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Showing posts from April, 2017

The lessons my children are teaching me about grief

I have been dreading Father's Day since Mel passed away. Some say anniversaries, birthday's, holidays are the hardest when it comes to death. I can understand why that is so. The last two years Mel was in the hospital for my birthday and our anniversary and then this past year he was in the hospital for Malachi's birthday. He was paralyzed and confined to a bed during his own birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas. And he passed away two weeks before Hannah's birthday. For those reasons, while I am sure birthdays, anniversaries and holidays will be hard, in many ways they have already been hard and I have been thinking about how we can make them special as a family of three. I haven't dreaded those holidays.

But I have been dreading Father's Day. Mel was an amazing father and while I feel comfortable celebrating the other holiday's as a family of 3, I wondered how do you celebrate and enjoy Father's Day when the person you are celebrating is in heaven? It…

Moving forward but never moving on

Nothing I do will bring my husband back. When he first died, I pleaded with God to rewind time and bring him back. I knew that was not going to happen but my pain was so intense I was hoping that God would make an exception and do it for me. But since my husband is not coming back I am left with a choice- do I sit around wishing him back or do I move forward with life?

I choose to move forward.
There are many books and articles on grief. I have read (and enjoyed) a lot of them. The problem is we live in a how-to society. And so when it comes to grieving we want to know how we are supposed to grieve. The same can be said for moving forward.  We want to know what is the right way to move forward. I don't believe there is one way to move forward.
For me moving forward means accepting that my husband is not coming back. It means, as difficult as it is, to begin dreaming again. It means not staying stuck in the "This is not how life was supposed to turn out" mentality rather…

The ministry of motherhood

When I was single without kids I was very active in church. I went on multiple short term mission trips. I opened the church every morning for prayer. I spoke at youth services. I prayed for people in the altar. I led the College and Career Bible Studies on Wednesday night. Then I got married and had two children 17 months apart. And I spent more time in the nursery than in the sanctuary.

This was a difficult transition for me. I wondered many times if I was doing anything for God. I was busy during church trying to make sure my children didn't make too much noise. I was taking them into the nursery to change their diaper and feed them. I was standing in the foyer attempting to listen to the sermon with a young child who was tired of sitting still.  We sing songs like "If you can use anyone you can use me" and "I give myself away so you can use me" and as a mother with two young children I wondered often how God could use me.

Motherhood doesn't offer a lot …

The laundry can wait while we are making memories

While it would have been easier (and cleaner) to make cereal with milk for breakfast, I made pancakes, eggs and bacon so I have a sink full of dishes and a dirty counter to clean. And while I hate looking at messes, when my son asked me if I would sit down next to him so he could read to me after breakfast, I did just that. For forty-five minutes I let him read to me. I can see my kitchen from the living room and so as he read I could see the dishes in the sink and the dirty counter. On the stairs I could see toys that don't belong. I know that upstairs the bed has not been made and that in the guest room there are currently about six loads of clean clothes that need to be folded and put away. But I sat with my son as he read to me. When he asked if he could read to me, I could have said later because I needed to clean but the smile on his face as he laid on my lap and read to me reveals that I made the right choice.
Sometimes the dishes can wait while are making memories.

I don&…

The day I gave my husband permission to die

**This blog was originally published in April of 2017.

On Sunday, February 12th, 2017 I felt so strongly that I needed to give my husband permission to die. But I didn't want to. He was so tired. Tired from the two years of cancer treatment. Tired of the many hospital stays. Tired from the paralysis. His body was weak. During the two years he received chemotherapy he never talked about being tired. He would talk about how it is was hard and his body was hurting. But within the last few weeks of his life, he began saying often how tired he was. His body had fought for so long and he was tired of fighting. And I believe he was looking towards me to give him permission to stop fighting.

 (The last picture I took of my husband as I was holding his hand)
But I didn't want to. I didn't want to let go of my amazing husband. I couldn't imagine a life without him in it. Every single dream I had for my life he was in it. And I couldn't let go. I was willing to take care of him …

Where was God when my spouse was dying?

At the age of 29 my husband was diagnosed with cancer.
In the course of two years he was hospitalized 18 times.
He endured 14 brutal cycles of chemotherapy.
He spent more than 400 nights separated from his two children.
He experienced intense pain within his body.
He heard the words relapse four times.
He was told that he had weeks to live on more than one occasion.
At 30 years old he lost the ability to move his legs and his arms.
He developed a wound in the hospital that ultimately grew and infected his bone.
And on February 14th, 2017, at 31, he passed away. 

And some may ask "Where was God when my spouse was dying?"

Where was God when the doctors told us that my husband had a tumor encasing all of the major organs in his chest?
Where was God when the doctors told us that my husband's kidney function was only at 20%?
Where was God when the chemotherapy caused severe damage in my husband's spine resulting in his paralysis?
Where was God when I found myself sitting across from th…