August 13, 2016

Two Weeks.....Still Surreal

Two weeks have passed since I sat at Darons bedside as he took his final breath on earth.
Two weeks have passed since my world turned upside down & everything changed.

Honestly, I don't even know how two weeks have passed already. It still seems like just yesterday & some days it seems like a month or more has gone by.

Most of my days are spent in auto mode - I wake up & then I go to bed without even processing the day as a whole. I know that I spend time with Taylor, take the dog outside, eat something at some point.....but I do that every day really. Other days I try to plan some sort of activity outside of the house just to make myself leave the house. Most of the time I just want to stay home & hold onto something of Daron's. I just want to let the tears come & not have to worry about others seeing my grief.

Can it really be two weeks already?

Can it really only be a week since the funeral & five days since the burial?

That doesn't seem right to me. It seems like it should be longer. At the same time it still feels like I should be able to go see him & give him another hug & kiss. It seems like this is all some horrible dream that I can't wake up from. No matter how hard I pinch myself, I can't wake up from this.

This new reality.....this new path.....this new journey.....this new pain......this new loneliness.....this new emptiness......

Empty vs Lonely - yes there is a difference. When Daron was in the VA facility, I was lonely at home, but I could go visit him & spend time with him. Now that he is gone, part of me is gone & I feel empty. I feel like half of my heart is missing. I have memories & pictures, but that's all I have of him now. I also have Taylor - who looks like his Dad - & I am grateful that I have him to keep me busy during the day.

It is the quiet moments when the memories creep in or when I see a picture or hear a song that reminds me of Daron.....those are the difficult times. Those are the times that the tears flow like rivers down my cheeks & I let them.

God has promised to take care of me through all of this & He keeps His promises all the time. I am grateful for that. I am grateful that God is carrying me through this difficult time in my life. I don't have the strength to get through any of this myself. Honestly, I barely have the strength to get out of bed at times - it's God's strength that gets me out of bed each morning. God will replace my emptiness with His love & grace when His time is perfect. I am holding tight to that promise.

Two weeks ago I said goodbye to the love of my life on this earth - to Daron, it has only been mere seconds in Heaven. I hold tight to the promise that I will see him at the Pearly Gates of Heaven when my time on earth is complete. Until then......I will work through this grief, walk this path, let God carry me when I can't walk anymore, embrace my tears when they come, raise my son to the best of my ability with God's help & take each moment as it comes.

May God bless you as you have blessed us! Cathy

August 10, 2016

Thank You

The family of 
Daron Austin Tilburt 
would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the cards, flowers & kind expressions of sympathy shown during his passing. Your thoughtful presence & prayers have touched our family deeply & will always be remembered with love. 

Thank you does not seem like enough to truly express our gratitude to everyone during this time of loss. Such an outpouring of love, care, concern, prayers, kind thoughts, words of sympathy, hugs & support needs more then just two simple words of thankfulness. But those two words, Thank You, can carry so much weight with them in circumstances like this. We are truly thankful for everything that you have shown to us as individuals & as a whole family. 

Thank you for your continued prayers as we navigate through this new part of our journey. We greatly appreciate each of you!

May God bless you as you have blessed us! Cathy

August 4, 2016

Daron Austin Tilburt - Obituary

For those who have not see this yet & would like to.......


Service Information
Daron Austin Tilburt 
Visitation:  Saturday, from 10:30 - 11:30 am prior to the service at the church
Service: 11:30 am Saturday, August 6, at Good News Baptist Church, 6830 Eastern Ave. SE
Cemetery: Ft. Custer National CemeteryAugusta, MI
Memorials: Memorial contributions may be directed in Daron's name to the National MS Society, 21311 Civic Center Drive
SouthfieldMI 48076 or to the Good News Baptist Church Building Fun

 Daron Austin Tilburt, age 44, entered Heaven's glory on Saturday, July 30, 2016, following a brave battle with Multiple Sclerosis.  He was the youngest son of Rev. Robert and Thelma (Taylor) Tilburt.  He proudly served in the United States Army and was an avid skydiver. He is survived by his wife of 13 years, Cathy (Lovegrove); his sons, Tige, Aidan and Taylor; his parents; his brothers, Mark and Bryan (Ann Marie); his five nephews and two nieces; his in-laws and extended family; along with many friends. He was reunited with is paternal and maternal grandparents. A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11:30 am on Saturday, August 6, 2016 at Good News Baptist Church, 6830 Eastern Ave. SE, Grand Rapids, MI. The family requests that those in attendance wear Orange or Red, White and Blue to honor Daron. The family will visit with loved ones and friends one hour before the service. A family burial service with military honors will be held at Fort Custer National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed in Daron's name to the National MS Society or to the Good News Baptist Church Building Fund. The family extends their deepest gratitude for all of the care, love, and friendships he received from the staff at the Battle Creek VAMC.

May God bless you as you have blessed us! Cathy

Thoughts & Ramblings of a Grieving Widow

In October of 2007 I was at the bedside of my Grandpa, James Orr, as he took his final breath on this earth. I remember every detail to this day & I have looked back on that day a lot over the past few weeks. I have shared the details of my Grandpa's passing with many different people because it was a very peaceful time.

On July 30, 2016 I was at the bedside of my husband, Daron, as he took his final breath on this earth. I remember every detail & I know those details will never leave me. Daron passed peacefully just like my Grandpa did. The only difference - I am not quick to share the details of Daron's passing with anyone outside of my family & very close circle of friends. I'm not ready to let others into that personal moment of my life just yet. I'm not ready to share my final moments with my husband with the world. I will share them eventually with everyone because I know that is what Daron would want me to do. But for now, I am holding my final moments to myself & cherishing them along with the good memories I have with Daron.

As I approach one last "final" in my relationship with Daron on this earth, I am finding myself clinging to that reminder more & more. When I was getting bogged down with finalizing funeral preparations, going through photos, finding an outfit to wear, etc; I was constantly reminding myself that this is only here on earth & it's only for a moment in the grand scheme of things. Granted, there are moments when that doesn't help & I find myself complaining to God - I'm only human after all. In the moments of complaining to or questioning God about all that has taken place, I am grateful that God wants me to come to Him like that. I am grateful that He is my Father who wants to hear all of my issues, screams, crying, arguing, complaining, yelling, frustrations - everything. He has never said that we are only to bring our prayers of thanksgiving to Him & nothing else. He isn't a God who needs to be reminded of how good He is all the time. Yes, we are to bring our prayers of thanksgiving to Him & thank Him for His goodness, but those aren't the only things He wants to hear from us. Lately, my prayers end with thanking God all that He has given me but they don't always start that way & that's ok. God is ok with how I communicate with Him - if He wasn't, I'm sure I wouldn't be here anymore.

I am thankful that my Heavenly Father loves me enough to sit & listen to my outpouring of emotions from every end of the spectrum. I am thankful that my Heavenly Father loves me enough to take my outpouring & turn it into something for His glory & for my good. If I didn't pour out my heart & go through every emotion under the sun right now, I would be a miserable person. I know that not everyone wants to sit with a grieving widow whose trying to raise a pre-teen boy......but God does. I know that not everyone wants to offer me a shoulder to cry on.....but God offers His all the time, 24/7. I know that not everyone want to sit & listen to me ramble on & in circles about what I'm going through right now.....but God loves to sit with me & listen to everything I have to say. He may not answer my questions right away, or at all, but He listens with love. He grieves with me. He holds me & wipes my tears. He already knows what I am going to ramble on about before the thoughts come to my mind, but He still listens to every word & syllable. That is amazing to me!

Thank you for your prayers during this time. Please keep them coming - the funeral is on Saturday & the burial is on Monday. I know that God will give me the grace & strength I need for both of those events, but I covet your prayers over my family & Daron's family as we say our final goodbyes on this earth.

May God bless you as you have blessed us! Cathy

August 1, 2016

Final Goodbye

On Wednesday, July 27, my mother-in-law & I went to Battle Creek for a care team meeting. We were told that Daron was nearing the end of his journey. After the meeting, we went & visited Daron for a little while. A few hours after getting home, I received a call from Daron's doctor letting me know that he had about 24-48 hours. So my mother-in-law & I went back to Battle Creek to stay at Daron's bedside so he wouldn't be alone.

We stayed over on Wednesday night and Thursday night thinking God would take him Home on Friday......but Friday came & went & Daron was still holding on. Saturday, July 30, we watched Daron slowly decline more & more throughout the day. The Lord graciously called him Home at 2:27pm on July 30th with his parents & myself at his bedside. Daron passed very peacefully from this world to Heavens glory & we are thankful for that.

We are also very thankful for the amazing care that Daron received at the Battle Creek VAMC over the past 5 years. We truly discovered how much the staff cares for our nations veterans while we were there around the clock. There was a pretty constant stream of staff coming into the room to express their sympathies & their care for Daron. They each shared stories of how much Daron touched their lives, changed the way they took care of people, made their day better, made them laugh, and so many more amazing stories. I am beyond grateful that Daron made so many amazing friends there - we consider each of them part of our family now.

I know the days ahead will be difficult for all of us, but I know that God will give each of us the strength we need.

Enjoy your Heavenly Home my beloved Daron. I promise you that you will never be forgotten & that you will always be in our hearts. Enjoy skydiving in the endless clear blue sky. We will see you soon, my love!

Daron Austin Tilburt
April 15, 1972 - July 30, 2016

May God bless you as you have blessed us! Cathy

July 20, 2016

A Prayer for the Moment

God, I need your strength to get through all of this.
Lord, I am weary & worn as I go through this journey.
Heavenly Father, please grant the peace & strength that only You can.
Thy Will Be Done.

Everything hit me hard this afternoon, God.
I am physically & mentally weak from everything going on around me right now.
I know that I can trust You through this & You will carry me through.
I trust You to carry me through.
I trust You to bring Your perfect plan to fruition.
I trust You to cover Daron with peace, love, grace, mercy.
I trust that You have the perfect time set in place for him already.
I Trust You.

I am so weak, Father.
I am so tired.
I am so worn out & worn thin.
I am so drained.
Please hold me, Father.
Please let me rest in Your embrace for awhile.
Please let me feel Your strength take over my weakness.
Lead Me God.

Remind me, Lord, who I am to you.
Remind me often that I am Your Daughter.
Sometimes I forget that & I thank You for bringing it to my mind daily.
Remind me that I can only find perfect rest in You.
Remind me that I can only find perfect strength in You.
Remind me that I can only find grace & mercy in You.
Thank You for adopting me into Your family & making me Your Daughter.
Thank You for being my Savior, my Friend, my Guide, my God, my King, my Creator, my Redeemer, my Strength, my Rock, my Everything!

Father, as I continue through this journey, I put all of my doubts aside.
I leave all of my doubts, fears, weakness, failures at the cross.
I follow Your leading through this time & through everything I come to.
I know that it is not for me to know Your plan for this time & I trust You in that.
I know that You are already at the end & You know what will happen next.
I know that You will not give me more then I can handle in this life.
I trust You to guide me daily.

Thy Will Be Done!
Thy Will Be Done!
Thy Will Be Done!

In Jesus Name,

May God bless you as you have blessed us! Cathy

July 19, 2016

Saying Goodbye - It's Not For The Weak!

It's been a week since Daron was placed into hospice care. It has been a tough emotional week. I took Taylor to visit Daron & say his goodbyes. I knew it would be tough on him, but I didn't want him to look back & regret not having said goodbye. It was tougher on him then I thought it would be. It broke my heart watching him shut down & find a way to cope with it - thankfully the TV in Daron's room was on a show he likes to watch so he could focus on that. Taylor & I talk often about what is going to happen & how things might change. Considering that it has been just the two of us in the house for five years.....I don't see a lot of change coming (other then not being able to talk to Daron or see him in person).

Yesterday I went with my in-laws to visit Daron. They had placed a beautiful flag afghan over him & that caught me off guard. The flag is placed over a veteran who is under hospice care (in a Veteran Affairs facility - I believe) as a way to honor him & his service to our country. It will remain with Daron until the funeral home comes. At that time it will be washed & I will receive it. They also have a routine they do after the veteran passes. I have been doing research on it so I am prepared, but I know that it will be tough.

While visiting Daron I was able to talk to his doctor & the social worker. His doctor was able to answer my questions & help me talk through some concerns I have. Daron is receiving heavy pain medication & anti-spasm medication to keep him comfortable. They also keep him under sedation so that he is as comfortable as possible. He can hear everything we say & even responds as best as he can. It's comforting to me to know that he isn't in any pain.

When Daron was placed into hospice, I was just starting VBS & I was thankful for that. It was a good distraction & it kept me busy. Now that VBS is done my mind is on overdrive with everything I need to try to get done before Daron passes. I don't want to have anything that will keep me from getting to his bedside as often as possible. I know that not everything has to be done in one day & that whatever isn't done beforehand can be done later.....but the way my mind works right now, I want to have as much done as I possibly can. (I've learned over the past few years that I need to keep my mind busy. If my mind is able to wander at all.....I am a tearful mess & not able to take care of the day to day tasks). I am able to keep my mind bust during the day, which I'm thankful for. Nighttime is the toughest part of the day for me right now. After Taylor is in bed & I'm settling in for the night, my mind wanders. Sometimes it wanders to the good times with Daron. Other times is wanders to thoughts of what will happen when he passes. Questions go through my mind - will I hear the phone ring.....will I be aware of what they are telling me.......will I make it to Battle Creek in time....

Lots of different things go through my mind at night. Sometimes I cry & pray myself to sleep because I don't know what else to do. How am I supposed to say goodbye (or see you in Heaven) to my other half? To the person I have devoted my heart to? To the person who completes my heart? To my best friend? To my husband? To the father of my son? Those questions haunt my dreams & sometimes my waking hours as well.

Going through this has shown me how stubborn, strong-willed & bull-headed I am. It also shows me where my weaknesses are & how God has taken those weaknesses & used them for His Glory. It shows me how much I need God's strength, peace, grace & love in my life. I do not know how an unsaved person can go through all of this. I know that I would be a mess if I didn't have God carrying me through all of this right now. When you see a smile on my face during this --- it isn't because I am happy at all. It's because I know my husband is in God's hands & that God is giving me the strength to put that smile on my face.

Please know that I appreciate all of you for your love, care, concern, thoughts, prayers & everything else you have done for my family. Please keep praying for Daron. God knows the time & I trust His timeline!

May God bless you as you have blessed us! Cathy