agnestirrito

"Whatever you think you can do, or believe you can do, begin it, because action has magic, grace, and power in it." Goethe


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Sunday’s Song: Truths

A couple of years ago, I wrote a poem about grief. It was based on a piece of art by the same title. I thought it was good. After all, I’d known various forms of grief by that time: loss of parents, other close relatives, my best friend.
Sudden as well as expected…I’d witnessed that passing. I’d seen it all.
Well.
Not quite.
There is really nothing to compare to the loss of a spouse. It is as unique a grief as the relationship was.
It is not easy.
It is undeniably the worst loss I’ve experienced. Friends ask me how I am, but I rarely tell them the truth.
If you have experienced it, you know why.

It is a truth that has no words.

No one can help you. You are still left to wake, to function, to survive. And you really do have to do this alone. You learn how.

The best help? Tell the grieving person,
“I’m praying for you.”

Then do it. Really.
Pray without asking. Pray because God puts that person on your heart. Pray because it is the only way to help. To really help.

It helps in ways that are unimaginable.
God does hear. He does listen. He provides the grace for the day.

I’m writing through these days, journaling the fog, the sunlight, the despair, the joy.
Joy?
Knowing this world is temporary.
Thank God.
I’ll see Sam again.
We are not created for this world. We are created for the next one.
We are merely in training.
I am here to tell you, the training is not easy, but on this Palm Sunday, as we enter the holiest week of the year, I can certainly say I have not sweated blood.
The Lord sees my struggles; He knows my thoughts. He alone numbers my days. I am determined to keep asking Him to help me. He has not deserted me yet.
Faith is not a game. It is for real. God continues to amaze me in ways I know are part of a bigger plan. He sends me answers through His people, through His creation, through my willingness to listen. He sends me moments of blessings every single day: so many.

Grief is an undeniable suffering. There is no doubt. But, the truth is that suffering is temporary, too.
Better days are coming. I’ve always said it. I believe it. It is the truth.


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Friday’s Five

The days keep passing. People tell me friends will stop calling, that they’ll get busy and forget. After all, life does go on.

#1 blessing tonight: they have not.
I still receive calls and texts and visits. I’m grateful for the goodness of people.

Grief is complicated. It’s an individual journey. There is no timetable. There is no “right” way.
#2 blessing: I don’t concern myself with what others think. When humans become in charge of numbering my days, I’ll care. I’m doing this the only way I know. Day by day.

That brings me to the gift of time. I need some. Time to get adjusted. To come to terms with the enormity of our loss. Time to settle into a new routine.
#3 blessing: retirement. It was a decision I made unexpectedly, but one that has proven to be a gift in many ways. I’m enjoying the freedom of time to take care of things, to take care of me.

We can’t know the future. After being determined to “stay in the moment” for the past year, I’ve found it’s a pretty good way to live.
#4 blessing: I’m doing what I can do today. Knowing that worry and fear are a waste of time, I try hard to focus on the task at hand. Go from there.

Finally, blessing #5: the gift this week of opportunity.
I’ve had a couple of job offers. Sara and I are planning a May art show. Some volunteer work is also calling my name. So, we’ll see. It’s nice to have options. I’m not rushing to do a thing right now.

Finally, a sixth blessing recently: celebrations. In the midst of grief, March 14, March 23, and April 1 still came rolling in: my Sam’s birthday, Sara’s, then mine. That’s a lot of firsts to acknowledge in quick succession.
But God provided the grace. He always gives us exactly the help we need, even though sometimes it takes a few days to recognize the enormity of that.

I recognize it. I realize it. I’m grateful.


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Friday’s Five

I’d have to look back pretty far to see when I decided to start this recounting of blessings. It doesn’t matter when I started. It matters that I continue.
Keep marching. The gifts are there when we look.
Sometimes the days are stormy, like today. Sometimes, they’re serene. Within each one is a treasure or a memory.
I know my days have changed in ways I don’t fully understand, ways I can’t even bring myself to want to understand.
So, I’m glad for the rituals. Routines. Friday’s whisper to remember.
Here’s five from the week. Surely, more to come.

Ada

Japanese fireglow maple

Tulip tree debut blooms

Morning geese

Silent lightning flashes

and #6…

…seeing more than what is there…

Oh, the gift in that.


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Saturday’s Snapshot: My Sam

So, most of my devoted readers have figured it out by now or you know for certain.
Those of us Sam loved best were beside him when he died, two weeks ago tonight. That mattered to me, and I’m glad God permitted it.
No one should die alone.
There is much to say, and I don’t know exactly how or where I’ll say it all. This blog has been one journey after another. That sums up life, I guess.

We were soulmates.
We still are.
I know we all lose people in this life, but I also know no two losses are the same. For any of us.
I’ve learned so much. I have more to learn and more to say.
I’ve also learned it’s ok to feel what I feel and do what I do with no explanation.
Tonight, look at this picture and know there was a beautiful love that existed.
He is with me. I will see him again.
Until I do, I will try to live as he wanted: doing what is best for me.
Tonight, that’s sharing this piece of my heart with you. Thank you to those who stayed with me through this past year. God bless you…

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Sunday’s Song: Waiting

Gratitude is a decision. A conscious one. And while I didn’t log my Friday’s list of five blessings this past week, I was vividly aware of them. Moments of understanding and clarity. Moments of self realization. Moments when I was given insight and strength. Moments of grace. Moments that came during days of waiting. I’m thankful.

…for we are in the midst of waiting.

A cure isn’t coming. We’ve known that.

Can a miracle happen? Sure. Even our parish priest appealed to the congregation at several masses this weekend to pray for one for Sam as we enter this season of Lent. But if the miracle does not come, I keep Sam’s words in my mind:

He is the miracle.

So. We wait. One way or another, we will each journey home. At a time of God’s choosing. Sam waits in peaceful expectation. At home. Amid the beauty of God’s creation: cardinals, ducks, and geese greet us. The wild pear are in bloom: a different painting every day as we look outside.

Right now, we are waiting to see if yesterday’s 70 degree weather really will change to 28 degrees overnight as the weatherman predicts.
The birds are waiting for me to fill the feeders.
There’s corn spread on the levy outside our back windows, waiting on an elusive deer to gift us with its presence.
I’m learning every day we are all waiting for something. How I wait has become important to me. Waiting without worry. Waiting in a state of peace. Waiting during the day at hand, not one far down the road.
I’ve learned what I do and where my thoughts go while I wait is important.
Some things go undone. Life goes on.
Some people are uncaring. Again, life goes on.
Waiting teaches us what we need to know. It teaches us what we will and will not allow from others. It teaches us who we are.

Lamentations 3:25
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

Amen.


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Friday’s Five

Trust.
Dignity.
Care.
Privacy.
Prayer.
This week’s gifts reveal themselves in concrete ways. My heart is filled with remembering.
No one would choose the journey we’ve been on the past year, but the truth is many others walk a similar path every day.
God gives us exactly the measure of grace we need for each circumstance. We are never alone.


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Friday’s Five

Well, I have to start with “love” today; after all, it is February 14.
And love is the biggest blessing we’ve been given. A real love that has stood 25 plus years. A precious love that our hearts treasure.

Second, love letters. If you haven’t written one, please think about it. Words on the page, people. Beautiful.
Trust me.

Third, tulips and camellias. They are living, growing, returning again to bring us joy.

Fourth, words from 2 Corinthians 14-18 texted from one of my brother- in-laws, Mark. Perfect words we read and reread.

“Deer antlers” rounds out the list this week. Trust me, there’s some major love there from nephew to uncles to cousins. I witnessed it. I’ll cherish it.

Yes, there’s a sixth (plus many more) this week. A shop owner I’ve known for years sent me a message to come by. I don’t leave home much right now, but my daughter went for me. She came home with a bag filled with “things to make your mom smile.” A beautiful black sweater. The makeup she knows I wear. A new lipstick. Eyeshadow. Bath gel. Comforting things…the message to care for myself during some tough days.
I’m telling you…I’m learning what to do. Every day. God sends me His best teachers. I’m paying attention…

Love each other. In unexpected ways. In the ways your heart knows. It will always be right.

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