Tag Archives: Saying goodbye

Five Minute Friday – Beyond

Just got a text, then a call from a family member to tell me that my uncle passed away. He had heart surgery last year and almost died, but didn’t. The surgery this week was supposed to be minor but as we all know there is no minor surgery. Ever. There’s always risk.

Beyond this life my uncle is free. Free from the limitations of his earthly body. Free from pain. Free from doctor visits and hospital stays. He is free to be the soul his Creator made him to be. He. Is. Free.

I’m thinking he must be in heaven fixing something although I know nothing in Heaven is broken. He was just that kind of man. He could fix anything and loved it. Build anything. And when he did, it was always done right. He had that in common with his Savior – a carpenter.

Beyond our tears and sadness there is joy. Joy that he is with the One who made him. Joy that I had the privilege of knowing the man he was on earth. Joy that we will see him again someday.

Beyond this life. Because there is a beyond… and that gives me great peace.


Small Steps

A few months ago as I walked into my bedroom and saw my bridal portrait, I realized that eventually I would need to take it down. Not because that’s what you do when you get divorced and not because it brought up hurtful feelings, but because it reminded me of all the fun I enjoyed in my marriage. Those feelings are the ones that are harder for me to deal with, not the anger and betrayal. Basically, I miss the good times. And we did have them. Lots of them. I was crazy in love from the first time we met.

Walking through Lifeway Bookstore one day, I spotted a canvass that was painted with the end of the verse in Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is with you, He is might to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” That verse has been a great comfort for me and so my quest to re-create that canvass began, knowing that it would be the perfect replacement for my portrait. By the week’s end the outside of my canvass was done, but I just couldn’t get the writing on it and so it sat. And sat. And still sits.

Fast forward a few months. Last Saturday I was helping my son rearrange his room to accommodate a desk his dad got for him. His room is tiny, so fitting in another piece of furniture was tricky. As I pulled out his dresser, I spotted the quilt squares I had framed when I was pregnant with my firstborn. Those frames have been sitting there collecting dust for years. As soon as I spotted the blue one, I knew that was what I wanted in my room.

On Monday afternoon I took my bridal portrait down and replaced it with the quilt square. It was sad, but healing all the same. It’s been two years so I guess that’s what they mean about taking small steps. You’re not ready until you’re ready. No one can say how long it will take when you’re grieving.

Now when I walk into my room I remember my grandmother. Her strength as a single Mom back when divorce was not discussed. I remember her humor. Her servant heart. Her crazy love of Christmas (which of course she passed along in the genes, lol). Her forgiving heart. Her beauty. Her fire. Her love of life. Her passion for her Savior.

Stopping this morning on my way out, I looked at the quilt square and smiled. All those small steps, including this one, have moved me forward. Maybe not as quickly as I would have liked, but forward just the same. :)

This Day 8 Years Ago

On this day 8 years ago, I was preparing to say goodbye to a dear friend.

You see, a few days before this day my best friend’s (Amy’s) husband died during an MS150 training ride. That day is engraved in my mind. I remember everything about it. The call from my then husband who was also on the ride, the sound of his voice that told me something was terribly wrong, the call I made to Amy’s Mom because I couldn’t reach Amy on the phone, how frantic I felt, the moment I walked into the hospital, the smells there, the tears, the group of church members there already praying, the look in Amy’s eyes when I saw her. In fact, everything about that day seems like it happened yesterday.

So on this day 8 years ago I was at the Katy Family YMCA, gathered with literally hundreds of others, to say goodbye to a man who loved his family, his church family and everyone he met. We were there to celebrate his life. Before the first song sang my water broke. Yep… I was pregnant and my due date was Jan. 25th. I couldn’t believe it… I remember thinking, “God, please let me be able to stay and celebrate my friend’s life, support my best friend in her darkest hour and not take away from this day.” So I sat down next to Judy, a good friend who took it upon herself to make sure I was OK (don’t you just love friends like that?) As others stood to sing praises to the One who “gives and takes away” I sat in my chair…. wet. No one could tell and I greeted everyone as if nothing had happened. (That’s probably the stubborn side of me. I didn’t want anyone telling me that I had to go to the hospital.) I was NOT missing it… no matter what.  The service was beautiful. Amy spoke at the service, something I knew God gave her the strength to do. She was graceful, strong, and obviously filled with God’s peace. It was beautiful to see and I was thankful to be there.

During the closing prayer, I ran out to the bathroom. Judy, along with a few other friends, came to see what was going on and I told them that my water broke. They were so sweet to take my pants and hold them under the dryer so I wouldn’t be soaking wet going to the hospital. Judy told my husband and a few minutes later we were rushing over to Christus St Catherine’s Hospital.

Before I gave birth to our second child, I asked my husband if he minded if we named our new baby after our friend (we had not chosen a boy name as we couldn’t settle on one). We both agreed that question needed to be asked to Amy, so when she came to the hospital I asked. As we all cried and hugged, she gave us her blessing to name our baby Kenneth, after her husband, if we had a boy.

And in God’s great way… we had a boy and named him Kenneth Wayne Ochsner.

Today Kenneth is 8. I could not have known what a blessing he would be to our family.  And what a tremendous honor it would be for one of my children to carry the name of my best friend’s late husband, Kenneth Wagoner.

So today, I celebrate my son’s birthday and remember Ken Wagoner’s legacy of faith he left for his family and others. He continues to live in those who knew and loved him. And I am honored to be counted as one of those.

Happy Birthday Kenneth! You have a mommy who is beyond proud of you :-)  You are truly a gift!!!