Loss, Change, Creaky Knees– “I’ll Take ‘Life’s Inevitabilities’ for $500, Alex.”

I’m kind of a naturally optimistic, glass-half-full kind of person.

That’s not a pat on the back, that’s just the nature I was born with, or maybe inherited– in my family we call this characteristic the “Don Timm ‘Just Happy To Be Here’ Personality.” Charlotte has it, as do several other of my brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews. It’s not like we are constitutionally incapable of feeling morose, or angry, or depressed or fearful. It’s just that we usually don’t stay there too terribly long because our default setting is pretty much “This too shall pass” and “Tomorrow will be better” and “Isn’t it great to be aliiiive?!”

That’s not a bad way to live, most of the time. But what I’ve discovered about myself (can’t speak for the rest of the family) is that when I do sink down into sadness, if I don’t acknowledge it and then take steps to talk or cry or write it out, it has a tendency to hover around my head like a swarm of gnats, or perhaps more accurately, settle around my shoulders like a cloud bank. And I’ve also learned that what seems to trigger that state of mind more than anything else is loss.

I don’t do loss well.

Which kind of sucks, since life is chock full of it! Big or little, permanent or fleeting, natural or unnatural– the one thing I can be guaranteed in this world is that every passing year will bring more loss.

The other bad news about loss is that when I experience one, it seems to trigger the sense-memory of every loss I’ve ever had, which can turn into one giant tsunami of sadness if I don’t get a grip. This time of year is particularly tricky because it is leading up to the anniversary of  Daddy’s death; and even though his passing was peaceful and surrounded by love, I still miss him every day and fervently wish he was still here.

But death isn’t the only way loss manifests itself. Change is a kind of loss, too. It signifies the ending of something– and even if there is something good (or better) that comes as a result, it is still at least temporarily, The End. My natural tendency is to kind of blow past that part and just try to hurry up and embrace the new beginnings, but I’m learning to take some time to mourn those endings, acknowledge the losses, and honor the (normal, predictable and ultimately temporary) sadness that comes with the territory. If I consciously make the effort to do that, it seems to keep those hovering gnats/settling clouds (to mix metaphors– which I do, ALL THE TIME) from taking up residence in my heart.

So with that in mind, here’s the current laundry list of loss/change I’m dealing with, as well as the simultaneous positive side of what these things will eventually bring into my life. If you’re in a “share with the class” kind of mood today, why don’t you leave your own particular list in the comments? I’m not really in misery, but I DO love company!

OK, here goes:

* We’re selling our house and moving an hour away from everything familiar…

BUT– We’ll be starting a new phase of our lives in a wonderful house in one of my favorite little towns. Also, hello, I’ve been wanting to do this for a year!

*The girls are growing up, moving on… Our relationships are changing… I can’t protect them from their own losses and pain… It will never be the way it used to be…

BUT– I get to have a front row seat in the lives of two fascinating, soon-to-be women that I love with all of my heart. They are resilient. We are entering a new phase of our mother/daughters relationship.

*I’m getting older. So is Russ. We have to face the reality of limitations– physically, financially, emotionally… The future feels uncertain…

BUT– We have each other. We’re both still pretty cute. The future has ALWAYS been uncertain, we were just too young and stupid to know that! And God has never failed us yet.

*Sometimes it feels like Mom is already gone– because of her hearing issues, she can’t use the phone and we don’t talk every other day like we used to… I miss her presence, her opinions, and her unflagging interest in whatever was currently going on in my life…

BUT– She’s still here! We can still go visit her, and make her laugh and let her know how much we love her. She is safe and living in a lovely place that she has (for the most part) accepted and appreciates. She still gets (and makes) the jokes!

* Life is too risky. Friendships, pets, people and possibilities can all die right in front of you…

BUT– I might as well embrace the risk, because history has proven over and over again that NEW friendships, pets, people and possibilities are being born every day.

See? Obnoxiously half-full!

OK, your turn. What’s currently on your list?


30 Responses

  1. jonny

    Right now everything is just one massively HUGE uncertain. I can’t even keep up with all the loss, gain and varying degrees of upheaval at this point; truly. I’m also totally clueless as to where it all may be leading. I do try and stick with what I understand my responsibilities may be in Him though: the band, a short film I’m involved with, church, certain people in my life at this point, a new part time job, and this blog; for example. Anyway, thanks for writing about your’s, and looking forward to what others may have to share here as well = )

  2. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Well, sweetheart, even that half-full glass can be hard to swallow every now and then.

    But you couldn’t write a moaning blog if your life depended on it. As I read along, the losses were in tiny print and the hope-for-tomorrow comments immediately followng each one were in bold print.

    Your entire blog listed your many blessings and yelled at the top of their print how significantly you concentrate on them…overshadowing those bumps in the road, as they seem to be called today.

    It’s easy to tell that your secret in life is not dwelling on the negatives but is concentrating on those many blessings. And your key sentence is the answer to the knowledge of how you are able to do it….and it is true: God has never let you down so far and He ain’t gonna start now.

    Gracious, I can see your future right now. With the smell of something nice baking in the oven, made by grandma Tori…I can see grandpa Russ sitting in a rocker, rocking away with two adorable grandchildren…one belonging to Madi and one to Charlotte.

    Now, I’m depressed! Because I’m not gonna live long enough to hear that cd of Lullabys put out by Russ Taff……make it a dvd.

  3. Cynthia

    Ah Tori you guys have oodles to look forward too; like Barbara said, I can hardly wait to hear Russ’ cd of Lullabies.

    It must be something in the air, because I’ve been thinking about endings and beginnings all week as well. I thought maybe it was the season of Lent; one day our Lord was heralded as King w/ palms waving; and crowds singing his praise, then a few days later what seemed like the end of everything to Peter, John and the rest of the Disciples, was really just the beginning of life, the real eternal life we were created for.

    For the past few years I thought, and questioned whether or not I’d lost a precious friend; there had been no real contact for several years, and I missed them so much; so very much, but I was forced by time and space to say “in your time Lord; you know my heart and mind remain the same, in your time, I will always be there for them”. I was thrilled to bits when out of the blue I received a call; to hear that familiar voice, and connect was a true joy to know it was still there. This is what I thought of when you mentioned your mom. And I realized that’s the key; @ least it is for me, my time is not always in line w/ the Father’s, and the creaky knees, and ankles, the hello’s and goodbye’s, be they sad or not, all work to round out our rough edges for the day when we will see all those we love again; and not just for a visit, but for always.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. Cynthia

    Re: the Homes site you sent; all I can say is “I want one”!!!

  5. Barbara M. Lloyd

    Sweet Cynthia…another of God’s children who looks at the glass as half-full…and sometimes even full and brimming over. I suspect this all comes from on the darkest of nights being able to trust in God through it all. Reminds me of that old hymn, “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, than to trust and obey.”

  6. meb

    currently in limbo… finished school, graduated, passed state test, now just waiting on the state fo issue my license. But on the positive side of all that, once I do have my license I have a job that I will be able to start and clients waiting and wanting to see me on a regular basis.

    mourning the loss of a friends father – but he lived a long and love filled life. he will be terrible missed by many, but there are many many memories that will live on in the hearts and minds of those lives he touched.

    readying myself to be a mom to a teenager in just 5 days. all the uncertainty and change that is on the horizon, well you know… but at the same time looking forward to sharing in some of her experiences and seeing life through her eyes.

  7. jonny

    Barbara’s Trust And Obey quote brought one Bible verse to mind, one in which I believe fits in with what’s going on with me personally at the moment; so no, this is not an attempt at preaching to the choir here = )

    Philippians 3:8
    “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ”

    I believe there are various times Christ allows that get me to a place of not knowing my ups from my downs, my gains from my losses, etc. In all this, I believe I grow and develop in my Faith, trust in Him. And the only thing gained when things settle –so to speak– is Him.

  8. sweet lil' redheaded dumbass

    Also: thank you, anti-depressants.

  9. Cynthia

    Oh Barbara, that was one I didn’t have on my playlist. In my house this week it has been Praise & Worship; you can play the same things over and over when you live on your own, I should count “The Boys” (My 2 cats)they give much love and moral support. And if anyone outside this group saw it, they’d say one of two things; either take the high road and tell me, “So you’re eclectic in your choice of music” or “They have doctors and medications for cases like you” Here you go guys any or all guaranteed to help one make a joyful noise to the Lord. – 2nd Chapter Of Acts – Which Way The Wind Blows, The Imperials – New Creation – Live, Steve Brock – The Church Triumphant, John Michael Talbert – Lilies Of The Field, Andrus, Blackwood & Co – A Stones Throw Away, Andrae Crouch – The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power, Nancy Honeytree – Father Lifted Up, The Williams Brothers – At the Cross, Keith Green – To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice, The Imperials –No Shortage, Don Francisco – He’s Alive, Evie – In The Garden, Bessie Griffen – Search Me Lord, John Michael Talbert – I Am The Vine, Keith Green – Oh Lord, You’re Beautiful, 4him – Be Thou My Vision, Andrus, Blackwood & Co – Never Be, Chris Christian – Light At The End Of The Darkness, The Williams Brothers – Yes, Jesus Loves Me, Betty Jean Robinson – Ain’t No Grave, Imperials – Be Still My Soul, The Soul Stirrers – His Eye Is On The Sparrow, and finally, Andrus, Blackwood & Co – I’m Gonna Rise. Yes indeed we will!

  10. jonny

    Wow !! What a great play-list !! = )

  11. tori

    small j: I know that everyone who reads this comment will relate to what you just described… At one time or another, we’ve all faced a time when “everything was just one massive HUGE uncertain”– and it is SO not fun! Glad you are part of this community, and I hope you know how many friends you have here. (And feel free to ‘preach to the choir’ any time you want!)

  12. tori

    Momma Lloyd: First of all– you are such a lovely writer! You can turn a phrase, girl, and you express yourself so well. Secondly, thank you for the encouragement; sometimes I automatically turn to the positive side without even realizing it, but sometimes it is definitely a conscious choice. And lastly, you ain’t going NOWHERE– I’m planning on getting grandma lessons from you when the day comes, not to mention we’re gonna need you to sing back-up vocals on that lullaby album…

  13. tori

    Cynthia: LOVE hearing your story about your renewed friendship. And I agree with jonny, that’s a GREAT playlist– hope you and The Boys have a great Saturday listening to all that good music! (That old house website ROCKS, doesn’t it?! I can get lost there for hours…)

  14. tori

    sweet lil’ redheaded dumbass: That’s the dang truth! Funny how a family tree that contains so many branches of the “Don Timm ‘Just Happy To Be Here’ Temperment” ALSO requires a little chemical intervention to balance it out with the “Menard Artistic Temperment” branches as well!

  15. tori

    meb: Ah, limbo– another one of my least favorite life experiences! I can relate, sweetie. And yes, there are most definitely some upsides to your downsides as you so wisely pointed out– especially that teenager thing… (Turns out it’s not as scary as I thought it would be!)

  16. LindaB

    Oh my goodness——I’m the same way, Tori, only I always see the glass full…..the rest is coming shortly so I just count it as here! My optimism has irritated my family from time to time—-I’m from a family of pessimists! One time, when my Mom was dealing with a crisis, she told me later that she told my brother to call me and let me know the bad news, and he said, “Why bother? She’ll just find something to laugh about and go on!!!” He wanted a real worrier and I didn’t fill the bill! I just can’t see worrying and fretting—–it doesn’t change anything but ruin the present…..and will cause the worrier a lot of health problems and make matters worse. When I look back on my life, I can see the vast majority of the problems we faced worked out just fine. And from a distance, I can see God’s Hand in it all, unpleasant as it was at the time.

    Right now, I am dealing with my dear uncle’s illness….he’s dying of cancer. He’s been a constant in our lives for so long, I just can’t imagine life without him. He was so generous to my sibblings and I—with his time, his money, his love, and support! And now that his time here is short, people are coming out of the woodwork to tell us how he helped them too!

    Seeing him losing the battle with that sinister disease hurts as much as watching my own dad slowly succomb to the same enemy. And I have to admit I’ve been having trouble seeing anything positive about it. But maybe it’s this——Heaven seems closer now……we have so many precious loved ones there waiting for us. Harry’s had rheumatoid arthritis for a couple decades and every move he makes is painful, but soon I believe he can move and run and jump without any pain at all! And I’m sure, if there’s a God in Heaven and His word is true, there’s a fabulous custom built home for Uncle Harry that will make all this suffering down here worth every minute! And his illness has reminded us all to express our love for each other while we have time! And we’ve learned never to take God’s blessings for granted……or forget about them at the first sign of trouble. And on that note, have I told you Tori Taff that I love and appreciate you? Well, I do! And this “family” that meet on your blog regularly—-I love and appreciate them too.

    In a way, Uncle Harry had a hand in our friendship, Tori. He took us to our first gospel music concert at the IMA Auditorium in Flint, Mi. when we were young kids….where we first heard Southern gospel in the heart of the frozen North…..and we loved it! He took all five of us kids, along with Mom and Dad, and bought us a record player and every gospel album we wanted. When a new album came out, he would buy it for us. And I fell in love with Russ Taff and the Imperials. And so on…….

  17. LindaB

    Sorry for the epistle. And yes, you guys ARE still pretty cute!!! LOL

  18. delightedabroad

    Am I passimistic or optimistic? I think to a certain degree it can depend on our own decision: do I work with my sorrows/negative facts or do I decisively seek for things to be grateful for/other points of view. Well, in fact this is what I currently do right in the middle of hard times (when else??). At the moment each day needs its own effort to stay on the positive side. THANK GOD He provides the strength and good friends to step in whenever I seem to get down!

  19. jonny

    Thanks for sharing all that about your Uncle Harry, LB. And yes, he’s been in my prayers !!

  20. jonny

    I have a favor to ask. Over 20 years ago I took care of an infant girl right out of the hospital. Drove her home with her mom, but her mom couldn’t stay with her their first night out. I then spent a great deal of time with her the next couple of years. We were tight = ) Obviously, I have never forgotten her, or the experience of taking care of one that was less than a two days old her first night out of the hospital. Anyway, we connected on facebook a couple of years ago and I found out yesterday, through her older sister, that she up-loaded a video on YouTube of her singing and playing her new-ish Ukulele. It was a real treat to not only hear her ‘adult’ speaking voice for the first time ever, but also to experience her incredible singing voice too = ) I’m now spreading the video around in hopes to get the ‘view count’ up to a few hundred. If you have a few minutes to spare, please check it out = )


  21. jonny
  22. Barbara M. Lloyd

    jonny, I contributed one “look” at your friend’s rendition of “Over the Rainbow.” It was very nice.

    I’ve seen that lady before….in fact, I believe Tori shared several of her brief videos with us at one time. And, I have to agree she is funny.

  23. LindaB

    I LOVE JEANNE ROBERTSON! She’s a riot!

  24. Gramma Jac

    I am notoriously optimistic–except if bungee jumping is involved! LOL!!

  25. jonny

    Thanks so much for the ‘Look’ Barbara; and yes, Tori did introduce me to Jeanne Robertson here at Bloomr’ ! That’s why I shared this one here as well, And how could I not with a post entitled: ““I’ll Take ‘Life’s Inevitabilities’ for $500, Alex.”” = )

  26. fatherabraham

    First on the issue of the glass half empty or half full. I try to be thankful that I even have a glass to be filled. Yes this too shall pass. My list is actually pretty short right now, it too involves moving. First it involves lots and lots of prayer. Second is seeking God’s will, not mine. What I fear most is being out of God’s will. With that said my wife and I are praying for God’s will in weather or not to take up roots and move across country yet alone a couple of hours away. It would mean leaving so much behind, but would on the other end would be what we desire for our family. First would be finding the right job, then being away from my family ( that would be the worst part) until the summer harvest is through, trying to find a home,church,etc. The not knowing the what, where, when is so hard especially as the husband and father, but I rest on passages like Matthew 6:33. For those that don’t know it, here it is. “Seek ye first the kindom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you”.

    P.S. One more thing. If it does happen any time soon I will not be home to make you and Russ my salsa.

  27. Gramma Jac

    jonny, forgot to tell you–I gave her a “look” too–what a sweet voice! (Pretty good on the ukulele too!)

  28. jonny

    Thanks Gramma Jac ! And I agree. Neat thing is she only recently got the Ukulele, but has apparently been enjoying the snot out of it = )

    And Matthew 6:33 is in my top three; along with any verse that warns us not to lean on our own understanding of things. There seem to be so many things in our ‘faith life’ that seem to short cut us from actually sitting at His feet and listening to His voice alone = )

  29. jonny

    Not that I have been anxiously waiting for the day this would happen, but I finally got to see Russ and Tori smooch = )


  30. GracieD

    I understand just what you mean, Tori! I lost my mom four years ago this past December, and still miss her terribly. Knowing I’ll see her again helps tremendously. She lived next door to my hubby and I for the last 11-12 years of her life. I was the youngest and had a very close relationship with my mom. We waited a year to put her house on the market. I prayed daily that God would send good people to buy mom’s house. God is good! We wound up with the best neighbors we could have asked for. God worked things out, and I could not be happier with my new neighbors! I still have “missing mama” days, but God gets me through them. I totally understood what you were saying about your dad, because that is exactly how I feel about my mom. Thanks for being such a blessing, Tori!

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