty and laughter and joy…but this is HARD.  Our constant awareness of you missing from every milestone cuts from every angle.      

We would be on a family trip somewhere exotic this week.  Celebrating YOU.  Zip lining, parasailing, sun soaking, beach volleyball-ing, carrot cake eating celebrations.  Today just leaves me physically ill without you here.

Instead, we flip through photographs, get lost in memories, and smile at the sky hoping He gives you a glance at us as God catches our every tear.

You are loved. 



Thursday, December 21, 2017

Christmas 2017 Emotions




I awoke this morning; conflicted emotions twirling about within my soul.

I am happy. I am blessed with these precious humans God has briefly given me charge over.

I am weeping.  I miss their daddy so very much. I mourn for all he has missed these past four years.

I am joy filled at who our children have grown to become; their sincerity, their humor {often inappropriate}, their perseverance. The process of growth always requires stretching and discomfort. It hasn’t been easy shepherding them to this point, and we will face difficulties in the path ahead as well; but when the dust settles on each day and I pause to observe, my heart finds answered prayers sprinkled throughout and deep gratitude.

I am specifically sentimental over the Christmas season this year.

My word for 2017 has been “open”.  I have prayed daily for God to prepare and open my heart for my future. (Think empty nest on the horizon here.) I have tried my hardest to remain grace filled and open minded in my parenting decisions. I have allowed myself to be open to the floodgate of griefs’ emotions as they have washed over me (so much hardness in this process).

And here we are, the three of us, entering the final days of 2017 together.  My heart is thankful. 

These people are such a glorious reflection of their father and my love affair. My three greatest gifts in this life are my personal salvation through Christ Jesus, the honor of being the wife of Tim Streller, and the privilege of being mom to these incredible humans.

Merry Christmas from the Streller Family

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Every Little Thing



Yesterday, I cried for at least a solid one third of my day.

{I think that’s the real reason I don’t cry very often…I’ll leak a tear here or there, I’ll choke up and have to take a moment to regain my composure, but rarely do I ever just allow myself to bawl it out; because once I allow the floodgates to open…I can’t rein it back in.  There is definitely a point of no return.  And yesterday morning, I hit that point.}

Our kids are growing up.  I think that is what triggered this cry-fest.  All the years of us praying for the blessing of parenthood, followed by the years of praying daily over their lives and who they will become, praying fervently for God to mold them into independent, kind, leaders with a closeness to Him and good friendships…only to see it come to fruition. 

And now, we are embarking on an adventure that Tim and I dreamed together, yet I am left here alone to oversee; this launching of them into adulthood.  Their senior years of high school, the college visits and decisions, the family vacations, the navigation of first relationships; it’s a lot for a two parent home to guide.  And here I am.  Solo.  Quite frankly, I’m just winging it most days, trusting God to fill in the gaps of my parenting failures, and begging Him to help me pause to enjoy the blessing that these two are in each moment. 

Answered prayer is what they are.  My hearts cry was for the gift of motherhood.  God heard the petitions of my heart and granted me this blessing.  And with the blessing of being their mother, comes the experiencing of all their milestone life events.  Each one marvelously beautiful and joy filled!  Nothing can take away from that truth.  But likewise, each now has a tinge of sorrow and missing.  I refuse to give it permission to overpower the moments of happiness, but that heart-sting is still there.  

You see, once your spouse (or parent if you are a child) is gone, nothing is ever the same.  No joy experienced is without the shadow of missing.  There is always a longing for the lost one to be experiencing it beside you.  It never really goes away; this yearning for their presence. 

This is the place where joy and sorrow co-mingle.   


WE are the place where happiness and grief collide.


And it is okay.

The tears are okay.  The joy and laughter are okay.  It is ALL a swirl of our reality. 

Every little thing…he is missing from.  It simply is what it is.

So if you see me gazing off into the distance, eyes brimming with tears, breath ragged; know that I am just fine.  I am grateful for the blessings in my life.  I am trying my best to navigate witnessing the fulfillment of so very many shared dreams alone, and trying to soak it all in for the both of us.  Sometimes I get a little lost in the moment, but love always wins and gratitude is always present.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Surprised Missing Role



She had surgery today. 

Our girl. 

It wasn’t massive, only an hour or so under anesthesia, but my heart still felt anxiety.

Tears stung my eyes as I prayed over her last night and this morning.

Will medical events; however minor, ever feel normal again? 

I sat in the waiting room with her boyfriend and my mom, journaled a prayer into the prayer book I keep for her, and thought a lot of you. 

I’ve spent far too many hours in waiting rooms petitioning our God for safety and healing.

Today brings back the flood of memories from being your caregiver for our 19 years of marriage.   

Never a year passed where we weren’t at one specialist or another concerning your health; countless surgeries, dozens and dozens of them. 

We are home now.  She is resting as comfortably as possible.  I am caring for her, changing ice packs, explaining where she is to her as the anesthesia continues to cause confusion.  And a lump forms in my throat. 

I miss being your caregiver.  I didn’t realize until now how much I miss that role.  I miss YOU the most, obviously, but I miss expressing my love to you through tenderly caring for you all those years. 

As I read through all of the pre- and post- surgical instructions last night and organized all of her medications on the bathroom counter, I had so many memories of doing the same for you.  It had become a part of who I am.  Another consequential loss compounded by your departure to heaven.

I am tired.  So very weary lately.  No particular reason.  Life is good.  We continue to engage as a family and laugh daily.  But I would love a week to not get out of bed.  Although I fear if I ever take such luxury, I may never return to living.  So, we press on.  We put our feet on the ground each morning and we do our work, love each other, look for ways to serve others, and keep making the next right choice.

And we try to enjoy the process of figuring out who we are now, without you by our side.  Three and a half years into this “newness” and I’m not sure any of us have fully found ourselves yet.  And that’s okay.  We will get there eventually. 

Our one constant, the solitary that has remained unchanged in your absence is the presence of God.
He is enough.  I trust Him to redefine each of our roles in this life in His perfect timing.

For today, I’m allowing the missing and the sorrow to wrap itself around me for a bit.  Then, tonight, I will fold it up and tuck it away until the next time.  It’s how I do this life now.  And that’s okay too.   

Monday, January 9, 2017

Three Years



The presence of this week’s anniversary is palpable.

A simple date on a calendar that rolls by year after year; yet it evokes such deeply emotional triggers and vivid memories.

There is no ignoring its approach.

And yet the truth is he isn’t physically here anymore.  He isn’t going to be here on the 10th and he isn’t going to be here on the 12th.  So why does the 11th feel so hard?  I can’t answer that, all I know is every fiber of my being aches in anticipation of this Wednesday.  Three years.  Just, wow.    

So we brace.

Emotionally, physically, spiritually…we try to anchor ourselves down into Christ and we ride through the week doing our best and trusting that He will fill in the gaping holes of ourselves as we put on our brave faces and weather yet another milestone.  Tears leak a bit more, voices tremble without warning, thoughts run deep, and memories flood us.  It is part of the journey and we are better for acknowledging the emotions as they come and pushing through them. 

I am prepared with things to do and people to spend my time with.  (Thank you to the friends who have reached out.  Thank you for remembering him.)  But more than just outward preparation, I am spending time following Tim’s example of leaning hard into Christ.  I am choosing to praise God for the years we had.  I am turning my hearts trembling cries into shouts of thanksgiving.  

I am grateful.  Blessed with the life we had together; proud to have been his wife; honored to have shared two decades with him; and joy filled to be rearing our children with his example of bravery, love, and dignity.

Our God is the Forever Faithful One….Even If…