Since You’ve Been Gone

Since you’ve been gone, I spend my days with this uneasiness–uneasy because I don’t know if I’m taking care of things the right way; uneasy because I don’t know if I’m grieving properly; uneasy because I don’t know how to live without you. I walk through time in a daze, and the only real emotion I feel is this never-ending, dull, gray, terrible, lonely unease.

I look into their eyes, and they avert theirs. They don’t know what to say, so we sit in awkward silence. I try to talk about you, and they change the subject. As if it hurts them to mention your name. But I need to talk about you. I need to say your name. I need to hear what they remember.

I need to remember; always remember.

Maybe life will get easier with passing time. Maybe they will let me say your name and not freak out. Maybe I will stop feeling guilty because I’m still here and you aren’t. Maybe.

But right now I’m living with this uneasiness.

Centralia, by Mike Dellosso

You awaken from a nap disoriented. Momentarily panicked, you wonder what day it is. What time is it? Is it day or night? After a few moments, the fog lifts in a flood of remembering, and you breathe a sigh of relief.

But what if you woke up into a nightmare of disorientation that didn’t seem to end? In fact, what if every moment you wercentraliae awake, the nightmare of confusion only grew greater?

In Centralia¸ Peter Ryan wakes up in his home, but he can’t seem to find his wife and daughter. A thorough search of his home lends him no clues. In a panic he calls his close friends, only to hear them tell him that his wife and daughter are dead—and have been dead for some time. From that point, Peter’s life becomes a massive man-hunt as he searches for his family while his enemies search for him.

Thus begins Peter’s roller coaster journey through a maze of memories and lies—and memories that are lies. We, the reader, are allowed to join Peter on his quest, only to experience confusion, danger, and Bourn-esque escapades right along with him.

The answers seem almost impossible to find. Peter amazes himself by behaving in ways foreign to his current understanding of who he is. His firm belief that his wife and child are alive drives him forward through the maze of danger and deceit. With only a cryptic hidden note left behind by his daughter, Peter sets his face toward his goal—Centralia.

Will he find the answers to his questions in Centralia? Who can he trust along his journey? What did he do in a life outside his memories that makes him a danger to so many? As you participate in Peter’s journey, you will find the answers along with him as he fights his way toward his destination.

The story is fast-paced, but it is not a quick read. What you discover on this roller-coaster ride fraught with danger is the indomitable spirit of a man who has no memories of who he is or what he is—a man determined to find his family, and in the process discovers WHOSE he is.

Published by Tyndale House

Dear 2014, “Uncle!”

It’s been one of those years where Dave and I have wondered what the Lord is up to for our lives. First, my mom died in January. His mom died in April. A week ago, our dog ran out the door to chase another dog and was stuck by a car and died at the vet’s office. It’s like our hearts begin to heal a little and then they are ripped open again. And we grieved for General like he was a family member. I’m pretty sure the heart doesn’t develop callouses from grief. Scar tissue, maybe. So each new loss is new and fresh and tearing grief. To say the least, it’s been a year we will remember for a very long time.  Just working through it all, trying to sort it out.

January 26

Today at 3:30 pm my mama went to meet Jesus. She is whole and reunited with her mama, her brother, and her beloved Granny. Rest peacefully, mama. We love you.

January 27

Y’all, our mama was a WHOLE lot tougher than anyone imagined. On Thursday, she was using her walker to get around her house, in tremendous pain–as it turns out, she had hairline fractures in her spine, her right femur and her hip, as well as cancer roaring through her bones. She was in the final stages of cancer. Her husband knew what she was experiencing was not the same as other instances, and he took her to the hospital and told them they had to help her. She was diagnosed that evening with bone cancer. Three days after her diagnosis, she was gone. Three days. Wow. I’m still reeling.

Obituary for Annie Muriel Shelton

Annie Muriel Shelton, beloved wife of Harold Bennett Shelton, went to be with the Lord on January 26, 2014, reuniting with her mother, Christine, her brother, Bruce and her beloved granny, Leona. In addition to her husband, Muriel leaves her sister, Beverly Sossamon (Bobby) of Concord. She also leaves her five children: Claudette Wood (Dave) of Winston Salem; Judy McMillian of Charlotte; Tim Bryant of Florida; Veniva Paschal (Kenny) of Lincolnton; and Bruce Bryant (Tetyana) of Mount Airy. She is also survived by nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Muriel loved dancing, roses and all things beautiful. She had many talents, to include cooking, sewing, gardening, and decorating. Services will be held at Crestwood Baptist Church, 530 Motor Road, Winston Salem at 1pm on Friday, January 31. The family will be receiving friends from 12pm until 1pm in the church sanctuary. Entombment will follow at Westlawn Gardens of Memory in Clemmons. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the American Cancer Society. Online condolences can be made at www.hayworth-miller.com.

April 14

Home for the evening. It’s a waiting game now, and truly, only GOD knows when. The wonderful thing is that she does not feel any pain whatsoever and doesn’t know what her body is doing to her. Even so, Lord Jesus…

April 14

Wait over. Another precious soul in heaven.

April 15 · Edited

She was a faithful witness who told her 9-year-old son about Jesus. That boy grew to become one of the most honest-to-the-Word preachers I have ever known. He is also a godly husband, father and grandfather. God bless faithful Christian mothers. She never fully believed how valuable she was. Now you know, Reba, just how much God loves you and how much your family loves you.

WOOD, Rhebba

WOOD WINSTON-SALEM Rhebba Hearn Wood April 23, 1929-April 14, 2014 Rhebba Hearn Wood, 84, of Winston-Salem, NC, passed away Monday, April 14, 2014 at Kate B. Reynolds Hospice Home. Mrs. Wood was born in Lexington, NC, April 23, 1929 to the late William Harvey Hearn and Mary Faggart Hearn. She was the youngest and last surviving child born to this marriage. She was preceded in death by her husband of 52 years, James Gray ‘Bud” Wood in 2003; three brothers, one sister, three half-brothers, and four half-sisters. She was a member of Crestwood Baptist Church and was retired from Western-Electric Co. (Lucent Technologies). She is survived by her son, Rev. David B. Wood (Claudette) of Winston-Salem; her daughter, Lee Ann Chrisco of Kernersville and her friend, Anthony Vogler; a grandson Joshua D. Wood (Melinda) of Pennsylviania; four granddaughters, Jennifer Wood of Winston-Salem, Allison Chrisco Layton (Chris) of Winston-Salem, Ashley Chrisco Marion (Daniel) of Greensboro and Aleah Chrisco of Boone, NC; five great-grandsons, Nathaniel, Philip, Andre Wood, Ian and Owen Layton. Visitation will be at Hayworth-Miller Funeral Chapel on Silas Creek Parkway, Wednesday, April 16, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. The funeral Service will also be at the Hayworth-Miller Chapel on Thursday, April 17 at 11:00 a.m. with Rev. David B. Wood and Rev. Tony Brown officiating. Interment will follow at Parklawn Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Crestwood Baptist Church, 530 Motor Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27105. Online condolences may be made at www.hayworth-miller.com

Judy Harper McMillian – April 26 near Charlotte, NC

“I am standing on the seashore. A ship spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean. I stand watching her until she fades on the horizon, and someone at my side says, “She is gone”. Gone where? The loss of sight is in me, not in her. Just at the moment when someone says, “She is gone,” there are others who are watching her coming. Other voices take up the glad shout, “Here she comes,” and that is dying” ~Henry Scott Holland~

July 7

Please be in prayer for our family today. This morning General saw another dog in our yard and escaped out the front door to chase him away. He succeeded in chasing him across the street, unfortunately, and as he was strutting back showing how proud he was of himself, he was struck by a car and died at the vet’s office. Needless to say, we are all very very upset. Our beautiful General is gone.

It’s been a crappy year. Crappy.

July 8

Tonight makes two nights in a row that Dave and I have gone to bed, only to have sorrow drive us back up. How is it that one little dog could have captured our hearts so? The cumulative effect of losing our mothers, a good church friend, and now General has brought us to a point of grief beyond any we ever thought we would know. How did Job ever make it when he lost all his children in one catastrophic event?

We walk by faith, and by faith we are believing God that this year has some purpose; and that someday we will know and understand. God is good, all the time. Even when life feels crappy.

July 11

Grief is not only found in the quietness of a house or a change of routine. Grief is loud with lamenting; it’s visible in its emptiness. And it is surely always with us once we experience it at its deepest level.

I realize I haven’t lost nearly as much as many folks have. I still have my spouse, my children, my grandchildren, my home. But I am in grief right now and I won’t downplay that grief; because it is real, and it is achy, and it is constant.

I have discovered that sharing the grief one is experiencing is absolutely necessary to being able to breathe each day. It allows healing to begin. It lightens the load on the heart. It’s keeping me sane.

July 23, 2014

I’ve been on Facebook for several years now, and I have a lot of folks on my friend list. Some of you are family. Some are school friends, some are friends from our former churches, and some of you are friends of my kids (now my friend, as well). A whole lot of you are folks I’ve never met face to face, but I still consider you my friends. Heck, I’ve even adopted some of you! You laugh at my silliness, you comment on my pictures, and you play these dumb Facebook games with me.

This year has been particularly rough for my family. In the first seven months of 2014, my husband and I have experienced the deaths of our mothers. This sent us reeling, and in some ways we still haven’t gotten our heads cleared of it all. Two weeks ago, our dog General was struck by a car and died a while later at the vet’s office. Our house is quiet and fairly lonely without General. This is a new grief for me. I’m not normally an animal person, but I loved that General. He was a sweet dog, and actually a perfect pet. My sincere thanks to all who have encouraged us through these life-altering events with your words of love and support, as well as your gifts. I am not the same person I was on January 1, 2014, and I’m waiting to see where God is going to take me through all of this.

I’m also fully aware that I am not the only one who has suffered challenges this year. Many of you have also had a rough year. Old schoolmates are in the season of life where you are losing, or have lost, your parents. Or you are having to make decisions for your parents that they used to make for us. My friends have lost spouses—a mighty grief almost too heavy to hold. Some of you are dealing with special-needs children and struggling to help them find the way to accomplish as much as is possible in their lives. Others have lost their beloved pets, as well. Many are struggling to make ends meet in this very uncertain economy. And the list goes on.

I just want to say thank you. You are all very kind, and I’m glad you are my friends. I only hope I have been half the encouragement to you as you have been to me.
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“Perseverance means more than endurance— more than simply holding on until the end. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, but our Lord continues to stretch and strain, and every once in a while the saint says, “I can’t take any more.” Yet God pays no attention; He goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight, and then He lets the arrow fly. Entrust yourself to God’s hands. Is there something in your life for which you need perseverance right now? Maintain your intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through the perseverance of faith. Proclaim as Job did, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).
~Oswald Chambers~