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Showing posts from June, 2013

Family traditions - Sundays in Paraguay

Today, as Anahi and I drove towards my sister’s house in Bella Vista before noon, I realized again how many people grill stake for lunch. I saw smoke going up in various back yards. Families come together to grill and share. In most Paraguay's settings, life slows down on Sundays. Groceries stores are closed and people look forward to their Sunday get together. Coming together with friends and family on Sunday, is a tradition Julie and I have embraced since arriving in Paraguay.
There are very few restaurants in the area. Eating out usually means a treat or is saved for special occasions. Some forty thousand people live in the area known as Colonias Unidas. There are probably no more than five decent restaurants in the area, and only three are open on weekends. Eating out is not much of an option.
As I drove to Bella Vista, and spent a few hours with my sister’s family, I realized again, the gift of family.  I am blessed for having my immediate family living within minutes from …

Birthday breakfast in bed

Birthday breakfast in bed
When I was growing up, my family often missed birthdays, and what might have been a special occasion became just another day. But when Julie came into the family, she made sure that no one was left without a party.
Depending on which side of the equator we found ourselves, my birthday was celebrated either in the midst of wonderfully sunny summer days or cold and rainy winter days. This year the forecast for my birthday here in Paraguay includes rain and freezing temperatures. But it will also be cold because Julie won’t be here.
Every June 22, I can remember Julie getting up an hour earlier to make something special for me. Often a birthday breakfast would include crunchy pancakes, French toast, scrambled eggs, or fruit salad. Julie would brew special Brazilian coffee, add an extra touch to a favorite recipe, and serve it all to me while I was still in bed. Tomorrow, however, my birthday just won’t be the same. I will wake up, and, unless Anahi is asking for …

Saying Goodbye

Saying Goodbye
It’s been 14 months since the tragedy. Intellectually, I know that Julie and Timothy are not with me anymore, but, emotionally, accepting this to be true has been hard. After reading an article on intentional grieving, I've realized the importance of facing my pain and the places that meant a lot to us. I am advised that one way to do this is to write a goodbye letter and to find a meaningful place to read it out loud. Another approach is to write about events, places, and things that we both enjoyed, and gradually say goodbye in that way. I've learned that facing the pain weakens the grasp it will have in my life in the future.
I have not yet said goodbye to so many daily things that Julie and I shared. When I fill out forms, I still cannot mark the widowed box. I can’t accept the fact that I am a widower. I still have my ring on. I have not taken it off since 2002, when Julie and I said, "I DO." I still talk about "us" when addressing hous…


This morning I woke up and could not get going. I was alone in the house while my sister and Anahi were running some errands, and one of Julie’s favorite songs was playing on the radio.  I began to cry. "God, how long? When will I see the other side?"
As paradoxical as it may sound, I am actually beginning to long for the next grief surge. It has become the new familiar thing. It’s the one connection I have with my past. It’s the time I have to myself to think of two great loves that enriched my life for 15 years. Thinking about the son I had, who made me a dad and brought fatherhood out of me. Pondering how love grows deeper over the years. Thinking about the incredible wife God gave me, who loved me unconditionally and made me a better person. Now all of that is gone, and I am left with just a quiet house and tears.
But I am also aware that life never stops and is constantly moving forward, even if I am moving very slowly right now. People move on. Many of you have been…