I should probably be sleeping right now, as we have to leave tomorrow morning for Farmer City. I haven’t been there in awhile. When Aaron was living in Champaign, I’d usually stop there on my way even though it was only 100 miles from Pekin to Champaign to drive by my great-grandmother’s house and also to get a drink at the gas station. A couple years ago on our way to Champaign, Aaron and I stopped at the cemetery there.

I have been so happy and thankful to be home with family. I miss Aaron, of course, as we haven’t seen each other (in person) since the end of May. However, he’s being as supportive as he can be from 1500 miles away. I love that man with my whole heart and then some.

Life is such a ride. There’s so much juxtaposition of happy and sad, grief and joy. You can be laughing your ass off in one minute about a memory and then be bawling your eyes out the next. I’m starting to remember more things as my memory’s being jogged by being with others. You never know which memory will trigger what emotion.

These past couple evenings we’ve been sitting on the patio just visiting. Tonight I helped Mom get dinner ready (steaks, stuffed mushrooms and baked potatoes, good ole comfort food!), went and ran 5 miles, showered and then ate EVERYTHING on my plate. It was delicious. After dinner we cleaned up and Tim, Leah and I walked down to get ice cream. For a little while you forget why you’re all together. Then you look up from whatever joke you were just laughing about and see tears streaming down a red face.

It just happens. You let it happen, comfort each other, and keep going, and in a few minutes everyone’s okay again. I’ve been in “Big Sister Mode”. I don’t want anyone to think I’m not grieving, because I am. Monday through Wednesday were just  plain awful while I was still in Texas, alone. By alone, I mean with no family. Now that I’m here, I have a normal appetite and am sleeping like a rock. In most ways I feel better, some sort of whole.

I tell my sisters to take care of themselves and that it’s okay to grieve and that really, you just have to let yourself be sad and not beat yourself up about it. The only way you can get through anything like this with a sense of self afterwards is if you accept your own way of dealing with grief.

I cried with Emily tonight as we remembered that Grandpa loved to eat vanilla ice cream with a spoonful (or two) of peanut butter and sometimes Hershey’s syrup. He was never skimpy in his dishing out of ice cream. I remember eating that on the farm. He stopped eating like that after his heart surgery several years ago. (They still had ice cream in their freezer from time to time, especially when there was a pie somewhere in the house.)

I’m in some sort of denial of what all will be happening tomorrow and Monday. I think we all are in some extent. It’s going to be rough, and a lot of us are going to be in new territory. I pray for strength for all of us, especially so we can be strong for Grammie.

Juxtaposition. Gravestones against a beautiful blue skies and green wavy cornfields. A new life growing and an old life passing away. Memories remembered and memories made.

There is nothing new under the sun. Nothing takes God by surprise; He already knew all of this before the creation of the world. Sometimes things happen for no other reason other than it was just that time.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot, 
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiates 3:1-8

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