Friday, June 13, 2014

Missing and Moving Forward...

There has been so much that has happened in the last few months, I’m not even sure I could summarize it for you if I tried.  But, on the one year anniversary of Seth’s death, I felt it might be healing to write about the man I loved so very much one last time.  I think my blogging days are mostly over, but for those of you who have watched mine and Finley’s journey from afar I thought I would give you a bit of insight into our last year. 

There is this great Anne Lamott quote several people have sent to me that says, "You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp."  And, I have found this quote resonates deeply with me, because I have realized I can miss and honor Seth and still move forward, I can still love him and find love again. 

This year has brought such deep and profound sorrow, I have shed more tears than I ever thought possible, I have felt healing and brokenness in the same instant.  I have come to believe that while God does not cause pain, it is through pain we are able to come to a more honest and true relationship with Him.  This year has also brought me deep joy in ways I have never known, not a first, at first I always felt like I was faking it, but eventually it came, and when it did come, it opened my eyes, allowed me to see that joy can be felt everywhere, and this realization felt life giving. 

There are so many ways in which I miss Seth.  I miss the way he could make Finley belly laugh, I miss the way he could make me belly laugh, and I miss his giggle.  I miss the way he never ceased to look for the good in people and in circumstances, how he always found the good in me.  I miss his sarcasm and wit, I miss his calming presence.  I miss our conversations, I miss the way we loved each other, even in the hard stuff.  I miss watching him grow and love others, I miss processing life with him.  I miss him for his family and friends, for myself and most of all for Finley.  I miss his beer, cheese and wine making escapades. I miss his stilts, his juggling, and his crazy ideas.  I miss the way he could be so laid back with the world and that with me he could let down his guard and tell me when things actually were hard for him.  I miss his compassion for others, his love for God and for serving.  I miss his practical jokes, I miss the way he could shake me out of a bad mood.  I miss planning for life with him, I miss feeling so supported and completely loved by him.  I miss the way he loved those close to him so well, I miss the way he sought to serve those he loved and those he didn’t know.  I miss being a family with him, I miss family hugs and snuggles and movie nights and dance parties.  I miss his love for basketball, his family & friends, meat, big cities, cheesesteaks, rap music, baseball hats & flip flops, video games, scary movies and grape nuts with his ice cream.  Mostly, I miss coming home and finding him and Finley laughing, blowing bubbles and waiting on me to join in the fun. 

So even while the moving forward is happening, the missing continues.  But, the moving forward is good.  I have a new job that I love, Finley is continuing to grow and loves and lives life intensely, we have found good church community, I am back to running almost every day, we have good friends and amazing family, and even in the midst of all the missing, I have found love.  And, it has been hard and complicated at times, but it has also been amazing and such an expression of grace for me and for Finely.  I am thankful to have found someone who is so amazing and who loves us so deeply, and who desires to spend life with me.  I am also so thankful to have found someone who always seeks to understand and honor the missing. 

As this year comes to a close, I remain incredibly grateful for the opportunity I had to share life with Seth, I am thankful to have known and loved him and to have been loved by him.  I am thankful to share a child with him, who continues to be his presence for all of us who loved Seth.  While I would never have predicted any of this when I married Seth at 22, I would still do it all again, because even the pain was worth it.  And, his death has left me incredibly thankful for everything I have in this life; it has also made me very aware that everything we have is temporary.  So, my goal is to seek His Kingdom here on earth through moments of joy, love, community, service and family.  My hope is that Finley will learn how to trust God enough to reach for the things that bring her great joy, without fearing the losing of it all.  My hope is that one day she will come to the same conclusion that I did, that God is faithful, and we are so incredibly and deeply loved by Him. 

Finally, thank you, thank you for joining us on this journey, for reading, for writing, for praying, for loving us so well.  Thank you for continuing to remember Seth so well.  Finley and I are excited about what is next for us, we know Seth would be as well, so we will always seek to treasure the past, while expectantly, humbly and thankfully move toward the many good things that are ahead.  

Thanks for joining us,

Sarah & Finley

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

4 and Fabulous!

 And so it began...

Nov. 6th, 2009

Nov. 6th, 2010
Nov. 6th, 2011
Nov.6th, 2012
The big 4 year old, practicing faces for her teenage years

I remember this day 4 years ago so well.  It is funny how those moments that change your life you remember so vividly.  The last few months I have tried to remember every moment possible of our 9 year marriage.  I get so frustrated because I long to remember the little things and I just can't, I think we take all of those little moments that make up a life for granted.  The longer Seth is gone the harder it is for me to recall little things, they have gotten hazy, and it devastates me that I can't remember it all.  The truth is, even if he were alive, I would not remember every moment, but now that he is gone memories are all I have, well that, and as of today, a 4 year old.

4 years ago yesterday evening. Seth and I went to an appointment with our midwife, where she told me I really needed to pack my bag, and put the car seat in the car.  Seth and I went out and ate a huge Italian dinner after our appointment and joked that I was carb loading for labor, that our midwife seemed so sure could happen any second. I had somehow convinced myself, and Seth, that Finley would be late, that I would have more time to get it all together before she was born.  Finley's due date was Nov. 9th and she was born Nov. 6th, so clearly I had no clue.  I remember everything about that day, I actually went to work, as I had convinced myself, and once again Seth (although he was growing increasingly skeptical ) that it was false labor.  A few hours later I had Seth pick me up at work, labored at home for a bit, and when I finally realized that she was coming one way or the other, we finished packing our bag and drove to the birth center.

Seth was an amazing labor partner.  He was patient and supportive, he encouraged me every step of the way and told me how proud of me he was, he was so thankful for all the work I did to bring our girl into the world.  When she was born we didn't have a name, we both had liked Finley, but after she was born we knew it was who she was meant to be.  Seth actually had found the name Finley.  I remember laying in bed one night and he asked me what I thought about the Irish name Finley, which means fair-haired warrior.  He told me he could see himself as a dad on the playground calling out to a little girl named Finley.  He was so nervous about having a girl, and I think finding a name he loved helped him picture all the amazing possibilities having her would bring.  We both loved the name Grace and our hope is that Finley will live a life full of grace, grace for herself, and for those around her, and that she will have an understanding of the overwhelming grace God has for her. 

So, on her 4th birthday, I continue to be so thankful and in awe of my fair-haired warrior.  I cannot even put into words what having this girl in my life has meant to me in this season.  She has given me the gift of hope, comic relief, distraction, love, gratitude and the living memory of her dad.  I have no doubt he is watching her and celebrating her life today with the rest of us.    

On a note that would make Seth smile and no doubt giggle, my conversation with Finley tonight went something like this:

Finley:  "Mom, my daddy had a tennis"
Me: "Oh yeah?"
Finley:" Yep, all boys have a tennis, mom! Why do boys have a tennis?"
Me: "Well, that's how God made them"
Finley: "Yep and all girls have bodies"
Me: "Yep, they sure do honey, all girls have bodies"  

Finely and I will be working on her anatomy this year...   

Thanks for joining us,

Sarah & Finley

Friday, October 4, 2013


I haven't written recently, because there is so much to say, but writing takes energy, something I have not had these last months.   Life has been busy, being a single mom means I have a lot on my plate and limited time to do it all, which means I have to be pretty intentional about how I spend my time.  This is hard on the days that Seth's death knocks the wind out of me again.  What tends to catch me are the moments I least expect, the moments where all of the sudden I am reminded of his absence.  He has been gone for almost 4 months, which is so hard to believe, some days it is hard to comprehend that it was four months ago that I last spoke with him, hugged him, laughed with him.  I miss being part of a team with him, I miss figuring life out (even the hard stuff ) together, I miss my best friend. 

I especially miss him in weeks like this; weeks where I forgot to pay the electric bill (Seth did this) and my electricity got cut off for the night, weeks like this where we got the hard news that my dad has cancer.  This illness has taken so much from me, has left me broken and does not seem to stop.  My dad's prognosis is good, but he has an aggressive form of Lymphoma, which will require at least 3 months of pretty intense chemo where he will be hospitalized during the treatment and be off of work as well.  He may require more chemo, or a bone marrow transplant, but we are hoping it will be limited to these 3 months. 

Here is the thing about life though IT'S NOT FAIR! I used to say that a lot as a self-centered, adolescent, but somehow I find myself drifting back to those days of self-pity and entitlement.  I say this a lot to God, but these days He often feels as far away as Seth does.  And while I do allow myself  space to vent and be angry, I am determined I will not be bitter, I will not live a life of anger and resentment, I will not have a hard heart.  Rather, I will chose to be thankful because I do not believe being thankful is about what you have, rather it is a condition of the heart.  Meaning I believe true thankfulness comes when your heart finds thanksgiving when the world says you have no reason for it.  I will chose grace and above all I will chose to love.  I don't do these things perfectly and sometimes not even daily, but I ask for them daily so I am hoping if I keep asking God will show up, because at this point in my life and perhaps for the first time I am truly dependent on Him. 

With that, I will leave you with some of my favorites... 

Finley and I at our first Baylor game of the season, can you tell she loved it?  Seriously though, she has told me a hundred times since then that she is a Baylor Bear girl, I think the snow cones at the game sealed her love of football!

Waiting at the hospital for dad's surgery to finish and grateful for this girl who provides so much comic relief!

My dad and some of his girls

Does this really need a caption?
Thank you for joining us,

Sarah & Finley

Friday, August 30, 2013

And it is Awkward...

I have had a lot of awkward moments since Seth's passing, don't worry, if you are reading this it probably wasn't with you.  Many of my moments have involved Finley.  Here is the thing, most people don't know what to do with the hard stuff, they don't know how to respond, they don't know what to say.  I will give some unsolicited advice, if you don't know what to say, just say that!  Most days I don't know what to say either.  So back to Finley...

A few weeks ago Finley, my mom and my sister and I spent the week in NYC.  We had planned this trip months ago as a send off to Joy going to the Philippines.  It was a girl trip and it still was, it just involved my adorable 3 year old.    We saw some great Broadway shows and did some great kid stuff.  Overall it was a great trip and I am thankful to have such an amazing mom and sister.  So like I said the trip was great,  but reminded me how much I miss traveling with Seth.  On the way back from NY Finley had a lovely conversation with a stranger on the plane sitting behind us that went something like this...

Finley:  "we are all going to heaven"
50 some odd year old strange man: "oh yeah"
Finley: "yeah, you are going to heaven and I am going to heaven, my daddy is in heaven"
Strange man: "oh... ummmm.... I'm so sorry"
Finley: "yeah, but he is in heaven and you will go there too"
Strange man: "Yeah, I hear it is a pretty cool place, I think we all get to go there one day"
Finley: "Yeah, I know, wanna see a picture of my daddy?"

At this point the stranger was very agreeable and looked at me with eyes that said what on earth do I say.  The truth is I don't know, so I just let it continue.  Finley then proceeded to show the man a picture of her dad and ask why he didn't have children.  When the man said he had dogs and cats Finley asked if he could come to his house to meet them, which means he again looked at me like if I say yes I look like a pedophile, if I say no I am a jerk.  I let that go too, which means this man hates me at this point in the trip.  He finally says yes, which Finley is super excited about and prior to getting off the plane reminds him that her dad has died, that she is coming to his house and that the pirate (aka pilot) landed the plane.

She has been asking about her dad, sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes when she gets sad, sometimes she does it to avoid doing things like bathing and going to bed.  We are just learning as we go.

There has been A LOT Happening since I started this post about a month ago: Finley got to hang out with her cousin for a day, I went back to work, Emily (one of my best friends from Philly) came to visit with her baby Jude, Finley split her chin open at the splash park and needed 7 stitches,  come to find out she also cracked a tooth that had to come out, I am training my sister Joy to do half of my job, Joy has LOVED training with me, I mean who wouldn't want their big sister telling them how to do their job, my sister threw me an AWESOME birthday, friends from Austin, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Philly and Minnesota  surprised me and came to celebrate with me,  in the last few weeks Finley and I have also had lots of pool time, play time and fun time with family and friends.

Life has so many sweet moments and I work hard every day to enjoy them, I hope you too find lots of good in your days.

Thanks for joining us, 
Sarah & Finley