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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Dear Dave,

My blog post for Vicki's GYBP is here; you've until tomorrow, Valentine's Day, 5:00 p.m. to enter for the give away.

"Though other friends walk by your side,
Yet sometimes it must surely be,
They wander where your thoughts have gone
Because I have you here with me.

And when the busy day is done
And work is ended, voices cease
When everyone has said goodnight,
In fading firelight, then in peace

I idly rest: you come to me,
Your dear love holds me close to you.
If I could see you face to face
It would not be more sweet and true."
~ Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909) ~

The grief has become bitter sweetness and Dave, life is, once again, good. Of course, it's been good but now I'm realizing and appreciating in ways I couldn't since you died. It's been three frozen years of winter since your death. Lately though, the sun has shone more brightly, more warmly and the thaw that signifies spring has become a growing part of the landscape and heartscape.

It's an overused word, but what I'm feeling is... hope. Yes, hope although I can't quite put my finger on it, I finally feel hopeful about a future without you. Hopeful about eventually pulling up stakes and moving us, the animals and I, lock, stock and barrel to a new place, a new farm, a new direction. Life is good again, Dave. I watched as you grieved for Cathy and then, finally, began to move forward, to begin a new life in a new place with a new wife. I watched as Aunt Esther grieved for Uncle Clarence for almost forty years but never remarried. I watched as others grieved and moved on more quickly and, through it all I's different for each of us. No one can walk another's path; no one can tell another what to do or how to do it. The best they can do is either listen or say how it was for them...but not judge. Oh but how few actually do; there's a reason gossip sounds snake like.

It takes as long as it takes and that's all right too. Grief is messy, messier than life even and most folks have a problem dealing with grief...theirs or especially someone else's. I learned there are folks who don't know how to be friends: they're in it for the short haul or what they can get out of the friendship or as long as it's good for them. I learned just because someone goes to church or stands in a pulpit doesn't mean they're a Christian or a pastor. So many of those folks are the takers and I learned there are kazillions more of them then there are of givers. The givers tend to be quieter, they send cards or notes, or small rememberances or call or pray. They are the hero's, the warriors who are steadfast and true and, what amazed me totally are frequently not people I'll ever meet this side of the veil! Those are the ones with stars in their crowns, those hero's of me!...who have told can do this, you'll make it, you're doing great. I've learned encourager's are rarely the takers and, almost always, the givers. God bless 'em!

So many have written or telephoned to say they appreciate my honesty in dealing with grief or the posts on the Wife to Widow blog. Honesty is tough, in short supply and not greatly appreciated so when someone says "thanks", it's a huge deal and greatly appreciated. 

So, life is good again, Dave. The ice that has kept my feet and heart frozen in place is thawing and, with God's help, I'm moving forward. I've managed to keep body and soul together. I've helped others, I've learned a lot about taking care of the vehicles, the house, the farm and animals. I've learned a bit about taking care of myself...yes, I'm a slow learner but I remember you used to tell me to "be careful and go slowly because you're the most expensive and important piece of equipment on the farm." I'm laughing's a joyful sound and yes, life is good again. Thank Abba for His gracious and kind gifts.

"I like living. 
I have sometimes been wildly despairing, 
acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all 
I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing."

Blessings ~ this farm ~ winter ~ encouragers ~ Agatha Christie ~ the animals ~ laughter ~ Abba ~


  1. Dear, dear Sandra!

    What a lovely post! I am smiling as I read it. I feel your smile all the way here in Morgantown!!

    Love you bunches, and
    sending big hugs....

  2. What a beautiful letter. And with your hope, I know that there is some for me, though it will be quite a while before I get there. God bless you for the information you have shared. I assembled a widow's notebook, thanks to your wisdom, and it has been a big help in keeping me organized and on track to complete all of the hundreds of tasks associated with settling an estate. It's messy business and has to be done whether your heart is heavy with grief or not.

    I understand completely what you are saying about the givers and takers. I have learned the true nature of my so-called local "friends" in the past year and a half. They are merely casual friends, not good friends. They ran away rather than toward me. So long, I say to their backsides. It's good to know now because I won't waste any more effort on my part when times are tough for them.

    Thank you for keeping it real. Thank you for being YOU. It is a pleasure and a privilege to get to know you, and I look forward to the day that we get to meet in person. God bless...

  3. P.S. You deserve to be happy and proud of how far you have come!

  4. Hi Sandra,
    I haven't been blogging nearly as much as I should. I am glad I came on today and read your beautiful
    letter! Take care of yourself!
    Hugs from me! Linda

  5. lots of hugs being sent to you

  6. Your "missing" is so true. What a relationship you had, so special and close.

  7. Not to parrot others but that truly was a beautiful letter. I've lost so many loved ones since I was 10 years old, I can kinda relate. (Haven't lost a spouse yet but maybe the Lord will be merciful and take me first.) And you ARE the most important "equipment" on the farm. Always remember that. You're so multi-talented that I'd swear you can do anything.
    You're in my prayers. Hope the farm sells soon. Stay safe and warm up there.
    Luv ~:)

  8. A lovely post, Sandra, to your sweet Dave for Valentine's Day.

  9. Hallelujah! Sandra, this is a wonderful testimony. I am so happy to read it.
    Thank you for being real all along the journey you travel. I see God in you in every post. You are a blessing.

  10. I love this. Thank you so much for letting us in on your journey.

  11. I am smiling here too. Because we all one day will experience grief and your honest thoughts gives us all hope that there can be joy again. And memories enjoyed. And I too thank God for His gracious and kind gifts...

  12. Oh Sandra, I am so happy to read this lovely and true letter. Thank you for sharing it.
    Enjoy the thaw :)

  13. Oh Sandra I loved reading that you are laughing again the best. This is a beautiful letter and I think you are doing well. HUGS B

  14. So glad to know that the possibilities of life are once again opening up before you. You are so right that we all grieve differently. I think many people thought I didn't grieve long enough or in the right way. I find that most of my real grieving took place before my husband died and while he was going through so much. His homegoing was such a release and gave me such peace for him. Of course, I had lots of tears (my eyes have permanent bags now!), but I am so blessed to have seven wonderful kids who have helped me through the learning process of how to take care of myself. Bob took care of me for so many years. I didn't even know what I didn't know! :) And most of all I know God is faithful, and those who have gone on ahead are well taken care of. My main focus now is praying for and loving my family, and getting my eyes off of myself so I can see who God may want me to reach out to. As a solitary sort of person this is a challenge, but I want to learn. God bless you, sister! Thanks for a wonderful post!

  15. Dearest Sandra ~ This was a beautiful, heartfelt and uplifting post for widows especially and anyone else who wants to learn about helping widows.

    Grieving is most definitely an individual experience, no right or wrong way.

    Hope grows, hope sheds light, hope gives.

    Thank you dear Sandra for all of your encouraging posts about your very real and sometimes hard life. You have greatly inspired me in my journey of widowhood.

    Happy Valentine's Day to you.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

  16. I am sorry for your lossand yet see such encouragement. Blessings on you.

  17. Darling Sandra,

    This is such a beautifully tender post.

    You write from the heart and it is such a big heart that you have. It is good to read that the time for you has come when you feel able to move forward again and to take on a new adventure in life. Of course, you have realised for some time now that things will never be the same but, it is refreshing to read that you want to face new challenges and feel you have the strength to do it.

    Life is for living. Dave will always be inside you giving his good advice along the way. And you are extremely resourceful, intelligent, generous and kind. This will all serve you well in your new path.

  18. Time to open the curtains and see a new morning. Bless you Sandra.As you say, it is different for each of us.

  19. I am very, very proud of you!

  20. Sandra, I loved reading your post this morning. I am glad that you can see the light at the end of the tunnel that is grief. You are so right that it takes as long as it takes.

    Praying for warm sunny days and a buyer that has the same love for the farm as you and Dave.

  21. Beautiful, loving, truth filled, laughter edged . . . keeper Sandra phrase . . . Letter To Dave . . .
    "It Takes As Long As It Takes."
    (I love hearing some laughter . . .)
    Happy Day my friend . . .
    Sending love, hugs and a plateful of cookies!

  22. This post truly touched my heart. This past December marked my 7th year as a widow and you voiced some of my same feelings. The grief journey is unique for each individual. There are no maps to show us the way, we must navigate through on the best path for US. God BLESS as you continue on your journey. I think your Dave must be very proud of you.

  23. Most of us get the same lessons in life. Different teachers and at different times.

    Some pay attention, some don't, some think they do.


    A hard teacher. And comes many times in our life.

    New each time, and opens the door to all our past times with it......

    Grace in all you've shared during your grief. Thank you. XOT

  24. A lovely post, and I am thankful you are beginning to feel hope. Blessings to you, and I continue to pray for the sale of your farm. xo Deborah

  25. I just left this comment on the wrong post.

    My sister's husband died 2 years ago last week. She lives in western Maine, all by herself. Her closest family is in NY. I'm going to share your blog post with her.

    Thank you for sharing your love letter.

  26. What a moving post my dear! Brought to tears of happiness for you! I will move along with you to wherever your new home will be. Hopefully a little less work on you!

  27. This is such a beautiful post, Sandra! As I began to read, I was filled with such a sense of hope and then you began to write of the hope you are feeling. Having lost my father last May, I have watched my mother travel through widowhood, and have felt such a sense of sadness myself this past year. I see that she is beginning to reach a sense of hope and a sense of self...even though she still misses him so. Your hard journey and your hopeful future is an inspiration to me...xoxo

  28. Dear Sandra
    There is a person named Dave in Heaven who will be smiling now after reading your beautiful letter to him!
    He will be thanking God for His help in getting you to this point.

    Your strength of spirit is an inspiration, not only to those who have lost their dearest one but to all of us, to take the time to care and love our family and friends with all our hearts. To be aware of those who are hurting with grief and to be there for them, to listen and to help them on their journey.
    To greet each day with faith and hope and as a new beginning.
    Healing is a precious gift from God.

    Take care dear Sandra
    Sending much love and hugs for you

  29. ..... it's a beautiful thing. Happy Valentines Day, Sandra.

  30. Oh Sandra, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry -so did a bit of both- reading this post.
    Dear Dave was blessed to have you in his life for the years you shared.
    Life is really bittersweet in so many ways, isn't it?
    I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day-
    xo Diana

  31. The heart-fingers tell so much! They tell the whole story of life and about your LOVE! The winter-ranch with the silent snow tells a lot, tell about a great desire and tell about God's heaven, clear and light....
    Snow: Heavenly snowflakes fly to earth - greetings from Dave -

  32. Dear Sandra, your post is beautiful and I understand getting to a place where you can finally feel happy again. You have come so far and you arrived with God's help to bring you through it.
    You are an inspiration to me and I admire your strength. Continued prayers for you as you look towards the future.
    Blessings always, CM

  33. Dear Sandra, I'm so sorry. My most sincere sympathy to you on your loss. May God bless you as you wend the widow's way. Your sentiments are felt and appreciated.


  34. Bittersweet indeed. I smiled when I read that last bit of advice from Dave, go slowly. Yes, each and everyone must grieve in their own way so that coming out the other side they are able to find hope. Hugs and blessings, Tammy

  35. What a beautiful post and profound metaphor of the frozen but thawing. None of us has a guarantee that we won't be starting down that same path tomorrow or even today. It is a comfort to know that there are brave women like you who've walked it before and are willing to show the way to those who come next. May God bless you.

  36. Even when you feel weak, you are strong because of Jesus. Yes, Jesus loves you! Your words are FULL of hope.

  37. I can[t even begin to imagine the loss you have endured and the grief you have been through each day. Your letter is so raw and beautiful. I am praying for your to continue the strength you show and that your Hope grows abundantly.

  38. Dear Sandra,
    Oh, the view from your window! So beautiful, but I'm also looking forward to the new view from your window when the farm sells and you move to a new home.
    Your letter to Dave is so full of love and wisdom. Having watched you travel the past few (but long) years, you remain an inspiration. Stay warm, hugs from steamy Sydney Australia.

  39. Oh Dear Sandra
    Bless your sweetheart! Keep inspiring us with your love, your strength and your courage.
    I can only imagine how it would be on our property here without my darling partner. It is hard enough to see our dear animals age and depart let alone our nearest and dearest.
    Sending love and hugs not just on Valentine's Day but everyday!

  40. Thank God for ice that thaws. Peace to you. Long haul. Peace to you.

  41. This is a heart-moving and thought-provoking post. I am thankful you have put so many of your deep feelings in a blog for they surely do encourage and uplift many, probably many you'll never know or hear of. Bless you.

  42. Your stubborn strength and tenacity in the midst of overwhelming sorrow has been inspiring to your friends, Sandra. You have shown others that it can be done, even when a great love is lost. I believe that Dave hears you clearly when you speak to him as you did in this post. He knows your heart. Love is eternal. What a comfort that is -- it is stronger than death and outlives it. I'm so glad you are feeling hope and laughter again.


Thank you for visiting Thistle Cove Farm; may God bless you, yours and the work of your hands and heart. My goal is to respond, here, to your comments although it may take a while.

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