I was poking around online the other day, waiting for my sister to call so we could discuss bus schedules for her planned trip to visit in August. I wasn't thinking about much of anything, but I came across a photo of a couple in winter at what looked like Jenny Lake. The picture caught me unaware, and I just started crying. I don't really know why; I'm not even sure it was Jenny Lake.

I've been very cautious in what I look at since he died; pictures are so powerful. And that particular trip was so very special for both of us. He got to meet Tom Mangelsen, and talk to him. He'd admired Mr. Mangelsen and his work for many years, and on that trip we were blessed to be able to acquire some of his photographs. He'd sit in the hallway and look at them for hours, until I guess he couldn't really see them any more. He never told me at what point that may have happened, but looking back I understand that he eventually could not see them except in his memory.

It could be that I am finally mourning some of what was lost, besides his presence. It's the possibilities - all the places we planned to go that will not happen. He so loved to travel, and now I've lost my traveling companion. Yes, I've taken several trips since he died, but at the end of all of them were family members. I'm not in any way belittling family; they are part of what has helped me through this last almost ten months. But we liked to take off in a general direction with reservations only at the beginning and the end of the trip. We had no idea where we might go in between, or who we might meet. I don't know anyone else of my family or friends who is free to do things like that. I'm not even sure if I am.

The trip in September is looming closer. I got an email today that the agenda is set for the conference, and I have the flights, the car and the rooms all booked. I am so very thankful for my friend and her willingness to go with me - it was on this mandatory trip last year that my husband died. She is helping me make new memories. We are not staying at the hotel where my husband and I stayed for the past two years, and she and I are going to do different things than my husband and I did. And before we even go to that, my cousin is taking nearly a week away from her own family and coming to be with me over my husband's birthday. I don't know what I'm doing on September 29th, but I will be doing something. I'm doing the best I can to keep from being blindsided by grief, and then things like that picture happen.

It's things like that which make me understand that even though most of the time I think I'm doing okay, I am not done with this grieving process. I know there's no timetable for stuff like this, and for someone like me who really likes to know the whens and the whys and the wherefores of things, it's disconcerting. The good thing is,it makes me lean more on Jesus. He will never leave me alone, ever. And He sends people to help. I am really glad that my husband is there with Him; that he's well and whole and healed and with his Lord. And really, since he has gone, I have grown closer to Jesus myself. That's a really good thing.

So even though I don't like being blindsided, I am grateful for the opportunity to draw closer to my Savior. His word says He draws closer to me when I do. And that is worth the pain and the tears.


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