I see that I wrote my last blog post on February 9. An eternity ago. Nine days later at 6:12 or so in the evening, I became a widow. I don't think anyone expected him to die so soon, especially since just the day before, he had a lovely visit with his mom and older sister. But when my daughter and I arrived on that Tuesday, it was clear that he wouldn't live more than a few hours. We filled his small hospital room with people - my two daughters, my son-in-law, my parents, two of our pastors, and other close friends. We sang Christian songs and hymns, listened to songs from Phil's mp3 player (we discovered music we never knew he liked!) as well as from YouTube; we read Scripture; we prayed; we laughed and cried. It was such a holy experience, unlike anything I'd ever been a part of.
On March 1, we held Phil's memorial service, which Sarah and I planned. The service was entirely centered on the Lord that Phil loved and served with all his heart. Three family members shared their own tributes, and when we opened the floor for others to share their memories, what was said was moving. We included a lot of music, or at least more than what is usually done, including singing How Great Thou Art and It Is Well With My Soul. We had three specials: Blessed Be the Name, I Will Rise, and Who Am I? You can find recordings of all these on YouTube. After the service, we invited all the family members back to the house for a light repast.
Because it was winter - and what a winter it was with so much snow and cold - the funeral home held Phil's body until May 2, when we finally had the burial, which was just for family. I chose to bury Phil in a cemetery close to our home; we were able to buy a plot in a new section. It is near a tree which will provide lovely shade once it is grown. I still have to design a monument. That was a new term to me, and I think they use it because they can charge more than if it were just an old-fashioned headstone.
It will take time for me to settle into my new life, to find out what God wants me to do. Sarah and I have been working on organizing the house, starting with the file cabinet, which was Phil's domain. We quickly discovered why it was completely stuffed: he kept papers that he should have shredded long ago. We laughed many times when we realized just how old and worthless some of them were. We even found a receipt from an investment Phil made before he and I were married 30 years ago! Too bad the investment failed, or I might have kept the receipt.
One of our church families has made me an honorary member of the family, which has been wonderful. I was already friends with mom and dad (dad is one of our pastors), as well as one of the daughters and her husband (he is our music administrator), and acquaintances with two of the other daughters. I was offered the opportunity to help lead music on Wednesday evenings, which I accepted. Often it's just Nathan (music administrator) and me up in front, but sometimes one of our other men joins us. It has been challenging for me because I usually sing melody, but now I'm doing harmony, which I sometimes must come up with myself. And about ten days ago I was asked to make some cards for sending to widows, which I accepted. (Will I receive one of my own cards at some point?)
I still have things to do around the house, which will keep me busy for quite a while. So many new things for me to learn to care for, decisions which must be made, stuff to go through. And I want to get back to blogging. I have a lot of pictures to edit and share! So hopefully that will start to happen soon, although you do realize that "soon" is a relative term, right?
See you soon!