It is December 3 already. It is hard to believe that an entire year has gone by since Tim moved his residence to heaven. So much has happened in the past year – too much for me to even begin listing it all.
Instead, tonight I want to share how the boys and I spent a few minutes this evening at our supper meal. We often ask discussion questions of each other, so it was familiar for me to offer up a few discussion questions as we reflected on the importance of this day. Here they are, with my own answers included:
* What do you remember most? What memory pops into your head most often? I think what I remember most about Tim, the memory that I experience the most is his quiet unassuming presence in our lives. He was never the “life of the party” but he was always there – especially in times when I really needed him or his help. We had become such a good team, that I often didn’t even need to express what the exact need was – he could just look at the situation and know exactly what his part was. I miss his calming presence in our family.
* What’s the hardest memory to deal with? My hardest memories are those of watching Tim’s body slowly slip out of his control. He had been such a rock physically – and all of a sudden he wasn’t. Being his caregiver began to overshadow being his wife. The last week of his life was particularly grueling to experience. The decisions that had to be made that last week were the toughest ones I’ve ever had to make.
* What do you think you learned, or how did you personally grow from our journey with ALS? Two of the most important things I learned from our journey were 1) how difficult our world is to maneuver through if you have a disability. We had so many experiences that revealed to us a world we were completely unaware of. We had no idea the world makes very little room for those with disabilities. And 2) I learned there are a lot of people out there that are willing to help those in need. The overabundance of people that walked this journey with us still amazes me. People that came to stretch Tim’s arms and legs, that made meals for us, that drove us to places (and still do), that prayed with me, that read with Tim, that decorated our house for Christmas, that adopted our family for Christmas, that hung out with the boys, and the list could continue for two more pages I’m sure. There are a lot of really good people out there.
My own personal growth included the realization that you can experience a living hell and come out the other side a stronger, more compassionate person. I also know that I am a changed person. I am just now starting to enjoy laughter again – but the depth of life is always close to the surface for me now. I see the world differently now.
* How can you use what you’ve learned to honor God? I would really like to share my story with people to inspire them in their hard times. God was with us every step of our journey – and I want others to know He will be there for them as well. And, though I’m not ready yet, I hope that someday I will be able to pay it forward – to be able to reach into someone else’s life that has exploded into chaos and give to them just a sliver of what others gave to me.
* How can we honor Tim’s memory in our family the best? I want to see Tim’s influence continue in our family. He was always so easy-going. I am … NOT. He had taught me to relax a bit and take things in stride. I would like to continue to work on that. Little arguments don’t need to turn into WWIII. I hope that I can continue to approach family issues with the calm and peace that he always brought to the table.
Well, the discussion around our table included these points as well as the boys’ reflections, which I will keep confidential at this time. They seemed to like having a chance to talk about some of what they’ve been thinking and feeling in a structured way. Thanks to all who have been praying for us today. I know it helped to pave the way to a great family time for us.
NOTE: If you are still considering sending your own reflection of Tim to me – I’d love to get it! I realized that the boys are still too young to share much of what’s coming in with them. This will really be a book that they will receive and appreciate as adults. So, you’re not too late!