Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Love Letter

My sweetheart was not a wordy man; unless, he was talking about his most intense passion: hunting. Since he was a man of few words, it would stand to reason that he wouldn't be known for writing very much either. He would always let Hallmark speak for him on birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions. I was known to save little notes he would write, such as, messages to let me know of his whereabouts, just so I would have something in his handwriting in my possession. When you live with a non-writer, a note saying: "Girfren, I went to the hardware store. Be back soon. Luv Ya, Bofren" had great significance!

Early into our marriage, I told Buck it was a desire of my heart to have a love letter from him some day. He understood that words were important to me, and he never seemed to mind that I was wordy enough for two people, when it came to expressing what was in my heart. Maybe that was another reason why God brought us together. I was never content to let someone else speak for me; I was always compelled to pour my heart into any card I chose for him. Though I was also verbal in my appreciation of him; I wanted him to have written "evidence" of my respect and devotion for him, as writing my feelings made it easier to convey the truth about how I felt about him.

After we were married for five years, we celebrated Valentine's Day by attending a Family Life Marriage Conference ~ Weekend To Remember, held in Hershey, Pennsylvania. We really enjoyed the speakers and it was good for us to address some topics we had never discussed before as a couple. One of the activities that was strongly encouraged was to write love letters to each other, much to Buck's dismay! I knew him well enough to know that such an assignment would be asking too much of him to produce during the weekend; so, I let him know that I had no such expectation. But, I also reminded him that it would be the best gift he could ever give me, if he was motivated to bless me in such a special way. He was so relieved that I let him off the hook! I didn't want him to feel pressured, knowing it wasn't going to be easy for him to try to put his feelings into words. However, he did promise that he would write that letter after we got home.

Nine months later, he kept that promise, and it was the most perfect way to celebrate our sixth wedding anniversary! It was my favorite gift from him by far and the best gift he ever gave me! In his letter, he let me know that he made a commitment to God and to a group of men, asking them to hold him accountable to fulfill this important desire of my heart. And to make it even more meaningful, he wrote it while he was hunting (since he had procrastinated and our anniversary was upon him)! I could picture him in his camouflage uniform, sitting and leaning against a tree with his shiny, white book in his hands and gun laying on the ground: looking up occasionally, to see if anything had sneaked up on him... the ultimate sacrifice for any deer hunter! I call that a demonstration of true love! I can't think of anything that I cherish more than that handwritten collection of my precious man's words, describing his love for me!

I have recently found a new, favorite writer. In one of her blog entries last week, Ann Voskamp described her husband, and it made me think of my Buck. On her website: The Holy Experience, Ann refers to her husband as the Farmer, and I want to quote her here: "The Farmer writes little with pens.  He's a man who prefers to write his love letters with his life. If Buck had never written that love letter, I still would have countless, although less tangible, memories to treasure; because, much like "the Farmer"..."the Hunter" wrote countless love letters with his life, everyday. How blessed I am to have a real, ink on paper, love letter as well: one of the most powerful demonstrations of Buck's desire to make his woman happy!

While I was searching for photos of Buck decked out in his camo, I came across this Valentine card from him that I had forgotten about, and it did me in! I will consider it my Valentine for this year. 

Happy Valentine's Day, Bofren! I miss you more than my wordiness can express! Lord, please convey my message of love to "the Hunter" and give him a big, bear hug for me!


Thursday, February 2, 2012


I like to think of myself as a more positive than negative person, but every now and then, I wonder if I am a bit naive in this grief journey thing. I keep thinking I'm doing pretty well and maybe, just maybe, I'm past and through the worst of this most difficult season in my life. Then, I have some ugly, painful days like the ones I've experienced the past four days, where I find myself falling apart all over again. Hopefully, the difference will be the duration and this setback will be short-lived.

There have been powerful triggers to coincide with my emotional state, but I still had myself convinced that I was past this stage of intense grief. Once again, I'm finding I don't know myself as well as I thought, and the devastating pain and fatigue have returned. I hate being in this place again, with little to no motivation to do anything but just be. Long ago, I realized that grief is a roller coaster ride, and we don't get to decide when it's over or get to choose when we can step away and leave it behind.

In the summer, I shared that I had started the process of going through Buck's belongings, and frankly, I didn't get very far. Last week, I tried again to get the organization ball rolling and actually made some headway. I couldn't ignore the chaos in my basement anymore, and was feeling motivated to restore some semblance of order. Having moved into our new home just three months  before Buck had his heart attack, the sea of boxes were never a priority until now. The process has been very therapeutic, but, equally painful as my goal at this point is to just try to put like things together. So far, the hardest part has been dealing with all of Buck's clothes that were hanging on the overflow clothes pole that Buck created for things that didn't fit in his closet. Having hung there for three years, I felt the need to launder everything again and hang them outside to dry during some of the recent beautiful days of late. That decision provided lots of opportunity to let more grief out.

The basement project was not the only factor leading up to the condition I am finding myself in today. Buck's Uncle Ted passed away late, last week, and I struggled with deciding if I should be in attendance. Buck and Ted were very close, more like brothers than an uncle/nephew relationship, since there was only ten years in age between them. On the day of the funeral I felt the nudge from the Holy Spirit that it was important for me to attend. This was my first funeral and visit to a cemetery since Buck's home-going and it was very difficult as I anticipated. However, I'm so glad I listened to the promptings in my heart, because my presence was so appreciated by Buck's family. It has had an overflow effect for two days now and I have decided to just embrace the grief and let it out, AGAIN!

One way I deal with these powerful emotions is to write Haiku poetry. Here is what came forth late this morning, before I was able to pull myself out of my bed.

I thought I was done.
But reality tells me
I am still broken

Hear it comes again.
When will I be better, Lord?
This still hurts so much!

What is happening?
I want to be together.
Want to be past this.

Didn't expect this.
Falling apart again, Lord.
Pouring out again.

Fragile broken hearts
Hold gallons of tears within
Emotion's river

I'm a mess again
Help me pull it together
Baby steps once more

Tomorrow will be a brand new day and will bring baby steps of motivation once again. I'm sure of it. I know the Lord will help me push the reset button and start over again utilizing this precious gift of time. I can picture us, hand in hand, leading me out of this valley. I am weak and He is strong. Strong enough to carry me when I can't go on. That's the way this Tandem Journey has been all along. Looking forward to a better and brighter day.

Feeling better after putting this journal entry together. That's what writing does for me. Looking forward to a better and brighter day to close out this week.

2 Corinthians 12:9
English Standard Version (ESV)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”