Monday, February 21, 2011

The care and feeding of a blog

Yesterday we discussed in Sunday School portions of the Sermon on the Mount, particularly the idea of  “nursing” as it applies to nursing anger or nursing a grudge, or nursing bitterness, and what that can lead to. The aspect of “nursing” that I directed the class to think about was the idea of “care and feeding”, asking the women to remember what it was like “nursing” their infant, and what that involved. Reminding them that we have a choice about the sorts of emotions we choose to “nurse.”

Even if we never literally nursed an infant, we all know about the care and feeding of our bodies – indeed, many of us spend much too much time “nurturing” ourselves in this way and are made aware of it every time we get on the scale or attempt to button that pair of jeans that seemed to fit just fine last week.

I am particularly pleased with the “care and feeding” of my own body today. Last night before I went to bed, I put white beans and boiling water in our thermos, and sliced a lovely red bell pepper and an onion, and put them in the refrigerator. This morning when I got up at 5 am, I dumped the beans, which were still steaming hot and 90% cooked, the peppers, onions, leftover cooked red lentils, tomato paste, some wine, and some spices in the crock pot and turned it on so I would have something delectable to eat for lunch. Richard does his own lunch -- I had already tried Bulgarian Red Pepper Stew on him some time back and I have marked in the margin of cookbook “Richard hates this.”

And it occurred to me that I have not “cared and fed” this blog for a while. One of the songs I hear occasionally on the Christian radio station has something to do with “let’s go dance in the minefield.” The past 2 weeks have been something of an emotional minefield for us. I have been sort of reluctant to write about it, but there is another  reason also, which I will get to eventually 

We spent the week leading up to Feb 12 preparing for our son’s Celebration of Life, and because our church does not have equipment to project presentations or play DVDs, we created picture displays to honor the various stages of his life. Our son would have turned 34 on Feb 12, so there was the added remembrance of significance of that day for us… and then, also on Feb 12, some years back, our Little Dog died.

A minefield.

I mentioned to our bereavement counselor when we saw her on Thursday that I was feeling so guilty for still grieving about the dog in light of my mother having died a little over a year ago, and our son’s death a month earlier, how can I possibly be still thinking about the stupid dog, for crying out loud. And she stopped me and said… “You are grieving the loss of the relationship – a relationship that is gone forever – and that is a valid sorrow and you should not feel guilty about it.”

I have decided she is worth her weight in gold.

And backtracking a bit, there is Valentines Day. Richard is the sort of guy who simply goes out and buys what he wants when he gets the idea that he wants it. So when you ask him, is there anything particular you would like for Valentine’s Day, he can honestly say, “No, there isn’t.” What the heck do I do now? Get him nothing? A box of candy which neither of us needs because we have both gained back quite a bit of weight in the last couple of months?

A minefield.

Well, it happened that just before I left to go to town for the aerobics class, there was an interview on National Public Radio with this lovely British cooking person, Nigella Lawson, who I have heard several times, and she suggested making a really wonderful steak at home instead of going out to eat. 

And an almost unbelievable thing happened. I stopped at the store and there, marked down tremendously in price, were two beautiful packages of $6.99/lb steak that I was able to get for about $3.00 for both of them. It was one our better Valentine Day experiences. I did not actually prepare the steak like Nigella suggested because I didn’t want to mess with the sauce, but we each put on a bit of “Claude’s Western Style Barbeque Sauce,” which has almost no calories, and it was wonderful.

But at any rate, I have had a difficult time drumming up the energy to write for this blog, and I have worried about it just sort of withering away and dying for lack of attention (which happens to some infants who are not nurtured), and those few followers that I do have wandering off to greener pastures. A weird sort of God-thing happened. During the last 6 weeks of our son’s life, almost all of my work dried up. I had just enough to keep me busy, but not once during this time did I have to make a decision about whether I needed to stay home and get the work done or miss a deadline, or leave and stay with our son at the nursing home. Thus, I was able to spend about 4 hours a day with him. In the last 2 weeks, however, the flood gates have opened, and the work has poured in. I have been a bit preoccupied. That’s it folks. I am not fallen off into the “Slough of Despond” like John Bunyon’s Pilgrim. Just busy…


Smurfy turf said...

Dearest cousin, you are truly an amazing woman at every turn in the road of life. Yes you are, and I love your story about Sunday's topic at church. Perfect for all of us to think about.

Far Side of Fifty said...

There are still a few of us around that wait and watch for you to have been busy. You also have needed time to grieve properly..which I am sure will be a series of ups and downs sometimes when you least expect it. Loosing someone that you loved and nurtured is something you may never get over..but you will learn to must be really hard..I am praying for you:)

Oklahoma Granny said...

I can't help but know that your lack of work during your son's last days were a God-thing.

Your grief counselor sounds like a pretty smart person to me.

lisa said...

So glad you posted, I check everyday! God will continue to care for you during this time, it will be a huge adjustment for you and your husband, but He will be there with you every step of the way

Terra said...

This is my first visit here to your blog, and I read this post and then several earlier ones, and I admire your courage!