As I finally buckled down to prepare for our trip this weekend, I realized I really needed to get a Last Will and Testament in place should something happen to both John and I. Given we're both on a plane this weekend, I felt it necessary to take a few legal precautions in case a terrible emergency came to pass.
I hate thinking in this manner, but as a parent, you just can't help it. This line of thinking is typically why I don't like to leave Vincent with anyone overnight (let alone the long weekend John and I are taking). So I buckled myself down and tried to take care of legal odds and ends in the off chance something happens to us while we're away. I then passed along these documents to three separate people for safe-keeping.
However, these are a far cry from a proper will. This process made me realize just how necessary having one is. So, when we get back from the vacation (God willing!), I think it's time to do the grown-up thing and put together those final wishes. You just never know when you're going to be called home, and you don't want to leave those behind with any doubts as to your last wishes - ESPECIALLY where your children are concerned.
After taking care of the notarized documents I'm using temporarily this weekend, I went to Vincent's daycare and watched him sleep until he awoke from his nap. Then we cuddled for about a half hour until my mother-in-law came to pick him up. Vincent doesn't really understand that John and I will be gone for a few days. Not that I think he's going to mind, anyway. He's got his cousin to keep him occupied. :)
Anyone have any good advice as to where to start with wills and such? I've got one of those "Fill in the blank" versions, but was told they aren't any good. Have any of you done those? Advice?
Also, have any of you written letters (ala Rescue Me) to family/friends to be read upon death? I've always wanted to, but I end up getting too upset and frustrated with my inability to express my love and appreciation.
However, any attempt, no matter how feeble, is probably better for them than nothing. So I was curious if anyone else had thought of doing that (or, better yet, had actually done it).
When I was younger, I'd read all about the various saints doing super heroic stuff.
Martyr after martyr welcomed death - joyously - to prove their love for Jesus.
Heck, there were saints who just got dealt persecution after persecution (though not to the point of death) and joyously offered it to God as an offering of love.
Now, after reading all these stories of such heroic devotion and love, how many of you wanted to get martyred or experience persecution to prove yourself?
If so, is there a particular saint whose experience and example has really resonated with you?
John had a special event this past weekend. He set up a dodgeball tournament and I surprised him by both attending and taking photos (I was supposed to be with Vince in Ocean City).
Anyway, I took the photos and of course everyone wanted them posted right away. So, since I had to go through my memory card anyway, I finally uploaded a bunch of other albums that've been hanging out on my camera.
Plus, I really want to have a fresh memory card for our trip, so this "spring cleaning" was a must.
As I was going through the photos, I was struck by how wonderful of a summer this really was. I was blessed with a lot of good memories to temper some of the more frustrating / difficult parts.
So I want to share some of those photos with you fine folks. Many are from my iPhone, so forgive the graininess.
Gram (known as "GG" to Vince) celebrated another birthday with us. We're so blessed to still have her in our lives. She's a wonderful, beautiful woman.
Vince and I on a nature walk at the park and feeding the geese.
We had a surprise pool party for our friend, Jay. Here are some shots of the group (and me on the ground getting said shots of the group).
Some Old Tyme Photos of Vince - we do these once a year at the end of the summer as tradition. This year he was a cowboy. Very Mal Reynolds for you Firefly fans out there.
Then just a bunch of randoms for the last two weeks.
Thanks for letting me share some fun. I appreciate all of you coming along for the ride.
This entry is not for the faint of heart. The image below disturbed me something fierce, so if you don't want to wrestle with the same inner despair I am over this situation, please step away from this article. It deals specifically with murdered children, so please - click to another blog because this will leave your heart crying out for vengeance.
On the front page of the Wall Street Journal today, they posted a very large photo of shrouded bodies. At first glance, they looked to be sleeping, but the central figure, possibly a mother in grief, stooped over one of the figures as a man supported her while another caressed the face of the child.
My heart immediately skipped a beat as I fought the urge to cry out. I stared at the image and couldn't help but note how beautiful these little girls were. I assume the photo was taken outside of a girl's school, because each of the little faces peeking out from the sheets was a beautiful, beautiful little girl.
My God - I pictured my nieces in those blankets. My son. How could we, as humans, do this to one another? To steal away these precious lives, and with them, the lives of those left behind? This is evil - this is such terrible, terrible evil.
Again, I can almost hear my husband saying, "Gina, just stop looking at it. Why do you torture yourself by dwelling on this sorta stuff?"
I just can't help it. Look at those faces. Look at those angelic little faces and tell me they don't deserve to have their stories known. That they don't deserve to have their stories FELT so that hearts around the world resound their anger and defiance of such evil existing in our world.
No. Knowing this evil exists and unmasking it so that others are aware of it is that absolute least I can do. Spreading the word so that others can join their prayers and fasting for these families is a tiny step in the direction of healing, and these children... these families... they deserve at least that much.
So regardless of how much my heart bleeds as I think on this situation, I will look at each of those little faces, think on each of their broken, hurting families, and I will pray. I will meditate on their suffering and I will spread the word so that others can do the same. I will then offer it to Christ and beg that He come back to us soon because truly... we need His help. We are a plague unto ourselves, and we simply do not have the strength to pull ourselves from the mud.
May God have mercy on us.
At 30, I'm not old by any stretch of the imagination. I've never been one to care about age. That being said, though, I've noticed in the last year some significant changes in my body that have hinted that, although I'm not "old," I'm certainly getting older.
My metabolism, for example, has slowed down considerably. Where I could once scarf down a buffet-worth of lunch and not gain an ounce, I can't sneak a french fry without gaining twenty. My digestive track doesn't always tend to work as seamlessly as it once did, either. I could typically eat like a goat and my tummy had nary a thing to say. Now, however, it grumbles in protest should I try to indulge in something spicy.
Little things like that have been catching up with me for a while now. As a result, I've gained more weight than I care to admit, my posture has taken a hit, and my energy level is constantly sapped. I've been wanting to jump start a change in lifestyle to compensate for the fact that I'm not 18 anymore. I think I've finally got the motivation to make the commitment.
Mind you, I'm not worried about body image. While it'd be nice to look slimmer, I don't fancy myself "fat." My doc informed me last year I was close to overweight. With the pounds I've added since that visit, I'm likely over the line, but I don't care so much given I wear it pretty well. I'm curvy and my body-shape allows for extra pounds. However, I'm doing this more because I'm noticing my energy level being near nothing at the end of the day. I want to have the energy to take Vince to the park and out biking and such instead of feeling the need to collapse on the couch.
So I'm going to take this as my motivation to answer the changes in my body while getting myself more in tune with that whole "your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit" business. The first step of this process is to clear out the temple. I'm going to kick fast foods, fried foods and junk foods from my diet. I'm also going to "fast" three times a week - Mon, Wed and Fri will be my "no meat" days.
Thus, the point of this blog entry.
I know a lot of you out there have great vegetarian recipes. Please, please, please share them with me (unless they are soup because, for the most part, I don't actually like soup).
Plus, I figure this will be a good way to have a daily offering for a few special intentions I've got floating around. I've been meaning to work on my ability to fast, and I guess now is as good a time as any. This venture begins the day I get back from vacation (Sept. 4). I figure I should have a good stockpile of recipes and such by then.
Thanks in advance! <3
Congratulations to our winners! :) I hope you had as much fun as I did. Check your e-mails to see what you've won. Please make sure you message me your addresses so I can get these prizes out to you on Monday.
Have a blessed weekend everyone!!!
Long night. Really long night. Productive night, though, so yay for that.
A good neighbor-friend of mine left the house after a few hours discussing a project we're working on. We talked for a while beyond project goals, and it got messy.
Truth be told, it was also good. I had been harboring guilt over my miscarriage and she called me out on it. I didn't realize she'd had a miscarriage, herself, many years ago. When she asked me who I'd talked to - really talked to - about this, she practically smacked me over the head when I said, "I've got my blog."
She asked, "Blogs can't talk back to you."
I said, "But readers can! They've been great!"
She replied, "E-mails and comments do not a real conversation make."
Realizing I was about to be pulled over a barrel, I weakly countered, "But I can control those."
Oh dang. Fellow bloggers, you know as well as I do that sometimes it's just easier "talking" when you're typing on a keyboard. Feeling each word bounce off your fingers and into the internet is like celebrating a thousand small victories. There really is something therapeutic about venting in such a controlled (and physical) manner. I LIKE this method. It works for me, and it works in a way that allows me to avoid emotional confrontations that I'm relatively ill-equipped to handle.
"Grandma Fro" doesn't' seem to approve. In fact, I know she thinks I'm a lunatic for "shooting off my mouth" to what she deems are "strangers."
She asked me, "Don't you have any women friends to talk to about this?"
I said, "I do, but who really wants to talk about any of this? *I* don't even want to talk about it. I'm not going to make them do it."
She countered, "Friends who know you can't keep that bottled up in you want to talk about it. At least they should. It's not healthy to run around pretending to be okay when all you want to do is scream. You can scream. I won't stop you. I'll get you a bullhorn, and all your friends should be getting them, too."
I laughed. I said, "Really. I'm okay. I think I've come to terms with things, and now that I've talked to John, I really feel okay."
She said, "So you don't feel guilty at all?"
GUILTY?! That word stopped me dead in my tracks. GUILTY?!
I didn't even know what to say.
I never once uttered that word to anyone. I never once even hinted that I felt even the least bit responsible for what had happened. How did she know that? How did she even think to GUESS at that?!
She saw my dumbfounded look and simply responded, "Yes. I know you feel guilty. That's probably the worst of it. There's a part of you, deep down, that thinks you did or didn't do something right that caused that baby of yours to fly off to Heaven."
I couldn't even bother trying to hide my own shame. I cried. Dear God, I cried. How could anyone know that? I almost felt like this was God pointing a finger at me or something... letting me know that I really was to blame for all of this.
But no. She went on and said, "Gina, I know because I've been there. I miscarried three of mine. Three. And for every single one I felt that guilt eating away at me. I never wanted to tell anyone, but that guilt weighed me down to hell. All the way to hell. It'll weigh you down, too. You gotta let it go."
I was confused. I felt really angry (because anger is typically my first defense mechanism). I felt emotionally undressed, and given how good I am at keeping my emotions in stylish Victorian garb, I was none too happy about looking like a Housewife of Orange County in the middle of an Elizabethan Tea Party. My anger, however, was tempered by my sorrow at her own three miscarriages. No one should have to suffer one let alone three. My heart ached for her. Finally, my own confusion as to how to proceed kept my mouth fused shut while my tears did the talking.
Seeing I had no capacity for verbally defending myself, she kept on going.
"What is it that you feel guilty for? My first, I believed, was because I didn't eat right. It was a tough time, so when I lost him, I thought it was because I wasn't getting enough food in me. The second was because I didn't take the vitamins every day like I should have. In my mind that's what it was, anyway. Finally, my last one was lost because I thought I stayed out in the sun too much. Really. I thought I stayed out in the sun too much and my body couldn't withstand all the heat."
I looked at her. Her reasons sounded about as good as mine. For me, I was afraid I'd had too much caffeine. In fact, as soon as I figured out I was pregnant, I stopped drinking my normal two cups of coffee and immediately switched to one cup of decaf. I'm STILL drinking decaf. Also, the last time I was at the OB, she warned me to keep taking folic acid because of my age. I didn't take her advice, and I was afraid that my lack of folic acid had somehow contributed to my baby's development. Finally, I haven't been the most healthy eater as of late, so I was worried that maybe something I ate triggered my miscarriage.
Uuuugh - I just can't help it. A million times a day my mind runs through various scenarios of what I could've done differently to either prevent or fix whatever mistake I'd made. I can't help but feel responsible. Growing her a healthy little body was my ONLY responsibility, and I'd somehow messed it up. How do I NOT hold myself accountable for that??? How am I NOT guilty of losing her?
And no matter how much logic tries to butt itself into this conversation, I just haven't been able to accept that "these things sometimes happen."
I know it, I believe it, and I trust that God's Will is God's Will, but my mind will still wander backwards and try to manipulate events into making sense, and the only way they make sense is if I somehow messed something up.
No matter how untrue I logically know this to be, my heart scourges itself day after day with each new "What if I only..." scenario.
And she understood it. She understood it without me having to say anything. She understood it because she lived it. She lived it three times. And maybe she lived it three times because one day, she'd be sent to pull the guilt out of a deeply saddened neighbor who couldn't bring herself to admit to anyone that this was her reality. And maybe she's done this a hundred times before. Maybe she'll do it a hundred times more. Tonight, though, she was my bit of Divine Providence, and I thank God that she came and stymied the river of guilt that bathed my heart.
She reaffirmed that all is His Will and that my read on miscarried children is correct. These angelic little souls make the choice at conception to lay down their lives for their families. This way, they can intercede fully for us as saints in the Church Triumphant. For this, I cannot carry guilt. For this, I can only carry love and gratitude.
Little Myla, Mommy loves you very much. I know that when Daddy meets you in Heaven, he's going to love you just as much as me. Pray for us, little one. Help Vincent grow up to be strong and loving. Help Mommy be the best Mommy she can be, and help Daddy be the best Daddy he can be. I wish I could kiss you, honey. I'll send my guardian angel to yours so you can get angelic ones in the meantime. Love you, munch. Goodnight. <3
I wrote this out several times. None of them quite stuck. I'm always so concerned with saying the wrong thing or having folks unfamiliar with the situation immediately view John in a negative light.
Truth be told, my wonderful husband can be a bit of a rockhead when it comes to my emotions. It's not entirely his fault given I rarely show them. I'm normally a very even-keeled individual whose emotions range from happy to happier (to stark raving mad when I'm driving through traffic). I'm not prone to falling into crying fits or getting depressed or staying miserable. It's just not who I am. I really have been blessed with an inner peace and joy that anchors me no matter what's going on in life. It's why I'm so good at masking my emotions in times of grief. So long as I focus on that tiny spot of joy, I can be okay.
So again, I don't fault my husband for his less-than-stellar handling of me in the aftermath of the miscarriage. In addition to the situation being foreign to him, my own emotional response was foreign to him. As a result, instead of confronting them or trying to handle them, he shut himself off from the situation and just ignored it in the hopes that it would rectify itself.
As I stated in previous blog entries, I'm trying really, really hard to break him out of that habit. A man (or woman for that matter) cannot simply ignore a huge issue in the hopes that it magically goes away - ESPECIALLY in a marriage.
So I cornered him in the car. He had no method of escape and was forced to handle the conversation for a limited amount of time (which I know was helpful because he'd've panicked otherwise). I explained what I felt and what I believed he felt. I explained I understood his reasons for ignoring the situation... for dismissing my insistence that I was pregnant... for walking away from me when I was visibly upset. I also explained that I didn't hold it against him as I understood that's his MO when handling foreign situations.
That being said, I told him he could no longer just ignore things in that manner because doing so was hurtful to me and to our relationship.
He tried to defend his actions. He tried to say he wasn't dismissive or insensitive. He just "didn't believe what I believed."
This, mind you, is in reference to the fact that even had I been pregnant, John wouldn't have concerned himself with that child being a real life. Babies, to him, aren't "really real" until they show up on a sonogram... at the very least on a home-pregnancy test.
I responded, "John, you don't have to believe a child existed in order to help me through my emotions. You don't have to believe she's in Heaven in order to help me come to terms with what I know to be true."
I mean, does he have to lose a parent, himself, in order to comfort a friend who just lost his? Of course not. In that analogy, he realized his mistake.
He was so worried that I was trying to change his mind about children that he blinded himself to my very real, very intense emotional struggle. I was forced to "go it alone" when I should've been able to rely on him to help.
That really, really bothered him and he was silent for some time before grabbing my hand and apologizing.
But I wasn't waiting for an apology. I'd forgiven him before he'd even responded to me in such a manner. I understand my husband and what he needs from me. It's why I didn't press the issue and only gave him what I thought he could handle.
Even in my grief, I sought out the response from me that he'd need. As his wife, I expect him to try to respond in like fashion. Even though he might be struggling to handle things on a personal level, his job is to seek out a response that I'd need. After all, that is what marriage is about... each putting the other first so that both people's needs are looked after and taken care of in a loving manner.
I'm very pleased with the flow of the conversation. I felt heard and validated, and I think he felt understood and loved. I also believe that should an emotionally taxing situation arise again, we'll both be better equipped to handle one another.
In the end, that's all I can ask for, because this sort of loving reciprocity is the foundation for family life, and that's what marriage is all about!
Everyone remembers this adorable little kitty, right? Her little life was spared when her momma, Gemma, fought off an attacker, sacrificing herself for Hope.
Well, you'll be happy to hear that Hope Solo is doing incredible and has gotten accustomed to her new digs. Her daddy, Frank, introduced her to big brothers Jayne and Lando, and she couldn't be happier. In fact, she's quite the priss-miss knowing that she's the leading lady of the house.
Frank was kind enough to pass along some photos of Hope so all of you could see her and get an update on how she's been.
So for all of you who were wondering how she's been, take a look at these photos an rest assured she's warm, cared for and content. Plus, she's keeping Jayne and Lando on their toes with all her kitten antics!
Once again, thank you to all those who shot some prayers her way (and Gemma's way). We appreciate them so much! Also, to those of you who have been asking, thanks for checking in on her. It's nice to know that there are so many out there with soft spots for these little furbabies. You're amazing!
I've come across a few great articles / bloggers that I wanted to share with everyone!
1) Twisted Mystics: This blog is written by a musician who searches for God in all sorts of music. The way he keeps his heart (and ears) open to the love of God is just brilliant. Some of his reflections have given me real pause. Be prepared, though... you really won't be able to listen to music the same way again!
Special thanks to my friend, Joe, for turning me on to this blog!
2) The New Scarlet Letter: Written by a contributor to Catholic Dads, this entry deals with a parent's inner workings regarding his son with Asperger's. I was really blown away by his honest reflections. This hit home for me (having a nephew and cousin with the disorder and having taught children on the spectrum). He does a beautiful job giving a voice (or voices!) to parents.
3) Theme Thursday: Statues: This is going to be a double link because I originally found out about it from Cam over at A Woman's Place. I couldn't figure out Cam's, but I thought the idea was a lot of fun. As such, I spent quite a bit of time on my little treasure hunt seeing all the fun statues! Be warned that you might spend more time looking at the entries than you normally would on ICanHazCheezburger.
4) This image. Seriously. I must've looked at it a dozen times today, and I laughed every single time.
5) For all you gamers out there, you'll get a kick out of this one as much (if not more!) than I did. You're welcome! (Hat tip to Katherine over at Having Left the Altar for this one!)
6) And of course, the super awesome giveaway yours truly still has going on for another week! Get your entries in while you've got a chance! I can't wait to give these prizes away!
Once a year I set up a booth at a flea market in South Jersey where I sell off clothes, DVDs, books, toys, etc. that my family no longer wants or needs. It’s the one time each year I brave driving my husband’s cargo van because we typically amass enough tubs of “stuff” to fill the back of a van.
This year’s trip was a little different. Everything from the selection of items to the organization and selling of said items was markedly different from previous trips.
As I made my way through the house collecting items, I kept passing nursery items I’ve kept tucked away in the corner of the basement. His bouncer, his walker, his high chair and crib items were all I had left of his “baby days.”
You see, I’d already given away most of his baby stuff to my sister and a new mom I had met through Craigslist. These other items, though… these are the things that I just couldn’t part with. Too many memories were attached to them, and every time I tried to talk myself into giving them away because other folks could use them, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
I’d inevitably hear Vincent’s chubby little face falling into laughter as he jumped in his bouncer.
I’d see him smiling as he moved back and forth in the wobbler.
I’d see him clapping for the very first time.
Or my husband playing peek-a-boo as Vincent giggled in amusement from his high chair.
So those items – I kept them with me because I just couldn’t let them go. They sat, unused, in my basement. I secretly hoped that I’d be able to use them again should I find myself blessed with a miracle child.
After my miscarriage, though, seeing these items hurt so much. Every time I’d do laundry, I’d pass them in the basement and my heart would ache. I'd have to recollect myself in the basement before coming back upstairs because I didn't want John or Vincent to see me crying.
I knew that these beloved little items would have to find homes elsewhere. I wanted them to bring joy to a family instead of heartache to mine. So I vowed that these items would make their way onto the van this year. And I made good on that vow Tuesday. The items that weren't claimed by my sister or a friend were put out at the flea market. I sold most of his clothing and donated the rest. Many of his toys were either sold or given away (because I can't help but give free stuff to the kids who get super excited over random toys - heh). The only thing I got emotional over was his nursery set.
Winnie the Pooh sheets, blankets, a crib bumper, artwork, canvas, window treatments, a lamp and a music pillow were part of this collection. I'd only recently changed Vince over from this Pooh motif to his current Superhero theme.
Well, a really sweet grandfather came over to my table and wanted to purchase the lamp. He excitedly told me it was for his brand new granddaughter, Julianna. When he said that, I offered the entire nursery set for a retarded price. $10. And ya know what? I don't care. He said, "No, I can't take all this for $10!" Even my friend, Faith, shot me a look and said, "Really?"
I said, "Of course! It's got everything you need and if she likes Pooh, she'll love this. It's clean, soft and adorable. Just take it."
And of course he did. I was happy to turn over these items to someone I knew would use them well. Knowing these were going to a brand new baby girl just made me happy. However, after I bagged up the items and sent him on his way, I did choke back tears. I mean, how couldn't I? While I was happy to send that grandfather away with the set, I was also sad that the whole of Vince's nursery just walked away with him.
The day brought more of the same as folks went through the various items I had for sale. I was selling stuff off for stupid low prices if I saw it was going to a good family. The only time I "overcharged" was for Vincent's 3-in-1 swing. I think that was the item closest to my heart because of all the memories I have of him using it as an infant. An unhappy woman asked me how much I wanted, and I immediately didn't want to sell it to her. I quoted a higher price, knowing she wouldn't take the bait, and happily said goodbye when she turned her nose up at me.
Meh. I guess I wasn't as ready as I thought I was to give that one up.
So my house is now relatively clear of infant / toddler items. I honestly don't know how I feel about this right now. Sometimes I'm glad to have a cleaner house that is also free of the heartache associated with those items. Other times I'm really sad because I feel like I've given up hope for those children I never got to meet.
Right now, I'm okay. Though I don't have the physical items, I have the memories, and when my memory fades, I've got my videos. :)
So yup - there's my most recent flea market experience. How about you fine folks? Do you routinely do garage sales / flea markets? How do you handle parting with such sentimental items?
K, I dunno about the rest of you, but I'm about done with the doom and gloom nosedive my blog's taken the last few weeks.
I feel as though one thing after another has been loaded up on me, and I've decided that the best way to "unload" myself is to give stuff away.
Seriously! Giveaways are always fun, they're always happy, and they're always, always, always entertaining! Who doesn't love the thrill of chance? Who doesn't love spreading the happy news that someone won something?
I love it, so I'm running one. It's my Happiness Contest, so woo hoo!!!
I'm going to be giving away my favorite stand-bys. They're favorites for very good reason!
For more info on each prize, click the photos!
1st Prize is the set of Sacred/Immaculate Heart dolls. You get Jesus AND Mary!
You can comment once per day with a "Happy Trick" and each entry counts as a separate entry. So load up, because I'm all for trying and sharing happy tricks. :)
Now, how do you win?
I'm so glad you asked!
This is going to be a Rafflecopter giveaway since it worked out so well the last time. Contest will run for two weeks. Good luck!
I was talking to my best friend, Mary, yesterday. She wanted to check in and see how I was doing since we hadn't really been able to touch base since everything happened.
I explained the situation and, as usual, she gave sound logical support. Good thing I fell in with the chick who grew up to be a trained psychologist, huh?
Anyway, in speaking with Mary, I found myself coming to a very clear understanding of how I was handling my husband in this situation. Some folks have suggested I lay off bringing up my emotions to John given the precarious situation we find ourselves in. My mother wondered if I might be pushing too much... some of you wonderful readers suggested via e-mail / commentary that I might want to reign back my expressiveness... even Mary thought it might be a good idea to "get myself sorted out" before attempting to wrangle the Elephant in the Room between John and I.
However, let me assure folks that I haven't really been pressing the issue with John. I've brought it up in tiny bits and pieces. We've spoken about Myla three times. Once when I told him I was sure I was pregnant. Once, a few days later when I told him I was sure I had miscarried. Finally, I spoke of her when I told him I'd named her.
The longest of these conversations was the first. That lasted about 10-15 minutes and it consisted of me explaining the changes in my body that assured me I was pregnant, him going off about a vasectomy and how another baby would be the implosion of his world, me countering with all the wonderful things a baby would bring, and finally his acceptance that he'd be a good father to this one just as he is to Vince.
The second conversation was less than half that time. After a day of the cramping and nausea, I realized what was happening and told him. He said, "I don't want to say I'm happy, because I know you're upset, but I'm honestly relieved."
Even though it hurt to hear him say that, I understood his point of view and didn't hold it against him. However, I couldn't really say much more to him on the subject given how incredibly emotional I was. He left me to my tears and I left him to his video games.
Finally, the night I spoke to him of her name was the shortest of all. Two, maybe three minutes.
Each of these conversations was difficult for me to start, difficult for me to have, and difficult for me to walk away from.
But I realize in my conversation with Mary that I did it both for myself, and for John.
For John? How, you ask?
Remember that 3 Part Series I did involving my mother-in-law? Secrets Aren't Secrets Forever was the title I went with. Brief synopsis, John had ignored his mother's prodding for more grandchildren for YEARS. Finally, she took matters into her own hands and asked me directly. I then handled the conversation John couldn't and eventually explained to John the importance of NOT ignoring situations in the hopes they go away.
The best way of handling problems is to work THROUGH them.
Well, what you readers don't realize is that not even one week later, he did it again.
We were out with one of his clients and his client asked us when we'd be having more children. John PROMPTLY walked away from the table we were at, knowingly leaving me in an emotionally vulnerable position. However, I took that opportunity to model proper behavior for him. I called out to him, "John, wait a minute." He stopped, hung back, and listened to me respond. After we left the client's presence, I explained that it felt terrible for him to leave me stranded in such a way, ESPECIALLY after we had just had a conversation about how to handle these questions since they're so hurtful to me. He acknowledged I was right and resolved to use my response as a guide for next time.
"Next time" occurred about two weeks ago. He proudly came home and said, "Another client asked about me having more kids and I actually answered him. I handled it!" Then he proceeded to tell me the conversation which, to me, proved he COULD learn if someone was willing to patiently teach him a strategy outside of "IGNORE."
So as I was talking to Mary, I pointed that out to her. She felt he might've been too stuck in his ways to get past his "Ignore" defense. However, as his wife, I feel it's my job to help him develop beyond such a juvenile response. So I've brought it up in tiny snippets so that if he ever feels ready, the door is open for him to look at this situation from a different perspective - one that isn't drenched in the culture of death.
As I was thinking more on my conversation with Mary, magazine covers kept popping into my head. They looked a little something like this:
Notice that every single one of them has a headline about sex?
We've all seen these magazines. Cosmo isn't the only one guilty of it. However, this particular screen shot served my purposes.
Women are CONSTANTLY bombarded with how to express themselves sexually by getting men hot and bothered, by feeling sexy, themselves, and by being vocal about what she likes and doesn't like in the bedroom so that both partners come away feeling "satisfied."
Barring the stupidity of most Cosmo-type trash, they do have one thing right - women need to express themselves (and their likes and dislikes) if they're going to have a fulfilling sexual relationship with their spouse.
However, if we need to be upfront about our sexual desires, how much more upfront must we be about our emotional and spiritual ones?
Or do those not count?
I say they count just as much (and more) than sexual desires. So if society is telling women they need to coach their men into being better lovers, it should be telling women they need to help men be better listeners, supporters and friends.
In fact, that's what a marriage is. It is a husband and a wife consciously helping one another develop into more mature, loving human beings. It is our JOB to coach one another through times of confusion, discord and strife, even if we're not entirely sure of the way ourselves.
So I'll keep on keepin' on with John, just as I'm sure he'll keep on keepin' on with me. I'll keep chugging along trying to teach him coping mechanisms that exist beyond ignoring issues, and he'll coach me into being a more financially sound adult.
Thus, even in the midst of my own struggle with grief, I find it necessary to push him just far enough to see past his own "comfortable" perspective. I don't push him enough to have him run for the hills, but I push him enough to widen, even a smidgen, his own comfort zone. In doing so, it widens my own comfort zone because I'm forced to confront my own dislike for emotional confrontation. I am forced to make myself vulnerable to him, and even though he's not the most delicate with me right now, I can see that he's making a good effort.
And again, I love him for trying. At the end of the day, that's all I can really ask - that he loves me enough to try.
This was originally written on 8/1/11. However, it's back for it's yearly rounds!
Late last night, I got a phone call from a dear friend of mine. I was surprised to be getting a call from her so late, especially since she was headed out across the country super early the next morning. Before I could even ask "What's up?" she started talking excitedly about something I'd never heard of before. At first, I couldn't quite understand the words. It sounded like some sort of Spanish phrase. I kept asking her to repeat herself, but each repetition wasn't registering. Finally, I just asked her to spell it for me, and boom - Google saved the day.
She explained to me what the Indulgence was and wanted to be sure I could take advantage of it in case I was ignorant of such a gift. Isn't she the best? *Grin*
Anyway, for those of you who don't know what this particular gift is, here's a little backstory! I paraphrased most of it from the article written by Diana Serra Cary for The Catholic Hearth magazine back in 1994.
St. Francis of Assisi (father of Franciscans), when not preaching to the birds or stopping traffic for a colony of ants, spent some of his free time restoring old, abandoned chapels and churches. One of the chapels he rebuilt became known as "the Porziuncola" (meaning small portion of land). This is where St. Francis would build up his order, live and die.
It is also where he obtained for us the Portiuncula Indulgence. In 1216, St. Francis was praying in this little chapel, almost swallowed up by the sorrow he felt for the pain inflicted by poor sinners. He was praying intently for the conversion of these sinners when he suddenly felt his interior become engulfed in light. He then saw Christ and His Blessed Mother. Jesus asked him, "What do you wish me to do to help poor sinners?" St. Francis answered that he wished Jesus to grant sinners a full pardon if they came to his chapel and make a good confession. Jesus approved this wish through His Blessed Mother who smiled and nodded at St. Francis.
Happy to have been given such a priceless and unheard of indulgence, he immediately set off for the Holy Father to have it approved. Pope Honorius III was presiding over the Church at the time, and he was absolutely dumbfounded by such a seemingly outrageous request. Plenary indulgences (like this) were VERY rarely approved, and even then, only under the strictest of circumstances, typically for those serving in the Crusades.
St. Francis, however, was not to be deterred and kept petitioning the Holy Father for his approval. Swayed, no doubt, by the Holy Spirit, Pope Honorius III granted St. Francis the indulgence. He then asked St. Francis if he wouldn't like a notice that this indulgence had been granted (since he was trying to leave without one). St. Francis replied, "I need nothing more than your word. Our Lady is the parchment, Christ the notary, and the angels our witnesses!"
He decided to set the date for this indulgence to coincide with the Feast of the Chains of St. Peter in order that all sinners may be freed from the bondage of sin. How beautiful is that?
He was so excited when the first August rolled around that he cried out to the overflowing crowds "I want to make all of you go to Heaven!"
I am so glad my wonderful friend called me up to let me know of this before flying across country! For those of you who wish to take advantage of so wonderous a blessing, here are the guidelines for the Portiuncula Indulgence.
CONDITIONS TO OBTAIN THE PLENARY INDULGENCE
(for oneself OR for a departed soul)
1. Sacramental Confession to be in God's grace (8 days before or after the 1st)
2. Participation in Holy Mass and Eucharist
3. Visit to a Catholic Church followed by a Profession of Faith (Apostle's or Nicene Creed) in order to reaffirm your Catholic Identity
4. Say an Our Father to reaffirm the dignity you recieve as a child of God through Baptism
5. A prayer for the Pope's intentions in order to reaffirm your membership in the Church of which the Holy Father is the sign of visible unity.
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