Monday, February 15, 2010

The Day Life Changed Forever

     Ten years ago this very day I woke up thinking it'd be like any other day, but I was a widow by suppertime. It's hard to believe it's been ten years. On one hand it seems like only yesterday, on the other it's like another life. I was in the kitchen making a salad for supper.
     "When's dinner?" Bruce asked.
     I told him we could have it whenever he wanted. We checked the time, talked about the schedule for the rest of the day, and decided he had time for a little weight-lifting workout downstairs. He gave me a hug--a deep, send-my-soul-to-the-stars sort of hug. It wrapped around eternity and intertwined pretty colors, sparkles and spirals all around me. I loved my husband, my kids, my life . . .
     He went down to the basement, I heard a strange yell from him a few minutes later. I found him laying down on the floor--thought he was playing a joke on me.
     But it wasn't a joke. My kids called 911, the squad came, the police came. They sent us upstairs. Carried Bruce out on a stretcher . . . a doctor met us in that "Quiet Room" at the hospital. (Don't ever go in there).
     Life changed forever that day. Widowhood was nothing like I expected. The pain was so deep it was frightening; and then it went deeper still, to a place where tears watered tiny, dried up seeds of joy and strength. They grow well in the dark. You can't see them at first.
     That's what we'll talk about in this blog. The day it happened, the darkness, the seeds of faith that look pretty measly, the strength, the joy. Plus the practical, the realities, the help . . .
     So tell me, what day did your life change forever?


  1. Ferree, I cried all over again as I read this and recalled the day, the shock, the pain we felt both personally and for you. And here we are....seeing more of the redemptive outcomes of walking through the pain. Thank you my dear friend for becoming a place for others who are there...both fresh and old widowhood, both unexpected and dreaded. I will be on the sidelines championing for you and this blog as well as praying for each one of you who become part of "the family". I love you friend!

  2. Dear Ferree,

    The day after Valentine's Day must have made it more sad. I have you on my favorites and I posted this on my fb. Great wisdom God has given to you. May He use your crisis to minister to others. Praying for you today.

  3. Dear Ferree,
    Thank you for the intimate glimpses into your last moments with Bruce! I feel a little like one of those voyeurs who lingers after an accident, one who is overwhelmed by the tragedy and suffering they see and don't quite know what to do with it. Like so many, I can't imagine, don't want to, and am afraid that someday I will personally experiencing what you are describing. That said, I am so thankful for your blog and the insight you have to offer. Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. Thank you for investing in the lives of widows and no-widows alike. May God use you and your life and loss to equip and comfort others who find themselves in the same situation.

    PS The more I hear of Bruce the more I can't wait to meet him someday in heaven!

  4. Hey Ferree, Carolyn from Montrose. I love your blog. And you are so right. I share the BIG fear, even more now that my husband is turning fifty this year. He is the love of my life and I can't imagine life without him.

    I pray I never "need" your blog personally, but I will be checking in and recommending it as time and life move on. I know you are going to help many, and on second thought, I do think I need your blog now. Maybe as I follow along, some of my fears won't seem so great. I don't want to waste what years we have left living in the bondage of the fear monster--I know where he comes from, and he doesn't belong in my life. :)

    Keep writing. You have a precious gift.

  5. Ferree, I felt your pain in your writing. Good stuff. We have come a long way since we met at Montrose Writing Conference. My world changed when the Mom I never knew died 14 years ago. Her abandonment happened early in my life which left me wondering what it was like to have a mother. I didn't know the anger I felt over her leaving until that day she was gone. Writing comedy has helped me heal. God was my comfort and protector. He sent others to fill the void. I am writing a blog too. Deb Nykyforchyn

  6. Sorry you had to go through that 10 years ago Ferree. You communicated those universal yet private feelings so well. I too can relate to them. When I was 24 my best friend who I believed at the time I would marry died in a motorcycle crash. Finding that news out stung my heart like nothing else ever has. Every anniversary of his death still stings yet his death did change me. I appreciate life more and had he not died, I wouldn't have met Phil, my awesome husband and had I not married into Phil's family, I wouldn't know you! I also feel this type of pain w/each miscarriage, w/each adoption match that fails. It's just such a loss that few can relate to. Thanks for sharing your inner most feelings on such a personal issue.--Christine T.

  7. Ferree, you are a wonderful writer, and I can see that God will use this gift (and perhaps already has) in the lives of many to bring comfort and peace. I still grieve the day I heard the news that our firstborn son had enlisted in the military (right after September the 11th). In my wildest dreams/nightmares this is something I couldn't fathom ~ my baby going to war. It still breaks my heart, however, God comforts me each day and esp. when I am reminded that this boy's name means 'light bringer' and I know that somehow even in the ugliness of war God will shine His light into the hearts and lives with whom our son comes in contact.

  8. What a beautiful and rich tapestry will be created when our lives are woven together like this! Pain is universal in this fallen world, God's redemption re-creates it into something glorious beyond my understanding. I thank each one of you for walking together with me. You are treasures and your words are apples of gold in settings of silver.

  9. Beautiful expression of your loss, dear Ferree, as well as your signs of hope. I know your blog is going to minister to many. May God bless you richly for doing this.

  10. I just read through all of your posts and cried through this one. You are giving people a wonderful gift in this blog. I am sure God will use in amazing ways to help women everywhere.

    You are a blessing.

  11. It was July 30th, 2005. Jackson had been in the hospital since May 8th. It was only a simple operation: to cut a nerve in his foot so the pain in his feet would go away. (first mis-diagnosis).
    They called me early, before 7. We live on a ranch and I have animals to tend to before I can leave. They called me again. Now I'm frantic. I can't drive fast enough to the hospital. When I rush into the Emergency Room , where they had taken him from the "skilled" nursing facility, the doors automatically opened for me as I shouted his name. When the nurse saw me, she just shook her head. I fell to the floor in grief. (I've never told this to anyone before). He never got to say goodbye. 30 years. Gone.
    As it turns out, he died of kidney failure from gout. He was never diagnosed for gout. Then his lungs failed and finally, his heart. I don't do to my animals what they did to my husband. He was in such pain! He had horrible mouth sores that no one could diagnose. Years later, I now have a cat with mouth sores, and my long-time Vet said, kidney failure! Should have called the Vet!!!
    It's been rough without him. In all ways: financially, emotionally, spiritually, physically. Sometimes I think about what he would have done if I had died first. I am so thankful that I was left behind, as I don't think he could have gone through what I've had to in the last 5.5 years.
    And now, I could so use a hug. At first, everyone was so solicitous. Then they forgot. Now all these years later, they think I'm fine. I AM NOT FINE! I'm miserable! Please, someone, anyone, hold my hand! Tell me it's gonna be all right! Hug me!

  12. Dear Kate, I'm hugging you, I'm hugging you! Let's work on this together, OK?


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