I did it. The kids did it. We made it through the first year without Keith, loving husband and father. I don't ever have to do this past year again. I am relieved that this year of so many firsts is behind me.
Today has not brought with it some kind of miracle healing of my sadness and grief. It has brought on a sense of relief. I made it. There have been many, many days during the past year that I honestly did not know how I was going to make it from one minute to the next, much less an hour, a day, or a week. I had to learn a lot about myself and my God during my journey in order to make it from one moment to the next.
I made it through the first year and I don't ever have to do that again. I don't ever want to do that again. It has been the most difficult and challenging time of my entire life. Yes, that includes Nick's cancer journey and Keith's cancer journey. That includes the death of my dad and three of my grandparents. That includes every time in my life that I thought was too hard to make it through. I know now exactly what I am capable of accomplishing.
Even when life gets tough and rough, which it often does, I KNOW that I can endure it. What's my secret? Leaning on the everlasting arms of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. My relationship with Almighty God has grown and changed so much during the past year. I have come to accept that growth would not have happened if God's plan for Keith's life were different. That was very tough to accept. The day my heart accepted this was a day that I spent in deep grief, sadness, and almost despair. I thought my heart would surely break into a million pieces. I fought the feelings with every ounce of my being. I did not want to accept that Keith's death happened because it was God's plan for his life. It was God's plan for my life and the lives of my children. Even now, just sharing about it, the feelings are still very deep and my heart wants to reject it. The truth is there and I had to be willing to accept it. I have accepted Keith's death as God's will for all of our lives. A very tough pill to swallow.
I do not believe or think of myself as some kind of super Christian. I am far from it. I am simply a sinner saved by grace and covered by the blood of Christ. I remember Keith as a quiet warrior. He was not a super Christian either. He was someone who shared his life and his walk with anyone who was interested in hearing it. He was not someone who was famous or outspoken. He was not someone who sought out the limelight. Keith was someone who walked the walk of a person with a deep faith and love of his Lord and Savior. He tried to share God's love in whatever way he could. Sometimes it was giving money. Sometimes it was just sharing his struggles with cancer with fellow cancer patients. Sometimes it was just by getting out of bed when mind and body desperately wanted to stay in bed. Keith was a quiet warrior who fought the good fight and accepted his heavenly reward with the grace that was simply who he was. He taught me that I need to take these attributes that were Keith and let them become a part of me and pass them along to our children.
I still miss the love of my life. My kids miss their dad. We still love him tremendously. We will always love him and miss him. Next week when Nick is in surgery, I will feel Keith's absence more than ever. It will be another first without him by my side. I will have my Heavenly Father right there with me the whole time.
I am so blessed by the life that God has given me, even with all of the tough times. I am blessed because God allowed me the honor of being married to a quiet warrior that loved me and our children. The only thing he loved more than us was his Lord and Savior. What a legacy Keith has left behind!