Archives For Mike Caulk

It’s the little things

Mike and Missy CaulkToday is my husbands birthday, the second one we will be celebrating on earth without him. Mike had such an engaging personality and was the funniest person I have ever known.

I miss his presence so much, not for ALL the jokes but for ALL the little things.

In a long-term marriage of 35 years, there is no one on earth that knows you more…the good and the bad. Many people talk about a soul mate in a mystical way but to me Mike was the love of my life and my best friend.

Now that doesn’t mean we didn’t have our disagreements and struggles, but it does mean we always came back stronger than before in our devotion to one another.

The loss of a spouse is like throwing a pebble in the water and watching the ripples flow out. It starts with a big plunk and every day you see the ripples keep flowing out.  At each ripple you find more and more things you miss about their presence.

In each marriage whether on purpose or just out of the dynamic’s of the relationship, you take on different responsibilities. Mike always took care of entertaining the kids. I remember one time, he was in a Toys’R’Us – which we were walking through after shopping for the baby at Babys’R’Us – we were walking through some toy aisle, and he randomly had the idea that my kid needs that nerf review – and ended up spending 20 minutes looking through it picking out toy guns for the kids. I was too exhausted with the baby to consider that, but he did. And they loved it. Mike always brought the mail in on his way home from work, I go to the mailbox maybe twice a week. I just forget. Mike took the garbage out, cleaned the kitchen and had coffee made for each morning. I still at 21 months without him,  HATE doing those things. Last week I bought a new coffee pot so I could have an automatic time to start the coffee at 7:00 AM but I can’t get it to work. I hate dragging the garbage cans to the curve, through the snow and ice. He never complained.

Last fall I started taking out 23-years of old landscaping. I would never have done that.

So many little things.

Caulk Family 1998But most of all I miss him being here a quiet presence in our home. I miss having someone to pour out my frustrations with in dealing with challenging situations with our children. We would tell each other (being parents of five), “I couldn’t do this without you.”

But, now I have to.

When you are joined in matrimony it is said you become one flesh. In a spiritual sense you do, but it is practically worked out through the life of the marriage.

When Mike turned 50 I had a surprise skating party for him. He walked into the roller rink and as everyone said “surprise” he was stunned. He saw friends from our old church where he pastored for 15 years, kids and parents from his coaching football days. He didn’t know what to think.

I had to fool him by telling him that Andrew (our youngest) had gone rollerblading and had fallen. He was so upset because of some sport Andrew was playing and he had told him to NOT GET HURT.  Mike fumed all the way to the rink but was totally surprised when he walked in to see all the smiling faces. We had a blast that day.

I have so many memories of our journey together on earth.

I “wish” he was here on what would be his 66 birthday. Of course, he would not be happy I printed that age as he looked so young…and acted even younger. As a history teacher at Belleville High School his students thought he was so old…45. He would laugh and say IF they would just add up the years of when I was in the Marines (during the Viet Nam War) they would know I was older than 45.

Mike CaulkNot many people saw Mikes sensitive side because of his outgoing personality in public. But, he was so sensitive and aware of pain in others. He hated to see any human mistreated. He was devastated when Jamie and Lillian left us. He was only able to read Chapter One of my book I was writing because he would just break down.

Of all of our children, Jamie and Mike were the most alike in their sensitive and competitive natures.

Not only did they compete against each other in every sport they played but when Mike was getting his Masters degree they competed over grades. LOL

I wonder if they are still competing in our eternal home?

The love of Mikes life was flying and everything to do with aviation. He loved building model airplanes and 12″ action figures. I called them his dolls. Now I am slowly boxing them up and selling some of the hundreds he had in our basement.  Last spring,

Last spring, Andrew and Christa were having a heart to heart talk on the deck. Andrew was struggling with how God could do this to our family. He had his head down, when all of a sudden a plane flew over our house with a  tail behind it and the words “TRUST JESUS”.  He looked up and said, “well I guess that is my answer.” He came running up to tell me with the biggest smile on his face.

Coincidence? I think not.

So today on Mike’s birthday as I reflect on who Mike was as a person, loving husband, father, and grandfather. I am grateful for our 35 years together and all the memories I hold in my heart. He changed me and I would not be who I am today without his love.

We will see you soon!



Mike and I 1

Caulk kids at football game

Jesus is the only one who can heal your grief and sorrow.

Crying out to Jesus is the only way.

This I know.

C.S.Lewis Quote (my photo)

Yesterday “most” of my kids and I met with a therapist. My own therapist suggested it because as a family we are grieving together. As a mom who lost her son, granddaughter and husband, all within 22 months that has been unspeakably hard. Secondary grief comes when I have to watch my precious children suffer.

Heck, we even had the therapist in tears three times yesterday. I knew it was going to be bad when two of my kids were crying before the session even started.

Mike use to say, “when you have a large family someone is always having a bad day.” That is as true today as the day he spoke it when they were little children.

This time it applies as we grieve someone is always having a hard day. As their mom is heartbreaking to see your children suffer through their pain and loss. I want to help them, and I am sure I do in some ways but in many ways I fail miserably. I’m not super mom, or contrary to what some people think, “strong”.

I am constantly praying for them to reach out to Jesus as he is the anchor of hope and the only one that can get them through.



To everyone who’s lost someone they love
Long before it was their time.
You feel like the days you had were not enough
When you said goodbye.

And to all of the people with burdens and pains
Keepin’ you back from your life.
You believe that there’s nothing
And there is no one who can make it right.

There is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary,
And love for the broken hearts.
There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing
He’ll meet you wherever you are.

Cry out to Jesus. Cry out to Jesus.

For the marriage that’s struggling just to hang on
They lost all of their faith in love.
And they’ve done all they can to make it right again
Still it’s not enough.

For the ones who can’t break the addictions and chains
You try to give up but you come back again.
Just remember that you’re not alone
In your shame and your suffering.

There is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary,
And love for the broken hearts.
There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing
He’ll meet you wherever you are.

Cry out to Jesus.

When you’re lonely and it feels like the whole world is falling on you
You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus

Cry to Jesus.

Song by Third Day

Secondary grief

Secondary grief is what you experience as a result of the primary loss. I have experienced secondary grief in many ways.

Some are:

  • When I forget the mail for weeks because Mike always brought it in.
  • When I can’t get the router to work.
  • When I can’t get the batteries to work on the boat.
  • When I can’t carry gas tanks down to the boat.
  • When I send forms over to insurance companies time and time again.
  • When I don’t have a cup of coffee ready for me every morning when I wake up.
  • When I can’t mow the lawn or get the tractor started.
  • When I don’t have the emotional energy to play with the dogs.
  • When I can’t figure out how to get the printer to print wirelessly anymore.
  • When I remember the humor my son and husband brought into our home.
  • When people don’t ask you how you are doing because they can’t handle the truth, or want to think you have put it all behind you.
  • When I am watching sports University of Michigan play without Mike and Jamie sitting right there pacing along with me.

Secondary losses pop up unexpectedly. They turn up because your loved one is gone.

I don’t share these to make you feel sorry for me/us only to tell that grief has many layers and secondary grief experiences are some of them.

Only Jesus can heal your pain and sorrow and comfort you. To those who don’t have the hope of the resurrection, I honestly don’t know how they survive.

Cry out to Jesus, He hears the cry’s of the afflicted.

Justina Pellitier and her sisters and grandmother I am dedicating this post to Justina and her family who are suffering.

The Pelletier’s families whole world is falling apart. #FreeJustina 

Lord, I cry out to you in the name of your son Jesus, reunite this family

Happy Birthday Mike, your first in heaven.

Mike and Missy Caulk

Dear Mike,

I am sitting here this morning with a heavy heart thinking about and missing you on what would have been your 65th birthday.Yesterday when I went on a listing appointment, your voice popped on through the blue tooth connected in my car.  It was from Jamie’s funeral and you were talking about how much Jamie loved animals and how mean Dixie Mae is. I laughed as it was so funny and so typical of you to make people laugh at such a solemn moment.

Then I gulped.

It all came back as you said, “I’m next, no more cutting lines”.

But you weren’t next.

Lilly Bear was next and only a month later.

Then at her Celebration of Life service you again said, “I am next, no more cutting line.”

And you were.

Now you are at your true home with Jamie, and Lillian and the rest of our family that has gone on before us. Do you celebrate your earth birthday in heaven or the day you went home? Silly question for us on earth, huh? But, we will honor you today as we did for the 35 years we were married. I’m baking a cake…your favorite…german chocolate.

I am starting to really understand what the Apostle Paul said in Phil 1:23-24 when he said, “I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.”

Desire to depart and be with Christ is far better?

Desire in the Greek means a longing, an insatiable lust.

Depart in Greek means to break camp, fold up the tent, pull in the anchor.

Far better in Greek means much, much better, more useful and profitable.

Caulk Family 1998I am quite sure before you and Jamie and Lilly Bear went home that I did not have a longing or insatiable lust to go home. Nor was I ready to break up camp and see dying in Christ as far better or more profitable.

No heaven was just a destination, some place up there, I was going upon my death…nothing I longed or lusted for. Definitely nothing that caused me to want to pull up my tent here for and most definitely nothing I saw as far better.

But when you and Jamie and Lilly departed for home, Christa, Matthew,Andrew-David and I do long for that day when we will all be together again. Why do we have to learn what you told us in your Word the hard way?

We know your death’s are just a temporary interruption and not the sad end of our relationships. We haven’t lost you because we know where you are. Thank you for cheering us on in that great cloud of witnesses.

Paul continued on by saying  until it is our time, it is profitable to be here and to accomplish the purposes God has for us on earth.

Mike and MissyMike, I don’t understand how God is using us here through our great suffering to show His glory but somehow He is.

Thank you Mike for being a mentor to so many here and most of all your family. Your love and grace to all of us helped make us who we are.

My biggest regret was not thanking you and appreciating all the little things you did for me/us here on earth.

I’m learning now that it was the little things you did that make me miss you the most. I get so overwhelmed with all those little things that you simply took in stride. I hope you know now how very much you are missed and loved.

I hold on to scriptures that let’s me know God is Sovereign, that He knew the number of our days before we were even born. That your death, like Jamie and Lillian’s were precious in His sight.

Psalm 139:16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me,when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 116:15 “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.”

We’ll see you soon!

I love you,

We love you,

Happy Birthday!


My last thought as I stepped out of a hot bath is morning was…”I should have gone to church”. But we had a huge snow all day yesterday and through the night and my subdivision isn’t plowed and from what I am reading on the local news the plows weren’t out in Ann Arbor and people were mad.

So that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Yesterday was hard, well almost all days are hard when you lose three family members in 20 months. Life on earth will never be the same with all the holes around our table and the dynamics so drastically changed. My daughter, and best friend said to me a few days ago,”mom, can you try to have a sense of humor? Why did God take Jamie and daddy and leave me with all the family members who don’t have a sense of humor?

We laughed because it is true. Mike and Jamie had such great sense’s of humor. They were alike in so many ways.

kitchen remodelI am in the process of getting our house ready to sell (I think.) I vacillate daily between wanting to move to Tennessee and help my son get his business going in a new direction and thinking how can I ever leave this home.

It is a home, not a house.

We built it in 1991 when Allyssa was just toddling around and Christa was 10. The boys were 8,6 and 4. That is a lot of memories in one home.

Yea I know…you take your memories with you, blah, blah…but do you?

We tackled the basement yesterday and had lots of sidebars where we would “find things”like photos and letters to look at and read. We would stop cleaning and laugh at the stories behind them and cry as we read letters from Jamie when he was in the Navy.

Looking through the photos and seeing Jamie’s and Mike’s life in photos brought back so many memories of our life as a family. I saw a nursing baby, a baby getting their first bath, a small child who was always dirty and kissing frogs and a young man play and accomplish so much in sports.

Mike coaching football.

But, not enough…never enough.

When I look at some of our travels, memories came flooding back in of being stuck on Pikes Peak in the mini-van, and one of the five children always crying in each of the pictures.

It is true their life and deaths impacted a lot of people yet I can’t help but wonder will their impacts last in anyone’s life but mine and the kids?

Overall yesterday was good. We got a ton packed, re-organized and thrown away. Our precious friend Wendy came over and helped. Afterwards when we were totally exhausted, Christa, Wendy and I were sitting around talking, and I shared a struggle I have been having finishing my book. basement pile

It was more than writers block, I’ve been blogging for 13 years and I know that happens.I just didn’t know how to move past it. Talking helped put things in prospective.

It is almost finished and I have been wrestling with the last chapter. My editor has wanted me to write some things in the book concerning the people I know that have been helped with receiving transplanted organs. Of course I am truly happy for them but I hate, with a passion the industry and therefore it was hard to put in words the emotional conflict I have been dealing with.

I think together we found a way to handle the conflict in my soul. You’ll have to read the book to find out what I did but I finally feel energized to finish it. (Since my editor reads my blog she will be thrilled I am moving on.)

christmasThe hardest part of this Christmas season is the change in our family. All the kids are struggling in their own way and I’m a grieving mother who is helpless to help them. I try to take my cues from them and they try to take them from me but many times we all fail miserably.

I am the eternal optimist and this is unfamiliar ground to me. I miss Mike, Jamie and Lily Bear so much, the house feels like a tomb most of the time and especially this time of year.

Will this ever get better?

Can we make new memories here?

Or should we just start over somewhere else?

I honestly don’t know.

The kids don’t want me to sell the house, they want to buy it but obviously they can’t. If you think of me, please pray I will know what the right thing to do is.

Today someone put up a request on Facebook to share an ornament that meant something special to them about the child they lost, so we get to know them better and I thought that was a good idea but we’re going to D.C to be with family and with my kitchen not finished and the house all torn up we’re not decorating this year. Last Christmas we had Presley Ann, Matt’s daughter and that made it fun and worthwhile.

But, there are so many ornaments with memories boxes full.  My husband would never let me change the Christmas tree so it is full of ornaments that all the kids made in school, the ornaments we bought to remember each vacation and even the focal point I used in labor and delivery starting with Christa. That one is always front and center.

Yea I should have gone to church today to hear an uplifting message and get out of this funk but some days grief pours through my very soul and this optimist mother has to get it all out by pouring out my heart in this little blog.

Now off to show a house in Ann Arbor in the snow.

A Journey of 36 Years

August 13, 2013 — 15 Comments

A Journey of 36 Years

Today would have been Mike and my 36 year wedding anniversary. I was not looking forward to it because holidays are so hard when someone you love moves on to Heaven. Especially the first’s.

My kids made it very special for me. Matthew and Christa made a video for me that was so amazing. I’ve only watched it a few times. #NOT

Christa my daughter has a blog called Pocket Full of Memories and she wrote the an awesome post on our journey as husband and wife, our move to Michigan and raising five children. It is really too long to add it all here but click the link and go read it. It is a slice of our life you could say and you will get to know my family and I a little better.