Kallio Memorial Service - Snippet

Our Wedding Day - July 13, 1985

Saturday, January 30, 2010

To Organize or Bust

“Set your mind on the things above,
not on the things that are on earth.
Colossians 3:2.

The mountains of paperwork involved when you loose your spouse is overwhelming to say the least. I've set priorities for the things that I know must be done, like notifying social security and pension plans. But, I'm trying to avoid making big financial decisions until I have removed them from an emotional level to a rational one.

After trying to wade through all of this, I've come to the conclusion that I absolutely must get more organized with all my paperwork. Right now it seems to be flung from one end of the house to the other. So now I've made a mess in every room instead of just my office. I decided instead of wasting the closet space in my spare bedroom that I could set it up to store my office supplies and genealogy work. Then when I'm working on a specific project that I would be able to find it and only have that in front of me. However, the spare closet is full of stuff too. Yes I'm a pack-rat! I have a tub full of old sheets that don't fit any of the beds I currently have. Why? The answer to that is maybe I will need it for something. I'm not sure what exactly that something is though. So they are going on the next donation truck. My work on that closet came to a screeching halt when I found a silly pair of suspenders that belonged to my husband. The suspenders have the Finnish word “sisu” running down the lengths of them. “Sisu” means guts or perseverance. The suspenders were a gift and of course brought back memories of Darrell wearing them and laughing about it. And of course the memory brought on the tears again, so I had to walk away from that project for a bit.

Funny, how we attach so much importance on the tangible things that we can still touch and feel when we can no longer touch the person that the item belonged to. At the end of my bed lays the clothing that Darrell had on when he died. It still carries his scent and when I need to feel him close I smother my face in them. They will remain there until I can totally release him. I did manage to discard some ratty old tennis shoes of his that should have been thrown away long ago, he insisted on keeping them, thinking he would use them when he mowed the lawn. But, to be honest, the day after I put them in the dumpster I almost dug them back out. I was proud of myself when I resisted the temptation.
A couple days ago I finally downloaded the photo's from my digital camera. I had been avoiding it because I knew there were pictures that would include Darrell. It's just so darn hard knowing he won't be in any more pictures. As they appeared on my computer screen it was one of those glad/sad moments when one of the pictures was of Darrell and our grandson. It was such a great moment when our grandson, Tony, received his Black Belt in karate. He had worked so hard for a long time to earn it. Grandpa was really proud of him and thrilled to share the moment. I think you can see in the picture how happy they both were to have this moment to share. The picture was taken just 15 days before Darrell died, hard to believe that someone that looks so healthy in this picture could die so suddenly.

In the end I don't think it's really the material things that we hold onto, but rather the memory that they invoke. There is an old Indian proverb that I like and it says: “We will be known by the tracks we leave behind.”
It's not really the possessions that he left on this earth that are important, but the impressions that he made in our hearts.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


"Stop being perpetually
uneasy (anxious and worried)
about your life."
Matthew 6:25

Evening seems to be the worst time of the day for me right now. For patients in the hospital they call it “sun-downers”, because that is the time of day that they become restless, discontent, and sometimes depressed. I'm not sure what actually causes it. Maybe, it's the dark of the night that brings on a feeling of being alone, or maybe it's the moon affecting our ebbs and tides that throws us off balance. Whatever it is, evening is the time of day that my longing for Darrell is at its strongest. Evening was always the time of day that we would cook dinner together and discuss the day. Sometimes our discussion would become so involved that our dinner would be so overcooked that we would just throw it out and have an egg sandwich instead. My heart keeps thinking he should be coming home soon now, but, my brain knows that he is not. The hope that this is a dream still lingers.

A couple months before Darrell died we decided that we would finally put granite counter tops in our kitchen, something we had talked about doing for years. We had a great time shopping for exactly the right granite and new stove top. This was to be our Christmas present to each other and it was scheduled for installation on the 15th of December. It turned into somewhat of a fiasco getting it installed. I won't bore you with the details of that. I was a little peeved at Darrell for leaving me to deal with this problem alone. In my head I could hear him saying: - “Don't worry about it, it's no big deal – trust me.” The crazy part though was I answered him saying: “Well we'll see if it's no big deal!” In the end it was all taken care of and looks beautiful. I only wish he could have seen it done because we were both so excited about it. For a fleeting moment I thought of taking a picture of it so Darrell could see it, as if he was just out of town. I reprimanded myself and thought: “Now Terri, how are you going to send it to him?” When I told my friend she suggested email, the only trouble is Darrell never did figure out how to turn on the computer. I wonder though what the address might be, maybe, darrell@heaven.com? A little laughter helps.

Monday, January 4, 2010

"Remember that I commanded you
to be strong and brave. Don't be afraid,
beccause the Lord your God will be with you
everywhere you go."
Joshua 1:9

New Year - 2010

I knew this year the Christmas holidays would be difficult. So many reminders and gifts that had been planned by Darrell that would go undone. That in itself was a cause of grief for me. Darrell had planned to make walnut music boxes for each of his daughters this year. He would say, “I just want to make something special for each of my girls this year.” The walnut wood was at the mill being sawed and planed. His plans for each, drawn and re-drawn in his mind. If only the mill had finished their work sooner, maybe he would have completed his gift. But, it was not meant to be, I guess. With no time or energy to go shopping, I tried to find wooden music boxes that might be a replacement, or at least a token of what he wanted for them. I was able to find 3 music boxes that were nice, but, not near as exquisite as what he had planned. The girls and I spent a quiet Christmas together and I was glad to have them close. The grandchildren had fun opening their presents. Their laughter was music to my heart.

Many years ago I had given Darrell a chain for Christmas. To some, it would be just a simple piece of jewelry. But, for us, each link represented the ways and reasons that I loved him. When I closed the clasp, it was my seal of unending love for him. Through the years I would hear him talking with our grandson, Tony, and heard his promise too, that someday the chain would be his. So, this Christmas, I passed the chain of love for my husband on to our grandson. The chain, removed when Darrell died remained open, until I once again closed it around our grandsons neck. I was shaking as I tried to close the clasp and the tears ran down my cheeks. My grandson put his arms around me and together we shared our sadness.

As anyone knows, that has lost a loved one, the holidays are especially hard to cope with. The memories of Christmas past come flooding in, the good memories become sad as you realize you will never share them with that person again. I know that one day the good memories will provide warmth again, but right now they only bring tears for things that will no longer be. It was good to be with the people who are most important to me for Christmas, but I had one more holiday to face. New Years Eve I would have to face alone and I dreaded it.

Darrell and I did not celebrate New Years Eve going to parties or shooting off firecrackers. It was to special for that, because you see that was the day, 25 years ago, that he asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. We would get 2 lobster tails and a small steak. He would cook while I set the table with my best china. I'd dig out the little butter carafes and light the tea lights under them. As he would open the wine I would get my fancy wine glass that we only used on New Years Eve. We would sit at the dining room table with only the candles for light. We would hold our wine glasses up to toast and he would say: “I love you so much, thank you for sharing my life.” Then I would say: “I love you too and I can't imagine sharing a better life with anyone but you.”

There was no lobster, wine, candlelight or my husband to tell me that he loved me, to bring in 2010. A ham sandwich, glass of milk and the television took its place. I did make a promise to myself though. I would try to cry a little less everyday, I would not drowned myself in misery forgetting how to smile again. I would stay faithful to God and pray for his strength and love every day. I promised to only live one day at a time. And, that I would continue to follow my dream that Darrell encouraged me to do. And so 2010 begins the Next Chapter.