Holidays

Holidays


Holidays and other special days are always a challenge for those who have lost loved ones. This is especially true for the first few years after this loss. The first year is usually the toughest year. However, I know for me the third Christmas after losing my husband was my hardest one. We are all different, and, of course, we all grieve differently. There is no set rule or way to know exactly how each of us will react with these special days.
My husband’s birthday was October 10th. I have realized, with some help from one of my daughters, that my emotions started churning around that time every year. Hunting season follows with everyone talking about hunting, their deer, and adventures. My husband loved to hunt, so my emotions churn more. The hunting leads into Thanksgiving, and then of course, Christmas. I also lost my son in an accident on January 2nd, 1996. It is after that time passes, that everything will starts to go back to normal within me.
For the first couple years of my husband’s passing, I was fully aware of my grief and tried to control my thoughts and emotions. This year, my fourth year, it seems my sub conscious has taken over. I am no longer consciously thinking about a certain day, like his birthday. I start to get emotional and ask myself why. It’s only then that I realize it was in my sub conscience! How do you gain control over that? That’s something I have yet to learn. However, there are many other things I have learned. Our heart does control our emotions and our conscience, but it also is the place where our faith lives. It is because of my faith in God, that I can continue going forward, step by step.
There are many things that we can control. Thankfulness is one of many things that is a choice. If we choose to be thankful in all circumstances, we will be able to lighten our steps.
You may ask what you have to be thankful for.
I am thankful for the basic things; my immediate family, my church family, God’s provisions, and too many things to enumerate. If you struggle to be thankful for these things right now, we have many other things to hold onto and to add to our list of blessings. Psalm 136 lists many things we are to give thanks for: that God is good, His mercy endureth forever, for His wonderful works to the children of men. Only He can satisfy the longing in our souls for perfect peace. On the top of all of these things is the gift of God’s Son to make a way of salvation for us.
These are the things I want to consciously think about during this Christmas time. God’s gift to my son and his girlfriend almost 19 years ago was to allow them to enter into His glory. He also allowed my husband that same gift over three years ago. God’s goodness endureth forever. He saw fit to leave me here to “hold the fort.” I’m thankful that He’ll never leave me alone. He’s with me daily. I need only to reach out and take His hand. I can have peace and joy even in the midst of missing my son and husband.
You can have this peace and joy as well if you accept the greatest gift of all, God’s son. I pray you will reach out to Him over these holidays.
Please contact me if you need help in doing so. Merry CHRISTmas! Kathy

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Overwhelmed?


One of the biggest things caregivers and widows deal with is the feeling of being overwhelmed. I remember feeling that way for a while when my husband was battling his cancer. Even when he was in remission, he didn’t have the strength to do the things here at the house that had always been his responsibility. Caring for a loved one it is a huge task.
Allowing others to help when they offer may be out of your character. However, I eventually learned that not only was it a blessing to me to be able to respond, “Yes, if you want, to you could plow my driveway,” or do such and such,” but it gives them the opportunity to be blessed as well.
After I became a widow, it took a couple years to be able to adjust to all of the added responsibility and to learn how to prioritize the many things that I felt needed to be done.
Letting others do things for us and prioritizing certainly help us when we are overwhelmed. The most important thing that I remembered is when I’m weary or overwhelmed with this life, I fall into God’s arms. He is waiting for us to rest in Him. He says in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me all ye that labor and I will give you rest.” God wants to be “…our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1) Tell Him how you are feeling and remember the Bible says that our load is heavy, but His is light. Ask Him to carry your burdens for you.
Although we find ourselves walking or swimming in deep waters and it feels like we will drown, we can be assured that He promised to never let the waters overtake us. I learned I needed to trust in that promise and to rest in that truth while I reached out to Him and allowed Him to pull me out of the waters and up to the other side. Once I realized my need and turned to Him, my burden became light. That weight I was carrying was gone.
It has been three years since my beloved went to Heaven, and I am still learning. However, the more I remember to turn to God and rely on Him as my husband, the calmer my pathway becomes. Remember, we do not have to walk this life alone!

Read also: Psalm 43:2 “When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee….”20150424141635 (1)

Tips to for visiting someone with cancer


I had the mate of a someone who recently suffered the loss of a loved one to cancer suggest that I add a few tips for visiting a cancer patient. I am sure I will need the comments of many of you to make this of any use for all of us.

One important thing is to be very careful about wearing colognes, after shaves, etc. You need to keep the use of these down to a very light scent, if any. Most cancer patients in active treatment suffer from nausea.  Another side effect their treatment can cause is both   an acute sense of smell and it often interprets it as a very bad smell. These two things combined aggravate their nausea.

Cancer patients and probably most ill patients are often very tired. Their rest is important.  We need to be sensitive to this when visiting. Long visits can be too much for them. Watch for cues that they need to take a nap. Most of the time the patient will not say, “I have to nap now”.  However, you can see them looking sleepy, or getting restless. This is your cue to leave. If you have driven a long distance just tell him or her that you are going to leave for a while and will come back. Encourage them to try to rest while you are gone. You can then go to the cafeteria and return 30 – 45 minutes later.

If you know of something your friend or relative really likes to eat take them in a little piece of it. It can be kept in the refrigerator if needed. This can be dessert or an actual meal. Limit it to just one or two pieces so there is not a problem of  having too much around.

Phone calls are often very welcome. These calls are not too exhausting and they really break up their day. I know my husband loved to have visitors, but in between them he would call people up and pass the time that way.  Share your good news with them and even scripture that has blessed you. They really do not need to hear upsetting news!

Please do not ask “how much time do the doctors say you have?”  This has actually been asked to others before. Things like that are very personal and of course sensitive to talk about. If they want to talk about it, they will be the ones to bring it up to you.

Be very aware of your own health when visiting. Do not go if you have a cold or feel like you are coming down with an illness. Cancer patients are very susceptible to your illnesses and they could actually be fatal to them.

It is nice to take a magazine along to leave with them.

When a man and wife came to visit my husband, often the wife would invite me to go to the snack bar with them just for a coffee and to give me a break and/or fellowship.  Just taking the patient’s wife down the hall to the lounge is nice and may help her to feel free to share things that she really would not want to in front of her husband.

I am sure these are just a few of many things you readers have learned. Please share you comments and suggestions that will be of a help to others.  Thank you. Keep up the good job I am sure you are doing for you friend or loved one. 🙂

Fresh Grief


As I hit the “milestone” of my husband and my wedding anniversary last week the waves of grief hit hard again. Sometimes it is hard to understand why you start grieving all over again. This would have been our 42nd anniversary. For those of you reading this that are grieving a loss of a loved one, whether the loss was from cancer such as my loss was,  from an accident as my young son’s was, or by natural causes of your aged parent, this new wave of grief and sorrow is to be expected. I have shed many tears the past two weeks.

The road we travel as we walk toward healing has many bends, twists, hills and slopes. Sometimes you will feel like you are all alone. You are not. There is one that stands with us always. Joshua 1:5 says, “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life:” Only God can promise to stand with us all the days of our life. No matter how hard people may want to they can not promise this to us.  The verse in Joshua 1:5 goes on to say, “I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

When you read my title “Sorrow to Victory” you may think that what you just read can possibly represent victory. Sometimes our victory seems to take a step backwards, however each time it does, we realize that the backwards step is still much farther down this road of  grief than we were a few months ago. The only way to keep ourselves on the victorious side is by allowing ourselves to grieve and cry when the sorrow washes over us, but yet to also make ourselves put one foot in front of the other and keep on keeping on. You will find that joy come s in the morning. (Psalm 30:5  “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. “) May God bless you in your journey towards victory.

Facing your fear


I remember the day I received the telephone call that my husband had “something wrong with his blood”. The next call was from a hematologist who proceeded to tell me that my husband had to go to the emergency room immediately. She said, “Your husband’s hemoglobin is so low that he is at a risk for a heart attack.”  The fear that gripped my heart was like none I have ever felt before.  I called my pastor to tell him what was happening. I can remember it as if it were yesterday. I said, ” I am so afraid. I do not usually feel this way, but I am very afraid. ”

Later, while my husband was waiting for his transfusion, my pastor and his wife walked in. We visited for a while and the pastor prayed for us. He addressed my fear while talking to God. A calm came over me once again.

Most people who have received the news “you have cancer” or the news that your loved one may have cancer have experienced this same fear. I want to reassure you that you do not have to live with fear. The bible says, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee….” (Isaiah 41:10) God is not a God of fear. You need to be honest with God and tell him you are afraid.  Ask God to give you His peace and He will. Each time your fear returns give it to God.  Remember that God is walking by your side if you are trusting in Him.