July 27, 2017

I Grieve With Hope

I sat down to write a post that I thought I had fully figured out, prayed over & was ready to type out. Now that I am actually in front of my computer, the words won't come out. I don't know why. I know that I want to say something deeply personal & spiritual about coming up on the first year anniversary in a few days.......but nothing wants to come out. So, please bear with me as I just ramble on & type the thoughts as they pop into my head. 😌

This past year has been a whirlwind of emotions for me. I really don't know if I have actually processed any or all of them at all. Over the past few days I have felt myself start to shutdown emotionally & mentally. I really don't want to think about what July 30th means to me this year. I don't want to feel what I know I have to feel. I don't want to think about the fact that Daron has been gone from this earth for 365 days already.

Memories from this time last year have been flooding my dreams & thoughts. They are almost driving me insane. I can't sleep, eat, drink, feel, think, speak, cry, laugh, talk without some memory popping into my head & completely throwing me for a loop. Night time is still the hardest time of the day for me. I lay in bed & start to pray, that's when the tears start to fall & I end up crying myself to sleep. Then my dreams are full of all the what ifs that could have taken place leading up to Daron's passing. I wake up worried, pray & ask God to take that away from me. Go back to sleep & do it all over again. No wonder I drag through every morning.

I don't want the memories to stop. I love thinking about & talking about Daron. I love to think about our life together. I love to think about what he would say to me about whatever I am dealing with. I love knowing that I have these memories to think back on. But, I don't like that I feel like I can't control when they pop into my head. That's the frustrating part. I love having them pop into my head, but I wish I could control them more.

Everyone says that once you get past the first year mark it will get better. I really hope so. I'm ready to get back to feeling "normal" again. I know that I am in this new normal & I get that. But I don't like feeling like I am disconnected with myself, my emotions, my mental health, my spiritual health. I like to feel like I am in control of what I am doing/feeling/saying/thinking. The last year has not felt that way for me. I have felt like I am just floating through life & watching everything go on around me. I feel like I am stuck in slow motion at times & the world is speeding by at full speed & I can't keep up anymore. I am praying that changes after the one year mark.....but I won't hold my breath.

I do know one thing for sure.....God has been carrying me this entire past year. If He wasn't I don't even want to think about where I would be spiritually/emotionally/mentally. Truth is, this past year has shaken my faith. I won't lie about that. But I want to say that it was shaken in a good way (if that makes any sense). My faith was shaken in a way that has made me lean more on God then I have in the past. Before, I would walk ahead of God & hit every landmine the devil had set for me. Then I would look back & ask God why He didn't warn me about them.....only to see that He had & I just didn't pay attention. Now, since I am asking God to carry me through, I am learning what true faith is all about. Granted, there have been times when I have jumped out of His arms & ran ahead.....only to sit down & wait to be carried again because I hit another landmine.

I am finding joy, comfort and strength in reading my Bible again. I am finding peace and strength in praying again. It's like I am seeing the Bible passages & praying for the first time. There are days when I don't want to open my Bible or I don't want to pray because I have so much I need to get done in that day. But, I feel even more worn down, drained, tired when I don't open my Bible or pray. I am feeling refreshed when I read that God cares for me as a widow so much that He won't avoid me. He wants to offer me comfort, hope and healing as I face the future as a widow.

These verses from Psalms have spoken to me a lot lately. I rest in the knowledge that God is close to me while my heart is broken. I rest in the knowledge that He will bind my wounds & breath life back into my heart.

                           Psalm 34:18                                  Psalm 147:3

I know that my posts can ramble on & come across differently to each person who reads them. But, I hope that each person who reads my blog learns a little more about my Heavenly Father. I have to share the rough patches in my life so that people can see how God has brought me through them. Life isn't pretty, that's for sure. Life is hard, but God is good!! God is my refuge & strength during this time in my life. I can't always say that when I look back over the years. But I am resting in His arms as He continues to carry me through this rough patch. When I am ready to walk beside Him, I know that he will be there & that He will never leave me. Again, that is not something I would have been able to say a decade ago - it wasn't something that I trusted. This is still something that I am learning each day. 

God has shown Himself to be my protector, my strength, my guide, my friend, my Savior, my healer. My prayer is that I will come through this first year since Daron's passing a little stronger then I was before....a little wiser then I was before....a lot more humble then I was before. Above all of that, my prayer is that I come though this with my faith deeper, stronger & rooted more deeply in the Word. I want this to change me for the better, not for the bitter or for the worse. I want to grow from this, not stay the way I was a year ago -- or even a month ago. 

I grieve with the hope of what is to come. I grieve with the hope that God will continue to carry me. I grieve with the hope of knowing that even death has parted Daron & I, it is not a final parting. I grieve with hope because Jesus conquered the sting of death. I grieve with hope because Daron is in the presence of God & is not in anymore pain. I grieve with hope because I will see Daron again. 

                       Hebrews 11:1                                 1 Thessalonians 4:13

July 13, 2017

Approaching 1 Year

One year......how can that be possible?

One year......where did the time go?

One year ago I was making almost daily visits to spend time with Daron after he was put into hospice care. I was going with Taylor or with my in-laws to see him. I was talking with his doctor as much as possible to stay updated on how he was doing. I was trying to make every moment with him matter.

One year ago I was writing out the obituary I never thought I would have to write. I was planning out a funeral service I didn't want to think about. I was trying to get the "small" things out of the way so I could focus on my beloved husband.

One year ago I was crying out to God from the depths of my soul. I was asking God to let Daron stay with me one moment & then asking God to be merciful to him the next. I was handing my husband back to God & thanking my Heavenly Father for the years I was given with Daron. I was trying to be strong for those around me during the day & then crying myself to sleep at night.

One year ago I was telling my husband that it was okay to not keep the promise he made to me after we got married. I was telling my husband that it was okay for him to let go of this earth & go Home. I was giving my beloved husband permission to enter Heaven's Glory.

One year....how can this even be possible? It still feels like yesterday....

July 1, 2017

To Daron....


Why did July have to come back around?
Why did we have to make another trip around the sun already?
How can it have been 1 year so quickly?
Am I ready for the start of another year without you?

July has so many bad memories attached to it. It makes me wish that this entire month would just disappear off the calendar. July 5, 2011 started July off badly. I still can’t believe that I had to have you put into a facility. I honestly thought that we could have handled everything at home. I thought that you would just snap out of whatever it was you were going through & we’d be fine. But God had different plans for our lives. Leaving you in Battle Creek that evening was the hardest thing I ever had to do at that point. I cried all the way home. I cried myself to sleep for days, weeks, on end. I prayed & begged God to heal you so you could come home. I never told you any of this because I had to be strong for you. I had to let you know that I could handle everything at home alone. But I couldn’t. Life fell apart that day & I still can’t put it back together.

As July 5 rolled back around every year, I still begged God to perform a miracle. I argued with God on a daily basis. I told Him that it wasn’t fair to put us on this path. I told Him that we couldn’t handle this & He needed to change His plans. I’m sure I gave God something to laugh about. I mean, how can I truly expect the One who created the entire universe to change His plans. How can I expect Him to change the plans He laid in place before the foundation of the world? But I begged Him to nonetheless. I came to despise July 5 & I still do. There are times when I pray before bed on July 4 that I can just wake up on July 6…..but that hasn’t happened. July 5 still rolls around & brings all of the memories with it.

Now there are more dates in July to add to the bad parts of the month. More dates that make me wish July would disappear off the calendar. More dates that will bring tears, heartache, memories, pain, regret, remorse, dread. More dates to make me miss you with everything that I have in me.

July 8, 2016 
I found out that you were not eating. To be honest, I wasn’t really worried at that point. I didn’t think anything of it. You were a little heavy & you hadn’t really lost a lot of weight from not eating. I knew that you were on a liquid diet due to swallowing issues, but I still wasn’t concerned. The doctor & I came up with a plan for the weekend & I thought by Monday you would be okay.

July 11, 2016
I got the phone call about having to put you into hospice. VBS started that day & you know that’s always been a crazy week for me anyway. I was excited to see the kids who would return from the year before & excited to meet the kids who would come for the first time. I was excited about our theme. I was just excited for another fun week of VBS. When I got home that afternoon, I was looking forward to a nap. Instead, the phone rang & it was the VA calling. My heart sank to my toes. My gut told me something wasn’t right. Maybe the plan for the weekend didn’t pan out & we needed to make changes.

I tried to tell myself that it wasn’t anything drastic or horrible. I tried to tell myself that you were okay. My brain & my heart were not on the same page. I answered the phone & heard the doctors voice on the other end. I listened the best that I could. I remember hearing the word “hospice” come through the phone & I almost dropped it. I had to force myself to engage in the conversation & help make the best decision possible for you. I agreed with her decision & hospice was put in place. I hung up the phone & tried to compose myself for the task ahead – calling your family, our pastor, my family, friends.

I remember staying locked in the bathroom while I made those calls – it was the only quiet place. I remember tears & shock. I don’t remember what was said to who or exactly how many phone calls I made. I remember making the conscious decision to not tell any of the VBS staff until the end of the week. I remember putting the news on Facebook so people could be praying, but then hoping that no one from VBS would bring it up. I spent the rest of the week going to VBS during the day & then to visit you with your parents in the afternoons. Yes, it made for long days, but it was worth it. I remember bringing Taylor to see you during that week & having Jon come along. I needed the extra support. Taylor needed the extra support.

I remember telling you that it was okay for you to break your promise of growing old with me. I remember giving you to God & asking Him to work His perfect plan in your life. I remember the tears I shed every night. It was a good week at VBS…...but it was a rough week at home.
Between July 11 & July 27 I heard your voice for the last time on this earth. Your brother Mark was the last person you talked to over the phone. It was a tough phone call on both sides of the phone, but it was needed. After that, to keep you comfortable, I asked the doctor to medically sedate you. I knew that was the best thing to do, but I missed hearing your voice from that point on.

July 27, 2016
Life as I knew it was going to come to an end. There was a care team meeting that day & your mom went with me. I remember the mood in the room when we arrived. Everyone was there & the looks on their faces said it all. I didn’t want to believe it though & chose to ignore the pit forming in my stomach. I sat through the doctor telling me that your skin color was still good, you weren’t running a fever, you had a rapid heartbeat…...it was all normal care meeting items. The only difference was the mood in the room. I took the time to thank each person there for all the time they had spent taking care of you over the years that you were there. Your mom & I left that meeting & went to see you for a little bit. It was the first time I started to cry in front of you. I forced the tears to stop. Even though you were sedated, I didn’t want you to see me being weak. I still needed to be strong for everyone around me.

We went home & went to Wendy’s for lunch with your Dad, Taylor & Chase. We laughed, we talked, we made a few more plans to go visit you the next day. Little did we know all those plans would drastically change over the next few hours.

When Taylor & I got home, I called the doctor to ask her a question. I had to leave a message & wait for her to call me back. My gut was trying to tell me something again & this time I had to listen to it. My head & my heart wouldn’t let me ignore it. When the doctor called me back, I asked her if your time on earth was nearing an end. She said she believed so & I told her I would be there as soon as possible. I asked for a bed & a comfy chair to be brought into the room. We ended our phone conversation & I immediately started packing a few things for myself. I also started packing a bag for Taylor. I called my brother & asked if Taylor could stay with them. Of course, they said yes. I called your parents & let them know. A little bit later, your mom asked if she could come with me & I agreed. I dropped Taylor off & then picked up your mom. We headed back to Battle Creek. That night our Pastor came & so did your dad. We weren’t expecting either of them, but were glad they were there.
The next few days were spent at your bedside. The staff came in to say their goodbyes & to share stories with us from your time there. We laughed with them & thanked them for their care. Your older boys came on Thursday to say their final goodbyes. Your brother & his wife came on Friday evening. We laughed together while sharing stories.

Did you know that we were there for those last few days?
Did you hear us talking, laughing, crying?

Each evening the doctor said she wasn’t expecting to see us the next morning, but you held on. On Friday, she said she would be surprised if she saw us on Monday. We thanked her for all her time & care before she left for the weekend. You dad had been driving back & forth each day, but decided to stay on Friday night. We could all sense something was changing.

Saturday July 30 rolled in with rain. Was God crying with us? The rain cleared up & the sun came out. It really is odd what you remember that you kind of forgot. Your mom was on the phone with your brother when your breathing started to change. I dropped my book & was immediately at your side. She went to meet your dad at the door & I got to say my personal goodbyes to you.

Did you hear the cry of my heart in that moment?
Did you feel the love I had for you as we parted on this earth?

When you parents came back into the room, I was listening to your chest. I didn’t want to miss the final heartbeat. When I couldn’t hear it anymore, I was frantic & prayed that it would beat again. But, it didn’t. You were gone. My heart shattered into a million pieces in that instant & I cried out to God. I kept my tears at bay the best that I could. I didn’t want you to try & come back for me.

Phone calls were made, the staff was called to the room, chaos seemed to ensue. I didn’t want to leave your side for anything. When the staff came in to say their final goodbyes, I thanked them again for their care. Then they played Taps & I couldn’t hold the flood of tears in anymore. I sobbed from the depths of myself for you. I prayed that you couldn’t hear them.

My world ended at 2:27pm on July 30, 2016 – the moment God called you Home. My dreams disappeared. My heart tore in half. My brain went into auto at that moment. My body went numb.
When you parents & I left, I truly felt I was walking away from you & our life together. I wanted to run back to you so much, but my brain wouldn’t let me turn around. My legs kept walking me towards the door & further away from you. I vaguely remember getting in the car. I don’t even know how I made it home without an accident. I think that Jesus was truly driving my car.

July can just disappear off the calendar & I wouldn’t miss it. Maybe I should call the calendar people & ask them to name it something different. July starts & ends with memories of you. I wish they were better memories though. I miss you so much, my love. There isn’t a day that goes by when you aren’t in my thoughts. You will always be a part of me & I am thankful for that. Every time I look at Taylor, I see you. He is looking more like you each day, but in his own way. You would be so proud of the young man that he is becoming. I wish you were here with us, but I know that you are whole in Heaven & that is what matters most. I’m thankful you aren’t suffering anymore. I am thankful that you are whole & well as you walk the streets of gold.

Daron, you are the best gift that God gave me. From the moment we met, I knew that my life would never be the same. I knew that we were going to have an amazing journey through this life together. I just wish it wasn’t so short. I am so incredibly thankful for the years that we were given together. I am thankful that you were my best friend, my husband, father of my son. I will never stop loving you…. ever! You will forever be a part of me & I will carry you with me always. Even on days when I want to stay in bed & cry, I know that you wouldn’t want me to do that. I know that God will continue to give me the strength that I need to get through each day. I wasn’t planning on walking the rest of my life without you, but I will never stop loving you. I love you more than words will ever be able to express.

Until I see you Heaven……

Two Years...How Is That Possible?

How is it possible that two years ago today Daron left this earth and entered Heaven? It still feels like it was yesterday at times. This y...