Wallace, party of one

I’m out with friends, headed to a wedding. 

My friends, but Kyle’s friends too.  The groom is Kyle’s friend. I’m riding in the back of his best friend’s, Josey,  pickup truck listening to music and drinking a few beers.

It’s fun, but it’s also sad. 

I got teary-eyed when a certain song played on the radio. 

I remembered that I dreamed about Kyle last night. And we actually talked in the dream. And we laughed. 

I miss him so much. His friends miss him. Nothing is the same without him. 

The music blares from the speakers. The songs are the same, yet they don’t feel the same. 

I’m not supposed to be here without Kyle. 

***********************************

The wedding was fun, but sad at the same time. One of my friends asked me how I was doing, and I almost lost it. It was hard to contain my tears. And it really didn’t matter how much I drank, I never shook the feeling. I would rather be with Kyle than anywhere else in the world. 

Now on my way home with the same people.. 

in a past life, I would be cranking up the music, singing at the top of my lungs. I wouldn’t care what time it was. I was young and wild and free. I didn’t care how much we had to pay the babysitter or how bad my head would hurt the next day. 

Now the thought of the life Iived 7 months ago seems like a dream. I can’t even come close to feeling that carefree now.  Kyle gave me stability and freedom. He made me feel like I was 22, and still young and reckless. He made me feel complete, and  let me be the best version of myself.

 

Advertisements

Unfair. 

Sometimes life just doesn’t seem fair. It’s not fair that my children have to live without their wonderful father. It’s not fair that I have to watch their little faces as they cry for him. Today, Hamp yelled for his daddy when he saw a white truck driving by. He shouted “daddy’s truck! Daddy’s here!” When I told him that wasn’t daddy, he said in a sweet little voice “daddy’s with Jesus?”, as if to answer his own question. Then later this evening, I found Myla in the den curled up with a framed picture of Kyle, crying her little eyes out. This time I couldn’t help but to get a little emotional as well as she told me she wished he didn’t die and wished he could come back and wait to die when she was old. I told her how much I missed him as well and that I wish I could make everything better and perfect again. She wrote me a sweet little note on her art easel that reads “dear mom, sorry your huzbin dide'” 


     It’s so easy to get angry at our struggle and resentful of our pain. It would be so easy to scream, curse, cry, or turn my back on God. It’s not fair that my son will never have clear memories of his father, and will never have the chance to know him. It’s not fair that my daughter sleeps with photo albums every night, instead of getting to kiss her dad goodnight after bedtime prayers. It’s not fair that men I view as “lesser” husbands and fathers get to continue to play those roles and take them completely for granted. Tonight I was thinking about how unfair it all was and ” asking the “why us?” question. But then I quickly answered myself with “why NOT us?”  

      

 The reality is that everyone experiences unfairness in life. The key principle to remember is that how we react to unfair treatment is more important than what has happened to us.  The truth is that everyone is going to die. In our lifetime, we will experience major losses. It’s just a matter of when, where, and in what order.  We have to be prepared for the loss, as well as how we will react to it. 

Responding to unjust situations or actions in anger, bitterness and revenge is not the answer (Ephesians 4:31-32). Rather, trusting God in faith and obedience brings true peace of mind and, in due course, entrance into eternal life (Philippians 4:6-7; Matthew 19:17).

I know God is not singling me out or punishing me. He is not angry with me and took away my husband as my punishment. He is, however, showing himself to me. He is showing me his grace and mercy at every turn. I am so thankful for His precious grace during our extreme trials. 

The good ones are called first. 

Today, almost 6 months to the day of burying my own husband, I sat in the funeral audience  of a dear friend as she memorialized her husband. My college friend, Mandy, lost her husband Ronnie in a tragic car accident on Valentine’s Day. They have a 6 year old son, Noah. 

  I scanned the auditorium- so many familiar faces. So many of the same friends, who just 6 months ago mourned a friend and watched his wife go to pieces, now mourning another one.  It was so strange, but I almost felt sorry for them. I felt sorry for my friends who are also friends with Ronnie and Mandy. They’ve had to say goodbye to two great men in half of a year. I questioned God in that very room, and wondered why? What is the point in this? What are you trying to show us? 

  If the deaths of two 36 year old men back to back isn’t enough to get your attention, I don’t want to know what is.   

As I looked at her across the room, I was completely heart broken for Mandy. She was so broken, yet she doesn’t know what’s coming. I know she is existing in the foggy sadness, not in the reality yet. I wanted to tell her to brace herself, the following days to come will be extremely hard as this nightmare reality sets in. I wanted to tell her that she will feel isolated and completely alone. I wanted to tell her that friends she thought she had will begin to drift as the grief gets too much for them to handle. I wanted to tell her that she will fee like she is standing completely still, while threat of the world spins around her. I wanted to tell her all of those truths. But I know her grief makes her too delicate to bear them today.

She will know them soon enough.

  For anyone who may ever read this, please take this as a wake up call to get your life in order. And by that I mean in order with God. Kyle and Ronnie were both Godly men, and are now in a most perfect place. There will come a day when YOU die. That’s a fact.  We have all sinned, but ask for forgiveness, and ask for Christ’s grace and mercy. You never know when your heart may fail or you may have an accident. This life is too precious to throw away on a chance that God and heaven isn’t real. It IS real. And I have hope for my future because of that. 

It’s been a day. 

Just one of those nights. After the kids have gone to bed and the house is eerily quite. I never turn the TV on anymore it seems. I can hear the train in the distance. But mostly just the quiet. 

That’s when the tears come. When the grief hits so hard. 

I’m so overwhelmed by any decision I have to make. When did I become so helpless? I sat at my kitchen table for almost 2 hours crying while typing out a 3 sentence text message. There is a widow in my small town with a very similar story. Widowed young with 2 babies. Now her kids are in college. I want to talk to her and ask her questions. I have so many questions about my future. 

But I don’t know her. Why is it so hard to ask for help? But I sent the message and pray she is willing to talk to me. 

I feel the need to be close to someone who has actually experienced this awful pain. It’s so isolating. I want to talk to someone who isn’t so emotionally invested in every decision I make. This town is so small, and people love me so much. It’s a wonderful thing, but I also feel like it makes people’s advice and opinions too emotional and biased. Even people who I know LOVE me so very much and can really empathise with me, still don’t have a clue what it’s really like. They don’t have to sit in a silent house with the weight of the world and the void left by their loss. Those wonderful people still can’t really put themselves in my shoes. Our brains don’t allow it. It’s too much to fathom. 

I also am trying so hard to maintain a relationship with my mother in law. She is one of my “pieces of Kyle”. But she lives 6 hours away and is very involved in her activities and I feel like she is drifting away. Maybe it’s too hard for her to be close to me right now. She has lost a husband and a son. I can’t imagine her pain. But I do wish she would share that pain with me. 

This week, both of my children have had an issue at school. Myla is daydreaming and not focusing to the point of the teacher needing to talk with me and Hamp has been throwing temper tantrums at daycare this week. It’s just too much to have to deal with by myself sometimes. That’s when I start to get overwhelmed, which in turn makes me start to get angry at God. In times like that, I have to force myself to slow down and breathe. And pray. Pray for peace and a calm head. Pray for guidance and direction. 

One more day until this week is over. Hallelujah! 

Hope for the hopeless

I wish there was an adequate way to describe grief. It’s so consuming.  It’s hard to sound authentic when I say this, but I am literally thinking about Kyle and his death almost every waking second. Even when I have a client in my chair at the salon and we are making small talk, He is still in the back (or sometimes front) of my mind. I’ve become very good on the receiving end of a one-sided conversation, seemingly participating in the conversation when my mind is elsewhere.

   It’s so suffocating. I feel like I literally can’t breathe sometimes, and other times all I want to do is scream and cry. Sometimes when I just look at his photograph, I get this tingling feeling all over me and for a split second it feels as though the walls are closing in. I still have night when I am on my knees on the floor crying out in grief pain.  How can I still feel like this after almost 6 months? Furthermore, how in the heck has time even continued so far as to even become 6 months?!  I try to reflect on what I have been doing with myself for the past 6 months, and I come up with nothing. I haven’t done anything except survive. I’m exhausted, weak, sad, desperate, and lonely. I’m surviving in a home surrounded by our memories. This was our dream home! We had so many plans left unfinished and dreams left unfulfilled. I’m raising our children alone. Which is quite frankly the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Single parenthood, compounded with grief and loss is almost unbearable. I second guess every single decision and even the thought of future decisions. I have spent almost half of my life with that man, and I have no idea how to be myself without him. He was my best friend, safety net, encourager, protector, lover, my everything. It’s times like these when I wonder how anyone can possibly survive this. How I survived this. How I am continuing to survive this. Whether I will be able to continue to survive this for the rest of my years on this earth. I feel like a shell of the person I once was. Every moment for the rest of my life will be the after. After his death. 

    God has truly wrecked my life and brought me to my knees. Why would He do this ? Why would He take away our rock, my love, my soulmate? People say things like “we can’t question God.” Well, I believe that is wrong. We can question God. And we should. We should have an open dialog and conversation with Him. Because through our questioning, we can find hope. I am so thankful to have my faith and hope for my eternal future. I have said over and over- I have no idea how anyone survives grief without God. I know that God has a master plan, and that life and death are not random events. And in His book, the oldest manuscript of history on earth, it states that through knowing Him and by faith in Him, we will have eternal life in His paradise. That’s what I want! I want to be in His perfect paradise with those that I love. I’m ready today! For those lost souls who don’t believe that what the Bible states is true, I pray so hard for your broken heart. There is hope for the hopeless! God does not want us to suffer, and His children will not suffer in vain. Currently I’m reading Heaven by Randy Alcorn. It is extremely intriguing and by page 18, I was crying. It’s going to be a good read. 

      I still can’t believe it’s been nearly  6 months. I wish time would stop. Every new day takes me farther away from the last time I saw Kyle. He is getting further and further away from our memories. I hate it. But after listening to a sermon by Levi Lusko, I realized a truth. It’s been 176 days since I saw my husband on this earth. But that makes me 176 days closer until I see him again in heaven. One day closer. 

Parenting as a new single mom 

My new role as single parent is literally the hardest thing I’ve EVER done. Let’s be real… I know I’m not the first single parent in the world. There are millions of moms and dads who do it every day. But, since I’m new at it, I’d like to put it out there that THIS SUCKS. Especially when it is a roll that you are forced into. Now, in my opinion, divorced parenting is not the same. There are at least some times, if not every other weekend, when you finally get a break. A break from the weight of parenting. Weather that may be actual time off and freedom for just a few days, or financial support, at least there is some help. I have no help. Yes, my mom helps me pick the kids up from school everyday and helps with homework. But it is me, and only me, wearing the battle gear and am on the front lines of this parenting war. It’s so unbelievably hard. 

 Myla’s teacher text me today about an ongoing situation at school. She is very smart, flies through her work, and then becomes distracted and also a distraction because she is restless. I’ve yelled, threatened spankings, actually spanked her, and grounded her, but I can’t seem to get through to her. I feel like I am CONSTANTLY on her about behavior. Sometimes I talk so down to her, I’m ashamed at myself. I find myself constantly yelling and arguing to the point of defeat or tears. I love her spunky personality, and I’m so afraid of breaking it.  I talked to my grief counselor, Mike, about the dynamics between Me and Myla. He pointed out the obvious- my stress level + grief + exhaustion play into the emotional side of parenting. I’ve got to find a balance and some single parenting + discipline reading material. 

It’s hard when you don’t have anyone at home to back you up. Tonight before I came home, I sat in my car and cried. I asked God aloud to help me to parent in an Godly way. The way that Kyle and I had intended to parent together. I asked Him again to give me patience and to help me to keep my cool. I asked Him to guide Myla in her daily decisions and choices in the classroom. After that, I came home and was actually able to have a clam conversation about her behavior. Thank you, God! When you call out to Him, he will answer you! 

I have to set more clear boundaries and consequences for Myla. But I also need to set some for myself. My new “rule” is to not be on my phone at all from the time I come home until I get the kids into bed. That way all of my attention is on them.  Tonight was a little chaotic, but I did it. I think this is going to be a great habit to enforce. 

Prayed for me and Myla and my parenting are much appreciated! 

5 months

It's been 5 months. WOW. 5 months ago, the world as I knew it exploded in my face. 5 months ago, I woke up a wife and went to bed a widow. 5 months ago, my life was all about me and my goals, dreams, and desires. 5 months ago, I was blindsided. 5 months ago, my children became fatherless. 5 months ago, I saw my husband for the very last time. 5 months ago, I was whole.

I took the above picture of Kyle's belongings a week after he died.  When I went to the school where his soul left his body, I was given all of his possessions stuffed inside of one of his shoes. His big shoes. His size 17, enormous, expensive, ongoing source of jokes, shoe. Everything that was on his earthly body that he left behind.  His shoes, his iPhone, a can of Wolf Wintergreen Longcut, some money, his watch, his wedding ring, sunglasses, whistle, and the play sheet that was in his back pocket. He was to play his first game as a Yazoo County High football coach the very next day against his former team, Yazoo City High. The money was the change leftover from the $40 he borrowed for gas and breakfast that fateful morning. My last memory of him is of him peeking over the shower asking to borrow it.

My last good memory that I hold so dear was from 2 nights before Kyle died (that Monday night before).  We had a painter in the house painting our fireplace and vaulted ceiling, and  Myla had 3 baby teeth pulled that afternoon. When I got home, the house was a wreck and furniture all out of place. Myla had 4 separate visitors to check out her dental work, I was trying to get supper ready while my barely 2 year old cried at my feet. I was in a terrible, and frantic mood. Kyle came in from work and could immediately sense my frustration. He gave me a big, huge bear hug. I hugged him quickly back and then tried to move out of that position to continue all of the tasks at hand. He wouldn't let me go. Before I could protest or get mad, he said "hang on. I'm just slowing you down. Everything is gonna be fine, just slow down". It was just what I needed to relax and not stress about everything going in inside my house. I almost cry thinking about that. Kyle always knew exactly what I needed. He knew me so well.

I think about Kyle's earthly possessions. He took nothing but his soul with him that day, and all material possessions were left behind.  The thing that will outlast my husband is the impact he made in so many young lives, not his watch, his shoes or his iphone….what was unseen, positive and lasting. Over time and decades his personal items will decay, but the impression he made and the kind, gentle nature that he lived will outlive any earthly thing.

This is a hard reality to face. I look around my home, and it's so earthly. I realize now that I have so many faults, and I am working on myself every day to be a different Jamie.

I found this verse that portays this so perfectly:

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures of heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."                 Matthew 6:19-20

I pray that when the Lord comes to get me or when I die that I am not found guilty of storing up my treasures here on earth but that I was a faithful servant of God, working to store up treasures in heaven.  I have sinned immeasurably, but through His grace, I have been saved and must now use that gift to live a servant's life. I want to go where my Love is. I want to be in Heaven with my people, not with my earthly possessions and pride.