Monday, October 15, 2012

10 Years

10 yrs ago this last weekend I met my soul mate.  

And he changed everything.  

I've been thinking about that magical little weekend 10 years ago a lot over this past month.

Thinking about the totally random miraculous way we even met. (blind date, set up by someone I had met, I think once, about 10 yrs earlier.)

Thinking about talking to Brad on the phone the night before our date - and how easy everything was. He made me laugh and he listened. And I remember thinking, "please, please , please don't be a total mutant. Please don't be 7 inches shorter than me and please be at least a little cute, because I kindof already like you  - and that's kindof a big thing for me.

I remember driving down to meet everyone in Salt Lake and being really nervous and feeling like something big was coming.

I remember he took me flying.  I thought his pilot lingo on the radio was about the sexiest thing ever.

We hung out and talked in my car after the date for a few hours. (we really were just talking people, get your minds out of the gutter)  He told me about his job (that he loved) and his family (that he loved more) and what he wanted out of life.  And the thing that impressed me most about him was that he listened to me. He wanted to know all about Ty and teaching and my family. He wanted to know about things that actually matter.  And just by talking to him I realized the other thing that I loved most about him. That he was good. He knew what he believed and what kind of person he wanted to be. He wasn't overbearing, but he didn't apologize for wanting to live the way he did.

I had some pretty giant walls built up and I guess you could say I had some trust issues when it came to dating. I wasn't about to put myself out there or get my hopes up about a guy I barely knew.  So when he said "I'll call you tomorrow and is it Ok if I stop by on my way back to Idaho?"  I remember thinking that I really hoped he would, but I wouldn't be planning on it. And it was conference weekend, so I wouldn't be getting out of my sweats or combing my hair hoping some guy would show up only to have him not even call.  So the next day when Brad called and said he was on his way I'm pretty sure I had time to brush my teeth and that was about it.

He met Ty and met my family. I remember watching him talk to them and loving that he treated them like they were the most important people in the world. (I soon learned that he treated everyone like that)

And that night I walked him out to his car and he kissed me. And it didn't matter that my sister and Tyler (I mean, my horrible sister and horrible daughter) were peeking through the window and mocked me mercilessly when I came back in the house - because it was one of those movie kisses where music plays in your head and your knees go weak.   One of those kisses where you feel like you are finally home. And finally safe.  I felt all of that that night.  But it would take some time and convincing before my mind would believe it.  It was like somewhere deep down my spirit was saying - Oh, there you are. I've been looking for you.

I remember mustering up enough courage to say - "This was fun, you should call me next time you are in town." (that was about as forward as I was capable of being)  
And I remember Brad smiling and saying, "Oh, I think I'll be calling you before that." 
And he called every day after that.  
And that was the beginning.

He took me flying that first night. And has been teaching me to fly since.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bikes & Milestones

I remember a few years ago Brad's brothers family was in town and I walked outside to Uncle Lance teaching Sophie how to ride... running up and down the sidewalk with her and she was having a blast. It kindof took my breath away to see it because it was like seeing the picture I had in my head of what Brad would look like teaching them acted out in front of me. I was overcome with all these emotions simultaneously: happy and grateful that they have amazing uncles who step in and do dad things, heartbroken and a little pissed that she doesn't get to learn this from her dad, combined with the unmistakable feeling that Brad brings when he is present. I'm not sure how to describe that - but the word miraculous combined with overwhelming love come to mind.  He showed me without a doubt that he was there. All these feelings all at once were a little overwhelming and I was starting to lose it. I ran in to get my camera and was happy for the chance to try to compose myself. I didn't want them to think I was upset and I figured my tears would be misunderstood.    I got it together and came back and took photos.  It is now a sweet memory.

That was probably 2 and a half years ago.

Since then I have struggled with teaching them to ride. Sophie is 6 1/2 and Addie is almost 5. They should be zooming around on their bikes like other kids their age - but I have some sort of mental block when I think about teaching them. I have used the excuse that we live on a busy road to distract them when they want to go practice. I'm not sure why, but it just makes me so sad that Brad isn't here to teach them. I have to gear up for it emotionally each time and usually I just try to avoid it. It's also just another one of those milestones - doing something for the first time. I am getting a little better about dealing when we have a milestone, but there is always a bittersweet undertone because I am celebrating it without Brad.

 Last spring I decided that I would make myself help them learn by summer's end.  I got them balance bikes and we started going on walks so they could pratice. We have had a very busy (and Fun!) summer so we really have only practiced a few times.

Last week Sophie picked up her cousins bike and just started riding.
It was so great!
(and there were a bunch a people around, so that helped me keep it together.)
 She was SO excited and proud of herself.
She just kept riding and riding and it dawned on me that Brad was probably running around that tennis court with her just like he would have been if he were physically here.

Today I took the training wheels off Addie's little bike and she was riding alone after 30 seconds. (but probably not really alone)

We went for our first Funk family bike ride and I got to feel that beautiful feeling that Brad brings when  he comes. And for the first time I didn't feel sad about a milestone. I snapped pictures and didn't even think about crying. He was so obviously, tangibly "here" with us.

It really was a Funk FAMILY bike ride.

I will remember that feeling the next time 
I am sad because he is "missing" something. 
Because it is a miracle.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

American Widow Project

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending an AWP event.  AWP stands for  the American Widow Project.  A charity started by a military widow when she lost her husband at age 21.

I stumbled across the AWP website about a year after I lost Brad. I remember clearly the night I found it. I read the stories and cried, and read some more. I think I looked through everything on the site - wonderful resources, (many that I knew nothing about), songs and quotes and all sorts of "widow" things. Reading it made me feel less alone.  I remember thinking "finally! someone who gets it!" I was so grateful to have found it.

I knew they did events, and they cover all the expenses (which is awesome!)  but the girls were too little for me to seriously think about going on a getaway, and as years passed and they got old enough for me to leave the timing was just never right.

The first trip that I could even make work in our family schedule was the Seattle trip in July.  Even though I was really nervous about the thought of going to spend a weekend with a bunch of people I've never met I decided that I would register and see if I got in.

Well, I got in. And even while I was registering I knew going would be a good thing.
I felt like I was meant to go.

I was really excited and really, really, REALLY nervous about the trip. I worried that I would be the "old lady" of the group and I worried if I would really relate to the people I met there.

Well, it turned out that I had nothing to worry about.  They had a great weekend mapped out for us. We all stayed in this really cool house in Seattle and went Kayaking and zip-lining and did a food tour at Pikes Place market- SO fun!

But the BEST thing about the trip was meeting these amazing widows. While our life circumstances and backgrounds were all completely different, they understood the one thing no one else can. I saw pieces of myself in every widow there. Places I had been and places I hope to get too. I learned from each of them. It was such a healing and inspiring thing for me to be able to meet these fabulous ladies.  It was amazing to me that the AWP could throw together 10 people who have never met, have nothing in common except losing a husband in the line of duty and by the time the weekend is over we are like old friends - laughing and crying together.

I consider it an honor and a privilege to have met them and to be one of them.  

I am so grateful this wonderful charity exists. And so grateful that a 21 year old widow had the courage to follow her heart and start this amazing organization. If you are looking for a charity to support -THIS is it.

It was such a good thing for me. I came home with a fresh new batch of courage - feeling like I can do this and that I'm not alone. I had no idea how empowering it would be to meet other widows who have survived that dreaded knock on the door.   I came home with 10 new friends and full of inspiration.  Can't ask for much more than that :)

So this is my shout out to the ladies of the AWP. Taryn and TT. You are amazing. You do so much good.  Thank you for being brave and following your heart and thank you for inspiring others to do the same.  Widow Power :) 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


Widow.    When I  realized that at age 33 that title applied to me - it made me physically sick. I completely rejected that word and everything that it stood for.   I never refer to myself as a widow. (it's ironic that my blog has this word in the title. - really I've always really liked the "might" part of that and not so much the "widow".)

When I  would hear the word widow I used to think of an older lady - that needed help and probably elicited pity from me.   I thought of her in scriptural terms. Someone I should serve and help; but I certainly didn't want people to think of me when they heard that word. I was trying pretty hard not to be pitiful and I hated that word that would illicit pity immediately from everyone who heard it.

I remember clearly the first form where I had to erase the check I had placed next to "married" and check the "widow" box instead. I wanted to cry. for lots of reasons. and being given that unwanted title was one of them.

Even after 4 years I would still kindof flinch involuntarily when I heard it.

Until I read this....

(I copied this from my soon to be friend Taryn Davis' blog - She started the charity American Widow Project. She is a military widow and when I read this it really just changed everything that I felt about being referred to as a widow. )

"When Michael was first killed I remember sitting there thinking, 'Does this mean I have to be a widow?!'.

Our society had put such a stigma on the word, that any chance in me feeling the need to embrace it was pretty slim.

I even had people telling me not to call myself that.

"Widow" was a title that had everything going against it in the sense of embracing it.

But I remember, one evening, in the first few months after his death, thinking of the pride I had when standing next to him and hearing him introduce me as his wife.

I felt unstoppable. I felt that the world was mine to conquer. I felt that with him by my side and the title of his wife...that all in the world was right.

It was in thinking of that feeling that I knew I had all reason in the world to feel the same as his widow.

That title represents his sacrifice.

That title represents my sacrifice.

And that title, due to the fact that I am still here to say I am the widow of Michael...represents my survival.

I know it is easier sad than done to embrace a word that for centuries has been shunned and put in a negative light, but when I think of that glowing feeling in my heart when I stood next to him as his wife, I quickly let the notions of others fall to the wayside as the same feeling sweeps over me as I introduce myself as his widow.

You earned this title with every ounce of love you share with them. You earned this title with every day you decided to get up and inhale and exhale after their passing. You earned this title for being an example for all those that will come after you and will be asking the same question on why they should embrace a word...and then they see how you have lived...and suddenly know why.

So be proud.

Being a widow is title worth sharing."

She perfectly describes the pride and happiness that I felt when I was referred to as Brad's wife. So i'm going to attempt to feel that same way when i say 

I am the proud widow of Maj. Brad Funk. 

I will be proud of this...
(isn't he a total babe!)

and this...

and even this. 

I love you my boy. You make me proud every minute. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Air Show

 I have a love hate relationship with Memorial Day weekend. I love that people remember and honor Brad more than on your average day. But it's also an emotional roller coaster weekend for me. I usually get a little pissed, missing my old memorial days spent with my sweet husband.   I'm usually grateful and a bit angry, sad, lonely, happy and proud all at the same time. It kind-of wipes me out. I never realized until I lost Brad how draining emotional roller coaster days can be.

This weekend our good friends came up to stay with us and go to the air show. We met them while we were in Florida and, while we don't see each other a ton; it's one of those friendships that just picks up where it left off.  I love seeing them. They remind me of my perfectly blissful days with Brad in Florida. They were in town for the airshow. Amanda  had asked if that was something I would be interested in going to - I love that she is sensitive enough to know that it would probably be something that was hard for me, but still asked just the same.  I told her that we would love to go and that it would be much more fun going with them.

I was trying to mentally gear up for it all weekend. It's funny how even the littlest reminders of my old life with Brad kindof knock the wind out of me. On the night they arrived in town the sight of Jeremy's patch filled green bomber jacket on my front room floor caused me to catch my breath a little. And flooded back memories of Brad in his identical jacket.

Flightsuits are the worst. I rarely go to base and have to mentally gear up when I do. It's mainly because flightsuits are everywhere. A guy had one on in Costco one day and I was not prepared to see it. I was walking around bawling like a crazy person and trying not to hyperventilate.  I LOVED Brad in his flightsuit. He was so sexy in it. I would tell him so every time he wore it - which was everyday. I would make this little whistle sound and tell him that he was SO hot and would he please turn around?  He would laugh and say that I was nuts. But I know he loved it. On mornings when he was on earlies he'd leave about 4:30 a.m. He'd come say prayers with me and kiss me goodbye and tell me he loved me while I was still in bed. I would make that little sound while he was walking away and he'd laugh the whole way out to the car.
(yes... I know. Feel free to drool. It's impossible not too)

So Saturday we went to the airshow. Walking in all these memories came flooding back. Being out on the flightline, seeing the jets, kissing Brad after his 1000 hrs in the Eagle, fini-flights. The last photos we have of Brad are at Red Carpet day at Sheppard two weeks before the accident. He ran around with 2 yr old Sophie and showed her the jets. He loved that one of her first words was "umplane" which quickly evolved into "daddy umplane" anytime she would hear a jet overhead. She was certain that every one of those was her daddy. (and sometimes it was.)   Addie was 6 months old and I followed them around in the stroller while he put her in the cockpit and hung her from the nose. Sophie was having a blast. I love that memory. I am so grateful we went that day. But it made my heart hurt thinking about it on the flightline on Saturday.

I used to have an almost panic attack when I was around things that brought memories flooding back like that. It's getting better, but I still have to remind myself to breathe. There was a point on Saturday when I was starting to lose it and I was scolding myself. WHAT was I thinking coming here? Why was I putting myself through this? I missed him and our old life so much I couldn't breathe. The panic attack was coming on...

And then I looked at our girls.

The little girls were so excited to be there. They wanted to see Daddy's plane, so we walked first over to the F15's. Sophie walked all around and touched it everywhere she could. We lifted her up as high as we could get her so she could touch as much as possible. They were jets from Mountain Home AFB, so she was excited when I told her that Daddy had been stationed at that base.   Sophie wanted to know  what each plane was and what it did. Both she and Addie waited in line to try on the pilot gear. (which made me laugh because we have all of it at home..helmet, g-suit, gloves, vest, boots, the whole thing.)

They had a big bin of free plastic jets. I got to watch Ty explain to the little girls what type each one was and what they did.  Addie sat out with me while the Thunder Birds performed and loved it. She kept asking, " Is daddy's plane louder and bigger and faster than those? And I would say yes and smile because I KNOW Brad LOVES that she knows that.

So this is why we come. I want my girls to be so proud of what Brad did. I want them to gain an understanding and appreciation of what the Air Force does. And what it takes to be a pilot in the Air Force. It's the tip of the spear. The best of the best. I want them to know how much their daddy loved flying and loved serving his country. It makes me sad that Sophie and Addie don't get to experience it first hand through Brad like Tyler did; but I will teach them about it the best that I can.

So we will go to air shows and I will force down that panic attack by watching our beautiful girls.

We had a fun BBQ today with my amazing family and wonderful friends. My mom worked her butt off to make darling patriotic desserts in honor of Brad.

And tomorrow we will go to the cemetery and I will NOT hate this day. We will celebrate this amazing man whose love still carries me, calms me and reminds me what is really important.
We will celebrate our HERO.
 Major Brad "Gyro" Funk.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

4 yrs

Yesterday marks the four year anniversary of Brad's death. I have felt this day creeping up. It stresses me out. I don't really despise or hate this day. Some people may find that interesting. The only reason for that is because I feel that Brad is closer on May 1st. (and that's saying something, because I feel that he is with us pretty much always) The past 3 May 1st's have shown me that miracles happen on this day. Like maybe he is granted permission to be a little more...tangible... on that day because of the meaning it holds for us.  Because of the pain involved with it.  May 1 2008 was my worst nightmare come true. But the May 1st's since have been different.  It is a tender mercy day now.

I still wouldn't say I really like this day though. I can feel it creeping up all of April. It's almost subconscious. I am usually more stressed and emotional and conflicted about it.  It marks another year without Brad. And that always makes me sad.

This year was extra interesting in the events leading up to this day.  About a week and a half ago the diamond fell out of my wedding ring. This ring incident deserves a post of it's own; but I will just say this for now:  Brad had designed the ring and had it made for me, he surprised me with it and it is safe to say that it is my most prized possession. (if you don't count photos)  I was devastated to find the diamond missing.

A few days later $3400 worth of fraudulent charges showed up on my debit card. Mainly just a pain in the butt and a time suck. I know it will be worked out; but it's still stressful.  (still waiting for that refund)

April 30 I decided to get some much needed work done in the yard. We were out there all day. I watered the newly planted flowers and the girls kept wanting to turn on the hose after I was done. I asked them to please not mess with the water.  We came in about 8 p.m. and got dinner and I went downstairs to get some supplies so they could make something to take to the cemetery the next day. On the way into the craft room I found myself standing in a hall full of soggy waterlogged carpet.  I could hear water running. Addie had turned on the hose outside hours ago. The hose has a sprayer on the end  - so I guess that combined with a cracked pipe makes a soggy, flooded toy room, closet and storage room.

And I kindof freaked for a minute. I yelled for Ty to help and my mom was here. We got the water turned off and hauled all the soggy toys out.  I got mad at Addie for turning the water on, and at Sophie for going in the closet where all my teaching stuff is that she knows she needs permission to touch. (about 50 soaked books on the floor were the result of her visit)  I Trashed a bunch of my best books  and then I sat down to cry. I remember saying aloud - Are you freaking kidding me? One more thing? and TODAY of all days! I had planned to go to the temple tomorrow and I just wanted a nice peaceful day to go to the cemetery and be with my girls. Now I was going to get to deal with this crap instead.

I sat there and cried for a while. My sweet little Sophie timidly came up to me. She said with a shaky little voice, "Mom, it's going to be ok. Do you know why? Because I just said a prayer." and then she started to cry a little.

 And she melted my heart.

  I pulled my little girls close and hugged them. We talked about how it is important to obey, but that it would be ok. That it was just stuff. And stuff can be replaced or we can just go without it. That's it's not really a big deal. People are always more important than stuff.  I said my own little prayer for help to calm down and know what to do and started to get to work.

Within a few hours this thing I thought was such a big deal really was ok. Between my parents and my awesome brother in law (who takes care of basically two lawns and two homes and is always there to help with whatever) and good neighbors who brought fans - it was ok.

On my way to the store to rent a carpet cleaner (really good at getting water out of carpet by the way) I was thinking - At first I had been so pissed that this had happened on this day.Because it was one more crappy thing that had happened in the last week or so and I was at my limit.  Because it was going to ruin my plans for tomorrow. - But I realized on that quiet drive when I had time to think -  What better day to be reminded that when something goes wrong how blessed I am to have people that drop everything and rush over to help. I have amazing family and friends and neighbors. What better day to be reminded that I am not doing all this alone.  And what better day to remember what really is important.  And that it's not stuff.

I vividly remember in the weeks following Brad's death thinking, all this crap we spend our time on everyday is meaningless. And we worry about it, and try to get more of it. Stuff. stuff we spend our time on and our money on. None of it matters at all. None of it is important.  In the moment when something that really IS important happens - everything you thought was such a big deal just immediately falls away. And the things that really matter are crystal clear.  For me those things we my family, and my knowledge of the plan and where Brad was and that there is more than just this life. My knowledge of my Savior, Jesus Christ and that because of Him, I would be with my sweet husband again.  And covenants that I was so grateful to have made. I have thought many times since how lost and hopeless life would be now for me if I didn't have that knowledge.

Thanks to my wonderful support system I got to keep my plans for May first. I got to have a date with my husband at the temple. I got to stand in the room where we were sealed and know that he is still there with me through all of this. I know he is RIGHT HERE with us. He still influences us and helps us and we feel his love lifting us and carrying us every day. And I know he feels our love as well. And that makes me so happy.

I got to be with my family and do everything I wanted to do on this day. I got to read kind notes from family and friends showing that they love and remember Brad. I got to hear his voice on a hud tape posted by a student pilot he flew with. (tears of Joy accompanied that) :) It was a day where tender mercies abounded. And it was the best May 1st I have had yet. And I appreciated all of it a little more.  And I think sometimes that right there; appreciating it - is the point.

Sunday, April 29, 2012


Driving home tonight a Sugarland song came on the radio. All of a sudden I am thrown back into a memory with Brad. Driving home from Destin to Panama City. 
We would go to Destin for a date or with the family every once in a while.  I love that little stretch of road between. 30-A is probably my favorite highway ever. It meanders through darling little beach towns and it's a perfect way to waste a day. We would talk and laugh on the drive. Stopping at whatever caught our eye.  Rosemary Beach saturday market, Seaside, Destin Commons, little beach boutiques, Panera Bread, Cold Stone and Dippin dots. (yes, two ice cream places. And usually Brad would say, ya, I want some ice cream when I would say we should stop and then he would tell me to order first and say that was just what he wanted and that he'd just have a bite of mine. (he wasn't a big treat guy, and I was (am) a sugar addict, so he would pretend to want a treat so I wouldn't feel like I shouldn't get one.) He was a bit of an enabler to my addiction :)

So driving home tonight, hearing that song, All of a sudden I'm driving on 30-A. Singing at the top of my lungs to the Sugarland cd. Him laughing at me and shaking his head. Saying  "you're  really happy aren't you". More a statement than a question - and repeating a line from one of the songs, 
"so when you count all your blessings do you get a smile on your face?"
And I grinned from ear to ear. 
He made me so happy. 
And I LOVE that he always knew he did. 
 It's not that I'm not happy now. I think that for the most part I am. It's just not the same and I don't think it ever will be. I won't ever know that same happiness until I am in his arms again.  Because THAT happiness , that complete and utter joy, in all the little things- my perfect joy with everything about my life was so completely entwined with Brad. It is not something I can separate from him.  It is the US that made me so happy. Not just the HIM, the US. I still have him. I know that like I know the sun rose today.
I still know there is still an US, just like before- but it's harder to find US than it is to find HIM. I know just exactly where he is. Us is harder because  we were both changed by being together . We were both better and happier and everything good about each of us was multiplied by a million when we were US . And i'm just stuck here being the me by myself. I sometimes have a hard time finding the me I was when I was with him. He made me so much better. 
Never have I been so comfortable and content and happy with another human being in my life. The only way I can describe it is saying it's like coming home. Everyone should know that feeling. It's like you are empowered beyond anything you could ever be on your own. You create something new when you come together. And because of it everything you wanted to do, together, or on your own, is easier and safer and you can be brave and just fly - because you are invincible together.  We both gave that to each other.  And I know that gift of being US is not gone, but it has to be different now; and I miss that us feeling every minute.
I just finished reading the book Sunset by  S. Michael Wilcox. In it he talks about feeling like he was just so inadequate and diminished without his wife. That 2/3 of him was missing. There was she, and him and them together. 2/3 of that was gone now.  When we are left with just ourselves it takes so much away from the full self we were before with our other half.
I am so grateful to have these moments that I feel just as I did before the accident. Where I feel like I did when we were US. The song moment was one. They usually make me cry but not out of sadness. I love having that welcome feeling of US. Brad made me feel like I could do anything in the world when we were US.  I guess now that familiar feeling can help give me strength to do the hardest thing I have ever had to do;
which is to be here without him.

Monday, April 16, 2012

North Shore

I can not see the ocean without thinking of Brad.  He proposed to me on the beach. We got married and moved a few days later to our home in Florida. Not right on the beach, but close enough that when I needed to see the ocean I wasn't further than about 15 miles away. We spent our first two years of marriage loving being near the ocean.  Our honeymoon was on the beach. We made a million happy memories being on the beach and looking out into that vast ocean.

Our  family trip to Hawaii this winter was very bittersweet - for lots of reasons.  Heading off to a beautiful beach with my precious girls and without their daddy was one of those reasons. Knowing we were going somewhere Brad had loved visiting, and had so badly wanted to take us someday was difficult.  We ended up having a great trip. And I know Brad was with us the whole time. But being near the ocean always makes miss him terribly.

I remember during this trip looking out on those beautiful waves and thinking that they reminded me a little of how grieving the loss of my sweet husband feels sometimes.

 A huge swell came in while we were there and we went out to the North Shore to watch the wonder of the waves. It was amazing to watch them. A photo just does not do them justice. They were the biggest waves I had ever seen. The red flags were placed right up by the sidewalk. The guards didn't even want you to touch the sand, let alone the water.  I watched those waves roll up a few crazy surfers who did not heed the signs. One was trying to get out of the water. He was only a few feet from the shore - maybe 5-10 feet at the most. He was trying to swim out, swimming with all his might and was literally not moving at all. Those waves were so big they broke a few times on the way in. They broke again right where water met sand and were just pounding this poor surfer right into the ground.  The water swirled around ferociously after the break and by the time he got his footing another wave was crashing on his head.

I remember thinking that I know what that feels like.

My grief is somewhat like the waves. There are times went I get rolled up by one of those huge waves and smashed right into the sand. There are also times when it's calmer. When it's just a gentle rolling and while I'm still feeling it, it's not forcing me under and sucking the life out of me.

Everyone always says that time heals. I don't know that I agree with that completely.  Time has definitely helped. I don't know that I would say that it heals. With the passage of time those huge waves seem less frequent. But they still come.  The smaller waves are more common now.  And that is a good thing.  My grief seems to ebb and flow like the tides do.  And it's constant. It changes in intensity. And I'm learning to be a better swimmer; but it is constant. It's always there, swirling underneath even on the calm days.

When I do get hit by a North Shore wave, I know that I'm not swimming out of it alone. There are so many tender mercies I have been blessed with. They are kindof like life jackets that help me keep my head above water.  The nearness of my sweet husband is the strongest of those.  Sometimes he is so close that I look around, sure I will see.  Although seeing would be good; I'll take being lifted up out of those huge waves and being placed in softer seas. That's what he does for me. Still.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Our little family attended out first TAPS event last month. TAPS stands for Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. TAPS provides support to all who have lost someone who served in the armed forces. I've been getting their magazine and emails for almost 4 years. I've always thought it would be good for us to go to an event, but it just never worked out.

One reason I thought it would be good for us to go was so we could be involved with a military event. (TAPS isn't specifically run by the military, but most of their volunteers are military and everything was held on base. The kids get to hang out with service men and women who volunteer to be their mentor for the camp)   The Air Force way of life was something that I really grew to love. I have missed it. I miss my kids being raised surrounded by it. I want them to know what their daddy did, and how much he loved it and WHY he did it. It's harder to teach that when you are removed from all things military.

  I was a little nervous to go actually. I didn't really know what to expect, but hey, we were going to the one in Hawaii, so if we didn't like it I figured we would just go to the beach instead.  It turned out to be much better than the beach.  It was just one day; but it was so good for all of us. The kids did their own thing - broken up into age groups. They got to meet kids who have all lost fathers. I got to meet other widows. It's amazing the instant bond you have with someone when you have that in common. It really did make me feel less alone. It was nice to be around someone who understood in a way that no one else can. It was heartbreaking to hear everyone's story; but it was very healing to be there together celebrating the fact that the people we love LIVED. That is more important then the fact that they died.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Daddy - Daughter

I told Sophie the other day that her dance class was having a daddy daughter party. I told her I could go with her, or Grandpa would love to go.  That she had lots of people who loved her and many people who would love to go.  
“So who do you think you want to ask to come?”
Sophie immediately replied with - “Well, Daddy is going to come with me.”
just matter of fact. Like it was a silly question.
She continued - “I can just explain to everyone in my class that my Daddy is in heaven, so that’s why he’s not playing the games. But that he is always with me.”
In my mind I was thinking a few things at once. That I LOVE this sweet little girl who teaches me about faith, and that I am so glad she knows her Daddy is close and would not miss this little dance party for the world.   I was also thinking that I can’t let her go into that party alone, because that would break my heart. I started to panic a bit, thinking about that.
She was quiet for a minute. And then she said, “ I guess you can come if you want to Mom. You can do the games with me.”
more silence.   and then...
“You know what Mom? I bet I’m the only one who gets to have a Mommy AND a Daddy that get to come. That’s Pretty cool.”
My sweet little Sophie.   Teaches me profound things.