Getting closer

I ordered two new brushes and some new tubes of watercolor paint. I waited for them to arrive. As it turns out, I typed in the wrong address, and there was a slight delay in delivery. I was so excited to open the box. I imagined the things those colors in the tubes would become. Then life as usual jumped in the way. There was homework to be done. Laundry, cooking and cleaning. Visitors were arriving soon, so I quickly placed the brushes and paints in a drawer out of the way.
They are still in the drawer. I also have a new pad of watercolor paper, but I am not sure exactly where it is at the moment. I keep thinking the conditions need to be just write, but we all know that is not going to happen.
I am creating again now that I am teaching. Even if it is a post for a group at school.
To be honest I am just afraid. Afraid of what I might not be. What if I am not as good as I thought I was. Then I have to ask myself…”Who are you painting for?” When I decide I am ready to paint for me I think the time will be right. When I think of painting now, I think of what I can paint for others. That’s when the doubt creeps in to my mind, my soul.
There is so much I want to do, but so few hours in the day.

I did it!

Not painting. I still have not picked up that paintbrush, but I am close. I did take a job teaching art to 3rd-5th graders. It has definitely been an adjustment, and I am exhausted. I forgot what it was like to be the new teacher in a new school. Eventually, I will find my place there. Eventually, I will pick up that brush.
Four years sounds like a long time, but it is not.

It’s been a while

So, how many times have you made a commitment to start something… a journal, a new habit, an new resolution? When I started this blog, I had every intention of painting again.
Greg died almost four years ago. The brushes, paints and paper haunt me. I want to pick them up again, but I am a completely different person. What if the talent is no longer there? What if what was once an incredible escape for me no longer exists?
This is something I have not been able to face.
I also have a new journey. I want to teach again. Art. Elementary, middle or high. I honestly have no idea. I have always believed God has a very distinct plan for me. I do not question His plan, but I do question whether or not I am doing my part.
The great thing about the sun rising is that you can begin again each day.
I might have failed at becoming an artist again when I started this site, but the good news is that I can try again.

Promises to keep

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep. Robert Frost
A few months before my husband died, we took a hike through a state park on our way out of town. This was not a planned hike. There was lots of complaining. I must admit I can clearly remember this would be great outing if I was not wearing flats and pearls.
The boys climbed a rock and called for us, because they could not get down. It was not a big rock. My husband looked at me, and said, “We have to take them out more.” I agreed.
We have always spent more time outdoors, and we do not have the latest video games or devices. They needed more though. That moment really stuck with me. I can close my eyes, and I am right there in that moment.
It is a promise I intend to keep.
We leave town after the holidays. This year we are in a cabin at a state park. We hiked 6.5 miles today. We saw lots of birds and two deer. We ended out journey on the beach. We are definitely outside more.

It’s a long journey.

Today, I turn 45. I am not where I want to be in many ways. So many things have taken my attention away from my true passion, and I am trying to change that. I decided not to pursue my PhD, so this summer I will be completing my MS in ID if I can survive the next few weeks.

I often think if my story was told, it should be marketed as fiction. No one would believe this happens.

Here is a quick recap of last week.
My AC went out. It is rather hot in June in Mobile, AL. It took 3 days to fix.
The weed eater died. You can use a hatchet to edge your yard though.
I took my comps for this degree. I met with my study group almost daily the last week.
Assignments completed for two classes I am taking.
Day at the hospital for internship I am completing.
The third anniversary of my husband’s death.
Father’s Day.
My youngest son’s best friend (and our dear friends) moved from across the street.
Two therapy sessions.
And the regular…haircuts, day camps, flag football practice and game (I am the team mom), flag football practice, school registration, and music lessons.

No one should ever have a week like this…definitely not while grieving the loss of your best friend, but so many people do. You keep checking off the list all while you are grieving. That deep pain grabs hold of you when you least expect it. I am so fortunate to have a support network of others who are grieving. They are just a text away.

I am looking forward to August. A new journey begins in August.

Today, I have a lot of work to do, and my boys are playing upstairs. I wish I was playing with them. They know my number 1 job is being their mom. So, today in some respects I am where I want to be…with them. Just missing some pieces of our puzzle, trying to conquer the roadblocks in our path, and appreciating today simply for today.

Nature Heals

Shortly before my husband died, he proclaimed, “We need to take the boys outside more.”

Now we were not the type of family to stay inside all day, but he meant we needed to hike and explore the nature around us more often.  After he died nature became a place to mourn and a place to heal.  We found the beach to be a great escape and the water a restorer of strength.

I made a video for a class recently, and I chose to film the park behind our house.  We should take walks there more often.  Sometimes we become so busy with the tasks of our daily material lives we forget to notice the wonderful nature that simply exists around us.

My husband should turn 46 today.  In his memory my boys and I will explore a bamboo forest this morning.  Last year we rode bikes at the beach.  I have also spent the night camping in a tent with my boys, and I had never done that before his death.

Death can stifle us.  Grief can stop us in our tracks without warning.  With each hike we take, with each new exploration, we are moving forward.

Crown and Title

On March 10, 2016, I posted the following on my Facebook page.

I know people wonder about this and are hesitant to ask, so I am providing an answer. When your husband dies, they do not strip you of your crown and title at the funeral home. You can be Mrs. and continue to wear your ring as long as you wish.

So, why did I post this?  My husband died in June 2014 just a week before my 42nd birthday.  This was a shocking event that completely rocked the foundation on my world.  So many people surrounded me and my family with love, support, prayers and meals.  We survived with that support.

However, when someone dies, many people believe they have a right to explore your private life and impose beliefs on you.  I met with a group of widows, and people started to discuss when it was time to take your ring off.  Then mail began arriving to Ms. Evans.  I did not want to take my ring off.  I was still Mrs. Evans.  Don’t I get to make these choices?

Let me say that no one intentionally set out to hurt my feelings.  People actually avoid you and the topic of death and grieving so as not to upset you.

After reading the responses to my post, and reading the stories of other widows I have come to the realization that we do not grieve well in the U.S.  When someone dies everyone wants life to quickly go back to “normal.”  Those who are grieving are told to find their “new normal.”  Nothing feels “normal” though.

Time does not heal all wounds, but sometimes it is nice to be given a little time.  Time to mourn, to cry, to be angry, to simply step back and wonder where you will go next without having someone push you in a direction.

It is a journey.  The journey is long and difficult.  Everyone is on a journey.  Our paths are just different.