Leaving Mike Behind

October 3, 2010

A natural question to us as a family is whether or not we are moving to Australia. Its been 26 years since Kathy left Australia. Having just turned 50, this would be a good time to move and still give opportunity for continuation in our careers or ministry. Akila has just finished her degree, Laura has completed her GCSE’s (on opening the envelope of the results yesterday she discovered to more A’s not B’s which she had been told!). Was that a part of this trip?

A huge issue for Kathy & I at this stage is one that most people over look. It is so hard to think of leaving Mike behind. That is an emotional hurdle not a practical one, which makes it more complex and harder to deal with. We have come a long way but we still have a ways to go. Whilst we know the reality of where Mike is or is not, whilst we would be the first to say that what is in the ground is his decaying body and the head stone is just a piece of granite, we are close and surrounded by memories, beautiful ones.

Kathy and I walked through our park yesterday chatting and mulling over issues. We often use the term “up-rooted” for a dramatic move in someone’s life. When you have a small plant and the root system is small, that is a fairly easy endeavour and more often than not, the plant survives in the “replanting”. A large well established tree is not “up-rooted” and replanted, a cutting is taken and grafted onto another tree. Yes there are some plants that a cutting is taken and it is placed in water for it to reproduce its own root system before being planted.

Last winter and early spring I drastically pruned two of our larger trees as well as shrubs along a border. Its amazing to watch the Oak tree, with large solid branches produce tiny buds and through the summer grow into small branches and develop leaf’s. God has designed a natural order for fruit trees to be pruned in order for more fruit to come. Our prayer and plea with God though Mikes death has been that there is much eternal fruit.

The train is already further down the track and distance between where we were this time last year and today is significant. We continue to wait on the LORD, (in the starting blocks waiting for the gun not lounging around on the couch!), process, seek advice from others and heal. When we no longer view our reality as “leaving Mike behind”, when we shift our emotions to focusing that “Mike has gone on ahead”, then as our friend Barry Kissel once said to us, “the next thing is the natural thing”. 

Sunset in Brisbane

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Back in Carlisle

October 2, 2010

One year ago when we walked through the door of  the house after being away for a week, it was so depressing. The house was quiet, people had gone, the flowers were dead, Mike’s room had to be packed up and on and on. Our minds were chaotic with multiple thoughts, simple became complex, energy was gone.

Within minutes of returning from Australia Kathy and I sit in Mike’s room or the “pool room” as we fondly call it and drink tea. Kathy returns Mike’s teddy dog, RoRo to his shelf after getting many photos of him in Australia.   We love Mike’s room and I sit in my favorite chair. Our minds are not yearning for answers, we have finished all that part of the processing.  Our hearts are at peace. We put on his Ipod and listen to familiar music.

Today as I wake at 05:30, the stars are profound. What a joy to wake and appreciate what we have not what we lost. Kathy and I went to see Mike and tell him we are home! We were surprised that the plot next to him as been filled whilst we were away. Kath and I would often pray for the people who would be buried either side of Mike, knowing that they were alive at that time. We wonder who the person is? How old? I still find great comfort in visiting Mike even though I know his spirit is in Heaven and he cannot hear a thing I say!

Whilst we are sad to leave family and friends in Australia, already miss the warmth of the sun, love the coast line walks and cycles, we are also happy to return to family and friends here. Laura walked into her room to find it decorated by her friends as a welcome home. My friend and work mate Colin kindly picked us up at the airport. Jamie, who had been house and cat sitting, put basic foods in the fridge, mum phoned to welcome us back……..all acts of love and kindness.

One of the by-products of Mike’s death is that we “cease the day”. We continue to find opportunities to celebrate. There is no point in focusing and whining in what we do not have. Yes there is a very big part of us that would love to live in Australia and enjoy the out-door life style, the awesome church life, fantastic wines…… But every day there is a choice to make on what we focus and where we spend our time and resources.

Much has happened in Australia to all four of us and we need time to process. We were exposed to some awesome events &  people and there is much to learn.

Hot Air Ballon Ride For 50th


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