Monday, April 13, 2020

Church vs. State vs. Covid-19 vs. Hey Y'all, I'm BACK!!!

Okay... so maybe that last one isn't really a 'vs' .... but HEY Y'all! I'm Back!

It has been about 2 years since I've written or recorded anything on here, but, after a good month of being confined, I've decided it's about time to restart. SO...

The past 24 hours or so, my facebook feed has been going crazy with angry posts about this whole pandemic we are currently going through. We have been dealing with this for about a month or so. And yes, of course there were a few angry/frustrated/confused posts in that month. But it has exploded since yesterday morning. And I can understand that. Yesterday was Easter. Yesterday was the first holiday for most since this all started, and we weren't supposed to spend it in church, or with family other than those who live in our house. And then this morning, after the heartbreakingly lonely Easter Sunday, many learned that this will continue into May at least. So here are a few tidbits to think about...

1) I want to first say how I spent my Easter. Usually, I spend it with most, if not all, of my kids. Yesterday was with one of mine (not yet an adult like his 5 siblings), my boyfriend, and 3 of his kids. Hell yes I missed the rest of my own kids, their significant others, and my grandkids. But Saturday night, the Easter bunny still made up Easter baskets. Sunday morning, he showed up. We made "bunny butt" pancakes for breakfast. We had a shortened version of the usual Easter dinner. We had the typical "we adults are old and need a nap" deal. We had fun. The kids had fun.

Oddly, I missed going to church... but only for a moment. I realized, while laughing at our bunny butts - God was right there with us. We didn't have to be in the church for that. We never have to be in the church building for that. I am not trying to convince anyone to NOT go to church. I am simply saying... when you can't go, you can still find God.

2) Pray for the World to Heal...

I think this pandemic IS God's answer to the world needing to be healed. I am actually really pissed off at the churches staying in service claiming "God will protect us"... or, "if I get sick because I went to church, that's okay."

2a) Those who say "if I get sick going to church, it's okay because I will survive".... and to the pastors/priests/ministers/etc who say they told the elderly/immune deficient to stay home - you're all idiots. (Sorry God). But seriously.... yes... YOU will survive and the elderly/immune deficient stayed home. Yet one person at yesterday's service was a carrier. And that transferred to more. And those people all figured they were safe and went on to visit (or will in the next few days) their elderly parents, or other family members at risk. I am so thankful God sent a pastor to our community who recognized this as a possibility and is only doing online services. And has found other ways to reach out to people (i.e. the Social Distancing Easter Parade our church had yesterday).

2b) This pandemic has done a few things which I truly believe to be God's plan -
the planet itself is seeing many rapid changes. I know some of the photos of air pollution are probably photoshopped... not all are. There is less air pollution. There is less depletion of our natural resources.

And more importantly - there is a huge increase of family togetherness. Kids are getting bored being on there social media crap because even their school is on that. We're all spending more time together as a family unit. Kids are learning how to cook and do home repair and simple chores.

God IS healing this world.


To be continued...

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Pain on Top of Pain - Where is God?

Two weeks ago today, at this exact time, my husband was laying in a hospital bed dying. Today, I find out that once again my name is popping up in the rumor mill. A rumor that has been started by people of what I once considered my church - English Lutheran Church of Medina. And I'm pissed. Once again, friends of mine are being attacked, my children are being hurt, and it's all because people dared be friends with me. And I am feeling very betrayed... by these people and by God.

Let me rewind to two weeks ago. It was actually two weeks ago yesterday. I got a phone call that Tyler had a heart attack. I got off the phone with the nursing home that called me and immediately called a family that has been great to us the past 4 or 5 years. They rushed over and hauled us all to Fargo. Right as we were all getting into the vehicle to head to Fargo, we found out Tyler had a second heart attack. 

Upon getting to the hospital, Tyler was in ICU with a breathing tube. They realized the cause of the attacks was high potassium so they started him on dialysis. But, they had to put a central line in. That's when I was called back... with my daughters all following me because they wanted to know what was going on with their daddy. When they put lines in, they xray to make sure the tubes are all going where they should. The xrays showed that within just an hour or two, his abdomen was showing a perforated bowel.  We were told that without surgery, he would be gone. With surgery, he had less than 5% chance of making it off the table, and if, by some miracle he did, there would be more complications. And all of this on top of them not knowing how long he was gone after the first heart attack - there could be severe brain damage. 

Tyler's and my girls had to listen to this prognosis from the doctor. We all had to go back into a waiting room full of family and tell them. And together, we had to make the decision to not do surgery, and to remove the breathing tube, knowing we were going to lose him. 

And we spent the next 12 hours standing by his bedside, talking to him even though he was unresponsive. It was around this exact time (12:30-1:00) that we saw the stats start to go down a little. We called everyone back to the room (several had gone for lunch). The friends of ours that you're talking shit about - or rather, the one you're talking shit about - was right there with Tyler. He was blocking the view of the monitor so that his children would just be there for their dad rather than focus on the numbers. He wasn't allowing me to watch those numbers. Instead, we were able to all just be there, holding hands and holding Tyler as we watched him take his last breath at 1:36pm. 

Over 12 hours these children watched their dad pass away. For over 12 hours they prayed that maybe he'd be okay. For 12 hours they wondered if we made the right decision about the surgery. For 12 hours, I was doing the same. His mother was doing the same. And my friends were doing the same. 

When he did pass away, it was surrounded by those he loved...everyone crying. And the two who didn't make it quite in time, showed up just minutes later and stood by his bed crying.  

Don't get me wrong - there are some very good people in this town and this church who have helped us out. We received a lot of food and cards and donations... one in particular (whom I don't think is all that readily accepted in the church either) helped us greatly with the funeral. And I do appreciate that. And I do thank God very much for those who've been so generous and caring.

But for those who are spreading lies? Two weeks after my children lost their daddy? Two weeks after I lost the man I've been married to for almost 25 years? Two weeks after his mom and siblings lost someone they've had in their life for 47 years?  

How can you be so cold and heartless? Do you really hate me that much? I know you can't have hated him - you barely ever saw him. How can you hate someone so much that you would hurt the friends he loved dearly... the friends who loved him dearly? How can you hate someone so much that you would hurt the children who were his life? The children who looked up to him and love him and are in so much pain? 

You aren't hurting me. You're hurting his children.


Saturday, March 3, 2018

Rascal Flatts - Stand

"Stand" (Rascal Flatts)

You feel like a candle in a hurricane
Just like a picture with a broken frame
Alone and helpless
Like you've lost your fight
But you'll be alright, you'll be alright

'Cause when push comes to shove
You taste what you're made of
You might bend, 'til you break
'Cause it's all you can take
On your knees you look up
Decide you've had enough
You get mad, you get strong
Wipe your hands, shake it off
Then you stand,
Then you stand

Life's like a novel
With the end ripped out
The edge of a canyon
With only one way down
Take what you're given before it's gone
And start holding on, keep holding on

'Cause when push comes to shove
You taste what you're made of
You might bend 'til you break
'Cause it's all you can take
On your knees you look up
Decide you've had enough
You get mad, you get strong
Wipe your hands, shake it off
Then you stand,
Yeah, then you stand

Every time you get up
And get back in the race
One more small piece of you
Starts to fall into place


Yeah, then you stand,
Yeah, yeah, baby
Woo hoo, woo hoo, woo hoo

Then you stand, yeah, yeah 
When we first started planning my husband's funeral, one of the kids asked if we could play "Stand" during the service. Not a single person disagreed. It might not be a typical funeral song, but it was of great importance to the kids and myself. For the past several years, when we'd have a firepit, this was a song that was played and sang by the children or by Tyler. And it was a song very fitting for what our family has been through and for how we have gotten through things. 

Tonight, as I was listening to it for the first time in a few days, I started crying when I listened to the opening line. At Tyler's and my wedding, I had written a poem which was placed on our unity candle... a poem that talked about how the flame might sometimes flicker, but will never go out. The first line of "Stand" brought me right back to that place nearly 25 years ago. It brought me back to the concept we have always tried to hold onto - especially during those rough times.

This whole song takes me there - to the times of trouble when we felt there was no hope. To the times where things were going well and we were able to sing this song around the fire. To the times we cried, or fought, or were separated because of hospital stays, and to the day when we stood in front of the altar and committed our lives to one another - a committal that we had planned on renewing in 6 months as a celebration of our 25th anniversary. 


This week has been a roller coaster of things needing to be done, people wanting attention, me being selfish and not willing/able to be there for others, guilt and pain... and immense feelings of support and caring and warmth by some very amazing people - people who came to the funeral, sent flowers, sent cards, made a generous donation to help with the funeral costs, brought food over, etc.... and just an overwhelming feeling of loneliness and feeling abandoned and/or punished by God. 

I'm trying to keep listening to Stand just because I know that's where I need to be. But I'm not there yet, and so this will probably be the last post you see here for a while.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Saying Goodbye

In approximately 36 hours, I will be saying goodbye (again) to my husband of almost 25 years. I was given the chance to say goodbye at the hospital, holding his hand and kissing his forehead as he took his last breath. But in 36 hours, we have his funeral, and will have to say the final goodbye before he is laid to rest. It still doesn't quite feel real to me. Something sad will happen, and I want to turn to him. Something exciting happens, and I think "I've got to tell Tyler!"

I first met him in October of 1992. He was a friend of a friend, and she brought him by to meet me. It was a short visit, but for some reason, he knew I would be a part of his life. 6 months later, he hunted me down and we went on our first date. Just a few weeks later, he got down on one knee in the middle of the road, with oncoming traffic, and proposed. He refused to move until I said yes. A few months after that, in August of 1993, we got married.

A year after our first date, we had our first child. From that moment on, our children were Tyler's priority. They were what he lived for. It was shortly after our 3rd child that he started getting sick. It wasn't until after our 4th and 5th (twins) that we found out why he was ill. He was diagnosed with diabetes.

It was shortly after that diagnosis that his health issues forced him to be a stay-at-home daddy - a job he loved more than anything. After our 6th and final child was born, Tyler became officially disabled, and we all moved to this little town to be closer to family - his family - his parents - the people who taught him (and myself) the importance of family.

Through all of his health problems, his children remained his top priority. He always had two requests of me - never let the kids see him hooked up to anything in the hospital (or anywhere), and always be there for them, not him.

We spent countless sleepless nights - the kids and me - at home, waiting for news on his condition, surgery after surgery.

But on Wednesday, Feb 21, we got a call that he'd had a heart attack. I knew we had to break the rules he had established. All of our children, myself, his mother, and other friends and family all gathered by his side. He kept fighting until Thursday afternoon, trying to stay with his children. But, with his loved ones by his bedside, telling him he is loved so much - with his children telling him that - he let the good Lord take hold.

I know without a doubt that although he never wanted his children - our children - to witness that, he was able to let go because there were there not just to support him, but to support each other.

Tyler wanted nothing more than to watch his children grow up, graduate high school, get married, have babies, etc. He won't be here to witness all of these events for all of the children - something I know hurts the kids (and myself) deeply. And I know that desire to see these milestones is why he fought as hard and as long as he did. But I also know without a doubt that he is so very proud and comforted by the fact that he raised six amazing children who have each others' backs. And he left knowing he was able to instill in them the same values he learned from his own parents - family comes first. Through thick and thin, through every hardship, family stands together, supporting one another, holding one another, looking out for one another, forgiving one another.

I am so incredibly blessed to have been able to be a part of his journey - and he a part of mine - for 25 years, and to have taught these lessons, and to have witnessed (and continue to witness) the impact his values had on our children and loved ones.

He is my Now and Forever - my love, my partner, my friend, my husband, my inspiration. And I pray he continues holding my hand and guiding me in spirit as I try to keep with the values he held.

I love you Tyler. NAF.

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