Today is February 6.
It's just a normal day for most folks.
Aaron Burr, Babe Ruth, and Ronald Reagan were born on this day in 1756, 1895, and 1911 respectively.
On this date in...
1862, General Ulysses S. Grant captured Fort Henry in Tennessee
1899, the Spanish-American war ended
1911, a great fire destroyed downtown Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul, Turkey)
1935, the board game Monopoly went on sale for the very first time
1948, the first radio-controlled airplane was flown
1951, Paul Harvey was arrested for trying to sneak into Argonne National Laboratory
1952, Queen Elizabeth II succeeds King George VI to the British throne
1968, former President Dwight D. Eisenhower shot a hole-in-one
1971, a golf ball is hit for the first time on the moon (Alan Shephard)
1974, the U.S. House of Rep. begins determining grounds for President Nixon's impeachment
1974, Shawna Joyce Englund was born to Don and Joyce Englund in Centerville, Iowa.
See? No big deal. Really. The day is just another day in most folks' lives...not just this year, but pretty much any year.
But for me, it's a big one. And I don't mean because I'm turning 40. I don't really mind that. Not anymore. In another lifetime, the big 4-0 might have brought with it a twinge of "Seriously?? I can't be this old! Where has time gone? Do I LOOK that old???"
But in this lifetime, I don't really care. 40 isn't that different from 39.
It's just that I don't want to face the day alone*...
You see, I wasn't supposed to be a widow at 39. I was supposed to be celebrating this big birthday with Michael by my side, teasing about how I'll soon need bifocals...because that's what people told him just before his 40th.
But instead, nine days into his 40th year, his right femur decided it had had enough strain from the tumor it had secreted away...and it broke...bolting us across the game board of Life, putting an emphatic end to all the hopes and dreams we shared for our future together.
Kinda puts a new spin on the term "mid-life crisis," doesn't it?
And Michael never did need bifocals.
Could it be that I'm nervous about what my 40th year holds since Michael's was so traumatic? Maybe.
This day represents so much to me. Yes, I'm now 40 years old. That means I have now spent half of my life with Michael and half without. Being with him is all I really know. I don't know how to do life without his steady wisdom and precious encouragement. I have depended on his emotional support for so long now, I find I have trouble finding any alternatives. Sharing important things with another seems so...well, awkward...
This day is also the beginning of many special days we will face as a family without Michael.
Valentine's Day. More birthdays. Family events. Our 20th anniversary...
Julie was sobbing last night as I tucked her in bed. She said she had to have her "Daddy blanket" with her - she was missing him so very, very much. So we wrapped it all around her little arms and snuggled it up close to her face. I told her to think of it as a hug from her daddy...
I often wrap myself up in my blanket. It sports three of my very favorite pictures of Michael and me together. It helps. Temporarily, at least.
Other times, I hug his pillow.
Or smell his cologne. That cologne sits proudly on Karson's bedroom shelf now. He claimed it for his own just a few days after his daddy went where the scents are beautiful beyond anything our feeble minds are able to imagine!
Sometimes I wonder whom I will be now that Michael is gone.
I know I am a daughter of the Most High God - my loving Heavenly Father and a Protector of the widows and orphans.
I know I am a mother - of four of the world's most amazing human beings! And they need me. They need me to Still. Be. Mom.
I know I am a daughter, granddaughter, sister, in-law, cousin, niece, and aunt. And oh, how I appreciate the blessings I have been given in that these relationships have not been torn apart by bitterness or anger, but are supportive and comforting and dependable!!
I know I am a friend. Well, I have many wonderful friends. I don't feel as though I've been much of a friend to many of them for a while now. Maybe someday soon that can change.
I know I am a widow. For now, that status seems forefront. But I know it won't always be that way. And I know that at some point, I can and will - by God's precious grace - get to a place where it will no longer define me.
I know I am blessed.
I was blessed beyond measure by the privilege of being the wife of Michael J. Wright!
I have been blessed to have been given these four precious children!
I have been blessed to have seen God's gentle hand at work in our lives, in my life, in undeniable ways!
I know I am a recipient of God's amazing grace and precious provision...daily.
I don't know what else the Lord may have in mind for me.
I pray that someday I can share with at least one person some of the lessons I've learned or encourage at least one soul who is faced with tragedy...
But for today, I will do my best to focus on the blessings I have been given instead of whining like a spoiled brat about what I do NOT have.
Frankly, though, that is much easier said than done.
* By "alone," I'm referring to the sense of loneliness that comes with facing things without my precious husband. I will have my family around me, so I won't literally be alone.
(Please understand. I am not complaining. If you feel I am, please just skip any further postings on this blog. Writing in this form happens to be one of my favorite ways of processing and facing the things I'm feeling. It is by no means meant to be whiny, nor am I trying to beg for sympathy. But as Michael was open about his trials and struggles as well as his victories and blessings, so I may be at times about my own.)