Twenty-six Months into My Widowhood Journey


The further I travel on the road of widowhood, the clearer the picture becomes of my husband’s present state. With that realization the picture of his last days on earth becomes dimmer each day. Instead, I have a constant visualization of him being just behind the veil. The veil is what I  like to call the separation between heaven and earth.

Two months into my third year of his passing on, I still miss him very much and think of him often throughout each day. But, now when I think of him it is not with sorrow, instead the thoughts come to me because he is still a part of me. After 42 years of marriage he is intertwined with my thoughts and decisions. I have learned that I have to control my thoughts. If I start to entertain thoughts of his last days, or other sorrowful thoughts of the years of his illness, I realize that I have to stop myself. I am past needing to go through those thoughts for healing and for learning to deal with those times. I now am to the point that the only purpose those thoughts fulfill is to pull me back into sorrow. I know that he has just left his earthly tabernacle and moved into his house “not made with hands.” II Corinthians 5:1 says, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” That is where I need to picture him. He is in Glory Land, where I will be someday also.

As I go through my day, my husband is right there in my mind’s eye. He is not really that far away from me at all. As Christian’s, our ultimate victory has been to one day stand before our Savior and Lord. God allowed Phil to see Jesus face to face much sooner than any of us expected. However, I know that one day I, too, will be in the same place as Phil is, standing before my Lord.

Will I still ever shed tears again now that my husband is gone over two years? Yes, I am sure I will. But I’ll shed them because I miss him, not because I grieve for him. One day, I will meet him again never to be separated throughout eternity’s endless time.

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A Glimpse of Heaven


Two years ago, on June 4th, my husband entered heaven. Two pictures come to my mind when I think back to that day. They are contrasting pictures.

The first picture is one forever etched into my mind, a memory of how my husband looked as he was dying. Because of the chemo he had no hair. He had not been able to keep his food or drink down, so he was very skinny. He had lost his immunity with a previous bone marrow transplant, so he had developed a bad case of chicken pox which covered his entire head and body. All of these factors added together gave him a very ghastly appearance.

As I now envision that heart-breaking scene, I then shift to the other picture etched into my memory. This picture is actually more of a scene.

While my husband, Phil, was taking his last breaths, he opened his eyes and looked above his head and smiled! He did this three times! The last time he had a look of surprise mingled with his smile. Both my daughters and I were so blessed to have witnessed this. We knew that Phil had seen a glimpse of those who were waiting for him. Was one of them our son? Phil’s mom?  Jesus himself?

Genesis 49:33 says that Jacob “yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people.”  I believe that all believer’s will be gathered unto their own. There was something very sacred about standing there and witnessing the tunnel of eternity opening to my dearest loved one.

May we all remain faithful until that day that we meet again.

 

New hope


As spring approaches each year, it always makes me think of new life and hope. As a person works his way through grief, it sometimes feels likes they will never rise above it.

Much of God’s beautiful creation does not show its’  “face” until springtime arrives. As we experience a long, cold winter we see only barren ground and bare trees. Then one day we notice little buds on the trees and tiny shoots coming up towards the light.  The sun shines a little brighter and a little longer. Seeing new life bursting forth, we realize that they things in nature aren’t dead, and they’re not something to toss aside. Instead, they are displaying God’s perfect order of His creation. In the spring they come forth fresh and invigorated again. They have completed one of God’s intended cycles of life. All of these signs I see in spring renew my hope, and I know that I also can come forth with an invigorated spirit.

Another reminder of this hope that comes with springtime is the hope that Easter brings us. Our hope isn’t in whether the sun shines, or flowers bloom. Our hope is in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is because of Him that we have hope. Because He was crucified on the cross for our sins and rose again the third day we can have hope! We know that He sits at the right hand of God the Father. We know that all of His promises will be fulfilled and are being fulfilled every day.  “Because He lives that I can face tomorrow!”

This will be my second spring without my beloved Phil. However, when I think of him, I not only have hope, but I have full assurance that he too lives. He lives in a place that is beyond our human words of description. He’s been rewarded fullness of all joy! How do I know that?

I know that because God promises that if we trust in Him, and believe that Jesus Christ was the son of God, if we believe that He truly did take our sins to the cross, and rose again the third day, we will live  eternally with Him. My husband did confess with His mouth that Christ is Lord and believed in Him.

I also know that not only does God love my husband, but he also loves me. God has a plan for me also. At this time of the year I am reminded that as long as I continue to love and follow my Savior and Lord, I can always rise above my loss. He promises in Isaiah 43:2 that He will never let the waters overtake you.  I can rise above my loss if I trust Him and allow Him to take my hand and lead me.

Not only does God have an intricate plan for the nature He created for us, but He also has a plan for each one of His children. When God fulfilled His plan for our loved ones and allowed them to go to His glorious home, He did not forget us. He has a plan for each one of us who remain. “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And He put a new song in my mouth…” Psalm 40: 1-3. I feel excitement with this new season coming upon us, and can rest in peace as I walk each day in His plan for me!

My prayer for each of you who are grieving is that you will be able to feel hope in the midst of your sorrow. God has not forgotten you.

For those of you who do not have Christ as your Savior, and therefore, can have no peace, my prayer is that you will look to the cross and receive Him this Easter season. It was during the Easter season many years ago that I received my faith. You can have the hope that only Christ can give.  I pray that you will seek Him now.

*Feel free to email me if I can be of help to you. Christ said, “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” John 6:37*

Celestial Shore


Think of stepping on shore and finding it Heaven!

Of taking hold of a hand and finding it God’s,Reminds us of heaven

Of breathing new air, and finding it celestial air,

Of feeling invigorated, and finding it immortality,

Of passing from storm and tempest to an unbroken calm,

Of waking up, and finding it Home!

Anonymous

The words above were sung at my son’s funeral. They were such a comfort to me. Just imagine it! You reach out to a hand and realize it is the Lord’s! You go from this life that is full of trouble to absolute continuous peace and calm. Home forever! I Peter 1:17 says that we are just traveling through this world. Our stay here in this world is temporary. We are just passing through while we await our turn to go to our real home, the celestial shore.  What comfort and joy this can give us! Our loved ones just travel on a little sooner than us. One day if we have Christ as our Lord and Savior we will travel on also and rejoin them. There will be no more separation, pain or sorrow. No loneliness.

My son’s death was sudden. One minute he was driving and the next he was breathing celestial air. One minute he was clutching the steering wheel, and in the next instant he was holding God’s hand. There is no way to describe  the joy he had to feel.

As my husband was dying, he opened his eyes three times to look up and over at someone waiting for him on “the other side.” Just a few minutes after he shut his eyes the last time, he was gone from his earthly body and opened them the final time to see the face  of  Jesus. He too, stepped onto the celestial shore, and I believe he was embraced by our son whom he missed so much.

As we await our reunion with our beloved husbands, it is a comfort to us if we picture them as they stepped on that heavenly shore. We can look with anticipation for our own  time of “passing from the storm and tempest to an unbroken calm.”  Until that time we need to continue to follow Jesus one step at a time.  He will lead us on the right pathway if we allow Him.  May God bless you.

Kathy

“Call Back!”


I have been praying about what to write to you as it nears Christmas time. During my devotions this morning I decided to pull out my 1979 edition of  “Streams in the Desert,'” by Mrs. Charles Cowman.  The devotional I read for today reminded me why I write this blog. I write it because I feel God wants me to “call back.”

I am sure I wrote about that topic before. Luke 21:13 says, “And it shall turn unto you as a testimony.” Here Jesus is talking to His disciples about all the trials they will go through. He tells them they will be as a testimony for them. We too have our sorrow and trials to use as a testimony of the way God always walks with us if we love Him and turn to Him. That gives the connotation of calling back to others to help their rough road that is ahead of them.

I have realized that all of us are at different places in our journey of grief. Some are farther down the road than I am and some of you are newbies. As I compare my first Christmas in 2011 to this  Christmas I can see that I have had alot of healing and growing during the past year. I often sat down and wr0te a letter “to my husband” during my down times.

I am going to share portions of last year’s letter which was written two days before Christmas. Since it is a personal letter to my soul-mate I will not include the entire letter. I am sure you understand why.

December 23rd. (5 1/2 months into my journey)

I miss you so much. You were a gem… I did not always appreciate you. But we loved each other dearly. I want to clarify here that my husband took an early retirement due to his health. Therefore, we had his last two to three years with more time together. I went on to write… I am so thankful that we had the last 2 or 3 years together. Even though I know you were sick, we had so much time together. I know it is selfish of me, but if I could have you back here, even on the couch, taking care of you, I would love it. I’d rub your feet, your legs, and your hands to help with your pain just as I did then. But I know that is no way for anyone to have to live. You deserved to be able to go to Heaven and really start living! I know God will help me through this. You would not want to come back to earth. Even though you loved your family so much, I try to remember that fact. Why would you want to come back? Who would want to leave his Lord and Master? I know we will be together again some day.

I wonder if I am just starting my grief. Was I numb before? I say this because it seems to hurt so much more now. Maybe I am in a different stage now. I don’t know. I go through the day “pep” talking myself. ( Here I listed all the many things that he always did here at the house that I, at the time of this writing, still had to remind myself to do. I shared how, when I slip, I try to do better. I then went on to write of the many things he did that he did not need to do, but he had spoiled me and did them anyway. I wrote…) I miss not having you here keeping my car clean inside and out and always pumping my gas. I miss our bed time ritual. I say to the dogs, “Well, are you ready to go up?” when it is bedtime…like we used to say to each other.

I continued to write and to thank him for the way he always took care of me and told him how I can still look around and realize that his care was still carried over to that day. I told him things I had changed or did at the house since his passing.  I told him how I am learning to become more independent so I do not need to lean so heavily on others.

Then I closed by telling him that I still love him very much and that he is still with me in my heart and mind at all times. I then wrote,  “I know you are where you belong, and I am happy for you. I know I am where I belong also. It is just very hard to accept. Knowing what is best and being able to handle that fact are not always the same. Sometimes it does not seem real.”  (I then shared some personal things and continued with the following…) I know I will keep on keeping on. I hope I can get more strength and not collapse like this so often. I know that death is a victory. It allows you to be with the Lord. It is just a transition from better to best. My problem is that I wish I did not have to be left behind. However, I realize that our God knows best and that I must accept it and go on. If you know anything about what is going on down here, please ask God to give me more strength and to dry my tears. I know now why grief is called a “journey” or, as I just read in a book,  “one foot in front of the other each day.”

As I reread that letter, I became aware of the fact that now, just a few days shy of one year of writing this letter, I can call back. I can call back to those of you who are near, or even just past, that stage. I no longer wish my husband back. I have that settled in my mind and heart. I can picture him in heaven with my son praising our Lord. I long to be in that place myself, but I am content to fulfill God’s will for me down here. I have almost mastered taking over his role around this house and have also learned when to delegate it t0 someone else  (at quite a cost I might add!) I still love him very much and carry him in my heart and mind daily. However, I can do so without so much pain. The pain is usually now best described as twinges that come and go. I do still have occasional times of breaking down, but they are much fewer and I would describe those times as getting weepy instead crying.

God has been healing me daily. This year I have accepted invitations to my church friends’  homes and have gone to church functions. Last year to go alone was too painful and awkward. So you see, I indeed can call back and tell you that the journey does get better. God does fulfill His promises. You will smile and laugh again, and you will even enjoy decorating your house again! Hang tightly to Jesus’ hand as you travel through these holidays. He will bring you through them and you will continue on your journey to healing. Joy does come in the morning! (Psalm 30:5)

God bless you and Merry Christmas!

One year already!


It is very  hard to believe that my beloved husband has been home with our Lord for one year already! He passed away on June 4th, 2011. Those last few days are very clear in my mind. I can remember the day that I realized that the end of his life here was closer than I thought.  I was sorry that I had declined a hospital bed from hospice and was anxious to have it brought out as soon as possible. Phil spent 3 nights and 2 days in that bed. I begged God all day every day to please take him quickly if he was not going to heal him. I praise the Lord that He honored my request and did not allow him to linger here in pain. He ushered Phil into His kingdom so quickly that it felt as though a storm had rushed through.

I would love to have another chance to give my husband a big hug, or to sit and hold his hand. I would even love to sit and rub pain medicine on his feet for him once again, anything to have his presence.  However, I know that those things are never to be experienced again. I also know that with God by my side I will continue to keep my hands to the plow  and keep going forward. God fulfilled His plan for Phil’s life. He has a plan for my life also and I must stay close to Him so I can be sensitive to which crooks and turns I am to take . My pathway of widowhood is still new to me, even though I have traveled it long enough that it is starting to become more and more familiar.My prayer is, “Show me the way Lord in which you want me to go, and I will follow it. Guide me in the right direction for my life.”

I feel that by reaching this one year anniversary I have completed a long and difficult journey. It  feels somewhat like I have jumped over a hurdle. I know that my grief will not be magically over, but I do know that with each passing day and year, it will become easier to bear. I have experienced God’s faithfulness in the worse of trials and I know He will continue to be by my side as the pathway straightens more each day. Praise God for His wonderful goodness! His mercies endureth forever!

Full circle


As I sit down to write this post, I am fully aware that I soon will have come “full circle” with my loss of my husband. By that I mean that on June 4th it will be one year since he passed away.  He passed away from this life into a wonderful, new eternal life. You may wonder how I can say that with such confidence. My confidence comes from my faith in the Word of God. In Romans 6:23 we are told that “…the wages 0f sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  John3:16 says,”For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Phil did believe on Him and had accepted Him as his Savior. Because of this,  I know He is in Heaven with His Lord and Savior.

I feel a deep sadness when I think of my beloved husband. I miss him terribly. However, I do not grieve as one that has no hope. I do know that we will be reunited again someday. I know that he is in fullness of all joy and that I too will have that same joy one day.  I have slowly been walking down the pathway before me with all of its ups and downs, twists and turns.  I know that just as I healed from the grief of my son’s death I will also one day be healed from the grief of my husband’s death.

I would like to think that now since I will soon have experienced all of the “firsts” I will completely turn a corner in my grief and not have  sadness any more. However, I know that in reality there is no magical time when you suddenly are healed from your sorrow. God has held my by His right hand and will continue to do so. I can reassure you that as I look back at the past 12 months and compare them to how I feel now I can see that I have come a long way and that God has allowed me to do a lot of healing.

If you are suffering from the loss of a loved one be assured that it will not always hurt so badly. If you do not have an anchor in Jesus Christ to hold on to I can explain to you how you can have it. May God bless you in your journey.