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My skin is pale, and I fluctuate between clamminess and chilling. My eyes burn from sobbing all week. And, my mind flutters from one random thought to another.

I didn’t realize just what a constant companion my dog had been, what a source of comfort he was in the emptiness that is now my life. Not until he was gone. My walks down the driveway are lonely now, and I’m almost frightened by the strange silence of the forest. I sit quietly at the dining table, correcting the kids’ schoolwork, and stare out at the ugly, dirty gray concrete where a large black dog with a white diamond on his barrel chest once sat and smiled at me.

Today was our first meeting with the new teacher, and it went well. I think he will help me, come along side me, and assist me in raising men out of these boys. He definitely does not seem like the kind of teacher who will ever enable rebellion, laziness, and cheating. He approached us at swim lessons tonight and visited for a bit, asking a lot of questions. That made me nervous. I feared his potential judgment, but it didn’t seem to come.

My 6 year old is required to research and write a short report and then present it orally by next week. I feel it is horribly premature and is just another example of what’s wrong with our American public school system. (Don’t worry; I won’t even get started on that.) The child is just learning to write sentences. Let’s learn to crawl before we try to run. But, it’s required, so I’m doing the best I can and helping J do the best he can. His teacher suggested something J is particularly interested in, such as airplanes, and J bit at that like a hungry pit bull.

He wanted to study and write on bombers. I struggled at first. I have absolutely no interest in war machines. But, then, I found that golden nugget that piqued my interest. Apparently it was a connection my boys had already vaguely made. My dad was a Blue Shark, and that is a squadron with an interesting history. As I read the old Naval news reports and the bogus bits of cover up that were widely released, I recognized the stories my dad told shortly before he died–the stories he’d never shared until then. I, too, became enthralled and was able to help J brainstorm ideas for his poster board.

J had been nearly despondent earlier in the morning and could not even tell his teacher his full name or the months of the year. He said that he was just sad today. However, as he learned more about his beloved Papa and cut out pictures printed from the internet and snapshots of Papa from the early 1950’s, he awoke from his melancholy. The pride swelled within him and shoved the pain aside.  He searched his toy airplane collection tonight for one similar to a P2V to play with in the bathtub.  And, yes, he can now aptly describe the peculiar characteristics of a P2V bomber.

The kids have visitation with their dad this weekend, and I almost can’t bear the thought of it.  I feel like I’m losing my babies.  J actually wants to go, and he has convinced D to stay, too.  She doesn’t want to but will do anything if J is doing it and promises to stay by her side.  R and E are trying to be positive about it for the sake of the little ones.  I worry that J is succumbing to big R’s manipulative ploys and will be led over to the dark side or, worse yet, lay himself and his sister vulnerable to the horrible abuse.  I should be glad that they aren’t filled with dread, but I’m not.  I feel slightly defeated.

Tonight at the Y I answered the teacher’s questions about the kids and our background.  Toward the end he asked me how I am dealing with all of the loss and change.  I admitted that I bawl.  A lot.  I take long showers and stand there in the hot mist, bawling, where the children can’t see or hear my weakness.  I didn’t tell him I blog.  I bawl and I blog.  And, I cannot see past the loss and change.

The Bible says that hope deferred makes the heart sick.  On a deeper, more honest level I guess that’s how I’ve handled the loss and change.  I’ve given up hope and allowed my heart to become sick.

This is my Job season.  I’ve lost those I love.  I realistically may even lose my children, unless the Lord intervenes quickly.  I’ve lost my animals.  I’ve lost my health.  I’ve lost my belongings and any claim to an inheritance   And, now I’m sitting in the ash heap feeling sorry for myself.  (Though I’m not cutting.)  I know that God is God, and He may do anything He pleases and His ways are above our ways.  I’m not doubting Him or His greatness.  I just don’t understand why some seem ordained for suffering.

So, I’ll finish up my blog this evening, unable to bawl in front of the children.  I’ll go get J and his airplanes out of the tub.  I’ll smile at the children and read to them.  Then, I’ll lay my tired, sore, old body down on my bed to listen to the steady, rhythmic heartbeat of the alarm clock until it’s time to get up and get ready for work. Then, I’ll bawl in the shower for a good long time before I put on another fake smile and go clean someone’s toilet.

Sometimes I wish ash heaps were a part of our culture as they were the ancient Israelites’.  I wish I could just take the time to wallow in my self-pity, dressed in sackcloth, while I wait for the Lord to move on my behalf and bring about another change in my life, perhaps a positive one this time.