Friday, September 16, 2011

The Last Month

I haven't written on my blog for a month. There has just been too much happening.  All of it has been high impact on my heart, so I simply had to live it first, and write about it later. August was the month of earth, wind, and fire. We started our month with the shock of 21 Navy SEALs dying in a helicopter crash--all friends of my children. Then Joey's birthday arrived, and we dealt with the sorrows that accompany his anniversary dates. Then we all had to say a teary goodbye to my grandson as he left for Michigan to play ice hockey this year. And as if that wasn't enough, we had an earthquake, and three days later the hurricane hit. Earth, wind and fire.

This was the third birthday since Joey went to Heaven. It's always difficult, and time doesn't make it easier. But we had some precious visitors and that smoothed the way for us. Joey's best friend, Kevin, showed up with his family and his brother, Ryan. Rachel came too. Here Kevin is paddling around with beautiful little Josie in the pond. 

She couldn't decide if she liked it or not, but once they got out, she happily climbed in the boat on the grass.

She played ukulele with Papa Joe, and was a constant source of entertainment and laughter.

Here is Rachel,   with Kevin's wife, Molly, and our dear friend Crystal, and Jaime.  We honored Joey's birthday with a concert and picnic at the amphitheatre. It was the 80's bands, Journey and Foreigner. Somehow strangely suitable for these kids that grew up in the 80's.

Here we made beignets, french donuts,  on Saturday morning. Drew brought us the mix from the world famous Cafe du Monde in New Orleans.

Yum! They were absolutely scrumptious. I don't regret that I  ate a few too many.


It was hard to say goodbye to these precious friends, Joey's closest since childhood. We did it with promises to come together again, soon.

And a difficult goodbye to our sweet Josie, too, his darling namesake, and such sunshine in our lives.

After Kevin and Molly left, Rachel and Ryan went fishing one last time.

Then it was off to the airport with Rachel, and another departure photo of hers to add to our already large collection.

Goodbye Ryan. Thanks for flying 20 hours each way to be with us on this tender occasion.

Once they left, we went back to the continuing grief of caring for the newly bereaved Navy families in our community. This is one back seat full of gift baskets of donations we took to two of the widows. Our whole community has poured out love and practical care on these families.

This was a moment of comic relief, as we were preparing to say goodbye to our Chase. He and Aidan decorated their eyes with quarters. Why? Just cuz they could.

A farewell family shot, with sister, mother, and son.

The truck was loaded with everything he would need for the year, and he and his mom drove the 18 hours to get to Upper Peninsula, MI. Not easy for his mom...not at all...but a joy to support her son with his dreams.

While they were doing that, we were preparing for a hurricane. We filled our barn full with everything that could fly once the hurricane hit town. It was packed.

We also sandbagged the house in preparation for flooding.

This was the power of the winds down the street by the bay. Brandon, our helper, was "past perpendicular", as the weatherman liked to say!


Afterwards, a bit of clean up, but it could have been so much worse.


And several days of power outage, and some flooding, but again, no complaints. Nobody we knew died.

In the midst of the post-hurricane drama, our first ever visitors from Maui showed up and spent the night. Ben was one of our pastors in Maui,  and he came with beautiful Tiff and the darling twins. They brought us lots of love and comfort, and a reminder of the friends we left behind in Maui. I still can't believe they took the trouble to visit us so far away!! An unexpected joy in a long and difficult month.
And that's kind of how life is--the good and bad mixed together.You don't get one without the other. While the bad seems to overpower the good, it is in fact the very opposite. The good makes everything else bearable.

2 Corinthians 4:17
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

4 comments:

karen gerstenberger said...

You have had an almost "Biblical" month, haven't you? A few parallels could be drawn and made into sermons, or children's books written, showing that human life is human life, no matter what era we live in. You tell the story with such peace and grace and understanding. Even though I wish for your sake that you were still in Maui, enjoying the life you had before Joey passed away, I see that you are NEEDED exactly where you are, so very much. It's amazing how "God's economy" works. Your heart is broken, and then you are in a place filled with broken-hearted people. No one could minister to those precious ones better than you can. God's love is a truly fabulous thing...we just have to be aware, and never stop looking for it. Sending you much love, dear friend. xoxoxo

karen gerstenberger said...

P.S. - I loved all the photos, especially the one of Papa Joe. He has such warmth in his face.

Anonymous said...

You are back and full of knowledge about how we should live our life, in the midst of a difficult time. You are a ear friend. xoxo Sharon

Jeri said...

Thanks for sharing. Love & miss you guys!