Monday, April 19, 2010

Peggy Lee Wise Tilton

Grandma and Dad

Tiffany (my cousin), me, Ash, and Grandma)

My Grandma passed away this afternoon. I am still very numb about it. I’ve actually hardly cried since I heard. I don’t really know what that means. My mom keeps reminding me that grief is different for everyone and I am trying to remember that during this difficult time.
So, in an effort to process, let me tell you about my Grandma…
Peggy Lee Wise was born on July 4th, 1930. She married Russ Tilton and they had three kids: Dan, Dianna, and Connie. My Dad is Dan. Russ Tilton passed away from cancer nearly 25 years ago when my parents were pregnant with me. Grandpa and Grandma raised their children in a Christian home. My Grandma taught Sunday school and attended adult Sunday school until she lost her ability to drive, and even then she went as often as could. She lived in the same house for over 50 years in Norwalk, CA. My Dad was one when they moved in and we sold the house earlier this year. She and her neighbor (a childhood family friend of my Dad’s) lived side by side for over 50 years.
My Grandma was born to be a Grandma. She admits she wasn’t the most maternal person, but I truly believe she did the best she could (as I believe all parents do in their own way), but as a Grandma, she nailed it. About a year ago, I discovered that my Grandma kept a file for each one of her grandchildren (me, my sister, and my cousin) and in it she kept every note, thank you card, and drawing we ever gave her or created at her house. I cried when she gave it to me and I flipped through it. That is love. I watched an old home video the other day and in it Grandma is the one helping my sister open her presents at her birthday party. She always brought the other sister a present when it wasn’t our actual birthday. I used to love spending time at my Grandma’s. Growing up, I spent many nights over at her house. I remember our bedtime rituals, and watching soap operas and Unsolved Mysteries. Eating Honey Bunches of Oats when I woke up and every year she would take my sister and me to buy every school supply we could possibly need or want. Grandma would call us before every church camp trip and first day of school. My mom told me that when I was little she would call my Grandma and tell her what cute things I did that morning. My Grandma loved to hear about our lives. In fact, the second to last time I saw my Grandma, my sister and I went by ourselves and we just talked to her about our weeks and what we were up to: school, work, the weather, whatever. In a moment of more clarity than non-clarity, my Grandma told us that she loves hearing about our lives. That hearing about what we are up to always makes her happy. Her family meant the world to her. Nothing was more important.
Pray for all of us as we deal with this loss of the matriarch of our family. The glue that was our family. The person we all called with good news and the person we most looked forward to seeing at family get togethers. Grandma will be missed and there will always be a hole that can never be filled by our loss. We are blessed to have had her in our lives, and I am especially blessed to have had such a loving, selfless Grandma. I really feel such peace and comfort knowing that she is in Heaven. That she is now walking with Jesus. That God himself welcomed her into Heaven and that my Grandpa was right behind Him to welcome her Home. Amen.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

fearing, needing, wishing

All over the place.
Trying to understand the pictures I have of the future
And the negative beliefs I have about my present state.
Believing my presence actually improve people’s lives.
My family’s life.
Feeling needy,
Not needed.
Needing to become less enmeshed.
Unsure how to do that.
One week up.
One week down.
Trying to let go.
Trying to embrace the unknown.
Fear of losing.
Fear of gaining.
Fear of loving.
Fear of conflict.
Fear of communication.
Fear of fear.
Fear of freedom.
Needing to have the courage
To write my own story.
It is all me.
Me who makes me feel unsure.
Me who believes I am only worth something if needed.
Me with my savior complex.
Me who avoids deciding who “me” is.
Me who avoids long Saturdays alone,
Because of the failure felt at the end of the day.
Feeling partly alive in two different places,
Needing one place for identity.
Feeling life won’t start until I choose one location.
Needing to be productive,
Hating productivity.
Wanting to just let things happen
Regarding my daily plans,
Can’t shake needing to force things to happen
About everything else.
And everyone’s lives around me.
Control freak.
Overly concerned.
Overly involved.
Over analyze.
Drive my family crazy.
Drive myself crazy.
Missing friends,
Wishing for friends,
Wishing for the past,
Wishing for the future.
Wishing for the girl I was.
Wishing for the girl I want to be.
Needed to embrace today.
Myself included.
That’s it.
That’s all.
That’s the point.
(photo from here, found through her.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bad news bears

And the bad news just keeps on coming.
Got home from work tonight and discovered a notice on our front door that out lease is up on May 31st and they are raising our rent by over $300 a month. These changes take place as on June 1st and we have to give 30 days written notice by May 1st, which means we have just over two weeks to decide what to do or pay a big chunk more. To make this more complicated, the four of us roommates are never home at the same time and moving conversations always take so much effort to avoid confrontations. And, my sister is super busy and way overwhelmed with some sorority stuff and one of my other roommates is leaving for two weeks to take care of her Grandpa who is recovering from a stroke. See, all four of our lives are already barely keeping it together and now it gets worse with the move.
As you well know, I hate moving. It is the death of me.
Ironically, I was all set to write a blog post about how I am still struggling to intentionally choose joy in tough circumstances. Now, I feel dumb because it is hard to even see the joy to choose right now.
My Grandma is dying and I feel it everyday. The family is struggling with it and how to handle it and started talking today about dividing her stuff and cleaning out her apartment. I am dealing with a personal thing right now too. Then there is always work and school, which I enjoy, but takes mental energy and LOTS of time. And now, I have to make a moving decision in less than a month. Please pray.
(photo found here, but from this book).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Choose Joy

Well, I am not completely sure what to write about today. I do try ever so hard to post more than once a week, but things in my life have been so tough lately that I find I just seem to be missing joy. I’m been thinking a lot about joy lately. It is one of the fruits of the spirit. One that I typically overlook or take for granted. With my Grandma in the slow process of dying, the stress affecting each one of my family members, my Dad traveling around the world this week, my best friend’s dad passing away, work, being in my final week of a full-time classes, and just the basic stresses that sometimes accompany life, I often don’t have much joy. In fact, lately, even people at work have been asking me if I am okay, and I think this is because I just haven’t been as bubbly around the office. It is not so much that I am sad all the time or depressed or angry, I guess the best way to describe it (at least in the office context) is that I am missing that extra bit of easy laughter I usually have or the hint of sparkle in my eye or a sort of playfulness.
As a fruit of the spirit, the Lord tells us that people will know we are His by the fruits of our lives. I believe that because I am a child of God I have no choice but to choose to embrace the fruits of the spirit. In other words, I have to intentionally choose joy. I need to be joyful even in my trials because at the end of the day, I am a loved, saved, and beautiful daughter of God. How can that truth not make me full of joy? There is joy in the Lord. There is joy in the Easter season that Jesus was raised from the dead. That He is a living God. There is joy that my Grandma may be dying but when she does, she will be in Heaven, meeting her Beloved Savior and her beloved husband, my Grandpa Russ.
There is joy in suffering and there is joy in the small things that make up a day. Life is never all or nothing. It is never black and white. Never simple. Life is full of gray. It is full of happiness and sorrow. It is full of pain and joy, which makes it okay to embrace, search for, and choose joy.
This will be my new challenge for the week. I want to choose joy. Maybe joy doesn’t have to look like all smiles and puppy dogs and rainbows, but, I do believe focusing on my joy in Christ will bring that sparkle back to my eye. That knowledge that I am loved by a big God who is not thrown off by the life plans that continue to surprise me. Nothing is a surprise for God. He knows all and He is there with us through it all. He is THE source of strength, comfort, and JOY. So I will choose joy.