Tag Archives: death

A Wonderful Life

After cancer, after death, after a bottomless pit of grief, it really can be a wonderful life.

I have been silent for a while because my life has shifted again. This time for better. I laugh, I love, I work, I play and really truly live.

At 43 I thought my life was done, I knew I would continue to breathe in and out and keep moving through my existence, but I really thought that was it. My partner had died, my kids dad was gone, I was alone, scared, and sad.

So what caused the change?

For the first 8 months I was a train wreck. Pure and simple. It was just hard, I survived hour to hour, day to day. Then I had to face the reality, he wasn’t coming back, I really was in this alone. Kids grow up and move on, as they should, and in a few short years it would be me and the cat. So I had to ask myself the big questions, face the reality head on and get help.

The big questions were answerless. No answer to why my husband died of cancer and the rat bag down the road gets to live forever. No answer to what my life would look like now. No answer to why I felt picked on by God and why He decided to destroy my family. But I had to move forward regardless. Answers or not. I decided to let the questions go. To stop demanding “why” because it was draining me of life. That’s not what Paul would have wanted. I chose to step into a new world and trust that God knew my footsteps before I took them. And you know what? He did.

Beyond that I stopped shutting the world out and began once again to accept love and friendship around me. From my kids, family, friends, and a church family that demanded nothing of me but encouraged me endlessly to bask in grace and believe solidly that God who truly loved me offered new mercies daily. I believe my faith grew up a lot. Now I just know that I know He loves and cares for me. Despite circumstances. My reciprocation of that love is not always without doubt or fear, but it’s there.

I desperately needed comrades for the journey, and I usually needed them in the middle of the night. So I looked online for women, brave women, who had lost and had begun to live again. Their stories, their inspiration, and even their sadness helped me. I was done with pity, I needed real grit and real guts, these women had it.  I wasn’t alone in this; others survived this wreck, so maybe I could too. Some practical sites that helped in some very, very, very dark moments were as follows.

http://www.onefitwidow.com/

http://www.widowschristianplace.com/

http://www.secondfirsts.com/

https://anewseason.net/

Sometimes just reading helped, but through these sites I found new friends from all over the world and we pushed each other along. I am forever grateful.

There is one more reason for happiness, one more joy in my life that is new. I felt a whisper deep inside to keep my heart open and to believe that I could once more experience the greatest gift one person can give another… love. The odds weren’t good. Then 44, 3 kids, and a whole lot of complication to offer, I didn’t like my chances. But God doesn’t gamble, it was all there in His plan, a man that loves me and I love him. Not a secondary kind of love, not someone else’s leftovers, but a man I daydream about, can’t wait to be with and have to pinch myself sometimes to remember it’s all true. I feel adored, honoured, and embraced. I really thought those days were over, it is the greatest gift I could ever receive. He is wonderful and I love him deeply.

Of course I still have moments and ache because my kids lost a good dad, but I also know that goodness and life are true things and not just theoretical concepts. Life can turn around, hearts can heal and love can be felt again.

It really, truly is a wonderful life.

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The Upside of Death

light in the dark

What is it about death that causes you to stand up and pay attention to life?

I used to be a very content home body. Happy being wife and mum, in fact, I felt it was my highest calling. I know I’m supposed to go on about how women can have it all these days, but for me, it was having it all. Oftentimes that calling was exhausting and time alone at home was a rare prize. But I loved it. Now I can hardly contain the need to get out and live.

I guess living becomes more deliberate, more on purpose; after all it is precious and finite. I know that now. I think the living helps the loss to shrink. It pushes grief out of the way, like light chasing away the shadows and illuminating a path to hope I was convinced I’d never see again. Not denial, I certainly know it happened, that empty space beside me screams it, I am fully aware of what I have lost.

I also feel a responsibility to show the kids life goes on, even after our darkest days. I’m it, the only parent left so I better be fit, healthy and living a full and happy life. I can do this, and so can they. Of course, realistically, I still have grief moments that interrupt the living, but they are part of the remembering and that’s OK, as long as the living is resumed.

Loving kids, family and friends have been crucial, I would not have made it on my own.  But I can see now that my faith has been a huge influence. Even when I blamed God and couldn’t understand how He was loving and just in letting Paul die, even then, I felt His hand in the small of my back nudging me on, willing me to live. A patient Gentlemen who never swore back at me, even in the coldness of my accusations. I am eternally grateful.

So I guess this is an upside of grief…that seems so wrong to write, but surely I deserve an upside, a silver lining, a rainbow after the storm?? Life is the upside.  A determined spotlight on living.

The contrast between life and death is massive, like the difference between light and dark. Once the light hits the darkness it just isn’t dark anymore.


Life and Other Sadness

I lost a friend this week, a beautiful lady, mum, wife, sister, and woman.  So much sadness. She was young; she has 2 gorgeous girls and family that are aching for her.  I get it. I know the sadness, I know that ache, the yearning for it not to be true, the disbelief, loss is hard.

When I heard the news I felt my heart resist, turn off, I didn’t want to feel the sadness, not again. But I have learnt something this week, I don’t need to be afraid of sadness, it won’t kill me, I can live this life, it won’t be the same, but it will be OK.

It means risk to keep my heart open; an open heart can be crushed so easily, to close it off makes more sense. To hide behind excuses of “well I need to protect my heart after such grief” or “it’s just not in my personality” may hold some truth but will only cause my heart walls to harden. It will shut out any potential for pure life that I have, so I won’t do that.

Life dishes up sadness sometimes. It also offers joy and love. God offers me the ultimate choice between life and death. He encourages me to choose life. It occurs to me that so much extreme sadness drains said life and erodes away the ability to choose. So many lives are cut short because there doesn’t seem like a choice exists anymore, there seems like only one way out…such a tragic illness.

So today I choose life, sadness and all. I will not be afraid of sadness, I will embrace it as part of my journey, part of the fabric of who I am knowing that God holds me close, whether in joy or sadness. Yesterday, today and forever I can count on that.


You Loved Me Well

383384_10200668001495730_496952534_nWhat was it that felt so much like love? What was that thing that sent my heart racing, and had it keep up pace over 20 years? You loved me so well, I will always be thankful for that.

It wasn’t an action, an event or words. It was who you were, who you still are in my heart. I am forever changed; forever will I know what true love is. Whether I have that again or not. I knew a love with you that stirred me to grow. Stirred me to look beyond myself and try to offer that love in return. Now, with you gone, I can still do that, still offer what I have. That’s an amazing gift.

We were certainly not a perfect couple, and trouble found us like it does everyone. There are things I would rather forget, I would be happy if they fell out of my circuit of memories and just left me with warm thoughts. But, those times were part of us, part of fighting it out, working it out and loving still. They showed me that hard times do not equal rejection, hate or punishment. But that loves uneasy times can serve to strengthen us as much as the good ones.

I need that now my Honey, to know that the hard times serve a purpose and that I can still draw on the love you invested in my heart. There is a deep well that will benefit me for a long, long time.

I still miss your touch, your warmth beside me, racing home to tell you something before anyone else in the world, the way you loved to kiss way longer than I did, your unabashed checking me out and goofy love stares that I couldn’t match. I miss all of you.

You’re nearly a year gone from me. It’s ridiculous how time and life can go on and by without you. But I have found it does. So I have a choice.  I can stay locked in my memories of you or I can choose to move on and keep making memories that you aren’t in. The former is tempting, it’s quite a safe place, but it’s a very lonely place. Of course you are forever in my heart, part of my heart and soul. Part of who I have become. I cannot and will not deny that. But I must move forward or the absence of life that casts unrelenting shadows will strangle me. I must choose to live, you know that right? I think you do, I think that’s what you’d prefer, because love prefers the other, you taught me that.

You loved me well.


Lonely

Loneliness rounds me up in circles and then jumps up and bites me on the bum! So unexpected and more brutal than I had ever imagined possible.

I spent 21.5 years with Paul, dreaming the same dreams, planning things, facing disasters – you know life!

Then he was gone.

Just gone.

My mind couldn’t comprehend what was happening. I remember a swirl of emotions, knowing I didn’t want him to suffer, but wanting him to live,I  felt sucked down by the reality of what was happening in front of me. A horror movie …and I couldn’t find the off switch.

It took me 6 months to realize that horror movie was in fact my life. No more reliance on numbness or simple denial, realities wanted me to face them. I hate you realities. You are very very cruel. Reality doesn’t allow you the luxury of believing the mind tricks that it is just all a cruel joke. So I woke up and Paul wasn’t here.

Just gone.

He lives vividly in my mind, in my heart and every deep place within me, but it’s not the same. I want to get mad at someone, but it’s no ones fault. I don’t like the medical process that he went through, but I believe they were trying to help Paul live, I can’t hate them for that.  Guilt swallows any chance of getting mad at Paul, he did leave me, but not by choice.

So I’m only left with being mad at myself. Weird? Maybe. But I get mad at being lonely, mad for not doing more, mad for not understanding our finances more, mad at everything I have to do that demands I say out loud Paul died. A woman asked me about my husband today, she didn’t know, it was like a punch in the stomach…I get mad at that.

I don’t want to be lonely, I want to be enough. To never want anyone else’s affection or love. To be alone, but happy to be alone. Big problem there, I am not happy to be alone. I don’t believe we are designed for loneliness, but for togetherness, for families. So no, I haven’t figured it all out yet. And friends in faith, relax, I have not turned my back on God. Instead I look at Him straight up and plead “How?” Say a prayer for me as you turn to snuggle your partner tonight because one day you may feel lonely too and then I will say a prayer for you.

I have a certainty that I will not let go of, that God is for me, not against me. That He loves me first, before I even wake up each day. So I will sort this sucker out beyond platitudes, I just don’t have all the answers today. Today I just felt lonely.


Stuck in the Middle

Honey,

Rock Heart When you died my world darkened. Colours lost their accents, and breath was hard to take in. Dramatic? Sure, as were the changes life took on without you. To be honest I didn’t really know that I could live this life without you. I didn’t want to.

The sun keeps rising, keeps setting, and still you don’t come back to me. And I’m stuck in the middle.

Between life with you and life without you.

Between past purpose and new hope.

Between the security of everyday and emptiness.

Stuck – needing to go forward, but not wanting to leave you in the past. Memories of you are great, but they can’t hold me. You are in my heart forever, but not in my arms.

Stuck in the middle isn’t somewhere I can live, not truly. It’s not a place that thrives. So I need to move to the next place my love. I need to be unstuck and I think I can see how. Really, I think I can and you helped me with that. “We love because He first loved us” the bible says of God’s love for us. He loves me, and He did it first. Before you died, before the tragedy my life became, before I got stuck in the middle. You knew that, you lived with that wonderful truth every day. Thank you.

God knew your days and knows my days. Nothing has shocked Him, He is unswerving. When my days were dark, He was there and He isn’t afraid of it. Where God is in my life He misplaces the dark. So in my dark days now I can see a little brighter, a little clearer and I will keep choosing to do so.
The ache is still there, consuming at times, but sometimes it gets swallowed by the light instead of it swallowing me. He loved you first, before me, and He loved me first, before you. I find comfort in that.


Love in my life.

Love in my life.

I am glad to have love in my life. So glad that I had you to love and share with.

Lots of people fall in love and then just kind of coexist. We really shared love. To be fair we didn’t create it; it was created for us and given to us. God did that, He authored love. We knew His love, shared that and it grew to be our love. Our threefold cord.  I am so very very grateful.

So what now that you aren’t beside me anymore? Always a part of me, always in my heart of course, but in so many ways you are gone. For this moment, I lay aside the sadness to glimpse beyond and see, I need to see.  I choose to see.

The love in my life is changing again, shifting out of a physical realm and settling back in the folds of His grace. It’s a sweet place that offers comfort, warmth and protection. I need those things. My threefold cord has had a strand ripped away, not as strong as it once was, but stronger than it was yesterday.

My cup isn’t overflowing yet, but it will again one day. I still have love. Love I can share, love that can grow, love that is capable of more than I could ever hope or imagine.

Love in my life.

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