Tuesday, 28 February 2012

What a Wally !

When Karena and I met, she had a horse called "Wally"…this is a photo of him. His proper name was "Woodland Bay Walter". He was a great brute of an animal…very strong and stocky, he measured 15-2 hands (that's about as knowledgable as I get about horses), and he had a very funny (and grumpy) character!

When we were first married (1993) Karena would often ride him out before work and I'd go with her ridiculously early in the morning (getting up at 5:30  ish).  I'd walk alongside her with  the stable's Alsatian dog.  Often at that time of the morning you'd see the sun rise over the horizon and see deer in the woods and all sorts of other wildlife…it was very quiet and absolutely beautiful (once I'd gotten over the shock and grumpiness of getting out of bed so early!) 

Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to Wally shortly after our first daughter was born because we couldn't afford to keep him…Karena (thankfully) wanted to stay home with her newborn daughter rather than have to go back to work in order to pay to keep him (it's VERY expensive!)   One of the things that was funny about Wally's character was that he knew all the routes that Karena would ride him on….and whenever he passed the halfway point and turned for home, his pace always noticeably sped up…sometimes he'd start trotting even tho he hadn't been asked to do so.  The reason for his abrupt change of pace was that back at the stables he knew breakfast was waiting !  

I am training (in a manner of speaking!) for the Reading Half Marathon (1st April), and was out doing a training run tonight….most of the time I'm not too bothered about my speed, but as I turned for home, like Wally, my pace noticeably increased …and as I did so I immediately thought back to "Wally" days as I ran…it made me smile and also feel sad at the same time.    

There's no telling when memories will assault you…every day in a myriad of ways, you get hit by them…the good ones are all tinged with sadness and pain of course.  I try to not let them drag me down; sometimes I fail dismally, sometimes I don't.   
Sometimes I wonder if people expect me to have "moved on", particularly since being married to the delightful Ellie, but in truth, you don't really move on from the hideous loss of bereavement…you just let it become a part of who you are, and your life continues in spite of the pain/heartache....and on days like today I go "down the pan".

Anyway, if you want to call me a Wally, please feel free to… cuz I am quite like him sometimes !

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Half Term....

We emerged from the sad anniversary weekend to half term week. The 14th of course was Valentine's Day which (to be honest) makes me cringe. Too many sad memories of buying an early Valentine's card two years ago because I wasn't sure that my wife would make it to the day...and she didn't, sadly.

Ellie gave me a beautiful Valentine card. She loves me :-)
Midway through half term week Ellie took the children down to see her mum in Devon. Kids all love it there and it's really beautiful...with loads of space to run around (which means we get time to really relax!!). I joined them all on Friday for the weekend after finishing work early. My Valentine's gift to my wife was ironing - 3 gigantic baskets (at least they seemed gigantic to me !) which gave Ellie a very welcome surprise as she considers the ironing to be "her job". Kept me busy too for the 2 nights that I was home alone. Didn't really know what to do with myself to be honest - being in the house alone felt very very odd....way too quiet !

Read this in my daily Spurgeon bible readings whilst down in Devon....
"In heaven everything is immortal, the crown unwithered, the eye undimmed, the voice unfaltering, the heart unwavering, and the immortal being is wholly absorbed in infinite delight. Happy day! happy! when mortality shall be swallowed up of life and the eternal Sabbath shall begin".

Love it ! Makes me want to go there right now! What amazing assurance we have in Christ !

Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Great Sadness...

2 Years ago today.

On my mind....

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
(Laurence Binyon)

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father's house has many rooms....I am going there to prepare a place for you...
I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.
(Jesus of Nazareth)

I'll be glad to get into bed tonight.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Coming up for air...

Thanks to those who sent messages of remembrance and love to Ellie yesterday. 12 years since her saddest day.
I took the day off work, and Ellie and I spent it together; we held hands, we went for coffee. We went out for dinner as a family in the evening.

Ellie's house sale completed yesterday too...we're relieved about that. At least something good can happen on a sad day.

Tomorrow is the 2nd anniversary of my saddest day. I can hardly believe that it's two years. In some ways it seems like a lifetime ago, in other ways it seems like yesterday.

So today feels a little bit like coming up for air.....I managed to burn off some nervous energy on a long run this morning, and buzzing in my mind all the way were the words, "Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation" (Ps 95:1).

Buzzing in Ellie's mind is, "This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Neh 8:10b)

So tomorrow we will go to church as a family, we will worship the Lord together, and if you're there, it's likely to be me shouting the name "Jesus" at the top of my voice during our time of worship....after all, He is our rock, our salvation, our hope and our song.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

A weekend away...

Last weekend we went to a "Care For the Family" training weekend for telephone befrienders as part of their work with those who have lost a partner early in life. At the same time, their Bereaved Parents team were also having a training weekend. There were about 50 of us in total...everybody with a hideously sad story of a precious wife/husband or child who has died. The weekend was emotional for us both, because inevitably talking about bereavement and your journey plunges you head first into the world of pain and heartache that you are so familiar with.

Care for the Family as an organisation do an outstanding work for families up and down the country, and Ellie and I met at one of their weekends arranged for those Widowed Young.
I also had a telephone befriender who I spoke to many times whose wife had died under similar circumstances to me back in 2002 leaving him with 2 children of a similar age to mine. It's a unique relationship really to talk to somebody on the phone who knows just how painful the journey is; somebody who's lived it and is still going on....

There are a lot of words we could use to describe the people we met - inspirational, humble, not bitter, hurt, warm, open, empathetic, able to laugh, able to cry. They all shared a common desire as christians with solid hope, to help others who are on the same journey as they are on (based on...2Cor1:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.)

Being amongst these dear people we felt like we were standing on holy ground. I think we were.