Sunday, March 29, 2009

Going solo

I'll be leaving Båtsfjord in a few minutes and I'll be flying "home" to Tromsø alone. Phoenix and Rio will be staying with Ben, his sister and his mom for the next week while I work. Then I'll fly back for 10 more days before we all drive to Tromsø.

At first I thought this was a fabulous idea- to have a week to myself!!! But now I'm dreading it. With the loss of Ben's dad on my heart (it just digs up all the junk in your life when tragedy occurs), I don't really want to be alone. And although I have friends in Tromsø, I long for my family and friends of old. I'm struggling with trying to be supportive when actually I'm going through some stuff too as a result of Roy's death. I've got the guilties about thinking about myself- how selfish!

I wonder how our future plans will change. Ben is naturally turning to his faith, something which divides us (at least I feel that way). And I just miss being around people who know me. They remind me of who I AM. Because right now I'm just unsure about all that stuff.

I'm going to miss my babies like crazy. One or two nights off from mommyhood would probably have been enough. And Ben and I- we're just not communicating at the moment. What a challeging time! But I trust that we will learn and grown as a result. (Although honestly I just want to curl up in a ball in my bed and not deal with any of this. UGH!)

Praises be to the Lord in all types of weather!

(p.s. won't have the computer all week so I'll post next week.)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The day after

I keep hearing people say "the worst is over", meaning the funeral. But I feel like the worst is just beginning. Family members are already flying out today and now we have to cope with normal everyday life without Roy. I think that is going to be the hardest...going through our daily routines in such a way that we look ok on the outside but holding back tears here and there or lying awake at night thinking about him. (And I mean "we" as in those closest to Roy, not necessarily me. I already see this struggle on Ben's face this morning.)

It was a closed-casket ceremony but the day before family members were allowed to view the body. I didn't feel any need to do this but at the last second, since the boys seemed content with Grandma and the others, I decided to join Ben, his sister and a couple others. I'm so glad I was able to be there for Ben. It was a really strange thing being there. He was dressed in white in a white coffin in a small room with candles and roses. When we walked in he had a white satin cloth over his face that was so dramatically removed once we'd all gathered around the casket. Having seen way too many movies, Ben and I feared he was going to wake up suddenly and grab us or something. But Ben's sister eased everyone's akwardness.

She went right up to her dad's cold, lifeless body and started caressing his hands, his cheeks and running her fingers through his hair. It was so beautiful. It was so loving. That is when I lost it. That is when I realized the magnitude of this loss...losing a parent! Although Ben's sister lives in New York she talked to her dad every single night for at least one hour. She hadn't seen him in many months. Yet she was so thankful just to see his dead body and to have the opportunity to hold him again. The rest of us stayed there about 30 minutes. She was in there with the body for over an hour. In the end Ben was in the parking lot beeping the horn for her to come out!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Home at the Nystads

So we're home in Båtsfjord now, Ben's hometown that is. He and Rio arrived a few days before Phoenix and I. Naturally it is strange to be here without Ben's dad. I guess I would say that everyone is doing alright now. Ben's mom said things got easier once her two children arrived home. There isn't a lot of crying like in the first days but there is still that huge sense of loss lingering in the house.

Ben's dad was one of 10 siblings. They are spread all over Norway and Germany but they will all be arriving for the funeral which is on Tuesday. Many of them are here already and it is great that the house is full of them and others filing in and out. There are lots of stories shared and lots of laughter. On the table is a digital frame constantly displaying images of Roy. I'm so glad that they are celebrating him in this way and not "hiding" everything that reminds them of him.

As for me, I haven't cried a lot. I've never lost anyone really close to me. I cried when Ben told me the news and then I cried when he and Rio left for Båtsfjord. Ben is so curious as to why I haven't cried. Fortunately he doesn't believe that I didn't love his dad. He's just wondering if it my faith or a strength? I'm asking myself the same question.

I guess one reason I haven't cried so much is that I don't feel like it is my place. I want to give my support to those who need it- Ben, his sis and his mom. He was my father-in-law and we lived in different countries most of the time. Again, I just don't feel like it is my place. I mean I don't want any of them comforting me in a time that they really need the comfort. But also, and this is very strange as Ben made clear to me, I just don't fear death. Of course losing someone who you shared life with is terrible but he was a faithful Jehovah's Witness and therefore everyone believes that he is in a good place so I just feel like it is a time to celebrate him, be thankful for the moments that we did share with him and to serve as a reminder that life is short and we better live it to the fullest- for God, for our family or for whatever your deepest cause is. Of course there is an emptiness but in the end I have chosen to believe that God is good and deserves our praise even in pain and emptiness. Arg, am I heartless? Am I overconfident, stupid? Am I not dealing with some issues I have?

It is a very strange time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In memory of

Ben's father, Phoenix and Rio's grandfather, passed away suddenly on March 16.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Back "home" in Norway

Rio sleeping in his stroller while we grilled. 

Norwegians pull their kids behind their skis in these sleds. I so want one!

Our view


Phoenix didn't want to sit next to Mama. He clearly signed "No. Papa." when I tried to sit down!

First the first time in my life, I went "home" (the home of my childhood in Algonquin, Illinois, USA) just for a visit. I've lived in other parts of the world but never for long enough that I would actually go home to visit. So this was a first for rush around trying to see land in a city that is my now my home but yet so temporary. 

My 2 week visit to the US was a whirlwind. I was actually in Chicagoland only one week and spent the other week between Minnesota and Michigan. There was a very sad moment when I realized I couldn't see "everybody" and that made me just want to go home to Norway. If I couldn't see everyone I didn't want to be there. But of course, I'm thankful for the time that I did spend with my family and some friends. 

Now I'm just trying to process it all. I had some great conversations with dear friends that both inspired me and gave me a lot to think about. I love them all and am so grateful for their friendship. 

It was fun to come home to Ben and Phoenix (although on the international flight Rio cried every 30 seconds for about 5 hours!) and know that where ever my husband and kids are is my home.