Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kelly's Story

Kelly found this blog in its earliest days and she has been a treasured friend of mine ever since. Even though we've never met in person, I've enjoyed getting to know her and I've appreciated her positive outlook and Christ-honoring perspectives.

Kelly's husband died on March 16, 2009, and the following is her reflection on the times since.

Thank you for letting me share your thoughts, Kelly. I love you and your encouraging mindset!
ferree
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Tomorrow night at 10:30, it will be three years since John died. I am actually doing very well, and although I remember signing the papers to take John off life support very clearly, I will not be dwelling on that. There is no need, and really no use. But I do want to tell you some of my story.

A little over halfway through our 27 and a half year marriage, I began to realize John and I would not grow old together. We would not see the days when we'd sit on a porch somewhere, rocking back and forth holding hands, with grandchildren and maybe even great-grandchildren playing in the yard in front of our house. Lung issues, brought on by smoking, and years of painting (commercial and residential) with no mask or breathing apparatus, plus high blood pressure, all were going to take their toll sooner rather than later, I believed.

Then, he developed Type II diabetes. It was very hard to control - he used a combination of insulin and oral meds and still his A1C hovered around 9. So, then kidney damage started. His endocrinologist said he didn't think he'd live to see our oldest son graduate from high school. He did (2005). But everything went downhill from there. His nephrologist was talking about putting him on dialysis.

Life insurance for spouses from my employer was very cheap, so I had a policy with them and I had already taken out a separate policy on John just after our first son was born. So I had began planning in my head exactly what I would do and how I would survive financially when the inevitable happened. Again, my analytical first-born personality, trained up by a doting Dad, was set to "all ahead full".

Needless to say, all that "pre-grieving" and planning helped me tremendously. Because of that, I was able to be more available to our sons. Matthew turned 16 one week after his Dad died. Horrible age to lose a Dad (not that any age is better than the other, but you know what I mean.) James was 22. It was Spring Break for both of them, and as God's timing is perfect, we had a whole week together after John died because I had already taken that week off as well.

I have taken Spring Break off every year since then, and the boys and I have always been together. This year is probably the last time that will happen, as Matthew will be attending UTI in Avondale (outside of Phoenix) for 18 months straight starting July 9, and James will be heavily into his internship at a museum or historical archive somewhere and will not be free.

So, next year at this time I may very well be alone (unless God has something up His sleeve). It will be interesting to see how I will feel when the "nest" is empty.

I may just go to Flagstaff and sit in a field somewhere, or in a stand of aspen. Both John and I went to NAU there. Although we never met, it was clear from all our conversations that we must have crossed paths. We often talked about what classes we took, what dorm(s) we lived in, what bars we had frequented. So it's a fitting place to go, I think.

The sharp pain of grief is gone, but there is definitely a dull ache, especially at night and first thing in the morning. I love to remember snuggling with our boys when they were small. It was our favorite thing. On the weekends, we'd wake up and lie there quietly, listening to tell if they were awake or not. Once we knew they were, we'd stay in bed and continuously yell for them in silly voices until they would come to our room and jump in bed with us. Good times. The best of times.

God bless us all, as He helps us put one foot in front of the other on this journey. As we realize we are all the same but at the same time completely different, I pray we will also be a blessing to one another. Hugs to you all!

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3 comments:

  1. Kelly, It sounds as though you are living somewhere in Phoenix. If so, I would Love, love, love to meet you! I am sorry for your loss but can understand since my husband was on dialysis and did have a kidney transplant and battled medical issues for more than 8 years of our almost 30 together. Blessings to you!

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  2. Cindy, I'll make sure you and Kelly meet at least via cyberspace, and maybe more! :)

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  3. Thank you Cindy! I just shot you an email and sent you a Facebook friend request!

    The interwebs are fascinating things! :)

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