Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New Blog

I am now posting at, where I blog about the memories and hope, while grieving and persevering through the journey of life, that involves the painful loss of a dearly and much loved man.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

New Mode

New Mode

Yesterday was one month since Wayne passed away.

Only one month.  

Diagnosed only 4 months and 17 days ago; with one of those months in an intensive medical situation.

Many have commented on our strength during the journey, during the time in the hospital, and during the funeral. I felt that was my job in providing comfort to others.  I felt this nudge to share the story, to be emotionally strong, as well as knowing the opportunity and call to share God with others during that time.  I think about the testimony I gave, the arrangements I planned, the questions and lists that I formed, and know that was not the "usual me".  

God, and your prayers to Him, lifted me up to have the courage and words to do those things.  To take care of details.  But now it all falls away, and at times the grief comes stronger and the reality of this new life can be looming.  Sometimes, it just feels unreal, like a dream that I cannot awake from.  I cannot ignore the reality, and the reality hits hard.

My son and I are missing Dadda so much, especially in the daily things.  We find comfort in just talking and spending quality time together.  I find that I can handle one major task today.  The task usually involves something I would have talked to my husband about, that would require him to be my partner alongside me, helping me complete or decide about the task.  Or, it is a task I must complete because he has passed away.  I have to prove, or tell a person, the evidence that my husband has passed away.  It can be exhausting, to be honest.

Sometimes the "what-ifs" come in, and I know they are useless.  I cannot change anything.  As much as I want to jump into a time machine and love more, be more, do more, I know that I can still do those in the present.  Grieving helps me get there.  Grieving is allowing me to see beauty in each day, things to be thankful for amongst the pain of loss.  When I cry, whether I'm alone, in a crowd of strangers, or with someone I know, there is grace and love there too.

I started reading about grief for both adults and children, and am comforted to know that there is no schedule to follow, or length of time to grieve.  Grieving can be a long and deep process.  There is no "right way" to do it, other than to allow yourself to actually grieve.  And that to allow oneself to grieve, rather than stuffing it down, is allowing yourself to heal.  This grieving will strengthen us over time.  

People have commented on my crying, perhaps surprised by it because I was holding it in before.   Maybe the surprise is because they do not know how to comfort me.  But, I ask you, let me cry, and please do not tell me to "just be strong";  my crying is not a weakness.  I know you care about us and want what is best for us.  You do not have to hug me, say anything, or do anything, unless you feel called to do so.  Grieving is not just tears but remembering, talking it out, being alone, finding comfort, journaling, and spending time with family.  This is how I must process this new mode of life.

Many of you send me messages of love, and please, I hope you understand that you do provide comfort.  I do not always have a response for you.  But, I know you're there.  Thank you for your prayers.

It is my hope that I am still sharing the promise of hope and grace of God, but for now, I am doing that in a new mode.  Wrapped in His arms, grieving, because it is necessary to my and my son's growth and well-being. 

Reflection Verse:

Then Jesus wept. (John 11:35 NLT)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Marching Band Trip

Marching Band Trip

Today is the day the high school students go on a Marching Band trip.  I think of the empty bus seat; the empty hotel bed; the sense that someone is missing from the group.

I think of the months (a year) of planning, excited conversations between directors and between students, preparations and rehearsals; feeling motivated to produce high quality music for others as a team.  Bonding and making new memories.

I always missed Wayne when he went on these trips, wishing I could come along; thinking ahead to the band trips our son would eventually be able to go on with Dadda, and the fun they would have together.  Wayne would come home and share fun stories, bring souvenirs, and make plans to go back and visit the destination as a family some day.

I recall when the other band director talked at the funeral about the conversations he and Wayne would have on these trips, and just how nice it can be to talk about music and share that passion.

That passion for music, drove Wayne to model to his students, how to strive for a level of a superior quality of music.  My husband's main job was teaching elementary band, starting students on their musical journey, but he enjoyed working with all levels.  He could see the growth of students as they progressed to the High School.  He was so incredibly proud of them and the musicians they were becoming.  I know that he wanted them to continue to love and play music, even when out of High School.

His passion is also why he continued to be active in community band groups.  He just loved to play and sing.  Music was not just a career, it was part of who he was.  I think it is special when your job is something that is your passion, your gift, your hobby, and part of who you are; something that you can be thankful for every day.  I am sure he is playing and singing in the the best band and chorus of all now; one that surpasses even our own musical understanding here on earth.  It must be absolutely glorious, beautiful, and uplifting; always.

God is passionate about us.  He loves every single one of us.  He loves us so much, that he sacrificed Jesus for us, so that we can be with him basking in that love, in eternity.  We need to open our hearts and know that truth, accepting Jesus into our hearts.  God gave each of us a gift, something to be passionate about here on earth.  Share it, use it, and if you are unsure of what your gift is -  pray and trust, and God will bring it to light.

Reflection Verses:

The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.  This is my God, and I will praise him—my father’s God, and I will exalt him!  Exodus 15:2  (NLT)

God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.  1 Peter 4:10 (NLT)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Gentle Breeze

Gentle Breeze

I have visited my husband's gravesite several times since his physical, earthly body entered the ground.  I like to take flowers; a rose (our flower), if possible.

I cry and although I know God hears me always, I find some comfort here; in the cemetery.  

Often when at my husband's gravesite, I have felt a gentle breeze and the sun has appeared from behind the clouds, warming my head and back.  It is comforting.  The sun seems to be where Wayne is, especially during this latest journey... the ICU outside trips, the Church during the service, the internment, and now at the gravesite.   I like to think this is a sign... God telling me that it will be okay.  He's got Wayne and all is well.  

Oh, how I miss him, though.  To feel his gentle touch, hug, embrace; to hear his gentle words; to see his gentle ways.  Thank you Lord for this gentle breeze; gentle warmth from the sun.

I am trying to listen to the gentle breezes in life, as my days threaten to spill into stormy, exhausting, grief-filled, decision-making days.   The breezes and the sun remind me to slow down, to appreciate and live in the moment.  Wait.  Listen.  Feel. 

Reflection Verses:

We cannot look at the sun, for it shines brightly in the sky when the wind clears away the clouds. So also, golden splendor comes from the mountain of God. He is clothed in dazzling splendor. We cannot imagine the power of the Almighty; but even though he is just and righteous, he does not destroy us. (Job 37:21-23 NLT)

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. (Philippians 4:5 NIV)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

With Him (excerpts)

With Him (excerpts)

I have blogged about the entire day that Wayne went to Heaven.  This was an incredibly personal day and all of the words and emotions are not ready quite ready to flow.  However, there are excerpts from this blogging here for you, remembering as we prepare ourselves for celebrating Jesus' resurrection.


I wanted to be with Wayne when it was time for him to go.  I had been with him for every other event in the ICU (as well as in every major event in our lives together), and I wanted to be with him when he left earth.  I wanted him to know that I was here.  Our son too had a bond where he felt that he could not leave Dadda's side; both of us feeling this urge to be near him.


We hold onto Wayne.  The nurses leave to give us privacy in our last moments together as a family of three.


We tell Dadda that we love him; that we will be okay; that we will miss him; and we understand it is time for him to go Home.  My son and I hold him, and I stroke the hair on Wayne's head.  I kiss his forehead.  

His pulse stops, and Adam turns to me, tears and amazement in his eyes ... even though Wayne could not physically speak ... and my son says "Dadda said my name.  ... '".  I tell him that is a gift from Dadda.  I pray he holds it and treasures it always.

My son and I then clung to and hugged each other and cried.  The room felt empty, yet peaceful, and my son then asked to leave.  We could feel that Wayne was not in there anymore.  I looked up, saying "good bye" and "I love you", picturing Wayne running barefoot and playing music.  Meeting Jesus.  Glorious.

My son goes to play in the lounge with nurses keeping an eye on him, and I call the funeral home.  I wait in the room with Wayne's body, sensing the emptiness of the room, packing things up, bowing my head.

The man from the funeral home comes, and though we have never met before, we hug.  I appreciated his compassion and caring; wondering if it is tough for him, being one of the first to see those grieving.   I help him and the nurses move Wayne's body to the stretcher; I wanted to help take care of it, helping it on it's journey home to our town.

A friend had arrived to drive us home, and we walked behind the stretcher to the parking lot.  My son asked if Dadda's body was inside the zippered bag, and I said yes, and we said good-bye.  

We arrived home to a house that had frozen in time, since we had left almost 3 weeks earlier, to go the hospital.  I stood at Wayne's desk - saw his handwriting, his to-do list, his books, his things, as if they were waiting; waiting for him.  

And, I cry.


This experience showed me that death itself is not scary; it can be peaceful and beautiful.  Missing Wayne is the most excruciating and painful part for me.  Being together in that moment is a memory that I will cling to, in order to heal from the pain of my loss; knowing the peace that transpired in that moment; the victory that is ours through Jesus, remembering that Wayne is now in a perfect place; with Him. 


Wayne was willing to suffer through chemotherapy treatments, pain, and complications in order to keep living out God's purpose, as well as living for his wife and son.  He bore the burden of this suffering with intentionality.  I want to assure you that Wayne did not suffer in those last moments and that his journey continues to serve as a Godly purpose.  As hard as that is to accept sometimes, for the purpose is not always clear to me, as the waves of emotions come and go like the tides, I know ultimately good will come from this.  I must rely on God and my faith in Him.

People that loved Jesus watched Him suffer on the cross; His pain in that moment was beyond our understanding, yet His death served a much greater purpose that saved us all.

Wayne wanted his earthly life to be a life intentionally serving God; fulfilling His purpose.  And, knowing the promise of being with Him; Jesus.

Reflection verses:

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39 NLT)

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation,  and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. (1 Peter 1:3, 4 NLT)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I'm Still a Mrs.

I'm Still a Mrs.

I struggle when filling out forms.
I do not want to check the "widow" box.
I tear up when I have to leave the "Spouse's Name" blank and empty.
The cards I write now have one less signature. 

In my heart, I'm still a Mrs.

Some people have sent me mail with Ms. on the front.
Some call me Ms. on the phone after they hear that my husband passed away.  
Some are unsure of what to call me; I can tell.

Please ... I like to still be called "Mrs."

Some have addressed cards to me "Mrs. Wayne Burlison", an older, formal way to address, and I love it.  I love seeing his name intertwined with Mrs., reminding me that we belonged together.  I will still introduce myself as a Mrs. in my work.  My wedding and family rings stay on, and I will refer to Wayne as my husband, even if it is in past tense.

Marriage to Wayne was not something that I took for granted; it was and is a gift.  The laws of marriage may not apply to me anymore, but even in death, I want my life to honor the promises and goals that we set out to do for each other, together, and as a family.  When I have decisions to make, I think about the conversations Wayne and I have had.  I pray.  I seek discernment and clarity.  I hope that I am using my God-given gifts and purpose.

I know I have a future of forms, leaving spots blank, marking new spots, indicating over and over that Wayne is no longer on earth as my husband.  

Jesus is my ultimate focus, but I will not ever forget the gift; that part of my earthly life was lived as a Mrs.  

Reflection Verses:

For the believing wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the believing husband brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not be holy, but now they are holy. (1 Corinthians 7:14 NLT)

And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body. As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:21-33 NLT)

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT)

Monday, April 7, 2014

This is My Son

This Is My Son

We were married 7 years before God gave us the additional blessing of our son in our lives.

Wayne absolutely adored our son and found much joy in being a father.  He took his responsibility as a father seriously, and modeled to and taught him a life of Faith, integrity, love, responsibility, honesty, self discipline, and self control.  Nurturing and loving a child is such a wonderful gift. 

About a month after being born, our son was baptized.  Wayne loved to write and perform music, so he wrote and sang to our son at his Baptism on December 17, 2006.  If you attended Wayne's service, you heard the recording of him singing it.


This Is My Son
~By Wayne Burlison

With the innocence of Adam, I bring my son unto the Lord.
And though the devil wants him, his soul's been spoken for.
He is a gift from Heaven, from God who reigns in love;
And he'll always have the Father's Love ...

This is my son
and I love him.
This is my son
with him I'm pleased;
This is my son;
hold him Jesus.
And he'll always have his Father's love

When Noah took his family, and set out upon the Ark,
They knew not what would greet them, as they sailed into the dark.
I know not what we're in for, but my son will know the Lord.
And, he'll always have his Father's love.


In the water and the Spirit, my son will bow before the King.

And hear the angel voices, with hosannas that they sing!
We stand before the altar, precious lamb and perfect love.
We will always have our Father's love.


He'll always have his Father's love!


We are all sons and daughters of Christ; and we are loved.  How wonderful that Wayne can bow before the King, hear the angels sing, and be in His perfect love.

Reflection Verses:

My child, listen when your father corrects you. Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace and be a chain of honor around your neck. (Proverbs 1:8, 9 NLT)

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. (1 John 4:9-17 NLT)