Sunday, June 14, 2015

Dear Emily

While Beth was working on her Journalism degree, she really enjoyed her creative writing class.  During that time, about 1995, she wrote a collection of poems that included one titled "Dear Emily".

It's funny how some things come to you when you are journeying through the grief process, and this poem, though I have not read it for years, has been haunting me as late. When the memory came to me I didn't even have to re-read the poem, I remembered all the lines and the theme.  When she wrote the poem, I wondered why she chose such a subject, an old man wandering through his house after losing his wife.  I didn't even want to think of such things. We were in a very good place in our lives, death had not been creeping through our family.  Even Meme Roberts was still with us. Now I am wondering, was it prophetic?  Had God laid a vision in words on my sweet Beth?

Now, she never collected "glass cats" or made doilies, but she is everywhere in our house.

Dear Emily:                             

I know you haven't been gone long.
You must think me a silly old fool to write this soon.
But this old house and this old man both ramble.
All the kids were here over the weekend.
Yes Emily, I gave them all the things on your list.
You remember how quiet it is when they finally leave.
This house is you Emily, and I'm always running into you.
I dusted them thousands of glass cats of yours.
You left your pink slippers by our bed, the ones you needed for your cold feet.
Yesterday I counted all them lacey things you make.
They're lying around on everything, some are hiding holes and stains I never knew were there.
Now don't get mad, I took them plastic covers off the lamps
With the kids grown and the grandkids in college, I figured it was safe enough.
I'm really enjoying the meals you cooked ahead and put in the freezer.
It's good to think you cooked my dinner.
They're about gone.
Fifty-eight, Emily, there's fifty-eight of them lacey things!
Ain't that something?  Next month is our fifty-eighth anniversary.
I sit in the barn just so I don't mess up your rug.
And because you ain't in the barn..
I know Emily, it's "too dusty"  for you.
I'm there now.
The sun's going down and I won't be able to see much longer.
This big old house ain't the same without you and neither is this old man.
Emily, the next time you talk to the Lord, would you tell Him for me that I'm ready?
If He's agreeable maybe we'll get to celebrate our fifty-eighth together.

All my love,  
by Beth Coleman

Good night my sweet Beth
I love you forever

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Anniversary Season

I am in a season of anniversaries. April 19th; first date 45 years ago, May 20th; marriage 43 years ago, May 29th; Beth's death 1 year ago, June 21st; Beth would have been 63.

I am struggling.

I miss her so much I cannot describe my feelings.

Today the daily Bible Study I subscribe to was:

25 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. 26 Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, 27 dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. 28 And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage. 29 No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, 30 since we are part of his body. 31 And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” 32 This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. 33 And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.
Ephesians 5:25-33 | MSG

Ephesians was us.....I, part of her, she, part of me.

Yesterday's Daily Grief message was:

Living God, I want to serve You, not myself. I am only making things worse by focusing on my loss, which in reality is focusing on myself. I confess my self-preoccupation, and I ask that You forgive me and deliver me from my sinful habits. Amen.

So how do I get from "Ephesians 5" to "Don't be preoccupied with my loss"? She was part of me and I part of her!  She permeated every aspect of my life and anything I do reminds me of her. Anything.

Today I got mail. New auto insurance ID cards with her name removed. She is slowly being erased from the world, but she is a still part of me, so each reminder is like a new slice of flesh being removed from me.

In every difficult thing I have had to endure in my life, I had a partner that stood by me, holding my hand and walking beside me. Christ's love through the woman he gave to me as wife.

So how do I get from "Ephesians 5" to "Don't be preoccupied with my loss"? In this season of anniversaries, even the busyness doesn't help. God will bring me out in His time, but right now the well is deep and I am tired.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015


As I remember us, your words haunt me so.
"You'll find someone new".
As I grieve, I wonder though,
What, in my life, will ensue.

Upon the path yet traveled, thereof
What God will do is unknown,
But all...that I can say, my love,
Is my commitment is carved in stone.

Good night my sweet Beth.
I love you forever.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


After she died, I was amazed,
The sun came up the very next day.
The birds were singing their glorious songs
As if nothing had been going on.

I couldn't imagine that these things would happen,
Because all around, my world was crashing
How could everything just continue on
Didn't they know that she was gone.

The sun came up and the sun went down
The world just kept turning around.
I felt everything was passing me by
Was I alone in wondering why?

And then it happens! A granddaughter's smile,
C'mon Poppy, dance with me a while.
So my feet start moving, down the line
But my heart lags, not wanting to leave that spot in time.

Isn't it known that she is gone?
How can everything just continue on?
Now I seem to be split in time.
Feet moving ahead, heart lagging behind.

I know that one day, through ways that can't be explained,
our Lord will put me together again.
Each day I pray, "help me move along",
Even though she is gone.

Good night my sweet Beth
I love you forever

Thursday, January 1, 2015


Dealing with the Christmas season was much prepared for. For several weeks I read material and discussed with counselors about how to manage the first Christmas without Beth. When it was here, my amazing family and the joy of all the grandchildren, nieces and nephews carried me through all. Christmas is, after all, about the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ and that is bigger than anything. 

New Years caught me off-guard. I have never thought of it as a major event. Just the day when you have to remember to start writing the incremented year on everything, which takes me a month to accomplish.  As I was waiting for the clock to hit midnight, I started thinking about how intimate the holiday was for Beth and I.  We were not ones that would usually party through midnight, not to say we haven't in our younger days. When the clock hit midnight, we would kiss.  She would say "Whatever you are doing at midnight is what you will be doing the rest of the year".  So we made sure we always kissed at midnight. No matter what revelry was around us, we found each other, just her eyes and mine, just her lips and mine.  So last night, for the first time in 44 years, since my first New Years Eve kiss when we were dating, I didn't get that kiss from my beautiful Beth. I sure missed it. We had no quiet conversations about the beginning of the new year and what adventures it might hold for us.

I had not prepared for New Years. It affected me more than I had expected. All worried about Christmas, I ignored New Years. Grief is hard to prepare for anyway, the least thing can set you off.  I have given it all to God, but it sneaks up on you and whacks you hard sometimes. When it hits, I pray for strength to get through. But I sure miss her. Does getting through the grieving process mean that the sound of her laugh, the smell of her hair and the taste of her lips, fade from my mind? I don't want to.

For the past few days, all my daily email devotionals have been about waiting on God.  Be patient, wait on God. That is my plan for the new year. "Be still, and know that I am God".  He knows that there will be times when I will fall apart. I don't have any idea how I can keep all my memories and not come apart, but he does and I will wait on him to show me.

Good night my sweet Beth,
I really missed my New Year's kiss.