A Legacy

When you cross over Jordan, all is left behind,
of wealth, fame, and fortune, nothing is taken along.
Yet, in all that which is left behind,
the thing of most value is not of this world
but the legacy written by your life.

Tris Katelyn

He was a friend.
He left a legacy of friendship where ever he went.
If you were his family or a relative, you were important.
If your interest was in tractors, jeeps, dirt bikes,
mechanical or all things greasy, he was ready to talk.
If he had nothing in common with you,
he would think of something to say to draw you out
and pull you into the conversation with him.
No one was too small, no one was too big,
each person deserved his attention and care.
He called you by name, got on your level,
and really listened to what you had to say.
He was a friend who cared.

He was positive.
He left a legacy of being cheerful and encouraging.
His outlook on life was happy and upbeat
and he was always looking on the bright side.
He was often heard singing and whistling while he worked.
His reply to a farmer with a breakdown,
“Not a problem! I‘ll have ya fixed up in no time.”
Every day was a great day to be alive
and tomorrow was sure to be a good one too.

He was humble.
He left a legacy of quietly using his God-given gifts.
No one knew how wise he was, he never told them.
There was little he could not do, little he did not know,
but few people realized how much he knew.
If you posed a question, it was never too small,
never beneath his level of expertise.
He worked with you and around you
until you were left believing you could do it all.
He never thought himself above someone,
but always on their level.

He was bigger than life.
He left a legacy of living life to the fullest.
Whether it was tearing into a motor, restoring a jeep,
or loving his little family, he gave it his all.
It was all or none, full steam ahead with excitement,
ready to take on and conquer whatever was next.
He worked and played equally hard,
late at night under a combine out in a muddy field
or playing kickball with the kids on the front lawn,
each was worth the best of his time and effort.

He was funny.
He left a legacy of spreading laughter and smiles.
He could tell the best jokes and stories
to which a crowd of people would always respond.
His family saw a side of him most people never knew.
Wrapped up like a burrito and snoozing on the floor,
whispering something dumb in your ear in a crowd of people,
slurping coffee loudly with a sigh, eating out of the bowl,
telling a story with great enthusiasm or singing with gusto,
there was always something to make us smile.

He was selfless.
He left a legacy of caring more for others than himself.
If there was work to do, he was the first to help.
If it was midnight and you called, he would come,
or he was just getting home from work, “I’ll be right over.”
He would answer his phone day and night,
always willing to let a hand because you were worth his time.

He was gracious.
He left a legacy of being considerate to all,
no matter who you were or how you treated him.
His kindness and thoughtfulness were well known.
Farmers in his world of business still remark
about his care and attention for them.
Even when he had more to do than could be done,
he stopped, listened and cared about each one.

He was steady.
He left a legacy of dependability and steadfastness.
He was a strong tower for his wife and children.
They leaned on him for his strength and confidence,
in return, he delighted in being their safe refuge.
No matter what storms of life beat around them,
they knew they could trust his quiet constancy.

He had faith.
He lived a life that built a legacy worth leaving.
His life bore fruit from the core of his heart,
his character and qualities were witnesses
of a heart which was motivated by a love for Jesus.
He was a man of unstoppable spirit,
passionately dedicated to Jesus and living life.
And when his days were ended, he had fought a good fight
and he finished his race with faithfulness.
He lived a life that built a legacy worth leaving.

When you cross the Jordan, you leave a legacy behind.
Will it be a legacy worth leaving?

legacy

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To Love Someone

The world is full of hurting people.
Aching people, crying people, broken people.
People needing care, time, encouragement, love.
People needing me. People needing you.

But we so are busy, running to and fro,
doing this and that, creating chaos as we go.
We are all wrapped up in ourselves, tied up in our lives,
we are really too busy to stop for just a minute,
and listen to the crying hearts around us.

What if it were you or I crying?
What if it was my heart broken, needy, aching?
What if no one was there to encourage you,
to lift your weary arms, to pull you through?
What if no one loved me or you when we needed love?

This song plays often at my house.
It is my reminder to be there for someone.

You know someone, I know you do.
Search their heart for where it’s broken,
find the cracks and pour your heart in.
Be there for them today.
It won’t be fun or easy to enter their pain,
but there is always Jesus for those moments.

love someone

If I would have had no one walking beside me,
I would not have made it.
People stepped in and poured themselves and Jesus
into my life at a time that was most crucial
… and I lived because of them.
I’m sure you can think of someone who pulled you through,
who was there when you needed them the most.
Be that for someone else now.

Love someone today.

Of Spring, Vaction, and Grief

Winter seems to be struggling to allow Spring take over. Like a post I saw, “Winter keeps sticking its head back in the door and yelling, “And one more thing…”
I am not a fan of being cold, but what can I say? “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away.”  He’s taking it away today and hopefully soon it will start warming, but for now, we are surviving this “Sprinter.”

Winter D

I feel like I’ve been struggling too. Winter blues kind of had/has a grip on me and I can’t seem to shake them. I have a myriad of things that are calling my name but I can’t seem to accomplish any of them. Painting. Sewing. Spring cleaning. << whaaat is that?

Confession: That last one, Spring cleaning, my house doesn’t even know what that is anymore.  It seriously does me no good to clean the entire house from top to bottom. By the time I get done with one end, the other end is hosting eight-legged creatures building new webs. It works better to do one room at a time and stretch it out over the entire year. At least I always have at least one clean room this way. maybe. kinda.
So there ya have it. I don’t Spring clean.

FL (1)

FL (2)

We attended a few Florida sunsets for Spring Break. It was nice to feel warmth when you stepped out the door. Warm being a relative term while we were there. To the Northerners, it was warm but to the natives, it felt coo-oold.

FL (3)

FL (4)

Life at the beach has changed. It used to be awful. Little kids crying and rubbing sand in their eyes. Carrying a ton of things in while urging a toddler to keep moving. Digging holes in the sand, carrying water, building a castle only to watch them smash it. Someone usually cried from lack of sleep, someone was cold, someone was hot. Food, food, food to drag along, well that one still remains, but for the most part, going to the beach is a lot easier then it used to be.

We take as little as possible. I unload the vehicle and by the time each kid has something to carry, there is very little left for me. Granted, this time we did have my sister and her little tribe along, but it still went very smoothly and I could tolerate a few hours sitting there. I am not a beach lover in case you wondered.

FL (5)

The days we weren’t at the beach, this guy spent hours here. Toward the end of the week, the weather cooled considerably, but that didn’t stop him. One morning he was swimming and the air temperature was 59 degrees. The water was pretty warm and he claimed as long as he didn’t get out to jump, he was fine. But he still kept getting out to jump…

FL (6)

It felt so good to spend time with these two ladies in Florida. Yes, we did all the usual kid-care, meal stuff, and laundry while on vacation, but still, to stay in the same house and spend a week together was just good. I value times like this so much.

It wasn’t that we were all there and he was the only one missing, there were others back at home, but still, we all missed Tristan fiercely that week. He would have loved to hear what all was happening, he would have probably been calling in the morning before we were out of bed and just been a big part of the trip, even from home.  It’s time like these that realize you will spend the rest of your life living with this grief. Yes, it changes, it ebbs and flows with different feels, but it will always be there.

My first choice would have been to live life not knowing what this feels like. Since that is not an option, I am glad to carry this weight, to live with this grief, because feeling this means I was privileged to know and love him. I would not trade the years I spent with him to live without this grief.

Grief-love

Live your life so you will long be remembered with love.

Christmas Now

It is Christmas time, all merry and bright,
carols and bells are ringing,
glad hearts are singing with cheer.
Thoughts turn toward home
and good memories are stirred,
chasing warm circles around the heart.
It is family time, reunited once more,
laughter, conversation and happiness galore.
There are lights twinkling merrily,
woodland greenery strung ‘round the house,
and good food always abounding.
It is Christmas time.

But amid the merry,
deep down in some hearts,
Christmas time does not bring
all the joy and gladness it once did.
An irreplaceable one, gone forever,
a hole in the heart, an ache in the soul,
always abiding and touching
each part of this favorite season.

A sadness fills the air
when a song is heard loud and clear.
The silver bells don’t ring so cheerily
as they once did in the past.
The joy around seems dampened
by the loss felt deep inside.
It is a silent night in the depths of the soul,
there is an ache no one on earth can fill.

The usual jolly has lost its appeal,
the laughter is quiet when thoughts
turn to family gatherings and
we think of the one who is missing.
The emptiness hangs heavy,
tears swell to near overflowing,
and our hearts ache for what we had.
Every moment that was
is now a memory worth reliving.

Our minds turn toward heaven
and know imagination cannot begin to tell,
all the beauty and glory that is Christmas there.
The story retold here on earth,
is alive in heaven today.
Hallelujahs ascend, praises without end,
a glorious resounding of song.
The Christmas story unfolded from beginning to end,
the reason for the songs we sing.
We know without a doubt
that the Christmas we love here,
holds no candle to the one that is there.

While our hearts long for your presence,
to be there with you now,
we will smile for the children
and tell the stories for their memories,
for we want you alive in their hearts
as much as you live on in ours.
We know you would tell us to go on and enjoy,
to smile through the tears and
remember the reason for living.
But in our heart of hearts,
we hang on just a little bit longer,
because Christmas just isn’t Christmas
without you.

Christmas Star

Two Years

Two years ago the shrill ringing of the phone
broke the silence of a peaceful night.
Quiet words were spoken and heart-wrenching sobs
came welling up from deep within.

Two years.
What are two years in a lifespan?
A minor drop in the bucket.
What are two years grieving a death?
The feeling of a lifetime.

T 3-07

Tris, we miss you still, we always will.
So much remains the same,
so much about us has changed.

We still congregate at Mom’s
because we love to be together.
We still sit around the table and talk,
catching up on each other’s lives.
We still sit around the fire outside,
but now we watch the sky, the moon,
knowing you are somewhere out beyond.

T 5-14

We still speak your name,
in a good memory, a loud story
or something we know you would love.
We laugh more, cry less,
but miss you just the same.
The ache in our hearts is still there
because you are still missing.

T 4-12

The children are growing, changing,
getting taller without permission.
They miss the kickball games, roasting marshmallows,
playing in the shop, and long bumpy jeep rides with you.
Tyson has a little girl now.
I know how excited you would have been for him
and all the advice and comments you would have had.
Your two girls are growing up, tall and sweet,
becoming beautiful little ladies.
And your son, He is so much like you in so many ways.
I know you would have laughed
and loved to see him in action like we do.

T 7-14

In the middle of missing you,
we are so grateful and thankful.
It was our privilege to have you
as part of our lives, our family.
We are so thankful to be the ones
who knew you best, the real you.
We smile when we remember your laugh
and are thankful for all our conversations.
Our lives would be so much less
if we had not had almost 33 years with you,
and for all those years, we are grateful.

T 6-15

Time keeps moving along,
often with us dragging our feet.
Some days it feels like we never move,
others we look back to the beginning
and see the far distance we have come.
We would not be where we are today
if it were not for Jesus.
He gives us grace to face each day,
courage to rise on the next,
and strength to put another foot forward
to keep walking this journey.

T 11-12

Two years ago our hearts were broken,
never to be the same again.
As we knelt at the side of that upturned dirt
we whispered, “Good-bye for now,
we’ll be there soon!”

Tris, we miss you still, we always will.

A Galaxy

Right now it seems that every way you turn there are hurting people. People suffering losses, heartache, dealing with fears, worry for the future and so much more.
My heart goes out to you but I also want you to know you are not alone. It may feel as if you are lost alone in the wilderness and no one understands, but fear not, God is watching out for you. He is prompting and sending his messengers to aid you, care for you and assure you of his love. There are times they will tell you they’ve prayed but other times you may never know who all whispered a prayer for you. Just rest assured, you are not alone in this.

 

A Galaxy

The night is so dark.
The moon, but a thin rim.
Only a few stars twinkle.
A cloud passes over.
I lie and look and wonder.
How far does it go?
What is hidden beyond the dark?
What is just out of my view?
I see but such a small space,
a few tiny stars
and one sliver of moon.
What does the realm around me hold?
What is spread across the sky?
What beauty might my eyes behold
if I could only see past the dark?

This road I walk
so dark and lonely.
I look all around
and see nothing but pain.
The darkness threatens to choke me,
sadness, loneliness, and grief
are my companions.
I see only the rough road,
the weariness of traveling it.
Tears fill my eyes
as the pain envelopes my soul.

Yet I wonder,
what is beyond my peripheral vision
along this lonely road?
What is outside the scope of my sight?
What are the scenes God orchestrates
behind the curtains of heaven?
Of people set in motion,
of things set in place,
circumstances long foretold,
just for me.

I wonder if only I could see,
what a sight I might behold.
Knees bent low in prayer,
care-filled thoughts ascending.
Angels descending to lend
strength for my journey,
a hand for the rough of the road.
Neighbors and friends
answering God’s prompting
and whispering prayer late at night.
The Spirit of Comfort descending,
wrapping arms of love around me.
Fellow travelers around
who have traversed this pain,
stop and walk along side,
offering encouraging words.
All just for me.

My view is so small,
so wrapped around me.
How many times do I forget
what is out past my sight,
what is hidden beyond the darkness?
Not just one star or two twinkling,
but a galaxy wild and bright.
And out past those millions,
is Jesus who stands
at the right hand of his Father
interceding for me.
He sends out his Spirit
to prompt and move,
all working on my behalf.
And far beyond my imagination
are plans already in place
by the Father
to carry me through.

I don’t travel this road alone.
I have a galaxy around me,
supporting me.
And so do you.

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Walking With the Grieving

Grief-walking is a very long and lonely road. It is so long, in fact, it really has no end because as long as one lives, they will grieve their losses. As long as one lives, a part of their heart will be missing, holes left by the ones gone before.
While it is long and lonely, without fail Jesus is with us, helping to bear this burden. Sometimes he is a quiet presence you feel inside, other times he is there in a tangible sense in the form of a friend or neighbor.
Being willing to be Jesus to a hurting heart means so much to the one grieving. They see you putting yourself aside and giving time and talents to walk beside them. During my grieving, I was blessed in so many ways through the people around me. I knew without a doubt that they loved me, cared for me and while some had never walked this road, they were willing to step into my pain and be there for me. That is true friendship!

One thing to always remember is everyone is different. God created everyone unique and He loves that about us. Because of this, we will also grieve in our own unique way, each one differently than anyone else. When someone is not grieving as you think they should, just be gentle, give them time, love and encouragement.

This post is a compilation of many, many people’s thoughts and feelings. I had a very good response to my questions. Because everyone is different, there are many different ways listed to help someone. Not everyone will agree with everything listed here, so when you want to do something for someone, take into consideration what they would appreciate. Another thing to note, this list is full of things to do for anyone in need, not just a grieving person. Let’s be Jesus to someone today!

Prayer
“I would like to thank every person who has let me know they are praying for me.”
This cannot be overdone, it just cannot. There is so much power in prayer!
I’m not sure where I would be today if it weren’t for praying people.

Send a card.
This is an excellent idea because mail is always appreciated. Along with the card, write a note, a verse, a poem or something of meaning. Words carry weight!
“During the first year, I had a friend who sent a little something in the mail every month about the time my mom died.”

“I love when people talk to me about my loved one.”
This one was mentioned often. To know that the one you are missing has not been forgotten is so important. Talk about them by name, tell them what you miss or what you remember, or ask a question about them.

Babysitting
It was hard to think with the noise of small children around all the time. To have a few hours of peace and quiet alone was worth so much.

“I had church responsibilities when my loved one died. I wish someone would have offered to take my place teaching Sunday School for the rest of my term.”

Remember the important dates. Birthday. Anniversary. Date of death.
Remember with a word, a card, a text, or anything. Just remember.

Send Flowers
Not just over the time of the death, but flowers are appreciated anytime, like important dates or for no reason but to show you care.

“My loved one lived in a different community and over the time of the hospital stay and then death, we spent a lot of time and money on travel. Days off work are costly, gas is expensive. I wish someone had thought of this and if they were able, would have given towards our expenses in this way. Children are often bored while driving. A care package for them would have been wonderful!”

“A friend came just to sit and listen. She didn’t have words of advice, she just sat and listened to me cry and talk. It meant so much.”
It’s okay if you don’t have words, you don‘t need words. We are all prone to want to think of something to say, to have a beautiful reply for every problem, but the gift of sitting and listening is comfort in itself.

“I have a dear friend who stopped in about every week to chat, have coffee, or lunch or whatever. I never had to worry about how the house looked or what she would think of me. It felt so good to inhale the fresh air she brought with her.”

“When someone lets me share my story over and over, it’s therapy. It hurts, but it’s also healing.”

“Do. Not. Judge. And don’t make assumptions either. If you don’t understand, that’s ok. Likely the grief-walker doesn’t understand themselves or the situation any more than you do. Just love and give grace.”

“I wish people had not judged me for the dumb moves I made when my mind was numb with grief. I wish they would have encouraged me instead.”

“I know I am different than I used to be, I know grief has changed me. I just want people to give me grace and time to find the new me.”

“Don’t compare. I wish people would understand that everyone grieves differently. Just because your sibling died doesn’t mean you know how I feel when my Mom died.”

“After losing our baby at 13 weeks someone told me “Well I guess you just need to think about people who have it worse than you do”. Sure I get that, but when you are in the midst of hard grief, that’s not what you need to hear.”

“My Sunday School teacher didn’t put me on the spot by asking me about my loss in front of the entire class because she knew it would be too much for me.”

“Even if I look like I have it all together and am handling it well, inside I still want to hear that someone cares!”

“As a widow, friends are precious that are willing to stand by and be there when times are tough and you don’t even understand yourself! -see James 1:27-
Have a listening ear and not try to fix.
Words of life and encouragement are worth a lot!
If they have children, especially boys, there are godly men needed to be mentors!
A helping hand and acts of service are huge! Outside work, washing off the vehicle has meant a lot to me!!
Be open to what the Holy Spirit leads you, HE so knows when the need for a phone call, visit or coffee shop time!”

“She put a stack of note cards on my table filled with encouraging Bible verses to read when it was hard to open my Bible.”

Be available.
Let them know that you are available, day or night, no matter what time, for a call or text. Just be there.

“I really appreciated the people that listened to me the first year after our loss. Their listening ears helped me process my grief and shock. I really appreciated the few people who weren’t afraid to help me bear this messy, unpredictable burden of grief. I know my actions and responses hurt them at times, but still, they were gracious.”

“I have never experienced grief to this extent – I’ve had friends who have been thru those hard things. I’ve been putting effort into learning how to be a better friend to someone who is experiencing this. Someone who has faced trauma and sudden death said to the rest of us “We assume that we know how we will grieve when faced with death and we expect everyone else to grieve that way. The truth is that no one knows how they will react or grieve.” This has been very helpful to me when walking alongside a friend. And also being ok with being, uhm, maybe I could say, hurt by the grieving friend. In other words, understanding that they are hurting so badly that sometimes they hurt others unintentionally. So being willing to lay that hurt aside for the sake of the friendship.”

Acts of Service
“So many people brought meals and showed their love and care with food!”

Everyone needs to eat and it is hard to think about cooking at such a time!
Another lady said, “Bringing meals WITHOUT asking. It can be hard to say yes to an offer, but when a meal just shows up or is left in the freezer at church for you, it is such a blessing.”
Or this one, “Someone brought freezer meals in tinfoil pans for me. On days when I couldn’t think to cook, I used them and never had to worry about returning the dishes.”
If you have children, this one is great. “Once a month a lady dropped off a big bowl of cookies for us.”

Do some cleaning for her.
Not everyone is okay with this so if the person you are wanting to bless is home, send a text and ask if it’s okay. There is no end to the cleaning if you have a family and I’m sure there will be something you can do.
*When my brother died I know some ladies came over and cleaned my house while we were gone for the funeral. I am embarrassed to ask who all saw it in its messy state, but I am grateful for their kindness.

Money
Funeral expenses are astounding and even the smallest donation helps.

Ask. If you don’t know, just ask.
“Would you like to go out to eat with us or would you rather I bring a meal to your house?” “Would you like for me to take your children today or stay and clean your flowerbeds?”

“The smallest acts of kindness mean so much! When someone came for the evening and brought a little snack, it was so encouraging. When they dropped off a loaf of fresh bread or came and raked my leaves. Just little things, but they took time out of their busy schedule to be there for me.”

“After our loss, we had a couple people give us groceries/snacks in 31 totes. So thoughtful and I always think of them now when I use the bags. A couple stopped in one random evening with gifts for our children and flowers for my husband and I. We also received care packages in the mail with little gifts for the kids and snacks and candy. We were also blessed by an American Express gift card, restaurant gift card and Starbucks gift card all from the same person with a card stating that we are to use the AE gift card for a getaway. This was given right around the time our baby would have been due to arrive. I found that very thoughtful as so often we had intentions of going away by ourselves but it never happened because of work/money.”

Gift Cards
These can be used at any point in time when they feel up to going out again. They can be cards for the grocery store, shopping or a restaurant.

“Take things like paper plates, toilet paper, napkins, tissues, paper towels etc. to the house of those who just lost a loved one. Someone did that for us and it was a gift.”

“Friends got me out of the house for a few hours one day. They called and said they were coming to get me. We had a good day of shopping and coffee and it gave me something else to think about for a little bit.”

“When asked, “How are you?” I often didn’t know what to say. I did love to hear someone tell me they had been thinking about me this week and prayed!”
“How are you?” is a common question, it’s just one that comes out when we don’t know what else to ask. It is a very hard question to answer in the middle of grief, so don’t be offended if the grief-walker just smiles and says, “Okay” when you know they really aren’t. Most likely they themselves don’t know how they are.
“Be willing then to step out of your comfort zone and reach out to them…….be it a text, card, flowers, meal. Just do something. It doesn’t matter how small it is. It will mean the world. All I wanted was a hug and a tangible reminder that they cared.”

A hug without words
Sometimes just knowing someone cares is huge. You do not have to say anything. Actions speak louder than words many times.

“I loved the people who came through the viewing who just hugged me, cried and said ‘I am praying for you.’ At a time of sudden loss, you can’t remember everyone that came, much less the things they have to say. But that warm hug you will remember.”

“Give the gift of a massage. It is so relaxing once all the stress is over with to go and have a massage. It seems like a small gesture, but one I loved.”

“When someone dies, don‘t forget that their close friends are also grieving deeply.”
Death affects many, not just family. Check in on friends grieving a loss also.

“I wish people would have chosen something to do instead of saying,
“Let me know if you need anything!”
Most people who say this mean it with absolute sincerity, I did when I said it. I really, truly wanted them to let me know what they needed. Since then I have come to realize that often a grieving person is unable to process and think like they normally would, especially in the initial stages of shock. When someone walks up and says, “Let me know if you need anything!” there will almost never be a reply to the request. The griever is simply unable to think of what they need. When they do think of something, they still won’t call you because it just feels so needy.
Next time instead of leaving your question open-ended, be specific.
“Would you like for me to bring supper on Wednesday or Thursday night?”
“Would it be okay for me to stop in at 10 today and clean your windows?”
“I’ll be by in 20 minutes and will clean your bathrooms for you.” and when you clean the bathroom, stock it with toilet paper and etc.
“I’m running to the grocery store. Do you need any staples like bread, milk, or eggs? Or would you have a list ready that I could have?”

“I have walked a different journey of grief by becoming a single mom and sometimes reading posts like this makes me sad! I didn’t lose my husband to death but grieved just like it was a death and people don’t know what to do in situations like this, so they do nothing. In that first year, I would have loved for someone just to bring me a meal, help me with my 5 kids (just to give me a little break since I had that responsibility 24/7) or just to come visit! I did have my family who took turns coming at least once a week for a year and not sure how we would have survived without that! I don’t want to hurt anyone with what I said, but just a reminder that you don’t have to lose a loved one to death to grieve! So if you know someone facing this type of grief now, please reach out to them just like you would if her spouse had died!”

“Grief is the conflicting feeling caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern or behavior.”

Grief is not always through actual death. There are many, many forms of grief that need to be acknowledged with encouragement and support. There is grief like she mentioned above, or infertility, miscarriages, abuse, and many things along that line that feel like an enormous weight on your shoulders. Sometimes a form of grief can be brought on by changes in your life, loss of a relationship or a job, or any number of things that don’t look like a big deal to us if we haven’t walked in those shoes. If you see someone grieving like this, reach out to them even if you don’t understand because you’ve never been there. You can still show them you care through words and actions.

In the end, there is no amount of anything that will take away the pain of loss. The pain always remains, but when there is care, love and genuine concern shown, it is like a ray of sunshine on a dark day. When a friend is willing to stoop low and help carry your burden, the load seems lighter and the path easier knowing you are loved.

his-comfort

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