It Is What It Is

“Ugh!! Why do you always say that?” Would be my response every time Kyle quoted that silly worthless little phrase. I always understood it to mean, “I give up. There’s nothing that can be done. Let it be.” And that frustrated me because if there was something I was unhappy about, I could ALWAYS find a way to change it.

Or could I?

“It is was it is” has been the theme of my grieving this year. But not in a nonchalant, “I give up. There’s nothing I can do.” Attitude but rather a “this cannot be changed. I must move on.”.  I said at the funeral that this pain will not be wasted. I wasn’t about to get depressed and become a worthless vessel on this planet.

I didn’t care about Kyle’s grave at all. “I” didn’t but I cared how the kids would feel right now and visiting the grave site in the near and distance future. The cemetery was free. And I battled with location but decided it was far enough to not plague them but close enough to visit anytime they want. The casket had to be nice enough to display and that was it.

It’s a body. A physical thing just like my dresser, a car, or a banana. It’s not him. It’s not their daddy. But I see it as a place to gather your thoughts and feel like you are away from the chaos to breath and remember.

His body is gone at this point and by gone, I mean it looks nothing like him. Trust me. I looked it up online. Gross, I know, but knowledge is power and it helped me move forward.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “But our family of 5…. I want my family of 5.”. I hear Jesus’ response, “my heart hurts with you, Kerri, but ‘it is what it is.’”

Worship night two weeks ago was the first time I’d been at that building since the funeral. And it was beautiful to be there for worship. The funeral happened. The chapter closed. This next chapter is worship. With my whole life. With everything. Only Jesus.

I can’t change it. That chapter in this very short book of my life is over. I moved forward. And of course, you regularly take steps back when something hits you that you haven’t thought about before. But in general, knowing Kyle is worshiping God and neither he nor God would want me wallowing and my kids don’t need me wallowing and there is nothing to wallow about!!! I don’t WANT to change it.

Kyle’s in FREEDOM, PEACE, JOY. The only thing to wallow about is that I want to be with Jesus too!

This has been a slow process to get to the place I am for communicating in this post but I’m here. Kyle was a good chapter of my life. Our marriage had hard times. Believe me. More then anyone knows. But there were good times too. And more then grieving Kyle(who’s praising Jesus now!), I grieve the loss my daughters will feel in the coming years. I grieve the hole my son will feel as he remembers his dad. But I praise the Lord Jesus that He alone fills the gap.

Losing their daddy sucks but it may just be the thing that brings them to their knees to praise His Holy Name and I don’t care what it takes to get to that place. I want my children giving their lives to JESUS. And oh, the smile that would light up Kyle’s face knowing that his death may bring them to Jesus.

“It is what it is.” And now I’m living day to day with people who need more Jesus.. With me who needs more Jesus. With my children that need more Jesus. I can’t sit in last year’s chapter. There are too many pages left to write. Too many lives to change.

And THAT is what it is.

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Footprints

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It’s a popular poem for a reason. As cheesy as it is, it’s a beautiful story. In the hardest times, he felt deeply alone, only to discover, he was being carried through. And in all my widow “training” this year, time and again, I’m told that there is a tunnel I have to walk through. I don’t have the option of staying on the side of Kyle’s death. I must walk into the dark world of searching for myself.

Only today did this hit me. I’ve been completely limp laying in the arms of Jesus.  I have had no strength this year. I’ve had no courage.  I’ve only been weak and in my weakness, He provided strength and carried me.  And it’s been a dark year.  I discovered how strong my faith is as I’ve walked through this because there has never been a moment where I questioned if God is good. I know He’s in control and I know He’s allowed it all and I trust Him.  Walking through this valley of the shadow of death.

So as I laid in His arms, completely unable to do anything. And we haven’t been walking on a beach with His footprints in the sand. We’ve been walking through a deep dark tunnel. I have spent the whole year feeling distant from God but it’s been a year of greater testimony to those around me then ever before. I’m told regularly how my faith inspires people. But what’s so beautiful about that is that it’s been nothing in me, only Christ. ONLY Christ.

And today… I finally gained the courage to look up into His eyes. It’s like I’ve been brought back to life. I’m not ready to walk on my own. I never will be and I don’t ever want to be. I want my heart fully entrusted to His path. And now that I’ve recognized the strength He’s provided in my weakness, my heart feels unworthy, completely unworthy, and yet He calls me by name.

I serve an incredible God. Beyond words.

 

 

Close

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Some talk to their loved ones that have passed away. Some go to the grave to feel connected. Some do familiar things to revive their memories. Everyone who loses someone does different things to feel normal. I feel closest to you when I worship.

Because I know that is what you are doing.

I cry. I raise my hands. I sing. Badly. But I sing.  I cry some more. And it’s all about Jesus. I know what God has done for me. I feel you close to me when I worship. It feels like that’s when my heart is closest to Heaven. That’s probably why.

And worshipping today was harder than normal. Words barely tripped out between my quiet weeping. And the rest of the day felt the same way. It felt like I was tripping all day. As I went through my calendar tonight, I took note that yes, I remembered your 10 months of Heaven was yesterday. And yes, I was the only one who remembered. And I blame no one for that. I’m just bitterly reminded of how much more I’m impacted daily by not seeing your smile. And then I took note that our baby turns 20 months tomorrow. And yes, I’m going to be the only one who knows. And I’m also the only one who understands that Clara has officially lived longer without you then with you. How sad is that? How painfully sad.

I don’t know *how* I’m supposed to keep going without you. But I am. And I will. I get through each step. I get out of bed every morning. I love on our kids. I make money. I grocery shop. I try to build new dreams. Figure out who the new Kerri is. But it’s lonely. And no one can fill that gap. No one can be my Kyle. No one knows our kids that way you and I do. And in every moment that I get to impact them, EVERY moment, I take all the best and most beautiful things of you and blend them with what’s left of the good of me and try to give them some resemblance of what our lives might be like now.

But everything feels like it is lacking and empty sometimes. So I worship. I worship like it’s the only thing I can do right. I give all my praise to our God because He is good. And I feel you. Because I know you. And I miss you. And you are right there, in Heaven, where I will be worshiping next to you in the blink of your eye.

Grasping the Lasts

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“We are definitely going to their house for the hot dog trick-or-treating night!” we both said in agreement.  Always loving living life with our lifegroup, Kyle and I jumped at any opportunity to spend time with them and hot dogs was just a bonus.

All of the “events” of the year are painful. The first birthdays without him. The first holidays. Our anniversary. It’s all hard and tearful but wow… this past month, the anticipation of the anniversary of Kyle’s reunion with our Savior… now this is pain. Just breathing in everyday and remembering. The pictures. The posts. I’m so grateful for TimeHop because it has truly escorted me through my grief.

I’m reminded daily of what we did this time last year. Not knowing we were only months away from being parted by death. Those would be the last times. That would be our last halloween. And we had no idea. I didn’t know it would be the last time to see Kyle dressed as batman or have his face painted to make the kids smile. These months are bitter. I feel like when Kyle died all my skin was striped from me and I’m raw. So raw. And I’m tired of having firsts without him. Clara didn’t even get to have a Christmas with her daddy.

And as December 21st approaches, I’m not going to cower in a corner although I would fully support anyone in my situation that decided to do that. No, Kyle would NOT have that for me. I’m going to go to hot dog trick-or-treat night if they do it again. And I’m going to laugh. And I’m going to dress up our babies and paint my face and I’m going to stand a warrior for him. And at Thanksgiving, you know what I’m going to do? I’m going to eat ALL his favorite foods and take our annual post Thanksgiving meal walk by myself and I’m going to be thankful and breath in the fall air because that was just our style.

Insanity

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I keep trying to write how I feel but…

It’s a mess.

It’s not a pretty, attractive, well written blog entry.

It’s a tornado of uncertainty. It’s a hurricane of doubt. It’s an earthquake of fear. It’s a flood of guilt. It’s excitement and anger and deep sadness. It’s anxiety. Loneliness. Sometimes apathy. Courage and despair wrapped in hesitation.

Every step I take is liberating and debilitating at the same time. THE SAME TIME.

 

I feel inadequate and overwhelmed. And all my feelings are so intimate and deep and raw, sharing feels like being naked in front of a crowd.

It’s needing help that you don’t even know how to ask for. It’s needing prayer that you feel unworthy of.

It’s powerlessly leaping into an unknown world without any tools. Lord, help me.

 

That Bedroom Door

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For the last 5 months, I’ve spent almost every night laying in my bed staring at that bedroom door until I fall asleep. I replay that morning over and over, watching him put his jacket on and head out the door, me quietly saying “I love you” as not to wake up Clara.  I stare at that door and relive it. I relive the police showing up at the door just a few hours later and me picking up Clara in her pink hummingbird PJs to see why someone was knocking so early.

Every single night…

Then a couple of nights ago, I was laying down staring at the door and I pictured Jesus grabbing Kyle’s hand and escorting him out. Walking him out the door, closing his car door as he climbed in, and being there with Kyle for every second leading up to the accident. Then, sitting in the passenger seat and leading him to heaven. Jesus knowing that Kyle would be in paradise with Him within an hour of him walking out the door.

Then… I pictured Jesus laying next to me, on the other side of Clara, sitting in the bed, waking us up gently. Handing me a diaper to change Clara and holding my face when the doorbell rang. He was there with me every minute, knowing I was going to be losing the love of my life within an hour of him walking out the door.

I pictured Jesus with Kindall and Coen, helping Kyle and I put them to bed the night before, waking them the next morning and sitting with them waiting in the room while their Mom talked with some strange voice in the living room.

He was there for every moment. He was there with me before I knew I needed Him. He was there with Kindall and Coen at a moment that would change them forever. He was there with Clara. He walked with Kyle out that door into eternity.

Now, when I lay in bed at night staring at the door with tears, I see the door not as a death sentence. Not as Kyle being separated from Kindall, Coen, Clara and myself for the rest of our lives on earth. Not as something being taken from me but as a gift being given to Kyle. A gift of peace, a gift of no more tears, a gift of complete healing.

A Gift of Eternity.

Gratitude

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Today was the last meal on the Care Calendar which makes me reflect on how grateful we are for all that has been done for us.

I couldn’t possibly list all of the things people have done for us. I just couldn’t. At the beginning, I tried to keep a list so I could thank people later but the list got long and then got lost and then I lost track. But, that doesn’t make us any less grateful.

50 meals. Over FIFTY meals have been delivered to us in 4 months. People don’t understand the depth of this service. Kyle was the cook in the family. He made FANTASTIC, delicious, nutritious food and loved doing it. It brings tears to my eyes every time I see a knife of his, a pan, or his favorite salt shaker, or when I walk into HEB. Those 50 meals were 50 times that I didn’t have to cry. 50 times that I spent an extra hour with my children instead of shopping, cooking, and cleaning.

Cash, checks, gofundme, paypal, Visa gift cards, chick-fil-a gift cards just kept flowing in. I won’t waste a single dollar. I had some walk up to me at HEB and hand me a gift card to pay for my groceries. I’ve had others approach me and beg me to let them know when our next need arises as they want to provide for us. People have mowed the lawn, given us clothes, even the suit and wedding ring that Kyle was buried in was carefully bought by loving family when I didn’t have the heart to shop myself.

A massage? A pedicure? Epsom salts. Christmas presents. Flowers. Flowers. More flowers. Candy. Journal. The essential oils for grief. Teardrop necklace. All of these luxuries that we did not deserve but were gifted.

Tax advice, physical therapy, dental, acupuncture. A sleep trainer voted top 10 sleep trainers in the country donated her time so Clara and I could both learn to rest. 3 doulas offered to stay the night so I could sleep. You’ve offered your skill and talent to us. YMCA and Thinkery memberships and Dance Classes.

Diapers. Wipes. Baby toothbrush and toothpaste. Baby food pouches. Paper towels, toilet paper, water bottles.

You’ve remembered significant days. Christmas. New Years, Valentine’s Day, our anniversary. Clara’s birthday and Coen’s birthday quickly approaching. I’ve even received texts of remembrance on the monthly “anniversaries” of Kyle’s accident.

The letters. The cards. The mix CD’s. The notes. The messages and texts. The free counseling. The loving advice. The shoulders to cry on. The housing offered. Jobs offered. The babysitting. Oh my, the babysitting. One of my brothers was able to fly in. My current Young Living business was a gift. People have hosted classes.

And they continue to reach out. They know. You know. It doesn’t get easier. My living situation now doesn’t strain us financially but it won’t be that way forever. And you’ve provided for us in a million ways and people keep doing it.  It doesn’t get easier but you just learn to live with it. You learn how to play the video game and throw the football because dad can’t anymore. You learn how to cook everyone’s favorite meals of his. You learn to fall asleep without him next to you. You learn to let the tears flow and let the anger flood in and wash away. You learn to lean on family and friends.

Thank you for reaching out. Thank you for praying. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for “caring for orphans and widows in their distress.”. Thank you for never making me feel like a burden when I’ve asked for help. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you from the top of my heart. Thank you for things you’ve done that I’ve forgotten to mention or never knew about.

Thank you.

 

 

Erasers

IMG_6606“Mom! There are NO erasers in this house!”, Kindall exclaimed.  She and Coen were drawing pictures of creatures and she had something she wanted to change. A mark she wanted to remove. Something she needed to get rid of.

I had to erase something today too. But I didn’t want to.

You see, Clara threw up in her car seat today. I hadn’t cleaned her car seat in a few months and had every intention of doing so but now, it got real and she gave me a good reason to make today the day that I wash it!  After handing her off, I trekked out to the car and began the process of peeling away the cushion/fabric of the car seat. I’ve never taken this one off before so didn’t know exactly what was entailed. After about 5-10 minutes of tugging, I realized that the carseat would have to be uninstalled to get the car seat cover off.

I pushed on the button to release the seat belt’s hold on the seat and pushed again and again and again until it HIT me. Like being smacked in the face by a 2 by 4. Kyle installed this car seat. With all this strength, to keep his baby girl safe, he latched down those two anchors and pullllllled and pullllled and pulllled until it was as tight as it could be. I could see him leaning into the car, his foot propped up on the seat to get leverage, and pulling on that belt until he was confident of her security.

Removing this car seat meant erasing a piece of Kyle. It meant that the strength and heart Kyle had put into protecting his daughter was going to be removed. The memory faded, whispering away right out the car door and up to the clouds the moment the car seat was unlatched.

But, this wasn’t optional. This wasn’t like his toothbrush that is still in it’s place on the bathroom counter. The toothbrush can stay there. It can remind us of his life. But the car seat, that had to be cleaned. I had to protect Clara by cleaning the seat, just like Kyle protected her by installing it.

And so it was removed. And the cover has been washed. And the memory remains in my heart tucked away safely to share with Clara someday. To share with her about how her daddy had her safely protected, even 3 months and 21 days after he went to be with Jesus.

 

 

 

Even If

 

Listen to that song. REALLY listen. Don’t just sweep past it and read my blog. Listen to that song and soak up the truth it speaks.

I don’t know why God cures some cancer and takes others. I don’t know why God allows some chronic pain and heals others. I don’t know why God allows some to have children but others are barren. I don’t know why God hardens some hearts and breaks others chains.  I don’t know why He lets some babies die in womb, in birth, in 1st year of life, and some live to be 100 years old. And I SURE don’t know why God allows fatal car accidents but prevents others. I don’t know why God “allowed” Kyle to die. Although, I truly believe God knew the number of his days and was ready for him.

I don’t need to know.What I do know? God gave me life. God gave Kyle life. God gave us three beautiful children. God gave Kyle an incredible 36 years that He never had to grant him. God gave us family. God gives hope. He gives love. He comforts. He provides. God will be there to catch Kindall, Coen, and Clara when they fall, regardless if they choose to let Him catch them. God will be there to dry my tears. He is there when I’m feeling desperately alone. He’s there when I’m numb. He’s there when I’m 100% out of all strength and energy. He fills my cup. He gave His ONLY Son. He is Savior. How dare I ask for anything more? I’ve been given breath and the opportunity of eternal life in Heaven.

That’s enough. The pain of losing Kyle is incredible. The pain of watching my kids grieve, knowing Kyle won’t be here for any of their moments; it’s a deep and full yet completely empty pain. It’s heavy but also feels like it doesn’t exist. It’s bitter. It’s ugly. It’s hard. It’s SO hard. But God.Is.Good.  That’s the bottom line. I return to His feet to worship Him because truth is truth regardless of any pain. I let down my hair and wash the feet of the King who some would “blame” for taking Kyle from me. I wash Jesus’ feet in gratitude for our 36 years, 2 months, and 12 days of Kyle’s life.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

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