Thanks to Easter!


Another Easter week end has arrived. This will be the fourth Easter since my husband went home to be with the Lord.  Just over the last couple weeks, I was rather melancholy as I thought about that last Easter he was with me. I came across a picture of us on his last Easter and was amazed at how good he looked. I’m sure he had had a few treatments that had his tumors at bay for that time. Then I saw pictures of him the following month at my granddaughter’s birthday party. Again, he looked good. However, I remembered that he said he wasn’t feeling well as we left that day. The next month he was home with the Lord. The pictures of my husband that last month do not look like him. They look like an old man and just a skeleton of one at best.

All the pictures and memories have given me mixed feelings. They make me sad and make me miss him more than ever; yet, they remind me of God’s great love. I had asked God to take Phil quickly if He was not going to heal him. I didn’t want to see him suffer. That’s exactly what God did. It felt like a hurricane blew through that house and took Phil him with it. When I remember that, I think of how gracious and loving our Heavenly Father is. The pictures I have of Phil are the evidence of just that. Our Lord didn’t allow him to suffer for long. From when the doctor said Phil would have only a few months, it was three weeks.

I continue to think about God and His goodness during this week-end. Without Easter, I would have no hope. As Christ died on that cross, bearing my sins for me, He made a way for me to have that hope. As a teen-ager  At the age of 16, I realized that even though I believed in Jesus and that He died for me and rose from the grave the third day, I had never taken that fact from my head and trusted Him with my heart. Since that day, He has been with me in Spirit. I know I will spend eternity in Heaven.

I can remember many times that He prevented me from falling during all those years and held my hand through many trials. When our son was killed along with his girlfriend, even though I grieved, it was not as one without hope. I knew they both had allowed Christ into their hearts, as well, which meant that one day I would be reunited with them again in Heaven.  I knew they were safe and in His presence. I knew God had just taken two of His own.

Last evening as I sat through a special Easter service in church, commemorating Christ’s crucifixion, I realized just how much that meant to me. When I became a widow, I was not alone. I had Christ to talk to any- time day or night. I had His hand of protection, and I had His constant companionship.

Did I grieve and weep over the loss of my son and husband? Of course, I did. The Bible tells us that even our Lord wept. But I wept not as one without hope. I wept over losing my other half while I remain here on earth. I wept over the loss of my life as a wife. However, I’m not at a loss as those who don’t have the Lord.  They have no one to call out to, in their loneliness and fear. I can’t imagine living my life without knowing that He’s there by my side at all times. He even promises to be “as a husband to me.”  In Isaiah 54:4 it reads, “…For your maker is your husband…”.

The service last night commemorated Christ’s death and burial. The services tomorrow, Easter Sunday, will celebrate His resurrection! It’s because He arose and stands at the right hand of the Father that I can praise Him! That’s why I can say thanks to Easter, and I can face tomorrow!

Happy Easter!

I pray if you don’t have Christ as your Savior, this Easter season will be the time of your new birth! Ask Him to come into your heart and save you! Thank Him for dying for you!

May God bless you,

Kathy

Happy 4th Anniversary Sweetheart!


Today marks the 4th year anniversary of your home-going. For you it’s another day of eternal bliss. For me, it is the 4th year of living as a widow. God has been so good to me. Remember how I told you that God could only do good? We knew for you to be allowed to go home with Him would be good, but we also knew that, somehow, He promised to work things out for good for me also. That didn’t mean it was a good thing for me if God took you with Him, but I have learned that once again, I could trust in His promises. (Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God….”)

I know there were times during that first and even second year that I wondered if I would ever be able to move on with my life. I remember sobbing until I was sick many nights. However, I also remember that those times became less and less. The wonderful daughters you gave me would sometimes help me figure out how to move past those days. I can even remember telling God once that I wanted my life back like it was. But you know that I would never really want to bring you back down to this fallen world. I have always been happy for both Matthew and now you, that you were released from here to the presence of our Lord and in fullness of all joy.

By your third year in Heaven I was started to function better. November of that year I started back to work part-time. I still carried a continual sadness within me and I hoped that I wouldn’t always have to feel that way. But God had been drying my tears and healing my heart. I have to tell you, though, that it was still a lot harder that year than I had expected.

We now have reached your 4th- year mark. I am relieved to be able to say that I have made it through. I still think of you daily and miss you. I still wish I had you by my side. I still sometimes feel sadness, but I can control it instead of it controlling me. I still shed a few tears, but they are fewer and farther apart. Our daughters and family have been super to me. They are always there for me; however, it isn’t the same as having you. We were one. That’s what has taken me the longest to learn; to live life as one, not as a

couple. I have tried to learn to make right decisions without your guidance. Of course, that is not always easy, nor do I always get it right. I can feel good about life again now. I have been seeking what God’s new will and purpose for my life is.

I have started my own widow’s group this year. It has been a little rocky getting started, but I feel God will bless it. I experienced serving God on my first mission’s trip, and I know He is asking me to keep on serving in that capacity. You see, God has been “making all things good” for me. By this time next year I am hoping to have my own silent retreats started. That is still in the beginning stages. So you see, God did not forget me, and He has kept His hand on me. He has taken my crooked pathway and made it straight again. (Isaiah 45:2 “I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight…”)

You would be very proud of all of our family. We have precious grandchildren and I wish you could see them and watch them grow. One day you will greet them on that glorious shore. All have accepted our Lord and Savior except, of course, our little two-year-old grandson.

Well, I just wanted to wish you a Happy Anniversary. I love you with all my heart.

Kathy

Passing Through the Storm


June 4th marked the third anniversary of my husband’s home going. As that day approached, I realized I had reached a milestone in my journey of grief. As I look back at the previous years, all I can picture is a violent storm, as though I have fought my way to the calm at the end of that storm. I visualize my emotions thrashing to and fro with the winds and waves, sometimes crashing violently. But then I can see my Lord in the midst of the chaos, picking me up and holding me close each time I fell. He would then gently send me on my way, always waiting for me when I would reach out to Him.

Isaiah 43:2 reads, “When thou passeth through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee….” I’ m thankful that His Word is true, and I can testify that He didn’t let the river overflow me. There’ve been times when I felt the storm might have indeed, overtaken me, times that I thought I might never stop crying again.

I carried a sadness within my soul that I truly was not sure would ever leave. Still, even with that sadness, I had the joy that only comes from the Lord. I’m sure that’s what sustained me.

I’m not fooled into thinking that I’ll never feel sad again. I know sometimes I’ll still shed a few tears, but I see my pathway so much clearer now. I can see my life as Kathy, instead of as Kathy and Phil as I was for 32 years. Just as God had a plan and purpose for me as a wife, mother, and grandmother, I know He also has a plan for me as a widow, mother, and grandmother.

I’ll always love my husband dearly and miss him every day just as I do my son. However, I also know that I’ll keep on walking to the calmer shore, as God makes “the crooked places straight…” Isaiah 45:3.

I pray that each of you will be able to see the shore- line Him to guide you there. God bless you.

A New Year


To many of you reading this blog, the start of a new year brings sadness. It may be the first new year you have entered without your loved one. It is another dreaded first. It seems strange to realize that you are going to be living in a year that he or she never will.

To others it may represent a new year in which you can try to put the past year behind you. This new year may stand for a year without fresh sorrow or grief.

Some people comment that it is just a new date. It means nothing to them. One thing is certain, time will always continue on. There will always be a new second, hour, month and year. That is, until we reach Heaven where there is no sense of time.

We have no choice but to keep putting one foot forward. In Philippians 3:13-14 we read, “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus .” We all need to keep pressing forward. With God’s help and with Him walking beside us, I hope we can all keep moving forward and looking forward to what God has in store for us in 2014.

May God bless you, Kathy

My third Christmas


This was my third Christmas without my beloved. I remember when my first Christmas was approaching. I declared to my daughters that I would not be decorating that year. However, as the days passed, I began to think of my small grandchildren and how I wanted to impact them. I had been telling them that it was a wonderful gift for their pap to have been able to go to heaven. They knew I missed him and that I was sad, but I wondered if I may give them the wrong message if I did not decorate at all. I decided in order for me to be able to decorate, I would have to change some things. My husband and I had always purchased a live tree, so I invested in an artificial tree. I also bought new ornaments. As far as the rest of the house, I decorated some, but not my usual amount.

My second Christmas seemed to be a little easier. I still grieved but not as strongly. I again used different ornaments. New Christmas traditions were starting to form between my daughters’ families and me.

This year brought me to the third Christmas. I was surprised to find myself actually worse than last year. I had read that for some widows the third year of grieving is the hardest. Unfortunately, I have found this to be true for me. I entered my third year of widowhood on June 4th of this year. In some ways, I have grieved harder this year than last year. I do not cry as often, but my husband’s birthday hit me hard this year just as the holidays have. For some reason, it reassures me to know that I am not the only one to which this has happened.

As I dealt with my feelings of grief over the past couple weeks, I have tried to find a balance for myself. I feel that we should not fight our grieving. However, I feel that I have reached a place where I need to help myself to keep moving forward. I can’t embrace my sorrow. I need to direct my steps forward as I continue to seek God’s will.

I am glad that our God is a God that cares.   Matthew 5:4 says, “Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted.” I pray you have the comfort that God can give as well.

Kathy

Feel free to share how your holidays were for you. I would love to hear from you.

A Anniversary Letter to my Husband


Good morning,  honey,

The sun is shining brightly this morning, and the birds are singing. There are lots of  flowers blooming outside. You know how I love spring! A morning like this warms my soul.  God gave us such a beautiful earth. What beauty you must be enjoying in Heaven! I praise the Lord for His wonderful love and goodness! While feeling this joy, I realize that I have a still, small sadness trying to creep inside my soul. May 10th keeps popping into my head. Yes, we would have been celebrating our 43rd wedding anniversary this week! Even before I realized it, this sadness was creeping in. However, this year I can say that I have sadness, not sorrow. Last year I felt very sorrowful. There is a difference between the two feelings, and I am so thankful that God has brought me through the deepest of the waters and I am now on the shoreline.

I can’t help but think, “How nice it would have been to have if we could have been together and one day celebrated our 50th wedding Anniversary.” But then my thoughts turn around to realize that to be in God’s will is the only way to have real happiness. You are now in “fullness of all joy”  forever. Psalm 16:11 says, ” …in thy presence is fulness of joy….”  However, I know that this verse applies to me also. As I read this entire verse, ” Thou wilt shew me the path of life; in thy presence is fulness of  joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore,”  I take these words to heart. If I strive to live daily in His presence, I can always have that joy He promises.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, ” For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”  I am very thankful that God allowed me to have you for my husband. Our marriage was not perfect,  as no one’s is. But we loved each other deeply. I know that God fulfilled His purpose for you down here on earth, and He now has a further purposefor me. He gave me those precious married years, but He has a plan for me now as a widow. I strive daily to walk in His will and to be sensitive to His plan for me now.

Thank you, honey,  for choosing me as your wife and for being by my side all  those years we had together. You are still my hubby.

We may not live together any more, but my heart is still tied to yours. I love you very much.

Yours forever, Kathy

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*

“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!

Quiet my heart Lord


10-31-1012  written during a battle…of sorrow…won with the Lord.

Oh my soul, why art thou dishearten within me?

Knowest thou not that God is with me? Do not look back! Keep your hands to the plow and your face forward! Or better yet, heavenward. How can one feel so calm in their spirit for days, even weeks, and then fall so far in the other direction? Why does my heart suddenly yearn for my loved one so very deeply tonight?

Why did my mind take me back to the days, weeks, just prior to my dearest husband’s death? Why did I need to remember the night I sat up on the couch and sobbed loudly, awakening him from deep sleep? Why must I remember that sweet man, rising from his couch to shuffle over to me try to comfort me? Or why must I remember the time I started quietly crying in the restaurant after his last treatment? I can hear him now responding to my apology, “It’s alright. I would be the same if I were you.”

Did I say all of the things I feel now would have been important to have said? But does it really matter? Why must I allow Satan to torment me? My soul, arise up and pick the torch back up. Continue to be a comforter, not one that needs comforted. Know that you have loved and been loved, and that is one of the greatest gifts here on earth. Know that you are surrounded by the extension of that love daily by his children and grandchildren. You have been left comfortable and well taken care of. You can look everywhere and see where your beloved’s  hand has been and where he left a reminder of himself. Faint not. Forge on ahead and continue to pave the path for others to walk on after you too are gone.

All the possessions left here will deteriorate unused. But the memories, the love, the example in dying, will be remembered in my heart and soul for as long as I am still here.

God, lift me up again, that I may hold my head high and forge forward again. Please give me wisdom in all areas of life. Keep my path straight. Thank you Lord, for giving me all your promises and for fulfilling them day by day.  Thank you for never failing me.  My soul is lighter once again, Lord.  I will praise your holy name forever.

“Buck up!” “It is time to get over it.”


I flinched when someone told me that her recently widowed aunt is being told to”buck up and get over it!”  Unfortunately, I  have learned that there are many people that think that way about those of us who are grieving. Most of those who are thinking this way just do not verbalize those feelings. I did not realize this until I was visiting some friends that are very dear to me. “I just didn’t know, I just didn’t know!”, one of them said before breaking down into tears.  I questioned what it was he did not know. His reply was, “I did not know how bad it hurts. I used to think  just get over it.”  His statement really shocked me. This family is a  very loving, caring family. He would be the last one that I would ever think would have had those thoughts. Their young son recently went to Heaven and now they know from experience how much it hurts and how long it takes to heal.

I once read that for those of us who have gone through the valley of grieving and are farther up the mountain it leads to have a responsibility to “call back to the others  that are just starting to climb it.”  We need to reach down and lend a hand to help them up and also call back words of encouragement. I now feel that it is also our responsibility to teach others that are NOT grieving more about the process so they can understand and hopefully prevent such statements as “Buck up!”

Christian counselors and authors that have observed those that grieve and found that it generally takes 2-2 1/2 years to be fully adjusted to a close loved one’s death. It also varies from person to person even within the same household. There are also many different circumstances that come in to play.

By the way, one does not “get over it“. However they do get used to the fact that the loved one is no longer living with them and that life will never be the same. One day they realize that they have settled into a new way of life without him or her.

Psalm 147:3 says “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. ” We can all trust God that He will indeed heal our hearts and make us whole again.

I would appreciate any comments  you who are reading this have concerning this topic. Have a good day “in the Lord”.