Christmas Day, 2007
For Christmas, my sister and brother-in-law, Millie and Drew, invited us up to their house.
They live a little north of Charlotte, NC and it took me less than five hours to drive there. Last night I made us all chicken and dumplins the way Grandma taught me how to make them. They turned out very good. I made a mess making them but they were so good. Besides, we have a saying in our family, “He who cooks doesn’t do dishes.”
A Tough Celebration
This was a tough time for me; I’ve been very sad. The toughest part for me was wrapping my gifts. The wrapping paper is stored in the closed in which Trudie would stash the gifts that she bought throughout the year for various people. When I went in the “magic closet” to get the wrapping paper I came across some gifts that she had bought for Gracie. I lost it. It’s hard to even write about it. I got through that and I got through today pretty well.
Then driving home today, I remembered that we are celebrating God’s gift to us. Himself! As a Christian, I believe that on Christmas God became like one of us. God became man so that he could make a way for us to have a intimate relationship with Him. This gift cost Him dearly but He did it so that we could be friends with him FOREVER. I believe that Trudie is now directly enjoying that friendship and I too am enjoying it just in a different way.
So in Christmas, I believe that we celebrate that God has given us a wrapped gift. We can’t tell what the real gift is inside because it is wrapped up as a baby. During His life, Jesus tried to explain what God’s gift was, but few would hear it. It wasn’t until Easter that God’s gift was fully exposed that Jesus was who He said He was – that He was God – and that He had come to give men who would believe on Him the gift of eternal life and right fellowship with Him.
So even though I ‘m dealing with my sadness, I can think about the wonderful relationship I have with my Father. He has given me a gift that I didn’t do anything to earn yet He still has shown me His love by giving me Jesus’ redemptive work.
This is a follow on blog to the Bartkus Battle blog. I lost my dear wife Trudie on November 22nd after a battle against cancer. Jesus won. She is now a new bride of Christ with Him in Glory. This is a blog about my continuing journey in following where He will lead me. It has been and will continue to be an adventure.
Life Without Trudie
I’m doing OK. I had the week of the funeral off and now I’m back to work. It is pretty slow now so it is kind of nice.
I’m doing my best to take care of myself. I’m still keeping the H.A.L.T. (hungry, angry, lonely, or tired) at bay. I’m back to going to the gym at 5 AM three days a week. I’m going to meetings almost every night.
The house is a whole story in itself. Laura L. (Trudie’s nephew’s wife) came over Saturday with her landscaper-grade leaf blower and we got all the leaves off the roofs and gutters. She also made short order of the driveway, deck, and porch. I’m slowly attacking all the clutter. I’ve gotten rid of 90% of the magazines that had accumulated. Millie, Drew, and John took all Trudie’s clothes to Goodwill for me. That helped a lot. But I also realize that a 4 BR 4.5 Bath house is way more than I need. I’ll continue to SIMPLIFY as much as I can.
I’ve got friends who come and let Sari out three nights out of four that I work. That way I can go directly to a meeting from work. I think I’ll eventually put Sari up for rescue. I’m not a “dog person.” I like dogs; I can manage dogs; but I don’t “need” a dog in my life. And taking care of her is a challenge right now. I am taking her to the park two or three times a week and I am enjoying walking the circuit with her. Making her walk at a heel lets the control freak in me out just a little bit.
In January I’m going to be part of a North Point pilot group doing the Grief Share material. They had closed registration for it but are graciously allowing me to join. I’m looking forward to it. I am definitely going through a grieving process. I’ve told myself that it’s OK to feel sad; that’s just to show how much I felt love for her. I’m leaning on Jesus when the sadness is strongest. He is stronger than the sadness.
I get to “work” at church this Sunday and after the last service I’ll be driving to Millie & Drew’s and we all will be there for Christmas. Avery, Lewis, and precious granddaughter Gracie will be there also. It will be a great time together.