The Christmas Miracle

cousins 001

With Christmas coming up the past few days has got me to thinking of how not only do seasons change but so do our lives.When we were young parents Christmas was so important to me because I wanted my kids to have a good holiday.I know that sounds bad but there is a reason.

My Dad was killed when I was eight years old.He was in a car accident on September 8th,my sister Linette’s birthday.We were sitting at the table getting ready to eat birthday cake when a police officer came knocking on our door.I can’t remember how the whole thing went down but I know they took my mom to my Uncle Ralph and Aunt Charlene’s that lived around the corner because we didn’t have a car for Mom to get to the hospital.We were farmed out to family as my Mom stayed at the hospital with Daddy.He died of head injuries on the 13th of September,my cousin Elaine’s birthday.Some of the things I remember so vividly and some of them are sketchy.Eternal sadness was the worst because our laughing Daddy was never coming back.Reality set in and with it came responsibility shoved on a big sister way to soon.I felt the world change in an instant and took my sisters in my aching heart never to be taken out.As kids are I soon got the new normal down pat and we got to living this hard life.After September came October and no Halloween for us.I think Mom was just used up by then.I can’t imagine having five little girls and no job not driving you stark raving mad.

We went to a little church school and as Christmas came up started to practice for the pageant at church.It was the light of the school year for me and my sisters.We always had a pretty dress and my Mom fixed our hair and had us smelling pretty from our baths.We would come home from church and Santa would have come and left our presents.This year was going to be different I knew because Mom wasn’t acting right.I would hear her crying in her bedroom at night and wonder what was wrong but too scared to go ask her.How I wish I would have went in there now and comforted her.She needed me to hug her now I know.To tell her everything was going to be OK but I never did.

The night of the Christmas program came and we went to church.Mom was so sad I remember and I couldn’t imagine why.After the program was over she packed us up and we went home.Mom was crying.We lived in a big farm house that belonged to my Grandpa Jahr.It had a sun porch that you had to enter before you went into the kitchen.When Mom opened that door she got the biggest surprise of her life.It was stacked from front to back with presents for us.More than we had ever had in our life.I really don’t remember what we got but I remember the look of disbelief on my Mom’s face.

That night we stayed up late playing and it was my old Mom back for a while.I found out many years later that she was crying because she had nothing to give us for Christmas.To this day we don’t know where the presents came from.I wish I knew so I could tell them that as a grandma now I still am thankful for the little girl in myself.That is why I think Christmas is so important to my sisters and me.That picture above is of our little kids that were about the same age as we were when Daddy was taken from us.We never wanted them to feel the sadness of a parent like we did and for the most part most of them haven’t.

What I want to leave you with today is this.Don’t be afraid to do a random act of kindness for someone.I have heard people grumble about so and so not having any money because of this or that,but the little ones are not in charge of the money.They are the innocent in all of it.You never know what kind of a Christmas Miracle you can create at any time of the year.I know the one my sisters and I got that day long ago is something I will never forget.Was it a person or was it something else,a vessel God used,I don’t know,but it is something I will always be thankful for and I will never forget it.

To my Grandkids when they read this after they get older I want you to always remember that giving is a part of growing.Kindness is one of the things that is so important to your Nana.Try not to judge.It is something your Nana has struggled with and if there is anything I want you to remember about me it is that I want to be kind.You already know that I love you now I want you to take it out into the world and pass it on.

Good Grief Go Away

Desert

  I am sick of being sad.My days are filled with longing for a Ward fix and I can’t get one.Today I looked out the window and I saw my trumpet vine that I got a slip from Ward about six tears(I mean years) ago.I see that Albert has it all cut back like Ward used to do for me.It was always such a good feeling to drive in the driveway after work and see that my dear buddy had been here to cut it back.I loved the fact that he felt comfortable enough to come to my house even when I wasn’t home to take care of it.He was a very proper man and wouldn’t stop to do anything at just anybody’s house when they weren’t home.I hate seeing my mom in church sitting all alone and sometimes I don’t even want to go to church because of it.I feel robbed and I want to get over it.I know that there is a greater plan for us and God is always in control but I don’t like the process of it and I hate  when things I love are taken away from me.I know that Ward is happy where he is and would never want to come back but I am ashamed to say that it doesn’t help me at this point.I want him back.I want our life to be as it was and I want to be happy again.I hate the cold reality of his closets empty,his vehicles being driven by someone else and he isn’t here to get this Spring season going.He loved it when it started to get warm out.He was always planting and mowing even last year.I haven’t even been able to write a word for so long because my thoughts are jumbled and at times I can’t put two words together.I need my guy back and that just isn’t happening.

  I am trying to get over this blanket of grief that seems to have enveloped me so tightly that at times I just want to lock my self up and talk to no one.I know I will get over it because it has happened to me before when Grandma Jahr left me and as I am writing this I realize that might be the problem.I feel like they left me and I didn’t want them to.My sister Linda told me there are different stages of grief and that some people have to go through many.I guess I am on the slow train to griefsville and it is a ride I need to take and I will get off when I get to the right station.

  I hope that people realize that when you get a person that actually likes you for you that they treasure it.Take the time to enjoy them and tell them you love them.I keep thinking of going to Mom and Wards and liking it.So different from every other stepfather we had.Just a few good stories and a lot of laughs and his favorite politics.

  I need prayer and I need understanding.I know my life is not near the way it used to be but it is still a good one.I hope that whoever reads this will pray for me right now.I need it. I want to get out of this desert of sadness and I need help. Thanks Liz

The Potato Salad Was Ordered

ward 001Death is a funny thing.I make that statement because it has consumed the life of our family for about four years now.We have had a lot of time to analyze it,be afraid of it,dread it,and finally long for it.Our wonderful brilliant stepdad finally made it a reality a few days ago and as usual he made it a learning experience for my sisters and me and we all agree even though we are so missing him already we will be eternally grateful for the experience.

I really hate calling Ward my stepdad because it doesn’t clarify what he was to my sisters and me.There are six of us and we all have had many experiences with STEP fathers and to put our Ward in the same category is almost unthinkable.Step is like wicked to me in the family department and he never was.We knew we weren’t his kids and I personally was glad we didn’t go down that road because I remember my dad and really didn’t need a replacement.I needed someone to replace the sourness in my heart from the men that where put in the stepfather position before him.What we got was a man that could teach us to trust again,to not be afraid for our mother,and to mentor us in the world of living right and he did that and more.I am proud to call him something more than stepfather,I call him friend.

Ward explained everything in detail to us and his death was no exception.He taught us to never give up hope and to live each day as an example to our children.He took the time to explain what would happen to his body as it began shutting down and even though at the time I didn’t want to hear it I am now glad that I listened.I am a Christian and I know where I am going after I die but the actual act of dying has always scared me and touching a dead body was out of the question.Ward changed that not just for me but for my sisters Linda and Loretta also.We hugged and kissed him in the middle of  his ragged breathing and even after his death we laid quietly beside him.Thank you so much dear friend for teaching us even in your darkest hour.You not only took the fear of the unknown away from me but you gave me back the same love I had for my sisters when we were growing up afraid.My aching heart has mended.As I know yours is my soul is also at peace.

We laughed and we cried and it now reminds me of just how witty you were.I remember when you were first diagnosed and then came over to talk to us about it.You said maybe we should just call Luke’s and order the potato salad and I was amazed how you could laugh about your own funeral dinner.Mom looked at me and just shook her white head……………and smiled.

I want you to know we will continue to do as you wanted us to.We have always been your work horses and we won’t let you down Our aim is to make you proud and to try to repay you in some small way for the wisdom and guidance you gave us all.We did it for love not for money.

Oh and if you are by chance stopping your conversation with your brother Larry right now we want you to know —————-the potato salad was good.

Jenny

Yesterday after work I went to a funeral home with two of my friends.One of our good friend’s niece was killed in a four wheeler accident.Her name was Jenny and she was thirty one years old.She was a daughter,wife,and mother to two little boys ages three and one.Jenny’s mother has been fighting cancer for years and I wonder if she wishes she would have died from it so she could be with her Jenny now.That would be me.Jenny was an only child and her moms best friend.I cannot image what this mother is going through.I wish that every kid could see what grief does to a mother when one of her kids are taken from her.I pray that Jenny’s family will be able to heal from this.God is always present no matter where you are,but at times like this our human self can’t understand the meaning of such a senseless tragedy.I know for sure that I will hold all of my family a little closer after witnessing that mom.I hope my kids realize that every day they are alive is such a gift and that they will touch someone in some way.When we left the funeral home my friends husband told me we were a blessing. I hope people remember Jenny and this family.I just keep visualizing her fighting God (because that’s what moms do)that she just can’t leave her little boys and her mom.Then God telling Jenny that when she gets to heaven she will see the plan.God be with this family.