September 17, 2016

Emotions - Will I ever be "normal" again?

My emotions have been all over the place lately. Each day brings a new roller coaster of emotions. Of course I can never expect what type of roller coaster it will be. Some days it seems like a kiddie roller coaster - just a few small ups & downs, mainly a smooth ride. Other days seem like a normal roller coaster - a lot of ups & downs, but I can handle it. Most days seem like a corkscrew roller coaster - a lot of twists, turns, ups, downs & by the end I need to sit down & breath so I don't get sick.

With all of that emotional craziness, it is a miracle I can function every day like a "normal" person & a regular member of society. Granted, there are days when I just want to stay in the house, in bed, & not be a member of society. On those days, I have to ask God for more strength & grace. Thankfully, He never runs out & is always willing to provide what I need.

I am thankful that I was able to return to work a few weeks ago. It really helps to keep me sane (as sane as working with close to 300 4th/5th graders can be). As soon as I enter those doors I don't have to think about my life at home. I am busy for the 6 hours that I am there & it doesn't allow me to think of anything outside of my daily tasks. I can usually keep that feeling going until I get home & that's when the emotions kick in again. As hard as I try, I can't stop the grief from flooding back in.

I started attending a grief support group for spousal loss this week & Taylor is attending one for his age group. It helped to hear from others who are on the same roller coaster ride that I am. We are all in different parts of our grief, but it helps to know that we truly aren't alone through this. It helps to know that the thoughts that I have aren't unique to me. It helps to know that I am not the only one my age with a teenager who is a widow. I am thankful that God led me to this group. Taylor wasn't so sure about it when we first got there, but when we left he thanked me for making him go. He even said that he will go back.

Please pray that God will help my emotions to remain in check. With being out of balance, I am afraid of how I will react to some things on a daily basis. I feel like I am a ticking time bomb & I never know what emotion will explode if something happens. I know it is normal, but I don't like feeling out of control in that way. I ask God every day to plant a smile on my face & kindness in my heart before I walk into work. I know that some of my kiddos come from rough home lives & I want to be one of the caring, smiling, loving people they see on a daily basis. I have to remind myself that I need to ask for the same thing whenever I leave the house as well.

Please continue to pray for Taylor & I as we go through the next few weeks & months. I am trying not to dwell on the tough days ahead for us, but I can't help it sometimes. When you know that an anniversary or a holiday is right around the corner, you can't help but wonder how you will face it. You can't help but think about how you are going to keep things "normal" on those days. You can't help but dread the change in the calendar & wish you could just skip over certain dates. But life keeps moving on & you have no choice but to go along for the ride.

This song is one of many that I am clinging to each day. I don't like what I am going through & I don't understand, but I know that God has a plan for my life. All I ask is that God's Will be done through all of it & that I will be a stronger witness for Him every day.

May God bless you as you have blessed us! Cathy

September 10, 2016

Difficult Times Ahead

I can still vividly remember where I was when 9/11 happened. I can also remember meeting Daron within 2 week of 9/11 happening. I remember talking with him about his military service & how he wanted to go back but couldn't due to his MS. All of this still feels like it happened yesterday & not 15 years ago. It also still doesn't feel like he's been gone a month. I still think that I can go visit him at the VA & give him a hug. I think that is the hardest thing to handle. I get in the car on the weekends & my brain wants to go to the VA. I have even caught myself driving in that direction without realizing it, no matter if my destination is in that direction or not.

There are so many memories around this time of year as well. So much of our relationship starting took place during the months of September & October of 2001. Not to mention our engagement in September 2002 & our wedding in October 2002. The next few months are going to be the toughest for me emotionally.

A lot of "first one without Daron" will happen in a short amount of time:

  • My Birthday 
    • This year I spent my birthday weekend in Mackinaw City & on Mackinac Island just to get out of the house & make new memories surrounding my birthday. It was still tough since Daron & I always talked of going to Mackinac Island together. Now I can do all of the things we talked of doing over the year with Taylor & make our own memories. 
  • Start of a new school year
    • Taylor is now in 7th grade & I am thankful to be back at work. School & work are good distractions for both of us right now. It keeps us busy physically & mentally.
  • First time we met online 
    • For those who don't know - Yes, Daron & I met on an online dating website. We did not meet in person until our first date. We spent a month talking online or on the phone just getting to know each other by personality only. I think it helped to build a solid base for our relationship. 
  • Wedding Anniversary & Anniversary of first date
    • These dates are one day apart. We got married the day before our one year anniversary. It made it easy for Daron to remember both dates. This year marks 15 years together & 14 years married.
  • Veterans Day
  • His Dad Birthday
  • Thanksgiving
  • Taylor's Birthday
    • This is the one that I think will be the hardest. Taylor turns 13 this year! 
  • Christmas
That is a lot to put into a few months after Daron's passing. I know that God will carrying me through all of these tough times & I am thankful for that. I am also thankful to have many caring friends who I know are praying for me during this time. 

I know that the times ahead will be tough & I know that I will have emotional breakdowns when I least expect them. I know that I can't prepare myself for any of the emotions that will hit out of nowhere (I really wish I could though).  I will just continue to rely on God's strength to carry me through each moment, day, week, month, year, memory - that's all I can do at this point.

Thank you again for your prayers during this time. They are appreciated more then I can express!

May God bless you as you have blessed us! Cathy

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