Monday, December 30, 2013

The Walls We Hide Behind

I have the most wonderful family. And I have been blessed with good friends who are like family to me. And of course I have faith. Faith in something not visible but rock solid. With faith I'm blessed with the assurance of being loved and treasured despite imperfections. It's so cool with God because he already knows all my flaws and secrets, so there is nothing to hide from him. Unlike the fasade we put up with others, so they will like us.

We think that people will accept us if we reflect a nice normal life. So we smile and pray the kids don't say something that requires any discipline and our husband doesn't belch, or worse, fart in front of church people. Because, I'm sure they don't belch or fart even when alone.

But, what we realize as we get older, is the letting down of walls and sharing allows others to get a glimpse of the real you. It then inspires them to share, and a friendship is born. Before you know it, you are belching in front of each other.

 

Friday, December 27, 2013

December Anxiety

Anxiety is probably a natural state for a recent widow. While it's normal, I don't want to wallow in it. I don't want it to control me, I want to control it. So, I use medication. I thought I was weaning myself off quite nicely until it got closer to Christmas and all that goes with it. I reminded myself I'm usually a mess about this time anyway with out of town company staying, shopping, making gifts and winter storms. Then there is that little fact that I miss my husband dearly.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Life Goes On

It amazes me how life goes on after a person dies. Days pass at just the same rate. One season blends into another. New relationships are formed. Children change as they grow. And yet everyone who knew that person is different because of the ripple effect of what they said or did.


I used to think how sad it was that someday, no one will know me. The stories my children may tell will fade and what my grandchildren share will be a mere shadow of that, until nothing of me remains, not even a memory. Why does this bother me?

Maybe my name won't ring a bell three generations from now. But maybe, just maybe, I was there for someone and offered some advice, and that person became better for it and made a life choice that gave opportunity to another individual who went on to write a book, that saved a marriage, so a child was born who then became a pastor who saved a soul and on and on and on.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

My Dearest Steven

My Dearest Steven, how can I be doing all this without you? I'm wrapping gifts, Christmas music playing in the background, a tree all lit...and you are not here. A tree that you did not cut and balance just right in the base. How do I do this after 23 Christmases with you? 23 Christmas Eves of Lane brother get-togethers and you will not be with us. How will I be happy without you? What about the perfect gift you get me that is just right, the gentle kiss when we wake on Christmas morning? How will I watch our grandson open his gifts without you next to me? Who will make us all laugh with some antic.

I'm still breathing but nothing else is the same.

 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Is My Offering Memorable?

I'm reading in Acts 10:4 about how Cornelius sees an angel of God who calls him by name. The angel tells Cornelius that his prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.

My first visual of this, is a boss man behind a desk who receives a memo regarding an employee's excellent work.

My next thought is, doesn't God see everything all the time? Or does he notice more those whose gifting is greater?

But regardless, I always go back to the basics of what does this tell me about God? And the idea that things I did would come up at all before Him, makes me want those 'things' to be good and not bad. Am I praying? Am I gifting the poor? Good questions to ask during a season known for thinking of others.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Weakness For Sweets

I've lost all control when it comes to sweets. I have had such discipline in the past and now I start in the morning and continue eating candy and cookies all day. Tis the season I guess. I'm still working out but not to compensate the 'extra' sugar.

Maybe I'll try to find the Dr. Oz episode where he explains what cellulite is. That had me disciplined for months. The facts were amazing. Dr. Oz is kind of scary to me. I had to stop watching because everything is bad. Who knew you could die from picking your nose?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Gifts Given

God is so good. While reading my devotion the other day, there was thanks for enjoying strengths and gifts bestowed upon us and accepted without pride or false modesty.

I thought about how many times I take credit for things I have made and forget where that creativity came from. I neglect to bring God into it and therefore the gift is just from me. How thankful I am for each ability and God given trait. I want to try giving God praise for them rather than congratulating myself. After all, all I am and all I have is from God and sustained by God. This good and wonderful God.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Things I've Learned About Clothing

Things I've learned about clothing:

You only need one set of paint clothes unless you are a painter

Everyone should have two boxes in their closet, one labeled 'big' girl pants and one
'little' girl pants.

If you use a product containing bleach to clean the bathroom, do not expect your clothing to look the same when you get done

I'm only happy with the way my jeans look 5% of the time.

I've no idea when to use starch, although I have had a can forever.

Why anyone would buy an iron for $100 is beyond me.

I don't know the rules for when to wear white, shoes match what, and what sock to not wear with what shoe.

You cannot sew a ruffle around the bottom of your jeans when they are too short, even though you did in the 70's.

Mr. Blah Blah Brassiere should get the guillotine or whatever form of death sentence they had in that period.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Steven's Cooking

As I make spaghetti, I'm reminded of Steve's nasty habit of throwing cooked spaghetti at the wall to see if it was done. If it sticks, it's done. But, he wouldn't remove it. It stayed on the wall (or floor) until I noticed it. I miss that spaghetti.

Where most couples enjoy making dinner together, Steven wanted the kitchen to himself and became easily flustered if I tried to tidy up while he cooked. Even the dogs knew not to come in. They would lay with their head on their paws right at the doorways on either side. At holiday time with the house full of people everywhere, I policed the kitchen for him. It's what any good wife would do.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

My Protecting Angel

I think of Steve so often. I hear his voice commenting on (or critiquing) what I'm doing. I hear him laugh at me when I do something stupid and sense him telling me to slow down.

Sometimes, I imagine him as Patrick Swayze in Ghost. Steve was much better looking, but ever the protector. I know he can't be in this realm of the universe, but Steven can be very persuasive. So, despite universal rules, I'm sure he is my guardian angel. He is keeping me from danger, just as he did when he was alive.

 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Happy Birthday Steven

Today, Steven would have been 54. I'm so sad as I think of this. It seems young to me. What do I do? How to mourn a special day of ones deceased husband.

So, I'll call my mother-in-law and we will go to dinner, but not to mourn. We will celebrate a life lived going full speed ahead. A man who would not let go of life because it would mean he had lost, and that wasn't who he was. We will laugh and reminisce. And we'll pick a restaurant that does not mind a couple ladies who shed a few tears as they dine.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The New Norm

Life has taken a new normal. I wake up slow and do stretches and twists before getting out of bed. Lights on, clothes get flung around and music gets tuned in, warming me up for a workout. Steve is never far from my mind, but it's just me.

I come home and the house is empty and cold, but it's my home. I shout, "Hello House!" I'm not sure why. Maybe to warn off any thief in the middle of a heist. It would freak me out if someone answered me one night.

I look forward to bedtime, as any professional sleeper would. Covers heavy, pillows flat and sheets crisp. I burrow in, smile, and thank God for the day.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Above All

Above my desire for comfort, success or good health, I want to be a joy to God. What does that look like? To me, it's like pleasing a parent and making them proud. But, in this case, it's the ultimate perfect, loving parent.

So I seek His will when something is happening. Then I feel like whether it rains or it's a perfect day, it is what He wanted. Gosh, how would we feel if our children were like that with us.

God loves praise. Not because He is insecure or egotistical, but because He knows it brings the needed realism for us to be closer to Him. I think of God and something He has done in my life and my heart overflows with gratitude. And then there is praise when things are going wrong. That is even more important because it brings Him into the mix and I can sit back and see what He does. Just like a child who wants his parent to take care of things.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Running With The Right Fuel

I love C.S. Lewis's analogy that just as a car is made to run on gas, we are made to run on God. Nothing else will work for the car and nothing else will work for us. God is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn and the food our spirits were designed to feed on.

Those who are indifferent to God or actually reject Him, live only for this present world and it's rewards. The satisfaction is temporary and true joy is just out of reach. There is a pleasure and success mentality of our age that resists all pain, discomfort and delay.

Paul says in Romans 11:33-34, Frankly, I stand amazed at the unfathomable complexity of God's wisdom and God's knowledge. How can man ever understand His reasons for action, or explain His methods of working?

For me, my love is so deep for God, I don't question Him with why. I do it with blind faith. I have everything I need for today, to run on God.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful Today and Everyday

I am so thankful for my family. We laugh, we tease and give great hugs. I'm thankful for the new friends I made today. The album I put together with treasures from my grandmother's trunk was a big hit. Parker, now 2, was Mr. Ontherun. I had plenty of help and everyone brought wonderful dishes to share. Best of all...lots of desserts left. Where most people would be fixing a turkey sandwich right now, I'm getting another plate of yummy sweets.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Quietness When Everyone Leaves

I went to a seminar through Grief Share on Getting Through The Holidays. I realized we all grieve differently. Some will choose to bow out of an upcoming holiday and some will experience it with new traditions. We learned how it's okay to cry in front of family and friends. Otherwise you give the false illusion that you are doing okay, which most of us there are not. So I'm going to experience the sadness when I feel like it, which will be the night before when we would have worked together getting as much done as we could, and the next day when I try to time all the food to come out hot at the same time, then when I carve the turkey when I have trouble with a chicken. And then finally when everyone is gone, and things are all cleaned up and put away, we would sit, and sigh and say, "Well, that was fun."

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A New Prayer

This grief I experience is hard to explain. I miss Steven so much. It's not just when I don't have enough muscle, or am cold in bed or come home to an empty house. It's the way every other thought jumps to him and the fact that he has died.

I read in my devotion today about the importance of praise in all situations. How praise can make whatever is bad seem less so. The author ended with this prayer which I will make my own, "Father, I don't want You to remove this problem until You've done all You want to do through it, in me and in others."

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Being Sick

I was sick so seldom, it earned me attention from Steve when I was. He would tiptoe around and get me whatever I needed.

Now, my first sickness without him and it's not the same. Why moan, cry or complain if you yourself are the only one to hear it? I have to get my own fresh water and keep track of what fever reducer I took last. I had to dig out my insulated underwear and crank the heat up.

I thought too, how if this sickness had happened when Steve was here, I would not have been able to come home for fear he might catch what I had. It makes me both sad and relieved.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The 20th

As the 20th of each month approaches, I am reminded of how long it has been since Steven passed away. November will be the 4th month.

It seems like everything has changed since July 20th. The house looks different, the season has changed and of course I am a different person.

What if on the 20th, I didn't think of his last day of life? Or, how overwhelming my feelings sometimes get? What if I didn't spend each monthly anniversary quiet and retrospective? What if...I celebrate that day each month, as a marker for how long Steven has been in heaven? Total, all consuming joy is something we will not experience this side of heaven, but Steven has this. He has had this for 4 months. Hallelujah.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Song of Wind

The wind is very loud this time of year. It's all the dry leaves adding their voice to the mix. When you are surrounded by 100 year old oaks, you can't help but think that one may fall. You can only hope it misses your house.

When Steven was alive, I would comfort myself with the thought that, at least we would go together if it happened at night. I really never considered it would happen any other time, only at night as we lay spooned together.

Now I listen and still enjoy the sound. Then I visualize how deep and strong the roots must be on an oak that old.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

All Dogs Go To Heaven


Everyone has their own idea of what heaven will be like when we take our last breath here and our next breath there. I envisioned my grandma and my dad, and of course all the dogs I owned would come running happily to greet me.

But now my idea of what will await me has changed. Oh, the dogs will definetely be racing to reach me first, but there will be another whose arms will be out to hug me. Steven always did look good in white.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Knowing God

I saw a couple quotes that spoke to me;

To be little with God is to be little for God. E.M. Bounds

A man who would know God must give time to him. A.W. Tozer

We have different levels of friends. To the coworker we say, I'm fine. To the family member we say, I had a bad weekend. To the close friend we say, I fell off the wagon. Each level is determined mostly by time invested enough to let your guard down and be honest. Nothing can make you closer to someone than opening the door to who you really are. The same is true with God. The more you talk, the more you devote, the closer the relationship.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

My New Purpose

I have a purpose. It is to heal. It is to become whole and healthy. What my purpose is beyond that, I won't worry about today. I'll not push my grief aside, it's real and still raw, but I won't wallow in it either. I'm going to try and visualize Steven healthy, happy and crabby, as only he could be.

I want to spend more time in devotion to God and receive His strength, because mine is short lived and crashes like a sugar high.

I need to be more aware of my weaknesses and be less stringent about irrelevant things. So, more bubble baths, and naps. I'll keep working out because it makes me less guilty when I eat my beloved sweets. I'll cry when I feel like it, but not continue all day. I'll stay home if I'm falling apart and nurse my breaking heart, but not often.

I think I need to look forward to some things. Maybe an art project or a good book. I, who never was without a book since I learned to read, have not read a complete book in over a year.

I can be getting ready for the upcoming holidays. Thanksgiving will be here as normal, minus one very important head of household. I'll make a Christmas gift list and maybe put some lights on the house. Okay, this is starting to make me anxious. Back to the beginning of the post...

 

Friday, November 8, 2013

100 Days Of Separation

I have a friend who said she hadn't seen her husband in 'almost 100 days'. He enlisted and today she will finally see him for a short visit.

My 100 and something days of separation are different. There will be no visit. Maybe Steve will come in a dream. I sit here and look out this window to the glorious trees outside. It's not as nice as the view he has, but I need to end a sad thought with a happy one. Boy, it sure would be nice if all those leaves stayed on the trees.

 

 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Games We Play

I used to play this game when my grandma would take me shopping. If I touched an object, I would eventually get it. This was tricky because Gram was big on me not touching anything.

I wear Steve's wedding ring on my right hand. My game is now to touch the ring every time I need him.

Jesus Wept

My devotion today was about how Jesus went to the tomb where his friend Lazarus lay dead. It says Jesus wept. He knew he was going to raise him so it wasn't that Lazarus was dead that moved him to tears. It was Mary and Martha mourning for their brother that affected him. This gives me comfort. I like that I'm not crying alone.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

You Won The Bet


We had a bet every fall. Who would cave in and turn on the heat first. I usually won. He was not good at being cold. I could curl up in an afghan or a heated throw. I would put a scarf around my neck or heat a rice bag. None of these were manly enough for Steve. But, since he always won the rain storm bets, it was only fair I won these. One year he tried sneaking to turn on the heat. Like I wouldn't notice. Well Steven, you broke my running record. You finally won.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Where's My Dinner?

I'm angry at Steve. It started with how this 'alone' thing has limited me on what I can do physically and how I am forced to ask for help. Then it went on to old things I was mad at him about. How he wouldn't clean out the sink when he finished shaving. Now I'm mad at him because the sink is too clean. If there was one thing Steve did well, it was take care of me. The car, the house, the stinking leaves, the soon to be snow. There is no one to listen to me complain when I come home. I was really good at that. And there is no dinner. Where's My Dinner?

Can I get a 'do over'? How about a 'rewind'? What about a mulligan? I'm still on the first tee, right?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Dark Place

 

Just because life is hard right now doesn't mean God isn't doing what's in my best interest. I don't know when the time will come when I can just be as happy I was all those years with Steven.

I'm in a dark place where nothing seems to make me happy. I try being with people and being alone, spending money, eating treats until I feel sick, staying in bed, trying a new hobby, crying out to God, drinking beer, exercise, (not at the same time, I haven't tried that) singing, medication and on and on. None of it pulls me out for longer than a minute.

Time is a funny thing. I know that is all it will take. Day after day after day. I heard a quote about how waiting is not so much about when I get what I waiting for, but what I will become as I wait. Reading this post, it sounds like I've become a bit negative. Time.

Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Hurt This Bad Can't Be Good

Grief is a real ache. I know God knows what he's doing, but something that hurts this much can't be good. It's not like having a baby where the pain becomes a blur as you hold your newborn.

What if I go crazy? Maybe I am crazy and I don't know it. Would anyone tell me?

As I tended to Steven during that year I knew I had purpose. It was really hard and there were times...well, I won't go into how low life got. But, I knew without a doubt I was were I was supposed to be. I loved him more than anyone, except maybe God. I didn't think twice to give up all my comforts if it meant his day could be better. I knew I was running out of time with him and each little thing counted so much.

But now, I don't know anything, except I hurt. My time with him is gone and I just want more. I want a hug, a touch.

No purpose, no Steven, real pain = life sucks.

Friday, October 25, 2013

End of Life Stories

I took a call today from a man who said he wouldn't be around at the end of the year. We hung up and I thought, surely he means he's going on a vacation. Maybe south where it is warm. Oddly, he called back with another question, and I had to ask him...did you mean you were going away? He said no, he was in Hospice. I started crying and held the phone away from my face so he wouldn't hear, as he went on to explain. I felt such compassion and shared a small portion of my story.

I believe nothing is coincidence. God orchestrates each meeting.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Lack of a Timeline

As I listened to a friend talk about her brother's illness and then his passing, I was impressed with how much she remembered years later. She knew what month this happened and then that and finally, the end.

I thought back over the last year of Steven's terminal cancer and felt I didn't know enough of the months and dates. Gosh, it's only been 3 months. How could I have forgotten? Does this mean I don't care or maybe my brain is mush?

So I got the calendar and the folder labeled Steven Medical and started a timeline. But, then it became too much and I had to stop. It all ends the same way no matter what month he had chemo, radiation or contracted pneumonia. It all ends the same way.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Toolbox

I feel I've been moving along in life at about the pace I should be. But yesterday, something cracked in me.

It happened when I went to clean out Steve's toolbox from the shop. It will be one of the things I will be putting in an auction. As I opened each drawer, I could sense him there, standing right where I was, getting the next thing he needed to finish a job. I started crying and honestly have not been able to stop.

This was who he was more than anything, anywhere else. He knew what each drawer contained. The tools were laid out or messy, just the way he wanted them. I took out each tool and cleaned each drawer and thought how sad it all was. Steve loved what he did. This skill of repairing and matching paint was one he prided himself on. It had to be perfect or he wasn't happy. It's what kept customers coming back.

It will be hard to see this huge toolbox go belong to someone else.

 

I Need to Think Before I Think

I'm thinking how jealous I am that Steve is enjoying heaven and I'm stuck here not enjoying life without him.

Then a thought hits me that immediately makes me ill. What if he hadn't proclaimed his faith and acknowledged his belief in Jesus? What thoughts would I be having then?

 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Steven, It's Not The Same

Steven, all the things I did that irritated you, both real and funny make me smile. But the smile is a sad one. When my yawn turns into a melody, no one says, "Really?" I'm thinking maybe I might start yawning normal.

Every time I eat oatmeal with raisins, you are not here to offer it to, even though I know you hated it.

No one blesses me even when I sneeze really loud. And when I holler up from the basement, "Why am I down here?", no one reminds me.

I hear no loud sigh as I unload the dishwasher a little too loudly. And when I unpack groceries and throw the plastic bags over my head, no one asks me if I must do that.

I had BLTs and named the letter (drawing it out for full effect) for each thing I put on my sandwich, but it wasn't the same as when you would growl in frustration.

There is no argument over whether to rinse the pasta. And I can't complain about the way you would fast forward on the DVR, going 1/2 way into the show. Now I fast forward and go 1/2 way into the show.

I bought a new plant and did not have to sneak it into the house. I moved furniture around and you aren't here to complain. Your dad had my oil changed and now I'll have to keep track of my mileage, because he will probably really get mad.

My overreaction to one mosquito bite is no longer fun.

I don't have to sneak cracking open a bedroom window when I go to bed. I have smelly candles all over the house and light them all at the same time.

I finally got to move the big orange container of Goop from under the sink. There is no one to hand me a tissue when I cry at something on TV. No one makes me stop and sit when I work too hard, or threatens me with, "If I hear one word about your back tomorrow..."

I still lift my mug of beer and say cheers. I like to think you are doing the same with a really good import.

 

 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Conversation With God

Me- You could have healed him.

God- I did heal him.

Me- But you took him from me.

God- He was never yours, but mine.

Me- I miss him so much I ache with real pain.

God- You will see him again. Be weak in your pain, that others may step along side you and represent me.

Me- Why did you even bring him into my life, just to take him away?

God- I brought him to you to lead him to me.

Me- Oh

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Positive Thinking

God is so good. I felt I needed to start that way and give him credit for anything positive I may say. I'm kinda stuck on the positive part though.

Positive: I wake up every day...but my body aches.
I have some time off this week and a holiday coming up...but I have so much to do.
I have happy moments now...but I'm still crying every day.

I know God and that is enough for me to live on.

Yesterday, as I was going down a grocery isle, I saw syrup. My mind immediately went to waffles. Oh, yum, but it's dinner I need to buy for. Then I thought, I could go to a Village Inn or I Hop and get waffles right now for dinner if I wanted. The whole vision made me so happy I proceeded with my dinner shopping. I bought fried chicken...much healthier than waffles! Ha.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Visions

One of the topics discussed after someone passes away is whether they visit in dreams or visions. Whether you can feel their presence or hear their words in your head.

When I thought of the possibility of Steven visiting me, I immediately welled up. I still see him as...he was at the end. They say it takes time to get from how you last saw them to the happy healthy years. Especially if they were unhealthy for a while. I couldn't handle hearing the click of the walker, the hover-round chair or his coughing. I'm okay to wait. Gives me something to look forward to.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

This Old House

One thing that has helped me, since Steven passed away,  is to work on the house. I'm trying to be careful with spending, so most of it is painting and cleaning. Then, there is the matter of asking for help with the things I have no business doing. Asking is hard for me. I figure everyone has to be short on time so why add assisting me into the equation.

Now as I go into each room, I am bombarded with ideas of making things different. Pintrest is an endless source of projects to do yourself. I love that I have contacts to ask questions of. And of course there is always Google.


Recently, I and some friends and family tore up the carpet in the dining room/front room and were able to clean the oak floors beneath. What a difference that has made. It is also back breaking to be on ones knees for long periods of time. But being exhaused makes for a good night's sleep.

Monday, September 30, 2013

I Choose Life

This life is not all there is. This life is a rehearsal for our real life, our forever life in the presence of God. Steven just has heaven before I do. That I'll get there someday and see that smile of his again is just a matter of time. But the desire to pull the covers up over my head and not come out is still a strong pull. If I do that I would be choosing to not live, which is like choosing to die. Not a physical death but, certainly emotionally and spiritually.

If you are not turning toward God, you are turning away from him. I choose life. Life toward a God that knows me better than I know myself. I will not be destroyed with this heart crushing sorrow and disappointment. I want a life that is open to new joys as well as additional sorrows. I'd just like to request it be a while before the other shoe drops.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Satan's Goal

One main goal of Satan in a believer's life is to drive a wedge between them and God. And what better time to attempt that then during calamity? It is a period when emotions are raw and faith is questioned. We are at our weakest, and confusion can lead to fear.

Being self controlled and alert means I need to stay in charge of my emotions and decisions. But circumstances have me at a disadvantage right now. How blessed I am to know where my strength comes from. And I also know how this whole story ends.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Can I Still Blame Steve?

In every home things happen that no one claims blame for. Unfortunately for me, I can't point a finger anymore. All this time it was I missing the garbage can. I thought my aim was straight on. And then there is the sink after brushing my teeth. Could it be that someone comes after me and brushes? Who leaves windows open with the heat on? Who doesn't empty the drain in the sink, or close the garage door?

A quote by Bob Moawad: "The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours - it is an amazing journey - and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Time Is On My Mind

As I watched my grandson dump his plate on the table and eat with his hands, that which we would eat with a spoon, I was reminded how easy life is as a child. There was no care of what others thought of his manners. He would have plunged head first into the river's current had one of us not grabbed him. No fear of consequence. If he doesn't want his toy, he throws it.

I remember as a teen, I could hardly wait to get out from under my parents rule. Little did I realize what the big bad world had in store for me. Life as an adult.

The reality of what I'm dealing with now is overwhelming at times. There are lawyers and probate, accountant's and taxes, medical and funeral bills and decisions to make. Every facet of my life seems askew. Emotions, my physical health, my faith walk, my relationships, all feel somewhat broken. I'm broke and the only thing that will fix me is...time.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

What Temptation Looks Like To Me

"How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?" (Psalm 13:2)

Can I have faith enough to not ask God to take away the suffering, but trust Him to sustain me through it? None of us want hard things. A flat tire on the side of the road can be a learning experience on tire changing but no one would choose it.

When we are in pain we become vunerable to the enemy's tempting. What does that look like for me? To be honest, it would involve envy of others who are in a loving relationship. Also the deep desire to lay down and sleep and not get out of bed. Probably the worse for me is to be angry at smokers. How dare they continue doing this and then put someone in the position of caregiver to watch them waste away to nothing. I think when I say things out loud (or write for the world to see) it brings to light what I'd like to deny and keep in the dark. Step one.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I Have Insanity

I have always felt that despite adversity, I've done pretty good at keeping sane. It's only recently as I go through this mourning process that I have begun to doubt my sanity.

How a person can be fine one minute, and burst into full fledge tears the next, is new to me. But it happens everyday. I have triggers that will put me over the edge, scenes in my head of Steve in his sickness that are unbearable even today. One of many is the day we passed the mirror in the hallway on the way to the bedroom. He was using his walker and stopped. I saw so much emotion in his face as he assessed his reflection and realized what this cancer had done to his body.

He has a new body today. He is strong and healthy inside and out. He had comfort and joy.

I have insanity.

 

First Came Faith Then Came Love



Faith in God came easy to me. I wanted to believe there was a plan and purpose for me. Gosh, it seemed so big. And what a relief to know there was someone else behind it all.

Then came love. When I felt and accepted the unconditional love of God, everything else fell into place. That God loved me was amazing, but I needed it really bad. So I clung on and never let go. Even today. I had a friend ask me if I was mad at God, and I said no, I'm just glad he was there to pick me up.


Monday, September 16, 2013

With Knowledge Comes Confidence

It's not just missing Steve and the ora of his energy, it's the absence of anyone. There are several minutes in each day that I used to have someone by my side and now I don't. At a time when major decisions need to be made, I need to think hard, then cry because I have to do this and I'm a baby at heart. Then I make a decision and if it turns out to be wrong it will be me to blame and I can cry about that. I hate my weaknesses.

I wonder if someday in the future when I've grown into the new me, I will look back at this silly woman and shake my head at her. This Denice of today who aches and cries. She thinks if she doesn't know something it is out of stupidity. Who needs to learn that with knowledge comes confidence.

My head hurts from thinking about this. I think I need a nap.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Someone Stop Me

I have a bad habit on the weekends of mastering my task list and sometimes I know I need to stop but don't. Steve was good at sensing my inability to stop the 12 projects I would have going in each room. He would see me rubbing my lower back and getting crabby. It was then he would take me by the shoulders and make me put down what I was doing. He's lead me in to the couch, make me lay down, give me the remote and my stack of books and tell me next time he walked in this room I better still be there.

He had no idea how much I appreciated that. Now I don't stop. Another thing I will need to learn.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dream Weaver

I woke up feeling hang dogged. My mind was filled with blah, blah negative thoughts. As I sat down to do my devotion, my dream from last night came back to me and I realized my mood was the result of my dream emotion. In the dream, I was joking around and said something offensive. A foot in mouth moment, but an insult to a certain race, one of which was within hearing distance. I can't explain the ramifications of this comment other than to say it was unforgivable.

How do you shake that? I started praying and ask God to remind me that, it was a stinking dream and He is the only one whose opinion really matters.

I'd like to say that was it and I went about my day with my chin up, but I didn't, so I won't.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Dearest Steven, I'm Having A Bad Day

My Dearest Steven, I'm having a bad day. Why did you have to go and die? You came into my life and saved me from myself. When bad things happen, you are there to talk to. When I cry, you hold me. When I fall, you get down with me. When I overreact, you tell me I'm overreacting.

I've have this bad day happening Baby, and I can't stop crying. I'm on the floor, and you're not here to talk to or hold me. You're not on the floor with me. And don't even try to tell me I'm overreacting.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Light Of Misfortune

I talked to a friend recently about some serious health issues in her family. I realized at that moment, that the light of misfortune was now shining on someone other than me. While my heart goes out to my friend and her family, I feel relief at not having the heaviness of praying for that miracle for Steve. But, looking at her pain filled face I felt helpless at not knowing what to say or do.

Lord, don't let my experience of anguish be wasted in my life. Use it. Use me, to help others who feel their soul has been pierced beyond repair.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Figuring Out Who I Am

I don't know who I am. I once was Steve's wife. We were a bit of a comedy team, like Sonny and Cher. We insulted each other with ease and it was fun. He led, I followed. We agreed to disagree about some things by not bringing them up. I'm not sure how healthy this was, but it worked.

Then, I was Steve's caregiver. This role was a year that started off slow and gathered speed. The last few months I would not know how to describe. Maybe as overwhelming. When Steven died, the framework of our plans and dreams collapsed.

As I note each era of my life, I know I'm entering one very different, simply because I'm a single entity. No one is relying on me, like when the kids were young or Steve was sick. With the singleness come choices I've never had. I can change anything, from the color of the walls to the country I live in. I frankly don't remember a time like this.
It's confusing to have this much freedom. To go from being taken care of, to taking care of someone else, to being responsible for only me.

It's important for me to not forget where I came from. My past has woven me into this woman. With age comes wisdom. Wisdom to examine my faith, morals and integrity. I know Steven made a difference in my life and it is a legacy I'll carry with me forever.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

No Season Dread

I have spent a year dreading each season. You can't get excited about any future thing when the one you love has terminal cancer. A holiday's meaning loses its appeal. They are just more markers leading to the inevitable. Steve was diagnosed in June of last year. When fall came I wondered if he would make it to another summer and if so, would he be heathy enough to do the things he loved. As winter drew closer the weather stayed mild. Steve fished into December. We put off brain radiation until January. But this last spring refused to come. I knew he was running out of time. I prayed for God to let it warm up, but the cool weather and rain held on. The circle had come back around to Summer. And we knew Steve would not make it through it.

Now as we enter fall I find nothing to dread. There is no inevitable with the one I love. And as sad as that part is, I can find hope in a new season, a new beginning.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Happy Anniversary Baby

My Steven,

Today would mark our 20th Anniversary. That's a big deal. I loved it that we were married Labor Day weekend. It gives us three or four days of celebration, instead of just one.

What would we have done? Camped? Or maybe have a dinner somewhere? We weren't much for eating out. Maybe some steaks on the grill. Cheering each other several times saying, 'Oh, did we cheer?'

I miss you everyday Steven, but today I will think of you all day and wish you were here for 'our' big deal. And, I'll accept your gift of the beautiful diamond necklace hidden away in your closet. I'll think you were saving it just for today. And I'll hear your voice say, "Happy Anniversary Baby...nothing but the necklace."

Sunday, September 1, 2013

List Making

I have lists for everything. It would drive Steven crazy, which I enjoyed. But, list making was my way of freeing up brain space. When I started using Notes on my iPhone, I was ecstatic. I had pages labeled movies to watch, books to read, window measurements, health updates and medications, websites to go to, phone calls to make, blog ideas and many others.

I was adding my info into Steve's iPad and when I added my notes they duplicated so there was 2 of every note. So I went through and deleted one of each. The next day when I opened the iPad, my notes appeared and then disappeared. I almost cried. I got my phone and they were gone from there too. I hadn't backed anything up. But, even weirder was that Steve's notes were there. I hadn't seen them before. And low and behold, there was a draft of a letter he wanted to write me. It was precious. Especially since he didn't always say how he felt. It also told the 3 prayers he said every day. I still cry every time I think of this. And as Mary in the Bible did, I will treasure up all these things and ponder them in my heart.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Talking To Myself

Before I was a widow...wow, that sounds lonely. When Steve was alive, we would talk at night about our day. So, all day I would mentally store up stories. Maybe I hit all the lights green driving John Deere Road to work, or my co-workers and I had a good laugh about something. Sometimes I'd think of so many things I wanted to be sure and tell Steve, I'd make a list.

So now, I still think several times a day, how I'm going to tell him something. What do people do who go home to an empty house? What fun is that if there is no one to tell stuff to? Hitting all the lights green on John Deere road is huge!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Stolen Hugs

It's funny what can affect me. I went to the lawyers to sign some papers and by Steven's name, it said Deceased. Now I know Steven is gone but the word...it took my breath away. What do they mean he's Deceased. He's was the most alive person I know.

I'm still crying all the time. I'm sure I could quit if he could just hug me one more time. Our hugs over the last month of his illness were kind of stolen moments. I would dress him and have him stand up so I could pull his sweats up. He would hold onto me. Then I'd hold him, and look in the mirror over his back and say, "Girl, you better remember this coz it's gotta last a long time." But it didn't

Monday, August 26, 2013

Circle Of Life

The circle of life is never more evident than when death and birth happen in a family. I love this little boy. He makes me so happy and we are going to be the best of friends. I wish so much that he would remember Papa Steve but he won't. He won't learn the things only Steven can teach. It will be through stories, videos and pictures that Parker will sense the love we feel. And then he will feel it too.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Richter Scale Of Pain

To have the idea that there will be no suffering in life is misleading. Levels of suffering vary from person to person, and how we cope also varies.

What if I think of my suffering as a weaning from the old habit of getting my way. Funny, how I think I deserve my way because I try to lead a life honoring God.

There was my era of tending to Steve and watching his pain, only to know he was going to die, that was pretty high on the Richter scale of suffering. Certainly for him, and for me in my helplessness. But now, this pain is different. I'm not helpless. And if I think about it, there are others whose pain is much, much worse. I think of those who wake daily to physical pain without relief, or those whose lives are ruled by an addiction. There are those who are lonely and without hope, and those who live in fear.

Does this mean I'm supposed to get over it and quit feeling sorry for myself? No, but it does mean I have hope. I have God on my side, and I have to think every day is going to be a little better than yesterday.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dear Steven

Dear Steven, I'm really confused by everything and I'm kinda mad at you for leaving me like this. You kept saying I'm stronger than I think, but I'll tell you what I think, you were wrong.

There's too much to do with everything you left. My head is going to explode. Gosh, I wish it would. It would stop hurting. I don't want to meet you in any dream tonight. You're probably having way too much fun anyway. I'm really mad at you for having fun too. I'm not having fun and this is all your fault.

I knew, too, that your sickness was inevitable. I even said to someone that it wasn't a matter of if you get sick but when. I know I should feel like I cursed your health, but you could have done more to prevent all this and you didn't even try. Not once did you ever try. And how many mornings of waking and coughing like that did you need?

It's ironic, I'm the one who worshiped and you are the one who shook your head at my 'obsession'. Now you are in this glorious place with the One I worshiped and I'm stuck shaking my head.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

A Grip And A Backbone

So much reminds me of Steve. I came out of the building I work in and smelled the summer air with a tinge of burning. It was so like a campfire. A question in a meeting about how our husband would react. I can't answer that can I? Even though he was breathing 33 days ago.

I used to be thought of as the lady whose husband is dying. But now... I'm the lady whose husband died. It's over. Over for them. For me it's just a new phase of hell.

Oh goodness, where is he to not help me with all this? I don't make these kinds of decisions. Not only was I not making decisions in our marriage, I wasn't even consulted. A vacation was planned. New windows were put in. A newly purchased car or truck would show up in the driveway. Why ask? What was I going to say, no?

I've got to get a grip. And a backbone. A grip and a backbone, a grip and a backbone. Or maybe just my bed.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

When Prayers Have No Words

I was reading Romans 8:26-27 this morning which talks about how sometimes we don't know how to pray when we are distressed. And how our Holy Spirit within us, prays for us, in harmony with God's own will.

It reminded me of a time when I was holding Steven in bed, as we waited for the morphine to kick in. I told him I wanted to pray. Then, I started crying, as I told God I had no idea what to pray for. The previous pleadings had become mantras that went unanswered. Asking for a miracle, asking for more time, begging for no pain. I know I trusted God. I had to, I was powerless and desperate. I believe in that moment the Holy Spirit prayed for us, saying just what was perfect to my Father's heart. I know, laying there, drained of all energy, we both fell asleep.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Letting Go And Blessings

I'm becoming too anxious about too many things. I had no idea the legalities and paper work when someone passes away could be so taxing. If it was just one issue I would be okay but it's too many. I'm waking with migraines in the morning and am having stomach issues. I'm pretty sure it is all related to stress.

So, I'm going to list all my anxieties and give them to God and try really hard to not worry about them. I say this with trust that God will work them out. I hope he realizes how big some of them are. But, knowing God, I'm categorizing what I think is 'big' as incorrectly anyway.

I had a God moment last week. I've been harboring some disappointment and anger over some issues. You really can't go anywhere with these emotions when the other person is deceased. So during a crying spell, I told God I wasn't going to dwell on it anymore. I was letting it go, and would 'turn the channel' if it came into my head again. Well, the next day I found something I swear was not there the day before. It was the letter from Steve I've been waiting for. It was words. Words I needed, that are all mine. He talked about the three prayers he prayed everyday and they...were so bittersweet.

I let go of what I should not be carrying and God filled my arms with a blessing I can hold on to forever. I can't wait to see what He does now.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

I Cry

In this period of mourning I can cry and no one would think twice about my tears. It's not to be blamed on PMS or being pre-menopausal,or just an emotional female. I've experienced one of the biggest losses in an extremely painful manner that there is. It is expected that I'll cry.


So I cry. Lots. I cry when I look at the river going by, and when I put lots of paper in the fire and he wasn't here to complain. I cried when I walked by his boat and reflected on the fact I would never see him motoring to his favorite fishing spot. I cried when I wore his undershirt to bed. I cry when I see his toothbrush still in the holder. I cried when I woke up with a headache from crying so much before I went to bed. And that was just yesterday.

I wonder how long this season of mourning complete with the freedom to cry will last?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Remembering

I remember last fall I got this lounger chair from Walmart. I couldn't get it in the car and some nice young man helped me push and pull to squeeze it in. I HAD to have this chair. I felt it would be my survival after...Steve was gone. I would lay in it and feel the sun. I'd look up through the trees and imagine him in heaven somewhere beyond the clouds. In the fall, I'd brush the leaves off the chair and have a blanket around my shoulders. The leaves would be oranges and browns and rustle as they moved. I saw myself just looking off and remembering times we spent on this deck with our frosty mugs of beer and something yummy smelling on the grill. When it got cooler, we'd turn on the propane heater and I'd prop my feet up on his chair and we'd talk about the kids or our day.

We had this unspoken game we'd play to see who would suggest moving in when a storm would move in. The wind would blow cooler, the sky darken, and we would both carry on waiting for the other to mention picking things up. It would always be me. Many a times we'd be scrambling to get our food and radio out of the rain. We would giggle and tease and banter and I miss him so much.

And here I sit, just like I imagined. Remembering.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hello, Joy? Are You There?

I'm having trouble with joy. It's just not there. Maybe it would be weird to have joy a mere 25 days after ones husband dies. But as I go into scripture and read God's promises, it doesn't say joy is only for when life is going well. In fact it says the opposite. Romans 8:15-17 talks about receiving the word with joy, sharing in His suffering and also in His joy. I have shared. I have shared both in unwaivering love to the sad, sad end of Steven's life, and I have shared with words that it was not by my own strenght I was able to do this.

I'll settle for peace now, but I want joy.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Dearest Steven

My Dearest Steven, you've been gone 24 days now, but it seems like just a week since that day. I've had a barrage of emotions to deal with. Some are scary to me because they are not my norm.

I am so sad I can hardly stand it. I don't know what to say when I'm asked how I am. How are you Steven? Does it feel good to be healthy? Have you seen Loretta, my Dad, Gram or Granny? Are they young or old?

Why didn't you ever give me the necklace? I think you bought it for me to wear on our wedding day. You tucked it away really good, and when it's time to get it out you can't find it. You look and look and of course can't tell me because I'd be tearing the house apart.

You'd be so proud of the boys. They are showing this protective side. We all feel so much closer. Almost like 3 adults instead of a mom and sons.

I love you so much. I't a deeper love out of saddness and remorse. It's raw emotion that makes me want to beg God for you. But my days of begging prayers for you are over. I can feel peace when I think about God. But then the grief comes back. Maybe the peaceful moments get longer and the grief shorter in time.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Slowly, Quietly, She Moved

I tried so hard to be quiet for Steve. And the more I tried, the more I dropped and banged things. Well, it's now a habit to move slower. That is probably a good thing. So the microwave door remained opened out of habit, because the noise of closing it was too loud if Steve was sleeping.

Now, I walk in the kitchen and when I see the microwave door open, I slam it. I guess, because I can. Something tells me I'm going to have to replace this oven in the imminent future.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Anger

I'm not doing well. My head is in a whirlwind. Am I just waking up to reality? Has the shock worn off? I'm finding myself angry about some things.

Sometimes, when we feel justified in our anger, we don't really want to let go. It wasn't fair, and we dwell on that fact and want to share the injustice. I think in my case, I'm not dealing with a full deck, toss in a joker and the game is over.

So I pray for acceptance of life and things I can't change. In my humanness I'm limited on what I can do. But I know what God can do. Like the flip of a switch, He can soften my heart and make my thoughts bearable. The question is... do I want to let go of it?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Missing Steve

I miss Steve so much. When he was sick and I came home from work, I would set stuff down and find him in bed. I'd crawl up from the end of the bed and lay next to him. Maybe we couldn't talk much because he didn't feel good, but he would run his hand through my hair and brush it out of (or in, if feeling funny) my face. I need that touch from him and he's not here.

I keep seeing him in my mind like he was at the end, so frail. I could usually get a response if I woke him. I would say, "Love you." and he would say "hmmm hmmm" in a growl voice. His way of saying I love you. I knew he loved me. And I would think, is that 'hmm hmm' the last I love you I'll ever get from him?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

First Day Back

I went back to work yesterday for my first full day since the end of May. Wow, that was a long time ago. An era I will never forget. I think the hardest moment was when I marked my status as widowed in our system. Widowed. It sounds like an old person. Am I old and I don't know it?

My drive home was one of the things I was most worried about when I would think ahead. My house was now just me. Steve and I had such a routine. So I made phone calls as I drove to take my mind off the emptiness awaiting me. Then I went out and started pulling weeds. I came across these lilies that Steve liked and I hated since they attracted mosquitoes. I started yanking them out of the ground. They came out so easily with the still moist ground. I knew he would have been mad if he were here but I hated them. And he is not here to get mad. I don't think they have the mad emotion in heaven, so I'm probably good.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I Did It My Way

Steve and I had a friend who lost his wife last year. I remember that friend saying, "Everything has changed, I even think different." Now I know what he meant.

When I used to wake up, I would start my day praying for that miracle. Now, when first up, I think of Steve, usually because I'm alone in bed. And the remote is mine as I put on his robe and turn on the channel I choose. I go in and make coffee the way I like it. There is no reason not to. I fill the house with my music and candles scents. I walk outside to the deck, no longer tied to a ringing bell. And I leave my phone inside. Something unheard of 3 weeks ago. I take my keys to go and do not need to call someone to come and stay. I leave no note on the counter. And when I stop the car there is no hurry. No one is waiting for me to get back so they can leave. I'm not worrying about if Steven can communicate what he needs while I'm gone.

All this doesn't mean I don't mourn or miss him something terrible. It means there are moments where having things my way can make me smile.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Steven's Stuff

I am dying from grief, my years are shortened by sadness. Misery has drained my strength. I am wasting away from within. But I am trusting you, O Lord, sayin, "You are my God!" My future is in your hands. Psalm 31:10, 14-15

First I slept on Steve's side of the bed. I found if I left all extra pillows in the bed, it almost seemed he was next to me. Then I moved to the middle of the bed and all the pillows got tossed.

No one sat in Steven's chair at the table. If a visitor didn't know and sat there, he would give them a look that said 'not that chair'. Now I sit there.

Steven would always have to drive. He finally agreed, as his health declined, to let me drive but he wasn't happy about it. His car sits here and I'm going to drive it soon. It would be really bad if I wrecked it right off the get-go. Or would it? Who is going to get mad about it?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Need Help With Happy Thoughts of Steven

It's funny how some verses in the Bible perfectly explain how I feel. My devotion yesterday was Lamentations 3. Verse 19-22 say this;

The thought of my suffering and hopelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.

There is no doubt to me I will get through this. When I think of Steven, I'm sad and I cry. I need to have happy thoughts and I can't get there. I can't get beyond both of us in that bed, with me holding him. It's what I have right now and I have to cling to this pain because I'm afraid when I stop...Steven will be gone.

Friday, August 2, 2013

My Dearest Steven, Meet Me In My Dreams

My dearest Steven, I found your keys. They were lost for months and were hanging in the camper on the key holder the whole time. I haven't been there in so long. I wonder what all the keys are for. A wife should probably know that.

The toilet seat stays down now. And the bed is made when I leave the room. But I would give all that up to have you back. What are you doing? Do you think of me at all?

Remember how sometimes when we went to bed at night we would say, "Meet you at ________, in our dreams." And then we would name a place we had been to. Well, tonight I want to meet in the Lake Geneva gazebo. I'm smiling through my tears my love. Please don't let me down.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Hi God, It's Me Again, Praying

Hi God, it's me again. I am still praying for relief from a broken heart. I'm hurting more than I ever have. When my dad passed away or I miscarried, I had Steven to share my grief. Now where is he? Somewhere having the time of his life and I'm stuck here. I know other women have gone through this, but they must be stronger than I am.

I know You are with me and that I must go through this crushing pain. I know my sadness will not be gone tomorrow or the next day. What good will come from this? I read somewhere that heartache can soften a heart so it will be more aware of You. I know I've seen You in the friends and family who are checking on me and I'm grateful.

Lord, I prayed all that time for a miracle. One tiny little miracle and it didn't happen. That's okay, but You probably feel sorry for me now and want to answer my next prayer. I'll just sit here and wait.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Dearest Steven, I'm So Sad

My dearest Steven, I am so sad I can't hardly stand it. Can I wake up please God? I want this to be some kind of mistake, but time and a funeral tell me this is no mistake.

I wear your robe all the time. I'm sure you don't mind. I haven't been able to open your wallet, such a personal thing. I found a beautiful necklace in your closet. It was still in the case. I thought since you never gave it to me, it must be for someone else. But the receipt shows it was purchased the same day as my wedding ring. Who keeps a necklace for 20 years and doesn't give it to their wife? Maybe you were saving it for when I had our child. Sorry I miscarried.

You are with our child now. I said a girl and you said a boy. Now you know who was right. Oh Steven, come home to me.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I Live

It's hard to believe 10 days have gone by since Steven passed away. I have experienced so many emotions. A lot of the time I feel nauseated. I could sleep at any time but still feel tired and lethargic. One of the many things that surprised me was my need to be home. I thought after having to be here and not able to leave when Steve was so sick, that I would fly out the door everyday. I'd take back the returns I have and get some much needed shopping done. But, I'll be out and have an overwhelming desire to be home. I'll have to leave immediately and feel comfort as soon as I walk in the door.

My obsession with having my cell phone on my person at all times has changed. Oh heck, my whole life and way of thinking have changed. Life is askew. I've been told there is a shock period after something like this before reality sets in. I can't wait to see what today brings.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Hi God, It's Me Again

For so long Lord, it's been me asking for stuff. Healing, patience, precious time, peace and on the list goes. I have an ongoing conversation with you all day, but it's been seeking. Yet, here I am once more reaching out, seeking, needing You. I feel I need to praise you more than I do. I'm not balancing the prayer request vs praise quota. It's been hard because I'm just not real pleased with the last 12 months.

I eventually came to the conclusion your outcome and my outcome were going to be different. The song All is Well With My Soul was not sung with total abandon by me during church.

You took a strong man and brought him to his knees. Both of us to our knees, I should say. We could accept a bad prognosis. But to be struck by infirmities, one after another, until all dignity was stripped away... I saw what was left. I saw how much he took before he finally gave in.

Why are there so many angry people in the world? Don't they realize what they have? How dare they piss away a life with a healthy body, and bad attitude.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My Dearest Steven

My Dearest Steven,

Today as we join for your funeral I can't help wondering what you are doing. When you saw the beauty of heaven were you speechless with awe? Did you think for a moment, "She was right!" You know how I always like to be right.

I envy you as I live each moment without you. It doesn't seem possible anything can be as fulfilling or funny again. Can you see us? Can you hear my heartfelt prayers for you?

We gathered at your folks last night and as a storm blew in and chased us away from the campfire, I thought of you. You would have weathered it out. We all threw logs on our chairs and headed for the garage but you would have stayed sitting looking at the sky...waiting.

Steven, it is only day 3 and I miss you so much. Can you ask God if I can have you to hold me just one more night? See you then.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Casual Attire Please

Heritage Church, where the service is being held is a casual attire church. Wear jeans. It's one of the many things I love about it.

I usually love a blank page to type on, but I have few words to describe how I'm doing. Two mornings I have opened my eyes to an empty spot next to me. I took my coffee out to the back stoop and sat crying. I'm not capable of hard decisions, yet so many to make at a time like this. I'm numb, overcome with sadness and in shock.

I mourn. The word even sounds sad. I moooouuuuurn.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Steve's Obituary

 
Steven Lane
EAST MOLINE — Memorial services for Steven L. Lane, 53, of East Moline, will be 11 a.m. Tuesday at Heritage Wesleyan Church, Rock Island. Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. Monday at the Van Hoe Funeral Home Ltd., East Moline. Mr. Lane died Saturday, July 20, 2013, at his home after a yearlong battle with cancer. Memorials may be made to the family.
Steven was born Dec. 6, 1959, in Moline, the son of Freddie and Betty Albright Lane. He married Denice Long Sept. 4, 1993, in Moline. He owned and operated Lane Auto Body in Davenport for 35 years. He loved spending time with his family. He enjoyed the outdoors, especially fishing and camping.
Survivors include his wife, Denice Lane, East Moline; sons, Joshua DeCrane, Moline, and Brandon DeCrane, Rock Island; a grandson, Parker DeCrane; parents, Freddie and Betty Lane, Osbourn, Ill.; brothers, Robert (Tena) Lane, Warsaw, Mo., William Lane, Chicago, Ernest Lane (Scott Biniak), Lake of the Hills, Ill., and Michael Lane (Stephen Wolfe), Columbus, Wis.
He is preceded in death by his grandparents.
Online condolences may be left for the family at www.vanhoe.com.
 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

With Heavy Heart

It is with a heavy heart that I write to you today.  Steve passed in the night.  As with every step along this journey, he did not walk alone.  He was in the company of family and continues to be surrounded by your thoughts and prayers.  The light provided by every single person has helped immensely and I am humble in knowing that the same light will become brighter, to help us all find the way as we move ahead.  

Steve forged a life with passion and determination.  We all need to take his example of steadfast courage and begin to face the following days to pay honor and to learn to live anew.  It won’t be easy, we know this, but the love in our hearts will not let us waiver.  

I task upon you to continue your support for Denice.  The story of the Lanes might have been more solitary had she not taken the time to let us in.  It was unmistakably difficult to read at times, with tears in my eyes, but I'm grateful she did.   

Josh

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Last Leg of Our Journey

We are pretty certain Steve in in the last leg of his life journey here. He is resting comfortably and is sleeping for the most part all day. It is so good to see his face relax now. What a fighter I married.

I sought prayer yesterday but wanted a verse to meditate on. I haven't been able to read much, so as a favorite pastor of mine said, I read until something grabbed me.

My preference in time of need is Psalm. It covers a range of emotions. I opened to Psalm 27 and came to this verse.


Psalm 27:13-14
I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.

So I WILL see goodness from this. I just have to stay strong, take heart and wait.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Steve continues to lose weight. He is not eating or drinking much. The pain meds he requests are a minimum but I don't push him about it. I need to let him be in control of this choice because it is about all he has control of. So I continue being weepy and he continues grimacing.

One morning, about a week ago, before I even had the coffee going, I heard the clunk, then the high pitch squeak. I saw from my kitchen window a male cardinal fly away. Oh good, I thought, he made it after hitting our glass door. But the squeak continued. I went out and there by the back door was the female cardinal, flaying about, with more than a broken wing.

It was then the rain began, each drop becoming harder and louder. I was drenched in no time. I looked up at the sky and said, "Really?" Then I saw the male cardinal again and in that moment we were related in more ways than just two broken hearts.

Matthew 10:29

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Take This Cup

You would think time would drag by when there is no where to go, but it flies for me. Seems it's time to get lunch right after breakfast is cleaned up. One nap runs into another. Sleep is disturbed all night. Last night when he woke to use the bathroom, he took so long I cleaned out the refrigerator. Then 2 hours later when he needed the bathroom I changed the sheets and cleaned up the bedroom. Maybe my business isn't the problem; it's that he takes a long time in the bathroom.

He did get kind of over the top mushy with me yesterday. There was a window of time where he felt good enough to talk and even joke a little bit. It was a blessing because I knew he needed this time to go over some things he had been dragging his feet about. Two hours later he was back to feeling sick, mumbling and irritable. It was definetely an answer to prayer that he had this coherent period.

So I am to be Christ-like. I wonder where I am now, how that looks. Then I see Him, on his knees, in the Garden of Gethsemane. And I know now how that looks. It is me on my knees saying, "Take this cup, not for me, but for Steve."

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Another Day Closer To...

Another day. I can do this. I'm weepy today. Can't seem to stop being weepy. Earlier, during our pillow talk, he asked me what I was up to today. I said I didn't have anything big, what did he have planned? Then I immediately burst into tears.

I told him I really thought he would go by car accident. He wouldn't be wearing a seat belt of course. I would hate him for dying like that. At least that's not going to happen.

Psalm 119:50

My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

My True Purpose

If I am to follow Him, who suffered and bled for me, I must be on the right path if I am suffering for someone else. Short of a life dedicated to it, there is nothing bigger I am capable of. My tears at his pain and holding him as he slowly disappears each day is laying down my net and taking up my cross.

I'm not on the outside looking in, or feeling guilty over all the things I should be doing. I've been awakened to what a servant truly is. This is a privilege because I'm not longer wondering what MY PURPOSE is. The me from before is long gone.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Our Cocoon

We are in a cocoon. People come to bring groceries or bathe Steven, but we hardly leave. Somewhere, someone is driving with the window down, hair blowing in the wind. Someone else walks, holding a little ones hand, trying not to step on a crack. Girls giggle at the mall, and parents wish the home side was in the shade for the game. Another is thankful the gym is open late as he heads there after work.

The room is dark; the only noise is the oxygen machine as I spoon behind him in bed. I can't rest any part of me on him or touch his spine. But I can put my forehead by his neck and it is there we whisper as I silently cry. He doesn't stop me, but joins me.

Somewhere, she says the water is too cold to swim, but she really doesn't want to get her hair and makeup wet. A man slides up to the bar where his draft has already been poured. Elsewhere, as a woman stands in line, she wonders why everyone wants ice cream the same time as her. He marks the calendar, one day closer to that vacation.

Lips swollen, mouth with sores, eating is very hard for Steve. We've tried oatmeal, mashed potatoes, bland and blander. It all burns. Ice cream burns. We both know he has to eat. His lungs do not have enough capacity to cough now so it sounds fake then after several attempts is productive. There is no laughter or jokes, just pain and discomfort. I may just die of a broken heart before he does. Only God knows when this beautiful man will break free of his cocoon and fly.

Monday, July 8, 2013

My Dearest Steven

My Dearest Steven,

I know you don't read the blog. That used to bother me, but then freed me to put feelings down that I might not have.

I know I don't know what you're going through. I would take your pain upon myself if I could. We have switched roles you and I. I am now the stronger, decision making one. I hold you at night rather than you hold me.

Your courage is to be admired. Your anxiety remains your own. I know you are praying so maybe it is between you and God. I do know your life and declining health have impacted a few to make life changing decisions. While that doesn't make things different for you, there are a few babies in this world who may have their daddies a while longer because they quit smoking.

Steven, you touch so many without even realizing it. Especially me. I wish I knew how to word it all to you. To tell you it's okay to let go...and go. You told me that when you were in ICU, you saw my face and heard me say I wasn't ready to let you go yet, and that you decided then you would live. And you pulled through miraculously. But it has been more pain than anything since you came home and I feel bad for that.

As much as I will...fall apart when you go, I think I'm to the point where I'd rather have you in heaven than in pain anymore. There, I wrote it. Maybe I need to say it.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

People Want To Help

Our friends feel helpless that they can't make this suffering go away for us. They ask what they can do, and then voice they wish they could do more.

What each of them needs to know is, they are one flower in a huge bouquet. When you take the sweet things people are doing and add them all up, the generosity is truly amazing.

The most precious gift of all is the prayers...but of course the desserts are really good too.

And I've grown in my sacrifice to Steven. It's like, the more I give for him, (time, tears, sleep) the more I am blessed.
In my brokenheartedness, I find compassion and walk away with the experience of mercy. This all takes me out of my comfort zone and selfcenteredness. I'm one who likes routine, neatness and predictability. But at the same time this pain I feel makes me realize I'm alive. Nothing is mediocre or simple. Life is slipping away...for all of us.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Getting Through The Day

Today is somewhat better for Steve. I can see the disease is progressing but he is on the morphine and dopey is better then in pain. Bless his heart.

I had my first bad headache since my working from home began. Not wanting to lessen my senses, I hesitated taking my migraine meds but finally gave in. I'm so glad I did.

I seem to cope better if I commune with God as often as possible. I carry scripture on index cards to meditate on. I have Pandora on my phone with my favorite Christian artists, and can listen to them anywhere. I listen to Heritage's sermons online. I keep the car radio on K-Love.

These things make me weepy, but only because they remind me of the importance of getting Steve and I through this. Most impacting is, I'm not alone because God loves me so very much.

None of this is His fault. We are not promised a life of ease. That will come later. But, He does promise to be with us as we go through these things. God is big. He can heal Steve, but maybe that's not His plan. I can't see the big picture, I can only live this day moment by moment knowing I'm not alone.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Day For Sleeping

Today Steven has not been able to get out of bed. He is weak and very tired. The hospice nurse, who is now a friend to both of us, said she has noticed a decline since last week. He is paler and thinner.

I'm pretty sure he will shake this off and be better tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

His Eyes

His eyes tell me everything I need to know about how he is feeling. I see in them exhaustion and pain and know he needs to lay down. I know when the pain is especially bad, and I should lay down with him. There is not much sparkle anymore, but when there is, I'm ready for his humor and wit with some of my own. I see the disappointment when he wants to run and now can barely walk. I see the fear when he holds out a hand that shakes, and frustration over his body defying him as his limbs grow weaker.

There are things he wants to say too me, but can't. Blessedly, his touch speaks louder than words. And again after this many years, I can read him.

What I don't see is anxiety about the future. I'm not sure I'm anxious either. My energy is spent on this hour, this minute. I don't have any strength for tomorrow. I don't need any...until tomorrow.


THE LORD'S LEADING

Thus far the Lord has led us,
the waters have been high,
But yet in passing through them
we felt that He was nigh.

A very present helper
in trouble we have found
His comforts most abounded
When our sorrows did abound.

Calmly we look before us;
we fear no future ills;
Enough for safety and for peace
If Thou art with us still.


Author unknown

Monday, July 1, 2013

The 'I Love You' Note

I keep telling myself he is angry, but not at me. Then I came across a note he had left me on the counter long ago that just said 'I love you'. I put it on the frig and each time I pass it I hear his voice tell me just that.

I'm telling God this is too hard. I don't like this life and was wondering if I could trade it in. I want to tell Steve he will get better soon, but instead, if anything, could only say, "Babe, don't worry, this will be over soon". How sad is that?

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Let This Moment Go On Please

I don't wanna get through this hard thing, if it means you'll be leaving me,
so let this moment go on, please.

I don't wanna wake to sunshine, if you're not laying next to me,
so let this moment go on, please.

I don't want a new prayer, or a new day, or a new way, if it isn't with you by my side.
So let this moment go on please. Just let it snow everyday and take my money all away. Let my health grow frail and my sight grow dim. I can't close this book or even turn the page...our story is one worth living.

(Lyrics for my next song)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Last Day At Lane Auto Body

Today is our last day at Lane Auto Body Techs. While we're sad to shut down our business, we leave feeling proud of every repair we've done.

Thanks to everyone for your patronage, support, and friendship over these past 35+ years. It's always been our pleasure to care for your vehicles and to serve you.



We wish you safe and happy motoring in the years to come!

Living In Disarray

You think it would be easy to lose track of days, but now we are on Hospice schedule. If Monday or Thursday, the home health aide comes to bathe Steven. Sometime during the week the nurse comes to check and see if we have any questions or concerns and to take his vitals. I usually try to keep track of garbage day for obvious reasons.

It's weird not going to the grocery store every other day for things. The last time I got gas was the end of May. It seems the only errands I run are to get a prescription. No more work schedule, or doctor schedule. I have a pile of returns to different places that will wait until whenever.

I find it hard to relax here at home because everything is in disarray. Furniture has been moved in every room to accommodate the wheel chair and medical equipment. There are clothes in stacks that haven't been put away, dishes on the counter washed and not washed. There are strips of trim he sometimes hand sands for the room he was working on and all my folders, laptop and adding machine from work.

Steve is tuckered out right now. He's had breakfast and sent off some emails. So he's taking nap #1 in the recliner. I finally got him there! His feet are swollen but when he raises them in bed the pain in his back becomes intense. I kept insisting the recliner was worth a try and I was right. As always.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hi God, It's Me Again

Hi God, it's me again. You know how the Canaanite woman cried out to you because you were her only hope in saving her daughter? You are my only hope and I cry out to you in desperation. I know you're always with me because you love me like no other. You cherish and claim both of us as son and daughter. This makes me so happy knowing how highly prized I am by the creator of the universe.

You want me free from fear, yet I'm in a precarious position. Steve and I have been brought to our knees in humility so you can draw us slowly and gently into your arms. How grateful I am for those arms.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

When He Hurts, I Hurt

When he hurts, I hurt. It makes me cry seeing he face screwed up in pain. I see his abdomen get bigger and can't imagine what the cancer in his liver is doing. I realized the extent of his frailness when bathing him hurt his skin. I don't know how he could get thinner than he is. Yet, he has decided to tone up his arms and wanted the hand weights. He counts how many times he gets up and walks. This man of mine is not going to lie in bed and take what comes.

When he sleeps, I sleep. We are up several times a night. Sometimes, I move into the spare room to give him the whole bed to try and find a way to ease the pain in his abdomen and his back. Then we cat nap 3-4 times during the day. I'm so blessed with the ability to lay my head anywhere, take 7 breaths and be out. Steve calls me a professional sleeper.

When he dies, I will die. I will go to bed and cover my head and will myself to die. Couples have been known to do that. I know I'm not as elderly as most who accomplish this, but I'll therefore have more brain cells to work with.

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness...
Lamentations 3:22-23

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Childhood Home

We have two of Steve's brothers staying with us. So they took Steve, oxygen, walker and all to visit family. One of the stops will be his parents who live on the Rock River. He'll get to sit by the river where he has fished and boated since his youth. He'll see the yard where he pitched a tent and played ball with his brothers. The garage where he borrowed dad's tools to fix his car and maybe did minor body work for the first time.



I wonder if he thinks, as I do, that it might be his last visit to his childhood home.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12