Baseball, grief, and hope…

As we watch the Rangers in the ALCS, we can’t help but miss Mark.  His big “man chair” sits empty for part of the game, but sooner or later one or two of us cozy up in it.  It just doesn’t seem like he should be gone.  I catch myself thinking that he’s just away in Austin on business, but then in a millisecond my brain and heart remind me that he’s not coming back. 

He loved baseball.  Breathed it, drank it, ate it, could rattle off statistics, starting lineups, pitching rotations, etc.  Andrew has the same love; it’s been hard watching the playoffs without his dad, but I’m trying my best to fill the gap.  I’m certainly not as knowledgeable as his daddy was, but I can hold my own, especially for “a girl.” 

We’re slowly but surely finding our way through this maze of grief.  I know that the best way to honor Mark and his life is to remember how great he was and continue to move forward.  He had faith that I could carry on without him.   He knew that I would put the boys’ welfare and best interests in the forefront, just as he did.  He would want us to live.  He would want us to have fun. And I want that, too, for all three of us. It’s scary being without your best friend and better half standing with you— I may never get used to the extra responsibility, but I’m doing it.  I could not do it without the wonderful support system of friends & family, and the great number of prayers going up for our little family of three. 

When I met him, I was only 22 years old.  I did alot of growing up while married to him.  Most of what I stand for and believe in is due in large part to being his partner for a quarter century.  He led this family in faith and in grace, and he loved these boys more than anything else on this earth.  They are his legacy, a big piece of him that’s living on.  Above everything else, I want them to have as normal a life as possible, even without an earthly dad beside them….and I want them to just be boys.  As I told Andrew shortly after Mark died, “I just need you to be a 9 year old kid….I’ve got the rest.”

I’ve had to make several head of household decisions in the past two months, and that alone, is hard, whenever one is used to having a partner to bounce ideas off of, and discuss the pros and cons.  My sounding board is gone.  Yet another reason for me to put everything in God’s hands and at His feet.  Whether it’s choosing a new electric provider, buying new tires for my car, or purchasing an outdoor shed for all of our extra stuff, it’s all new to me. 

On top of everything else, Ben’s still sick.  His fever, although getting lower, is still not back to normal.  Poor kid, he’s sleeping during the day, his appetite is terrible, and he alternates between hot flashes and cold sweats.  Hoping the fever breaks by Thursday, he’s tired of being at home. Another reason to miss daddy, he was able to use sick time to stay at home if the boys needed him.  What a great dad, huh?  I went off to work while he stayed home and took care of our boys.  Is it any wonder that we miss him?

Tonight, we celebrated the Rangers winning game 4 of the ALCS, the boys are snuggled asleep in bed, and that big chair looks empty once again.  But I know that he is watching over us, and I can feel God’s hands on us in everything that we do. 

And my hands?  Why, they are wide open.  I make sure of it every time I pray, hopeful that God will continue to guide my decisions and fully expecting Him to fulfill Jeremiah 29:11– “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord.  “plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

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