Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Hallmark Kind of Life...

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I have had so much on my mind lately... and I have wanted to write it down and I figured I would just start typing and see if any of it makes sense once it is out of my head. I am not writing this to get sympathy or comfort from others... I write these postings so that my thoughts are written down and so that those who read it can understand me a little better...
if they want to.

My mom and I have been hooked on watching Hallmark movies lately. I have always loved them, but it wasn't until these past few years that I have really paid close attention to just how many of them have the same theme to them. You would think that a Hallmark kind of life would be just like a Hallmark greeting card... perfect in every way and is just the way you hope it to be. But, Hallmark movies usually aren't like that throughout... until the end. In fact, a while back I never would have thought of my life as a Hallmark kind of life, but now I realize that my life is smack dab right in the beginning and middle of what a Hallmark movie really is; the grief, the sorrow, the pain, the working toward overcoming the hardships in one's path...
I just haven't experienced the END of a Hallmark movie yet.

Most of the Hallmark movies we have been watching on the Hallmark Channel are love stories. Those love stories usually go something like this: some sort of a love triangle where there is a couple that is already together and a single guy or gal who is a better fit than the one in the current relationship. Somehow, they usually get it all figured out by the end of the show... realizing that they are with the wrong person, and they end up with that other person who just happens to be perfect for them. A lot of those love stories are about someone who is divorced who is trying to find happiness again... and A LOT, more than you would think actually, are about a widow or a widower.

I have been completely caught off guard since Aaron passed away at the number of Hallmark movies, actually movies in general, that have a story line about a widow or a widower. Someone who has lost their spouse who is trying to find love again or just trying to navigate through their grief and figure out how to live life without their husband or wife. I notice more now that I am in that situation.

Right after Aaron passed away, my Aunt and my cousin Mindy came to see me at my parents' house. They had a movie to give to me. It was a Hallmark movie that they both loved... and I guess it now reminded them of me. Well, when they handed it to me, I had no idea just how much it would hit home.

It is called 'Love Comes Softly'... (spoiler alert). I am not sure when I ended up watching it with my parents and Aaron Jr, but it was pretty soon after they gave it to us. It was a movie set back in horse and wagon times. It was about a young couple, Aaron (1st time it hit home) and Marty, who are heading west to begin a new life together. Her husband, Aaron, is killed in a horse accident (2nd time it hit home), and Marty was left alone in a place she didn't know. With winter approaching, there would be no wagon trains leaving to head back east where her family was until spring, so she was stuck there without a home. A widower named Clark, who had a daughter, came to her with a proposal. He told her that he would marry her so that she had a place to live through the winter, if she would help him with his daughter... and if she still wanted to go back east in the spring, he would pay her way back. Well, in those months together, she realized she was pregnant with her husband Aaron's baby. She had the baby while she was with Clark and she named him Aaron Jr (3rd time it hit close to home).

I guess I won't spoil the end by telling whether or not they ended up together... but I will say this. Once I saw that movie, I realized how much I hoped to meet a wonderful man who was a widower and fall in love and get married. I just figure that we would be able to understand what each other has been through and be able to be patient with each other in ways that someone else might not understand. I am not saying I know the future and I am meant to marry a widower... but it sure would be a little less complicated. The movie 'Love Comes Softly' brought me to tears many times because it brought emotions that were real to me, but I sure did love that movie and I am grateful to my Aunt and cousin for giving it to us.

I have been trying so hard lately to 'be of good cheer' like I talked about in y Christmas posting. I really have been trying to find JOY in simple places and to be cheerful and happy in everyday life even if life is not what I have hoped for or expected. I really have been trying... and even succeeding some of the time.
But I have been struggling lately, so it has been more difficult for me to look outside of myself... I have felt a little selfish and I have been experiencing feelings of jealousy more than I ever have in my life. I have been feeling jealousy about the things that I do not have in my life... jealousy towards those people who do have those things that I want in my life. I say 'things', but it is actually regarding the people that they have in their lives... women who have husbands, moms who have CHILDREN. I've said it on here way more than one time how much I want to have a family... a family consisting of a Mom (me), a Dad, and CHILDREN. As Aaron Jr gets older, he asks more and more about having brothers and sisters... and it breaks my heart. Also, the older he gets, the more I panic that he will not have a sibling close in age to him... if ever.

I am also getting older. I was 30 when Aaron passed away, and now I am 34. I will turn 35 this year and at this point in my life, I always imagined myself having 5, 6, 7, 8... kids. I have never put a number on how many kids I wanted because I only ever knew that I wanted however many kids were waiting to come to our family. I never wanted to put a number on it and limit what the Lord has in store for me as a mother. Whenever someone has asked me throughout my life how many kids I wanted, I always gave the same answer... I want as many kids that are supposed to be mine... but I did hope it was a lot. So yes... I am jealous. Jealous of people having babies because I am wanting more so badly. I probably sound like a broken record sometimes, but I am so sad that Aaron Jr is not getting to experience a real, true blue family life. Some of my fondest memories EVER are memories made with my brothers and sisters doing every day things on the farm we lived on... creating our own fun... together. I just know that I am simply not enough to fill up the life that I want for Aaron Jr. But I guess for now I have to try to figure out how to be enough.

Like I have said before... I am in a grieving period right now over something more than just missing my husband. I am grieving the unfulfilled dreams I have hoped for throughout my whole life. These dreams are all I ever wanted out of life... to be the loving wife of a loving husband, and the loving mother to lots of children. This is not meant to take away the gratitude I feel that I am so blessed to have Aaron Jr... he is everything to me... but the grieving I feel over these unfulfilled dreams... it is real sorrow and real heartache. Like I heard in a movie recently, I am grieving over relationships with a husband and children who I have never even met yet.

My mother in law called me today to let me know that they were home from their trip to Hawaii. They had gone with some close friends of theirs and she told me that she and her friend were talking about me while they were on their trip. She shared with me that they were both crying as they talked about me and how lonely they know I must be. They talked about how this time of my life is supposed to be the best years of my life... the best family years with a husband and young children around me. She told me how much she wants that for me.

I think one of the things that is adding to some of my difficulties lately is knowing that my parents are leaving soon. I mentioned in my Christmas Festivities posting that my parents have received another mission call to serve a mission for our church. They are leaving in about a week and a half... and they will be gone a year or more. The first time they served a mission, Aaron was here and I had my own little growing family around me to take care of. I missed them while they were gone, but I had a home with my family. Nowadays, my parent's house is where Aaron Jr and I go each day when we are feeling lonely and want to be in a place where we feel at home with people that we love. Hence the many, many, many Hallmark movies that my parents and I and Aaron Jr have been watching together. ;) But once they leave, that will be gone. It will be so lonely while they are gone...

BUT... I have been trying to look at the positive side of it and I have been trying to see this coming year as an opportunity. An opportunity to use that lonely time to try to get out more and meet people. I am not a very social person... I do not do well in situations where I don't know anyone... but I am going to pray for guidance and strength to help me go outside of my comfort zone and figure out what the Lord has in store for me. My sister in law and I kept saying today that this is my year (I have hopes for it anyway). I want something big to happen in our lives this year. I want my Hallmark kind of life to get to the end of the movie, the part where the girl gets the guy or the guy gets the girl and the movie ends with the rest of their lives still ahead of them to find JOY together.
I am ready for my Hallmark ending... so that the life I truly want for Aaron Jr and for myself can begin.

I pray for it... I hope for it... I need it.

So please bless...

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Mindy said...

Love you, Leslie. I hope you get that Hallmark ending too. I understand to a small degree what you mean by grieving over unfulfilled dreams. I remember with each of my miscarriages mourning that the most... the dreams, and future with that little person. I still pray for you. I hope you feel His comfort.

Marianne said...

I read your blog often and enjoy it very much. I don't usually comment but this time I felt I should. I am much older than you and I became a widow later in life than you (in my 40's) but also with a child still at home (a young teenager). Even with these differences, I can see such similarities to you. I, too, am not a social person and did not go out of my way to meet men or have new experiences. I do not have a large family and my parents had gone on to glory before my husband passed away... Well, all this to say, now in my 60's I so wish I'd had the courage to live life back then as you are wanting to do now! I depend too much on my daughter and she is wonderful to me, but I hate that she spends so much of her prime years worrying about me. So I encourage you to do everything you can to put yourself out there, you are a beautiful and vibrant young lady, so go for it ALL, girl! Don't be like me, in your later years, wishing you'd done life differently! Get that Hallmark ending!

Tawnie said...

Hey Les. You're the bomb. Love you.

Gilbert Gardener said...

I heard somewhere "The most painful state of being is remembering a hoped for future lost."
It applies to so much of the loss and grief that comes with life. That you are willing to share your process shows your strength and hope.
A hallmark ending is there for you.
Wait for it.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Marianne. Although I am sure it is much easier said than done, PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE! You are beautiful, talented, loving, smart and in short, you are the whole package. Keep praying, you will be directed. Take that leap of faith and GO FOR IT! :) Any man would be LUCKY to have you! Believe it. achieve it.

Rebecca Adams said...

I am sure you will get your Hallmark ending! :) I am a strong believer that things happen when the time is right...the Lord's time. I totally understand about jealousy, especially seeing others with children. I wish I could have just one. Sometimes I think that I just need to pass on to the next life to be with my children since they apparently don't want to come to me here on earth. Life is SO hard some days, but all things happen in the Lord's timing. We just need to keep faith and trust in the Lord. I know...easier said than done. I know the Lord knows your struggles. I think about you constantly, as well as others who are struggling. I just always want everyone to be happy because it helps me to be happy during my hard times. I love you, Leslie! I'm just so grateful for the knowledge we have of the Gospel and that we can be with our families for Eternity!

Anonymous said...

Leslie, I met my husband 8 years ago on LDSSingles.com. I would recommend it to anyone. I had to weed through a lot of toads to find my prince, and it wasn't a step I took lightly. But I had lost my fiance in a car accident years before and I had not been ready to move on until I was at your stage -- wanting to be a wife to a husband and have children. My brother's best friend had met his (now) wife on LDS Singles and he told me about it. He "dared" me (like a brother can) and since I was in law school, offered to pay for a 6 months subscription. After praying about it, I called him up and took him up on it. I met my husband less than 6 days before my subscription would have cancelled -- I was not going to renew. Heavenly Father guided me to my sweet husband and I am not 34 (turning 35 this year) and expecting my 3rd biological child and the 5th child I raise full time. I can't guarantee you will find the right guy on LDSSingles.com, but Leslie, you are guaranteed NOT to find him on this site if you don't try. We are friends on facebook and I will ping you so you know who I am. But, like my brother did for me, I will buy you a 6 month membership if you want to try. I mean it completely.

Please give it some thought. My friend, Polly Oveson (can't remember her married name) met her husband on LDSSingles.com as well. She is pregnant with her second son.

(I promise, I own no stock in LDSSingles!)

Scott and Andrea said...

I hope you have a storybook year. There are blessings that come from parents serving missions, and they come in all different shapes and forms. We aren't far and would love to have visitors. I read the comments on the side of Aaron Jr. tonight, made me laugh! thanks for sharing.

Kari said...

Leslie, I have never posted a comment here and for that I apologize, I read often. I want you to know that I am always in awe of you and your strength. I root for you an Aaron Jr and am inspired each time I read a post. This time I felt I had to leave you a comment. I read this post several days ago, it brought tears to my eyes. The next night I was watching The Golden Girls (lol) on Lifetime, I was half paying attention to the channel because I was getting my daughter to bed and then started homework. After I finished a movie was on....I started to watch. It started sounding familiar to me. I hit guide and it was 'Love Comes Softly'. How ironic was that?! I watched the whole thing. Very sweet movie...brought tears to my eyes. I just wanted you to know that I do hope you get your Hallmark ending....and I know you will.


cynphil6 said...

I love the movie, too. In fact, I bought the whole series. I pray that your prayers will be answered, and your heart will be filled with peace.

kerianne said...

I'm sorry, Les... I know how hard this has been for you. Its so difficult to let go of our "plans" and accept Heavenly Father's. I know without a doubt that you'll get your happy ending... but my wish for you is to learn to be happy NOW. Reading that last sentence about 'waiting for your life to begin' breaks my heart. This is your life... and although its obviously not your ideal, its really good. Don't waste it! Instead of focusing on what you DON'T have, be grateful for everything you DO (insert long list here). Teach Aaron that even if he wishes for siblings, he can still be happy without them! And have faith that good things are to come.
You are such a strong and amazing person. I hate watching you sell yourself short.

Anonymous said...

You are smart.
You are loving.
You are funny.
You are beautiful inside and out.

You need to make your own Hallmark ending.

It will be a ripper.

Take a deep breath. And begin.



Nancy said...

In the movies how does she meet the second man? I'm sure it isn't watching Hallmark movies on the couch.
Maybe your parents leaving is a blessing that will force you from comfort?
I will pray for it to happen too, you are a beautiful and wonderful woman and mom and some man would be very lucky to have you.