Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tough times and trusting God

I have really been contemplating a couple of different Scripture passages lately.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 is one that has just been right in the front of my thoughts lately. The other night I was having a terrible time. I was feeling extremely overwhelmed with being a single parent, being alone to deal with these parenting issues that are cropping up, dealing with not having signed up to be a single parent, God's plan in all of this, etc., etc., etc. I was so overcome with all of these thoughts and different emotions that I honestly didn't know what to do.

I began to write in my journal. I read over what I had written. I had written a question. I will often do that when writing in my journal. I write the questions that are plaguing me and often these are the unanswerable questions. My question was, "Is it truly necessary to go through this dark and lonely place?" Almost immediately Psalm 23 came to mind. I opened my Bible to make certain I got the wording right. I wrote the Psalm out putting my name in the appropriate places and prayed the verses as a prayer. I moved onto the serenity prayer and did the same thing. Next came the Lord's Prayer, the Prayer of Jabez, and finally I ended with Jeremiah 29:11. As I was reading and writing, I went on reading through verse 13.

I claimed Jeremiah 29:11 when Keith was initially diagnosed with the colon cancer almost 6 1/2 years ago. I remember being so stunned that cancer was happening to my family again after everything we had been through with Nick. It just seemed to be impossible for that kind of devastation to wreck havoc on our family once again. A good friend of ours was talking with me one evening, checking on us, and he gave me that verse. Then through the years Jeremiah 29:11 has continued to find a place in my heart and my life. The verse has been my life line at times. I would cling to the promises from God that are in that verse. Those promises were sometimes the only thing that I felt I could cling to.

The other night, when I continued reading, verses 12 and 13 just captivated me. Verses 12-13: "Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." When I wrote out all three verses and put my name in the appropriate places, I was so completely filled with a sense of peace. I feel like I am completely at a loss to put into words what I felt in my heart and my soul when I prayed these verses as well.

How amazing is our God! He is truly The Comforter. I have seen first hand how God can work within you if you let him. My heart has been so completely broken because of Keith's death. What good could possibly come from taking him when his teenage son, preteen daughter, and stressed out wife need him now more than ever? Did we not pray hard enough, sincerely enough? What was God thinking? That's just a sample of the thoughts that have plagued me for months. Finally, I don't care that the questions are largely going unanswered. I can accept that God does indeed have a plan for me. A plan that is to prosper me and not to harm me. I know he listens to me. I know that he is there for me when I seek him with all of my heart. I have found the answers to my questions. The questions are answered in God's time and in his way, because he knows what the bigger picture is. I don't. I can only see what is right here around me. I order for me to seek God with all of my heart, I had to give him the broken pieces. I had to trust him to take care of them. I had to trust God to heal my broken heart. I have been praying for so many months asking God to heal my heart. I finally began to feel that my heart was healing a few weeks ago. Now, I am beginning to truly see it.

My newly healing heart is still tender. I did not expect to experience more grief, although it is different than what I have dealt with since Keith's death. I am experiencing other emotions that I wish I didn't have to feel. These Scripture passages have helped me to release all of it to God. I can trust God to heal even the deepest, most painful parts of my heart.

Am I afraid of what the future holds? To be perfectly honest, yes, I am. I have experienced such an extended period of difficult times that fear of the future seems obvious. I am afraid that the next 14 years will be as bad or worse than the past 14 years. When I read and really dwell on Jeremiah 29:11-13 and the other Scriptures I mentioned, I don't have to be afraid. God has a plan for my life. I just have to trust him with it.

That's where I'm leaving it tonight. It's time for me to call it a night and try to get some sleep.

Until next time, I will remain...

In His Grip!


Monday, April 19, 2010

Very open and honest

Be warned. I am being very open and honest about my emotional state of mind. I don't usually open myself up this much in this forum. I usually hold back just a little. I am opening up about my struggles during the past few days. This is very difficult to write partly due to the simple fact that I am having trouble putting what I am feeling into words.

All of the many different emotions that I am feeling right now are confusing. I am still in the better place concerning my grief and dealing with Keith's death in the present sense. I think now what I am dealing with are the emotions that I didn't have the time to deal with last year during the last weeks of Keith's life.

MLC thinks that is probably what is going on. That and post traumatic stress disorder. When I spoke with him today, he even mentioned that the antidepressant I am taking may not be as effective anymore. I hope that isn't the case. I hope that this time in my emotional life is simply due to a lot happening at once.

Here lately I haven't known how I was going to get through each day. I have though. I've even almost made it through today which has been tough.

I know that a lot of this doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense to me either. Assuming that I am finally dealing with all of the long suppressed emotions, I will try to explain.

Saturday marked one year since Keith suffered a major seizure. On Saturday, I experienced a huge emotional overload that consisted of flashbacks of everything that I saw and did during the seizure. I was overwhelmed with the feelings of fear, sadness, acceptance, some grief, but the acceptance was the biggest emotion. The fear was likely a result of the post traumatic stress disorder. I was feeling fear that Keith would die before the paramedics could get there and I wouldn't have done enough to save him. The reality is that I was able to get Keith through the seizure and breathing again. The reality is that Keith didn't die before the paramedics arrived. Reality and the flashbacks have been warring against each other. It doesn't take much for me to not only "see" the seizure unfolding, but "hear" everything again as well.

All of this leads directly into acceptance. I am faced with accepting not only my new reality of a life without my spouse, but I am having to accept what happened last year and my role in that. Even though my head has already accepted everything that happened last year, my heart is just now coming to terms with it all. I think that I simply didn't have time to deal with the emotions of the whole thing. MLC is thinking that might be a train of thought to further explore.

When I take a step back and I look at the "gory" details of one year ago, I hurt for the woman that was trying so hard to keep everything and everyone going. I am having to come to terms with the fact that ALL of this happened to me. I am having trouble with the fact that I am THAT woman. When in the midst of such turmoil, I didn't stop to think about how I felt. I was so consumed by caring for Keith and the kids that it just never occurred to me to allow any emotions to surface. I don't think I had the energy to deal with it then. I honestly am not sure that I have the energy to deal with it now, but it seems that I don't have a choice. These emotions are here and they demand to be dealt with.

So, each day since Saturday has brought with it a different memory from last year for me to deal with. Each memory brings with it different and consuming emotions. Sunday was a really bad day, both physically and emotionally. I just had to rest. I simply didn't have the energy to do much. I stayed busy with some computer work that needed to be done. I kept my mind busy while my body rested, because I didn't want to be consumed with the emotions that were so close to the surface. On Sunday of last year, we began to learn exactly how bad the situation was with Keith's health. Today, I have felt better physically, but I feel like I have been slogging through molasses emotionally. On Monday of last year, we began to meet with the various doctors and the new plan was unfolding. In my mind today, I have battled with memories of Keith looking at me and apologizing for making life more difficult. I have battled with memories of being afraid to leave the room to even take a shower because he might have another seizure.

I am battling with the memories and emotions of the past while still trying to take care of today. I feel completely and totally overwhelmed. MLC has given me lots of very good advice that has seen me through the worst times during the past three days. Today, he gave me one more small task to add that will hopefully help me get through this emotional muck.

I have come to terms with Keith's death. I believe that it is time for me to come to terms with the events that led up to his death. If that isn't acceptance, I don't know what is.

I am so thankful that I have a loving and faithful Father who will continually hold me and carry me. There have been times that I have only been able to cry out, "Oh God". I know that God is carrying me through this and he will not drop me. There are indeed only one set of footprints of in the sand.

Until next time, I will remain...

In His Grip!

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I have another post that is in the works, but my emotional state today has caused me to change my mind about that post and write this one instead.

The realization that it was one year ago today that Keith suffered the seizure hit me at full speed this morning. I feel like I cried for hours. I have been somewhat confused as to how I could feel so much pain/grief when I have been in such a better place. After speaking at length with a very dear friend, I came to realize a few things. Even though I am in a better place, there will be times when the grief still gets heavy. The new place means that I should be able to move through the grief a little quicker than in the past. A second realization is that all of my grief wasn't because of Keith's death. I am also grieving for myself, for my loss. That seems to me to be an odd way of looking at grief, but there are times when I think I am grieving more for myself and what I have lost. In care giving for Keith and Nick, I have given up a lot. Don't get me wrong. I would do it all over again, without ever giving it a second thought. A part of my therapy has been to accept my role in Keith's and Nick's care and accepting that it has been a really tough life. The third realization I came to is that today marks the day last year when our life went from bad to worse. One year ago is when I truly began to wonder if Keith's death was imminent. That's not saying that I was accepting that outcome or that I was losing faith and hope. It just means that in all honesty, in those quiet times in the late of night, I would wonder. The "what ifs" were rampant. In my mind, one year ago today marked the beginning of the end of Keith's fight and his life.

All of that being said, today has been difficult. I wasn't expecting how difficult it would be. I have been able to keep busy enough to keep my mind off of it. I expect that when I am in that quiet place in between awake and asleep, the grief will catch up.

I have been faced with a couple of material losses that shouldn't make a difference, but they did leave a dent in my armor. Keith's laptop got a virus and died. It is in my brother's capable hands. I am hoping and praying that he can get my family pictures off of the hard drive. I don't know if all of them were backed up. The laptop was my gift to Keith for Christmas 2006 when he was diagnosed as terminal. I wanted to be sure that Keith could enjoy his favorite past time, even if he didn't feel like getting out of bed.

The other material loss is our deep freezer. It belonged to Keith's grandmother. When she passed , we were the recipients of this freezer. It wasn't ancient by any means. It was actually relatively new when we got it. Anyway, it died and I had to clean everything out. That meant going into the garage. I don't go in there very often, which is why I didn't know it had died until things were pretty bad. It is the one place in our house that I still have a difficult time being in. It was Keith's space. It is tough on my heart to be in there.

So, I cleaned out the freezer, finding a few packages that Keith had written on in the back part. Then I realized that I couldn't get the freezer out for the scrap pickup by myself. Luckily, my neighbor came to the rescue and helped me get it out of the garage.

I know none of this may make sense. I have come to realize that there isn't much about grief that makes sense. That is partly because we weren't meant to experience grief. God created man and woman to live in the utopia of the Garden of Eden, not in a sin filled world. Once sin entered the world, man and woman had to learn to deal with the results of sin. Grief is one of those results. Grief simply doesn't make sense. I wish I could make more sense of grief sometimes. I keep telling myself that these latest losses are just things. These things are directly related to Keith though. It feels like losing a piece of him all over again. I will be glad when I am past this stage where these little losses don't have such an effect on me.

That is my day today...emotionally at least. It's been a tough one. I know that there will be more tough ones to come as I quickly approach the one year anniversary of Keith's death. There were a lot of tough times one year ago that will be difficult to face when the memories and feelings surface.

Until next time, I am doing my best to remain...

In His Grip!


Monday, April 5, 2010

death, resurrection, and recovery

Odd title for a post, but it covers everything that I am writing about.

Yesterday was Resurrection Day aka Easter. I like calling it Resurrection Day. Yesterday was the first holiday I have experienced since Keith's death that I was not filled with such intense and consuming grief. Celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ yesterday was perhaps the most different Easter for me in my entire life. I came to the realization that the reason we celebrate the most important holiday in the Christian calendar is the reason that Keith is where he is today. It's the reason he's been there from the moment he breathed his last nearly 9 months ago. Christ dying on that horrible cross allowed my husband to be in heaven. I was and still am in awe at what Keith must be experiencing in heaven. Yesterday, my husband got to see the nail scarred hands. My husband got to kneel at the feet of the King.

I can not grieve Keith's death anymore. Not after yesterday. Not after realizing what a different Easter this was for me. I was/am happy that Keith spent Easter with Christ and not with me and the kids. Believe me, this is very difficult to write. I still feel his absence very strongly. I still miss him. I still love him very much. I still cry, but it's all for me and the kids. It isn't for Keith anymore. I simply can not grieve his death anymore, because of where he is and who he is with.

I am finally at peace with his death. God has been at work within my heart for the past few weeks. I thought it was just an after effect of the anesthesia and drugs from my surgery. I have spoken at length with MLC about what I have been feeling. I have been confused, overwhelmed, and troubled with doubt. I have prayed a lot. I finally remembered that God does not deal in confusion and doubt. I finally realized that God must be doing something, because I felt like I was being tortured. I do believe that Satan decided to pick on me again. Thanks to MLC and a few others, I was able to see God's hand at work. Every piece of doubt and confusion dropped away. I find that I am at peace. I find that my heart is healing. I am able to see that God has been working within me all along. There are indeed only one set of footprints in the path behind me.

So, my heart is recovering. I can finally see it. I am finally accepting it. I do wish my body would recover from surgery though. I am not a patient patient. God is teaching me about patience again too. I over did it yesterday. I am paying for it today. I am frustrated at being limited. I am frustrated that I still tire easily. I am waiting for the day when I am fully recovered. I have to keep reminding myself that I am only 2 weeks post surgery today. I do feel better than I did last week. It helps me to remember that.

The kids are doing well. Kacie is having a more difficult time than Nick. I really tried to impress upon both of them yesterday to try to be happy. I tried to explain what I feel in my heart. It is difficult to put into words. I have gone back and read what I have written and I feel like I haven't fully put it all into words. I am going to pray that God will show you what I tried to put into words.

Until next time, I remain...

In His Grip,