Monday, July 15, 2013

So, how ARE you???

It was a joke when we were freshmen at Wheaton College. Small campuses tend to be friendly places and most people greet whomever they pass on the paths. But a discussion arose about insipid greetings like “Hi. How are you?” realizing that the speaker doesn’t have time or interest to stop and get the full answer.

So sometimes, one of us would say, “How are you REALLY?” That indicated the receiver was free to list all of his aches and pains, academic concerns, social activities and etc. As I type, I remember this being a laugh riot….can’t imagine why. I guess you had to be there.

However, I sense this is the unspoken question these days when someone asks me how I’m doing. I generally answer that I’m doing well.

In fact, I’ve been doing so well that I visited a counselor to make sure I’m doing so well. (She says I'm doing well.)  I have been busy, systematic, social, and then exhausted; there hasn’t been much free time to mull. But all college graduates have had just enough psychology to worry: why have I not sunk into a puddle of tears? Where is this ‘hard work of grief’ I read about?

I don’t want to over analyze. Surely, I had some time to grieve while Mike was still with me. But, this man with whom I’ve shared 43 years of my life (met in 1970), is no longer sitting at the table, driving with me in the truck, buzzing up some sawdust in the workshop. But, no tears. Hmmm.

Maybe I needed some time. Maybe I really WAS so busy, and so surrounded by people who love me and keep checking on me. No matter. I felt it was time for a good cry.

So Saturday night, 4 weeks after my love drifted away from me, I sat down to reflect. I pulled up those blog entries from May and June. I had recorded it. I needed to relive it. And the tears came. Those were hard months for Mike and me. 

I also found some photos that Zack took, several days into hospice, when Mike’s friend, Dave Bottomley, dropped by. Who IS that tired-looking woman holding hands with that worn-out man? It is my love and me.

All those toys: Mike had wanted to get them sold before he died. By Saturday of that week, while he was still up a bit, they all were sold. (yet ANOTHER hug from God)

So, now the tears can come.

 I went to church Sunday. We celebrated Communion. In 40 years, I have always shared Communion with my husband. Not Sunday. Oh. And the tears came.

 Then, after church, I sat down to watch the video of Mike’s funeral. Although I attended, I guess I did not concentrate. Now I heard the tributes, the sorrow of friends, the glorious music that looks toward the Lord’s return.

And the tears came.

So, how I am REALLY? Good. REALLY good.


  1. Love you, Lynne Bolinger! Thanks for being you...real and honest...willing to help the rest of us get an inside picture of true grief when God is in it. God used Mike but He's using you as well...thank you, friend:)

  2. Lynne, Every time I read one of the blog entries, yours or Mike's, I was uplifted by the powerful strength you both conveyed. The part for me that I found so inspiring was the ability to stay so positive and interject humor in such difficult times. Think of you daily. TB

  3. Love and hugs, sister .... Janis

  4. Such candid storytelling. Opening up and being vulnerable. I too hate when people ask, "How are you?". Anymore I just say, "horrible", wanting to see if they even notice. But it is a blessing Lynne that you are able to reflect, cry and that you are doing so well. Not sure if I would be able to hold it together. Hard to tell what any of us are capable. You remain in my prayers friend~

  5. HUGS! Thanks for sharing. Still loving and still praying! It's about time for the dinner and/or movie, don't you think? <3

  6. Photograph number 2, wow. Thanks for continuing to share, Lynne.


  7. It took me several weeks to really cry after my husband died. We all grieve in our own way and time. Once you start, it's not easy to quit but it's better than bottling up all your feelings. Sounds like you are doing all the right things.