I have to say Doug's Celebration of Life was absolutely beautiful! It could not have went any better. I have numerous THANK YOU'S to so many and one of these days I will get that done.
I am going to be very raw, not meaning to hurt anyone or take away from anyone's actions, it is me telling my story.
As I stood in the back of the church Saturday waiting to walk down the isle, I quickly thought where is my dad! See the last time a church was this full and I was walking down the isle, my dad was holding my arm. It was my wedding day, Douglas was standing at the front with the biggest smile as I walked towards him. Now I was walking alone with my girls following, Douglas was at the front and I am sure smiling just as big, but now smiling from heaven.
I walked just as slow as I did on our wedding day, feeling actually as many eyes on me. Not admiring my gorgeous wedding gown, or how my hair was done, but yearning to see how I was holding up, how my girls were doing. The amount of love emitting from each person I could feel piercing my soul. The small bit of anxiousness was being calmed. As we approached the front where we would be sitting, I continued to follow the usher to the stairs. The girls sat down as I placed myself at the podium. Deep breathe, told myself stay strong you can do this. And I began to speak, here is what I spoke:
I knew to honor Douglas I had to speak. I pondered what I would say, I could stand up here all day and tell you what an amazing husband he was to me. I could tell you he was the best dad for my three girls. I have numerous stories I could share about his coaching years.
But as I sat to write I decided it was more than that that I wanted to share. I had things Doug and I had talked about, that if we could we would share.
20 months ago we were faced with the biggest challenge ever. Cancer entered our lives. I remember one of the girls saying, he is going to die, mom cancer means death. I quickly reminded her there are many that out live cancer. Doug and I had decided, we were going to not be defined by the word "cancer". We were not going to let it scare us. Together we were going to fight and when we got knocked down we were going to stand up and continue the fight. See we quickly learned about the beauty cancer brings to your life. Once you are facing what we had been facing, your outlook on life changes. You speak a bit softer, you anger less, you cherish more, and you love on a much deeper level. I can truly say cancer made me fall in love all over and to a level I never imagined.
Adversity stood as a road block in this journey we were on. Instead of becoming weak, or weeping in our sorrows we knew we had choices. So the five of us chose to stand together, to stand firm in our faith and rely on what was to be. We chose to live. We chose to enjoy every day. And we chose to share a smile.
For all the spouses, love each other. Even when they are driving you crazy, stop and remember why you fell in love with them in the first place. Hold their hand more, giggle more, snuggle more and write your own love story.
To all the coaches here today, I would encourage you to re evaluate how you are coaching, ask yourself why you are coaching. Is it for the title "coach", is it for the glory of victory? Or are you coaching to mentor young athletes in the game of life. Are you building character before a "W"? Step back and ask yourself, would you have 90 softballs left on your lawn, with messages, "thanks for not only teaching me softball" , "your laugh and dancing I will cherish", "you were more than a coach", and "thanks for believing in me when no one else did". I always knew Doug coached for the girls!
Athletes that are scattered through this sanctuary, listen to what I have to say. You will face adversity, it will come to you in all kinds of things. Some bigger than others. The beauty of adversity is you have a choice what you want to do with it. I ask you when your adversity hits, remember Coach Corta. Reflect on how he looked adversity in the face and chose to keep going, to push through when it felt like we had no energy, and to fight and to keep fighting!
To my three girls, I love your guts, we will be ok. It will take some time to heal. You girls have way to much of dad in you, he made you as strong as you are. His strength will now strengthen you. Our bond the five of us have is not broken because one went home to Jesus. It only has been made tighter! Love you to the moon and back forever and always!
Love and Blessings to all!
Then I slowly walked to my seat and sat with my girls. The videos we played were put together beautifully. All were gut wrenching, fervent and completely showcased Douglas exquisitely. Pastor Dan honored Doug just as he should be honored. He spoke gracefully and from the heart. Darren, Tom, and Kimber warmed my heart with every word they spoke of Doug. I felt so proud to be his wife. Many tears were shed, and I had pulled myself together to follow the casket out of the church. As quick as the pallbearers walked to the front, my tears began to flow. Here stood the men Doug had chose to help lay him to rest, I could hear our conversation on why he chose each one. What they meant to him, things they had enjoyed together. I was overcome with sadness and tears. I grabbed Bentli's hand and we followed the casket with Z and Demi right behind.
It could not have been a better November day, sun was shining and it was close to 60*. The graveside was quick. I sat there staring at the casket, listening once again to Pastor Dan speaking from his heart, knowing my final goodbye was coming. I had told the girls when Dan was done I was not sitting around. This part I am not so good with, something about in a box, in the ground, outside, cold, I don't handle so well. So as Dan was coming to a close my emotions began build, tears were streaming. Once he finished I stood up next to the casket, said "I love your guts. . . PROMISE!" And bolted, in fact if I could have ran in those heels I would have sprinted to the car.
It was nice to see everyone at the dinner. I love hugs, but wow, I had no idea I would receive that many. I truly felt the love and support by so many. It brought me comfort to see the spectacular support the girls and I were getting.
Then comes the silence!
Family gone home, friends not here. My house had been crazy chaos for the last week, and now it was just the four of us. Sunday I went and sat at Doug's graveside. Took me a coffee and blanket. There I sat the wind blowing and a sense of peace. Funny how I felt complete peace and that is when the tears began to run down my face. Selfish, I felt complete selfishness. All I wanted was him here with me. We together have preached to our girls, selfishness will get you nothing. Life is about being selfless! And here I was being so selfish. I allowed myself to just cry, for 30 minutes I just sat and cried!
The girls are home until after Thanksgiving break, it is nice to have them with me. We planned on spending Thanksgiving serving at the Rescue Mission, but thankfully they are already over staffed.
There is not a day that I don't cry my eyes out. If I could pool my tears and sit in a raft, they would have me raised into the clouds where I could dance with you in heaven one last time. I have never felt heartache the way I feel right now. I have never missed someone the way I miss him. I had no idea sadness could consume your ever being!
Sleep is overrated! Or maybe it is scary! I sleep, well technically I sit until my eyes close, in the chair in the living room, lights stay on, and the tv is going. Most of the time 2:30 or 3:00 am is the last time I look at the clock. Then I'm up around 4:30 or 5:00 am. My mind seems to never shut off, but my energy level is diminished. I hope one day soon I find the desire to do something outside of my home. I guess it is comfort to be here. Plus my eyes leak at times I am not prepared for, so it is easier to be here and have them leak than out and about. I read every text, comment, and messages I get, please know I love reading them and they bring me comfort. There are so many, I just can't seem to respond to them all.
I can honestly say my steadfast in my faith has weakened a bit, trying to understand why The Lord would want this pain on anyone. Don't get me wrong, I know I am not the only one that has faced this. But this is my true self talking. Trust in his plan, yes! Trust he knows what we need, yes! Trust he will be next to us giving us strength, yes! But want to scream from the top of my lungs, yes! Hurt the most imaginable hurt, yes! Complete sadness my girls lost their daddy at such a young age, yes! Believing in time my faith will be strengthened, yes! My hurt will become less, yes! In time joy will enter my life again, yes! But until that time comes I will just be!
I have quickly learned every single person grieves differently. No right or wrong way of doing it. The most comforting words to me are, "I have no words to say!" Followed with a hug. With every word spoken to me I realize comes from love, but words can be portrayed differently in my head than how they sound. I guess that is part of this grieving thing!
I wrote 20 months ago, about our lives being turned upside down and how The Lord reached down and pulled us to our feet. I truly thought that was the hardest moment in this journey. But when you stand together, fighting like hell, believing and trusting, and the end result is not the ending you were planning, your world is turned upside down again. But this time I am struggling to grasp ahold of Christ's hand to pull me to my feet. Not because I don't trust, or I have lost my faith, but because right now as I sit in the pit of sadness, dwelling on my broken heart it is Christ being patient with me. Allowing me to take the time I need before I reach for his hand.
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.
Love and Blessings to all