I look back at my entry that I wrote the first week the boys left home for their missions and I cannot believe I have come this far. Honestly, when the boys left - I felt like my heart was broken, that there was no light, and the grief was overwhelming - and the crying. I had never cried that much EVER before - and was surprised that my eyes could come up with so much water ;-)
I have grieved before - when my mother passed away - so I recognised how I felt as grief for the loss of a child - not to death - but to adulthood, not to anything terrible - but to something amazing - but grief all the same. I realised pretty early on - that my sons went away as my babies - and when they come back - they will be grown up men, my role as mother shifted to being an advisor when asked ;-) and let's not even talk about the shift once he gets a wife ;-)
So what does it look like - 6 weeks later.... well, for starters I can write this without shedding a tear - and that's progress!
Keeping busy - Organising letters and parcels once a week. Thinking of new ideas or quirky happy ways to collect messages and images has been a fun distraction and I have enjoyed it. Check our my post on parcels and letters - so you can see what I've been up to. I also keep a book that I write a sentence a day and collect an image for the day - so that keeps my creative mind busy... Mr and I also have started a book called "How have I seen the hand of the Lord in our Missionary's lives?" Keep busy otherwise your mind will start counting how many days you have to go!!
Talking to the Mr - This has been the first time that Mr and I have been together alone since we were dating almost 26 years ago this week actually ;-) When we got married, we lived with my solo mother so we had our own space but we were always together with my mother and sometimes my siblings - and now, its just me and him - and I am loving it... It has been different, interesting and kinda nice ;-)
Having fun - Mr and I are trying to do things that we haven't been able to do - and go places that we may not have gone before and we are enjoying it. We are having fun, and for oldies like us - that's something right? We are finding that it is cheaper with just the two of us - so we can go places that we may not have gone before with the children. Recently we have been to a Rugby 7s tournament, and a Rugby League 9's tournament and just the other day we took the day off work to take a visiting cousin to Taupo and Rotorua then Raglan in a day - because - we could! We had an action packed awesome day.
PDays - The MTC has been an amazing experience for the boys and I guess what helps is the power of their testimonies that come through weekly emails and the photos - now those photos made me like a cry baby every time! The first couple of PDays - I was overwhelmed to the point that I didn't go to work. I would have been no good to anyone - crying away at my desk looking at photos and answering emails!! Gradually I made it to work on a couple of PDays - and cried at my desk but still was there and then the last two PDays - I have been fine....I have learnt for myself the power of the PDay and the emails that you get from your missionary. It's like being addicted to your email inbox, and wherever you are - you wait, and wait, and wait.... sometimes you are lucky enough to get a photo - but those emails are precious!! I have never heard my sons tell me they love me so much until now. I have watched them connect with their father and ask his advice about companionships - which has been beautiful to see develop. I have read their testimonies and spiritual experiences and honestly - it is what keeps me going. How could I be sad, and want my sons home - when they were happy, learning, serving, and excited.... my feelings becomes less important -and my focus on their happiness becomes more important!!
Counting - I remember waiting for the sun to come up so I could tick off another day! And the days just dragged on and on and were not moving fast enough. When I stopped counting - and this didn't happen until week 4/5 - the days have just been peeling away! I keep three counters and they all keep ticking over regardless which has been awesome. I mean, here I am in week 6, when I thought, honestly it felt like I was going to die of a broken heart in week 1.
Cry - Don't get me wrong - I haven't stopped crying. I just cry for different things now. Before it was about how sad I was and now - it's more about what I am reading and witnessing in my sons. Their testimonies are amazing!! Their experiences are life-changing. They miss home, they miss me and their father - and hearing that makes me cry. What I have found though is that when I am reading their emails - I tend to get emotional.... because I can hear in their words this powerful testimony, and this love they have of the gospel, but more especially their relationship with Heavenly Father and their Saviour Jesus Christ. I call them my golden tears ;-) I cry more now because I feel what they are saying and love them more everyday.
Support - I have had amazing support - both in person or otherwise. I have joined a Missionary Mommas page on facebook which had hundreds in it when I joined last October and now there is over a thousand members. That amount of missionary mothers is best support system you can have because there is bound to be someone, either here or abroad that has had the exact or similar experience to you. I have non-member and member friends who have been so supportive. I got a blessing from one of my missionarys (their father got one from the other twin) and he mentioned on a number of occasions - to "bless mum to know that she is loved and supported". One day I was crying all the way to work - and feeling that there was no way I was going to get through it!! I walk into my building and there is a dear friend who is waiting to talk with me - so we chat away and then she tells me she may have some tickets to a Rugby League 9s tournament! Out of the blue.... it turned out her tickets were available and she sent them to Mr and I - encouraging us to make new happy memories. I cried again - only this time it was for the love of a friend - not a member of my faith - and still was the answer to my missionary's blessing. I shared this with her and she, in closing says to me - "God bless you!!" (How amazing are my friends!! ;-)
Back to the Basics - When it comes down to it - our missionaries are serving the Lord - so I need to get myself into that frame of mind - and do this by getting back to the basics - reading the scriptures (which Mr and I are trying to do in Spanish ;-)), saying our prayers and fasting. It's a formula my mother gave for every challenge faced - and it always works!
My top tip has got to be not to think too far ahead. I couldn't do this if I concentrated on two years so rather go from PDay to PDay or by weeks and it is working for me!
Until the next time,