Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sheila's Story, part 1

November 5, 2011 was the day Sheila's life changed forever in an instant. Although it's been loaded with the give-and-take of grace and grief ever since, God's steady peace has been her rock. I'm so grateful she's willing to share her experience with us today and tomorrow.

Sheila, please tell what happened that day? 
My husband, Rickey, went to a friend’s home to finish up putting on a roof; he was doing the job in trade for bear bait (he was an avid hunter and being in the woods here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was one of his favorite places to be!) As he nailed the last piece of roofing in place for the day, he lost his footing and fell off of the roof onto a concrete slab.  We believe that he was ushered immediately into the Lord’s presence.
Rickey's earthly resting place
How did you react at first? What was the first year like?  I clearly remember every  moment of that day.  The ride to the hospital, the frantic phone calls, walking into the hospital, seeing the EMT’s (who were all family friends), the room, the doctor, the nurse . . . everything.  I also remember that the first words out of my mouth to 2 of my three daughters (the third was away for the day and we had to find her, find a ride for her and get her home) were “Daddy is in Heaven”.  That was the only thing that I was sure of at that moment.  The first year was survival, and in that some ways easier than the 2nd year (which I had been told but didn’t believe until I “lived it”)!
Where there certain things you found especially difficult?  I found relating to people to be the most difficult.  God in His amazing grace gave me a great peace from that first moment of knowing that He never makes a mistake, and Rickey was ushered into His presence in His timing!  People however, really didn’t know “what to do” with a 45 year old widow and that was so difficult for me.  I was so thankful to find “widow resources” on the internet  -  those were my lifeline!

What was the most helpful thing people did for you? The worst thing?  The most helpful thing was those who just listened – those few who I could call and just be “me”.  The worst thing was saying, “if there is anything I can do”.  I was always independent – I was NOT going to call for help – I’ll kill myself trying first – but boy, if someone had showed up with shovels in hand after a snowstorm, or had just come with a meal unannounced, or took my car for an oil change . . . THAT would have meant so much!
What did you do that helped you the most? Was it a book you read, a grief group, moving or traveling, etc. ?  The thing that helped me most was blogging again and finding that I wasn’t alone in my grief.  It was so helpful to know that there were so many other ladies going through what I was!
 Sheila's girls & granddaughters at the funeral 11/8/2011, wearing
Rickey's favorite Green Bay Packer fan jerseys 
If you have children, how are they doing?  I do have 3 daughters and 2 older step children; also two grand daughters.  They are all doing amazingly well, though I do believe they suffer their own breed of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).  To have Daddy here one minute and gone the next is quite a trauma.  My oldest daughter did say that she knows “we had Daddy as long as we were supposed to”.  The relationship between the older two and younger three (my steps and my bio children – half siblings) has strengthened so much.  They really are each other’s best friends, and for that I will always be grateful!

What advice do you have for widows in general, or especially for new widows? I would say first and foremost, cling to Jesus.  Secondly, find a good support group of like minded ladies (I couldn’t believe how many of “us” there really were!).  Thirdly, don’t be like me.  LET others help you.  ASK for help when you need it.  ALLOW yourself to be weak when you need to be.  I’m not saying go around crying to every person you meet, but have a couple of  go-to people who you can be real with!
Thank you Sheila, for speaking from your heart to ours! I look forward to hearing more from you tomorrow, and I'm sure everyone else does too. I'd also love to share your blog contact information tomorrow.


  1. Thank you Sheila for sharing from the raw experiences of your heart. It is great to see how God has worked through your grief to bring you where you are today.

    Love, hugs and prayers ~ FlowerLady

  2. Thank you for sharing ! This is is the first time I've posted since finding this site about a week ago. My husband (Aaron 38) went to be with the Lord just a few days over a month ago. We fought Cancer the last year of his life. The last 2 1/2 being extremely hard, leaving many "why God" conversations open by many people. I felt led to comment on you post because I too am a "younger widow". I will turn 38 in May. We have 4 beautiful children, 18 daughter,13 daughter, 11 son and 8 year old daughter. This site gives me hope. Aaron was my everything and I loved being married to him. He was a wonderful father. Aaron was our leader and protector. We are believers and our walk had gone through ups and downs throughout our marriage. The last year though, we both grew stronger in our walk with Jesus. I was able to be with him till the last breath. I sometimes wondered what would be harder, the long, painful, exhausting goodbye, or , like you said the sudden. I also found myself almost wishing he hadn't been so wonderful, that our love hadn't been so fulfilling, cause maybe then it would hurt so bad and be so scary to be without him.Crazy things to ponder on for sure ! I have come to believe a loss is a loss. Grieving is the most powerful and intimate thing I have ever experienced outside of love. e Yes, I was able to be him to the end, but that too comes with a cost, this I know all to well. Today my life is nothing like what it was just a year ago. Today, I am not the person I was a year ago. I do know he got his final healing and has complete peace now. I worshiped the Lord the moment he left. But I also know the pain, the emptiness, the questions, that Cancer and pain/suffering, leaves a women with. I know Jesus has the Victory, that is what we talked about till the last moment. That same Victory is what I have to claim each day to get through the "NOW", the after death. Your husband sounds similar to mine. Mine was also a avid hunter and manly man. I loved that about him and I loved being his housewife. Thank you for sharing with me, thank you for helping me not feel quite "rare"...age wise that is. That is a hard thing to live with, isn't it? Since he was first diagnoses with Cancer that is what we had to hear over and over again, how "Rare" it was at his age, the kind of Cancer, and the stage it grew to before being found. For us, the only answer is the same that you leaned into also, it was no surprise to God, that was his lifetime given. Blessings to you, and all who read/write on this blog. In him,

    1. Oh, honey.....I wish I could wrap my arms around you right this minute! There are no words, I know that, just know that you are LOVED greatly, and you may contact me at anytime that you'd like! ( Holding you up in prayer right now. I can tell you have that wonderful strength that comes from our Lord Jesus, and keep leaning into Him, He WILL carry you through! ♥

  3. Thank you for sharing...

  4. The Lord is my Shepherd,
    and as I walk THROUGH
    this valley
    of the shadow of death
    I will fear no evil ........> " For Thou Are With Me"
    Ps. 23


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