Saturday, August 24, 2019

BLANKET ON THE GROUND


Years ago, when Bob got a wrong diagnosis ... I went home and bought 2 cemetery plots in Eden Valley Cemetery.

The diagnosis was wrong - we didn't need the plots after all.

Last August 30th, Bob got another diagnosis: this one wasn't wrong: the plots were needed now.

A few weeks ago, I bought the other 2 plots in the cemetery block where we had the first 2 ... we now own all 4.

There is plenty of room for a fancy stone bench.

But I think I will take a blanket with me instead, on those days I go visit Eden Valley, in the future - where Bob was laid to rest by his parents, the first few years of his life; and his earthen vessel's final resting place, 6 days from now, by me, his wife.

A blanket on the ground would mean more to my Kentucky hillbilly boy than a fancy stone bench.

We had many memorable moments on a blanket on the ground in our early days.

There will be plenty of room for a blanket on the ground: it fits the memories.

A blanket on the ground would make the visit more fitting ;-)

STILL STANDING


You know, when Bob was in OHSU - and we knew he wouldn't be coming back home: he hung on for my sake.


Even then, Bob was standing by me.

Because he knew that when he left, I would be alone.


A.L.O.N.E.

If you have never been cast adrift, you have no idea how vast, deep, dark, and downright scary "alone" can truly BE. I have never been comfortable in water anyway … so this {testing the waters} experience really was uncomfortable on every level.


There would be no family standing with me. Love is more than a four letter word uttered out loud; they have no real conception of what love means. In most families, family members love "no matter what": our families (parents, siblings, & extending relatives) never got that memo. Of course, our families came into being around the same time the fuck everyone and everything mindset in American took root, and THAT could explain the disinterest and severe cohesive family dysfunction (both branches of the familial tree). I mean ... they aren't even really {there} for themselves half the time!


There would be no children standing with me. They are society's children, really. We birthed them ... but they fully gave themselves over to society's rearing: they have NO IDEA what love is and have no desire to pursue it; they are happily lost in their midlife anger, carried over and nourished from their teenage angst's. They are miserable 50 & 45 year old's intent on making everyone feel as miserable as they intend to stay. I will get NO comfort from them. Everything in their world centers around them and their angst's.


There would be no grandchildren standing with me. They were raised with their parents' prejudices and biases. Refer to previous notation above.


Friends were far and few between. And I am thankful for every one of them! But, unlike family, they are not obligated to love you. Friends love ... and stick ... because THEY LOVE. And they CHOSE to stick. Friends can teach family members a lot. MPO


We were not members of any particular fellowship; so the church would not be standing with me. If it had not been for the hospital chaplains doing alternating room visits, Bob wouldn't have been visited by ANY spiritual leadership at all! And I did call - and requested at least 2 Chaplains call - the "pastor" of the fellowship we had been frequenting FOR 3 DECADES ... and that man NEVER CAME: he didn't even call - or send a message via Chaplain. I did get angry; but in the end, I gave it over and sicced Elohei on the bum. It was inexcusable - let him try to excuse his behavior to The One he claims he serves. Just sayin'. Bob had GOOD Hospital Chaplains (and even 1 Orthodox Rabbi making rounds in the ER Ward) come to see him, and talk with me - I appreciated very one of them, and I KNOW they will be blessed mightily for how they helped us in those hard months - in both hospitals, in both States.

Bob was my anchor.


And he loved me; he was worried about me being left alone. He said to me one time, "It must be hard on you - to lose everyone you ever loved. I'm sorry Honey." Bob had been with me for 45 years: he had watched me lose LOTS of people in my lifetime - for one reason or another: and he knew how those loses affected me; I loved those people. Their loss was very painful to me.

Bob knew he was my safety net during times of severe loss.

And now, he too, would be leaving me. It couldn't be helped. It couldn't be avoided. It was hurting both of us.


Bob knew I was capable of standing on my own ... and he knew I would BE able to stand alone - he told me that in November 2018; but he also knew that until the crippling effects of being alone stopped affecting me, being alone was going to be a very BIG HILL for me to get across and over.


So he hung on. Longer than necessary.

For me.

Until I was strong enough to say, "Babe, PLEASE. I love you; I can't stand to see you suffer - PLEASE GO. Go Home: I will be okay. Really. I will. I know that you will always be with me - standing by me. When I have Yeshua, and you, standing with me every hour of every day, I will never be alone."


We prayed. We kissed. We held hands. We conversed with his medical team daily, together. We prayed. We listened to the Southern Gospel music he liked. We kissed. We held hands. We prayed.

I cried when he slept. I slept when he was getting tests run.

We were both dealing with our own {aloneness} - alone.


Facing physical death - even when someone you love is with you ... is something you have to do alone.

Facing the eventual physical loss of someone you love is something you have to do alone.

And when that last breath is expelled; you realize that you - are, now & forever more: alone.


From December 14th, 2018 to the middle of March 2019, I was never able to fully grieve. There were TOO MANY LEGALITIES that needed to be attended to - and I needed to be fully alert, because whatever was decided during those months would literally be set in stone forever. I couldn't afford to be dealing with brain freeze.

Thank God, Yeshua & Bob were looking down on me and standing by me! I could not have made it through those months otherwise.

Everyone kept telling me "I really admire your strength Val - you are a rock."

They didn't see the hairline fractures.



They didn't know that when the daily downtown business was done, and I came home, I literally - physically - shook for hours; like I was standing on an active fault line.



Sometimes, in tears, I would call my SIL, Merry, and ask her to pray for me when I was missing Bob real bad: but that didn't happen very often because I hated to be a bother to people, in general.

Sometime in April, after all the legal business had pretty much been settled, the dam burst; and all that grief that been backed up broke loose.


Bob had by then, been absent from my life - from all of our lives - 4 months. And they had all seen me being "a rock". Life was going on for them while mine had come to a screeching halt - in every way possible. I had lost more than just my husband's physical presence in my life - I HAD LOST EVERYTHING; love, purpose, sense of direction, our entire life together changed drastically/legally ... there was NO place in my life that had not been severely altered. I didn't even recognize my own life anymore!



I was alone with my paralyzing grief: unimaginable waves of grief assailed me and washed over me ... knocking me off balance and tossing me around in a vicious sea of loss and heartache. EVERYTHING I COULD NOT DEAL WITH when having to deal with legal business washed over me; and I felt like I was drowning. My heart was squeezed, my thoughts were a tangled mess, I couldn't breathe, I could barely stand upright.


For the next 4 months, I would be emotionally, and spiritually tossed about in those battering waves of grief that tore at me, and bashed me against the rocky realities of life I had never faced before, alone. My anchor was no longer here. I was a ship without a rudder; cast adrift to weather the storms of life without a shipmate. Without an anchor. Every time I managed to rise above the assaulting waves, a gale force wind would rise up and push me back down under the weight of the tumultuous waves.


And I became a fighting bitch ... not because I wanted to be a fighting bitch - but because I kept being put in a fighting bitch situations. The waves were unrelenting. I had been so focused on being strong for Bob that I had seriously eroded my own health. My health was further damaged by the ensuing legal battles that followed. By the time the sneaker waves assaulted me and greedily sucked me out to the sea of despair, I was seriously in the fight for my life. AND THAT IS WHEN people started taking advantage of the situation. But, as usual, those people seriously misread the situation. I WAS weak - but I wasn't DYING: I still had plenty of fight left in me. So, I rose, like a legendary wraith - tired of being held down, and ready to rumble: if they wanted trouble, trouble had a Name: V.A.L.


I was morphing back into the person I was before Bob kinda-sorta tamed me with his love. I recognized the old me right away; everyone else was caught off guard because they had NEVER SEEN that side of me. Ever. She had been buried 45 years ago. But she was always there. And when pushed to fight, she will always come to the surface, ready to take a stand and defend her ground ... I wasn't (and still am not sure) whether to be glad or a little frightened that she has been resurrected. At this point, I am just letting happen whatever will happen - they awoke her: let them deal with their choices. If they see me bearing down on them, they better damned well get out of the way; or be mowed over. I am done with being taken advantage of by bullying tyrants: or just plain ignored, like my life doesn't matter; both of those actions are NOT OKAY with me. Bob would not have stood for it. And I won't either.


So, to survive, I became a fighting bitch. I don’t particularly LIKE that side of me ... but, at this point in time, I don't mind making her acquaintance again - if that is what it will take to wake people up, make them sit up, and make them behave.


Thank God, Yeshua & Bob were looking down on me ... and saw that I was in troubling waters. They UNDERSTOOD the situations and the position I was forced into ... and stood by me! I could not have made it through those months otherwise.


Where for 8 months I have lived in a dark and scary landscape, unfamiliar and very hostile: I made it through the midnight labyrinth scenarios, and can now see - howbeit, dimly - and I am standing up again; never to fall down again, so help me God.


Because Bob always stood by me.


And continues to stand by me.


I love you, Babe.

Always.

OX


Friday, August 23, 2019

ALL I ASK FOR ANYMORE


When Bob died the 2nd time in 1981 - he was returned to me a new man: saved, sealed, and delivered.

He never looked back.

He was {all in} ... he'd been to Hell: and he knew he'd been given a free pass.

Elohim had favored him with grace.

And Bob never wasted that grace.

Every morning he woke up thanking God he'd been given reprieve to serve Elohei - love his wife - and watch his children grow up.

He was rewarded with 3 granddaughters ... and a welcomed grandson, who came later in life - but "on time" according to Elohim's timeline ;-)

And every night, for the past 38 years, I would hear him say, "Thank You, Lord: please watch over my wife and kids. That's all I ask for anymore."

I'm sorry, Baby, that I've been slippin'.

I have just been missing you SO BAD these past 8 months.

I skid off the rails on a Crazy Train headed for cliff with Me, Myself, and I ...

For a bit.

But, now, I think I'm getting back on track.

And I'll step up, stand with you, and cover your back again - like I used to do when I still had you here, with me.

So, when you are standing next to Yeshua tonight, and looking down on me with your beautiful hazel Asian eyes, and asking Elohim to "please watch over my wife and kids. That's all I ask for anymore", your sexy mouth will be pulled back in a generous smile, when you see me lift up the Banner & hear me repeating your nightly prayer - with a slightly different twist, hoping for the same outcome: "Thank You, Lord: please watch over my kids & grandkids - and don't let me fall down any more on the job entrusted to me by the husband you blessed me with. That's all I ask for anymore."

Thank you, Bob for our kids - I'll keep them ALL before Yeshua's face; and by His grace, they WILL ALL GET THERE TOO.

I'm standing up now, and I won't let you down.

I love you, Babe.

Always.

OX

HE ALWAYS GAVE ME HIS BEST


Bob WAS my fantasy man.

In EVERY way.

But …

He was also 100% REAL man.

In the flesh,

Who loved me like a man.

What a man!

I love you, Babe.

Always.

OX

WE LEARNED LOVE FROM EACH OTHER



When Bob & I first met, we were pretty soured on love.

Love had not been kind to us.

We always knew something was lacking.

Both of us were in relationships that were barely surviving on emergency measures.

The life-saving efforts were no longer working in those relationships.

Bob’s 1st marriage had died so many deaths, that resurrection time had come and gone. It was going up in flames; never to rise again …

Doug & I had played the field for SO long, we had lost sight of the goalpost. The ‘understanding’ was suffering a debilitating beating on the open field.

So, when we first met, face-to-face at his house – at a kegger Doug had thrown (Doug & Bob were working together & Doug was renting an upstairs room at Bob’s house), neither of us were interested in love.

But we WERE interested in each other.

A LOT.

We said “Hello!” to each other … and ‘goodbye’ to the others.

And our love-weary/love-leery hearts woke up.

We KNEW that this time, love might be kind ;-)

It felt true.


We learned how to love from each other ...

And we ran with it.

It was a good run.

A breathless 45 years, that never got old.

LOVE ME LIKE THERE'S NO TOMORROW


Bob would always grab me, pull me on his lap - start nibbling my ear, and say, "What a way to go ... let's go."

And we'd softly laugh all the way down the hallway, so we wouldn't wake up the kids.

We always loved like there was no tomorrow.

Because we never knew, after he died the 2nd time & Elohim sent him back to me, IF there would be a tomorrow.

We always woke up thankful for another day.

And grateful to be so favored with a good life, good loving, and a good promise.

Until December 14th, 2018. 8:05 a.m.

And though our tomorrows had officially ended with me holding his hand BESIDE his bed ... instead of cuddling IN bed ...

I WAS THANKFUL Elohim has favored us with those extra 38 years of solid & steady "love me like there's no tomorrow" tomorrow's.

For 45 years, Bob gave me his best - and he left me with wonderful memories.

I love you, Babe.

Always.

OX

Thursday, August 22, 2019

SINCE I DON'T HAVE YOU

AND THERE WAS YOU


No more than just a broken heart ago
I made a promise to myself
I’d never trust someone again
Judging from my rough & rocky past,
I wrote off love as just a game a fool will play & never win;
I felt certain I was right
‘Til I turned a corner in the night

And there was you

Like an Angel
You just suddenly appeared
Sent to me with a love so true
That could make up for all the lies & wasted years
Now I can see that there were other loves I knew;
And there was you

I’ve heard the words, “I love you” said in vain so many times
I quit believing that someone could really care
And after one to many dead-end roads
I found myself stumbling through the dark end, down to my last prayer
I didn’t know what else to try
‘Til I raised my head and opened up my eyes

And there was you

Like an Angel
You just suddenly appeared
Sent to me with a love so true
That could make up for all the lies & wasted years
Now I can see that there were other loves I knew;
And there was you

1st CORINTHIANS ~Chapter 9



In this study today, Paul seems to be complaining because he feels overworked, and underpaid.

Well … that can be said, of ALL of us, who are called to go forward with the Gospel – to preach it to every man, woman, and child.

WHAT Paul seem to have forgotten is that the Gospel is to be GIVEN FREELY. Without expectation of pay for receiving it.

And Paul was a Pharisee BEFORE he was called by Yeshua to preach the Gospel. It seems to me – based on what he wrote here – that he is falling back on those days when the Temple Leadership WAS PAID in temple tithes for their Temple Service.

It also seems to me – based on Scripture – that he is forgetting about FREEWILL OFFERINGS, and focusing instead on what he feels is his “due rights”.

Remember to read Scripture under the guidance of The Ruach Ha’Kodesh – remembering that men will be men, given to the emotions of the flesh.

When we remember THAT, we will understand that while Paul sounds whiney and contradictory … he is only a man (a saved man), given to the feelings of a man.

And we CAN LEARN from his example; whether that example be complimentary … or otherwise.

**********

1st CORINTHIANS ~Chapter 9


“Am I not free? Am I not an Apostle? Have I not seen Yeshua Ha’Mashiach, with my own eyes? Are not you yourselves products of my work in Mashiach? Even if I am not an Apostle to some others, yet at any rate I am that to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in Mashiach. And this is my defense in answer to my critics. Don’t we also have the right to eat and drink? May we not also take with us on our journeys a Christian sister, or a wife, like the other apostles and the brethren of Mashiach & Cephas? Are Barnabas and I the only ones who have no right to rest from working for a living?

What soldier ever goes to war at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard but does not eat any of the grapes? Who takes care of sheep without drinking their milk? I say this as man to man. But does not the Law also say the very same things? For in the Law of Moshe is it not written, ‘You shall not muzzle an ox, when he is treading out the corn.’ Is it for the oxen only that Elohim cares? Is it not especially for our sakes? Yes, indeed, it is written for us, for it surely is right that the ploughman as he ploughs, and the thresher as he threshes, should have some hope of share in the harvest.

We have been busy planting spiritual seed in you, Is it a hardship for you if we reap some of your material harvest? If others claim the right to share with you, don’t we have still greater right? You ask, why have we not then made use of that right? No, we should rather bear anything than set up an obstacle in the way of the Gospel of Mashiach.

Surely you must know that those who are in the Temple Service get their daily bread from the Temple; and the alter attendants get their share of the sacrificial offerings. In that way, too, Mashiach has ordered those who preach the Gospel shall live from the Gospel. As for me, I have made no such use of my rights. Nor am I writing this now to secure any such belated help. I would rather die than have anyone make this boast of mine void.

I am not boasting of the fact that I preach the Gospel. Necessity compels me to do that. It would mean, “Woe is me!” if I did not preach the Gospel. If I preach it willingly, I have my pay. But if I do it because I must, I am entrusted with a responsibility. In that case, what pay should I get? My pay is this, that in my preaching I offer the Good News about Mashiach free to all, without making use of my own right to a living by the Gospel.

In this way no one has any claim on me, yet I have made myself everyone’s debtor so as to win more souls. With the Jews, I became as a Jew that I might wins Jews for Mashiach. To those under The Law I became as one under The Law, though I, myself, was not under The Law, so as to gain those under The Law. And to those outside The Law I became as one outside The Law, too. This did not mean that I did not recognize the Law of Elohei; but it meant that I was under the law of Mashiach, so as to win those without any moral law. To the weak I became weak, in order to win the weak. In short, I became everything to everyone, in order that I might by some means save some. I am still doing this for the sake of the Gospel, so that I may have a share in its blessings together with the rest.

You know that of all the runners who compete in a footrace, only one gets the prize. Therefore, run to win. Every competing athlete exercises strict self-control. In such a race the winner receives a perishable wreath; but in the Christian race, the prize is an imperishable crown. So, I keep on running, but not aimlessly. And I fight, but not as one beating the air. I exercise my own body and I make it serve me, so that, after having preached to others, I myself should not be disqualified.”



Wednesday, August 21, 2019

FEATHERED REFUGE


“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and bastion.' (Psalm 91:4).


I really should not have left the house today … BUT there is ONLY ME to get things done that need getting done.

First off, I got my hair trimmed, so it won’t be ratty edged when Bob’s celebration of Life takes place in Eden Valley next Friday afternoon – it needs trimmed, and by then, the {fresh haircut} will have grown out enough to look like a normal hair day.

BUT I KNEW that leaving the house would be risky this morning. However, I could not detach my head and ask someone else to drive it to the Hair Salon to have my ends/bangs trimmed – I had to go: so, I asked for prayer from my friends before I left the house.

Then, I went to Keenagers - Senior Meet, in Kelso. It gets me out of the house; and I have made friends there that look forward to seeing me – they are true friends, and they DO miss me when I don’t show: they know I have hard days sometimes, and they worry about me if I am not there – so I try to go as often as possible, basically just to ease their minds.

After I left there, I drove to Office Depot in the Triangle Center to ask if there was someone there that could possibly retrieve my pictures of Bob off my dead laptop for me: they couldn’t; BUT they knew who possibly COULD.

So, I turned around and went back into Kelso.

I was told it is possible my pictures can still be retrieved from my dead laptop here ... they didn’t quote me a price range, so I am thinking it is going to be pretty spendy: that’s okay. I WANT those pictures – I will cut something, somewhere, budget-wise to make that happen …


And, of course, the business is located right smack-dab in downtown Kelso clusterf*ck area – where ‘road management’ about a dozen years ago, completely messed up free flowing traffic in this section of Kelso. I swear, 'road management' and the local Police department are working in cahoots, together, to create dicey road conditions that will result in 'traffic violations' and local revenue opportunities - there is no other logical explanation for 'accident-waiting-to-happen clusterf*ck mess' that was created here, with the stupid and unnecessary round-abouts/1-way streets going nowhere/and aimless 'merge's that actually lead to 'road incidents' - add legitimizing marijuana to THAT ... and there is serious issues going on in this small section of West Kelso. You literally take your life in your hands when venturing out here.

And I will have to do business here, in West Kelso twice next month - both incidents are necessary, and there is no way out of it:

If I had known how ‘almost prophetic’ this sign would become a few minutes later, I would never have pulled away from the curb.

I pull away from the curb, and am driving along – minding my own business – looking left & right; trying to figure out where the hell I am, and how to get back to a recognizable street … when some moron lays on his horn. I whip my head around to the right and see flashing lights.

F.U.C.K.!J.U.S.T.W.H.A.T.T.H.E.H.E.L.L.I.N.E.E.D!

So, I pull off the road as soon as I can.

And wait.

For the inevitable.

I roll down my window and hear, “Hi, I’m so-n-so: you wanna tell me what just happened here? Where did you just come from – and where are you going”

My first instinct is to say in like-minded smartass tone: “Gee, Officer – I don’t know; YOU were there … YOU saw it all go down: do YOU wanna tell me what you are itching to TELL me ‘just happened here’?”

But I bite my tongue ‘til it bleeds and say, as calmly as I can, “I was just over by O’Rielly’s, in West Kelso; and I don’t know where I am. I am trying to find my way back to a recognizable street, so I can get home. I’ve never been in this part of Kelso before, and I don’t know where I am. Yes, I was looking around - I was trying to figure out where I am and how to get out of here.”

And he continues to list all the ‘traffic violations’ he noticed me doing.

I don’t even try to defend myself – if he said they happened, then they probably did: I admitted I was lost – and I WAS looking around. I was TRYING to SEE where the hell I was, hoping to see a clear way OUT OF THERE and back to a street I could recognize.

There was no point in stating my defense anymore that I already did.

He took my License, and walked back to his SUV to run it past dispatch:


I wait for the inevitable … and hope & pray I can afford to pay the ticket off in this lifetime.

It WILL BE in the thousands - according to what I was told happened.

Kelso must really need the $$$$$.

Sorry Babe, to embarrass you like this; but I AM LOST!

In more ways than 1.

While I am waiting, and praying; he comes back and taps on the window. He tells me that he won’t give me a ticket ‘this time’, but I ‘need to pay closer attention to the surrounding.’

Again, I bite my tongue.

I WAS PAYING ATTENTION TO MY SURROUNDINGS when he laid on his horn like a moron, turned on his lights, and pulled me to a stop! I was LOOKING AROUND IN MY SURROUNDINGS to get a handle on where the hell I was, and how the hell to escape and find my way home.

I want to snap that at him.

But I behaved. I meekly nod – take my License back from him – and fastened my seat belt.

Like a compliant, graying 62 year old woman is expected to DO.

I really did not want that BIG TICKET!

I knew I had been tucked into a feathered refuge: I was thankful.

And I hope, and will be praying, that when I am this way again, next month - things go a little smoother.


That’s how MY day went – how did yours go?