These past few days have been crazy as I finish up some private work projects, pack, and prepare to return to Michigan–and that in preparation for my return to Israel.

I don’t know why, but I keep remembering how many times I have flown in and out of the Grand Rapids airport. When Rich was alive, all work related, and once, to visit my friend Judy in Canada. Each time he drove me to the airport and would give me a big hug, walk as far as he could with me, give me a big kiss and tell me to come back, and each time, I came back to his big hug and beautiful smile.

This time I’m coming back… but to leave… leaving behind all he held dear and all I came to hold dear as well…

But for now, I have a bit more than a month to look forward to with friends and family, and good memories. I’d be lying if I said all memories are good… but all memories make up a whole and are precious.

And through it all I am so very conscious of God’s good hand upholding me and gently leading me along a path I never expected. I am realizing that even grief and heartache are not bad. How we seek to avoid engaging with these feelings–at least I know I do. But numbing myself by staying up late until I’m too tired to think or playing games until my mind is blank don’t remove the grief and heartache.

The odd thing is, I am more alive when I let myself feel, when allow the memories to flood my heart and mind, and when I allow the tears to fall. The Bible says that God gathers each of our tears in His bottle… and I suppose each of us… if we dared let it be known, has an awfully big bottle guarded jealously by a loving Father.

And so I wrote this poem as I remembered all the good things God taught me because of Rich…

My Yellow-Red Hat*

You were my perfect fit
Yellow feathers graced in red
Turning me into
one rare bird
singing for all to hear.
But only you heard.

You were my covering
allowing me to be
accepting me as I was
learning to enjoy life all over
the mirror’s reflection changed.
But I couldn’t keep the hat.

Your love taught me–to love.
Your patience taught me–to wait.
Your father’s heart taught me–to pray.
Your gentleness taught me–to listen.
Your absence taught me–to grieve with hope.
You were my yellow-red hat.


*The idea of a yellow-red hat came from a dream I had the night before I wrote this poem. A rather convoluted dream that ended with me wearing a yellow-red hat that I really liked.