I thought long and hard about whether to post this or not.
It is my heart. It is me. So here it is - -
I still believe ...
However, all that I have gone thru and endured these last few years has challenged what I believe.
For all that I prayed ... Rick still suffered, and he died.
For all that I loved him ... it couldn't save him.
Rick was the anchor of our home, our faith.
I stood under him, as his wife.
He was the head of our home.
I was the willing submissive wife.
(I loved my place. It was an honor to stay in it.)
However, now ... I am alone.
I am no longer sheltered, defended, protected.
I am alone.
To make choices and decisions.
To explain or defend those choices and decisions.
No one has my back.
I am alone.
I believe there is a God ... and I believe that I am not Him.
It isn't hard to believe - either He is, or He is not.
I don't have to see Him, nor hear Him, nor even feel Him.
I either simply believe He is ... or He is not.
How much of life do I believe and never see, nor hear, nor feel?
So, yes, I believe there is a God.
I do not understand why good things happen to bad people, nor why bad things happen to good people.
I do not understand why God doesn't just swoop in and rescue those who trust in Him.
About the only thing I know for sure?
We live in a fallen world.
A world full of sin and hatefulness.
A world that is filled with selfishness.
And we are all given the free will to make our choices and decisions.
What we often forget is that no one is an island.
No one lives unto themselves, no one dies unto themselves.
Every thought leads to an action.
And every action leads to an effect on someone else.
I do not think God has abandoned me in all of this grief and loneliness.
I don't agree with it all ... sure don't like it.
Have questioned why must it be like this?
Wondered what I have done to deserve such a nightmare as a life?
As anyone who has endured such a love and a loss, I do at times, very honestly from a broken heart, ask, "Why?"
But then I must answer ... "Why not?"
I was blessed beyond all measure to have loved and been loved for 34 years, 7 months, 17 days and 11 hours.
Who am I that I should have been that blessed?
Who am I that I should think I would not have to lose that, except for the memories?
I must be thankful for the time that Rick and I had together, we could have had no time.
I believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
I believe there is a Heaven and there is a Hell.
I believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven - by accepting Him as Savior and Lord of our life.
I believe the Bible is the closest we have to God's own Holy Word.
It is an interpretation, but it is the best we have.
I am choosing day by day, moment by moment - to not serve the fears, the frustrations, the stresses and the disappointments that surround me, and that threaten to overwhelm me.
I know that I have a choice - To cast away the negativity of life, and to hold to the good and right things.
It is not an easy choice.
But for me? It is the only choice.
And it is a choice that must be made over and over again, a thousand times a day.
There is a sign I saw that says -- "When things go bad - don't go with them".
I'm trying - very hard, with every heartbeat.
My prayer has become simply - "God help me. God forgive me. God."
I am also choosing to not go around in the memories and guilt of my screw ups just to please those people that cannot, or will not, accept the changes of my life, as well as the love and forgiveness of God in my life.
Now I do not believe that just because there is Grace and Love and Forgiveness with God that I should have a free pass to say or do or live any way that I want.
But I do believe that I have more than a tight rope to walk on.
I am not going to wallow around in the pig pen of regrets over a past that I cannot change.
My life is not devastated by my mistakes, nor defined by the missteps that I take.
I believe that God's Grace, His Amazing Grace, is still greater than all my screw ups.
Now, I don't always live this faith out loud ... but I am trying very hard to live my faith real.
And that means that more often than what I like to admit - my humanity gets in the way of my Christianity.
And I get back up.
Do not follow me ... I may not lead.
Walk with me thru this journey called Life ... the ups, the downs, the times of smiles and the rivers of tears.
I know, sharing too much again, right?
Oh well. Anyone doesn't want to know my thoughts - - don't read my blog.
If you care enough to read it, then these are the thoughts and emotions of my heart & mind on this grief walk.
Yesterday, well, more than just yesterday.
But yesterday intensely.
I missed having a bed.
I missed everything about having a bed.
To start with a bare mattress.
Pop those clean sheets across the bed.
Oh the smell! The sound!
Pull the fitted sheet tight about the corners.
Smooth out all the wrinkles.
Lay the flat sheet on top, and unfold - I always unfolded carefully to capture the memory of the smell.
Spread the flat sheet across the bed. I like to get it even on both sides.
Lay the blanket on top of the flat sheet.
Spread it out.
Now, tuck the sheet & blanket at the foot - just like my brother showed me.
No wrinkles as I look at the bed.
Now comes the quilt or bed spread.
Fresh pillowcases on the pillows.
Next the pillows in the shams to make the bed look complete.
Will I put a special pillow in the middle or a treasured keepsake?
-One of my favorite parts...walk out of the room, turn around and walk back into the room.
Just stand there a moment and see the finished efforts.
Think about all it represents.
-if blessed to share the bed, then it means pillow talking, sweet kisses, arms and legs entangled at 2 a.m., and "more".
But what I missed the most yesterday?
Just having a bed to make up every morning ...
and turn down every night.
I loved being a homemaker / housewife.
There was nothing demeaning in either of those words, nor the responsibilities that came with the words.
After 3 years of Rick being hurt and on dialysis, and me not sleeping in the bed much at all because he was not comfortable enough alone, let alone with me in the bed ...
After 3 years of sleeping in a borrowed recliner and/or couch ...
I would think that having a bed wouldn't even matter any more.
I wait with bated breath for that day.
There are moments that remind me in a terrible, vivid, almost cruel way, of all that I lost when Rick died.
Sadly, yesterday was one of those moments.
However, I knew what the gut punch was all about.
So, I allowed the grief to wash over me, the damn tears to come, the ragged breathing.
For a few moments - thankfully being alone.
Then, I got angry ... angry that so much has been taken from me.
It wasn't enough that I had to give up my husband, my best friend, my lover, my confidant.
No, that wasn't enough.
Yes, I am thankful for all the years that we shared together.
No, he didn't deserve the pain and suffering that he went thru those last 3 years.
It wasn't enough.
No, I had to surrender our home.
99% of our possessions.
Leaving me penniless.
What did I do to deserve this nightmare of what is called "life" now?
I refused to wallow in the grief - grief of losing Rick, or grief in all the stuff I have lost.
I took a deep breath.
Wiped my tears away.
Screamed silently yet deeply from within my heart and soul.
And I pressed forward into the day.
Sometimes I wonder which is worse, allowing the grief to come and perhaps work a small step forward in dealing with it all ...
or the questions from others about "what is wrong"?
Knowing full well that if I try to explain the quietness, I will come undone completely.
Life goes on.
Even when we don't want it to, nor when we care whether it does or not.
Life goes on.
I miss a bed. :(
I have heard so many times, "Just get one!"
If only it were that easy, don't you think I would have already done that?
I have yet to find a place that I can afford with little money.
Not for lack of looking.
Always on the alert for something.
I am so thankful for family and friends that have taken me in for these 3 years and allowed me their recliner and/or couch.
However, I am not stupid.
I know that others get tired of having me in their homes.
Of making plans around me.
Or of not making plans because of me.
I realize what my presence in someone else's home costs them.
Having had a home of my own for 35 years, and having had many house guests over those years -
I try to remember all the good things (and all the bad things).
I do my very best to incorporate the good things and stay far from the bad things.
However, I know after a time, a house guest becomes a house "pest".
Life is so limited when you are 57 years old, with no vehicle, no permanent address, no utility bills in your name.
As well as having no personal items save for my clothes and a handful of treasures from the years before.
I am not sitting on my laurels waiting for someone (or God) to swoop in and rescue me.
I do not ask for that.
I do not expect that.
I know that if my life is to change, it shall be up to me to make it happen.
As I have said ... many sleepless hours, many torturous days of searching, looking, thinking.
I am not writing these words to illicit sympathy, nor help.
I am writing these words sharing the honesty of this life for me.
This will probably stir up a hornet's nest somewhere along the way,
but being brutally honest about this life ...
These words may sound scrambled, but then, so are my thoughts on this.
Today I will allow myself to miss making love.
Loving someone and being loved by someone.
I miss the thousand "building blocks" thru the day and evening.
The anticipation of a time after the day is done, to be free, to be unihibited, and enjoy one another.
When Rick died, that part of me died, too - or so I thought.
And now, these 3 years later, I find that the woman in me is still there, awake and alert.
Probably would have been better if she had died.
I can only be sad that she didn't.
I have tried (in vain, I will add) to quiet her.
However, she is wildly stubborn.
A word here or there aptly spoken and she listens well.
After 57 years of a life living to love - how the hell am I supposed to "change with the times"?
How do I distance my heart from the touches?
How do I not feel with my heart?
How do I simply enjoy the pleasure of the moment, knowing full well that without love, it will leave me empty and feeling useless.
I know my mind and my heart enough to know that I will not be haunted by the memories of our times together.
My heart is big enough to hold the memories in reserve, as well as to allow it to grow with experiences and life again now.
Rick told me a month before he died, "I want you to promise me that you will love again, and allow yourself to be loved. You are too young & too beautiful of a woman to be alone for the rest of your life."
(He was biased, by the way.)
I promised him that night as I lay in his arms and tears flooded both of us.
But he had no idea what he was asking ... nor did I know what I was promising.
Loving again is not hard.
My heart and my being have loved others my whole life.
So, to open my heart & my life and allow myself to love someone else so completely?
I could do with never a regret.
To walk forward in this life being loved by someone?
Sigh. Easier than these words are to write.
I have had others tell me that I am not ready to love if I still think about and miss Rick.
I call "Bullshit"!
I will always love and miss Rick.
He was a part of my life, my heart, my world, since I was 10 years old.
However, he is gone, and he is not coming back -
even tho I have cried a million rivers of tears wishing he would, or could.
I was left here to live this life.
And to love with all my heart.
Will life allow this to happen?
I guess only time will tell.
But, my heart & my mind are open to the possibility.
And yet, I hold my heart carefully guarded not expecting the probability of it.
The conflict within me - -
I know my worth.
I know my value.
Not in a vain or prideful sort of way.
But I know ME.
I know what I can bring to the table of a relationship.
And I know what I do not have to bring.
I also know my weaknesses, my faults and shortcomings.
As well as my strengths, my experiences, my wisdom.
I know that I do not fit the visual picture that so many are focused on.
Understanding - or should I say accepting - the standard of "love" in this day and age -
What "hope" do I have that love will come again to my heart and in my life?
Having said all of this, I breathe in and I breathe out.
I remember that I was loved.
I realize that many walk this earth, living this life, never knowing the love that I experienced for 35 years.
I long to be content with the memories.
If only the woman in me would shut the hell up.
spot on, Christine!
Not wanting to cross any literary or sharing lines here - but this article is so "spot on" that I must share it. I must keep it!
AFTER A HUSBAND'S DEATH, DREAMS MUST BE REINVENTED. by Christine Thiele February 6, 2011
One of the hardest struggles I’ve found about widowhood is that the life you had before pretty much dies with your spouse. Well, at least mine did. The hopes, dreams and plans that we made as a couple were buried with my husband. Every morsel of my being was changed because he is no longer here for me to love or be loved by him.
At first, his vacancy left the obvious holes; no more him, no more seeing, smelling, holding, or sharing with him. As time passed, more holes appeared: no one to help with the kids, no one to help with the house and no one to talk to in the intimate way I could talk to him. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so completely alone. I don’t think I’ve ever felt the weight of loneliness like this.
Then comes my life, my hopes, and my dreams. All obliterated. In the years prior to his illness, we were coming into a solid comfort zone in life. We were happy with our jobs, our family life, and our marriage. We were married for a good chunk of time and had been together for nearly 14 years. We knew each other and miraculously were still happy with the each other. We appreciated who we had become. We were looking forward to a family becoming one member larger and the joys that come with raising our two boys.
So, he dies. I’m still here. I am left to walk the earth without him and to carry on the plan. Carry on the plan…carry on the plan…carry on the plan?
It took me several years to realize that I could not carry on our plan alone. I think it’s taken me several more to come to grips with the fact that I need to create new plans. I need to dream and hope without him. I don’t like this and have only gone this direction kicking and screaming for my old dreams, my old hopes, my old life.
My future has been a very difficult thing for me to let go by the wayside. I don’t think it’s fair that I have to do all this again. I don’t think it’s fair that I have to do this alone. I don’t think it’s fair that I am left with my hopes and dreams shattered in pieces on the floor.
Well, I also know that life is not fair. Life is a gift and a struggle. Life is not to be taken for granted or spent without meaning. All these factors propel me into my new future. All these factors give me strength to dream new dreams and hope new hopes and reshape my life into something I can live with and hopefully thrive in day after day.
The problem is that the struggle is hard…some days, some weeks, some months are just too much for me to handle. These times leave me wondering why? Why try again? Why move on? Why reinvent, re-imagine when so many of these days, I only end up exhausted and overwhelmed?
The only answer I can ever come up with is…drum roll please…there is no other way for me. I yearn for joy, I yearn to be someone my boys will look up to each day, I yearn to love and be loved.
Every day that I remember this, I build strength for another day. Every overwhelming moment at a time that I remember how much faith my husband had in me to carry on without him, I feel honored. Every time I feel that warmth of his love flow through me, that moment when I know I didn’t give up, I become revived a bit more.
I am revived and strengthened for another moment. I am revived and even given courage to take on my new dreams, my new hopes, no matter how much struggling lies before me.
So today, I will dream a bit and hope a bit. Every day I will try a bit more. With each passing day, I will realize that I have begun the new dreams, the new hopes, the new life that carries his love within me.
This new life may exist without him holding my hand, but it will never exist without him holding my heart. It will be a fusion of old and new. It will be a mix of what we wanted and what I am capable of doing without him. I hope, I dream, I imagine that every day that I have courage to be and to live brings me one day closer to me, reinvented.
--Thank you Christine for sharing this. It is so much my heart and my life now. God bless you and yours. Sisters in a bond that we never wanted.
Memories. Cancer. Today.
These words came up on my Facebook memories this morning:
"Well ... home from the hospital ... had the DNC and cervical punch biopsy. Dr. Tris said that I have endometrial hyperplasia and very large fibroid tumors. Everything has been sent for a pathology report, with thoughts of Cancer. He said it did not "appear" as cancer to his eyes, but that we will wait on the path report. He also said that there are no options left but a full hysterectomy at this point.
However, with my blood & iron counts as low as they are, he does not think I will survive the surgery.
Once the report is back, if there is no cancer present, then I will be on birth control pills for about 3 months to try and stabilize the bleeding so that my body has a chance to do a bit of recovery before surgery. I am also on an iron therapy program.
Dr. Tris told us yesterday before the DNC & cervical punch biopsy that I was only a few days away from death, because my blood count was @ 4.9.
3 units of blood and it brought it to a "critical low" 7.1.
The endometrial hyperplasia is one step above cancer ... if it isn't cancer already.
I'm ok - tired and weary. With all of Rick's health concerns? I am also majorly overwhelmed.
So, now, we wait ... wonder ... and do our best not to worry."
It has been 6 years since I was diagnosed with cancer. Uterine cancer.
Uterine cancer that turned out to be the most aggressive one known. And yet, by a miracle (words of my oncologist) it was caught early, very early. We were told by Dr. Frumovitz at MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, TX, that 99.99% of the women who have this type of cancer do not know until the only option is to give them pain management and a few weeks of getting everything in order and saying their good-byes.
After the major surgery to remove the cancer, and all path reports were back, I was told that had this not been found and addressed that I would have "maybe" had 6 months to live, and it would have been a "most horrible and excruciating" death.
I have been doing a lot of thinking and considering these last few days.
Knowing this "anniversary" was fast approaching.
I have not said a lot about being a "cancer survivor".
There is almost a shame in it.
Rick had Acute Kidney Disease with Renal Failure.
Given the prognosis of living the rest of his life, into being an old man, with only 21% or less of his kidney function.
So many others have had cancer - cancer that was given a higher probability of surviving ...
yet, they have died.
It makes no sense to me.
Who is chosen to live ... and who must die.
The families that are allowed to go on living with their loved ones ...
and the families that are ripped apart, hearts are broken, lives are forever changed, because their just-as-loved loved ones died.
And then there is me.
No one but Rick, and he is gone now, knows:
1. how much I suffered thru those months leading up to the diagnosis.
2. the hell I went thru in having to call my children and tell them this news
3. the hell I endured to apply and be accepted to MD Anderson.
4. those moments that I gritted my teeth to get thru with all the pre-tests, and a couple of them were absolute nightmares!
5. the physical pain waking up from surgery, and in the 18 weeks that it took me to begin the long road of recovery. This was not a "simple" hysterectomy. This was a radical surgery - took over 8 hours to perform, and I will always have lasting effects from it.
And then to hear from someone that I have loved and held in honor, "I don't believe Margaret actually had cancer. I think she was simply too weak as a woman to endure "the change". This was all done for attention. If she had truly had cancer then God would have told me that she did, and He didn't, so I know she didn't have it."
I have read, and re-read, the pathology report so often that I have it memorized.
I know what I have read.
I know what we heard from both Dr. Tris & Dr. Frumovitz.
Why did I survive?
So that I could bury Rick?
Still trying to figure this out.
But I know one thing - - I am no longer going to be ashamed that I had cancer, nor that I survived.
My heart breaks that those I love and care for have had to endure the horror of losing their joy and their heart to Cancer ... and I survived. If I could have made the choice? I would have chosen for someone else to live and to love in this life.
But this was NOT my choice.
My choice is now that I have survived these 6 years it is time to CELEBRATE LIFE.
No matter what others say.
No matter what others think.
I had cancer.
It never had me.
From the moment of hearing the "C" word, I stood firm in saying, "I have cancer, but dammit, it doesn't have me!"
I promised Rick, my kids and my grandkids, that I would fight with all the strength and dignity that I had in me - and I would win!
I would either win by surviving and living this life ... or I would win the ultimate battle and get to go on home!
Perhaps there will always be a measure of "survivor guilt".
Perhaps that is because my heart just feels deeply.
I must find a way to go on - - not only as Rick's widow, but as a Cancer SURVIVOR.
Rick loved ME.
Yes, he needed me, just like I needed him.
But he also wanted me, what a difference that makes in a relationship (even a friend-to-friend relationship).
He didn't care what my hair was like (he had his opinions which I respected and usually followed because of love), how much I weighed (he had seen me at my worst - both ends of the spectrum), how scarred my legs are (long story), he didn't even care what my teeth looked like (another long story).
He loved ME.
He wanted ME - my hopes and fears, my dreams (good or bad), my heart, my mind with all the thoughts, ideas, memories ... and yes, my body.
The body part was never the main focus of our relationship, tho.
The hugging, forehead kisses, hand holding, the companionship ... that was what we were SO much about.
Thank you Rick for loving me, for needing me, for wanting me - Just as I was for all those years.
Thank you for your support no matter what.
I love you ... and I miss you.
When Rick was in the hospital the last time, about a month before he died, he had me lay in the bed with him, holding me best he could with the tubes and wires going everywhere.
Softly he kissed the top of my head and he said these words,
"I want you to promise me something. That when I am gone, and I will be gone long before you are, I want you to promise me these things: *You will not grieve yourself to death. *You will live again. *You will laugh again. *And you will love again. *You are too young, too beautiful of a woman, to be alone. *Let someone love you, open your heart and love them the way you have loved me. Promise me."
With tears streaming, and a pleading that he not ask that of me ... I promised him.
He had no idea what he was asking.
I had no idea what I was promising.
I haven't been "looking" for someone.
(How do you even "look" for someone? I never "looked" for Rick. Sigh)
I have been allowing myself to grieve for my husband.
I have been allowing myself the time, space and distance for healing to begin and do it's painful work.
Yet, in talking to others, both men and women, and doing a lot more listening lately ...
I realize that I am not the kind of woman that anyone is looking for these days.
I know my worth and my value, but I have also been made sharply aware of all my shortcomings, faults and failures.
I have "baggage", simply because I am 57 years old, and I have actually LIVED this life for all these years.
But at this age in the game of life?
I also haven't been asking for that "something more" out of anyone.
The "something more" that my heart aches for, that my being yearns for?
It is different than what the standard given definition is of "something more" these days.
And as of today, 3 years, 3 months, 10 days -
not ONE person has asked me what that "something more" is for ME.
(just a lot of WRONG assumptions going around)
I have few if any expectations for "love" in this life now.
Is my heart open to "love"? Yes
Would I consider a long-term relationship? Yes
Would I be able to live life with someone without comparing him to Rick? Yes
Or without expecting him to fill Rick's place? Yes
However, the only whisper of hope I know is ever so often, that perhaps, just perhaps, there may be a companion to share my life with.
I will forever love my husband.
There will never be a moment, a celebration, a sadness, a victory or a defeat, that I will not miss him, that I will not ache deeply to share it with him.
But that part of my life is over.
Never to be again.
So, this life I have been given, goes on.
I feel an urge to scream at the top of my lungs - that just because I am learning to live, to laugh, and perhaps even to love again, does NOT mean that I no longer love Rick, that I no longer miss him.
Or that I do not deserve some measure of happiness in this nightmare.
But then, what good would it do?
So, I just breathe ... and I say not a word.
Knowing that there will be those who will judge me and criticize me no matter what I do.
If I stay alone ... or if there is a 2nd chapter for my life and heart.
And that's ok - if that is what it takes for them to lay down and sleep at night.
Again, this is MY life.
I only hope that one day Rick really will be proud of me.
My son has told me often in these 3 years, and told me again last night - - "Momma, I love you. I don't care where you are, or what you are doing, or even who you are with as long as #1, you are safe, and #2, you are as happy as you can be without Daddy."
Thank you Joshua.
I love you.
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here