Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I feel very vulnerable posting right now.  I am sharing on the internet, in a public forum, some of the deepest matters of my heart and life.  This is not easy for me, but it is healing and healthy.  I write, not because I think you should know or hear what I have to say.  I write because God moves in me, speaking to me, as I write.  Even if it sounds entirely depressing (and it may!), I write because God is alive and active within me and helping me process my grief in a way that turns ashes into something beautiful...

A *Grief Share devotional (also mentioned in a previous post) talks about a series of losses.  It describes the journey of loss of one characteristic after another, like the loss of my encourager, then the loss of my companion, then the loss of my provider, and so on. The collective loss I encounter throughout my day to day cuts deep to my core.  One thing builds upon the last.  The loss of my lover. The one who holds my hand.  The loss of my source of delight.  The loss of my best friend.  The loss of my co-parent.  The loss of my team-mate.  (The list is rather endless, as you might imagine.)

Losing Lynn so suddenly feels like the ground has been taken out from under our family.  But it also feels like a lack of covering over my family, like we're exposed, vulnerable, out of control or order.

Scripture says that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (1 Cor 11:3)  In our family, I was the primary caregiver, but Daddy came home and laid down the law.  Things were messy.  Life wasn't perfect.  But we prayed together, worshipped together, loved together, and were teaching our children values like prefer the other, choose joyfulness, have a generous heart, honour your parents, respect and obey, be filled with the Spirit, and we are blessed to be a blessing to others.  I speak blessings over our children every night and every time I drop them off.  All our values are based on Scriptures that the girls can recite.  As new parents, Lynn and I were giving everything we had to honor God as a family and serve in ministry together.  

So what now?  Now that my kids are out of control? Testing the boundaries in a whole new way.  Daddy's not coming home to lay down the law, to say, Girls, you will respect your mother.  Where is our head?  Where is my support?  Where is our covering?

I am not happy about transitioning into single parenthood.  It hurts bad.  

As a mom, I am taking up the sword of Deborah. (Diana, you know what I mean.)  My head is Christ and His head is God.  I will approach Him boldly and with confidence.  Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Heb 4:16) 

I am walking up that blood-stained path towards the throne of grace.  YOU, O God, are my head.  YOU be the Father to my fatherless children.  You - because You are it!  I am it!  My kids have us.  Me and You.  Little, weak, puny me, and the Holy Spirit.  The God of the universe.  My King of Kings.  

In Moncton last weekend, Roya asked Grampie, Uncle Joel (or maybe just to me about him), and Uncle Robbie to be her Dad.  She is looking for one.  Hers hasn't returned and she's starting to realize we're not going to see him any time soon.  But no Dad?  Surely, there is a Dad somewhere?  Surely, somewhere there is a Dad for me?

How do I lead my children in the experience of fatherlessness?  When everywhere we look we see happy families, full families, complete families?

YOU put our family back together, God, for I certainly cannot do it.  We are broken and shattered. But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord! (Josh 24:15)  YOU are the authority in and over my home.  YOU are my covering and the covering that goes with my children wherever they go.  YOU are a father to the fatherless and the defender of widows.  (Ps 68:5)

I would have lost heart had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord.  Be strong and let your heart take courage.  Yes, wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:13)

*Through a Season of Grief, devotions for your journey from mourning to joy by Bill Dunn and Kathy Leonard

Monday, October 29, 2012

Ups and Downs.

Alea is 3.  She has grown up so much in the last month.  I feel so sad that Lynn isn't here to be a part of it.  I feel so sad that she won't even remember him.

We had a beautiful birthday weekend with many ups and downs.  I was so blessed by our friends and family who helped us celebrate.  We had a small party on Saturday, and then left for Moncton to celebrate Jewel's birthday on Sunday (Alea's cousin).

The short getaway to visit my family in Moncton was an excellent diversion.  The ride home, however, on Sunday night, was quite traumatic:

I left late, the sky dark and raining, the girls in their jammies. It didn't take long for Alea to conk out, but Roya was unsettled.  I had pulled her away from coloring a picture when we left (~8:00pm) and she was determined to finish it in the car.  I told her again that we are not able to drive with the light on so she will have to wait and finish it later.  Then, just after turning onto the old highway the cousins live off of, she opened her car door.  It flung open (I thought it was still child locked) and I had to slow down and pull over, onto no shoulder, half in a ditch, with fast cars and trucks zooming past at high speed.  I was upset and she was scared.  Okay, we got all put back together, let's keep going...

No.  Roya keeps bugging Alea, trying to wake her up.  Then, Alea stirs and cries out.  This leads into at least an hour of Alea screaming and hyperventilating in the back, getting sweaty and sometimes screaming ouchy!! Sometimes getting her words out, I don't want to go home!!! I pulled over several times, and every time I did, Roya flung her door open.  It's still dark and wet and we're on the side of a busy highway.

Eventually, both of them are screaming and crying and for about 45 minutes, while I drive through the rain and fog across the cobequid pass, the girls scream for Daddy.  Roya literally cried, Daddy!  Daddy!  Daddy! straight for a really long time. (I was actually relieved that, in the context of Alea's crazy screams, she was comfortable letting her feelings out.) I drove and wept.  It took close to 3 hours to get home.  The girls were exhausted and went right to sleep.

I did not sleep.  I put things away and wrestled with God.  Do you see my broken family? Do you see how nothing is right?  Do you see what we're going through?

In these moments, I feel like Martha in Jn 11.  Where were you!?  If you had been here, he wouldn't have died!  She is bold and determined.  She goes into Jesus' presence in a context of love and trust, loyalty and confidence.

Tonight, though, I am much more like Mary, falling at his feet in anguish and grief.  My comfort is in those beautiful words, Jesus wept (Jn 11:35).  Are you weeping now, Lord?

There are so many rewards and blessings in each day.  I am so proud of my daughters.  I am so blessed by my home.  I have so much support and miraculous provision.  Still, my heart is heavy.  Does that make me ungrateful?  This is a hard and lonely road.  Today was hard.  Hope was not easy to find.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Hell. (Parental Guidance is advised.)

The world goes round.  The leaves continue to fall.  The sun continues to rise and its warmth beckons...

I am surrounded by grief, on every side.  I cannot comprehend the depths of it.  Apparently grief is known to be collective.  It layers upon layers, present griefs upon past griefs.  It comes in unpredictable waves, random ups and downs, and is always deeper and longer than I think possible.

If I have ever felt alone, it is now.  Not because the phone doesn't ring.  It does!  Not because, I don't see anyone.  I do!  But in the pit of my stomach, claws reach up and thrash around at my insides.  He is dead, they say.  And death feels like hell on earth.

How do I reconcile this with my faith?  Do cliches work in a moment like this?  When it feels like someone took a jagged knife and brutally sawed me in half, leaving my wounds gaping and raw, my other half in another world, separated by an eternity.

The amazing thing is, I have never blamed God for death.  GOD IS NOT THE AUTHOR OF DEATH.  HE IS THE GIVER OF LIFE!  He gives life to everything.

Death is awful!!  and God knows it!!  Jesus wept! (Jn 11:35) and He entered into death, grief, and suffering so that even the pits of hell could be filled with His hope and everlasting love.

His hand is not shortened that it cannot reach! Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save... (Is 50:1)  He is aways bigger and better than we think!!

I am blessed to feel like I am in the pits of hell.  In this wretched place, I can begin to grasp the fullness of my salvation in Christ Jesus, my Lord, the depths to which his light reaches, even the darkness it is not darkness to you (Ps 139).  Separation, sin, and loss are all things He has overcome, and He's given me the keys.  He's given me the authority to loose what has been loosed in heaven and bind what has been bound in heaven.

I am here and I hate it.  Whether I like it not, death is present.  Separation is brutal.  Loss is profound.  But out of this place, I KNOW beauty will rise*.  God has sent me to the darkness, not because He's left me, or because He's not all-powerful, not perfect Love.  He sent me here to be glorified here... that His light might shine here... and that His grace might be sufficient here...

The real death happening right now is my own.  The death of myself unto the awakening of new life in Him.  He says to me, grieve now but soon you will go.  Go into the darkness in the confidence that even here I am Lord.  Even in death, I am Love.  I cannot do this.  But He is doing it anyway.

*Beauty Will Rise, Steven Curtis Chapman


I am exhausted from grief.

I went to pick up a few groceries and thought, Can I do this menial task without the trauma and stigma of being a widow? Can I go one minute without the inundating memories that tear at my heart and leave me weak, exhausted and wounded?

I started walking towards the store, distracted by my thoughts (as usual).  I realized, Oh! I forgot my bags!  So, I went back to car for them.  I walked into grocery store feeling frazzled and so tired...

I walked along the isles forgetting where everything is, circling the store three times for a very small list of basic items.  I was so distracted by memories of Lynn that I couldn't figure out how to function in the world around me.  I tried to smile at people, thinking, Lynn would have talked to that person.  He would have struck up some casual conversation that would of went on forever, driving me a little bonkers, leaving that person feeling loved, touched, and special, in the end.  

Me, I just smile shyly and walk on by, praying in my heart, Bless you!

I went through the Natural Section, only getting what I needed, knowing Lynn would have, pulled out his IPod, generated all kinds of new food ideas, excited about ethical food companies and whatnot, ending up with at least triple the amount of product in our grocery cart.  He was energized by the idea of supporting the causes of some of these companies.  His energy grew in the excitement of new food ideas, new recipes to try, new ingredients to substitute.  Sigh... our budget always flew out the window at the grocery store.  Oh! Lynn's adventures of food and cooking!

I was stopped short in the section filled with cross-cultural delicacies - the Indian food products lining the shelves, the Thai seasonings, etc.  I grabbed something off the shelf, just needing to buy it for the sake of Lynn!! (and my own enjoyment) Then hanging my head, I set it back on the shelf. I sadly turned away and stuck to my small basic-need list.

I smiled at the cashier and thanked her by name.  Lynn's Dad had taught him to always call people by their name.  It ministers to people in a profound way and has often been the inroad for meaningful conversations with everyday people we come into contact with.

Leaving the store, I arrived at my red corolla.  My mind still wandering, my insides aching, I pressed the pop-trunk button on my car key... and kept pressing it...  Suddenly I realized, This is not my car!  I was standing behind a different red corolla and mine was three cars down.  I was just close enough for any onlooker to see this idiotic woman continually pushing her key while her trunk opened three cars down.  :)

Oh, Lynn.  Are you laughing, too?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Baby Emily.

Yesterday morning, as I reached into the depths of my bedroom closet, planning to prepare Alea's birthday gift for this weekend, Roya entered upon the scene.  I was scared and dismayed that she would see the stash of clearance gifts put away for Christmas time strewn all around me on the floor.  But something else caught Roya's eye instead.  Up on the shelf in my old-house, painted-blue bedroom closet sat Baby Emily.

Baby Emily, you might be surprised - even shocked - to discover, is not a baby doll.  It is this small, stuffed, colorful bear, each limb squared off in different colours, with a zipper in the back, and a metal key chain hanging off the end.  It arrived in one of the many hand-me-down bags of stuffed animals we've received over the years and somehow became one of Roya's favorite toys.

As Roya's attachment to Baby Emily grew, Lynn became increasingly irritated by its presence in our family.  He could not stand this odd looking bear/key chain.  Even more so, he couldn't stand how Roya behaved with this small, odd toy.  She would act and talk like a baby, driving Lynn crazy, and making behavior choices we didn't allow in our home.

Soooo, earlier this past summer, Lynn took and hid Baby Emily.  He'd had enough, taken it, and hidden it in one of his drawers.

I opened this drawer a few weeks ago and laughed astonishingly to find Baby Emily buried beneath his shorts :)  I think I knew he put her there, but I forgot!

Hmmm... I thought.  Should I give this back to Roya?  Has she missed it? I guess I'll keep it and put it up on the closet shelf for now...

Now... Roya sees Baby Emily and cries out in pure glee, I found her!  I found her!  I found Baby Emily!  I missed Daddy so much and I missed Baby Emily and now she's back!

Roya's grief is very complicated.  She's not out there with her feelings like Alea.  On the outside, she's strong and literal.  She says very matter-of-factly, Daddy's in heaven, Alea. You don't have a Daddy anymore.  Then she looks for other ways to try and communicate her heart to the world: Unicorn feels sad and really misses Daddy.

I feel so blessed to be Roya's Mama, because I can relate to her deep introverted nature just enough to catch glimpses of her heart and notice (sometimes) her subtle cues: I know I'm not right out there with my feelings, but I'm still hurting, and I need help.

I often think of Hagar in Genesis 16, when she says, You are the God who sees me (Gen 16:13).   Whether we are out there with our feelings or not, we all need to be seen, especially when we're hurting.

Recently, I initiated a new tradition in our home called Pillow Time.  During Pillow Time, the three Erskine girls, the left-behinds, gather around a big stuffy pillow in the middle of the living room floor.  Each one of us takes her turn to say whatever needs to be said. I feel angry that Daddy died!  or I feel sad when I miss Daddy or I feel happy when I think of Daddy in heaven.  We share memories and express our feelings, sometimes punching the pillow, other times screaming into the pillow, other times not needing the pillow at all.  But we share our thoughts and feelings in a safe environment, where we can grieve together and heal together.

Yesterday, after Roya found Baby Emily, she asked, Can we do pillow time?  Baby Emily needs to be a part of pillow time.  I think that means Roya has something new to say.

Monday, October 22, 2012


...come satisfy until I am more in need of You.  (Kathryn Scott, Breathe on Me Now)

There is so much I want to say about my day.  So many memories of Lynn that have captured my mind and heart throughout all the ups and downs of today... I watched some of my senior recital DVD from 2006 when I surprised Lynn with a song I had written for him called, You are My King.  I laughed and wept.  Then I watched us close off the night with our duet, The Prayer - a classic.  I laughed a lot over this one because the recording is so terrible.  Lynn would have hated watching it! I laughed at so many memories of us doing music together and how we were so competitive and perfectionistic in our own ways.  But what can I say?  When we had it, we had it :)

It reminds me of Alea's phrase that I keep trying to write about, but can't find the right words... When she saw Daddy in the casket at the front of the church building, she became very agitated (mild understatement).  The words that came out of her mouth at two years old were, Why won't he get up? and Where's the music?  Several times since that day, she has repeated that phrase, and there's no music.  For her, it captures the void she feels without Lynn.

At the end of a day that seems to have depleted my resources, Where's the music?

Then, I hear this prayer come through the speakers of my IPod dock: come satisfy until I am more in need of You. 

Is this really what you want me to pray, God?  That I might be more in need of You?  That I haven't suffered enough, haven't been low enough?  The cost of my praise isn't high enough?

God is boldly confronting me in my grief and asking me for more.  He knows me.  Before a word is on my tongue, He knows it.  He is reaching into that part of me deep inside that says, This is my life, or I want it my way, or NO MORE PAIN!

He knows what's coming and He's doing a fast work.  Do you own your life?  Or do I?  Which is it going to be, cause we're going all the way.  

I learned a long time ago to embrace suffering, to allow God to shape me in the context of pain.  But I don't feel happy about it.  Where is the music?

The answer, God, is yes.  You may have my life and do with it what you will.  I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.  (Gal 2:20)

I believe, help me in my unbelief. (Mark 9:24)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The spot.

Today was the day.  I knew it was coming.  I had a hunch it would be today...  It was time to visit the spot.

I sat beside the spot on the grass where my husband had lain before the paramedics lifted his body into the ambulance.  I listened while Andrew revisited that night and told me everything he could remember.  I longed for a sense of closeness, longing as Lynn's wife, to be with him in those last moments.  I wanted to enter in to any amount of pain or fear he might have felt, longing to hold his hand and smile into his eyes...

This is actually not as bad as it might sound.  It is grief, but it is also healing.  It's just something I needed to do.  If there is anything I've learned about grief, it's that you cannot heal unless you grieve!  (...and don't rush!)

Listening to my friend share his thoughts and memories of that experience, God strengthened me.  I knew He was in control on that night, His fingerprints were on everything.  But to hear Andrew's perspective helped to abase the fears that crept into my heart, Did he suffer? Was he afraid? Was he lonely?  Was he conscious? 

I am more confident now that God had not only prepared me for this life-changing event, but he had prepared Lynn.  Andrew and I talked about his dreams, ways that God was present, signs that Lynn was peaceful.

I know, with my girls, we have to start establishing a new family.  My girls need the security of a new normal... and so do I.  I know God has been strengthening me for the road ahead, every step painful but a step, from glory to glory (2 Cor 3:18).  I chose many years ago to become an overcomer (Rev 2:7f).  I serve a God who reached into the pits of hell and spoke His love that never fails (2 Cor 13:8).  He looks at death and says, believe me and you will see the glory of God. (Jn 11:40)  I KNOW in whom I have believed!

For I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. (2 Tim 1:12)

And so lead me my Good Shepherd, to lie down in green pastures, along the still waters, restore my soul. Lead me in the way everlasting for Your name's sake.  (Psalm 23)

Friday, October 19, 2012


Close your eyes, Alea... Are they closed?  


Okay, once upon a time there was a little princess with long blond hair and big blue eyes.  She wore a pretty pink dress with ribbons flowing down from her hair.  She was walking through a beautiful forest on a warm sunny day...  Suddenly she came to a wide open field.  The field had long green grass, purple flowers, and white ones.  

And pink?  Alea questions.

Oh, yes, and pink flowers.  The sun was shining down on the girl’s face and the birds were singing.  She couldn’t help herself, but a song came into her heart.  She ran out into the field and danced.  She twirled and danced and sang with the birds in the air as the sun was warm on her skin and the leaves moved with the wind...  And as she danced, God was there, smiling on her, loving on her, and dancing with her.  It was him who put the song in her heart!  He's like a big strong Daddy who is always there....

Was it Eric?  Alea interrupts. 


Was it my Prince?

Ahhh, Prince Eric from the Little Mermaid...  Hmmmm.  Yes, honey.  God is your Prince.  He is your Prince of Peace (Is 9:6), the Prince of Princes (Dan 8:25), the Prince of Life (Acts 3:15). 

Even a two-almost-three year old can sense the longing in her heart to be loved.  

We are still loved and covered under a good and gracious God.  He is a father to the fatherless and a defender of widows (Ps 68:5)  He is our heroic Bridegroom and perfect Peace. 

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. (Ps 4:8)

Thursday, October 18, 2012


If you had asked me yesterday whether or not I was currently living in denial, I would have said no.

Then I read my *Grief Share devotional.

It talked about denial as a natural reaction to grief, one of life's most painful events.  Different from the initial state of shock, denial is more dream-like.  Everything is in slow motion.

It goes on, however, to say that at some point, you must make a decision to move beyond the denial.  

I am aware of some of these dynamics in my present state of being.  Shock is gone, and denial is starting to fade.  But the reality of moving forward, living in the awareness that Lynn is no longer a part of my life, is so utterly painful and absurd that I am tempted to hold back!  Let's not lie, denial has its perks!  Still, in denial, all is not well.  My memories are more real than my present, my past more important than my future, my growth... stunted.

This is not about pushing myself forward.  If there's any word I've received from the grief resources I'm reading, it's Don't rush!  Still, the question remains - Am I willing to, at some point, acknowledge that I have to live my life alone? that I'm a single mother?  mainly... that Lynn is no longer a part of my life?

I know I will be in this state of transition for a long time.  It feels like living in two worlds.  In one world, I'm still married to Lynn.  He's my husband.  He finishes my sentences and I finish his.  In another world, I know he's gone.  I know people feel uncomfortable sometimes if I talk about him too much.  I know I'm supposed to act like he's gone because he really is.

The latter world still feels like the fake one.  My dream-world of Lynn seems much more real and much more comforting.

"Holy God, Is it time for me to move on from denial?  Lead me, Lord.  Amen"

*Through a Season of Grief, devotions for your journey from mourning to joy by Bill Dunn and Kathy Leonard

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mr. Bobble-head.

I can't stop thinking about one particular hilarious memory of Lynn.

I am unquestionably introverted.  Lynn used to say,  You dwell in the depths.  I can be silent and almost placid on the outside while worlds are shifting underneath.  I am an intercessor.  I take everything into the depths where I process them, deep unto deep, always open to new revelation from God, (but not always open to sharing them publicly).

There are some strengths to this personality, but many weaknesses!  Not the least of which is my ability to carry insane amounts of stress deep within me.  I am 100% confident that this is why I was diagnosed with "a fibromyalgia-like syndrome" almost 11 years ago.  For me, it's the physical manifestation of carrying all the world's pain. This was NOT God's design for humanity.

Today, I can hear Lynn's voice beside me saying, as he often did, Come on up out of the depths, Babe! He would sort of wobble his head side to side saying, Come on up into the shallows!  See, it's nice up here!

Everyone knows Lynn was anything but shallow!  Still, although being very deep himself, he had this amazing ability to compartmentalize.  He could take that very stressful, burdensome thing, shut it away in a box, file it according to his exhaustive mental filing system, then pick up his IPad and play Tap the Frog for hours!

Once, yes, only once, did I have the nerve to tell him how much he reminded me of a bobble-head when he moved his head from side to side like that.  It didn't go over well.  Still, I laugh about it internally every time.  He was so hilarious...

Lynn, I would give anything to hear your voice today... to lean back into your arms, feel your breath near my face, and hear you say, Come on up out of the depths, Babe.  Everything's going to be okay.  I trust you, but more importantly, I trust the God who is in You.  You and the Holy Spirit are always a majority.  I know you can do it.

Father, hold my bleeding heart today!  Show me the way to walk and I will walk in it!  Lead me in the way Everlasting!

Sunday, October 14, 2012


I started writing my first book today.  It is officially started.  I'm excited to dig into it... to see what God has in store.

I keep thinking about a quote from the book, The Sisterhood of Widows.  (Captivating title isn't it?  Don't you long to read that one!?)  One widow writes, Many people don't know that even when you're laughing you can still be full of pain inside. 

I feel like, for others, time is passing.  Life goes on.  For me, it seems to stand still...

Tonight, I listened while Alea cried out in bed, missing and wanting Daddy.  Then, I listened while Roya spoke reassuringly to her, counselling her through her grief, and reminding her that we'll all be in heaven together soon.  She offered to snuggle Alea in her bed until she fell asleep :)

To Alea, Daddy is just absent and she feels anxious and afraid, continually gnawing on her fingers while drool drops to the floor.  To Roya, Daddy is in heaven, but we'll be with him soon.  In her mind, she just has to wait a little while until we see him again.  She doesn't yet grasp that she has a whole life to live before that time comes.

There is still a long road ahead for my daughters.  There is still a long road ahead for me.

For instance, I still open Lynn's drawers and smell his shirts. (Maybe I shouldn't disclose that information...)  I sleep on his side of the bed, or stretch out in the middle.  I read his cards and letters.  I write.  I try to live trusting that all things work together for the good of those who love [God] and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  On one form I check "Mrs." because I am technically still Lynn's wife.  On another form, I check "single" because I am not technically married.  Widowhood is complicated.

It seems to be common among widows (there's that word again!) to go at least a year without making any big decisions, allowing time to heal and adjust, not rushing the process...  I've had one month and twelve days.  Also, it seems common among resource counsellors to suggest that grieving a spouse takes longer than you think.  That is to say, I'm going to be in this a while. I'm not going to snap out of it.  Smiling doesn't mean I'm over it.  I've had two good days where I haven't felt like grief is heavy enough to crush me.

I still need more time and it will probably take longer than you think...

Now, I'm asking you to hang in there with me.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Today, I can't write.

Children grieving.
Other stressful situations.
Continued mountains of paperwork.
Lots of details I can't post.
Casually discussing my husband's death today meeting after meeting...

Even though I am aware of how incredibly blessed I am throughout this "difficult situation", I feel like I've been punched in the gut.

I can't imagine ever getting over the memory of that night.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


In our house, we get mice.  Every Fall and every Spring, the mice come.  Lynn used to set traps around the house, sometimes after I'd gone to bed, and not tell me about them.  Then, he'd leave for work the next morning without checking them.  So, I'd go about my day, doing whatever, but eventually open a cupboard door or the pantry to see a dead mouse!  It freaked me out every time :).  I'd call Lynn at work just to have the satisfaction of "yelling" at him, knowing he wasn't going to come home from work to remove it.  Still, I wasn't going to remove it!  Yikes!  So, I'd find away around whatever I needed from that particular location until Lynn came home that evening.

Now... I still get mice.  AND... it's Fall.

My Mom and I spent a hilarious way-too-many minutes setting traps before Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.  (We may or may not have had to watch a tutorial on YouTube...)  Sure enough, I came home by myself with the girls Monday night, started putting the groceries away, when I heard it...  It was the sound of the mouse trap banging against my dishes in the cupboard beside me.  I jumped, knowing it was ALIVE, but trapped and right there with my dishes!!!!  The phone rang, and it was Mom checking to see that I made it home okay (precious Moms).  I said, "Mom!  You called just in time!  We caught a mouse and its alive!  What am I going to do!!??"  Roya was still awake at this time, and perked right up.  She was very interested in the prospect of seeing this mouse, whether dead or alive :)  (That's the scientist/analyst in her.)

Mom said, "Call Peter!!"  I was so embarrassed, but I called my sweet neighbours, who came over straight away.  Peter came to help and Lynette came to laugh :)  Roya was fully engaged and loved being awake for the big event.

Soooo, that was Monday.  Peter reset the trap, and I set a couple more.  Today, I heard noises.  I think I caught another mouse.  I called Peter and left a message.

I think I'm going to have to remove it myself!!!  

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I might as well tell you that I think I've written a book.  It's not actually written down, exactly... More so in my head.  Dangerous things that take place in my own head...  But it's also in my spirit.  And there are days that I feel like my bones might burst if I don't find a way to write it all down...

When Lynn and I first moved to Truro, I had no idea what God's plan was for me.  We were house sitting, Lynn was settling into his new position at IBC, and I remember sitting and listening for hours, literally hours in prayer, enjoying the season of rest and healing. I was so full of hope,  God's love, and His blessing... But I also assumed that, at some point, in His time, I'd get a "And now for your new assignment" word.  I waited and waited.  I got pregnant, we bought a house, still I waited.  I got pregnant again, Lynn was freaking out, I knew I needed a job, still I waited.  God had been investing in me since childhood, preparing me for a life of ministry, but His hand was heavy on me... wait.  I hate waiting.  I hated it.  I wanted, with every fibre of my being, to be working alongside my husband.  I thought we were the perfect team.  Our gifts seemed so perfectly complimentary and our passions aligned.  So, why wasn't I released?  Why am I still waiting!?

When Lynn died (that is very hard to type), God's Spirit was so powerfully with me.  I knew everything was perfect according to His timing, whether or not it made sense to my human mind.  I knew He was in control and that somehow, Lynn's life was complete.  His death wasn't early or late.  Just on time.

I really believe God knew our family would never get the last several years back. I think He held me in place so I wouldn't miss it.  Instead of running amok in the world (Lynn would enjoy that phrase...), I poured myself into my marriage, knowing it was somehow the right thing.  Before September 2nd, I would have given anything to be released, to sing and write and speak and explore the world and see how I fit in it... But now, I am so thankful for every minute I (tried) to put Lynn first... for every time he came home knowing I'd be there and needing my listening ear, every day I spent praying for him and interceding for his ministry, every tender moment we shared as a family, choosing to love the Lord first and love each other no matter the cost... (I think that makes me sound much better than I actually am.)

Obviously, God was also maturing me, teaching me, refining me, and building a strong foundation under my feet... He was drawing me into His love and cultivating that "quiet" strength people sometimes comment about (which I assure you, is not always quiet!).  Drawing me into Himself is always a part of His plan.  But, that began a long time ago and has been a part of my life even longer than I have known Lynn...

So what now, God?  I know who I am and who you've created me to be.  Where's my next step?  Show me the way.  Lead me in the way everlasting...

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Today, I feel acutely aware that the road ahead is rougher and tougher than I had first anticipated.  The ache in my heart is penetrating and heavy, like a gaping, bleeding wound that has no cure.  The days are full of distraction and the nights are still filled with, "Is this real? Can this really be happening?"  I still do not grasp the finality of death, that I will not see my beloved husband again this side of glory.  It is still incomprehensible to my stubborn mind.

Most days, I think the three of us feel like Lynn is still away on a trip, off saving the world, making music, touching lives... being Lynn.

So far, I haven't had to face much change.  My house is pretty much the same, and Lynn is everywhere in it.  His memory touches every corner.  I am so comforted in the familiarity that I rarely want to leave.  But change is coming.  I cannot stop it!  No matter how hard I try!

Change is scary on many levels.  Mostly, its in every tiny experience, in every tiny ounce of change, that I am required to walk further away from him (or the memory of him).  In every facet of my life, the music I love so much, the relationships so important to me, the routines and activities I enjoy, etc., I experience this big, overwhelming void.  The whole part of me that was once filled with Lynn's laughter, his love, his music, his companionship, his passion, his opinions and endless soapboxes, his insights and brilliant ideas about the world, his unique approach to life, people, politics, and everything... all of it is just missing.  Where is it?  What do I do without it?  How can the world still turn, the sun continue to rise, without Lynn?  

Of course, this is loss.  This is grief.  This is suffering at one of its most basic human forms.  We all suffer loss at some point in our lives.  And somehow, that comforts me.  I am (slightly) comforted in knowing that the persistent ache in my heart is somehow intrinsically human.  That gives me hope...

Hope.  Here, I have to end with a fascinating discovery.  Truly, I am being carried on the wings of prayer.  So many of you are begging for something more to do, but I must tell you about the influence of your prayers.

A few days ago, I felt for the first time as though I could not go on.  I could not move.  It just got worse and worse until the heaviness hovering over me was enough to break the ground from beneath my feet... I sat in seemingly nothing but pure, raw grief, but became increasingly aware of an amazing sensation.  Heaviness and grief surrounded me and the ground opened up beneath me, I could not go to pick up my kids (they ended up staying the night at a friends), and I tasted the sting of hopelessness... but I had no sensation of falling.  I did not fall.  I was held.  It was as though all the intercessors and loved ones God had called upon to pray for me were tangibly holding me up in prayer.

A friend on PEI (thank you, Anne!) sent me a message, sharing with me a vision from the Lord.  I was clinging to his feet as the storm raged past.  He was calm and said, Just cling.

That is all I can do.  I am relentlessly clinging as the storm rages past.

Please continue to pray.  My precious friends and family, your prayers work. Your love is felt.  I could not do this without you.

Monday, October 1, 2012


Tomorrow marks one month.  Is that possible?

I love to write, but deliberate over how much to share online... I'm amazed at your comments and thoughtfulness and that you continue to pray.

I wish I had words to describe what I am going through.  For me, it is almost as fresh as day one, minus the constant sensation of needing to "throw up".  I have yet to talk to anyone who's lived through it and can relate.  I do have a woman to connect with down the road, but even then, everyone's grief is unique.

I feel such a burden to connect with all those loved ones who are here, lifting me up in prayer, have offered such support and generosity... I want to thank each one of you from the bottom of my heart, but I find myself unable to cope with the pressures of each day.  I want to give as I love to give... but I find myself vulnerable and weak instead.  My heart is truly broken.  I am the needy one.

Grief has become an astounding topic for me.  Down the road I hope to think on it more and possibly write about it....  There are so many things I am noticing, so many things you become aware of when confronted with death.  There is a raw, basic, human response to death that is often beautiful and full of expression.  But it exists within a culture that seems to quickly cover it up, hide its own humanity, and pretend that death does not exist.  So how is one to grieve?  Tell me?  As a wife who will spend countless months mourning her husband, how do I swallow my emotion to pay the bills, go to countless meetings and appointments, spend hours filling out paperwork, be there for my children and all their needs, go to eye appointments and shop for shoes (for Roya!), and still find the space to grieve?  Where are the weepers and the wailers?  Where is the black dress?

In Christian circles too, we are quick to explain away suffering.  We, as a North American church, do not trust in God's divine goodness, so we fear pain and suffering as though it really might discredit our Maker.  We think that pain means we've sinned, or someone has lost their faith, we need a quick fix.  In short, the North American Church is much like the friends of Job, who did not understand that God's ways are higher than ours, His thoughts higher than our thoughts.

I long for a society that would welcome my weeping (I know many of you would and have!).  I long for the old traditional symbol of wearing black, so everyone can know that I don't fit right now.  I'm not normal.  I can't socialize like I'm supposed to.  One minute I want to weep, another I am stressed and angry, one minute I want to talk, the next I cannot exert the emotional energy to utter a word...

I'm in mourning!  I am needy and out of sorts!  My life is stressful and busy!

I am bringing back the black :)