Thursday, December 21, 2006

Well it will soon be the day, the big holiday that has always been my favorite. Christmas is just so full of celebration. It's truly different this year. I keep telling myself that it is still worth celebrating and I know it is. In previous years either Carol or I would write a Christmas letter and usually include a family photo and send it to many of our friends and family. I did write a letter this year but only sent it to a few out of town friends.
I do really desire to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and am sorry that I didn't send a greeting card your way. Following is the letter:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 4-7

Dear Friends and Family,

It is my prayer that this Christmas greeting finds you well and enjoying this Holiday season.

This is, without doubt, the hardest Holiday letter I’ve ever written. To write one at all was a difficult decision. I think most of you know what the kids and I have gone through this year. How do we celebrate Christmas and a New Year now? The truth is that the event signified by Christmas is still worth celebrating.

On May 7 of this year Carol left this world and is now celebrating Christmas in Heaven. This happened only 2 months after my Dad passed away. The Bible text above was one of Carol’s favorite passages. In her things I found her written testimony, which was based on this passage. It was a way of living for her. It was also a passage we have turned to several times in the last 7 months. Now I’m looking at it again and seeing the Christmas message in it. Rejoice! The Lord is near! “The Prince of Peace” will give a peace that transcends understanding. It is a message that gives me new hope each day.

We are “surviving”. Amy has moved back home after a 10 month sojourn in Indiana. Actually, she applied for and got Carol’s Children’s Ministry job at Hillside Community Church. It seems to be a real good fit for her.

Sara is in her fourth year at Calvin with one more to go. She is in the nursing program and seems to be really enjoying the pursuit. She had already planned to move home for this year to save some shekels so she is now living at home also.

Matt is attending Community College still trying to determine a course of study that grabs his interest. He has not lost his wonderful sense of humor and is often the one providing the smiles in our group. He is also living at home so, for now, it is the four of us “making a living and doing the best we can”.

Thank you to all of you who have kept us in your thoughts and prayers in this last year. The love and kindness you have shown to us are so deeply appreciated. Please take time this Holiday season to show those close to you how much you love them. With words or deeds, hugs, or whatever, just make sure they know it. We simply can’t take their presence for granted.

May Christ come to you in a special way this year

Fred, Amy, Sara, Matt

Thank you to all of you who have been so supportive in so many ways to us.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I dreamt of Carol just the other night. It was notable because she said she would see me in a month.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A friend e-mailed me this poem that she had found.
Thought I would share it.

If tomorrow starts without me,
And I'm not there to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me;

I wish so much you wouldn't cry
The way you did today,
While thinking of the many things,
We didn't get to say.

I know how much you love me,
As much as I love you,
And each time that you think of me,
I know you'll miss me too;

But when tomorrow starts without me,
Please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name,
And took me by the hand,

And said my place was ready,
In heaven far above,
And that I'd have to leave behind
All those I dearly love.

But as I turned to walk away,
A tear fell from my eye,
For all my life, I'd always thought,
I didn't want to die.

I had so much to live for,
So much left yet to do,
It seemed almost impossible,
That I was leaving you.

I thought of all the yesterdays,
The good ones and the bad,
I thought of all that we shared,
And all the fun we had.

If I could relive yesterday,
Just even for a while,
I'd say good-bye and kiss you
And maybe see you smile.

But then I fully realized,
That this could never be,
For emptiness and memories,
Would take the place of me.

And when I thought of worldly things,
I might miss some tomorrow,
I thought of you, and when I did,
My heart was filled with sorrow.

But when I walked through heaven's gates,
I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and smiled at me,
From His great golden throne,

He said, "This is eternity,
And all I've promised you.
"Today your life on earth is past,
But here life starts anew.

I promise no tomorrow,
But today will always last,
And since each day is the same way,
There's no longing for the past.

So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don't think we're far apart,
For every time you think of me,
I'm right here, in your heart "

-- Author Unknown

Thanks Pat

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Following is a post on a bulletin board web site that I am a member of that expresses some of the pain associated with lossing a spouse. It was written by some one named Sabrina.

"Dear God,
My name is Sabrina. I am sure you have heard of me. I am the woman on earth left with 2 children to raise by myself…alone. You see, a wee bit over 6 months ago, my husband came to live with you for eternity. His name is Chris & I do miss him a lot. He was killed in a car accident in Salisbury, North Carolina on May 3, 2006. He was a very special man as you may already know since you had a reason for taking him to be with you. He was very a very loving, caring, giving man. Great father & husband. Couldn’t have asked for anything better. I guess you already knew all those things though because you sent him to me to begin with. I am really going crazy here on Earth. My heart aches for him every single second of every single day!!! I don’t know how I am going to do this by myself. I really need him here. I love him so much & I know he loves me. The stress is really playing a toll on me. I don’t know how to manage all of this. He was my everything. My life has been turned upside down without him. I need him back real bad. I need him to hold me, touch me, kiss me, talk to me, look at me, hug our children, tell me it’s all a dream. I need my sanity back. He is the reason I am the person I am today. He has always been by my side thru thick & thin. He gave me so much in my life & now it’s all gone. All except these two beautiful children. They miss their daddy real bad too. Heather will not have him to walk her down the isle when she gets married, monitor her boyfriends, teach her how to drive, tell her not to dress so skimpy, show her how to be a tom-boy. Austin will not be taught how to hunt, how to fish, what football team is best, how to work on his own car, how to drive, how to ask a girl on a date. Of course the list goes on & on. You see, God, we really are missing out on a lot. I sure could use him back. I know he has been busy working with you these last few months. I’m not really sure what he’s doing, but I sure could use him back. He has been a good man & didn’t deserve to be taken away from us. Neither did we deserve to have him taken away. He has been a great blessing to our family. We miss him so much. So, my question is could you spare him to come back. I would greatly appreciate your help. It would mean so much to me to have him back. I would never take him or life for granted again. I would spend every single moment possible with him. I would tell him I love him more often. I would be more patient with my children as I wouldn’t be under as much stress. I’m sure he’s doing a fine job up there in heaven but don’t you think you have enough souls already? Couldn’t you just spare this one? If there is something I need to do to get him back, PLEASE let me know. I would do anything in my power to get him back. I think he is needed here really bad…there’s so much unfinished life to live. I’m sure he would love to be here too. Thank you so much for your time & consideration of my letter. I’m sure you will see that I would be very happy if I had Chris back. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I would answer anything or do anything to have him back in my arms again.Yours truly---Sabrina"


Friday, December 01, 2006


It's late Friday night and I thought I would write a thought or two about my evening. Tonight was the Monsma Christmas Party. I have been working for Monsma for fifteen years and have attended every Christmas party with Carol each of those years. Prior to that for fourteen years we attended, together, parties hosted by my former employer. Also for the past several years we attended, together, staff parties for Hillside church where she worked. Anyway tonight was the first such party I attended alone. It was really tough deciding whether or not to even go, but I really did not want to not go. I felt I really should go and I did. It was really strange even just driving there alone. Sure I had the Christmas music on the cd player but there was no conversation. There was no talking about who will drink to much, etc. Just me and my thoughts. The party was at Meijer Gardens again. Carraige rides were again available. The grounds were beautiful with the newly fallen snow. It could have been a very "romantic" evening but not so much when you're alone. I was given special recognition for my fifteen years of service. She would have had the envelope open to check for a possible bonus before we were out of the room.
It went Ok. A few people, other wives mostly, talked to me and asked how the kids and me were doing and letting me know they were still thinking of me. I sure missed Carol again though. I guess this is just another of the hard "firsts" that this holiday season will be full of.
Mostly, I'm glad I went.