Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Year Gone

Today, June 25th, 2011, marks one year since we lost Jan's mother. A year she's been gone, and yet, it seems like just yesterday that we set out to endure one of the most difficult times we, as humans, will experience...the sudden, unexpected death of someone you love. I think it's inevitable that we will all at some point or another experience this. With my grandfather, we knew he wasn't going to live on this earth much longer when he became sick. If it's truly possible, we prepared ourselves for our final time with him on Earth. But when Ms. Sue died, we didn't get that "preparation" time for saying good-bye. I don't which is easier (or harder), knowing and trying to prepare or not knowing at all. My heart breaks for Jan, her only child, who was the one with her a year ago tonight. One thing she and I could say we had in common was our love for Jan! (And then the grandchildren, of course!) In my mind, it's only fitting that his mother's face was the first face he saw when he began his life in the world, and his was the last face she saw. I could only wish, as a mother, that when God calls me home that my children's faces will be the last thing on this earth that I'll see. I know that even if they are not standing around me, though, I'll see their faces in my mind's eye.

For the last few weeks, I have thought about this day, June 25th, and the approaching mark of one year. We've had some moments of grief shared quietly between us, and talked about "Mamaw" with the children a lot this past week. I know she would be excited about going back to the beach with us this Thursday. Because that's the last thing she and I talked about that Friday afternoon before she died, preparation for the beach will forever be a time that I think of her. I know when Jan walks the beach picking up shells next week, he'll be thinking specifically of his mother. I couldn't help but laugh at how he teased her for how many shells she would collect, wash, then dry and then try to bag up to bring home with her..."We don't have room for all the extra bags of shells, Momma!" Oh my goodness...:-) We found shells and shells and more shells when we cleaned out the shed back behind her house. I'm not sure, but I think she had plans to make things out of the shells to give to people. That's one thing I can say about Ms. Sue, she was always wanting to give you something. It was not always an item of great value or need, but it was something. Because of this, we had engraved on her tombstone, "...for God loves a cheerful giver." II Cor. 9:7

As we began the daunting task of cleaning out her house, we came across boxes of heirloom quilts she had packed. She had included notes to Jan in which she described the quilts and who made them and when. They are beautiful, and I will admit it was hard to read the notes from her when we found the boxes. I guess it might have been a BIG dose of reality for us both. I read them out loud, as Jan listened. Those quilts and their notes are now safely residing at our home which is where I know she would want them. We brought other important things home with us, but let a lot of things go to someone else who might have a need for them. And again, I know that is how she would have wanted it. The house has just recently become occupied by someone else, and the children and I haven't been by there in over a month or so. But, it's just a house, and while our memories hold that house in them, the truth is, it's a material thing. It doesn't need to be visited. Instead, I think we'll more often visit the moments in our minds, when we do something she would have done with us, go places she would gone with us, when we place flowers on her grave, when we eat "pistachio pudding" or anything resembling the concoction (hehe), when we drink sweet tea made with REAL sugar.
A year gone, but always on our minds... 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Swim Team 2011

(I started this post last Tues., and I am just now finishing it! This start to our summer has been pretty busy...)We have officially entered our second year of swim team! Go Covington Manta Rays! Last week was the boys' first meet in Jackson. They did great! Jonah is the youngest person on the swim team again this year, and he's making wonderful improvements. (Bless his heart, you should knowhe is like a ROCK, weighing about as much as his big brother, and swimming a race is hard on a little person who's frame is like LEAD. Just try picking him up the next time any of you who know him see'll think LEAD, too. Or maybe you shouldn't try to pick him up. Save your back!) Anyhoo... we had fun at the first meet and just finished our second meet here in Covington tonight. Mimi, my mother, has made it to both meets which has proven extremely helpful with "Miss" Mary Claire running around. Thanks, Mimi!

Ready for their races!

Now, John Owen was built for swimming. He is lovin' swim team! Tonight, as he was completing his freestyle race, his goggles came off of his eyes and were hanging down around his mouth. When I saw them, I was afraid he would stop and "fiddle" with them until he got them fixed, but he didn't! He kept going and finished, winning second place in the race! I was so proud! Good job, John Owen!
John Owen after completing his first 25m freestyle race in Jackson.

Jonah is on the platform and ready for the start of the race!

Jonah completed his first ever backstroke race at the last meet.
 He amazes me! 5 years old and swimming with the "big boys".

John Owen swimming the backstroke race