An Honest Account of Love, Grief and Walking With God
Finding God's Goodness in Life's Disappointments

Monday, February 22, 2010

Hope secure and costly presents


(the picture is one of us celebrating Joe and Price's birthday last year)


February 22, 2010


Today is Joe’s birthday. He would have been 53………I miss him….…Mallory put it well. “I don’t know what birthdays are like in heaven but I am sure they are better than cake and presents.” I can say I never thought about birthdays in heaven…….Austin found a poem to honor his dad:

“Substitute bush for poppy and yard for poem”

> "A man is a success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much;
> who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of
> children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who
> leaves the world better than he found it, whether by an improved
> poppy, a perfect poem or a rescued soul; who never lacked appreciation
> of earth's beauty or failed to express it; who look for the best in
> others and gave the best he had." - Robert Louis Stevenson
I took the day off today as I simply did not want to be around people and needed some time to be alone with the Lord and let him restore me and heal me.
I went for a walk as I was desperate for some time alone just to sing and worship. It is the only place right now I find real joy. I ask God what Joe would say to me if he could talk to me right now and this is what I heard.
“Kathleen, I have gone on with my life and I love it. What I want for my birthday this year is for you to go on with your life. I know this is probably the most costly gift you will ever give me because of the pain of letting go but it is what I want from you. I want you to have fun, enjoy life without me. I want you to sing louder than you’ve ever sang, I want you to dance more than we danced and I want you to love again because you are good at it. Most of all I want you to dream again because I know some of the dreams in God’s heart for you and you will love them. I love you Kathleen.” After weaping a little while it was if I could feel him comforting me again like he use to.

To honor Joe, I spent the rest of the morning planting some bulbs in pots. It was the closest to yard work that I could do, ……and a reminder that spring is coming…..in more ways than one.

Tonight I will celebrate Joe and Price’s birthday with my kids. If you want to send Price a birthday wish his email is price_max_20@hotmail.com

Living in hope,

Kathleen

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Belated Valentine and Hope

February 18, 2010


Belated Valentines and Hope


I had a fun Valentines Day even though I didn’t have my valentine with me. My friend Nina and I finished the Austin Half marathon and were still breathing. We laughed so hard all weekend my stomach muscles hurt! It was also good to spend some time with my kids too. I have wonderful kids and they cheered us on as we did the marathon and Austin sent me flowers.

Joe was famous for buying me cards and forgetting to give them to me. Sometimes I would get a Mother’s Day card, Valentines card or anniversary card months later than the actual date. The other day I muttered a prayer, “Lord, if Joe got a Valentines card last year and didn’t give it to me, help me to find it.” Monday night I was going through a drawer of his and found a stack of cards that he had saved that the kids and I had given him through the years. It was good to see what was important to him and read the cards. He had anniversary cards from me from over 10 years ago and many Father’s Day cards from our kids. But no Valentines card…………as I was putting all the cards back into the drawer, I noticed one card under some things. It was the Valentine card he got last year! I am going to quote it because it was such a blessing even though he hadn’t signed it. I remember last year him telling me he had gotten it and would get it to me….we were so busy with MDA, CAT scans, doctors…..

The first time I saw you,
I somehow knew you’d be important in my life.
In my eyes, you were beautiful
in so many ways. There was no doubt
that I wanted to spend forever with you
And when we got married,
things were every bit as good as I’d hoped.
I didn’t want anything to change.
But….life is full of changes
and not every day can be paradise.
Together we’ve faced reality.
The day to day “bumps in the road”
that test every couple’s patience.
I’ve seen you in many challenging situations.
And the miracles is….
you’ve gotten more beautiful than I thought possible!
You’re sweet, thoughtful, strong supportive
and a partner anyone would want by his side.
Not only are you the woman of my dreams, but you’re also my best friend,
and as time passes,
I fall more deeply in love with you. (by Linda Lee Elrod)

Happy Valentine’s Day

God knew I needed this valentine this year more than any. I wept, was so thankful and yet aware of the pain of my loss. I feel at times it will never end but I know that is not true. There are too many promises in the Bible that state otherwise and I am hanging on to them. Yesterday God gave me a scripture that wasn’t highlighted in my bible…..I don’t remember reading this or it didn’t stand out when I read it in the past. It is now highlighted and I am hanging on to it. Jeremiah 31:17 “So there is hope for your future.” Jeremiah 30:17 says, “I will restore your health and heal your wounds.” Yea God!

Watiting Expectantly,

Kathleen

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Different Valentines Weekend



February 12, 2010

It has been a busy week as I am preparing for my Spring Semester at CWJC. I am excited about my new class and am feeling better physically and emotionally. I went back to swing dance class and had more fun as the steps are becoming easier…….I am determined to learn to dance again in the natural and in my heart……life for me must go on. I am thankful for friends that are looking out for me and chaperoning me. I also went to a Tivy basketball game which was fun……Joe and I only spent 12 years of our life in a high school gym every Tuesday and Friday nights. He was such a Tivy fan.
I have felt a new layer of healing over my heart this past week which has been a nice gift from God.

As I approach Valentines Weekend, I am actually going to TRY to walk a half marathon ……..that is what you do when you don’t have a valentine……at least it will keep me busy and taking steps. I reflect over Valentines we had in the past and they are fond memories. Memories I will cherish. I actually found a few Valentine cards Joe gave me in years past that I have saved. Although they made me shed a tear, I am at a different place than I was months and weeks ago. The pictue attached is of us at a half marathon I walked last year around this time.

I have had a number of married people say that the love Joe and I had been special and they didn’t have that in their relationship. For those of you that are married, what Joe and I had didn’t just happen. We worked on our relationship. We fought through the tough times. We were committed to transparency in our relationship. We invested in each other. We learned to love unconditionally. We chose to forgive each other whether we felt like it or not. WE set boundaries around our relationship to protect it. We learned to encourage each other and keep our relationship alive. We took time to be with each other in every way. We learned to share our hearts with each other first before anyone else. WE prayed a lot and depended on God.....it is only as we drew on His grace that we had what we had. That is my Valentine advice to anyone married or thinking of marriage. Good marriages don’t just happen. You have to work at them.

II Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace (the empowering presence of God,,,,that is what grace is to me) come to you in abundance so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient.” Amplified version plus my addition of the meaning of grace. His presence is all I need and I will learn to abound in these circumstances.

Living Like I am Loved,

Kathleen

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Progressing

February 9th, 2010

Progress

Yesterday marked the 4 months since Joe has been gone. I had a good day and somehow had no tears which were surprising to me. I had to stand amazed at God and how He has held my heart when it seems in many pieces. I had a vision the other day of a shattered heart and saw God very gently putting the pieces back together. He knew where each piece went and how to make them fit. I was comforted by that. I am also amazed at all the things He has helped me get through……like the other day going to the appraisal office and presenting the death certificate and them removing Joe’s name from our home. Those things are difficult but they are reality…..slowly removing him from my life. Life is hard right now but God is good to me. For example, Joe’s dad was a CPA and Joe always did our taxes…..I just signed on the dotted line. I was concerned about how to handle something I had no idea how to handle. I never said anything to anyone but it was in the back of my mind. Then I had a local CPA offer to help me at no charge. Yea God!
This morning as I had my quite time, I felt God speak the following to me……”Experience my abundant life. I’m continuing to work behind the scenes on your behalf and I love to far exceed your expectations and dreams. Taste and see my goodness in your life.” I am hanging on to that. One of my favorite scriptures is Ephesians 3:20: “Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above what we could ask or think.” I saw God do that at my work. Our fabulous building, walking through a building project, oh my~ In the midst of the pain, I am tasting God’s goodness. (Psalms 34:8)

Healing---

Kathleen

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Reality, Truth and Feelings


As I have tried to process my feelings the last few days and tried to figure out what triggered the new wave of grief, I have concluded that this is the anniversary week of when we went to MD Anderson. It is also when the reality hit of what we were facing. Although we found out he had cancer in January, we were willing to make the sacrifices necessary to go to the world's best and were happy it was only four hours away. We were confidant they had an answer.......I remember after visiting with two doctors there praying and saying, "God they don't know what they are doing.....this is beyond them....you are our only hope." The reality hit we were in a very threating situation. The reality hit that medicine would be a part of our lives from now on. I think reality has hit that Joe is really gone and is not coming back. You mix that with the new experiences of single life that just doesn't FEEL normal to a woman that was married for thirty years and had pretty good boundries around her marriage. But FEEL is the operative word.....I simply cannot live in my feelings. I have to live in the truth. As I was walking this week I noticed many trees with no leaves and they look dead. They look like their life is over.....but I know that in a few months they will look totally different...full of blooms and leaves. I have to remind myself of that truth for my own life. I constantly ask God to reveal truth to me. Jesus said, "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free." I think that is a major scripture. But not just being able to quote it.....living in the truth day by day sets us free. For example, I had a lengthy conversation with a man the other day. It was a good conversation but I would have never had a conversation like that without Joe there, or someone else. We set good boundries to protect our marriage. After the conversation it didn't FEEL normal and ok....but I had to remind myself, I am single now, he was single and it was ok. (Don't get any ideas, it was only a conversation)

The picture is of us one year ago this weekend at Joe's first chemo treatment.

Have a Super Weekend!

Kathleen

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Crying and stumbling.....learning new steps

February 3rd, 2010

As I listen to the internet radio, I have to agree with the song I hear…..”How great is our God”. Today is the one year anniversary of the day we walked thru the doors of MD Anderson………it was one year ago today that we heard the words, “This is advanced stage III merkel cell but we will treat it as curative. I looked at the doctor with shock. “What do you mean by pretty extensive disease?” I asked. “The size of the tumor and then number of lymph nodes involved” was the reply from Dr. Ross, the surgeon. “You need to have chemo first because the tumor is too big to operate on.” Was there another way? Advanced stage III didn’t work for me. One year ago we were still at MDA having test…..I know it is 9:00 pm but we were actually there until 11:30 that night. But even though the words were hard to swallow and the day was long, we were full of hope and ready to fight with all we had in us. We knew how great our God was. We knew we had a lot to fight for. We knew we had many many people praying for us. One year ago, Joe and I held hands as we walked the halls of MDA…..he was strong, handsome, a little shaken by the news……I was taking deep breaths, felt God holding my other had as I walked the halls, holding my head high, remembering I was a daughter of the King…….I had a song in my heart to keep the fear away.
One year ago……little has changed……much has changed……..I feel at times I am simply going through the motions of life. But I sing. I work, I rest, I process grief, I try to have fun and I do. But it only seems to be a diluted substitute for the life I had. Tuesday night I actually went to a ballet class……literally and figuratively I am trying to dance through life….trying to learn the steps to this dance of single life…….it feels very awkward…..but I keep taking steps. Right now, I am tired of letting go…I feel like I have let go of a lot and I am tired. I will rest….and pick it up another time. I still know how great God is….look what I lived through…..look how I grew….look at all God did…. I still have a lot to fight for…..at times I feel like my life is over, but I KNOW that is not reality and I know I have a future because I know God. I am so thankful for all the people still praying for our family and the outpouring of love towards us. Joe is gone….that is very different and hard………..something new happened today……a man I met a few months ago called to check on me today to simply visit…….that hasn’t happened in 30 years!

Crying, focusing and stumbling trying to learn the new steps,

Kathleen