December 2, 2012 5:49 PM

Looking back while moving forward....Advent

Looking back.JPG
It was just a month ago that she left us.....but my sense of time and space is greatly changed.  At times it seems like an eternity while in the next moment I am reliving her death as though it just happened.  We were two high hearts forever wanting to bring out the endurance runner in each other. Now I am a widower, single with twelve children, (five with spouses) 13 grandchildren with two more due in Spring and four special needs Boyz to see through the tumult ahead. There are times now, sailing over these dark waters that I understand how easy it is to slip into the Enemy's trap and go over the edge of the world...  Thanks to her, my family, the Church, your prayers, and our merciful Father I can assure you that angels have ministered to me in my dreams and in my daylight hours which have prevented me from going into those dark places....but I need to share some thoughts..

Barbara was faithful to all of you by being completely authentic. That can be messy and uncomfortable for some of us.  In order to be faithful to you and to her memory I believe she would share with you all that she would be going through if it were me who was gone. So,in my limited way I will do my best to chart with you the waters I am navigating.  Please forgive me if you don't feel I am tracking through this quickly enough.  Many folks have told me how happy they are for Barbara being promoted.....that she is in a better place, etc. which of course I agree with theologically and complete faith.....however it doesn't change the fact that she isn't here anymore....we shared everything and now she is not here. Knowing that Barbara is in Heaven does not change how I feel. I'm in process.... Scripture tells us to, "mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice." Perhaps through my sharing with you what I am going through, we will all have a better understanding of how to minister to each other.

I know my Father well enough that He often teaches me through suffering and the process of time.  Sometimes we think that we should show the world how together we are in handlng the death of a loved one and miss what God is teaching us through the process. He has allowed this in my my children's, grand children's, treasured friend's, and your lives for a purpose. I don't want to miss what it is that He wants me to experience and learn.

Barbara gave me a pocket watch in 1987 which she had engraved from Ecclesiastes the words of Solomon...." For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven."  Sophia took it for her "something old" and had it sewn into her wedding dress this last May.  The rest of the wisdom reads...

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
 a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
 a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace......

Our Father knows what we need when we don't know.  He wants us to grow up.  In my sorrow, breaking, and mourning I see in some small way again what our Father saw when we hung His Son on the cross. The first time I felt this was when Jonny almost died for the third time in his first year and I was holding him in my arms at the hospital while he was suffocating from pneumonia. I realized on a heartlevel, (different from head level) that our God feels emotion.  His heart was breaking while we were killing His Son....knowing full well that He would be raising Him for our sake.  

This time in my life for mourning as we begin Advent and the Birth of our Savior brings an unexpected realization.... Barbara's life was a seed...which fell to the ground and died.....and will in turn bear much fruit....

In His grip,

Papa Tripp


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Praying for you and your family Papa Tripp...

Posted by: Barb | December 2, 2012 10:56 PM

I wouldn't expect any less from you papa, except that you share the reality of it all...the good, the bad and the ugly...I personally don't expect you to fly thru this and just be a beacon of light to us....I want to know that you cry, just like I'm doing right now, that you miss her, just like I do, that you are afraid, just like I felt yesterday and today, and that you weep, because although I know God is with me, and he walks with me, and he leads me on green pastures....sometimes all you need is to cry in someone's shoulders, and be human, and humble, and little, and recognize that we can't even take one step alone....that we need not only him, but others to come along side us, and help us thru.
Much love to you!

Posted by: LadyLovas | December 2, 2012 11:14 PM

Dear Papa Tripp,

I find myself commenting just about every time that you have posted on this site. I surely hope that you have not felt any amount of pressure from anyone that you should be going a little faster through this grieving process! (Barely a month, since Barbara passed over to the other side....) I am sure I speak for many that our hearts still feel so heavy for your tremendous loss and we could not assume to fully know what you are going through. Your day-to-day reality has completely changed, even though our Faithful Father is the one constant.

You are so brave, to venture to communicate with this "cyberspace family", that Barbara first reached out to, and was so comfortable to extend her heart to has been so incredibly generous of you, in your grief, to continue to reach out. Please know that we continue to lift you and your precious family up to our Father's throne and please, communicate with us on your do not have to keep the site up, at your wife's pace, by any means....

I am sure I have probably said too much; if so, please forgive me, but please know that you, Tripp, have been a blessing to us, as you are navigating through these uncharted waters of indescribable pain, and you are continually being lifted up in prayer.

So sorry, again....
In Him,

Debbie K.

Posted by: Debbie Kierstead | December 2, 2012 11:40 PM

You have quite a writing gift. May God bless you deeply during Advent. I'm honored to walk alongside you in any capacity that is really possible. Thanks again for reaching out to all of us.

Posted by: Tiffany | December 2, 2012 11:48 PM

Dear Tripp,
What a wonderful post! I feel your pain, loss and grief! I have no judgement, just love and compassion for you and your boys and a deep sense of loss at Barbara's passing.

I find myself returning to this site each day just to see Barbara's picture and to be reminded that she too had difficulties in her life but she always held steadfast to love!

Grief is a journey, one we must sit with and experience all the emotions and memory that come and go.
I am very pleased you are willing and able to share at this difficult time.
You are in my thoughts and prayers. Love to you.....Linda in Dublin, Ireland.

Posted by: Linda McBride | December 3, 2012 6:36 AM

Hugs to you dear Papa Tripp.

Posted by: Tammy | December 3, 2012 8:16 AM

My husband and I have so appreciated your writing, and have prayed for you frequently.

Paul says that, as believers, we don't mourn "as those who have no hope," but that doesn't mean that we don't mourn. And, though Christ is with us in our pain, life is still incredibly painful @ times. Take as long as it takes, although I suspect you will forever miss your soul mate. Hopefully, though,, the memories of her will overshadow the gut-wrenching pain.

"I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living." Psalm 27:13

Posted by: Cathy | December 3, 2012 9:04 AM

Tripp, as others have stated, I also appreciate so much your continuing to post on this blog. We all loved and respected Barbara so much and miss her now. Thank you for giving us this connection to her and to your family. And your grief at this time is entirely appropriate! We each grieve in our own way and at our own pace, but as the Bible tells us, we don't grieve in the same way as those who don't have the hope of Christ. Praise Him for His magnificent love that led Him to sacrifice so that we can spend eternity with Him!! Praying for you and your family.

Posted by: Debbie | December 3, 2012 9:33 AM

Thank you for being authentic with us. I will work to be authentic right back.

I echo the sentiments of those who have already posted. It is such a gift you give us to share your pain, your sorrow...the times that you have felt God holding you up. I went through the grieving process 2 and 3 years ago when I lost first, my Dad and then my Mom. I still grieve.

Your insight into the Father's emotional pain during the Crucifixion is beautiful. And so your insight into Barbara's life this Advent is also beautiful.

Thank you for your writing and sharing and please don't feel obligated to hurry things along. We are here when you want us. You are so right. This is a process for all of us.

With much love and prayer,
Sue from Buffalo

Posted by: Sue from Buffalo | December 3, 2012 2:11 PM

Having been through many close deaths when I was younger I seem to have been able to help some of my friends who have been through close deaths and then begin to feel that they are not on the worlds time line. I think it isn't until a full year is past before the shock wears off , when it has been a sudden death ,and real mourning begins, so try to be careful not to make big changes or decisions if possible for awhile. I still feel shocked every day when I think of her being gone and she didn't know me at all. A Christian couple I knew really celebrated their 18 year old daughters sudden death and put on a joyful face to the world but they seemed really shocky to me for a long time ,I often wondered if they had to go through all that painful awful grief later on anyway. It is an awful awful part of life that God never intended us to go through. If any of this is helpful to you I am glad of it if not just let it go ,find comfort in what words you can.

Posted by: Karen Jones | December 3, 2012 5:15 PM

The last time I spoke to Barbara, she was helping me to mourn the loss of my unborn baby. This Thanksgiving I would have been 20 weeks along and had planned to announce the sex to the family. Instead, there was just emptiness and heartache.

This is not the way it's supposed to be. Our hearts ache not only because of grief, but because deep inside we know that this is not how God originally designed it to be. We long for Him to restore everything to rights, when there will be no more sickness or death or sorrow. But until then, we wait...and grieve.

It was some small comfort to me to know that Barbara is now celebrating this season in Christ's presence with her children that she never got to parent on this earth. I'm sure when she spoke to me about her own lost children she never expected to be reunited with them so soon. And my heart grieves for those who are now left motherless.

One of my favorite books is C.S. Lewis' "A Grief Observed," because of its blunt honesty with no sugar-coating. Faith and hope for the hereafter does not diminish the suffering of the here and now. And though the pain lessons and healing does come, there will always be a scar that shows how deeply we loved...just like Christ's nail-scarred hands in heaven demonstrate. May God hold you and your family close as you grieve, Tripp.

Posted by: Rachel | December 3, 2012 5:47 PM

Tripp, this is a beautiful post. Thank you for being real, for being honest, for sharing your pain, for allowing us to grieve with you and pray for you and your family.

I am still in shock that she is gone. I, too, come here everyday just to look at her face (tears as I type this....). I can only imagine the shock and grief that you and your family feels.

I also want to chime in and encourage you to grieve. Everyone's pace and process is different. She would want you to do nothing less than to be real and honest in all of this.

I wish we lived close enough for my family to hug yours and minister in a physical way, but since we're not we are just praying all the more for your peace....and joy.


Posted by: von | December 3, 2012 7:32 PM

Dear Papa Tripp,

Continuing to pray mercy and comfort and peace and strength to face the day for you and each person in your beautiful family.

Still continue to cry every night as I pray and think of you, of your Boyz, of the aching and missing ....

Thank you for staying in touch with us. Of course, none of us have expectations of you continuing with this. Just so very grateful for these gifts you've given us already. May the Lord lead you and fill you and keep reminding you of His intimate presence. May He comfort and hold you and keep whispering words of strong hope to your heart!!!

Much love and peace to you all!!!

Jenny Fitzgerald
(from Marin Covenant Days)

Posted by: Jenny Fitzgerald | December 4, 2012 12:49 AM

no one can tell you how to grieve. and in the Word it tells us that Jesus wept. even though he knew that in a few moments his friend lazarus would rise from the dead and his friends would be rejoicing. so even though we know that our loved ones are in heaven with Jesus and in a better place, we as christians are allowed to grieve. i appreciate that you have shared your heart with barbara's readers and friends. we love you and are praying for your whole family.

Posted by: beckie | December 4, 2012 9:05 AM

Dear Tripp, You and your family will continue to be in my prayers. Our family of 9 lost our mother when I was 13 and it was excruciatingly painful. Now that I 56 years old I can better understand what my dad must of gone through to lose his wife and also the mother of his seven children, the youngest being 2 and the oldest 19.
I am so sorry well meaning people say hurtful and frankly stupid comments to someone who had lost so much.
May our all knowing Abba Father hold you tight as you live through this sorrowful time, may He send you all the help you need and comfort your children and grandchildren.

Posted by: Lily | December 4, 2012 3:12 PM


I am still holding you and your precious family close in prayer. Sending encouragement in your direction.


Posted by: Becky | December 4, 2012 3:42 PM


I just feel for you. I can't imagine what it is to walk in your shoes. Hang in there your kids need you more than ever. You are one strong man.

I will continue to offer up Holy mass for you!

Posted by: Eileen | December 4, 2012 6:04 PM

You can't rush catches up to you in some form or another. Take your time, find a support group if you think that will help, and be easy on yourself.

Thank you for your transparency.

Years ago I read A Grief Observed, by CS Lewis. I'm not sure if you would find it helpful at this time, but maybe in a few years.

I was elected to my local Republican Committee tonight. Barbara definitely played a role in my getting active in politics.

Posted by: Debra | December 5, 2012 8:09 AM

Dearest Tripp, You are in my thoughts and prays as well as you family. I guess it is at times like theses when we really see what Our Blessed Savior did for us. I've experienced Personal loss myselef I feel the same as you. Our loved one is in a better place but not HERE where you can touch, hold and kiss that special person. Thank you for being so HONEST about your feelings. So many people who are going through deep sorrow don't want to share it. I know you have lots of friends ,but please know I have a shoulder and ears and lots and lots of love. I am also a good this case a good reader..May the season of Advent bring a new sence of Joy and begine to sooth you broken heart...With much love and prayers, Becky Wold

Posted by: Rebecca Wold | December 5, 2012 1:02 PM

Thank you for the updates. I use them as reminders to pray for your family as you navigate these uncharted waters. I am praying that THE ONE who calmed the sea, will give you and your family His peace that goes beyond understanding.

Posted by: Drewe Llyn Jeffcoat | December 6, 2012 7:58 AM

Still mourning her loss......what a great lady. Just read your last 4 or 5 posts. Thanks for sharing with us.

Posted by: Shelley | December 6, 2012 8:44 AM

Tripp, do keep writing. Your tone and thoughts are very different from Barbara's and yet consistent with her blog. Also, look for some professional advice on parlaying the blog into a job for yourself. You have a lot to offer a lot of people in terms of life experiences. I think you can keep Barbara's audience and add to it as well.

My prayers are with you and the family.

Posted by: Cath Young | December 7, 2012 10:27 AM

Please keep writing...Barbara is one of the people I am grieving...It has been a year of grief...I am peeling off another layer, I think...

May the Father hold you close...His love is the one unchanging thing that we hold on to.

Posted by: Lisa | December 7, 2012 11:30 AM

I echo Cath Young's post. I keep coming back every day (sometimes several times a day) to see if there's anything new AND to re-read the archives. There's a wealth of information here and, Tripp, I would love to hear your take on things going on in the world, parenting and your faith.

Posted by: Sue from Buffalo | December 7, 2012 11:38 AM

Dear Tripp,

Thanks for posting. Hopefully it helps your grieving process. Many of us are still checking in to the site because we love you and your family and miss Barbara. Keeping you in our family prayers each day.

God bless.

Posted by: Karen | December 7, 2012 12:02 PM

I feel the same way Cath does and do the same as Sue. I hope you keep up the blog, Tripp, and you are in my prayers. I find myself talking to Barbara and asking her for help as I did when she was here:)

Posted by: Eileen | December 8, 2012 3:19 PM

Just one day at a time Tripp. That's all you an do. (hugs to everyone)

Posted by: Dirtdartwife | December 13, 2012 4:13 PM

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