Thursday, July 30, 2015

Three Years Later...

Three Years Later...
After three years it's still difficult for me to think of myself as single. I guess that just means I don't feel different than I did when I was married. He's just not here anymore.

I still wear my wedding ring, and I hate to tick that single box when filling out forms at the doctor's office, so I usually leave it blank.  Of course there are some offices that still have the dreaded "widow"  box and that's not getting a tick from me either.

You may think I'm in denial, that I haven't accepted my husband's death, but believe me, I know he's gone. One thing I know for sure is that I will never see him again in this life. I saw him suffer for months, and I was there when he passed.  Yes, he is gone.

Believe me, the last three years have been a struggle, and through God's grace alone, I have survived.

I will never forget those early months of experiencing all my "FIRSTS." My first doctors appointment alone (he always drove me), my first trip to the grocery store, the first Christmas, his birthday. Those were days of stress, pain in my chest, and sometimes uncontrollable sobbing.

Other things I struggled through were:

Seeing older couples holding hands. I couldn't help but ask God why I didn't get to be that couple.

Being alone at night. The nights were long and sleepless.

Trying to figure out what to make myself for dinner! Sound crazy to you? After spending my life cooking for kids or a husband, it was hard to figure out what I liked. It also seemed like a waste of time to cook for one person. So,  I lost a little weight. 

Getting yard work done. I didn't know the first thing about negotiating with landscapers, but I soon learned.

Making all the financial decisions myself. Who was I going to blame if I lost money? 

Getting the car repaired. I called my sons many times to ask questions and make sure a repairman wasn't trying to scam me.

Having medical procedures. I hate being asked "Do you have a driver?" or "Is anyone with you today?"

Going for a walk alone. It took me a year to be able to go for a walk alone.

I think the toughest part was losing my best friend. I miss the little things; just riding in the car with him, or sitting out on the patio laughing and listening to his twisted sense of humor. 

I'm learning to live without him. I'm learning to just be me. I guess maybe that's what it is to be single. Just being myself.


Thank you God,
That the memory of Paul's death 
and his suffering 
have dimmed
and 
pain is no longer
my constant companion.
Amen

"But one thing I do, forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on..."
Phil 3:13-14

  © 2015 by D. Baksai. Used by permission. Visit her blog, Sunday Mournings and view the original post and comments here: http://baksai.blogspot.com/2015/03/three-years-later.html

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

An Ambush!

An Ambush by D. Baksai
Ambush (a sudden or surprise attack.)

When I hear the word "ambush" I picture an old western movie filmed around  the cliffs and rocks of Arizona where a man with a black hat, a gun, and dusty old cowboy boots is hiding in wait for an unsuspecting victim to walk by so that he can jump him.

Today I had an ambush of a different kind.

I went to a bible study and several of the woman were about my age. As each woman introduced herself, I sat and listened as she gave us a short glimpse of her life, talked about her husband and family, and the things she enjoyed doing. Most were retired as were their husbands, and they were enjoying retirement together. As the conversation moved from one woman to the next, I felt a pain that began deep within my stomach and I started to feel a little nauseous. Then the pain moved into my chest and my throat felt tight and dry.

There was a little voice inside me that said, "Run, get out of here!" I answered that little voice back with something like, "are you kidding, do you know how embarrassing that would be?"  I either have to stay here so I can face these ladies next week, or quit." So, running wasn't an option. I hate it when I'm rational like that.

As we continued to circle around the room, giving each woman a turn to speak,  I was relieved when the woman next to me shared a glimpse of her family life with us because she was a young mother and I felt like I could relate to her as I would one of my own children.  I actually felt myself starting to relax again. I thought, "Okay, now the tough part of this conversation is over" (the part that was flooding my mind and heart, not with painful memories, but with an overwhelming realization that I am not able to have those kinds of husband and wife experiences and wonderful moments they enjoy), I thought, "I'm okay now, I can do this."

Then it was my turn to tell a little about myself. Short and sweet. That was my goal. I began by telling everyone how many children I had and about my grand children. And that was going to be it. That was all I was sharing today. And I met my goal beautifully... for a short time.

And then, as a total shock to myself, I began to open my mouth and words started spilling out. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever spilled your guts in the spur of the moment?

I told them that my husband died and how hard it is to be alone. As my tears began to flow, I told them that I married young and divorced but I always had the love and companionship of my children, and then when I married Paul, the two of us were inseparable and we did everything together. I told them I had never been alone before. Until now. I told them how lonely it is to be a widow. UGH! I was even depressing myself!

On a good note, at least I ended by telling them that my son and his family are moving in with me for a while and how happy I am to get a break from the loneliness.

Where did all that emotion come from, those unintentional words that welled up inside me and popped up like Jiffy Pop? And why the sudden anxiety and burst of emotion?

It was an ambush.

Listening to the women (lovely women, by the way) talk about their lives with their husbands, a life like the one I used to have, caused a burst of emotion that popped out like Jiffy Pop. It pounced on me when I least expected it.

Yesterday was the two and a half year anniversary of Paul's death. 915 days since he was here. That's 130 weeks ago that I had the very life my new friends were describing. Isn't it odd how you can have what you believe to be everything one day and the next day it's gone?

I'm so thankful that I have family to support me.

It's just been one of those days.......

An  "Ambush Day."

© 2014 by D. Baksai. Used by permission. Visit her blog, Sunday Mournings and view the original post and comments here: http://baksai.blogspot.com/2014/10/an-ambush.html

Monday, July 27, 2015

Talking to the Dead

This week you'll be hearing from my blogger friend D. Baksai. It feels like my chronic back pain is going away, but like widowhood, it's often "one step forward, two steps back..." And, like widowhood pain, I know it won't last forever, PTL! My stand-up desk top should arrive by mid-August and maybe that will give me a little more than 20 minutes to post blogs, answer emails, Facebook, etc! But you keep praying for me, and I'll keep praying for you. Please quit asking God to give me patience though! (I'm teasing). I'm learning a lot, but I cherish the sermon I heard last week which boiled it down to "Prayer is simply asking and receiving so God will work in our lives and we will see His reality." How plain and simple is that?
My guest blogger has some great posts for us this week: today, Wednesday and Thursday. They will make you think and smile and relate! She writes so well and I appreciate her sharing and help. Comment at the bottom of these posts, or visit her blog SUNDAY MOURNINGS.  
ferree


Talking to the Dead
My PhotoMany times since my husband Paul passed away I have spoken to him out loud as if he could hear me. Mostly I say things like "Wow! You wouldn't believe what just happened." or "Well, I guess you were right about that." I have even had a few choice words to say when something breaks around the house that I have no idea how to fix.

Just the other day I was trying to reattach the belt to the vacuum when I yelled "Why didn't you show me how to do this? This is the worst vacuum I have ever seen!" Of course, I never get a reply, but I can imagine that he would say something like "Don't tell me about it, you are the one who wanted to buy that vacuum."

When Paul first passed away I would go to bed at night and say "Goodnight" to him. It wasn't because I expected a response, but because it was what I was used to. I guess it made me feel close to him. In some ways it's the same reason I sometimes want to hold on to my grief, I'm afraid if I stop grieving I will forget the one man in my life who loved me most.

I recall at one of the first grief support groups I attended there were a couple of women talking about going to see a well-known medium in hopes of a chance to "speak" to their dead husbands. My reaction at the time was "Whoa, I'm in the wrong group and I'm out of here!"  As I look back I can understand why they felt such a need to hear something from their loved one. They just weren't ready to let them go.

People can sometimes be so desperate to hear from a deceased loved one that they make a complete error in judgement and seek a medium.

What could the dead tell the living that would be of any consequence unless it's "Oh Honey, I forgot to tell you that I have a million dollar insurance policy, or, I left that winning Lotto ticket in my pants pocket, so don't give them to the Goodwill."  I haven't heard that story on the news. No, the deceased just sends a message to their loved one that they "love them." Didn't they know that already?

Ecclesiastes 9:5 "For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even the memory of them is forgotten."  Sound harsh? My husband hasn't said anything to me since he passed away. He no longer receives a pension, can buy a new car, live in our home,  or receive any good thing from this world, and in another of couple generations his descendants will look at his picture and say "Who is that?"

To me he is a precious memory that I keep alive by watching videos and looking at pictures and remembering all the great times we had together. But consulting a medium to talk to him? Here are a couple things the Bible has to say about the subject:

Leviticus 19:31 - "Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God."

Leviticus 20:6 - "I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and will cut him off from his people."

Isaiah 8:19 - "When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living?"

I Chronicles 10:13-14 - "Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance and did not inquire of the Lord.  So the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David." (italics added)

In 1 Samuel 28, Saul visited the Witch of Endor and sought to bring Samuel back from the dead. In Matthew Henry's commentary regarding this account, he states, "Those that expect any good counsel or comfort otherwise than from God, will be as wretchedly disappointed as Saul was."

Acts 16:16 - Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17)This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." 18) She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!"

2 Corinthians 11:14-15 - "for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising then if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness."

1 Timothy 4:1 - "The spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons."

Satan masquerading as an angel of light, deceiving spirits, things taught by demons?  There is NOTHING I need to know or say, not even curiosity that can persuade me to seek out a spiritist. Not even that Vacuum cleaner belt!

If this doesn't seem right to you, follow the example of the Bereans and examine the scriptures to find the truth.

Acts 17:11 -"Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."

Be blessed!

 © 2014 by D. Baksai. Used by permission. Visit her blog, Sunday Mournings and view the original post and comments here: http://baksai.blogspot.com/2014/06/talking-to-dead.html

Thursday, July 23, 2015

I Don't Have To See To Believe

I woke up this morning with a song in my mind & pulling at my heart.  It’s a song my 11 year old, Levi, shared with me recently.  I’ve probably listened to this song 10 times today .

But let’s back up a little bit.  You may have noticed that I haven’t posted anything recently.  Its so hard to know how to share this.  I promise you this isn’t something I want to share.  I want to have it all together, to know all the answers, to show unwavering faith in this time of trial.  But the truth is it’s been dark.  Very dark.

I don’t know if you’ve ever felt distant from God.  As a Christian who loves God it is a very scary, hurtful thing to feel.  I wonder if I’ve done something wrong to push Him away.  Or am I not strong enough in my faith to feel His presence?  Maybe this is a test.  If it is a test it feels like I’m failing miserably.

That being said, I have not walked away from God.  I still want our relationship to work.   I have found that the best way for me to worship right now is through music.  I find songs that move me, that remind me that God is with me.  Songs that proclaim the truth that God is with me always, whether I see (or feel) it or not.  My head knows the truth, but my heart doesn’t.  So I will keep listening to this song & others like it, drilling this truth into my head until my heart finally feels His presence once again.

The Son shines even in our valleys,
Rebecca

copyright 2015 Rebecca Sorrells. Used by permission. For more of Rebecca's writings from her heart visit her blog Sonshine Through The Valleys

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

I Might Cry

I recently saw a friend that I haven’t seen since my husband passed away.  I’ve actually talked to her on the phone once since then, but somehow that is different than seeing her in person.  When I’m faced with a meeting like this or just with the possibility of a meeting like this I get very anxious.  And very weepy.  I don’t know how it is going to be handled & that causes me all kinds of stress.

Will they act like everything is back to normal, ignoring the subject completely?  Will things be awkward, they not knowing what to say to me anymore?  If I break down crying will they know how to deal with that or will that ruin the whole time we have together?  Can you see how all these questions & thoughts can make a person anxious?

I don’t know why it is so emotional to meet someone I haven’t seen in awhile, but it just is.  And when I saw my friend this week I knew the tears were coming.  I felt the anxiety at trying to keep myself in check.  She did something so wonderful that it took all my anxiety away.  She came to me with her arms outstretched for a hug & said, “I might cry when I hug you.”  I said, “I might cry too.”  And we did.  We hugged & cried & it was ok.  Her words gave me such comfort because they released that anxiety of “what ifs” & let me know that with her I had a safe place to let my tears flow.

I thanked her later for her words, but I don’t know that I can truly express how much they meant to me.  Loving, understanding friends are a gift from God & I cherish each one that He has given me!

The Son shines even in our valleys,
Rebecca

copyright 2014 Rebecca Sorrells. Used by permission. For more of Rebecca's writings from her heart visit her blog Sonshine Through The Valleys

Monday, July 20, 2015

Don't Let Me Loose My Way

Hello Dear Readers! Linda Lint here "blogging in" for Ferree as she continues getting her much needed and well deserved rest. She has been such a blessing to me and so many other widows. It is indeed an honor to be able to help her now!

Today, Wednesday and Thursday we will be sharing posts from the blog of Rebecca Sorrells, Sonshine Through the Valleys.


Don't Let Me Loose My Way

Faith is just a crutch for the weak.  Ever heard that before?  I have & besides being slightly offended I never had much of an answer until now.
Now that my faith is being tested beyond anything I thought possible, I’ve thought more about this statement.  Actually I think just the opposite is true.
If anyone knows about weak it’s me.  I feel utterly broken & beat emotionally.  It seems the easiest thing to do right now would just be to give up.  To walk away from my faith.  To take those unanswered questions about my unanswered prayers & just throw them all to the wind.  Forget it all.  That would be easy right now.
However, I know my faith was built on a firm foundation.  I know there was something REAL about it.  So I hold on.  Sometimes I feel I have a firm grasp.  Other times, like late at night when I’m overwhelmed with memories & questions, I feel my grip slipping, but still I hang on.  Some moments I’m hanging on by my fingernails, but I’m NOT. LETTING. GO.
This has showed up in my prayer life.  I’ve started praying that God not let me lose my faith in Him.  I didn’t know how else to word it.  Imagine my surprise last Saturday when I was at a Christian concert & heard the group for King & Country singing my prayer!  “Hold on to me!  Hold on to me!  Don’t let me lose my way!  Hold on to me!”  Yes, this is my daily prayer!
And the awesome thing is, I know He will keep holding on to me. How awesome is that?!!  As long as I’m reaching out to Him, He will keep holding on to me, no matter how tenuous I feel my grip is.
So I will keep saying my daily prayer.  And I will keep holding on to His hand, because I know that THAT is where my only strength comes from.  Praise Him for that!

The Son shines even in our valleys,
Rebecca

Copyright 2013 by Rebecca Sorrells. Used by permission. For more of Rebecca's writings from her heart visit her blog Sonshine Through The Valleys