I feel good right now. I feel better mentally (and physically) than I have in about a year. This year was a tough year for some reason. It just felt off. I had a good time with my kids and friends and family, but something was unsettled in my soul or something. Like I had restless legs for my soul that couldn’t figure out where to go. The thing is I didn’t want to GO anywhere, I just had no idea why I was feeling so “Meh.”
I went on an AIA(Athletes In Action) basketball tour to India and Thailand when I was in university and I met one of the great humans of our time and we have kept in touch throughout the years. I feel lucky to say that I have a few friends like this, ones that you may not talk to for a year or so, but when you get a chance to hang out, it’s like everything is exactly like you left it. Jeff Sharma sent me an e-mail the other day asking me how I was doing, (he had done a video for my classroom, and noticed I wasn’t on Facebook anymore (man I needed a break from that)) just making sure things were alright. I’ll paraphrase some of the thoughts (and a couple extras) that I sent Sharms in that e-mail.
11. I was honest with myself and God that I want to love someone again.
- I felt guilty saying that for awhile because it was hard for me to admit. I somehow wanted to prove to myself that I was doing the right thing by denying myself the right to even think about it because it felt selfish to me. It’s like I thought I wasn’t trusting God enough if I wasn’t fully satisfied with everything in my life just as is. When in reality, holding on to the hopes of my heart instead of talking with God about them is actually more of a show of non-trust than just being honest with Him in the first place. (You ever do that to yourself?) Truly letting that cat out of the bag with God was freeing.
22. I bought a hot tub.
- It’s not just because I have wanted a hot tub my whole life, that buying it is exciting. Making the decision was highly symbolic for me as well. It was the first major financial purchase that I have made that was not something that Krista and I had already discussed. Like, we had planned to do Renos to our house before she passed away, so I carried those out because it was the right thing. We had planned to buy a van before she passed away and I carried that out. Since then though, I have not made a big, family fun/family product/”What is something that our family does?” type decision outside the realm of what we would have done as a couple, and making this purchase felt right for my kids and I. It was something that I didn’t ask, “What would we be doing if Krista was here right now” because it wasn’t ever really something we talked about.
Sidenote: (Some of you may think, “Wow, he is making a pretty big philosophical connection with a material thing. He shouldn’t be so concerned about material things. He could have sponsored some more sponsor children, or done more for the homeless with the money he spent on that hot tub.” Look, I have thought about all that a lot, and I still felt like I wanted to buy it. Do I feel a bit guilty about it? Yes, but I think it will be a good investment for family time and my muscles, so Back UP OFF ME.)
33. I got my bills/budget/office/house spring cleaned the way I need it.
- My life has changed and I need things organized in a way that works for my kids and I now. “Now” is the key. Soph is out of diapers, out of Pull-ups at night, out of all kinds of baby-stuff like that (has been for a bit now). We are entering a new stage of family. The “three kids stage”, not “two kids and a baby stage”.
4. I am changing pictures around the house.
- I loved the “family life” pictures that Krista had put in the frames in the house. They just felt right, they were placed in the right spots and were really indicative of that time in our life. I had left them all mostly up, but in the last month I started to change them, replacing old ones that don’t contain Soph and just had Jaxon, Grace, Krista and I in them. I thought I needed to do that for Soph. (but it is truly for all of us) Our family pictures should be our family pictures now. Obviously I still have some pictures with Krista and Soph and Jax and Grace up, I am not trying to eliminate our history or diminish her, but the reality is that Soph is part of our family and there were a ton of pictures up without her in them. I need to show the kids the importance of Krista, but also the importance of us now, and how we are still a loving family without her here. It was time.
54. I have had a true change of perspective in how I will make decisions.
- Since Krista passed away, I hadn’t always made decisions by saying, “If Krista was here, what would she do?” but I realized that this thought was in my head more than I wanted to admit. I only realized this when I bought the hot tub without any thought as to what Krista would think. (I’ve thought about it since, but only as a pondering-type thing, not as an aid in making the decision) It made me realize that I had been stressing myself out at times, wanting to make decisions that she would have thought were good. I think every husband likes to hear his wife say, “Good job.” From time to time. I made decisions that would allow me to imagine her probably thinking “Good job, Jared.” The thing is, I am really just making that stuff up now. I realized that I probably wouldn’t know what Krista would have thought about many things that I am now making decisions on now because I have no precedent that can truly transfer from then to now.
I was sharing these thoughts with my friend Rich the other night and he said (and I am paraphrasing), “Everyone has their own timing on when they feel like they are entering the next stage after a loss. You’re not “Jared, the guy who lost his wife” anymore, you’re “Jared.” He meant it as an encouragement, and I think he is right. Krista was and is still important to who my family is. She will always be, but it feels different now, in a good way. It’s like I can let her memory rest as it should be, for who she was, not how I think she would have been. The kids will know her for what she was, and how much she loved them, but they will also be able to move forward so that Jax, Grace, Sophie and I can love each other fully as a family for who we are now. I am excited to see how that love grows in our family. I am truly looking forward to the future, and it’s been a while since I could say that.
Lord I pray that you would guide our family, and when hard times come, that I would remember what you have given me. I thank you for family and friends. Be with those in hard times right now, and give them peace in whatever way you can. Amen.