Sunday marked an anniversary. It was the annual OKC Marathon. My late husband had run in it and also had been the registration chairman for the last few years. He loved being around all the runners and the excitement of what this particular marathon stands for. He had run with his boys. They had completed several half marathons together. One year Mark had finished the full marathon and ended up in the tent getting medical help, but that is another story. Were there 2 or 3 Pirana Brothers in the tent together that year? But last year was his last. So this year, his ‘Pirana Brothers’ ran in his memory. They all wore signs .They wore their matching bright orange shirts. I cried because these men loved him so much. I cried because Mark loved them. I cried because I loved him. I cried because I have wonderful friends. Next year I may feel like participating in the race. But this year I will just appreciate friends running in Mark’s memory.
The thought struck me today about the wedding vows and the words, ‘the two shall be one’. Many weddings have two candles and the bride and groom blow out their individual candles after they light their one new big unity candle. We didn’t do this tradition in our wedding. A friend has often stated that it looked like the wedding couple were snuffing themselves out! Now a lot of weddings have two jars of colored sand they pour into one large jar. The mixing together of two lives. Of two personalities. Of two families. So where does that leave me now that my husband has died? Have the two who become one in Christ now become two again? Me still here on earth and him up yonder in heaven. Is it possible to separate the sand particles to the separate jars again? I am a mix of our two personalities. So I am on a quest to find my NEW self. I no longer have to be interested in certain subjects like I did when Mark was alive. But maybe I am interested in them because they have become a part of me. Who am I now? What am I interested in? What shows do I like? What places do I like to eat at? Will I start going to movies? I know I am a different person because of my marriage but should I continue to be that person or should I be a new person all my own? My husband always liked his burr hair cut and wanted our boys to sport the look too. But now the boys are searching for their own looks. I am okay with that. What if I never liked a car we had or the way he thought we should arrange the furniture? After all the years of marriage, I am a new color of sand, a mixture of both our personalities. Now I wonder if my personality is what it is because of him or in spite of him. I know, without him, I am missing my ‘filter’. He read my emails and made adjustments. He kept my conversation seasoned with grace. He always knew where scripture verses were found when I needed them. Now I have to find my own filter and not say the first thing that pops into my head. What?? Not say things?? Well, I guess I answered my question. I just have to keep doing the things I know to do, right? Hmmm. Easier said than done.
This is it…The day Everything Changed. For me, for our six children, for his family, for my family, for our friends. My husband of 20 years and 5 months passed into eternity.
I was thinking today about some of the changes we have experienced since that day. Our oldest has grown sideburns. Our youngest celebrated his fifth birthday. One drove a car for the first time. One became a teenager. One sang a solo at church. One performed in a program at school. All of these were events where their daddy should have been present. Their daddy would have cheered them on. He would have hugged them afterwards. But everything is different now. I am different now. Our children, each one is different now.
How are we different? I am forced to be more independent, yet encouraged to ask others for help. I have to balance the finances. I have to be on parent duty 24/7. Some people say silly things like I am Super Mom but really I am no different than you are. I am not good at keeping my house picked up. I don’t always eat right. Okay, I OFTEN don’t eat right! I try to exercise. I have a lovely treadmill that I try to use about 3 times a week, nothing obsessive or anything. Right now I am using the C25K app and just keep repeating the week 5 day 2 routine! I don’t think I am ready for the next one! My oldest is a senior in high school, and very much looking forward to graduation while nervously excited about college in the fall. His daddy would be thrilled he was named a National Merit Scholar finalist. He didn’t get the brains from me. He has a thirst for knowledge like no one I know. Everything changed for him because he now thinks he is the head of the house. I keep assuring him he doesn’t need to take on that role but I know he feels a sense of responsibility for us. Our youngest child just turned five. He spent all day every day with daddy for the last 6 months of daddy’s life. He and daddy went every where together. Braums for daily, sometimes twice, cherry limeades. Lowes for a necessary tool or part. Mostly they just hung out at home together. They might watch Rifleman or some other old westerns together. His life changed from ‘daddy all the time’ to ‘daddy none of the time’. His little mind doesn’t understand all the changes but we keep working through his feelings as they surface. One of our girls was especially close to her daddy. She often sat curled up next to him on the couch while we watched family movies together. She is a quiet spirit like her daddy. The change she has probably noticed the most is the hole left in her heart. One son has begun wearing his hair longer. He looks so different and grown up. His change has been that he doesn’t have the car-dad teaching him all the ins and outs of owning a Datsun 240Z. You don’t own a Z, you take care of a Z. Constant care…I don’t have a clue about it except how to start, drive, and park it in the garage. Our other daughter has continued her bubbly disposition. Her daddy came to her class parties in the fall and got her ready for catching the school bus each morning. Now it is up to me…The last child is going to learn to drive with me as the teacher. You can only imagine that fun. He and I have had some long talks about death, our Christian walk , heaven, and girlfriends. Everything changed now that I have to be the one dealing with the girlfriend thing! Daddy was supposed to deal with that guy-girl stuff not me. Did I cover all the kids? I didn’t expect some changes. I hardly watch tv in the bedroom any more. Mark and I enjoyed watching together in there. Everything changed about the tv. I get to pick the show but somehow, I just don’t care. But most nights I fall asleep in silence.
Everything has changed.