Pain of Loss

©Katy Curry

There are different kinds of pain; physical like when you stub your toe,  mental such as when you see something horrific and are helpless to do anything about it, psychological such as facing the loss of some one you love.

The pain of knowing you will soon loose a loved one becomes so palpable it literally becomes physical.  The hurt makes your heart explode, then explode again, and again.  Sobs wrack your body as you wail, the pain too deep, too intense to verbalize to another.  You are so alone yet so need company; not to cheer you up, just to be there, to hold you while you sob your pain, your feeling of loss, then maybe to pray with you for comfort.

That kind of pain is hard to share.  How do you tell others?  How do you verbalize what has no words, only feelings, emotions, and pain.  You try to reach out to others, yet somehow the blame falls back on you, the lack of verbalization of something you can’t put into words.  You wind up feeling even more seperated from those you trusted than ever, the pain intensifies as you realize you are even more alone.

The loss of a loved one is deeply personal, deeply emotional and creates a psychological and emotional pain that is beyond words.  The person experiencing  that loss needs understanding, acceptance, and someone who will not try to cheer them up or even necessarily try to give them hope.  I am watching my husband die, slowly.  I cannot begin to verbalize the sense of loss, the deep pain that cuts through the core of my being.  I cannot verbalize it, cannot pick up the phone and just share.  This gut wrenching pain is beyond that.

Should you know of someone who is a caretaker for their husband or wife or child knowing they will not help to heal them, but will eventually loose them, try just to be there, not to cheer-up, just be there.  Don’t wait for a phone call. it will not come.

If you have not been through this, you will not understand, I know I didn’t.  So I urge you, don’t wait for the call, be the one to call, be the one to hold her through the sobs, the pain.  This is not for the faint of heart, but know, as you allow her to pour out her grief, yours yours will be the arms of Jesus and through you, He will pour His perfect comfort into her heart and soul.   Will you allow Him to use you to bring comfort to someone going through loss?

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Moving All That Stuff!

 

Moving

By:  Katy Curry©

Moving.  Taking a person or persons and placing them in a new location.  It should be easy, right.  If I want to give my daughter-in-law a dress, I put it in the car, drive for two miles, and give her the dress.  Done!  It is moved!

It should be almost that easy!  When Abraham was alive, the people lived a nomadic life; they were always packed, just take down the tents, pack up the cooking stuff, put the kids in a cart and off they went to their next location!  Even then it was complicated, those huge tents!  The herds alone were huge and not always cooperative.

It is no better today.  Frank and I are moving, downsizing to a retirement home.  We are finishing one part of our lives and embarking on a new chapter.  We can bring little or nothing of what we have accumulated over thirty-seven years with us as that chapter in our lives finishes, the things, the stuff with it are necessarily leaving as well.  That should make it easy, right?  Welllllll, not exactly.  The china tea set from my great grandmother, she protected it all the way from Ireland!  The flatware that is sterling silver, the desk that belonged to my grandmother, the books I have accumulated that are a necessary part of my life, not novels, mind you, but study guides, reference books.  Then there are the art supplies, enough pictures to decorate two houses much less a two bedroom apartment!

As I look around me I have a mess, so much has already been thrown out, now the decisions about what stays and what goes.  What will the kids take?  Then my brother contacts me; he wants a few things too!

Jesus told us to store up our treasure in heaven, not here on earth.  He had an excellent point; not only can you not take it with you, but it sure is a pain to move around from point A to point B!

This “stuff” concept has been driven even closer to home for me during this particular move.  Frank is in the hospital.  He was diagnosed with sepsis.  I did not know if he was going to live or die.  The sepsis is gone, but there are other indications of an even more serious problem.  As I have watched my wonderful husband fight the sepsis, beat off a high fever being packed in ice, fade in and out of deliriousness, all this stuff has become totally unimportant.  Instead of worrying about where it will fit and looking forward to seeing it unpacked, it has become an encumbrance.   This stuff is right now not a blessing; it is a pain.

My point is, I need, we all need, to get over this having stuff!  We acquire it, accumulate it, pay a moving company a lot of money to pack it and take it to our new location and for what?  So we can say “Look what I have?”  We humans are so foolish!  We so quickly lose sight of what is truly important in life, sometimes even when the reality of it all is staring us in the face.

Our Savior, Jesus Christ must come first both individually and as a couple, He must be first in our lives.  Our second most important thing is our spouse or family, then our job, our church; our commitment to others, the stuff will come at one point or another.  The important thing to remember is that it is just stuff and worth a lot less than we would think, nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Jesus had the clothes on His back.  He was a homeless itinerant preacher.  His “stuff” was in heaven and what He shared with us was and is far more precious than the biggest diamond in the finest ring.  Each of us needs to develop a new perspective on “stuff.”

So, even if you have “stuff” that you truly need around you for your work or hobbies, stuff that brings you joy in your home, make sure it is there not for vanity but to give honor and glory to God.  It is a lesson I am working hard to learn.

So, on that note, would anyone like a pink and white tea set that is over one hundred years old?

To My Husband

I Love You Now, Even More

Katty Curry©

Kathy and Frank Cruise writing

As I sit in our living room and watch you sleep,

I think back all those years, now thirty and seven and remember.

I remember when you were so tall and straight and proud.

I remember friends calling you  Li’l Abner, a with your six-foot frame.

I loved you then with all my heart, I love you now, even more.

 

I remember finishing the crossword puzzle with you,

Remembering those cues, looking at each other with questioning eyes;

“Is that a word?”

Then celebrate with another cup of coffee as we conquered yet another puzzle.

I loved you then with all my heart, I love you now, even more.

 

The baby would cry, and we would both jump up, one to heat the milk,

The other change his clothes, so proud of our newborn son.

The look of wonder and pride in your eyes as you watched your newborn son.

I loved you then, I love you now, even more.

 

I remember the tender way you held me, your powerful arms so strong and firm.

I remember your eyes, how they would sparkle and dance;

How your laughter, so smooth and carefree would ring through the house.

I loved you then with all my heart, I love you now, even more.

 

I see you now, aged and bent.

I watch you struggle with your cane

to navigate a room.

I see you struggle just to eat and fear what is yet to come.

I loved you then with all my heart.

I love you now, even more.

To me, you are still that tall, strong man

Who filled a door, and held me gently in his strong arms.

To me, your eyes still sparkle with chips of blue.

You are precious and what you were, to me you are.

I loved you then with all my heart, I love you now, and will forevermore.

DINNER WITH PAPA FRANK

Frank with avacado

This is an excerpt from my husband’s memoirs.  He grew up in SW Florida before and during WW2 and remembers what it was like with no electricity, outhouses, iceboxes, and the freedom of growing up a little like Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn.  He lived with his grandmother and grandfather, Will and Lulu Curry until his father came home from the war.    When his father remarried, he went with his father and stepmother to live in Minnesota for a bit where he was not accepted.  The family then moved back to Florida where his step mother gave birth to three daughters.  Frank left his father’s home when he was 17 to join the Air Force.  His days of living with his grandparents were happy times as were his times in the Air Force.  His experiences so poignant and sometimes unique I wanted them preserved.  We are working together on this, he does the remembering and I apply a biblical lesson.   If this is ever published, it will be intended for families to enjoy the stories and engage in family discussions as to how the Bible has a real use and relevancy today.  

I hope you enjoy this story about Jackson learning to appreciate what Momma puts on the table for dinner through what Grandma Lulu did when Poppa was growing up in the early to mid 1940’s.

It was Tuesday night, Mama was fixing dinner and Jackson looked over hoping for mac n cheese and hot dogs.

“What’s for dinner, Momma?” he asked.

“Leftovers, sweetheart” Momma responded.  “We need to finish up this chicken.  There is plenty here for one more meal.”

“Is Mac ‘n Cheese with it?”  Jackson was still hopeful.

“No, baby, we ran out last week and it’s not time to go food shopping again.  We will finish off this rice. Some gravy with carrots and green beans will be just right.  Don’t worry; it will be a good dinner.  Then when we go back to the store on Thursday we can buy more Mac n Cheese.”

“AWWWWW! Jackson complained.  We had that ‘hicken      yesterday and I don’t want the carrots and green beans and   rice, ugh, I hate rice.  I want something else!”    Jackson whined,   his voice growing louder and louder.  “I don’t want it!  I don’t   want it!  I won’t eat!”

Momma was frustrated with Jackson’s complaints.  “Now young man you know better!  You know we have to be careful and we can’t afford to let perfectly good food go to waste.  Now you hush or do you need a ‘Pow-pow?”

Jackson’s wails simply increased and Momma looked with askance to Papa Frank who was watching a football game.  He sighed, shook his head and called out, “Jackson!  Come here, boy!”

Jackson haltingly walked over to Papa Frank, his alligator tears running down his face and with little hiccups complained, “I don’ want hicken, I want mac n’ cheese and hot dogs.”  His little lip pushed out in a pout.  Patrick had been sitting at the computer desk doing his homework and muttered under his breath.

“What was that, boy?” Papa Frank asked.

“Nuth’in Papa” responded Patrick.  “Why can’t Jackson stop his whining and let me finish this homework so I don’t get in trouble again?  Why does he have to complain so much?  Aunt Teresa is mak’in dinner and we either eat it or we don’t.”

Papa smiled.  “Reminds me of when I was his age living with my Grandma Lulu…”

Sensing a story coming on, Jackson hushed his whines and Patrick put his pencil down.  Just then, Jasmine rushed in from ballet class, having been dropped off by Miss MaryAnn, Momma’s friend.

“I twirled!  I did a real pirouette and didn’t fall down!” Jasmine crowed.  She did one to show everyone her  new skills.

“Who cares” countered Jackson.  “It’s just a dumb girl  thing.  It’s not important, not like my soccer practice.”

“What do you know; you’re just a stupid boy!”   Snorted Jasmine, her eyes flashed and her long dark hair whipped around  with instant anger.

“Enough!” shouted Momma. “Everyone is quiet this instant or it’s to your rooms!”

“What’d I do?” complained Jasmine, anger still sparking from her eyes.

“Jackson is complaining about dinner and I can’t finish this stupid homework.”   Patrick was really getting mad.  “I don’t know why I have to be here anyway and listen to you two brats.  I’m old enough to be home by myself while my Dad is at work.”

“You know perfectly well why you are here, Patrick.  You won’t do your homework.  I’ll not go through this with you again.  And you will not be calling any names in this house, you know better!” Aunt Teresa corrected Patrick with fire in her eyes.

“Yes ma’am.  I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to call them brats.  Hey, Jaz, you want to show me that spin thing again?”  Patrick apologized. “Besides, you are a better cook than my Dad; I get tired of those subs.”

Aunt Teresa laughed and rumbled Patrick’s blonde hair.  I know and we love having you here, Patrick.  You are a great help and I love you a lot.”

Papa Frank had been waiting patiently and with a lull in the arguing, he called all three children over to him.  “I thought I would tell you about Grandma Lulu, that is if you can stop fighting and sit quietly.

Jackson quickly sat down on the floor; he loved Papa Frank’s stories.  Patrick quieted down and sat back down.  The story would give him a break from the math homework he didn’t want to do.  Jasmine’s anger evaporated and she ran to sit down to hear Papa Frank.

“Well, Papa Frank said, settling into his chair and turning the TV off, I’ve talked about my grandmother before, do you remember?”

“She was in that book,” said Patrick, was she the first girl to live on some lake?”

“No, Patrick that was your Great-Great Aunt.  Grandma Lulu was my father’s mother.  She was part Indian and took care of me when I was as old as Jackson and Jasmine.  She was in that book; you are right about that, though.”

“Grandma and Grandpa were not rich people.  Grandpa was a fisherman and didn’t make much money.  We didn’t have much except what we caught or grew.  We lived on collards, grouper, homemade cottage cheese, and sometimes ham if grandpa butchered a hog.

“Grandma would get up early every morning and cook a big breakfast.  We had bacon or sausage, biscuits ‘n jam, hotcakes, oatmeal, fresh milk, cottage cheese she would clabber in her kitchen…”

“What’s clabber,” asked Jackson.

“That’s a good question, Jackson.  Grandma would let milk sour and then put it up in cheesecloth and let it drain.  Now when milk clabbers, the whey is the liquid and the clabber is the chunks that are left.  That is what cottage cheese is.”

Jackson made a face.  “Wheewww”

“Well back to the breakfast.  Grandma would put everything out on the table and you could eat what you wanted as much or as little.  When we came in for lunch, there was breakfast still on the table.  She added some stuff to it … some fried mullet maybe, more bread or biscuits.  We ate what we wanted and headed back out to do our chores.

“Did she make mac ‘n cheese for dinner?” piped up Jackson, ever hopeful of getting his favorite meal.

“No, Papa Frank chuckled, “Not quite.  Grandma would make beans and rice, tomato gravy and rice, if we had one a pork roast, or fried grouper and cornbread.  We had a lot of leftovers, you have to remember, and whatever was left over from breakfast was still on the table for dinner.  We didn’t have electricity; we had a real ice box with a big block of ice so we couldn’t store much food.  What was fixed had to be eaten.  There wasn’t enough to throw things out.”

Did you have mac ‘n cheese? A determined Jackson asked.

“I didn’t know what mac ‘n cheese was until I joined the Navy,” chuckled Papa Frank.

“We didn’t have hamburgers, fried chicken was a real treat and what was on the table we ate ‘cause there was nothing else.”

“Reminds me of how the Israelites acted in the desert, Jackson.”

“Why, Papa, did they have mac n cheese?”

“No, they were in the desert and they didn’t have a whole lot to eat or drink and had to depend that God would take care of them.  God had taken them into the desert so they would learn to depend on him and to get rid of the bad habits they had learned while they were slaves in Egypt…

“Those Israelites didn’t much like being in the desert, eating the same food, and started to complain.  They thought it might be better if they went back to Egypt and were slaves again.  They had forgotten their God and all He had done for them.  They got very mad at Moses and spoke against God.  They complained and complained to Moses and Moses went to talk to God.

“I bet God didn’t like that very much,” commented Jasmine.

“You’re right, princess, God became very angry with them.  He had saved them from slavery in Egypt, given them the Ten Commandments and they made a golden calf to worship, totally forgetting about God’s mercy, and then they wouldn’t go into the Promised Land because they didn’t trust God.  They didn’t trust God.”

“They were pretty ungrateful, huh, Papa,” injected Patrick.

“They were like all of us, boy.  We all forget sometimes.  We forget where our blessings come from and start to complain that we want more of this or less of that.  God had to teach them a lesson.”

“So what did he do?” asked Jackson.

“Oh, I know!”  Jasmine triumphantly answered.  “They got pow-pows!”

“Oh brother!” sighed Patrick.

“Well they did get punished, princess, but a lot worse than that!  There they were, rescued from slavery, but in spite of their teachings and customs and all that they had seen, they had no trust, no faith, and all they did was complain.  God sent snakes to punish the Israelites. “

“Oh,” said Jackson, “I wouldn’t like that much. “

“And the Israelites didn’t either.  Moses prayed to God and he asked if God would forgive the Israelites for their complaining and selfishness and their lack of faith.

“Did he — Did he make those nasty snakes go away?” shivered Jasmine.

“In a way,” said Papa Frank.  “He told Moses to fashion a pole with a snake wound around it.  If the people looked up at the pole and remembered God the snakes would not bite them.   He was reminding them to keep their eyes and   minds on Him, and to stop all their complaining.”

“Did it work?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact, that is the sign doctors use today to symbolize their profession.”

“So, stop complaining about your leftovers and remember to be grateful for the gifts God has given you.  For if you forget Him and take what you have for granted you may lose what you have.”

“Dinner is ready!” Momma called, Dad had come home while Papa was telling the story and Jackson ran to him.

“How’s my boy?” Dad grinned as hoisted Jackson into his arms.

“We learned about Grandma Lulu and leftovers!” Jackson crowed.

“I can do a pirouette!”  Jasmine bragged and promptly tried to do one in the carpet, tripping in her efforts.  “Well, I DID do one.”

“I’m sure you did princess, and you can show us again after dinner.  By the way, what’s for dinner?”

“Chicken!  Leftover chicken!  And we are gonna like it and have mac n cheese on Thursday and God will be happy!” Jackson exclaimed.

Momma laughed and Dad cracked a big grin.

“Come on, Patrick; let’s enjoy this left over chicken.  How are you coming with that math?

“I don’t get it, can you help me after dinner, Uncle Matt”

“I think we can do that, Patrick.”  Uncle Matt looked over to his wife, “Chia, the table looks great, plenty to go around.  It’s been a day and I’m glad to be home.”  With that he swung her around and gave her a kiss.

“Wait until you see what I got for dessert!”  Momma said, Eyes sparkling with pleasure.

“What!  What!  What!”  Jackson could hardly contain himself.

“Well, I had some cake mix and chocolate chips, and I knew you would like a treat, so I make some chocolate chip cupcakes!”

“Wow! “  Jackson was jumping up and down.  Can you be like Grandma Lulu and put them on the table now?

“What’s this all about?”  Dad asked

“Oh, Papa has been telling another one of his stories, Momma said.  He gave me the time to make these cupcakes!”

Thanks, Dad.  I’m glad you’re here tonight.” Matt said.

“Glad to help said Papa Frank.  Now I’m hungry, let’s eat!”

“They all sat down to the table.  “I want to say grace!”  Piped Jackson who discovered he was very happy indeed to have chicken and rice and carrots and green beans.

“Alright, son, go ahead.”

Jackson folded his hands and bowed his head.  “Jesus thank you for taking care of the Is – Is – Israelites and teaching them not to complain.  Thank you for not getting mad at me and not sending snakes and thank you for Papa Frank’s Story and Momma’s cupcakes and for mac n cheese!  Amen!”

“What kind of prayer was that?” snorted Jasmine.

“It was a fine prayer and I am sure it made God very happy.” said Papa Frank.  So let’s eat this excellent meal and enjoy your mother’s surprise dessert.”

“Uncle Matt is it true, what Papa told us about the snakes and the Israelites? “  Patrick asked.

“Yes, Patrick, yes it is.  In the book of Numbers it tells us ….. and with that, everyone enjoyed dinner and dessert and Jackson did not complain about leftovers, at least out loud, ever again!

 

Bible Passage

Numbers 21:4-9

New International Version (NIV)

The Bronze Snake

They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, [a] to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.