As promised, today I’ll begin the weekly peek into the life Karen and I had. It’s her legacy. I hope you get the chance to know and love her as I did.
After Karen died, I decided part of my grief therapy would be writing a memoir — not my own, but of our life together. I gathered information from my recollections, her journals and other sources and spent the next six months crafting In the Blink of an Eye: 40 Years of Memories.
I decided to give it to my children as a gift — a glimpse of their Mom through my eyes. It covered our life together — from how we met, how we lived the ups and downs of our lives, how we survived 40 years of marriage and five children, how we struggled at the end.
I think this venue would be appropriate for sharing those words with you … to give you some insight just how much Karen influenced my life, to help you understand where I’m coming from, to help you peel back additional layers of my life. And I have my children’s blessing.
Some of the material has already been used in previous posts, but there are other aspects that will be new — especially the artwork. So, here goes…
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to throw away;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace …
This booklet is a reflection on the life Mom and I had together … 40 years of memories in the blink of an eye. It’s a chronicle of the journey we took together and an opportunity to share some insights into our life together, perhaps dispel a few rumors and substantiate some of those urban legends that made up our marriage.
It truly was a journey … with plenty of ups and downs … twists and turns … smooth sailing and detours. It was the intersecting of two totally different lives, personalities and experiences — I am convinced — with God’s help, blended into our family.
I have to be honest. My memory isn’t as sharp as it was and, in many respects, our life together wasn’t all that spectacular. It was rather routine. But it also was grounded in mutual love and respect … and when those two factors surfaced, the memories replaced the mundane.
Mom had an incredible passion for life, although her early experiences often quelled that fire. She was realistic … I was the dreamer. She saw the glass half empty … I saw it half full. She was prone to worry … I was aloof.
It was precisely this disparity, I think, that made our marriage work. Very few times in our 40 years were we both approaching situations the same way … or as Mom would say, “right brain … left brain.” It was Mom’s realism that tempered my dreams, just as much as it was my aloofness that quieted her fears. We never really decided whether the glass was half full or half empty. Instead, we both became grateful we had a glass at all.
That being said, we were never off doing “our own thing.” Both of us made a commitment to each other and all of our decisions — right or wrong — were focused on each other.
Her final request of me was to continue her prayer you guys will all come to know and accept the Lord. To quote her, “I really want my entire family to be able to hug again; and you know that means all of those grandkids too! Gotta pray for each and every one of them. I have always prayed for the ones we have now and the ones yet to come and our great-grandchildren whom I’ll never meet.”
She added, “Don’t cry because I’m no longer here but laugh over the silly things we did, the trials we had and were able to weather. Kids playing in laundry baskets (Dee); kids falling down two flights of stairs every Sunday for several weeks (Nicolle); sons who were more interested in showing off than hitting a T-ball (Scott); other sons who kept getting beaned by balls (Joe); and the son who was happy as a clam catching his first fish (Jay) … Cry for awhile but then put on a happy face and move on with your lives knowing that I am in a far, far better place in the arms of my Lord. Know that I will be waiting for you guys and will have the biggest hugs ready when I see you again.”
As you go through these pages, it is my hope you will see Mom not through your eyes, but through mine. In addition to being Mom, I hope you see the strong, passionate, grounded woman I saw … from the beginning right through to the end.
Also, as you go through these pages, you may have more questions. I may have left something out that you wondered about. The beauty of this tome is it is not chiseled in stone. It can be amended to be a true living history.
I’ve included photos, cartoons and even Mother’s Day/Anniversary/Birthday/Christmas cards she collected over the years.
I hope you enjoy the booklet as much as I enjoyed — sometimes painfully — writing it and sharing my insights about the most beautiful, true woman I ever knew … your Mom.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.