Our lives were forever changed the day we lost Corey. He was an amazing man who loved the Lord and his family with all that he was. The pain of losing him is like no other. Our only comfort comes from knowing we will see him again someday.

I have moved the slideshow played at Corey's service to it's own post page above, titled "Corey's Memorial Service - August 10, 2010"

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Moving on...a ball field update...

     I haven't been writing as frequently on my blog. I think a big part of the reason why is that I'm tired of feeling like my grief process is going nowhere fast. And also, add to that that I usually cry my way through writing each post. Sometimes it feels helpful to my grief and other times I just don't have the energy for the emotional roller coaster ride. I am finding along this journey through grief that what helped comfort me at one point doesn't necessarily bring me comfort now. I've also found it really fascinating how differently people grieve. What brings comfort to me might totally not help someone else. Grief is just plain weird.
    I had mentioned in one of my more recent posts that there were several things that happened back in April that were helping me to shift my focus. April was a hard month but by the beginning of May I was feeling some relief from my grief. I felt like I had made some progress in wrapping up the grief group, making it through Abigail's 7th birthday followed by my birthday and then Easter. Those were some hard weeks with a bunch of "firsts" to get through in a short period of time.
     In addition to those milestones on my grief journey I brought closure to the ball field project that I had been pursuing since Corey passed last August. Some of you have asked me where this was at. I haven't posted updates because the process really wasn't moving very fast and not much was really happening over the winter months. If you need a refresher you can check out my original proposal from last October here:  J.C. Memorial Ball Field proposal
Here's a quick recap:
     The idea to restore the ball field located on the grounds of the Milton Mills Cemetery originated a few days after my husband’s death.  The fact that there used to be a field in view of his grave site was one of the factors in my deciding that this was where he should be buried.  Corey played softball through the Seacoast Softball League for the past four seasons.  When I found out that the team he played for had used this field just a few years prior, I expressed to John Katwick my desire to see the field restored in my husband’s honor so that it could once again be used. 
     Following the first meeting with the cemetery board in October there were 2 more meetings held by the board. Following a meeting in March, the board had still not made a decision. The main issue holding the process up was a conflict over naming rights. For a variety of reasons, I felt strongly about not moving forward with the project if the field could not bear Corey's name. I reiterated my position at the meeting in March and was told the board would be taking a vote at the end of April. In the weeks between the meeting in March and the upcoming meeting in April I was pretty stressed out about the whole thing. Thoughts about having to raise all the funds to cover the materials, figuring out a water source for growing the grass, long term upkeep of the field, and liability issues all had my head spinning. I actually started to find myself hoping the board didn't approve my proposal...that was what made me realize this just wasn't the right thing, at least not right now. Each step of the way things just didn't seem to be coming together...after 3 board meetings I still couldn't even get a yes to move forward. It was a bit frustrating. So, a few days before the board's next meeting I let John know I was withdrawing my proposal and boy did that feel good! I felt such relief having made the decision. Once I let go of the project I couldn't help but feel like it had been holding me back in the place I was last September when I first tried to get things moving with the field. I was able to think about all the other things I was going to be able to focus more attention on...my kids, our house remodel project (finishing our upstairs), summer vacation...So, I was kind of on a high after making yet another hard decision. I only wish my "high" could have lasted longer than a week or two. Good grief!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Easter pictures

I've been meaning to get on here and post the pictures that my friend Jamie took of the girls and I at Easter. You might remember the beautiful Christmas pictures she took that I posted months back. It can be pretty tough to get both my girls willing to smile at the same time but Jamie managed to get some really nice shots. You may have already seen the two I put up on Facebook. Here are the rest...enjoy!  Thanks again Jamie!!
Easter pics April 2011

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The End

is only the beginning...     
     It's going to take a bit for me to revisit the past month since my last post. Time has really gotten away from me. April was a hard month and I just didn't feel like writing about it at the time. Motivation has been a bit of an issue for me as well but that seems to be getting better. There were definitely some good parts here and there over the past month but grief-wise it was a bit messy in an emotional sense. I finished my grief group the week before last (it was 8-weeks) and I think the weekly meetings were "stirring the pot" of my grief, so to speak. I'm glad I participated in the group, but I'm ready to take a break from my "grief work." Some other things have happened over the last 2 weeks that have helped me to shift my focus as well.
     One of those things was my birthday on the 17th - my 35th birthday! I sure don't feel as old as that sounds! It was particularly hard because of course Corey wasn't here to help me celebrate it. In addition to that, his 35th birthday last July was the last one we got to celebrate with him, just 10 days before his death.  There were some small but very meaningful gifts from God in how we spent Corey's last birthday. One of them was the time he spent fishing with the girls. We've got some great video of that. I enjoyed watching the action from the shoreline while Corey and Abi casted their lines and Ali just wailed that she wanted Mommy. We ate dinner that night at our favorite Mexican restaurant in Northport, ME. The picture of the 4 of us on my home page was from that day. I knew Corey didn't want me to embarrass him by having the staff sing happy birthday to him, but I did it anyway :) Sombreros and all! It normally wouldn't have been my inclination to do this but this year felt different, and I'm glad I did it since it resulted in smiles on all of our faces. I pulled out all the stops and ordered a $10 dessert with 4 spoons for us to all enjoy together. I had a moment of hesitation as the waitress tried to convince me of how good their brownie sundae was. I didn't want to spend the extra money since we had a Reese's peanut butter ice cream cake waiting for us back at the camp in the freezer. God must have given me a nudge 'cause I said sure, why not? This kind of memory might sound silly, but it was one of the few times in my life where I undoubtedly was being taught the important lesson of how precious each moment of our lives is and to make them all count.
     When you get married your husband kind of becomes responsible for making sure your birthday is not forgotten. Corey did a good job with this year after year. This year was probably the first in a long time (maybe since college?) that I did something with friends for my birthday which made it special. My family and friends went out of their way to make sure I felt very loved this year. Some of my friends took me out for a scrumptious brunch the day before my b-day at a place called the Crepery...YUM! They have probably more than 2 dozen different kinds of fillings for the crepes they make.  We went to a movie after brunch. I haven't been to a movie since the last one I went to with Corey...which I think was Date Night with Steve Carell and Tina Fey. I remember when Corey and I had seen the preview for it before it came out...the couple in the movie was so 'us' in terms of the season of our life and marriage we were in. I'm pretty sure we went to see it for my birthday last year....man, a whole year without going to a movie...I'm sure I haven't missed much ;)  So the girls and I went to see the movie Soul Surfer. For those of you who are unfamiliar, it is based on the true story of Britney Hamilton who was an up and coming professional surfer who had her arm bitten off by a shark when she was 13. The movie follows her story of triumph through adversity as she looks to her faith in God to carry her through. Learning to surf again was a challenge after losing an arm (balance issues and all) but she persevered and not only got back up on her board but went on to become a professional surfing champion. It was an inspiring story with parts that were an encouragement to me in my own trials. The very last frame of the movie shows the ocean with a rainbow in the sky above as the backdrop to the words, "The End." Those 2 words disappear and are followed by the words "is only the beginning." It kind of gave me goose bumps and made me tear up. This line feels so true for Corey and myself. For Corey, the end of his life here on this earth is only the beginning of a new and more glorious chapter of the rest of his life to be spent in Heaven for eternity. For me, the painful end to our earthly relationship marks the beginning of a new chapter in my life here without him. I wouldn't have chosen it but God's promise to work all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28) is the truth that I stand on. I know he has a beautiful plan for the girls and me in the wake of Corey's departure and I'm waiting expectantly to see how this "chapter" unfolds. Most days lately it has been hard to stay focused on that promise, but the words of Pastor Bernie from his message shared at Corey's Memorial service comfort me. I was reminded of them as I sat in the dark theater reading those last words on the screen. Pastor Bernie said of my situation and Corey's death, "This story is yet to be finished. Do not despair. God is, as Jill says, still a good God and is at work even in the midst of this...to bring good out of the unthinkable."
     And who do I have to thank for this hope, for the promise that God will give me beauty for ashes and turn my mourning to joy? for His amazing promise of eternal life with Him and a sweet reunion with Corey? Only Jesus - for his suffering and death on the cross for me, for Corey, for all of us. Easter this year, in contrast to previous years, left me filled with an extra measure of gratitude as I remembered Christ's death and resurrection - His sacrificial and torturous death on the cross so that I could have life everlasting. He claimed victory over death through his resurrection so that we too could conquer death and be raised to a new life lived for Him and for God's glory!
      There is a song I have loved listening to this Easter season called, Christ is Risen, by Matt Maher. Here it is on youtube, since it's not on playlist :(  Enjoy...more to come...

A Love that Saves...celebrating Easter with Corey

     While walking around the cemetery last fall I came across a monument with an engraving that made me stop and think. It reads, "If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever."

I thought it was kind of a cool saying until I stopped to think about it for a minute and a revised version came to my mind; the good news that "because Christ's love saves, Corey will live forever." That's even cooler, don't you think?  :)  I made sure to include a "He is Risen" sign at Corey's grave when I decorated it for Easter. 

Here are some pics:

the silk arrangement I put together for the top of his stone

     That first time back to the cemetery after all the snow had melted was a comforting visit. This didn't occur until sometime during the second week of April since we had a final snow storm on April 1st- not an April Fool's joke either...the girls even had a snow day home from school because of it. It was a long wait for the snow to melt from that storm. I can't quite explain the feeling I had as I turned into the cemetery and was able to see the bare ground and Corey's stone. It made my heart feel so good. With the now obvious changing of the seasons, I felt like I had been given permission to move out of the winter of my grief and into spring. It was really hard over those long winter months to not be able to go regularly to visit. The first few months after Corey died I would go to the cemetery every 1-2 weeks and enjoyed sitting on the grass and soaking up the sun. I love the place I chose to lay him to rest. It is such a beautiful and peaceful country setting. I was there again just last week and basked in the sun while listening to birds chirp and church bells coming from just beyond the river behind the cemetery. I even heard the clip cloppity sound of horse hoofs hitting the pavement as 2 horses pulling a carriage strolled by the cemetery. I thanked God for his guidance in leading me to pick this beautiful place.