Sunday, September 13, 2020

Slogging along

I learned a long time ago that in the midst of hard misery I always catch glimpses of neat stuff and profound beauty. I recall during must-pass training and actual rescue evolutions recognizing the wonder and beauty of actually being in the open ocean while at the same time being hammered physically, mentally, and emotionally. Experiences are never just one thing, they are a mix of many things. Hard experiences are livin' in top gear. Somehow it seems, at least in my experience, that the harder the situation the deeper and more profound is the beauty and wonder attending it.

I turn away from the beauty and wonder only at my very great peril. Embracing the awful and wallowing in self-pity will kill my soul in very short order, and I know from experience that a soulless Shaun is a monster.


The manifold writings on grief I've perused all agree; smashing sorrow comes when you least expect it, is almost too hard to bear, and must simply be endured.

This week has been like that. Not just for me, but for the entire family. I can't help but wonder why. Why all of us, and why at this particular time. I don't spend a lot of time wondering though, it's a question which cannot ever be answered. Speculation is just speculation.

In the midst of crushing sorrow though, there is much, much beauty and wonder.

On Thursday at nap time the little ones wanted to nap on the floor and they wanted me to nap with them. There are times when they need the discipline of, "no, just lay down, close your eyes, and go to sleep." There are times like yesterday when they need close contact and patience and enveloping love.

Laying on the floor with two little ones snuggled up next to me, relaxing and giving in to the need for rejuvenating sleep, was an experience too big and important for mere words to describe. It was a time filled with love and peacefulness battling sorrow and loss. It was exactly what we were supposed to be doing.

Later, in the evening, the littlest was having a monumental struggle with her emotions. Standing at my feet and screaming in rage and fear and loss. I knew exactly how she felt, for inside I, too, was screaming in rage and fear and loss.

Eventually it was time for a two-minute time out. I picked her up, sat on the couch with her in my lap, and held on while she wriggled, screamed, and cried. In a low voice I told her it was okay, that I felt the same way, that it was okay, that it was okay, that it was okay. Okay to let the emotions flow out. Okay to wriggle and struggle. Okay to not behave perfectly. Okay to be herself.

Nearing the two-minute mark, magic. A last shuddering howl, then she relaxed, turned into my chest, and snuggled.

These little ones are complete human beings. They aren't cute, animated toys, and they aren't "just kids." They know what death is. They know that Mommy is dead and will never come back. And just like me, they are working through this enormous thing as best they can. But they are only two and four. They need to know in their hearts that they are safe and loved and that they can melt down and still be completely safe and completely loved.

We're all making progress. We're enduring and learning and growing day by day.


Sometimes the little one likes to sit on my lap and watch "songs" on my phone. She likes a lot of songs. The other day we watched a couple of her favorite songs which had been turned into navy cruise videos by a couple of VAW squadrons; the Sun Kings and the Black Eagles.

Hey Ya...

Send Me On My Way...

Move Along...

She really enjoyed the mix of people and ships and airplanes and music. Pure magic.


On 9/11 we spent zero time remembering the attacks. We were busy. And only a couple of us grownups were old enough to recall the events of September 11, 2001 from an adult perspective.

Life goes on, an it's important to live it day by day properly. Especially for and with the little ones.


This post is all over the place because I'm all over the place.

Last night I had two very interesting dreams. One featured Rebecca. In the beginning she was as she was back then, then she morphed int the Rebecca of today. In the dream she urged me to give up the guilt I still feel for treating her badly. It's a message she's given me in real life many times over the last few months. That was interesting.

Then Allie came into the room and stood there smiling down at me with that special smile she used to explode my heart with love and joy. She didn't say anything, she just smiled.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.


  1. Each of us handles adversity/loss differently... Having to be strong for the littles adds another layer of complexity to the equation, but also allows one to mourn as the kids do. Prayers my friend.

  2. "The manifold writings on grief I've perused all agree; smashing sorrow comes when you least expect it, is almost too hard to bear, and must simply be endured."

    That is accurate; the loss of my son hits at unexpected times. I can't find the trigger.

    Every so often, I get hit with a "remembrance day", when many of my less than stellar moments from the past pass in review. On and on, with seemingly no way to stop it. My standard method of dealing with stuff when it happens is to acknowledge it, then say, "Fuck it! Drive on!" Mainly works, but not on days like yesterday.

    Is all of it some type of grief? I suspect it is.

    1. I suspect so also.

      I haven't found anything resembling a trigger. I just get run over with the most profound sorrow and it's often right up to the line of what I think I can bear. As always, I can bear much more than I think I can and God does the heavy lifting. Sometimes "Fuck it and drive on" is exactly the right answer.

      Thanks WSF.

  3. All I can (continue) to say is hang in there. You and Your's are in all of our prayers. If there's anything more material than that you need, I suspect all you'd have to do is ask.

    1. Your thoughts and prayers are working in our lives every day juvat, and that's the truth. We're hanging in there with the incredible support of all you kind readers. It's absolutely amazing what you all do for all of us.

      Thanks you my Friend.

  4. You are a rock Shaun, but be careful, even a rock can be worn away by that ocean of grief you try to keep at bay.

    Sometimes it's best to just let it wash over you and say to yourself, "This too shall pass."

    I think you're doing all the right things, but it's hard to see that when you're in the middle of it.


    1. I'm not sure how conscious I've been over the last month. The grief does wash over me and it always passes, at least the hardest to bear part passes, or eases, or something. The family is the real rock.

      Anything I'm doing correctly is completely guided by God. All the stuff I mess up, well, that's my personal contribution! ;-)

      Your thoughts and prayers are with us every single day Chris. Thanks you my Friend.

  5. I would be great if we could just confront grief.
    That would get us past most of it.
    It helps me to use the real words: died, dead, and death, instead of the euphemisms.
    Sarge nails it with, "This, too, shall pass."
    But I've seen you say it, so you know that already.
    Unfortunately, there is no way to expedite the process and each of us has a different pace.
    The rest of us can just stand by and lend an ear or even a shoulder.

    1. In its own way it's a beautiful thing. The pain and sorrow wouldn't exist if the bonds of love hadn't tied all of our souls together. The outpouring of loving support is a miraculous expression of what people really are inside. It's an amazing and beautiful thing to experience, even in the throes of bitter loss.

      It's going to be a long, hard slog, but it's supposed to be.

      Thanks so much Skip.

  6. God Bless you, Shaun....

    To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

    2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

    3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

    4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

    5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

    6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

    7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

    8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

    9 What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?

    10 I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.

    11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

    12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

    13 And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God.

    14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.

    15 That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past.

    16 And moreover I saw under the sun the place of judgment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there.

    17 I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.

    18 I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.

    19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.

    20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

    21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

    22 Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?

    1. Thank you so much drjim. We all needed that. God Bless you too, my Friend.

  7. I missed this post yesterday because I checked your site earlier and am cutting back on computer time, so didn't get back here until now. Sorry to make excuses, but know that if there is anything I can do for you in addition to sending my best thoughts and wishes your way, just let me know.

    Another electronic hug for you and the children.

    1. Thanks Paul.

      Your thoughts, wishes, and electronic hugs sustain us and do more than you know.

      Thanks my Friend.

  8. This posting recalled a time in my past. I asked (to no one in particular) “why me?” i was not expecting the silent but nearly deafening cross examination of “why NOT you?” As i continued reading, a part of me suddenly doesn’t want to know how the “super-RBOC” story ends, although not long after that, it seems that even THAT story has not actually reached its final conclusion yet???

    As for musical selections, the “black shoe” Navy joins in on that fun too (but not me, i managed to be TAD when this footage was recorded!)

    1. That's a great video!

      "Why not you" is always the proper answer.

      Rebecca and I had fun, had adventures, learned a lot, grew a lot, touched a lot of lives. If I do it right the story will be an enjoyable read. I plan to do it right.

      Thanks cT. :-)

  9. Thoughts and prayers for you and the Littles.

    1. Thanks so very much Brig. Your thoughts and prayers are working in our lives day in and day out.