I remember shortly after Kevin died I realized there would be people in my life who would come along and never know me as a wife. Never know our family with a father. Never know our family with Kevin as part of it. I realized it, but I am not sure I really thought that would ever be a reality. But now it's come true and it's been my undoing several times in the last 5 or 6 months. We have some amazing college students who lead worship with us on Sundays (one of whom, if I believed in reincarnation, I would swear was Kevin dropped right back into Praise Team. But, since I know that's not how this life works, I'm just doing my best to praise God for that sweet little reminder of my sweet husband each week as that student can't help but play the guitar if it is in his hands, can play any song anyone mentions, and finger picks beautifully. All just like my Kevin. Only once did I absolutely lose it and cry like a baby, but a sweet friend swept right in and prayed truth and peace and joy over me.) Not one of them knew Kevin. Not one of them knows what Praise Team was like with him in it. They don't know the amazing guitar player that he was (though I do enjoy that they use his pedal board every now and then.) That still feels strange to me. Even after a year.
We had another meeting with our South Africa mission team tonight and there is one member that I don't know. She's knew to most of the team so we went around the table and told a little about ourselves so we could get to know each other better. I had a moment of panic as I couldn't decide if I introduce myself as a widow or just tell about my kids and what I do. I'll be honest, I don't want to be defined by the fact that I am a widow, but it's been such a huge "becoming" in my life this last year, yet I still don't know what to do with it. Telling people makes them feel weird. Because I am young (relatively, compared to most widows), then there are the questions of what happened. Not that I am not willing to share, but I can't share without tears, and that only adds to the awkwardness. And 15 years from now do I still introduce myself as a widow? I know, that's a lot to go through my mind in about 2 minutes, but it did. I decided to leave that part out and just tell about my kids, our homeschooling, and doing social media for Bibleman. After a year, I didn't really think I'd still be sensitive about this title of "widow."
I still haven't been able to bring myself to get any family pictures taken. I know they would feel empty. There would be a hole. I would cry the entire time. One day, I hope, I'll be able to do that. I can't even bring myself to have a new church directory picture taken because I just want Kevin in that picture with us. So, even though I don't even know how old our photo in the directory is, I am going to leave it there. Perhaps soon I'll be able to at least bring myself to get pictures of the kids taken. But family of three photos just feels too hard. (There are still times I pull four plates out for dinner instead of three.)
I found out today my 20 year class reunion is this summer. 20 years?!?!?! How is it possible that 20 years have passed since I graduated from high school? I mean, I'm still 25, right? Not sure I can bring myself to go. I am in tears just thinking of it. All the people. All the conversations. All the couples. All the questions. I just don't think I am strong enough to walk in there, alone, and smile and laugh and enjoy the evening. I don't think I can handle questions without tears and making a fool of myself. My life has certainly not turned out at all like I thought it would all those years ago. I am not ashamed, but I still don't think I can face it. Yet, I also realize that none of those in my class knew my Kevin or even knew me as a wife or as part of that couple. So it shouldn't be a big deal. Most of them are friends with me on Facebook and already know our story, so I am fairly certain not one of them would ask rude or mean questions, and may not even ask questions at all, but I still just don't think I could face it.
Sorry that this has pretty much just been rambling. I feel like all I do when I post a blog is repeat all the same things over and over. Hopefully as we get farther along the Lord will give me other things to say. I am learning that grief just doesn't go away. It's a new state of life. It can be managed. It can be lived with. But it won't go away. I hope my sharp memory returns, but it's been so long that I am pretty sure that's just a new state of life, too. The Lord has been gracious to help me see this truth, little by little, and to help me learn to adjust to this new way of life, little by little.
Father, so many things seem to pop up and surprise me, but nothing surprises You. Thank You for that! You are always prepared to comfort, heal, forgive, and help us up when it feels we've been knocked down. Lord, filly my mouth always with Your praise. Give me eyes to see Your hand working and moving in each moment. Oh, Father, let today be the day of salvation for my precious Ethan. Make each one of us more like You each day.