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Marv passed away six months and fourteen hours ago.

I’m feeling it is time for me to move on. To leave these “grace” related posts on dying and death and move increasingly toward my “new normal.” I don’t mind that expression, although I know some do. They say there will never be another “normal.” But whether or not I like the terminology, it’s a fact that my widowhood life is new, and it is now my normal.

Over the thirteen months I’ve blogged about our cancer experience (some 35 posts), instances of God’s grace showed up in our lives like magic. And that continues. Grace isn’t something that we see or feel just when we’re in trouble; I’m still experiencing those really now and what are the odds events every day, many times more than once. The times when things go right the first time, or the right person shows up in my life, or a phone call comes at just the right time. These multiple instances of “goodness” come to me unbidden and unearned; they are freely given to me by God.

And, just as Marv said, “You’ll do fine,” I’m feeling God is telling me that, too, as opportunities to continue a fulfilling life keep popping up. So, my future blog posts will return to my eclectic topics on what my mind is on that day—on aging, on writing, on traveling, on continuing my adjustment to Sioux Falls, and on more instances of grieving as they occur.

I’m half-way through my fourth (and last) grief group. You may remember I dropped out of two, but I’m sticking with this one to force myself to learn all I can learn. The most useful thing, of course, is to find out we all grieve differently, and that’s okay. I find I’m learning much from fellow group participants, the most salient is that my situation is mild compared with many others. Marv’s was not a sudden death, he was not a young man in his prime, he didn’t leave me in financial arrears, nor did he leave me with little children to raise by myself. He left me sharing his belief that he was okay with God’s calling him home and assuring me I’d be able to handle my life by myself.

I think he’d say I could have a few pity parties, but then he’d wonder why I was wasting the time.

So, looking ahead, I’m planning my year. As Marv wished, I’m hoping to work on a book about our experience. That writing project will be a major endeavor for a year or two. I hope to attend the Iowa Summer Writing Festival again for help as I figure out just what form that will take and then do the multiple revisions along the way.

What else?

There’s always Chicago. For now, I have two friend trips planned yet before summer.

Then there’s some need to recognize that we humans do better with a dose of warmth in the winter, so I’ll follow in the previous path I took with Marv and spend some time in Arizona.

We both have 60th high school reunions this year. Marv wanted me to attend his also, so those out-of-town trips will be fun. And revealing… Who still looks like they did at seventeen?

Family events will call me to Seattle in late spring and early fall and to Michigan in  summer and at Thanksgiving. A friend trip will take me back to Arizona in the fall to take in the red-rocked splendor of Sedona.

After all my quiet now at home, I may be glad to get back as my trips will be filled with everyone’s words tumbling over each other competing to be heard.

Here at home, I’m looking forward to teaching a Writing Health and Illness Stories course for OLLI in the spring term; I offered to teach it a year ago, but Marv’s diagnosis came a day before the due date for the catalog, so, of course, I canceled.

All those things are the extras; with my church and community activities to fill in here at home, I’ll just keep moving forward, holding Marv’s words in mind, “You’ll do fine.” And, at six months, I can truly say, with God’s help, I’m on my way.

Thank you, for coming along.

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