Pity New Year!

January 1, 2017 | My Jottings

It’s 2017, and like the futuristic movies of decades ago predicted about the 2000s, we are not living on other planets, do not have little space cars to zip us around like The Jetsons, and communication with alien beings has not been established. At least to my knowledge. In spite of this, I do hope 2017 brings you many joys and much answered prayer.

In the grief support group for seniors I’m attending, I keep hearing how the second year of grieving the loss of a spouse is often harder than the first. I wasn’t sure that would be the case with me, because the first year of being without Michael brought such depths of sorrow I couldn’t imagine year two being worse. But I am finding that it’s true. Somehow the second year seems longer, drearier, bleaker, and more real than the first. I don’t know how to explain it well, but I feel it. And in spite of being a very thankful person, I have been awash in pity these last couple of weeks. In a sadly self-focused way, I have been dwelling on all the things Michael used to do in our home and for me, and all the things about his presence I miss. Were there things about Michael that weren’t perfect? Oh yes. And the same with me. I remember some hard times. I think that’s probably true for most people. But he was a man who let the Lord mold and refine him over the years. And I was the blessed recipient of that work.

I miss how he used to get up before me and get all the meds ready for our fosters, start breakfast, make coffee.

I miss how he whistled and sang every morning of his life after coming to Christ, setting the tone for the day in our home.

I miss how after our fosters were safely off to their jobs each morning, he would say, “Let’s go upstairs and read,” and we would sit in this spot with our tea, and read the Bible and pray together.

I miss hearing Michael pray. I can’t think of one person I would have rather had pray for me, because he prayed humbly and fervently, and I believed by listening to Michael pray that God was going to quickly answer those prayers in beautiful ways.

I miss that Michael shoveled the snow and enjoyed doing it.

I miss how after dinner he wanted to sit on the couch and watch a British show together (Foyle’s War, Pride and Prejudice, Doc Martin, Midsomer Murders, to name a few), and he would rub my feet as we watched.

I miss going out to lunch with him each week, and how we used to share the little dolcini desserts at The Olive Garden after our soup and salad meal.

I miss our walks in the Lester Woods and how he knew so many trees and plants and insects.

I miss how he would say nice things about me to our children.

I miss how he used to kiss me almost every time we had to wait in a line at the grocery store.

I miss how hardworking he was, how he provided for our family and took pleasure in his work.

I miss how he loved church, and singing and praising the Lord with other believers.

I miss how much people loved Michael.

I miss how he always smelled good.

I miss how he always believed the best about people.

I miss how he never once in 33 years neglected to thank me or compliment me on the meal I had cooked.

I miss how he told me he felt “twitterpated” when he would see me drive into our driveway after running errands.

I miss what an example he was in never complaining about things.

I miss how birds and animals were drawn to him in remarkable ways.

I miss seeing him refill our bird feeders, and smile when the tiniest chickadee would flutter to the new seeds.

I miss how much he loved his sister Patty. He loved her so much that just to talk about her brought tears to his eyes. I have two brothers who have not truly loved me (in fact have treated me hatefully), and Michael’s tenderness toward his only sibling was a joy to behold.

I loved and miss how forgiving he was. When he forgave, that offense was gone. Forever.

I loved how his voice sounded on the phone, asking me to marry him before we ever met.

I miss keeping company with a man who thought of the troubled young man’s soul who killed Michael’s parents in a terrible car accident, and how Michael went to the jail to visit him and tell him there was hope and love in Jesus. And that he (Michael) ought to know.

I miss his huge, kind eyes, and his smile.

I miss that no one has ever loved me like Michael did. Which says a lot about his strength of character, since at times I’ve been a high-maintenance wife.

I love and miss how rugged and masculine he was — he never apologized for being a hunter, a fisherman, and for his closet full of plaid flannel shirts and torn jeans.

I miss how soft his heart was underneath that ruggedness.

I miss how Michael was never afraid to apologize when needed.

I miss his generosity. I miss him getting excited and seeing the twinkle in his eyes about picking out someone to bless, like the single mother at the grocery store who needed her bill paid anonymously or the harried waitress who needed the $50 tip.

I miss my husband. And I guess I’ve got some pity going on. I know I won’t stay here. But this is the truth today.


  1. Sue raimo says:

    How could you not miss such a large loving presence in your life! I weep with you as I read this. This is sorrow, not pity. I pray that you will be able to extract some sweetness in your pain.

  2. Just Julie says:

    Compassion, empathy, kindness and prayer all in one little message, dear Sue. Your words and friendship are a balm. Thank you. xxxooo

  3. Ganeida says:

    I wish I could just sit with you [preferably not with snow out your window 😀 ] & listen to you tell me about Michael. Just to be. I can’t do hugs on your blog but consider one & some prayers sent your way.

  4. Just Julie says:

    Ganeida, I would like nothing better than what you suggested. And even with the snow, which you would think was beautiful and of no importance since we would be sitting by my fire. And then I would like to just be, and listen to you tell me about all your things. I feel your hug — thank you, friend. xoxo

  5. Mariah says:

    I speak from a position of never having experienced what you are going through, but I would like to say, first that you are very much in my prayers, and secondly, these are such beautiful and precious memories! Thank you for sharing them and opening your heart to us, your readers/friends in such an intimate way (may I call you a friend?…internet relationships are such a new thing and I’m not quite sure how they work!). May you find God’s richest blessings and His peace keep you!

  6. Just Julie says:

    Your words brought tears to my eyes, Mariah. To know someone I haven’t met is praying for me is so humbling and wondrous. Thank you. And I know what you mean about internet friendships — I am glad to be your friend, and to call you mine. Maybe we will have lunch in California some day…. God bless your 2017! xoxo

  7. Diane Aro says:

    Julie – I really only saw Michael a handful of times, but from the first time I met him I could see the goodness in his heart. He was really, really remarkable, and he was made for you. Your loss is huge. I’m so glad you have vivid memories of the details of your marriage….I got teary-eyed reading about the kisses in the grocery store line. Sending you love and prayers for strength for this next year.

  8. Just Julie says:

    So nice to hear from you Diane! Thank you for your love and always wonderful words. Chat soon? xoxo

  9. Nancy says:

    Your recollection brought tears to my eyes. I miss my husband too. I miss the way people always said our names together joined by an &. We were always together. He will always be with you and you will always recall your life together. At least that is what I experience. Love and prayers.

  10. Just Julie says:

    I miss hearing our names together too, Nancy. I’m so glad you experience your husband’s presence in different ways. You have been a blessing to me — I hope you are enjoying Florida! xoxo

  11. Purple Ptincess says:

    Wow!!!! That’s cold….brrrr

  12. Just Julie says:

    It gets old, Sandra. I think I might have a hard time with your heat, though too. I’m getting picky in my old age. 🙂 xoxo

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