Tag Archives: loss

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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Moving Forward

http://blueskiesandlollipops.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/the-magic-of-beginnings/

Moving Forward

Wow, I can hardly believe I am writing those words. But my world is different now. Never will my life be the same, but it will be OK.

“One Fit Widow” describes the process as moving forward as opposed to moving on, I like that. (http://onefitwidow.com/marrying-a-widow/). I am not forgetting the man I shared 22 years with or moving on from who we were together, that would be impossible. I am however, choosing to have a future that he is not a physical part of. For me, that isn’t easy.

For me it has been a hard slog of facing pain head on, staring its ugliness straight in the face and demanding it give me some life back.  To shift my Paul into a new, his own, room in my heart has been a very emotional journey. To accept his disease, his death, to feel abandoned by those same things, to feel I may have caused or contributed in some way to the cancer, maybe I could have done more, been more, tried harder, given my actual life for his…to accept these things was necessary. To face each one and come to some kind of conclusion in order to put things in place and be able to move on was crucial for me. Otherwise it’s like having a set of hurdles in my heart. Every time I came to one, it seemed insurmountable and stopped me in my tracks. Unable to move forward, path blocked, journey halted. So I had to dismantle the guilt and the grief. One misconception at a time, one solid guilt melting truth at a time. I had to clear the path of hurdles and begin to run again.

It’s not just about finding new love; I can’t control that, although I hope I am not alone forever. Its kids, work, church, social life, recreation; the way I do everything has had to change. I am a single parent who as to negotiate how to do these things now. No backups, just me.  I found that extremely scary at first, but I’m getting there and it’s OK.

To rediscover who I am on my own is important too. I have begun to see things solely through my own eyes again. Grateful for the person my Paul helped me to be, and for the love he gave me and his kids, but I have to make my own choices now, grow up and take all the responsibility. I really did like being married, that part is hard. Seasons can be hard.

Seasons, now that’s something. In the past week I have seen the same passage of scripture come at me from very unusual sources. School newsletters, emails, Facebook to name a few (because I forget the others!!) so I’m taking that as a sign and moving forward. I will accept that it’s OK for the seasons to change; it’s OK to move forward.

Never will my life be the same, but it will be OK.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 The Message

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.


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.


A piece of cake and red balloons

Image

It occurred to me, as things tend to do, that I write about the hard things much, much more than anything else. So today will be different.

Not that experiencing grief and being jolted into a new existence is a party accompanied by a piece of cake and red balloons! But I hope that as the numbness has long wore off and the shock of that reality has settled somewhat, I am able to see the brighter side of life once again. There can be things to look forward to again.

Grief is a robber. But like most robbers, they get caught eventually and hopefully you get your stuff back…not everything usually, but things are found again. To laugh and smile again, at anything, is priceless, I love to laugh. At first it’s accompanied by guilt, (how dare I laugh when someone suffered and died), but I must choose life and laughter is not only the best medicine, but it feels bloody good!

I am, of course, thankful for my wonderful kids, friends and family who have all been exceptional at loving me, not everyone has that. But also for the place I live, not the house but the town, the area, the community. I love it here, and if it wasn’t for Pauls pushing we wouldn’t be here. This is exactly where he wanted to be, where he left us, and it is home. I feel settled for the first time in years.

I am a control freak by nature (well probably from experience but today is about happy thoughts!), so change doesn’t always happen smoothly. I am trying to see change as a good thing, I can be and do whatever I like, new experiences, new job and maybe even new career. It’s not just a new chapter, but a whole new book “Janene – The Sequel” Oh gee that’s lame!! But you get the drift. This is one of those huge hurdles that appears more like a pole vault apparatus without the pole! To accept the possibility of moving on, alone, and that it’s Ok to do so.

I have been blessed I know. To have had the love of a good man, to know what that looks and feels like, is a gift. It’s a lovely thing to feel now that it doesn’t totally rip my heart out when I do; a gift I will have forever. It is a process of assimilating those feelings into a new part of my heart, Paul’s part of my heart.  Forever his, forever mine. As I do maybe my heart is freeing up for other things, other people…maybe.

So there is life in the old girl yet! Thank God! I wandered if I’d see the day. So maybe one day I will have that party with a piece of cake and red balloons…just maybe I will.


Joy to the Power of 3

Why is shared joy so much more enjoyable? Equally, why is shared pain easier to cope with? It doesn’t change the experience, the concert, the sporting event, but sharing something with someone special is different. And when you don’t… it makes the loneliness a bit more lonely.  Couples everywhere, good ones, bad ones, happy ones and not so happy ones.  Not begrudging, just missing the togetherness, the come along sidedness that comes with the knowing someone so intimately that they are an extension of yourself.

When you share joy it doesn’t just double, its like joy to the power of three. Your joy multiplied by your partners joy multiplied by the mutual joy! That’s a whole lot of joy.  I miss that. Other friends are great and help a lot, but at the end of the day, they go home partnered. I just go home.

It’s just one more thing to get used to I guess. Just another adjustment to make. I just loved being married. I really did and I grieve its loss. I love family. Thank God for the family and kids I do have.

So I will keep loving those around me, keep sharing their joy and maybe it will begin to multiply into something similar via one of those crazy maths equations!! I hope anyway, I’ll let you know.


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.


What’s in a Name?

whats in a a name

A name locates me. A name, something I am called, something I answer to and recognize. It’s a familiarity that grabs my attention and asserts my focus. So why change it? (The blogs’ name, not my actual name.) Because I am changing, what locates me is changing.

What’s changing? The 2.6 of you that may actually read this asks! Well…Love letters to Paul is an extreme personal thing that I felt to do in order to kind of leak some of the love for my husband out into the world. To show that true love exists, not perfect, but true. True love changes people, it changed me, and it will continue to do so. Not just romantic love, but including romantic love. As the fog lifts, the shock wears off, and you begin to recover from the horridness of the shock wearing off (never underestimate the benefits of shock!!) new questions spring to mind. Now what? Who am I now? How do I…? So many things. My partner is gone, with me forever, but so not present. I wish he was, I wish it every day, but he’s not and the shock and denial do need to wane. I have to go on. I can love him forever, and ever, and ever, but I need to surface and live the life I’m left with.

Life after Loss is just that. As I try to answer the questions my soul is asking and dare to try to move forward…without Paul. It’s with pure reluctance that I do, yet necessary for me, my kids, my purpose, and my life. I am pretty sure that “Love Letters to Paul” will still be written in my heart, and maybe on this page, so to that end, they will remain here categorized as such.

My bridegroom, my God, waits to care, welcoming and totally able to help me face this life you and I must live. As I find a truth I will share it, and I hope my journey can bless you. Hope shared not pity, life shared not just pain. Pain is a part of life, but not the only part. There are some big things to tackle, loneliness, purpose, career, single parenthood to name a few, but one day at a time and each in its own time.  There will be life after this tremendous loss and I am just about that stubborn as to find it.

“For your Maker is your bridegroom, his name, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
Your Redeemer is The Holy of Israel, known as God of the whole earth.
You were like an abandoned wife, devastated with grief, and God welcomed you back,
Like a woman married young and then left,” says your God.

……It’s with lasting love that I’m tenderly caring for you. “ (Is 54: 5-8 The Message)


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