A Year of Firsts

Psalm 65:11

Just over a year ago, I lost the bride of my youth. As I look back over the past year, I am reminded how attentive she was to time.  She would often mark a day by observing, “One year ago today…” then recount some event that was significant.  On the anniversary of her death, I started my morning at her grave, remembering the blessings she brought to my life. Then I embarked on a 1,000 mile motorcycle tour of the Texas coast and its ports. As I rode to  Port Aransas, Rockport, Port O’ Conner, Port LaVaca, Freeport, and all other ports, I recounted the past year – a year of firsts.

This past year, we welcomed new family members. One week after Kimberly’s death, we celebrated my son’s wedding and welcomed his sweet bride, Maddie, as my third daughter. A few weeks later, my oldest daughter met her true love, John. (They will marry next week, and I will become “Big Daddy” to two more grandkids.)

The past year has marked significant events for me personally. In the fall, I was invited to teach a Wednesday night Bible class at our church.  I had not taught in church regularly in over a decade, so it was good to dust off the cobwebs and get back in the saddle. The class was small, but that group of men was deeply encouraging to me. I was also elected as state President of a professional organization. I discovered the duties included a trip to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, so I drove my trusty Dodge across 13 states and 3,000 miles. (Have I mentioned I’m a road trip junky?)

The first Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays without her were a mystery to me. Kimberly had always spearheaded all planning and preparations for menus and activities. That was never my strong suit. I just did what she told me.  My three daughters took all the initiative, but I was a little lost because there was no one telling me to please vacuum, get out the decorations, or go to the store because we’re out of… The empty chair was conspicuous at these family gatherings, and we all shed tears at some point, but we also laughed a lot. It was also during the holidays that the headstone for Kimberly’s grave was finished and set. The rose colored marble with an engraved grand piano was perfect. It was elegantly simple, like her.

In the spring, I was again invited to teach a Wednesday night class. When I showed up for the first meeting, expecting half-a-dozen folks, there were almost 50. I had optimistically provided 15 handouts.  Through the spring, I was overwhelmed as each week the participants devoured the material on Spiritual Warfare (Eph. 6). Each week, time expired and people patiently waited in line to ask me questions or discuss some concept.  I met new friends, which is very difficult for me.  These friends, without exception, have been a blessing in my life.

There was more loss in the past year. In February, I lost my best friend of 25 years when (on his bike at a stop sign) he was struck and killed by another vehicle.  This year’s motorcycle tour was marked by his absence. The coastal tour was one we had discussed for several years but never got to complete.  It was the first extended bike trip I had taken without Kimberly or Terry.

my birthday

We celebrated a year of birthdays: August – Maddie; September – Amber; October – Kimberly and Avery; November – Alyssa; December – me; January – Art, Gran (my mom), Alyssabeth, and AnnaLena;  March – Keith. Unfortunately, I haven’t remembered the dates for John, Allie, and Major. Kimberly always kept up with the birthday list, so I need to get on the ball. This May, we welcomed our newest addition, Adelaide.

I’m not sure why our human brains attach such significance to another trip around the sun, but we do. This year of mixed blessings and a year of firsts has been “crowned with goodness” and our paths have been abundantly blessed. At this point, Kimberly would be reminding me, “One year from today…”


Published in: on June 5, 2018 at 11:17 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Love this pic of you with all the babies! So sweet and full of joy.

  2. We love you!!!🤗

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