Monday, August 07, 2017

30 years + Feast Day + remembering

Remembering and putting here some wisdom I was given about
illness while I was on bed-rest....

just snippets of things I remember, including my local priest's visits...

Prayer for wisdom, love and strength of soul and body
Absolution contained woman who wiped Christ feet with her hair
Church is our place of healing, our refuge

when one is direly ill the family can feel helpless, not knowing what to do 

a patient has to be patient and possess one's soul in patience
 and the soul can get lost and Christ is patient and loving,
a soul has to be quiet and needs quiet 
more than everyone's advice and remedies.  


It was really hard, those weeks of bed rest;
there was at once a constant movement of people coming to help
via an agency that our insurance covered, 
I had up to 5 people from outside our home come in one day
and often 2 + the daily person each day;
so in one way I was constantly dealing with people and
struggling with needing help and feeling so unable to do anything;
that was so difficult.
Having one's physical independence taken away,
not being able to prepare one's own food, 
it was hard for someone like myself, 
used to cooking and baking and enjoying
things.... and variety.... yes, hard to imagine how
spoiled we are, to take such things for granted,
such as food to our likely and by our own hand.
While there were people in my house,
I still, at the same time, felt a profound loneliness.
I ate most of my meals alone, in the bedroom.
My beloved Husband was so busy trying to 
hold down his demanding job, keeping the house in order,
making sure I had food, etc etc that we did not get a lot of time,
in the first weeks, to just see each other.
I am so glad that this part is behind us now.
Watching the series "When Calls the Heart" and reading
DE Stevenson helped keep the intensity of loneliness at bay.
One may think things like
"if I was on bed rest, I would read that big tome of a book that
I always meant to do or work on some big project (like writing etc)"
but the reality is quite different.
The first month was so exhausting, and many Sundays when I would watch
the liturgy online, since I could not go out, I would fall asleep 
in the middle of it.  
When my quilting-friend would come over for a visit,
her first 2 visits, at least, she had to go to the living-room so I could have a 
nap as I could not stay awake by the afternoon.
Physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually 
the stamina for a big project was missing.
Healing from a broken bone not only takes time
but it takes a lot of energy.
I read early on that one needs 3x the calories as normal to heal
a fractured bone ~ there is a reason that I was able to eat more
chocolate and not gain weight!


So, now to the present.
My Dad recently had a milestone birthday;
it's hard being away from family during those times;
but his card from us actually came on his birthday,
which was nice.
I am thinking of my Aunt H a lot these days...
My friend Tim, who I knew in my childhood,
died 30 years ago yesterday.
I am sure I have mentioned him before.
How much I loved him.
He had leukemia and died, just weeks before we would 
all come together again in our small class 
at a Christian school, a safe world, one that was
better because Tim was there.
The year before was the first time
he was in one of my classes; he often had very little hair;
how quickly did I get a crush on him? 
I remember the gold and brown of his hair, 
I know one thing, I did not love him because he was sick
but because he was who he was, in the midst of it.
I remember a boy who was patient with me,
who once when the older boys 
(as safe as my school was in terms of things it was
not perfect) threw 'ice balls' instead of snow balls at me
and it smarted and I just wanted to get away from them
but no one was allowed to stay inside during recess 
but Tim and his friend Brian could because of
Tim being sick.  I was 10 and did not really understand 
what cancer was or leukemia but I remember once Tim
having to run outside quickly, probably in Spring time, and 
vomiting over the deck that our portable classroom had. 
Back then I would not of understood that Tim was so sick
that he could not of played outside but I did know one thing,
after those bigger boys pelted me with ice-balls.
I wanted IN
I don't know if I knocked on the door or just opened it but
I remember Tim being there and I saying what had happened
and that I really wanted to be inside with them.
I think he must of sighed or something but he said OK
and I remember his gentleness and that Brian was playing 
guitar with a yard stick and there was laughter 
and I was away from the cold where there was
not only physical warmth but a warmth of kindness.
My Husband says I am anything but subtle and I am sure
my feelings of affection for him were noticed by others and
may have been a slight annoyance for Tim but 
he handled it well I think and the last day of class
he gave me his Garfield coloured pencils, a Garfield lead pencil
and paper.... it was the last time I ever saw him alive.
I still think somehow he knew that he was not coming back
and I think he must of been more sick than I knew.
I think he missed some school already;
I prayed for him every night and full expected Tim 
to recover.
I trusted God implicitly as a girl would trust her good and trustworthy father.
God as Father was something I lived knowing every day of my life.
In summer I would go on walks with God and my dog Spike and 
I would swing on the swing-set and sing nonsense songs that somehow
I was singing to God and my Mother said of those years that I was 
'always chanting something' and those summers had sunshine,
simplicity and the comfort of knowing that God was with me
and I could tell Him things just like I could tell my dog Spike,
and my God-the-Father could fix ANY thing, just like
my Dad could fix anything,
so I knew that God would make Tim better and I just prayed 
every day full of trust...
Well, I doubt that Tim mentioned me at home; he was a normal 
boy who was 10 and played baseball and had lots of friends at school.
Actually no one really knew how much I loved Tim, that I know of.
I was a pretty introverted yet very talkative child.
I knew Tim as the most Christian boy I knew 
and I loved him very much.
We had recently got the teacher's letter with a list of things to bring 
to school the coming year and this list included coloured pencils.
I was sitting at our dining room table, chattering away as usual, 
and was telling my Mom full of happiness that she did not need
to buy me coloured pencils since I had the ones Tim gave me...
and right as I was telling her, the phone rang and she went to get it.
Her voice changed on the phone and she came back
with a quieter but steady kind voice and told me
that (I don't remember who called to tell us) that Tim had died.
I don't remember the order of things but I know I said then
I would not use his coloured pencils but keep them
(I still have them to this day) and I went to the bathroom.
My life had just been sliced in two, and in the bathroom I looked up
and asked God why did You let Tim die?
and I felt a grief I had never known and a confusion of why 
God my Father had not made Tim better.
My 10 year old Knight in Shining Armour.
Surely, he could not die.
But he did and my Mom had made me a little pillow and every night
for a long time I would cry as I fell asleep on that pillow,
from missing Tim.  The pillow yellowed with my tears.
I did not know how to express grief openly and so was quiet about it,
so quiet that it was 20 years later, when I was 30, that my parents found out
and that I could not remember my Dad's birthday because I got that
date and the date of Tim's death mixed up, 
(My Dad's birthday is the day before Tim died).
I went to the funeral I think. I know I was at the funeral home and
my Mom told Tim's Mom, with me there, that I prayed for Tim
every night.  We were given a small card with a child angel on front and 
about Tim inside and I knew I wore a dress and that Tim lay there...
Where my school was, there was a church on one side and on the other side,
a cemetery and Tim was buried there.
There was a metal fence separating the school from the cemetery and I remember 
standing there, looking at the bush that was near Tim's grave,
that was flat on the ground, so I could not see it exactly but
I knew he was there and could not open the door again when
I needed warmth in the middle of winter.
The funeral.  Tim looked puffy to me.  
I learned later that he was afraid that Heaven was already full and 
had to be reassured that Jesus had room for him there.
It must of been hard to face death at 10 years old.
And here no one had told me he was even sick.
I was not able to visit him, not even once or write him a card.
But every night I was praying for him in my prayers
that my Mom did with me and one of the hardest things was that
as a child I was not told, once Tim died, that I could still pray for him.
So it was 20 years later, when I was an Orthodox Christian for a few years,
that we had a small prayer service for him in church.
I brought roses to the Theotokos to thank her for taking care of Tim,
since at 10 I reasoned he still needed a Mother,
and I had the wine, bread and P and K, our Ukrainian grandparents of our Parish,
helped me lift the table at the end of the prayers and all that love 
I had for Tim finally was expressed and I had this great sense of healing
from a loss that to me was still taking up a big part of my inside.
I an still hear Tim's voice when I am alone and quiet, thinking about it.
The Lent before I first learned of Mr Husband, 
I felt Tim nearby in church.  I knew he was there.
I know he is caring for me still by his prayers, I don't need it explained, but 
I was in a lot of distress that year and somehow Tim was involved in 
helping me through it and I treasure that very much.
And that Pascha, a church friend later told me, she said I looked like
a Bride and by the next Pascha my beloved Husband asked me to 
marry him on Pascha afternoon.
So that 20 year service, I wrote a card to Tim's parents,
really emotionally to his Mom, and his Mom wrote me back
and told me how when Tim died he got a big smile on his face
and his Mom knew he was seeing Jesus.
I did not understand then that sometimes God took those we loved
from us and that Christ would come and take them
and that the person would never be alone or away from Christ.
Back then I just knew Tim was away from me. 
My Husband knows all about Tim
and that he was my first love, really and my Husband 
my second.... 
Sometimes in gym class I would run away
and be found sitting in dirt under the steps on the side of the
building and when the teacher would ask me what was wrong
all I could say was 'I missed Tim' and not about whatever
had happened in gym class that day
(I always dreaded that class, I was uncoordinated and did not enjoy 
such classes...)
So we were at Church yesterday, the new calendar Feast of the
Transfiguration of Christ, and that is the day Tim died on 
and I was thinking of him so much during the liturgy,
with sunlight shining, fruit in baskets waiting to be blessed,
Holy Communion, everyone I knew well at this church there,
and I was thinking of Tim and was surprised, the night before,
when I told my Husband that the next day I would buy a big candle for Tim.
that I suddenly was close to weeping and I told our dear
elderly candle-desk man about Tim and he said how precious the 
memories are and he gave a loving laugh when I told him that one of the reasons
I am excited to (God willing!) go to Heaven one day is so I could see Tim
again and I knew our candle-desk man laughed because I am only 40 
and here he is, over 80 but I could only say, well, I made it 30 years already since
Tim died and that was something... 
It is wonderful that in Church we are so close to those who have gone before us.
My Husband and I have been thinking a lot of Patrick and missing him.
Having his table cloth out felt like I was in the midst of a hug from Patrick,
though he was not the hugging type.  But he did love and cared for us.
And my Husband is still working faithfully to help wind up everything for 
Patrick after he died, just like he promised he would.
We've been listening to CDs of Patrick's and 
I can't wait to bake rolls, bread or muffins and use the 
metal basket that was Patrick's again.
I have not been to our far-away church, where Patrick is known and loved,
since mid-May and we hope to go again soon...
And so, we continue to work towards recovery, to 
resuming what used to be our normal lives...


Lisa Richards said...

So glad to know that Tim is safe with Jesus. I hope you will soon be able to get to church!

Tracy said...

"...there is a reason that I was able to eat more chocolate and not gain weight!" That is sweet... Not sweet that you had to go through all this to find that out, but still sweet... ;) Happy BIG birthday to your Dad. Blessings to you as your remember your dear friend Tim...and beloved Patrick... May the beauty of every day normal grave you soon...((LOVE & HUGS))

Mary said...

Memory Eternal,sweet Tim. Memory Eternal.

Mary said...

Memory Eternal,sweet Tim. Memory Eternal.

shoreacres said...

Such a touching post. My own first boyfriend was named Tim. We were in fourth grade, I think. I still remember him bringing a candy heart to my on Valentine's day -- one of those with satin and ribbon. He risked a lot to do that. It was a terrible grief when he went away to visit one summer, and drowned while swimming. It was a hard thing to deal with.

We do still remember them, don't we? That's been such a long time ago, and yet I remember so much. Clearly, you do, too. Isn't it wonderful to have such memories?

elizabeth said...

Lisa R ~ yes! it is wonderful that Tim is with our Lord Christ!

Mary ~ thank you!

Shoreacres ~ Linda ~ thank you. And thank you for telling me about *your* Tim. What a kind thing he did in giving you that candy heart! That would be such a shocking difficult loss! Lord have mercy! and may our dear Lord remember this Tim in His Kingdom!

It is wonderful to have the memories of those we knew when we were young. Of course we remember - those we love, they are remembered! This you are also showing!

elizabeth said...

Tracy ~ thanks so much! love to you!

Angie said...

The death issue changes so much when one is a believer. Firstly living has a purpose and death is another stage one closer to God and the saints and our
our beloved ones.A great deal of pain and anxiety is lifted.And we can still do so much for the dead like prey for them,help others in their name etc. This way one feels connected in a healthy way . I'm sure Tim was taken away the right moment for his salvation
The pain is still there but it helps to know he's in good hands!