Finding the New Normal


It has been almost 3 months since you made your journey, Pa. Some days it seems impossible to think you are not still in Burnwell, Ky tending your garden and going about your daily tasks. I’m sure Heaven’s surroundings are still new and adventurous since time is irrelevant there, but our days seem to trudge on without you. Everyone misses you terribly and are still trying to find a new sense of “normal.” Honestly, we know that there is no such thing, but we still try to count our days and move forward. Time is fleeting and we know we will see you again soon, but the huge hole in our hearts is still all too new.

There are days that are easier than others as I have come to realize in losing my own parents. Then, there are the days that seem unbearable and you just go through the motions of everyday living. We all miss you. Each one of us grieve in our own way, and the length of it will be different for each of the family left here without you. Our pain is real and fresh, but the comfort in knowing that your pain is over helps us in our process of grief.

I think the hardest in my household have become the daily phone calls. Our phone still audibly says “call from James Earl” I just haven’t been able to change it yet. The fact that you always tried to prank Hannah on the phone by saying “who is this? Hannah who?” still makes me smile. She misses you just as much as I had always dreaded. She still considers you her best friend that always understood her. We have our moments, not all sad. We sometimes find ourselves giggling over what a great time you are having in Heaven, imagining the yelping you did passing through those pearly gates, finishing your race with courage.

We will continue to miss everything about you. You were always good to me, personally. I will miss helping you with jobs down here, mainly because you never fussed at me. You laughed and said, “we make a pretty good team, Dee” it always made me laugh too. You were the only one that gave me the nickname “Dee” I miss that too. To say that any one of your children, grandchildren or daughter in-laws miss you more than the other would be unjustified. We all miss you and grieve for you in our own way. I will say of all the memories that I have? A simple phone call on a day that I needed it most, came from you.

I had gotten up that morning with a broken spirit that I couldn’t shake. It was one of those days that I missed my parents. I totally felt like an orphan that day. Lost. I felt like someone drifting with no anchor. Out of the blue, you called. I thought you had called to chat with Hannah, but you said you actually called to talk to me. You said that you had the overwhelming unction to call me because I had been on your mind all morning. You asked me if I was okay. Of course I lied and said I was fine. I would later call you and confess that only God knew how much I needed the encouragement. Thank you for being obedient in that. It will always be my most heartfelt memory.

We are all trying to find the “New Normal” some days it goes better than others, but we will continue to try. Our lives will never be the same. We will always feel the void. More often than not, we will continue to mourn our loss, but eventually our good memories will override the sadness. Until then, we will do the best we can, hold on to the good stuff and try to figure it out. Mainly, I hope we learn. Learn how to encourage one another, show compassion when possible, and overlook the things that are not so important. While our hearts remain broken, we also know that one day the pieces will be put back together. We are looking forward to that day that only Heaven can provide.

We are off to riding lessons, Hannah says that riding is different now because  she has no doubt that you are able to see her ride. She finds joy in that thought. Although I have no idea if you can? It’s the little things in our “New Normal” that offers a little glimpse of comfort.

Philippians 4:7   And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.


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