Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Robb and I had a silly joke between us. About trivets. Really, that's what marriages are made of: silly little nothings that add up to a decade of important somethings.

As you probably know, a trivet is the little doo-dah (an official term) that goes under a hot plate or dish to keep the heat from scalding your table or countertop.

Robb insisted on calling it a trinket.

And I insisted on calling it by its name: trivet.

"Could you hand me a trivet?"

"You mean a trinket?"

"No. I mean a trivet."

"Sure, babe. Here you go. Here's your trinket."

"Thank you for the trivet."



We did this, I kid you not, every single time one of us set the table for dinner. It was a nightly dialogue, a playful banter. The trinket/trivet debate.

One night, he said, "You know, when I'm dead and gone, you'll look at that trinket and smile. You'll remember me, and you'll call it a trinket."

This happened to me last night, almost just as he said.

Except I didn't smile. He was wrong about that part.

Okay, I smiled a little. The gentle, missing kind.

I simply held it in my hands. I stood very still. And I remembered his voice in my head.

There are a million things to miss, and just when I think I've got a handle on one facet of this process, another one smacks me in the face, kicks me in the shins, knocks the wind out of me, or sneaks in a physical assault that I couldn't see coming.

A trivet, of all things.

Last autumn, I read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life. The book is written by Donald Miller, and he tells about his journey to make his life more interesting, to tell a better story.

He writes much about life, intentionality, choices, and adventures great and small. He writes about taking the first step, about continuing when it's hard, and about finishing well.

He writes about living, really living well, and about writing a better story for yourself, "something that leaves a beautiful feeling even as the credits roll."

A great book.

I've since revisited it, as I often do with books I love. I'm not really a re-reader, and I don't watch movies more than once, most typically. But I do love to revisit a book I loved, just as it's fun to remember favorite scenes from a stellar movie. Revisiting a book is like remembering the best things a friend said to me, recalling the highlights of a conversation. Of this, I never tire.

Donald Miller wrote about watching a friend lose his wife, about walking closely alongside him. The man wrote updates to his friends as he sat beside his dying wife, and in her final days, he wrote Update #53.

During this morning, I have been struck with the reality that my wife is not coming back. She will never again sit up and make one of her wisecracks to put me in my place; never laugh with me or respond when asked how long we have been married by saying, "Not long enough." I will never again share her bed, her body; never attend church with her, fly to some faraway city or sit around a dinner table with her and the boys. Regardless of the time left, these things will never again happen. Today I am sad. Very, very sad.

Still, it is consistent to say, may the peace of Christ bless you and keep you. And today, may you hold those in your house close to your body and feel them breathe and take in their remarkable scent and give them your love.

I didn't know Robb was sick, and in some ways that has been a blessing. He was suddenly plucked from our home, with one clean, metaphorical slice of a surgeon's scalpal. We didn't have months to count down, we didn't have to watch him deterioriate; my children have no memories of a sick daddy. He was just gone, in a matter of hours.

There is grief to this that is unspeakable, but there is blessing in it that cannot be understated.

I didn't have to fear losing him; there was no time to wonder how I would do a single day.

And so, I didn't have these final days leading to his goodbye; we lived life to the fullest, to the very, very end. We dated on his very last day. We did.

In these weeks that followed, I have come to the terms that Donald Miller's friend came to: Robb isn't coming back.

He'll never again throw my pillow down the hallway at bedtime, just to start a playful pillow fight. I'll never tag along on his business trip, or greet him with his favorite meal when he comes home. He'll never laugh with me or respond playfully when someone says, "How'd you find your wife?" by answering, "I totally married up. Isn't God's will great?"

He'll never again call it a trinket, just to ruffle my feathers.

He isn't coming back. And today I am sad. Very, very sad.

Still, it is consistent to say, may the peace of Christ bless you and keep you. And today, may you hold those in your house close to your body and feel them breathe and take in their remarkable scent and give them your love.


Deb said...

I'm new to your blog and want to thank you for being so honest and willing to share. It means more than my words can convey.

Amber said...

Once again ~ praying and my hear breaks for you ~

Chelsey said...

I was reading A Million Miles while I began following your blog a few months ago and while going through a hard time, although definitely not as hard as yours. That part stuck with me too.

Your honesty and perspective are encouraging to me each time I read your blog. May the Lord renew your heart every day as you continue to walk with Him through this difficult time.

carolinagirl said...

Your blog is such an encouragement to read. My husband has started to travel with his job and your blog is an honest reminder of what I need to cherish in our marriage! Thank you!

Bliss said...

Yesterday I was so angry about the question you were asked in regards to your wedding rings. It ate at me all day and most of today.
Tonight I read about your "trinket", and your acknowledgement that he's gone. The sadness I feel hearing you say your sad, very sad. I'm sad for you Tricia, very sad. But I'm content in knowing that you are surrounded in God's love and putting all your sadness in him. I'm praying for your family every day and every day I see his goodness in your words.

Claire said...

When Jesus said, "It is finished.", his mission on earth was complete. But it was soon revealed, to those in mourning, that a new beginning had come. How we long for that day of no more tears. May you be comforted in this deep sadness, with moments of precious memories that bring gentle smiles of loving remembrance.

Pati @ A Crafty Escape said...

I followed your comment on my blog over and just read this post. I have tears in my eyes and my heart is hurting for you even though we've never met. You have a wonderful way of expressing how you feel. You will be in my prayers tonight, thank you for sharing. I will cherish the silly games my husband and I play a lot more after reading this.

jenny winstead said...

i hope that you find some peace and comfort in writing all of this down. reading your recollection of very trivial things such as trivets and how important those memories are will be a blessing as your boys grow into men and are able to look back on this time and read through what you have written. your robb is still teaching them things like how to treat a woman, and showing them how much he loved you as long as you can recall some of these moments between the two of you and as well as with your family. so very precious...