July 1, 2017

To Daron....

July

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 Him perfect plan 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 & if Taylor could stay with them. Of course, they said yes. I called your parents & let them know. A little bit later, you 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……

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