Saturday, June 30, 2012

Finding life after losing a loved one

I am finding myself feeling lost and oh so alone at times since the passing of my husband.  Having shared my life with him for 44 years, it is hard to think of making decisions and carrying on without him.  Yet, this I must do.  I have life to live and I know that the Lord wants me to use the years I have left to experience life, but most of all love and be loved.

I find that when I spend time alone during the day, my mind goes all over the place and thoughts of grief take over.  I know it is important to grieve, but it's not good to let the grief consume you.  I have given in to grief to the point that I almost break down mentally and am not able to cope with everyday life.  Therefore, I have sought out counseling and am planning to volunteer somewhere just to be able to adjust to the loss in my life.

The counselor suggested writing Ron a letter to express my feelings and how I miss him.  I plan to do this soon.  I know that by volunteering I can give back to those who are going through their own pain and grief.  I am planning to volunteer in a hospital since I know from experience the suffering that goes on there. 

I have been blessed with so many wonderful friends.  They are a constant source of strength for my ability to cope.  However, the greatest light through this darkness of grief has been my faith in Jesus Christ my Savior.  I realize that I am never alone and He is always here with me.  I know that brighter days are ahead and until they come the Lord will be my comfort, my strength, my fortress.  When brigthter days appear on the horizon, Jesus will not leave me.  He will be with me through the light as well as the darkness.  He has been and will always be my light in the darkness. 

Whether you believe as I do or  not, there is so much relief in knowing that a Higher Power is watching over you.  His love is out there for everyone and I cannot put into words the peace and serenity that comes over me when I am drawn back to the source of my life. That source for me is the Lord and I know that He loves me unconditionally and will never leave me or forsake me.

I remain in His care and through Him will find the peace that passes all understanding.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Seeing light through the darkness

During the past months - I have given alot of thought to Job of the bible.  He endured so much.  He faced afflictions and trials almost unbearable to think of.  Yet he never lost his faith in God.  And, because of these trials, he is remembered in God's Word.

Sometimes our most sorrowful days become the best in our lives.  Our true faith and trust in God are greatly diminished when we are lighthearted and cheerful.  We miss the deepest things of life.  Of course being lighthearted and cheerful are our goals, but if we were surrounded by these feelings always, the capacity of our hearts would often be wasted.  The heart is dwarfed and shallow when it experiences no pain.

I have identified with Job many times during the past two years.  His story has given me strength to keep on going.  At the end of Job's life, God blessed him more than at the beginning. 

Jesus said "Blessed are those who mourn".  I have mourned and will continue to miss my soul mate.  But I know that my heart has grown and I feel wiser having endured the past two years.  The Lord has been with me throughout the dark days and I feel His light coming into my life.  I trust in Him who made me to continue a good work through me.  Don't know what that will be, but I am willing and able to work for the Lord.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Feeling Lost and Alone

Ron is in a better place and right now I am in a worse place.  I feel lost, alone and sometimes completely worthless.  It's truly amazing the feelings that I have experienced throughout this whole time of Ron's illness and passing.

I know that the Lord is with me and I know that I derive all the strength I have from Him.  But, I sometimes get so scared and feel so alone in this world.  I should be beating myself up for having feelings like this, but I am human and I am allowing myself a break to be this way right now.  I am going for counseling and have attended a small group.  Our church has a group meeting on grief - but not until August - so I plan on attending that as well. 

My life has definitely changed a whole lot.  I lived 44 years with Ron and have always had his companionship whether it was good or bad - he was here and there was love.  I had someone to talk to about the children or certain situations that came up with friends and family.  I am feeling the loss of his companionship and just another person sharing my life with.  "Lost" is the word that defines me right now.  I'm not sure what to do, how to live or for that matter, how to make decisions.  I am making decisions and with the Lord's guidance I know they are the right ones, but it is still sometimes scary to think I will be the one to make all decisions and living with whatever consequences they may bring.

I truly knew in my heart that Ron would go before me, but I didn't think I would take his passing so hard.  We had alot of ups and downs in our marriage and although I loved him with all my heart, I didn't like him sometimes.  I had my friends and did my own things and Ron mainly watched sports on t.v. and did alot of reading.  So, although our lives were not exactly lived "together", we shared children, pets, a home, and love. 

I feel so guilty for not being there when Ron passed.  I had left two hours earlier thinking he would make it through the night.  The week or two before he passed away, I did not go see him every day.  Although I knew in my heart that he was getting worse, I still clung to the fact that he would come out of it and that I could get him home.  I entertained friends for lunch the day before he passed away and spent the day of his passing with my little granddaughter and her friend.  I feel like I truly let Ron down and was not there for him in his final moments.  I feel so horrible inside for having put others before him.

I had spent over 15 months seeing Ron and trying to make sure he was given the right medications and comfortable and taken care of.  I tried every day to go see him - maybe totally I missed about 15 days out of those 15 months that I did not go to see him.  Then, in Ron's worst moments, I feel as if I desserted him.  I can't tell him I am sorry - but I have told the Lord to tell him.  I have told Ron hundreds of times since his passing how much I love him.  I feel that he hears me in some way.  It is so painful to think of how Ron suffered and then suffered alone without me or his children by his bedside at the end.  We were there up until two hours before he passed away.  We went home at 6:30 p.m. and I got the call around 8:30 p.m. that he was gone.

Anyway, it does no good to beat myself up.  I feel horrible and I know I could have spent more time with him those last two days to hold his hand and tell him how much I loved him.  This is guilt I will carry with me the rest of my life.  I was selfish with my time and it hurt so much to see him in a coma and plugged in to so many hoses and cords.  I wanted to spare myself pain and yet the brief pain I spared myself will be a lifelong pain I will carry with me. 

Well I have poured out my feelings here on this blog.  I know that there will be good and bad days experiencing the grief of my loss.  There will be days I can forgive myself for not being there at the end for Ron and there will be days when I cannot.  My life is in the Lord's hands and He will see me through the pain and failure that I am feeling.  My trust and faith in the Lord is the medication I take every day to get me through this great "loss" in my life.  He is with me and will not forsake me.  He is close to me and will heal my heart.  I remain forever in the Lord's care.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lamentations 3:31-33

This verse means the world to me - I cling to it because of its' great message and wanted to share it.

"For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men." Lamentations 3:31-33

Ron's afflictions are gone and he is in the Lord's care.  My grief will eventually go away because He loves me!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Being thankful to God no matter what

During my lifetime I have asked the Lord for a multitude of things.  I have demanded Him to act quickly and I have gotten mad at Him when things weren't done the way I wanted them done.

Sometimes I have remembered to thank the Lord when He has answered my prayer and sometimes I have gotten so wrapped up in living that I have forgotten to thank Him.

Philippians 4:6-7 tells us "In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus"

I am always anxious about things and when I do bring my anxieties before the Lord, He blesses me with peace and serenity.  He takes care of the anxieties and calms my soul.  However, do I thank Him for each time He does this for me?  I'm afraid the answer is no.  I get in too much of a hurry and let life consume my efforts and thoughts. 

Being thankful to God brings about a closeness to Him and allows the Holy Spirit to enter our lives.  When I take the time to say thank you to the Lord, I realize how much I depend upon him and realize how much He has done for me.  Returning thanks for the blessings we have already received increases our faith and gives us the assurance that He does listen to us.

Honestly, I haven't felt very thankful lately.  I have had loss and stress, illness and death to deal with.  However, I am thankful that the Lord was by my side through all of the "hell" of the past two years.  I am thankful that Ron is no longer experiencing his personal hell here on earth.  I am thankful that the Lord has him and that Ron is experiencing happiness and peace for the first time like never before in his life.  I am thankful that I am able to keep our home and live out the rest of my life here if I choose to.  I am thankful for amazing friends that have been with me through everything.  I am thankful for my two little dogs that have been my companions and have loved me unconditionally for the past 16 months.  I am thankful I live in the United States of America and have so many comforts in my life.  I am thankful for lessons I have learned throughout the past two years - and I feel that I have learned them well.  I am thankful for good health and that I am able to take care of myself and our home.  I am thankful for amazing grace that has saved a wretch like me.  I am thankful for Jesus Christ who made it possible for my sins to be forgiven.  I am thankful for the Lord - the power that is so much higher than me - that is all knowing and all loving and is in charge of me when I allow Him to be.  I am most of all thankful that the Lord loves even me.  This is the greatest miracle to me that Almighty God who is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever loves "even me". 

I give thanks!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

God is truly our Heavenly Father

Ron left this earth to be with the Lord three and a half weeks ago.  I cannot tell you how many times grief has gripped my heart over the past few days and weeks.  I miss him and wanted so much more for him.  I have guilt because he didn't make it back home where he wanted to die.  He begged me not to let him die in the hospital.  He was always so weak and sick, and needed so much to help him breathe and get nutrition - I couldn't bring him home.  But I will always regret the fact that I didn't bring him home.

I have gone through so many different feelings since Ron's passing.  I have been relieved that he is not suffering any longer.  I miss him and want to tell him things and can't.  My heart aches for him and I wanted him to find happiness here on earth - I question whether he was happy over the past few years.  I'm scared of being by myself and facing decisions by myself.  I grieve for the love Ron and I once had.  When we were married 44 years ago, I loved him so much that it hurt.  I couldn't stand to be away from him for one minute.  My love was genuine and pure.  As the years went by- love changed.  It was not as intense, but Ron became my partner, the father of my children, my friend, and someone whom I wanted the very best for.  Ron had issues and sometimes he was definitely a closed and locked book that no one could open.  I knew Ron and yet I didn't know him. 

I went to church on Sundays and Ron stayed home and watched sports on t.v. on Sundays.  Ron was a godly man and did so much during his life for others.  But, he never revealed to me his thoughts on loving the Lord.  I know he respected God and he was baptised as a child, but I never really knew where Ron stood with God.  I asked him about Jesus and he said he knew all about him.  He told me he accepted him as his Savior and I am believing that he did. 

However, I am one to seek answers and have a finality to everything.  I just have to share something wonderful that came to me last Saturday evening.  Our church has a service on Saturdays and because I was going to be unable to attend church on Sunday, I attended on Saturday evening.  There were lanterns placed throughout the church and one lantern up in the front was lit - the others were not.  Our pastor shared that the one lit was a flame that had actually been brought from Bethlehem.  The other lanterns were then lit by this one flame.  Lights were turned off and our pastor asked us to meditate and spend time with the Lord.  While I was doing this a small whisper came to me and said "It is enough to say I have him".  Now I knew exactly what my Heavenly Father was saying - He told me to stop seeking answers to "why" everything happened as it did with Ron and to know that Ron is now with Jesus.  I know this and believe it with all my heart because the Lord told me in his most quiet and loving way.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Lord carries me!

I am having lots of flashbacks about Ron.  I remember so many things that I have not thought about for years.  Some of them bring an instant flood of tears.  I cannot get through a day without thinking of him at least 100 times.  I miss him and have such a problem understanding why he had to suffer as he did for 15 months.  The Lord does not always tell us why He does things.  However, I will spend the rest of my life trying to find the answer to the why of this.

I get scared when I think about being alone here in our home.  I don't know what the future brings and I have to confess I do busy things to keep me from thinking about my situation - keeping busy also keeps me from spending time with God.  I want to set aside a time each day to spend with the Lord - I cannot hear him when I allow the world and activities to interfere. 

I know there is certainly room up in heaven for one more soul.  I pray that Ron is there with all of his animals.  In fact, I believe that the Lord allowed me to envision Ron surrounded by our pot belly pigs, our cats, dogs, goats, donkeys and horse.  I did see this in my mind's eye!  If God can allow flowers to grow in heaven, He can certainly allow those of us who love our pets so much to have them with us in heaven.  I know the Bible does not address this anywhere, but who is to say that this is not so.  I believe that our animals will be with us in eternal life.  After all, they love us unconditionally, never talk back, and are our companions through the thick and the thin of it.  Therefore, I know in my heart that the Lord has given Ron this extra love.

Never have I walked a day without the Lord in my life.  Now more than ever, I need the Lord's direction and strength.  I do believe that He is carrying me through the grief, sadness and emptiness that I feel.  I have to go through these feelings to get to the other side.  I cannot deny these feelings and I have to claim them as mine.  By claiming them, I can move on and realize that these feelings are part of my humanity.  The Lord will carry me when I become overwhelmed by them.  The Lord will carry me and lift the burdens of my loss.

Knowing that I will go on and that the Lord will direct my path gives me the hope and strength to get through the day.  My life is not the same and never will be.  One thing guaranteed in our life is change.  We may go years without anything being different and then all of a sudden everything is turned upside down.  Even in the "upside down" of my life, I know my Savior is with me and when the burdens become too heavy, it is then that He lifts me up and carries me.