Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sable Needs a Farmer

Good Morning, Everyone!  Today is an especially hard day as six kids lost the best father you could imagine.  It is our first Father's Day without Ed.  Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary.  It is hard to believe it would have been 14 years tomorrow that I married my best friend.  So many memories....

Just a note to update you on things around here in the past month and to make a heartfelt request for help.

I think Sable needs a farmer. She has a home and a farm to roam but she is still lonely beyond imagination. It is heartbreaking to step outside and walk towards the Dakota and watch her race to the door and hope for a ride to scout fields. I work about 10 hours a day and by the time I get home I am not able to give her the time and attention that a loyal German Shepherd needs. She is my company and protector but I am not doing right by her, I know.

I am looking for a farmer for her...someone who will take her in the truck and let her follow him/her everywhere. Someone who will rub her belly and scratch her ears and talk to her like Ed did. She is 6 1/2 years old, spayed and has a very handsome pedigree. Her bloodlines are very good. She has absolutely no sign of hip problems and the vet says she is in great health. If someone is interested in taking her, please email me. I will deliver her to wherever your farm is. I only ask that you love her and treat her with kindness.

Part of my request comes from my decision to sell the farmhouse and farmstead. Even with the kids and friends and neighbors helping, I am having a tough time keeping up with this big old place. Besides, it is just too big of a house for one person. I need to be in town near people and in a house that is easier for me to manage.

I know that when I move into town Sable will be miserable. I'm not sure that a fence or an invisible fence will contain her if I move into town. She loves to roam the land and sleep in the laundry room at night. I have the house listed as of last Monday and need to be able to place her when it sells. This is so hard.

Other than Sable, all of it is hard but not impossible. Ed is walking with me every step of the way. I have gone through all of his papers. Files and files and boxes and boxes of everything he wrote or kept for the information that he could include in one of his radio spots or workshops. I gained so much more appreciation for his depth and breadth of knowledge and his love of teaching others. He sure loved farming and sure loved to help farmers solve problems. I have found amazing documents of things he wrote over the years. He sure was prolific!

The scholarship fund is set up to receive applications and I am so pleased about that. Matt and I went through Ed's Oliver toy tractor collection and have selected 14 to be given to the grandchildren this coming Christmas. Each will have a package under the tree from Papaw even if he is not there physically, he will be there in spirit. The rest will be placed into a permanent collection to stay in the family.

I have scheduled an auction for August 8 for the small tools and what little machinery is left here. It won't be a big auction by any means but I can't take it to town with me. One more difficult thing to get through but I am walking by faith and trying to do my best to make Ed proud.

I am still humbled and astounded by how many calls and emails I get just checking in on me to offer encouragement and to see if I need anything. Thank you for your prayers and friendship. 

 Please think it over and if you are in a position to take a great farm dog into your life, let me know. In the meantime, please know that I appreciate all of your support and I think of all of Ed's blog followers daily when I offer prayers for your safety and prosperity. God Bless, LuAnn

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I Made A Decision

It’s been ten weeks since Ed passed, leaving me with a heavy heart, six devastated adult kids, fourteen grands who miss their papaw, a lonely dog, a farm to manage, a consulting business to run, a house that’s too big, our two elderly mothers with health issues, and a job that needs a lot of my time and attention. Where do I begin?

For two weeks, I functioned on autopilot. Doing what needed to be done but not fully aware of my feelings as I did tasks. I went to work every day and tried to dig out from under the pile of work that had accumulated during the three months that I was caregiving Ed. I looked for him in every room and talked incessantly about him and our life together to anyone who would listen . Privately, I mourned the loss of my life as I knew it.

The next two weeks I cried every day as I drove to work. That was my private time to mourn the loss of the familiar morning routine where we read Scripture and planned our evening meal and drank our coffee and hugged goodbye. I went to grief counseling and joined a Grief Share group at church.

The next two weeks I started cleaning out the garage and the barn and packed up Ed’s clothes and mailed them to a family member in need. It gave me comfort knowing they would be used and appreciated, so much more comforting than dropping a black plastic bag into a receptacle at the grocery store parking lot. I reminded myself with each sweater I hugged to my chest that keeping his clothes would not bring him back. I designed his headstone and thought about leaving our farm for a place that was smaller and more manageable and closer to my family. I sent up his scholarship fund. I kept on sorting. I was busy, busy, busy.

After six weeks reality set in and all the “busy-ness” could not fill the empty days and nights. I wandered the house and wallowed in my grief. Boxes of photos and letters and cards brought back so many memories. With each memory, I sank deeper into a feeling of loneliness and sadness. I sat at his desk, I drove his truck, I read his personal papers and hugged his dog, the two of us unsure how to relate to each other without Ed as a buffer.

During this time, I could not envision my future. I could not envision a “purpose” in life or a reason to go on. Why bother to eat and work and sleep and buy groceries? Why? Just to keep on living a life alone and without meaning? What good was living if life held no joy? I missed my joy. I wanted it back and I wanted this sadness to be lifted from my heart.

This pain went on for the next four weeks. It was hell.

Last Sunday, I made a decision. I made a conscious decision that every day, no matter how difficult or lonely, I would live my life with a goal of finding my joy again. I dried my tears and sat down to create a list of things that brought me joy before Ed died. I asked myself why wouldn't those things bring me joy now that I was alone.

While many of the things on my list were things we enjoyed together and shared, some were some things I had always wanted to do but had made excuses to put off trying (Yoga, painting). There were things I loved to do but never had the time or energy to do after work and our couples activities. (Photography, Creative writing). There were other things that I enjoyed but Ed did not particularly care for (boating). I had always put off these activities in favor of doing things we enjoyed together.

In my grief, I convinced myself that we had done EVERYTHING together and that we were inseparable. The truth is we did 95% of everything together and loved every minute of it but we still were two individuals with interests and dreams of our own.

Last Sunday, I decided to take the talents I had been given and the blessings I had received and use them to live life fully, again, with a goal of finding joy. I decided that no one but me could honor Ed’s memory in the exact same way I could and, if I was wallowing around in despair, I was missing opportunities to honor his memory.

I thought hard about the unfairness of wishing him back from the paradise he is experiencing in heaven. If given the choice between heaven and earthly existence, an existence that for him included pain and suffering, could I truly ask him to come back? I could not. Therefore I decided to go on with life.

Life will be what I make of it. The only thing standing between me and a joyful life is the mistaken idea that I can only experience joy with Ed here to share it. The only thing standing between me and joy is myself. My Lord and Savior will provide me with a joy-filled life if I am willing to let Him.

I am sure there will be days and weeks and months of grief that will engulf me but I will not allow it to consume me. I just have to get my joy back or I will simply die every day for however long the Lord gives me and that is not what Ed would want for me.