Kallio Memorial Service - Snippet

Our Wedding Day - July 13, 1985

Monday, December 6, 2010

Life Dawns Just Before the Sun Rises

I'm usually awake just before the sun rises. It's a habit formed from so many years of having to leave for work by six in the morning. In those years it was difficult to drag myself from my nice warm bed, but all things change and so do our habits. Now morning is my favorite time of the day. The sound and smell of the coffee brewing is as welcome as an old friend. Just before the sun comes up I can hear the birds singing in excitement as a new day is dawning. There is a sense of calm as the sun rises, showing off the brilliant colors in the sky. Every day God paints another of his masterpieces, ever changing and always more beautiful than the one before. Outside my kitchen window a limb from my crab-apple tree serves as a resting spot for a baby squirrel. He makes me laugh as he stretches his tiny body out across the limb; not sure if he really is ready to wake. I share his feelings as I wash the sleep from my eyes. For me what makes this time of day so special is the promise it holds.

Over the last year I've done a lot of soul searching along with sorting out my life. Or at the very least trying to figure out what my life is about. I don't believe there is an emotion I haven't felt – some more difficult than others – and some I'm still working my way through. I've had a lot of self doubt and wondered what my purpose in living really is about. In other words – why bother? I've come to some conclusions recently and feel a sense of healing. I believe that life can be much like the early morning sunrise if we choose it. We can pick up the paint brush and begin our masterpiece by painting our canvas with brilliant color; or we can let our circumstances beat us down to where the only color on our pallet is black. Like the birds singing in excitement we too can begin the day with a zest for life and all it holds.

For those of you who have read my posts all along you know these conclusions have been hard coming. You also know how I have leaned heavily on God's everlasting love to help me cope with my sorrow. Every morning, over the last year, as I watched the sun come up through the trees Gods message was right in front of me, but I wasn't ready to see it. I only felt alone and dreaded the hours that were to come. I don't know that time really heals all wounds as I'm told, I haven't found it to be that simple and dry cut. At this point I don't know that the loss of my husband will ever fully heal. What I do know is that the gift of life is something to embrace and to waste the gift is not how God intended us to use it.

Today when the wafting aroma of the coffee brewing made its way up the stairs to my room, I woke and washed the sleep from my eyes so I could observe God painting the sky. To my surprise I learned that life dawns just before the sun rises.......

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Day My World Changed

The morning of November 29, 2009 began as most of my mornings do; sharing a hot cup of coffee, with my husband, and arguing as to whose turn it was to go out in the cold and get the Sunday paper. We chatted about how great our Thanksgiving had been and how good the turkey came out this year. We laughed about how silly everyone looked playing the Wii games that day, and how much fun they all had. Then the rest of the day we just did our own thing. I worked on some things on the computer and Darrell, of course, watched every football game that was on.

When I woke that morning I had a clear picture of who I was as a woman, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a step-mom and a grandma. By that evening, my clarity would change dramatically and my world would change forever. For you see my role as wife changed to widow. Who is this “widow” person? I didn't know her and I definitely didn't want to be “her”. I couldn't breath. – I can't accept this! – It can't be happening! – Why now?– Why! Why! Why? I just wanted to run away.

The unrelenting sorrow and pain that followed the death of my husband, my best friend, seemed more than I could ever bear at times. The perpetual gray skies of that winter dragged on and I felt a sense of hopelessness that I have never felt before. Tears flowed in an endless stream of grief and despair. Every night I begged God to please wake me from this dreadful dream. With each step I took in the mornings there would be hope that he would be there; playing solitaire as he always did and asking me for a cup of coffee. But, he wasn't there.  Despair
would settle over my body like blowing snow – cold and blinding. I was lost and alone, shrouded in a heavy black veil where there was only darkness.

In the darkness I prayed for help. The prayer barely passing my lips when I could feel the strong comforting arms of God wrapped around me. He rocked me in His arms and let me cry myself to sleep. Night after night I called to Him for strength and always He would come. I could hear Him: Shh, shh, shh, I'm here, it's going to be alright.

In a few days a year will have passed since that night. The gray dark days of that winter gave way to spring and the blossoming of summer. Another Thanksgiving has come and gone and soon Christmas will be here. I'm still working through my sorrow, but, I have lifted the veil so that I can see the beauty of the life before me. I'm finding my way through the thorns and rediscovering my dreams and hopes for the future.  Every day I reach up for God's hand and He guides me. – Some days He has to do a lot of pushing and pulling, but He is always there. At night God still wraps his arms around me and rocks me to sleep and I hear him:  Shh, shh, shh, I'm here, it's going to be alright.......

(This post also appears on The Ties That Bind )

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lake of Sorrow

In the dark there is a peaceful silence
where quiet tears caress my soul.
Each tear holds a memory
Each tear a moment that won't be shared

I see what others cannot
For you are in my dreams.
It's there I hear you call my name,
And once again feel the gentleness of your touch.
As morning breaks you are beyond my grasp.
But your sweet love lingers with me
throughout the day.

In my sorrow I call out to God.
He weeps with me.
He shrouds me in his love.
He comforts me.
He whispers you have a life to live
and beauty yet to be seen.
There are dreams yet to be fulfilled
and memories to be made

In the dark there is a peaceful silence
where quiet tears caress my soul.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

And The Months Fly - Turning the Page to November

In Colorado each season seems to burst onto the stage in diva style. This year though, summer has tried to hold on with all her might and we have had an opportunity to see what fall can be like. This last week of October the winter chill has begun setting in though, temperatures at night have been dropping causing a bit of frost on the old pumpkins. I don't think it will be long now and we will be seeing a little bit of Mother Natures white wedding dress. I'm not a big fan of snow, but, I can say that there is something beautiful about it in the early morning when the sun first pops its head up making the ground look like stars twinkling in the night.

I haven't done much in the way of writing this summer. It seems my concentration level has been lacking and my mind jumps around from one topic to the next. I have 5 articles that are in various stages of completion for my genealogy blog, but when I pull them up to work on them my mind goes blank. Oh, I may write a few more sentences but soon I close the file again and move onto something else. I'm in a perpetual cleaning mode in my office. I get one area organized then I get bored with that and move onto a project and fill it right back up again. I bounce in and out of Facebook like an idiot just to see what the rest of the world is doing.

I'm dreading turning the page of my calendar over to November and am actually having a great deal of anxiety about it. It's hard to comprehend that last year at this time my moments with Darrell were counting down to the end. It's a difficult feeling to explain. Losing Darrell has been as if someone stripped all the color from my life. It's a struggle to find out who I am without him. I can see my reflection in the window and know that the color of life is still there but, it's so darn hard to leave behind what once was and never will be again...

These days I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and continue to move forward. It's not an easy process for me and there are days that I wake up crying and continue to all day. I find that little things still bring joy. Like having my 13 year old grandson, who by the way is almost as tall as I am now, come and sit on my lap like he did when he was little. He tells me maybe he is too big to sit on my lap. I tell him I will let him know when he is too big – and then I will sit on his lap instead.

Life can change in an instant – you can never say I love you to often.....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

...And We Danced - The only Silver I ever wanted...

Have you ever had a day or a moment that is embedded in your mind so deep that you are able to relive it whenever you want? For me it was the events of July 13, 1985. I woke up that morning excited. My mind was racing a mile a minute sorting out all the things I needed to do before 3 O'clock. I needed to make sure I had my clothes, makeup and sundries together and in the car. There was a crucial hair appointment, flowers to pick up and a zillion little last minute things to do. The time was racing so fast and I was starting to get very nervous. Everything needed to be just right and the way I had planned it to be. For you see July 13th, 1985 was to be my wedding day, the day I would begin my life with Darrell.
Everything seemed to be going on schedule; so why with every tick of the clock was I getting more and more nerved up. Of course it didn't help that my Maid of Honor's two teenage daughters kept asking me if I was getting nervous every five minutes. I kept thinking if I could just spend 5 minutes with Darrell I would calm down, but, of course that would be bad luck.

Our wedding ceremony was held in my Aunt's back yard and it was a beautiful July afternoon. But, as my Dad walked me to where we were going to say our vows I started to shake. I don't mean just a little either – I mean visibly shaking. It wasn't like I had any doubts – I don't know what the deal was. What I do know was that Darrell could see how badly I was shaking, he reached down and grabbed my arms and just kept giving me these gentle little squeezes and suddenly I just stopped shaking. He was able to do that our entire life together. There was just something about the way he would hold me that made things alright. I think that's one of the things that's so hard about dealing with him being gone – I just know if he could just hold me for a few minutes even, things would be better.
Last year when we celebrated our 24th Anniversary I told him I wanted to have a party for our 25th. After all it would be our Silver Anniversary and to me that was a big deal! I've given so many birthday parties, surprise parties, anniversary parties for everyone else I really felt it was our turn. It's the only Silver I ever wanted but, it wasn't to be.

Today I may shed tears for the Anniversaries that will never be but also smile for the ones we did share.

For Darrell,

Happy Anniversary my love! I see you in the shadows and hear your voice whispering on the wind. How many chapters must I write to hold all the memories of our walk through this world? Is it really possible to sum up the hours in our lives with mere words? Or must our hearts listen to the sweet music of our souls. Even though I cannot reach out and touch you, somehow I still feel your embrace as we danced to life's tune. I still feel the warmth of your soft kiss upon my forehead, as you so often did. You came into my life so unexpected and unexpectedly you were gone.

“Until death do we Part”, wedding vows taken so long ago, seem unreal to me now. For death does not separate us from love that fills our hearts, it is only a temporary detour in the journey. We all experience bumps and bruises in life as well as moments of pure joy. You and I shared a belief that God had a plan for us and it was through life's trials that we would be prepared for our life together. Our walk was not without it's obstacles, it would be ridiculous for me to say it was, for we both know there were many. But, those obstacles are only small challenges when love stands watch.

So sweet one for now we must say adieu. God has chosen a new path for me and you. But, I will look for you today in the shadows of my heart and listen for you calling me upon the gentle wind. Till we meet again, when God calls me home, I will hold you in my heart and always remember when we walked in this world hand in hand and danced to the music of our love.

Happy Anniversary my sweet one – I will always love you – Forever and a Day.

Please enjoy with me the 4 minute slide show of our wedding day. Please click the double bars on the playlist on the right side before starting the slide show so that the music doesn't interfere with the music in slide show.

Monday, July 12, 2010

...And We Danced - Mr. Popular and The Plain Brown Wrapper

Our First Picture Together
(Wish I was still that skinny - geeze)

Everyone loved to dance with Darrell and I never minded when he would dance with someone else's wife. I have just always been too self conscious to shake my booty the way he did, oh how he loved to get down and do the dirty boogie. I let him have his fun, however, slow songs belonged to me and me alone!

During Darrell's high school days he was quite the “sports jock” and very popular with the girls. Last summer when we went to Minnesota for his 50th class reunion we went to town to do some laundry and a woman came over to him and said: “You're Darrell Kallio aren't you?” When he said he was but didn't recognize her, she responded: “I thought so, my Dad used to talk about you all the time!” So he asked who her dad was and of course he did know him. That was all it took for him to start telling one of his stories about the “olden-golden days of Cook, Minnesota”. I loved listening to his stories, but after the 100th time of hearing them, I would say, “You've told me that story before.” Of course he would ignore that and continue with it once more. I wish he was here right now I'd gladly listen a dozen more times.

When we first started dating I really wondered why he asked me out and not my friend who bowled with me. After all she was drop dead gorgeous and I am more of a plain brown wrapper. As I said before he was Mr. Popular with the girls in his day and even as a middle aged man he had a lot going for him. (Just as a side note – he had a really cute little butt – tee hee.) I asked him once why in the world he would have asked me out in the first place, he clearly could have had his pick. He told me that he saw something else in me that was more important to him. Ahhhhhh – sweet yes? Of course then in his teasing way he added: “Besides that Pat was in front of you so you were the closest one.” To which I told him he was a jerk, ok I probably used a different term than jerk, but I'm not going to write that here. Of course he laughed because once again he got my goat. And then reminded me that he loved me and that was all that really mattered any way.

Life with Darrell was not all romance and candle light. There were some big, big issues that nearly tore our lives apart in more ways than one that I'll share as time goes on. But, one thing that always remained, regardless of the problems, was our deep commitment to each other.

I think it was the sweetness of the music I could hear playing in Darrell's heart that made me want to dance to life's melody with him. His soft and gentle touch on my back kept me safe. In him I found my dwelling place; a place that was warm even in the darkest storm. He was the one who could comfort me in times of trial. Even though our song has ended I can still recall the dance..........

….And We Danced – Will be continued

Sunday, July 11, 2010

...And We Danced - Do you remember your first kiss?

Do you remember the first time you kissed your true love?  Me too!  We were on our second date at a popular Western bar here called “The Sundowner".  It was a fun place; they had a huge dance floor and always a live band. I’m not one to drink alcohol and would be happier with a cup of coffee, but I do remember that that night I had an amaretto and 7-up. The band had been playing a lot of “Alabama’s” songs, one of my favorite bands. During the break we were sitting across from each other. I had both hands on the table when Darrell reached across and took both of them in his. I recall his hands were so warm and we both seemed to be lost in each others eyes. It felt like a scene from a movie, it was one of those sweet moments that you never forget. When the band came back they opened with a Willie Nelson song. Willie was Darrell’s favorite. The song was “You Were Always on My Mind”, nice and slow,  my kind of song.  Darrell slowly twirled me around and then did that triple twirl thing, where they guy goes under the girls arm (I have no idea what you call that.) and then twirls the girl again. It was a slow twirl though and when he brought me back around he looked at me and leaned down and gave me a kiss. And not one of those little peck’y kisses either; this was a soft sweet loving kiss. Oh be still my heart! It seems like yesterday and yet so long ago.

I guess I am glad that I went on that first date after all. I would have missed so much had I said no.
...And We Danced will be continued.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

...And We Danced

I was thinking this morning that if I hadn't gone on that first date with Darrell I wouldn't be feeling so sad today. I wouldn't be missing him and I wouldn't cry every time I say his name or see his picture. I wasn't even sure I wanted to go out with him, but I did think he was pretty cute. I met him at a bowling alley of all places. He bowled on a man's league and I on the women's league. Darrell was a roamer, in other words he was always roaming around visiting with everyone. All evening long you could hear them paging him to return to his lane because it was his turn to bowl.
I was on my way out the door of the bowling alley when he tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I'd like to go to dinner sometime. So I gave him my number but, I didn't really give it much thought. Why I don't know. I guess I didn't really expect him to call for some reason. A few days later when he called I had actually forgotten all about it. We were on the phone for several hours just talking about anything and everything and our first date was the same way. I think that had to be one of the longest dates I've ever been on. He picked me up about seven and we went to dinner. It got a little interesting when we happened to run into his married daughter. Nothing big deal just wasn't expecting it. Darrell was 11 years older then me so it just seemed strange to be on a date with a man with married kids. Especially since, at that time, most women my age were still having babies. After dinner we went dancing. I am no dancer, although I do enjoy it, I'm just a little too self conscious about not looking like an idiot. With Darrell you really didn't need to know how to dance yourself, he was so smooth and with his hand in the small of my back leading me, I felt like I knew what I was doing. We closed the place and then went to breakfast, it's a good thing I-Hop is 24 hours because we sat there for 3 hours talking. We had so many things in common and yet so different. He was so outgoing and I'm more quiet and reserved. At least I'm quiet until you get to know me, then I never shut-up. In fact all the years we were married we would argue over whose turn it was to talk. Darrell was just such a welcoming person that I found him easy to be with and comfortable, so that first date was really special.
From that first date we became inseparable. Literally in just a few weeks we knew we wanted to be together forever. Our first date was towards the end of November and on January 1st he asked me to marry him.
Darrell and I shared a belief that God prepares us for our future through our life experiences. It was to be our time.......
“He felt now that he was not simply close to her,
but that he did not know where he ended and she began."
Author -Leo Tolstoy

To be continued........

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Memorial Service - Snippet

It's hard to believe that soon it will be 7 months
since Darrell's death. I wonder at times if the
feeling that he will be returning soon will ever
leave me. As I sort though and organize our old
photographs he seems so alive that it's hard to fully
believe that he's gone.

I finally worked my way through all the beautiful
photographs that my neighbor, Jan took the day of
Darrell's memorial services. I've put them all in a
book and just completed a 25 minute slide show with
them as well as some old photographs taken through the years

I broke the video down and made a 5 minute snippet
slide show so that I could share it here via Vimeo.

You will want to click on the double bars on the "Playlist"
to turn off my programed music first so that you can

enjoy the music in the slide show.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"Darrell's Park"

The first sign that summer is coming in “Darrell's Park” is the blooming of the crab apple tree. I think it is my favorite with its delicate deep pink blossoms. It's a feast for the eyes to say the least.

Shortly after the crab apple blooms the white blossoms of the cherry tree spread to the top of the house and reminds me of a brides wedding dress. A couple weeks after the blossoms from the cherry tree start to fade the apple tree's begin to show their beauty and soon little apples will begin to appear.
It's good to once again see the green of summer and listen to the sweet music of the birds in the early hours of the morning.

Yard work never has been something that I enjoy doing and I seriously doubt it ever will be. I love planting my flowers and setting up the patio, but when it comes to mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, weeding and all the other things, well forget it is not my thing. Darrell loved it and took great pride in the Kallio park. I can see him walking around with his spray canister of “weed be gone” looking for dandelions (or as my neighbor calls them - “Mothers Flowers”) or thistles to squirt. He went after them like a policeman goes after the bad guy - “take that you dirty sucker – take that!” We had a Labrador retriever for many years, she was his buddy. If he even looked like he was headed for the patio door she was right there with him. I always got a kick out of watching the two of them. She adored chasing after a Frisbee and would drive you crazy until you played with her. When Darrell would mow the lawn she would set her Frisbee right in his path so that he had to stop and pick it up. He would throw it out into the greenbelt so that it would take her a little bit to retrieve it. He would no sooner get going again and there she would be. I hired a neighbors son to mow the lawn for me this summer. Funny how just the sound of the lawn mower brought back so many memories.

I'm fortunate to have incredible neighbors who spent almost an entire day helping me last week. They trimmed all of Darrell's bushes and mowed the lawn. The grass had grown so much that I thought perhaps we would need to rent a bailing machine. With all the rain we've had every thing had gone wild. I'm glad it's all doing so well but it could grow just a little slower. I've just about got the patio finished and today I bought new cushions for my wicker furniture, something Darrell convinced me last year that we didn't need.
Tonight as I sat and enjoyed how beautiful everything is I couldn't help but feel Darrell there with me. So many summer nights we sat on the patio with just a few candles burning
enjoying the coolness of the evening and talking as married people do. I think what I miss the most are those conversation that would last until midnight or later while we watched the moon rise over the house.
I just hope I'm able to keep Darrell's park as beautiful as he always did.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ticktock, ticktock....

Today would have been Darrell's 69th birthday. Please take a moment to join me on my blog "The Ties That Bind" as I reflect on this day. (Click on the link below.)

Happy Birthday Sweetheart! I hope those streets of gold are sparkling extra bright for you today!