Is That Snow?

Surprise!

Late yesterday afternoon it started snowing. They hadn’t predicted snow – I remember a mention of flurries – but maybe they did and I missed it. Well, there at 5:30 PM it started coming down. Big flakes of wet, slushy white stuff. I skipped the meeting that I had planned to attend and went straight home.

Beauty

It made everything look white and pristine the way newly-fallen snow makes it look. The landscape looked like a winter wonderland.

And then the sadness hit. I wasn’t expecting snow to cause a wave of sadness but there it was. It was white and pretty and beautiful – and I couldn’t share it with Trudie. I was alone and felt very alone. The beauty of it all made me miss a beauty that used to be a big part of my life but is no longer.

So I made a batch of comfort food – spaghetti. It briefly dulled the pain but it’s still there. Oh well.

Sleep

I can’t seem to stay asleep for more than six hours lately. I go to bed early some nights and then wake and can’t go back to sleep. And then I’m nodding off in meetings. Hopefully I don’t snore. 🙂 I guess it’s time to start taking my St. John’s Wort again.

The New Normal

The First “Normal” Week

The beginning of this week was tough. On both Monday and Tuesday I had many times of sadness. I wasn’t sure why until I realized why.

Trudie died Thanksgiving night. Then there was a couple of weeks of funeral, etc, hub-bub. [No, that’s not a techie term; I just made it up:-)] Then there was a couple of weeks of Christmas hub-bub. Then there was New Years hub-bub.

This has been the first week in which there was no hub-bub. It was a back-to-normal week.

Except, it’s not normal; there’s no Trudie in my life. That is why I’ve been sad.

The New Normal

So, while I’m mourning Trudie not being here, I’m starting to build my new-normal life.

I’m getting back involved in a number of volunteer efforts. I’m talking to people about renewing their web sites using the new content management technology. I’m excited about this technology and am just learning how it works.


I’m learning a new production team position at the church I attend. I’m learning how run the critical video switcher. It is a great opportunity and I am grateful that they are providing it as a new way to serve on Sunday morning.

I’ll still be able to serve as a roaming camera operator: [see photo to the right]. I’ve served at this position for four years and love it.

I’m also investigating going on a mission trip this Summer. I’ve been on three other trips but it has been a while. I also want to go with some video projects in minds. I want to come back with some footage that will get others excited about serving on a short-term trip.

I also decided to change the photo on the blog site. This is a recent shot of my mug. While I’m not excited about how it looks, it is what it is.

So I’m settling into a new life. I still have times of sadness and I experience them and move on.

A New Year

Happy 2008!

Well it’s a new year – whoopee.

I had a harder New Year’s Day than Christmas. I realized that I emotionally didn’t want to leave 2007. In 2007 I had Trudie. Now, in 2008, I don’t. It’s another reason to be sad.

I’m dealing a lot with sadness these days.

Small Group

Tonight, we are having our “goodbye” small group meeting. I’m leaving the group. I don’t feel right in a group with a bunch of married couples. I’m very uncomfortable now around married couples. Trudie and I were the leaders of this small group. And, in it’s own way, the group is grieving the loss of Trudie. But, I think it is time for me to leave. I’m sure that they will go on; Trudie and Patrick didn’t keep the group together. But for now, it’s time for me to move on.

I am starting going to a new small group environment with the new grief group at church. And I’ll probably join a single mens’ small group sometime soon. I’ve been part of small groups for the last 20+ years. I know I need men in my life to whom I can let down my mask.

A Female “Fast”

It has been suggested by more than one adviser to me to not get involved with any women for at least a year. While I can see the wisdom of this intellectually, it will be very hard for me emotionally.

When I was single before Trudie, I had many women friends. I enjoyed having platonic relationships with women friends. I gave them all up though when I committed to Trudie. She, rightfully so, wanted my complete emotional commitment. It also forced me to make better friends with the guys in my life.

So now, while my desire is to make new girl-friends, I am deciding to forgo any relationships for at least a year. This, I believe, will help me in a number of areas. 1) it will cause me to “reboot” my thinking on women. 2) it will help me develop a even closer relationship with my Lord, and 3) it will help me develop a closer relationship with myself.

So, while this female fast will be difficult, I think I will be a better person to have a relationship with at the end.

Jesus is the Reason for the Season

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.

God’s Gift

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.

But What About the Dog?


The question of Sari

I said in my previous post that my five year old female Kuvasz, Sari, is my biggest challenge. She is very Kuvasz, very I-want-to-be-Alpha, and she can be very difficult. And she is very endearing. She looks at me with a joyous smile in those big brown eyes and I can’t help but smile back. I didn’t know that dogs could “smile” until Trudie introduced me to living with dogs.

I work a compressed work week. That means that I am lucky enough to have an employer that lets me work four 10 hour days. I am at work 7 AM to 6 PM Monday through Thursday. Add on an hour commute each way and add on an hour of gym time most days. That means I’m leaving the house at 5 AM most mornings. If I come straight home, I’m back by about 7 PM. That’s a long time for a dog to “hold it.”

Most nights, I want to attend a meeting that doesn’t get out until 9 PM. Then I get home about 9:45 and need to go straight to bed. I have different friends who have said that they can let her out in the late afternoon for which I am extremely appreciative. But I have no “quality” time with Sari for those four days.

The other three days, I’m able to be with her. I see her all day long, we usually go for a walk in the park; life is grand for us both.

Also, I started thinking about NOT having Sari around and I surprised myself by getting sad. And I know that I don’t need any more sadness in my life.

The Suggestion

While I’m adjusting to Life-Without-Trudie, it has been suggested that I not make any major changes in my life. The suggested time frame for this major-change-moratorium is twelve months. I will need much help from God to keep that suggestion. I’ve been relying on Jesus to this point, I guess that it will just be more of relying on Him again.

The Saying

The way of life I’ve adopted, has a saying: “If you’re not sure about what to do, then do nothing.”

So, I guess for now, I’ll let things continue as they are.

How Am I Doing?

Prelude

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.