Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Just write.

I’ve been staring at this blank post screen for the last half hour, not really sure where to pick up, where to start, how to write again when there are so many things going through my heart and my mind. I’ve never been one for putting on the fake cheerful smile {life’s too short to try and be perfect, right, Mary?} but I’m not quite sure that you come here for the more morose moments in my life. Still, for whatever reason, you come and you read and I’m grateful for that.

So. I’m just going to write. I don’t know exactly what’s going to come out but I know that I have to start somewhere. Just don’t expect this to post to have a lot of structure…


Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the sweet, encouraging comments that you have left me in the last week or so. Thank you for praying for me, for praying for the Barclay family, for being such a valuable part of my community- internet or otherwise. I turned to Jason while we were driving to Winston-Salem after I read yet another such comment and said, “I am so lucky to have such amazing bloggy friends.” And I am. Thank you…


I have never had to deal with grief in this way. This unexpected, out of nowhere, why the hell did this have to happen kind of grief. I’ve only lost one other person close to me, my Grandmother. We expected it. She had been suffering from cancer for almost a year. We were prepared, we were as ready as you can be, I suppose. Paul’s death blindsided us all.

These days I never know when grief will strike. It hit me the other morning as I looked at my phone and realized I won’t ever get another one of his rambling voicemails. The ones where he would be wrapping up and then start a whole new line of conversation. The ones that always ended with, “I love you. I believe in you. Call me. Love ya.” And then I’m sobbing as I drive down I-27. Grief rammed up against me in Blockbuster on Monday as I was looking for a movie and passed by the case for “Field of Dreams”, Paul’s favorite movie. And then I’m crying in the middle of Blockbuster somewhere in the Drama section. On Sunday, at church, all it took for grief to wash over me was to look down from the balcony and see the guy playing drums, just like I watched Paul play drums those weekends back in college at Windy Gap. And then I’m holding my breath and looking up as hard as I can so I don’t lose it in front of the congregation.

Oh, I miss him. So much.


Y’all, you should have seen his memorial service. It was amazing. Did you know that 1,500 people came as a testimony to Paul and Lynn’s far reaching love and ministry? They did. It was a sight to behold.

paul's legacy {Photo by Leslie Sloan, who I am so glad brought her camera and captured this moment.}

One part of the service was a time where folks could come up to the mic and share stories about Paul. There was much needed laughter during this, because you couldn’t have known Paul for any amount of time and not have a story where near hysterical laughter was involved. It just wasn’t possible. There were testimonies to the fact that when Paul loved folks and saw a need, he did something about it. One father told of how Paul had told his daughter that, someday, her intended would have to ask two men for permission to marry: her dad and Paul. That one almost got an “Amen!” from me. When Jason came to visit NC and ask for my hand in marriage, Paul and Lynn were right there on the list of folks with whom he had to meet.

At the end, the pastor said, “You know…I feel like we just need to stand up and clap, shout, whoop, whatever it is you want to do to celebrate Paul and thank God for his life.” And oh, did we ever! The raucous yells, whistles, hoots ‘n hollers were perfection. I laughed as I cried and I think Dolly had it just about right, “Why, laughter through tears is my favorite emotion!”


I hadn’t spent that much time in Winston-Salem since…well, I don’t know how long. Even though it was for crummy circumstances, it was still a heart soothing time to be with my oldest and dearest friends. The service was a reunion in and of itself. I saw high school friends, college friends and a much beloved Bible study leader, my high school Young Life leaders {who somehow have managed not to age one iota}, parents whose children I babysat from the time they were babies and have had the audacity to become teenagers, folks who watched me grow up. It was a blessing.

I even got to see my bloggy friend, Leslie Sloan.

me and leslie sloan {I secretly want to move to Asheville so I can be one of her real life friends. The woman has a deep & lasting appreciation for Les Mis & is passing it on to her children. That’s enough for me.}

Later that night, Jason and I went over to Kathy & Jerry’s. They are my dear friend Stewart’s mom and stepdad and their house has always been another open door for our high school crew. We sat around and retold the funniest of stories about Paul, some I had completely forgotten. I laughed until I cried and my sides hurt in that blessedly wonderful way. It was seamless, this time together. We are a group that knows how to pick up right where we have left off even if there have been thousands of miles and months {even years} between us. I was so glad Jason got to see this chunk of me, this huge part of my story and my heart. As 2 a.m. rolled around, I looked around and realized that even though none of us were Kathy and Jerry’s kids, we were welcome and enjoyed and loved.

That’s a good place to be.


  1. so fantastic.
    to cry until you laugh and vice versa.

    Paul did both. So did we with him.
    You are awesome and I'm glad we got to be together during his day.

    PS: You don't have to secretly want to move to Asheville when you post it on your blog. That means you ACTUALLY want to move to Asheville. Just thought you should know...

  2. Glad you're back. And I went over to Leslie's blog- LOVE HER! Thanks for that too. Now if I could just get over my writer's block.

  3. Glad you're back, and I went and checked out Leslie's blog. My word- LOVE HER. So I'm excited that I've found another blog to read which makes me not stress so much about the fact that I can't think of a single thing to say on my own.

  4. I've been thinking about you lots, Leslie. I wasn't able to go to the service because I couldn't find a babysitter, but watched it online. I could feel Paul chuckling and smiling down on all of us. I hate that I didn't get to see you. I was telling my mom about your "stuntdad" post and we were recollecting about how dear you and your mom are.

    Grief is a funny thing. Hits you at the most random times. Let yourself be in the moment...

  5. What a cool thing to make such an impact on people - it sounds like he was an amazing guy . . . I'm still praying for you! love ya girl!

  6. oh i've been worried about you, so thanks for spilling your heart to us!

    sending lots of prayers your way!

  7. EXACTLY - don't you be faking a smile for us!

    Dolly is definitely right - laughter, tears, they belong together sometimes.

    I'm so sorry that you are hurting, but I'm glad you've had some good things to go with the bad. For several years in a row, it seemed that I lost someone close to me about once a year. Now that almost two years have gone by without a funeral, it's odd to realize that part of me has forgotten how it hurts to grieve someone like you are doing right now. I don't know why I feel the need to tell you that, except that at some point, the grief will ease and the memories will give you peace and joy again.

    Thank you for trusting us, your readers and friends, with your heart.

  8. 1500 people... that is amazing. And as you said, truly a testament of what an amazing man he must have been.

    Sorry I haven't responded to your email yet... trying to catch up since getting home from NC. But I am thinking of you! I'll be in touch...


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