Saturday, July 16, 2011

Happy 45th Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary Dad and Mom!

To say we are proud of you and blessed by your marriage is a huge understatement.  Thank you for your 45 years of commitment, love, and grace.  You are a beautiful example of what the promise of marriage should look like. 

With tremendous love and gratitude to my parents today.....

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Today would have marked our 14th wedding anniversary.  So, I did what any normal person would do to honor the day.... I cleaned out my laundry room and balanced my checkbook!  Thank goodness for the distraction of work!    While I'm not terribly sentimental, I am not without emotion.  I just need something constructive to occupy me while I process my feelings.  I find it easier to take my frustration out on dust and dirt than to wallow in self pity.  While I have worked, I have spent a great deal of time remembering our thirteen years of marriage and this first anniversary without Marc.

Last year we spent our anniversary in the hospital.  He was having surgery.  Not exactly the way we wanted to celebrate, but I remember at the time that we had peace about being there.  I remember the two of us musing as we settled in that night that the suite up at OHSU was probably the most expensive lodging we had enjoyed together.  Thousands of dollars a night and a commanding view of the city -- he really knew how to show a girl a good time!  Two years ago I wrote about my sweet husband here.  While things surrounding Marc's health were serious at the time, I remember that day as being one filled with hope.  I never thought that in two years I would be alone, reflecting back on my marriage without my husband here.

Several months ago I decided today would be the day to put my rings into safe keeping.  I needed a goal -- a reason -- to take them off.  As I wrote in the 2009 blog entry, my ring is pretty beat up.  I've worried for awhile that the setting will break and I'll lose a stone; however, even that wasn't enough to convince me to take them off.  After Marc became very thin, his ring wouldn't stay on his finger.  I started wearing his beneath mine.  I've become accustomed to the heavier feel of both rings on my finger.  In some ways, I think it correlates with the heaviness of continuing on without him.  His role...and his ring..are heavy.  I'm not as good at carrying either as he was. 

I decided our anniversary made the most sense to remove them. Today became the deadline to put them away and move on a bit more.  It seems fitting in my head that today is the day.  So, today I took them off.  Like my rings, my hands are even more dinged up and calloused.   Except, of course, for the smooth skin that has been protected for fourteen years beneath my wedding band.  I must say it feels bizarre.  Exposed.  Like the rest of this crazy year, it's going to take some getting used to.....

One last thing.  For those of you that are married...please take a moment and look at your wedding ring.  Remember what it symbolizes.  It's precious.  Take care of it.  Life has a way of changing in an instant.  Don't waste any of it.  Go home, give your spouse a big hug, and be grateful for what you have. You are blessed.  I just wanted to say that :)

With love and gratitude....

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Life seems to be more about themes lately.  Or, perhaps, I look for the themes in my day or in my season  to try to make sense of life.  I don't know.  Whichever it is, these past few weeks have been full of lessons....dots connecting to define a bigger picture. 

I have been absent from the blog for awhile.  I have had several "themes" going on in the last couple of weeks that have kept me occupied full time.  I find it impossible to squeeze out the time to sit and write.  More of my time has been spent pondering and reflecting.  I have much to share, but little time in which to do it. Fortunately, life has slowed a bit and I can, once again, start sharing a bit more.  My hope is that I can share some of these lessons -- or themes -- in the coming days and weeks.

The theme for yesterday was reunions...

Sophia has asked me for well over a week to visit the cemetery.  I put her off.  It's not that it bothers me to go, but rather it bothers the kids.  I have to be prepared for emotional fallout from the kids when we go.  Depending on my energy level and our schedule, there isn't always time or patience to deal appropriately with the outbursts and meltdowns that follow.  I have to measure those visits out carefully.  Sophia was persistent, though, and I finally agreed to take her.  After I gave her my word that we would go, it was like she was finally able to breathe again.  For Sophie, the gravesite has been a comfort.  It's how she feels closer to Marc. 

So, yesterday  on our way to a family reunion, we planned to stop at the gravesite.  Sophia chose to cut roses from our garden and throw in some wildflowers for an arrangement.  She was all smiles and anticipation as we headed out.  I was touched to watch her sit with the flowers on her lap, protecting them from her siblings.  Nothing was going to damage her bouquet and she let them know it!  We arrived at the cemetery and she carefully made her way to the headstone, her little feet picking up speed as she went.  Her relief was apparent as she arrived to find everything as it should be.  The  kids carefully cleaned off the debris from the stone and helped Sophie arrange the flowers.  I watched my girl.  I could see that she was relieved and happy to have honored her dad.   

We talked a bit about Daddy and how he isn't really at the cemetery, but is safe in heaven.  We talked about how we would all be together someday in heaven and how those days would be spent in a perfect place with Jesus.  She nodded as if she understood, but seemed a little torn as we had to leave for the family picnic. 

Moods rapidly improved as we arrived at the family reunion.  Every year we gather with my dad's side of the family for a picnic, horseshoes, and catching up.  I love seeing four generations of family getting together for one day of food and fellowship.  It's always fun to see the newest additions to the family -- new spouses, new babies.  We have lost someone almost every year, too.  Their absences are felt, but it feels good to be with family and share memories. 

After being at the cemetery, I was struck by the parallel between the simple family reunion and our reunion that we anticipate in heaven with our loved ones.  I was struck by how much we try to emulate that experience here on earth.  How easy and natural it is to break bread with family -- many of whom we only see once a year in July at this very picnic.  How great it feels to be part of a group where everyone belongs and where conversation comes easy.  There are no outsiders.  If you are there, it is because you belong there.   There is comfort in that.  Family is an amazing and beautiful thing to watch.    Several traveled far to be part of the reunion.  Some, like me, drove three miles.  Others made a surprise entrance -- my aunt flew in from Texas to surprise the family.  No matter where we came from, though, there were big hugs and huge welcomes.  I recognized relief on faces when they laid eyes on loved ones that hadn't been seen in along time.  A little bit of heaven on earth....

Making the flowers just perfect for Dad

Tarr Family Reunion 2011

A little slice of Americana.....Doesn't get any better than a July picnic! 

Sweet Auntie Viola.  Our oldest matriarch of the bunch. 
Her smile is one of the many reasons it is so important to keep doing these every year... 

With love and gratitude....