Gathering My Thoughts


I find myself:

::noticing God's glory

There are two new trees on my front porch, awaiting some nice big holes. Mike’s studio sent us a crape myrtle and a dogwood to be planted. I’ve always wanted those two trees! I’m looking forward to getting them in the ground.

::listening to 

soccer sounds. I’m at the fields again while Nick plays. Familiar sounds of happy boys. Music, really.

::clothing myself in 

For the funeral, my boys all wore their wedding suits. A couple of them had to be let out several inches each. There was something incredibly powerful about looking down the pew at five boys dressed alike, five profiles so very much the same. Like arrows in a quiver…


::talking with my children about these books

The Mysterious Benedict Society! Oh my gracious, what a great book! Nick, Stephen, and I listened to it all the way to New Jersey and all the way back last week. Highly, highly recommended.

::thinking and thinking

About death and grief and legacy and blessing. I will never look at grief and mourning the same way again. I will never assume that my presence at a wake or a funeral is insignificant. I noticed every single person who came to grieve with us and I sincerely appreciated each one. This came as a surprise to me, no big lover of crowds. With each person, we were given a little piece of memory and not one was insignificant. I cannot overstate how much their presence meant to me. From a young age, Catholics are taught that burying the dead is a corporal work of mercy. Now, I fully understand why.

::pondering prayerfully

I’d love to tell you that it’s Scripture that has run through my head this week, but it’s not. At least not consistently. Instead, it’s Bette Midler.

Did you ever know that you’re my hero,

And everything I would like to be?

I can fly higher than eagle,

For you are the wind beneath my wings.


It might have appeared to go unnoticed,

But I’ve got it all here in my heart.

I want you to know the truth, of course I know it.

I would be nothing without you.

Thank you, thank you

Thank God for you, the wind beneath my wings.


Everything I would like to be. Amen.

::carefully cultivating rhythm

We’ve certainly lost our rhythm. Even the very basic stuff of life like sleep. Until last night, every night was interrupted by a child calling out in the night. Some of them were not so very small. If we can just restore sleep, I’m hopeful that the rest of rhythm will find us, too.

::creating by hand

I had a long talk with Ginny this morning about a Honey Cowl. Yarn is ordered. I still have sleeves to knit on my baby sweater and a sleeve for Karoline’s Tiny Tea Leaves, but that cowl will happen sooner than later, mark my words. Besides, sleeves scare me.


::learning lessons in

What’s really important. Careful readers will recognize that I was struggling a bit before my father-in-law died, just trying to resolve some things that have long troubled me. The loss of someone very close, together with a studied reflection of his life—very well lived—have made some of those puzzles of last month seem easy to solve. These days have been wracked with grief, but I sense certain peace in our not-too-distant future.

::encouraging learning 

Math. In an effort to regain our routine, I have insisted on math. Today, we will pull the books for “E” Week, though I don’t think we finished D. I just can’t go back that way. Better to move forward.

::begging prayers

for the repose of the soul of Eldo Merlin Foss, beloved husband, father, and grandfather.

::keeping house

My sweet sister is sending a cleaning lady at the end of the week. Incredibly thoughtful gift.

::crafting in the kitchen 

Hilary brought us lasagna on Monday. My sister sent an abundance of Chinese food on Tuesday. Kristin brought a million bagels the morning of the funeral. My mom sent sushi the night of the funeral. That’s all we ate all week. Everyone survived.

For Monday Night Football this week, Nick made Manhattan-style clam chowder. Back in the saddle. We’re getting there.

::loving the moments

when I catch his eye and know he’s remembering the same thing I am.


::giving thanks 

for friends:

::the one who received my urgent text on Sunday and prayed me home from the tournament. Neither of us knew what I was driving into and neither of us knew what Mike was already facing, but God did and His grace was sufficient.

::the one who prayed while I wrote

::the one who is too pregnant to move, but willingly sits and listens to me ramble on and on, while I try to make sense of the jumble in my brain.

::the old friends who picked up right where we left off and came to be with my family, to remember, and to comfort us with their presence.

::far-flung friends who have prayed for us and sent words of solace.

::my sister-in-law’s friends, who provided food for strangers and loved our tribe well.

::Mary Beth’s friend Molly, who sat with me for hours and sifted through years of photo memories. Sometimes friends are more than friends and when they are, they are Molly.

::Patrick’s friend, Zach, who was there with Granddad the last time my children saw him, was there on Sunday afternoon when Mike shared the news that he was gone, drove Patrick back to school, and then came home with Patrick for the funeral. Together with my boys, Zach carried my father-in-law on Saturday. We are grateful for Zach’s strength.

::my sister, the oldest friend I have. She has an uncanny knack for knowing when I’m at my absolute lowest and calling just then. Her support this past week has meant the world to me.

::living the liturgy

There is a beauty to living liturgy, a beauty that reveals itself in moments of sorrow. Planning the funeral Mass was a source of great comfort. Celebrating that Mass in community with people dear to us is a gift that defies words. God is very good.


::planning for the week ahead

We are going to put one foot in front of the other this week, trying to restore rhythm, stopping to soothe sad hearts, tending to the business at hand.

Tomorrow is Mary Beth’s 17th birthday.

On Saturday, Stephen will play in the State Cup Final Four in Richmond. Mary Beth will go to a homecoming dance.

Life will go on.