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Alone in the Morning

Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Last night, I slept by myself for the first time.  My son, Michael Anthony, Jr., has wanted to sleep with me a few times and I have had one of my sisters here and two of my closest friends staying in the house and they were taking turns sleeping in bed with me, so that I would not need to wake up alone.  Yesterday, my friend, Nanette, who lives in Australia, had to fly back home.  My sister, Julie, was back in Boston.  My friend, Adrienne, was flying with her family to Oregon for their Spring Break.  My sister, Jerri, is on a business trip.  I am down to my parents, who are from Michigan, and staying in my guest bedroom.  I asked my son if he wanted to sleep with me last night.  He said, "If it is okay with you, I would like to sleep in a sleeping bag in the girls room." He said he had slept great in there the night before and wanted to try it again.  I, of course, gave my approval and walked quietly back to my bedroom, alone.

My sleep was sound, but then it came time to wake up and realize that Michael's side of the bed was empty.  This was a bittersweet moment. The bitterness is for the obvious reasons. The sweetness is that I woke like that every morning, because Michael was an early riser.  He was either already in prayer, reading his Bible, exercising at River Hills, or walking the dog.... and in that order.  The rare times that I would wake before him, mostly on Saturdays, I would enjoy turning my head and just staring at him.  He slept on his stomach but slightly pulled up on one side with one arm up over his head on the pillow and the other tucking in the corner of the pillow under his chin.  I would stretch my leg across our king size bed to rub my foot on his or to feel his calf.  If it was summer time, he might have slept without a shirt, and, in cooler weather, he would wear a soft, cotton, long sleeved t-shirt. (The children and I are all taking turns sleeping in his favorites.)  Either way, his lovely back muscles and his amazing arms showed through. He had beautiful skin everywhere because his back, chest, and arms did not have any hair.    I liked placing my hand on his biceps.  If his head was turned the other way, I liked to look at the wild little nest of messy hair that would form at his crown because of his curly hair.  Believe it or not, he also smelled sweet in the morning.  I think he wore deodorant just because it was the thing to do... but I knew he smelled sweet all by himself.  If I were to get out of bed before him, I would often times lean down and kiss him on his cheek bone, near his eye, before leaving the room.  Most of the time, he slept through it.

 We both preferred praying out loud and our morning routine allowed us to do so.  I woke up this morning and just lay still in the silence. I had not realized how comforting it was to hear his morning sounds coming from downstairs.  After I pictured him and listened to my memory of sounds, I began to pray aloud.  Then, I had a sudden realization how my habit of what I always prayed and prayed for was going to have to change.  I have always had a pattern to my prayer life...thankfulness, acknowledgement of His power and presence in my life, praying God's will, welcoming His kingdom power,  and forgiveness .  Next, my prayers always turned to Michael.  I heard a female teacher at a church years ago say to all of the women present, "If we aren't lifting our husbands up in prayer and surrounding them with those prayers, who will?"  That comment took my breath away and I had to repent. Since that day, I had prayed for Michael every day.  Sometimes he may have even gotten a double dose of prayer if there was something special going on that day and I would pray for him throughout the day.  I prayed that he would remain set apart for His purposes. I prayed that his heart, soul, mind, eyes, and ears would be protected from the ways of this world.  I prayed, "Your kingdom come, Your will be done," for every area of his life.  I prayed for creative ideas, daily. I prayed for clear thinking. I prayed for refreshment. I prayed for his wisdom and discernment. I prayed that the favor of God would rest upon him. I prayed for new business deals that were always on the table. I prayed that his gifts would always be used to glorify God.  I prayed that he would hear the voice of God. I prayed for his employees.  I prayed for his office building and everybody, and everything in it.  By the time he walked out our laundry room door, he was walking on clouds. He was always energized by the prospect of a new day... the power of prayer.

So, this morning, I naturally started down "my Michael path of prayer".  After beginning, I stopped short  and felt lost for a moment,then I instinctively prayed for Dale Partners, the architectural firm with which he had just merged.  After having done that, I was overcome by God's presence with the knowing that all of my prayers for Michael had been answered.  I am overwhelmed. God really had stood up on His holy hill and heard my prayers and came to Michael's rescue every day of his life. The magnitude of that is taking me to my knees.  Morning time has always been my favorite time of day.  I enjoy the way life eases back into being.  Since Michael has left, the mornings have been the hardest part of my day.  I cry more, remember more, and seem to need him more.  This is why I have chosen to write in the morning hours.  I am still doing all of those things, but I am able to direct my emotions and memories on specific things.  I want to focus on every aspect of our lives together. I am thankful for my alone time with Michael's memory this morning.  I miss him.  Psalm 119:147 "I rise before dawning of the morning, and cry for help; I hope in Your word. My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word."


Anonymous Says:
March 8, 2011 at 7:48 AM

I went to high school with Michael. He wasn’t your typical jock. He was undoubtedly the most humble and unassuming athlete in school. I admired him, from afar, for that but never had the courage or made the opportunity to tell him.

It wouldn’t be until two weeks ago that I found out that he was the Mighty Mike who performed with the Bluz Boys along with my 1st cousin Richard Beverly. I saw them in Jackson not long after high school but never made the connection of who he was.

After learning of his accident, I wanted to know more about what Michael had done since high school. The more I read on his Facebook Memoriam page and now here on your blog, the more respect (if that is possible) I have for him not only as a person but as a Christian. The two things that stood out in his life (and now yours) is that you two were Christians walking the walk of Jesus in your everyday lives. We all try to do that, but somehow find ourselves falling short.

You also are soul mates.
Richard Bach defines a soulmate as "someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we are pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soulmate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life.”

Through your blog you have allowed us to share not only your feelings of love and pain, but also your journey through the healing process. It has in a sense become a ministry to us all of what true Christian faith is.

I too have been consumed with you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Know that we all pray for you and your family daily.

“There is in every true woman's heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.” ~ Washington Irving

In His Grip,

Kevin Spong
St. Joe (Class of 1979)
Mendenhall, Miss

PS: Thank you Michael!

Anonymous Says:
March 8, 2011 at 9:19 AM

Almighty God give this family the courage and the strength that they need to forge ahead with their lives. May they find continual comfort and relief in knowing that their love knows no boundaries, and that you have blessed them with a love of this magnitude . . . because you are love. Help them to know that even though they are starting a new chapter in their lives, that you are there to help them and guide them whenever they allow you to. In time, help them to remember with fondness the love, the smiles, the warmth and the blessings that you allowed them to experience with their father, friend, husband, and soul mate. Help them to understand that death is but a brief interlude between this life and the next life, and that while we are on this earth all of us have work to do . . . Help them to come to some kind of understanding about all of this, and show them how important their lives are to the people that they interact with on this earth who need them. Help them continue to live their lives in a way that is honorable and full of meaning so that when they depart this life for the next one, their departure will be sweet, they will hear You say, "Well done, my faithful servant." In Jesus's name I pray. Amen

Anonymous Says:
March 8, 2011 at 12:35 PM

Your writings almost make me speechless, yet they are pure nourishment. May you continue to grow, abound, expand, simply go on to that destination ahead.

Anonymous Says:
March 8, 2011 at 1:05 PM


You have always had such a sweet and tender heart. This site is not only the words of "A Woman's Heart", but words from a very precious, beautiful and Godly woman's heart...still beating as it bleeds the words on the page.

Thank you for letting us read and feel and share the details of your pain. It is a bittersweet time for everyone who knew Michael, though no other person on earth knew him as you did. We hurt for you and for all who knew and loved him. We are touched by your words, and also better able to understand your heart and pray for you as we follow your journey of tears amidst the joyful memories. It was a very special love that you shared. It was God's love, and God's love continues to pour through you.

God gifted you and Michael with each other. He also gifted US with you and Michael. I've always been thankful for your marriage, your family, your testimony, and your faithful obedience to God. Now I am thankful that He is continuing to speak through you as you continue to look to Him and share the things you are learning. We will all be stronger for it in the end.

KEEP LOOKING UP!!! You will get through this valley.

I love you...and I know God loves you even more.

Anonymous Says:
March 8, 2011 at 2:52 PM

I'll be praying more for my family in the morning. You layed it out very simply....I can do that.
I told my husband that this morning also. When two of the same topics hit in the same day...we better listen.
Thanks for the reminder--
K. Ferguson
Columbus, GA

kim Says:
March 8, 2011 at 10:51 PM

theres a song that comes to mind when i read about michaels life called legacy.
I want to leave a legacy,how will they remember me, did i choose to love, did i point to you enough to make a mark on things, want to leave an offering ,child of mercy and grace , i want to see your face unapologetically...want to leave a legacy. I know michael left one great legacy. His mercies are every day. praying

Sonya Says:
March 9, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Hey Ms. Jene':D

The beauty of your Michael will always shine thru you and your children. That kind of beauty comes from God and it NEVER fades away. It's priceless, ageless, and anointed by God. The love you two share is so encouraging and inspirational to me and TJ that we strive to love each other more by loving God more. We love you and we pray that God will continue to grant you and your family peace that surpasses all understanding...xoxo

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