Tuesday, September 29, 2009

12 weeks

Last week I mentioned that I would be more open with expressing my truest feelings. Here they are, ready or not!

Today is 12 weeks...aka 84 days. I hate it! I don't like this life this way. I didn't ask for it. I don't want this to be my life anymore. I want so badly to change it, but I can't.

Please don't take that to mean that I would consider quitting or anything like that. My counselor, whom I saw today BTW, assures me that I am not suffering from full out depression...yet. I am simply grieving and missing my husband, friend, companion, etc. with a soul deep yearning that is painful. No one likes anything painful. This life I am forced to live right now was put upon me with out my choosing. It also came without any kind of rules or instruction manual. I don't know which step to take next.

The only thing that I KNOW is that I miss my husband so completely and thoroughly it hurts! There is not one single moment of any day that passes without me missing him, without me grieving him, without me wanting him here. For the majority of the last 12 weeks, I have clung to the comfort that Keith wasn't suffering anymore. No one wants to see a loved one suffer. I still live daily with the memories of Keith's suffering. I wish he were still here...without having to suffer. I want something that I can't have. I don't know that this point in my grief would be considered anger, but it is certainly frustration.

So many things are happening that I wish Keith were here to help me with and through. Nick was diagnosed with H1N1 flu during this past weekend. It was (and still is) very scary. Nick is so high risk. He developed bronchitis from the flu almost immediately. As a matter of fact, that's why I took him to the doctor. He sounded like he had bronchitis. I wasn't expecting to hear that he had the flu as well. I've been worried that we would have to go to Birmingham. Those worries brought on worries about Kacie and who would take care of her. How could I possibly be with both children at the same time? I would have to choose Nick over her. I am so tired of having to choose. Nick's body seems to be handling the flu pretty well. He hasn't had any major issues from it yet. I'm continuing to hope and pray that he won't develop any and that he will heal quickly. We don't have to go to Birmingham for this as long as he continues to do well.

Anyway, all of this gives a tiny little glimpse into my head and heart over the last few days.

Thank you for covering me in prayer. I'm still not through this rough patch in my grief. I'm still spending some time every day crying. However, it's not as bad as it was last week. I can wear my contacts! I couldn't do that for a few days last week. I still haven't found the energy to take care of the routine things around the house that I put off last week. I had finally found a little bit of a routine when the depression of last week hit. Nick's flu diagnosis pushed me back a little bit. I am hoping that each day will continue to get better for me. I am hoping that I can feel stronger again. I was there, but I'm not now. I am trying to remind myself that God is continually with me and the children. He has not left us, although it feels like it at times. I am trying to remember that these steps backward do not mean that the steps forward I have taken are gone. I am trying to remind myself that each step is a baby step forward. Like babies do, sometimes I will fall and get scraped up. The main thing is that I keep getting back up and trying again.

My quote for the time being is:

"I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much." Mother Teresa

I am also reminding myself that I am still in His grip, even while in the valley of the shadow of death.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

11 weeks

Yesterday marked 11 weeks since Keith went to his heavenly home. I would like to say that yesterday was spent with happy reflections on a beautiful life spent with beautiful children and tons of beautiful memories. I can't!

Yesterday I was an absolute mess. I have been a mess for the last three days. It has taken every ounce of my being to get up in the mornings, get the kids off to school , and face whatever I have to face that day. Yesterday was the worst. I was a complete and total mess yesterday. My lovely counselor told me, yes I may feel like a mess, but I am a functioning mess. I was not in a fetal position curled up on the floor unable to make any kind of coherent sound. Okay. I'll accept that. I wasn't that big of a mess, but I was enough of a mess for me that I wanted to quit! I wanted to quit grieving, quit getting up every day, quit putting my shoes on and walking, just quit, quit, quit! But I didn't.

I guess in reality I don't know how to quit. I just always keep on walking. I keep on doing whatever has to be done, whether I want to or not. I just do it, and I don't quit. Maybe sometimes I should quit. Maybe sometimes quitting some things would be better for me than continuing along on the wrong path. These things have made me reconsider some decisions I've made about my blog and other things. I've always thought that this blog would not just be sounding board for myself (my calm in the eye of the storm), but also a place that someone else could find something that they were looking for to help themselves out on their own journey. Well, I can't do that anymore.

What I've said may bother some of you that have known me for so long. I'm sorry for that. I have made a decision to be more open with my feelings. Let me explain why. I found myself sitting in my grief support group meeting last night unable to share what has been going on with me for the past week. I couldn't and I wouldn't. While listening to the others share, I realized that a major part of why I would not/could not share was simply because I did not have anything nice or uplifting to say AT ALL! I didn't want to burden the others with my mess. I am holding a lot of my truest feelings in mainly because I don't want to let some one else see a weakness in me. In reality, I am very weak. Since Keith's death, I have been weaker than I have ever been. I have realized that in my weakness is God's strength. I can't be open to the help that others can give me if I don't let them see my needs and my feelings.

This probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but that is how grief works for me. It doesn't make sense. I am realizing that grief has many facets. In some ways it is like a diamond. In it's rawest form, it is ugly and doesn't look like it is worth much. After quite a bit of honing and polishing, the beauty of the diamond begins to show through. Now, that process of honing and polishing is quite painful (if the diamond were a living thing that could feel). In the end, we are left with something exquisite and beautiful. Something that has worth. Something that looked nothing like what it started out as being. Grief is like that. I know that, throughout all of this honing and polishing, one day I will be able to hold in my hand a precious, exquisite, beautiful diamond that came out of this grief. That diamond will contain so many facets, it will be blinding. That diamond will hold all of the beauty of the life that Keith lived. All of the many beautiful moments that we spent together from the early days of first love to the last day of bliss filled peace. I can't have that diamond with those facets without the honing and the polishing. IT IS PAINFUL! But I wouldn't change it. I know that in my pain there lies the beauty. In my pain, lies the healing. If I didn't feel this pain, I wouldn't love Keith the way I do. And oh! Do I love that man!

Today we have been apart for 78 days. 78 days that instead of decreasing, my love for him has increased. 78 days that have been the most painful of my life. 78 days. 78 days. 78 days.

In these 78 days, I have a new found relationship with my God. My God is the only One that can heal this broken heart of mine. My God is the only One who can comfort me when I am in so much pain I don't think I can bear it another second. My God is the only One who can take this ugliness of grief and turn it into a diamond. My God is the only One who can heal me and make me whole again. My God has to be first not last. My God is the only One who has the POWER for me to see my husband again. My God is THE ONLY ONE!

Pray for me dear ones! I need to be covered up in prayer. I am struggling with this thing called grief. I miss Keith dearly. My heart feels like it's been broken into a million pieces. Only God has the power to put them back together again. There are times when I don't think that I can bear up another second. There are times I am completely overwhelmed and I can't find my way.

I know that I am...

Still in His grip, even though I am certainly in the valley of the shadow of death.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

10 weeks

Tuesday, Sept 15, marked 10 weeks since Keith died. 70 days. Today is 72 days. We are nearing 100 very quickly. I can not believe that it has been this long. I miss him so wholly and completely. I never thought or realized that it was possible to miss someone so much. You might think, "You haven't ever lost anyone before then?" I have experienced loss before. My dad died 12 1/2 years ago. That was by far the most difficult loss...until Keith. It was different with my dad though. I was already an adult, married, with a small child, and I lived 8 hours away. The distance and being used to not having contact with my dad EVERY day actually helped my healing process after his death. I've also lost several uncles, aunts, and three of my grandparents. None of those losses prepared me for the loss of Keith.

Missing Keith the way I do is one aspect of this journey called grief where I can't see that healing is taking place. The longing for Keith's nearness isn't easing up at all. I am dealing with it. I am functioning with it. However, it is always there. It is always just under the surface, ready rear up, and ambush me at the moment I least expect it. I struggle daily with Keith's absence. Every single day something will happen and I wish Keith were here for me to share it with.

I have been attending a class on grief recovery called Grief Share. It is a wonderful class. I have learned so much through the lessons. It isn't easy though. If anything, it is very hard to make yourself face the grief and then deal with it. I would really rather bury my head in the sand. "Hello, my name is Kristy and I would like to be an ostrich."

I still have not done anything with Keith's belongings. I just can't. It isn't time for me to do that yet. I start to cry just thinking about it. A dear friend suggested that I use some of Keith's clothes to make quilts for the kids. I think that is a wonderful idea. I just can't bring myself to take them out of the closet much less cut them up. I know the time will come, but it isn't today. Just call me ostrich again.

One suggestion I have been given about Keith's belongings is to ease myself into removing them. One way is simply by moving them to another closet. I don't have that kind of closet space, but I could just put them in plastic bins to put in storage. That is certainly something I will keep in mind when the time comes.

In a couple of my devotions this past week, two Scripture passages really spoke to me.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, 4 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die...a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.

This tells me that God promises us that for every moment we weep or mourn, we will also have a moment of laughter and dancing. This absolutely brings tears to my eyes KNOWING that I won't be this overcome with sadness forever. There WILL be a day when I can experience joy and laughter without it being tinged with sadness and grief. Praise God!

Psalm 31:9 Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.

I felt like this explains the way I am feeling so completely and accurately. God hears our prayers and He is merciful. In my weakness is where His strength is found! Praise God!

All of the above is an actual entry from my grief journal that I have begun keeping. I thought I would share entries from time to time. Writing has always been an outlet for me. Maybe this will help someone else along the way.

Thank you for continuing to pray for us. The kids are still doing pretty well. Nick is feeling good. We had a small scare over the weekend with some stomach troubles, but they resolved themselves quickly before we had to go to the hospital for IV fluids. Kacie will be getting glasses for distance reading in the next few days. No surprise there. I've worn glasses since I was just a little older than she is now.

A huge surprise was given to us yesterday by someone very special. Nick was honored by his teachers at school. Some special friends of this one teacher presented us with tickets to this weekend's Bama game. We will also be attending the pre-game meal where we will meet former players. Nick also received 8 framed works of Crimson Tide art, a jacket, t-shirt, and cap. Kacie also received a t-shirt, and I was given some expense money for the trip down. The only way this could have been any better is if Keith were physically here to share it with us.

Until next time...We are still in His grip, even in the valley!


Sunday, September 6, 2009

I wish

I wish I could say that I am as strong as my appearance is to others. I can tell, you that the events of the past two months, as well as this past week, have shaken me to my core. The news of the progression (not healing) of Nick's cancer has left me feeling completely broken...more broken than I think I have ever been.

My heart has been broken from the moment I kissed the love of my life for the last time; from the moment Keith breathed his last. My heart broke more when I left that hospital room where his physical body lay. I felt another piece break when I viewed his prepared body for the first time, and again for the last. I do believe that each and every piece of my heart, that belonged to Keith, completely shattered when I shoveled the first dirt onto the casket. I have been living with those pieces of my heart for 2 months. I didn't think there was much left to break...until Wednesday.

When Nick's doctor told me the results of the scans, what was left of my heart shattered. I am broken. My heart is still beating, but it is broken. I'm still among the living, but I am broken.

For the first time in my life, my heart doesn't KNOW that God is with us. My head KNOWS, but it has to continually remind my heart. My experience has been the other way around. My heart has always known and had to remind my head. My head is now continually telling my heart that although it FEELS like God has slammed the door on me and mine, He has not. He is here. He is protecting us. He is the God of Psalm 121. I think my heart is so broken that it isn't hearing anything.

I don't know how to deal with this. I know my faith isn't weak. I know that I'm not turning away. I know that God is with me and the kids. I know God has a plan in this somewhere, even though I can't see it. I KNOW all of the "preacher" talk. I just don't know how to deal with what my broken heart is feeling and what my head knows. My heart knows all of these things too. It just can't focus right now.

I wish I could be upbeat and positive right now. The honest truth is that I can't. The only thing that I can say is I'm broken. I am trying hard to cling to the foot of the cross. I am trying hard to figure out how to live with a broken heart that is still beating. I am trying to practice what Keith and I have always done: focusing on today and letting God have tomorrow. I am trying, but it just doesn't seem like it's enough.

Please pray for me and the kids. They are taking their cues from me as always. I'm having to expend so much energy trying to keep them focused on today and letting God have tomorrow that I am worn out.

I don't know if this post makes any sense, but it is what I am feeling. I don't expect anyone to be able to "fix" it or even have anything uplifting to say. You know it's bad when your counselor is rendered speechless at the latest developments in your life. :-)

I do know that I am still in His grip. I just wish I could feel it.