How We Are Today

Maggy, John Robert, Garrett Irby a few years ago

Yesterday was a pretty good day as we focused on making a trip to New Orleans to visit my parents. We enjoyed the fact that Nicole and Blake went with us. Mom and dad are in great spirits given all the struggles of the day. Today we will focus on getting ready for our trip to the mountains of East Tennessee. I suggested to Maggy that if we got ready this afternoon we could go ahead and take off. I could make such a suggestion lightly because there’s no way we’ll be ready this afternoon. At least that is our experience. Looking ahead at the weather, it is supposed to hit 97 degrees for a few days in Pigeon Forge next week. Maybe we should have chosen someplace farther North!

In this journey of grief, so often I feels like it is someone else going through this, not me.

Disbelief. There is still a small corner in my mind somewhere that believes I’m going to wake up soon and this will just have been a nightmare. I know better… but when I have an especially vivid memory I cannot believe that John’s earthly trek is over.

Indecision. I am confused about simple decisions. For example, I’ve been tossed back and forth about which vehicle to take on our trip… the comfortable, but gas-eating van with new tires and excessive mileage …. or the economic small car with much less mileage whose a/c cuts off at unexpected times? Every decision presents two or three options that have me frozen.

Fear. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. After September 11, the whole country was awaiting the next terrorist attack around the corner. After May 21st, I have been waiting for the next bomb … the next horrible thing to happen … superstitiously, perhaps, thinking that this would trigger some series of events in which our Enemy would pummel me into the dirt. Like Job, who prayed for his children daily, I keep waiting for the next messenger to arrive with bad news.

Management. I am trying to manage my grief, but it’s managing me. I keep making plans, laying out time lines, forcing decisions. I keep thinking of things I need to buy, as if having something new will ease the pain. (Thankfully, my indecision prevents major purchases!) I want to plan ahead for our new home purchase. Scheduling seems important right now. All of this is the attempt to focus anywhere except that wound that will not heal.

So that’s how we are, thanks for asking. The expressions of prayer that are left in the comments and given personally are welcomed and appropriate. We know there are no words. We do not have any words either. Your love for us is something upon which we are leaning heavily.

In the picture above is Garrett Irby. Garrett is a longtime friend who I met as a little boy at Gulf Coast Bible Camp many years ago. Once upon a time Garrett was our summer youth intern at Central. John Robert loved Garrett and enjoyed the chance to talk to him…as do I. After Katrina, Garrett’s dad was a source of strength particularly to Maggy as he worked patiently in our home while we were emotionally falling apart. I believe this picture was from a few years ago on a trip home from Tennessee. Though he has lived in Birmingham for the past several years, Garrett grew up in Mobile and happened to be home when we were driving through. We met at Cracker Barrel and took this picture. Garrett still looks like he’s 17 years old.

Thanks for reading. For the past few weeks there have been well over 1,000 hits a day on this blog, though it is starting to come down. I am continually amazed at how many people are interested … how many people are touched. Hug your children close, my friends … call them daily if they live far away … and never let an opportunity to express love escape you.

John

UPDATE: Garrett is vacationing in Florida. He read today’s post and sent me this picture via his blackberry. Notice what t-shirt he’s wearing. Maybe I need to give Garrett some t-shirts for Christmas or something. And…see…he does still look like a teenager! To read Garrett’s blog, click HERE.

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