Two years – Two months

Today, April 22, 2015, is the two year anniversary of mom’s passing and two month anniversary since dad passed away.

Strangely, Eve, is in the hospital due to an emergency gallbladder bursting. Eve said it feels “surreal” to be in the hospital today. When we first heard Eve had gallbladder issues, Patricia and I immediately worried about gallbladder cancer because of mom’s rare bile duct cancer. I even asked her surgeon to check out her insides while he was in there anyway to be sure!

Strange where your mind goes in grief!

Thankfully, Eve is doing much better and should go home to recuperate.

Dad wrote every month in his personal calendar on the 22nd, Ginny’s been gone one month, two, twelve…etc all the way till February 22 when he passed.  On the 22nd, Dad would go visit mom’s resting place. He often went other times because he missed her so.

We all knew he was holding on for something when he was at the end. The goodbyes were said. His body was failing. We realized that he was holding on to pass on the 22nd. We tried to lie and say it was the 22nd on the 21st, but dad’s always know when their kids fib.

I think it was another way dad wanted to be joined to mom. Theirs was such an amazing love. Us kids and everyone who knew mom and dad witnessed that deep love they shared.

So the 22nd is not just a sad reminder that they are gone…it is also a reminder of a beautiful love.

A love that lives on in our hearts, in our memories. We feel their love with us still.

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• Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.

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My life was a love story

This post is from my oldest sister, Jennifer.  Hers is a love story too…

I woke with a man’s voice on the answering machine. I froze cold. ” Ms Wilson, This is Jason from the Hardage Giddeons…”

I couldn’t do it.

I knew why he was calling.

Poor guy is just doing his job. Trying to give great customer service, being cheerful and polite. I just could not talk to him. I begged my roommate to call him back. Terri did not ask why, she knew.

All I could do is cry, desperate to go back to sleep.

Last night, I read the King James family bible. I grew up reading it with Dad and Mom leading nightly devotions with my family.

” Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent(TORE) them: and likewise all the men that were with him. And they mourned and wept, and fasted until even(ing), for Saul and, for Jonathan, his son…” Second Samuel ch 1 vs 11-12.

The 1st to 3rd chapter of Second Samuel is about death (killing in their time) and grieving. (I am no biblical scholar, this is the Jennifer translation of what I read!) King David in his grief ripped his clothes, fasted, cried… the King that Jesus would later be a descendant of.

After mom died, I went with Dad, Johnny and Fred. We took the free Community Hospice course on dealing with the loss of a loved one. Katie McConnell – the bereavement counselor, later wonderful friend of Dad, wife and also mother to beautiful baby Celia – lead the class with a brochure titled “Understanding Grief, Loss and Bereavement.” Katie gave a wonderful explanation that grief is not a series of stages to go thru neat and orderly, but rather a roller coaster – full of ups and downs, highs and lows.

WELCOME to the RIDE OF GRIEF. BUCKLE IN – HOLD ON!
Your ride starts with the shock and disbelief that the person you love is gone. SUDDENLY SWERVES thru the twists of sobbing, crying, lack of sleep. JERKS UP – confusion, anxiety. DOWN – panic, searching, UP – physical illness. I feel ok, Peace. NOW -LOOP after LOOP of guilt, emotional fear, numbness, fatigue, depression, Calm then TWIST to obsessively thinking about the loved one,confusion, then WEEEEH! Throw in some anger, maybe using alcohol and drugs, POW -hatred, loneliness, limbo, BACK UP to relief, laughter, missing OOOPS there we go DOWN again with missing. Then the TWIST of “struggle with new life patterns” and finally ENDS WITH “life is worth living!”

Disney and Universal probably study this roller coaster design!

Oh, and while your on this grief ride expect to have some wierd dreams! Just a little extra to physically and emotionally add on top! AND THERE IS NOT A TIME LIMIT TO THE RIDE ENDING! You can be off the ride and slip back on with a memory. King David did it and now I am doing it. Everyone will have this ride sometime.

 

Sooo   – Terri talked with Jason, went to the cemetary. Today they removed dad’s plastic marker and secured his permanent bronze marker. Dad’s marker says “My life was a love story.” Terri made sure dad was tucked in tight and safe. Right under mom’s spot.

She came home with a Hardee’s Monstor Bacon Burger for lunch. I cried and couldn’t eat my burger… ok well I got half in (and some fries), despite my grief, it sure was good. I didn’t tear any clothes. I did get dressed.

I thought how the bronze marker feels so final.

Permanent. The end.

Then God reminded me. I remembered what I was taught. What I believe.

Dad and Mom are together forever. Not just in their niches with coordinating bronze markers. They truly are together in heaven with our Father, God.

I can’t stop thanking God for that.

My ride has bumper padding. I have a Savior and King that are helping me on my ride, carrying me when it turns to hard, holding my hand in the darkness, reminding me it’s going to be alright. I remember God’s promises. I will be in many seasons of rough rides that is this world and this life, but my wonderful God is WITH me and FOR me every twist and turn.

In the meantime, while I am currently not enjoying the grief ride, I am ok. We will be ok. God promised me, just like David, Saul, Jonathan, Moses, Jacob, Peter, Paul and Mary… John and Virginia. We have the promise that HE is with us. My earthly father is gone. My heavenly Father, who is immortal and perfect, loves me so much that he sent his son Jesus to die for me so I CAN be with my family forever.

My life will begin AGAIN with my beautiful savior welcoming me home. I know mom and dad, grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts, uncles, friends and people who I don’t yet know will with there. That to me is the best thing dad ever taught me. He wanted everyone to know JESUS IS REAL!! Our hope and our lives will just be beginning when we die. And while we ride, we are loved!

Thanks be to God. My life is a love story too.

So is yours. Just ask God if you don’t believe me.

• Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.

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O Happy Day!

easteranimals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s hoping this adds a little more happiness to your day.  He is risen indeed!

• Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Familiar Sights

To say that my parents were comfortable with one another was an understatement.  It was unusual to see one without the other.  Much more familiar was the sight of them together holding hands, kissing, talking or cuddling.  It was often that I would hear about how they had been out to this place or that place and be asked if they were newlyweds or how long they had been married.  To them, it was nothing beyond the enjoyment of being with your spouse.  I doubt that they considered it extraordinary.  It is something that I think effected all of us kids when it came to looking for a significant other.  I can’t speak for anyone else but I am pretty sure my prayers about that topic often referred to wanting a relationship like Mom and Dad.  Not that it was easy or second nature.  But they saw something within the other person that made the effort worth it.  Something to be treasured.  Something that made every day an adventure and a chance to learn anew about the other.  So today, I post a couple of pictures of some newlyweds who spent each day as if it was their first day of marriage.

 

Ginny and John 43 anniversary GCSP

Still in love Ginny & John at Luminaries 12.18.11 Gin in hospital More-than-friendship image image image

• Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Going Home

Poem by Fred Estep

• Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Sid

You may be familiar with Sid from a number of posts over the years.  He and his family were neighbors for a number of years to both my parents.  The last mention of him by Dad was that of February 9th entitled “Unexpected Requests”.  He did a wonderful job speaking yesterday despite his nerves.  It is always such a blessing to see your parents through someone else’s eyes, to see them beyond being Dad.  Thank you for that, Sid.  Below is what Sid gave me yesterday following Dad’s service and reception.

John Cowart was more than a friend.  To me, he was like family.  Even though, it was sad for him to go, he told me that he was ready to go.  So seeming him go maybe the sad part but I have come to realize thay he is in a better place and that will always be with us.  I’ve gotten to see him in half my lifetime.  Trust me when I say, he was a good person to talk to.  He was the kind of person who talked about his life and cared for others.  So now as we say goodbye to John Cowart, he leaves a legacy to me and others who loved him that you should always keep a smile on your face when you see the ones you love.

• Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.

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A touch of red

For Mom’s service, we didn’t wear black.  Trust me, it wasn’t because we weren’t grieving.  We wanted to celebrate not just her passing but her life and love of it.  We are hoping to do something similar for Dad and if attending, please feel free to join us.  Please wear a touch (or more) of red.

For thirty years, date night to Dad meant a red and black checkered shirt.  He mentions it in a 2005 post that Mom told him how handsome he looked in it.  From then on, he wore it for their date nights.  Did I mention that compliment happened in 1968? They had a million different ways to say I love you without saying a word.  And wearing a touch of red will be ours.  Because like it will say on his placard soon, he lived a love story.

• Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Dad is still teaching us

This is a hand written letter Eve and Jennifer found in files that mom saved of Dad’s important items. Jennifer transcribes it for us. It is like Dad is speaking to us today in our grief. This is a rough draft letter from John Cowart to our mom’s sister, Kathy Griffin whose husband Bud had passed away, we were notified by our grandmother, Alva Worthington.

“October 29, 1979

Dear Kathy,

We were very sorry to receive your mother’s letter telling us of Bud’s death. I’m sure you are both sad and relieved.

My father died of cancer at the end of August and while I was unhappy over the agony he went through there was a sense of relief and peace mingled with my grief. I will never forget the look on his face the first few minutes after he died. The tension and pain were gone. The anguish ended and rest had come. After the months of tests, treatments, medical indignities and the awful waiting, release had finally come. And although it may seem strange to say it, in a way I was glad. I’m sure you understand.

For a while the business of making funeral arrangements held off the numbness of grief. But little things kept reminding me of my loss. I am making decisions, about whether to this or that in helping Mom settle things I was constantly thinking ‘I’ll have to ask daddy about this.’ So the grief hit me over and over again. It’s not just one overwhelming shock but it occurs over and over again, like waves of the sea when the flood tide is receeding, each shock is a little less and each one uncovers a little more solid ground.

One of my main temptations has been to try to ‘be strong’ but thats foolish stoisism. The tears we shed are an honor, a memorial to our loved one. There is no shame in honest greif. It’s a tragic man for whom no one weeps.

You and Bud have been through a lot together. His death forces a radical change in your life so go slow about making other changes. Give yourself time to feel and love and grieve and remember before you add lesser changes to this great one.

As Christians we know that our Lord has experienced death and returned to life. Therefore He knows what he’s talking about when He speaks concerning either death or life. I have found particular comfort in His words recorded in John 14.

I feel hesitant to write you concerning my own loss in the face of yours both because our losses are so differnet and because I feel I’m revealing weaknesses more than offering consolation. What I’m really trying to say is that I’m sorry and I care.

Kathy, if you feel that a change of scenery would help you in regaining your prospective, our home is yours. We would be honored if you would like to come live with us. We have plenty of room and would be delighted to have you. For months, the children have prayed for Aunt Kathy and Uncle Bud in their evening prayers and they would be overjoyed to see you again. Let us know about it.”

 

JOHN 14: 1-22 taken from “The Message” Bible
“Dont let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking. ”

Thomas said, Master, we have no idea where your’re going. How do you expect us to know the road?”

Jesus said” I am the Road , also the Truth,also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, your would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!”

Phillip said, “Master, show us the Father, then we’ll be content.”

“You’ve been with me all this time, Philip, and you still don’t understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, ‘Where is the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you aren’t mere words. I don’t just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act.

” Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see – these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greather things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.

” If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’llprovide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. The Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you and will even be in you!

“I will not leave you orphaned. I’m coming back. In just a little while the world will no longer see me, but you’re going to see me because I am alive and you’re about to come alive. At that moment you will know absolutely that I’m in my Father, and you’re in me, and I’m in you.

“The person who knows my commandments and keeps them, that’s who loves me. And the person who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and make myself plain to him.”

Judas (not Iscariot) said, “Master, why is it that you are about to make yourself plain to us but not to the world?”

“Because a loveless world,” said Jesus, ” is a sightless world. If anyone loves me, he will carefully keep my word and my Father will love him – we’ll move right into the neighborhood! Not loving me means not keeping my words. The message you are hearing isn’t mine. It’s the message of the Father who sent me.

“I’m telling you these things while I’m still living with you. The Friend, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you. I’m leaving you well and whole. That’s my parting gift to you. Peace. I don’t leave you the way you’re used to being left – feeling abandonded, bereft. So don’t be upset. Don’t be distraught.

“You’ve heard me tell you, ‘I’m going away, and I’m coming back.” If you loved me, you would be glad that I’m on my way to the Father because the Father is the goal and purpose of my life.

“I’ve told you this ahead of time, before it happens, so that when it does happen, the confirmation will deepen your belief in me. I’ll not be talking with you much more like this because the chief of this godless world is about to attack. But don’t worry – he has nothing on me, no claim on me. But so the world might know how thoroughly I love the Father, I am carrying out my Father’s instructions right down to the last detail.

“Get up. Let’s go. It’s time to leave here.”

• Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Dad’s Service

In Loving Memory and Celebration
JOHN WILSON COWART
7/15/39 – 2/22/15

Dad

Memorial Celebration
Sunday, 3/15/15 at 1pm – 4pm

The graveside service from 1-1:45 pm will be at
Hardage-Giddens Town & Country Funeral Home

Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery
7242 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32205

(904) 781-9262

Then from 2-4pm we request everyone proceed to Dad’s favorite – Maple Street Biscuit Company where there will be a luncheon. Additional covered dishes are welcome.

Maple Street Biscuit Company
1171 Edgewood Ave. S.
Jacksonville, FL 32207
(904) 518-4907

Please join us to remember and celebrate.

There will be a portion of the service when you can say how you met or how you remember our dad, if you would like to. ANY story, memory, recollection about him, we are asking you email it to his blog so that we can use those memories to provide guest blogs. You can be anonymous if you wish. The email is johnwcowart@gmail.com or comment using the link below this post.

In lieu of flowers John W. Cowart asked that donations be made in his name to:

Trinity Lutheran Church Food Pantry
1415 Mcduff Ave S
Jacksonville, FL 32205
(904) 389-5341
Tom runs the program

or

Riverside Presbyterian Church
Meals on Wheels Program

849 Park St,
Jacksonville, FL 32204
(904) 388-8187

We look forward to seeing you there to share in the life and love of our father! If you need information or have questions, contact Jennifer at (904) 655-0881.

• Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.

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Gone Home

Finally free! Our beloved Dad is home with Mom and Jesus.  We are grieving our loss but happy he is home free.  Please respect our time and allow us some space.  Thank you.

 

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• Please, visit my website for more www.cowart.info and feel free to look over and buy one of my books www.bluefishbooks.info, posted by John Cowart. Or contact John at johnwcowart (at) gmail (dot) com.

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