Gosh. This is the hard part…trying to put into words all the emotions I have felt about my dad getting remarried.
I don’t really even know where to begin.
In many ways, I am still dealing with the emotions of losing Mom. She will have been gone 2 years this coming September. I still miss her terribly.
She was my very best friend.
Her influence on my life is everlasting.
But the hard truth is…my mom is gone. I will not ever see her again on this earth. And that hurts.
But I have the promise that I will see her again in heaven, and I am so very thankful.
And so life must move on. Slowly at times. Painfully at times. But it moves on.
My boys are growing.
My niece got married and is expecting her first child.
I’ve moved into a new home.
Seasons have passed.
Holidays have been celebrated.
Mom’s still gone.
One of the hardest parts of loosing Mom has been watching my dad live without her.
When Mom passed away, he moved in my with sister and her husband. He never spent a single night in his old home without mom.
There is no way he could have. Her fingerprints were on every inch of that house. The curtains she had made. The pictures she had hung. The dishes she had washed. The furniture she had moved around a million times. :)
Living there without her would have been impossible for Dad.
When Dad first moved in with my sister, he was surrounded with so much love and support. Meals were brought to him, cards were sent to him, everyone was spending time with him.
But then something happens.
Life moves on. The cards stop. The visits stop. The meals stop.
The day to day life without Mom had begun for my dad. And he was lonely.
One thing you need to know about my dad is he is a big, loveable teddy bear!
He loves BIG! He loves to love and loves to be loved. His family is everything to him.
Nothing makes him more happy than spending time with his family.
Whenever we were together, you would almost always hear Dad say at some point, “Life doesn’t get any better than this.”
Dad never needed the riches of this world to make him happy. His wealth was found in the loved ones around him.
Dad lived a year and a half without Mom before meeting Janet. To some that may seem like a short amount of time. Dad was married to my Mom for 44 wonderful years, so I cannot help but think that a year and a half without her must have felt like an eternity to him.
This past winter, my sister and I were really worried about him. He wasn’t himself anymore. He seemed so depressed.
We wanted our dad back.
And then gratefully, Dad met Janet…
There were many circumstances around Dad and Janet meeting that made me realize that God was up to something.
My sister, Cyndi, actually called me a few weeks before Dad met Janet to tell me that she had met the sweetest lady at her dentist’s office. She even said, “She reminded me so much of Mom.” (Yep. She was talking about Janet.) :)
A couple of weeks later, a church golfin’ buddy of Dad’s mentioned that he should ask his sister-in-law out. (Yep. He was talking about Janet.) ;)
Dad called Janet that week, and they went out for the first time on a blind date.
There was a instant connection, and they were inseparable from that point on. And I know why. Janet is so much like my mom it is unbelievable!
To find out Dad was dating someone was hard. But when I saw how happy my dad was, it made it easier.
And then when I met Janet, I knew. Again, I knew that God was up to something.
Ya’ll, I cannot even begin to express what an amazing woman Janet is. You only have to spend a couple minutes with her before you fall in love with her.
She is warm, gracious, loveable, classy, fun, sensitive, compassionate, and loves Jesus with all her heart.
But she knows great loss too.
Janet was blessed with two sons. However, her youngest son was killed in a car accident on his 16th birthday. I cannot even imagine the depth of grief she has endured. And I know that her life experiences have brought her to a place where she can love and support my dad in his grief.
Dad told me about a time when they were dating that they went to get something from the storage shed where he was storing some of his belongings. Dad found an anniversary card from my mom and showed it to Janet. He began weeping. The pain was still there. Dad said Janet put her arms around him and began weeping with him.
She knows and understands loss.
How great is our God?! To put two such people together to share in life’s journey.
I have to tell you honestly, that I have never felt more loved by God than I have during this time. Dad could have lived his remaining years on this earth sad, lonely, and incomplete. Or he could have married someone out of despair, someone that wasn’t right for him or our family. I have heard stories of a parent remarrying to someone who splits the whole family apart. That would have been devastating.
But God in His goodness does not just give my dad just anyone, or someone “good enough”. He gave my dad (and my family) His very BEST when He gave us Janet.
She loves my dad so much. She loves me so much. She loves my boys so much.
She has filled up a hole in our family.
Don’t get me wrong. She has not replaced my mom. Not ever. And Janet doesn’t want to. She wants to honor my mom by loving on her family.
She told me she wants to talk about my mom often so that my boys have many memories of her.
The other night, Adam and Eli spent the night at Dad and Janet’s. Before the boys went to bed, Janet read some books to them.
Eli, my 4 year old (whom I am afraid will not remember my mom), said, “Miss Janet, my nana used to read me books!”
To which Janet replied, “I know she did, Eli. And you know why? Because your Nana loved you sooooooo much!”
When I heard that, I cried.
How good it felt to know that Janet was reminding my son of my precious mother who loved him sooooooo much.
See why I feel so loved by God?
So how did I feel when Dad got married?
Well, that day before the wedding, I felt fine. I was busy getting me and the boys ready for the wedding. When I arrived at Janet’s home, I was able to meet Janet’s side of the family, who are so kind and loving as well.
When the ceremony began, I felt a little nervous for Dad. I could tell he was nervous (even though he said he wasn’t). :)
Then it came to the part of the ceremony where they exchanged their vows, and I began to cry.
I began to hurt deeply.
Happy for my dad and Janet, yet angry that my mom was gone.
It should have been MY MOM up on that deck renewing her wedding vows with my dad in front of her children and grandchildren!!!
I could just see Mom on that deck, and her sweet face looking over her shoulder at all of us and smiling. SHE LOVED HER FAMILY MORE THAN ANYTHING!!!
I must have swallowed a million times, desperately trying to swallow down the tears. I didn’t want to lose it in front of Janet’s family, or Janet, or Dad.
I wiped the tears away as quickly as I could, and pulled myself together.
After the ceremony, I went onto the deck to hug Janet and Dad. My heart was truly rejoicing for them.
Then I slipped into the house and headed to the bathroom to get some tissues. On my way down hallway, I saw my sister. Our eyes caught each other, and without saying a word, we knew. We knew what the other was feeling.
She followed me into the bathroom, and we began sobbing. Sobbing out loud. We missed our mom.
Then I told Cyndi we needed to get it together! We were hurting, but we had to stop! We had to go back out and celebrate. Mom would have wanted us to.
We freshened up our makeup so it wouldn’t look like we had been crying and went outside to take some wedding pictures with the rest of the family. I was able to keep it together the rest of the time. It was such an honor to spend time with Janet’s family. She has 3 grandchildren of her own who are the light of her life! Janet’s mom is still living, and she is the cutest thing ever. (See her in the pink blouse in the middle of the picture? Precious!) I loved being able to get to know her better too.
It was a beautiful day and a beautiful ceremony.
Before Dad and Janet left, Janet handed me a hand-written card. She actually handed one to me, my husband, my brother, his wife, my sister, and her husband…one for each of us.
If you have followed my blog since Mom’s passing, and have read my Wednesdays with Wanda posts, then you know what a beautiful writer my mom was. And you know that my mom wrote me many, many letters from when I was a child until I was an adult. And you know how much my mom’s hand-written notes have blessed my life since she has passed. They are treasures to me.
For Janet to give me a hand-written note on HER wedding day reminded me of Mom. She would have done the same thing. And it was just another reminder of how much God loves me. He has placed someone in my life who loves to write me notes. :)
I asked her if it was okay for me to share it with you and she said, “yes.”
I wanted to share it with you so you could see Janet’s beautiful heart.
How could I ask for more?
Thank you, Jesus, for caring about every little detail of my life and loving me so much!
Thank you, Jesus, for Janet.