Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Sky Is Still Up

So you may have been wondering what has been happening with the Booths since Janie died on May 8th, three weeks ago today. First of all, we are doing ok. We're going to be alright! God is holding the Booths right under his wing, like a mother hen with its chicks in the storm.

There are really only two times that I miss Janie: day time and night time. Yes, we all miss her, but I can't begin to describe how happy we are that she is not suffering any more...and beyond that, the thought of her being in the very presence of Christ is just intoxicating when I let myself imagine it.

Anyway, it has been a very busy three weeks! Here's a summary:

The Memorial Celebration for Janie on May 15 was amazing. It was full of life and energy and sunshine and MUSIC! Oh, the singing was so great, and of course that is what Janie had said she wanted: great, joyful Christ exalting music, played not at dirge-speed but at Janie-speed (read: warp-speed..not really, but it was fun to type). She also had requested that
everyone wear colorful clothing which was great and everyone looked fantastic. And lastly (for now - I plan to tell the full story later), she also requested that chocolate be served at any reception we might put on...which we were only too happy to oblige! My teeth are still aching. Thanks so much, too, to those of you who made the long drive to was great to see you and I appreciate the sacrifice of your time, especially on a Saturday.

Inexplicably, life has gone on since then. I had thought that everything stopped and the sky fell and the world ended when someone you love dies. Yet here we are. The sky is still 'up:' bills need to be paid, Daniel's tennis matches need to be played, Carly's drama team still has practice, Becca and Dan's employers still (eventually) need them to show up, the lawn still needs mowing, and on and on it goes.

Speaking of the bills, that was Janie's forte: I bring it home and she spends it haha. She was the 'math' person; I'm the flaky artist. So here I am with some bills, a checkbook, and a calculator...and you know what? I'm doing ok with it! I wish Janie could see me now! I have also been grocery shopping  (no biggie there...Janie had stopped a while ago...) made a few dinners that everyone could actually eat, and I am caught up with laundry....quite the domestic diva if I do say so myself!

We planted a new lilac in the yard given to us by our friend Dee who lives across the street. Purple of course and the smell of lilac was Janie's favorite...and mine. It's the smell of lilac that reminds me of her more than anything.

We sat outside by the firepit one night and Carly (and Dan too of course) strummed a guitar. It was sweet.

Since Janie's downturn back in 2009, we had been so focused on her that some things that needed doing around here had been allowed to sit. So I've been rifling through closets and basements some and getting organized again. And I realized all over again what an amazing person Janie was. She took care of so much stuff around here, and never had to keep notes or anything! Just a calendar, a sharpie and a smile. Amazing.

Having had six years to have the idea of death hovering over her, Janie had plenty of time to think of some final wishes. I mentioned some of those above regarding the memorial service, but there was one in particular that came up closer to the end: "When I finally keel over," she said in her raspy voice, "get Carly a puppy!"

Oh, man! A puppy! Carly had been asking for a puppy for years, and for years we always, with our best sympathetic face on, had had to say, "Oh, honey, we're so sorry, but we just can't have a puppy around right now with all of mommy's treatments and everything." And she would understand and trot off and we'd cringe because that just sucks. Well, Janie's cousin Heather got chatting with Janie's mom at the memorial service on Saturday. She had a puppy connection. And I bet you think you know what happened next; you think that by Monday, Muriel and Carly had come home with a miniature Dachshund puppy. Well, if that was what you were thinking, you're wrong! By Monday, Muriel and Carly came home with two inseparable miniature Dachshund puppies! They are sisters, I think the only ones in the litter, and they are 3 months old and extremely cute and funny. We named them Pippi No-stockings (like Pippi Longstocking only dogs don't wear stockings...get it? Get it?) and Emma Woodhouse. Sorry Jane Austen.

My rules for any four-legged creature that we might one day co-habitate with, were simple: 1. they must have hair, not fur because I'm a little like Mr. Monk when it comes to shedding. 2. they must adore and obey me, and 3. they must poop no bigger that a Tootsie Roll. And the results: 1. Dachshunds have hair, not fur. Check. 2. They like me well enough and will adore me with time I'm sure. Check I guess. 3. Their poops are the diameter of a Tootsie Roll, but are the length of those big Tootsie Rolls that you only get at Halloween. So we're working on that. Plus accuracy on the paper. But that's a future blog post in itself. No check.

The puppies have been a blessing and we laugh often, even though we miss Janie more than words can express.

Lastly, I have spent a lot of time opening many, many sympathy cards. It has been wonderful to be thought of like that by so many friends and family, and they are a wonderful testament to the kind of person Janie was. Thank you all so much for sending them. I am also pretty addicted to the blog we started for everyone's "Janie stories." Those have been so fun and I learned a few things about Janie that I didn't know. Sheesh, you're married to someone for almost 25 think you know someone!

Janie would be miffed at me if I didn't sign off with a bible verse here at the end. Special to me have been these two:

"The LORD your God is with you,
       he is mighty to save.
       He will take great delight in you,
       he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."  Zephaniah 3:17

And also Psalm 116:15
        "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints."


  1. Your post encouraged me. I have been praying for your family-for peace and comfort, and to be able to enjoy and reflect during this time. Thanks for the blog update! :) {PS: I am Lia, one of Becca & Dan's Houghton friends!}

  2. Oh Lia I know who you are...I'm even a follower of your blog which is spiff-tastic! Sorry it's taken me so long to update....I've been a little preoccupied and was kind of waiting for the 'inspiration' which never came so i just sat down and did it while the puppies nibbled at my ankles early this morning......

    Thanks for praying.......

  3. Chris, good to hear your voice... and your thanksgiving... and your laughter/humor... and that you only miss Janie at two times -- and this is why our praying continues. It's a blessed fire, but it's still hot.

  4. Chris! I was JUST praying for you outside in the sunshine. Very pleasantly surprised to find an update and hear how life is coming along. The puppies are adorable :). Blessings, friend, you have encouraged me!

  5. Nice to hear some news. Thanks for that - we all worry for you a bit, I think. Though don't know why, as it seems you are always the one to encourage everyone else! And don't let him fool any of you - he's been a cook for years!! Love to you all.

  6. Dear Brother Chris:

    We think of you and the fam every day - so glad to get this post - I hope we will see you soon. Nate has been burning his yankee candle (Lilac blossoms) every day. We continue to pray and entrust you to the loving, everlasting arms of Jesus. We laugh whenever we think of you with the puppies, and feel Janie laughing along with us hysterically. I can't wait until we can all share the joke in person in heaven. : ))

    Love you brother Chris - continually praying. Love Kim and Nate

  7. Um, Dachshund diarrhea is no joke...but it's got to be better than Weimaraner diarrhea...perhaps that's why you people burn so many Lilac scented cover up the dog smell...hey, maybe I try that!