Monday, January 18, 2010


Good morning Monday Mourners!

This week I took my father-in-law, Clarence to the doctor. That's not all that interesting (usually), but this time it was quite different. It was an eye doctor about 30 minutes from home and Clarence, who's 85 and not seeing so well (thus the eye doctor)asked me to drive him. We'd been to this doctor many times and it always took about an hour. Okay, "always" is obviously too strong a word since this time it took us 5 hours. Yes! I said five. F-I-V-E.
What was amazing to me (besides the number 5) was my reaction to this. Instead of being anxious about the lost hours of productivity and the fact that I had missed at least one appointment and several deadlines; instead of becoming impatient and irritated at the pace; instead of complaining or worrying, I simply sat beside Clarence and enjoyed his company. My husband was an only child which, after his death three years ago, makes me Clarence's only child. So at the conclusion of the lengthy doctor's visit I dropped Clarence back safe and sound at his home and spent the rest of the afternoon wondering about my response. It seemed so atypical for me. I am not known for my patience. And yet I was amazingly calm and truly unconcerned about the unexpected delay and lost hours just sitting with Clarence.
It made me wonder why. The best I can figure it out death and grief have a way of changing us. At least it's changed me. I just don't seem able to get all that exercised about those things that used to irritate the stuffing out of me. Death and loss have a way of putting things into perspective. I often hear myself responding to the difficulty of the day with "hey, nobodies dying!". Death has changed me. I suppose that's not a bad thing. My new calmer, resigned attitude certainly helped Clarence and me get through a long day. Instead of becoming sour over the "lemons" we were handed, we chose to make "lemonade". It was actually sweet.
Some of the sweetness might have been the company. When David became sick he asked me to take care of his dad and spending the day with Clarence made me feel like I was still David's wife. I was doing "wifely" stuff that day and it felt good. Lemonade. This week I thanked God for lemonade and for the joy (yes, joy is the right word) of sitting in a doctor's office with Clarence. It was good for me and for Clarence. I know David would have been pleased and that too is worth thanking God for. Lemonade. It's all quite bitter-sweet.
That's a good description for this thing we call grief. All of life; every holiday and special event; even the daily routines become sweet and bitter at the same time. Bitter. Sweet. Lemonade.
This week I celebrated the sweet of being given an opportunity to do the "wifely" thing rather than complain about the bitter of 5 wasted hours. I chose to savor the sweet and overlook the bitter. It is a choice. This past week, I chose sweet and I've been thanking God for that. How are you doing with your "bitter"? Can you see the "sweet"? I know, sometimes it's harder to find the sweet but it's there. Ask God to help you see it. Maybe Clarence isn't the only one having trouble seeing. I pray you sip on lemonade this week every chance you get. I pray that for me too!

See you next Monday,



  1. Thanks for the thoughts. I'm trying not to let the bitter get me down. It's hard sometimes. Thanks.

  2. Speaking of snow, when I wrote the January notes to "my shut-ins" I told them that when were were children it was lots of fun to play in the snow, but now that we are 'old folks' we tolerate it but we don't enjoy it. However, it IS pretty if on is looking through the window at it, while being cozy and warm inside.

    And we are glad that Jesus came to wash our sins away and make them as white at snow. (Isaiah 1:18)