Dec 25, 2009

Christmas, 5 years ago...

I wrote:
It's been a very long day here, but we are so happy Todd was here all day and did pretty well. He tried to rest as much as he could, but still visited a lot too. Kim, Josh, and Ashley stopped by around noon. Then Dan, Laura, the kids, Dave, Vicki, and Bobby came for dinner around 4. They were very considerate and all of them left by 7. I can tell now when Todd is hurting, and he was really having trouble for a little while, then he took his pain med and he's resting again. AND, the best news, the bleeding has stopped!!! :) I know him, and he won't call tomorrow afterall.....looks like I'll take him Monday as planned for blood work, and then early Tuesday for the biopsy. I bet he'll try to get out Monday night, too, but I'm really going to discourage that. If I didn't have so many responsibilities tomorrow, I would skip church to stay with him, but I think we'll go just for the first hour (or half). I'll see how he does tonight and how he is tomorrow a.m.


**Todd had an app't the Wednesday earlier this week; we were hoping he would have a scope done and they would find a blockage. Instead, the dr said the scope was too dangerous, and he scheduled him for a biopsy the following Tuesday. Todd promised he would call the dr Sunday (next day) because his pain was so bad again. Monday (in 2 days) was my parent's 50th wedding anniversary party...a LOT going on! God was good.**

Dec 19, 2009

5 Years Ago Later that Sunday Night...

I wrote:

The program went very well, but it was hard to see the kids singing without Daddy and the quartet he was practicing in as a trio. :( But it went well. Our van was loaded with a cake, cookies, brownies (shaped in gingerbread men!), and cards from people, and lots more "well-wishes," that were a bit too much for me tonight. We had a good crowd, despite the snow. It went well.

5 Years Ago...

I wrote:

This morning Trina helped the younger girls get dressed as I focused on Toby. Nathan practiced tying his tie last night until late, and he did well (with only a little of Abe's help). Everyone at church was wonderful. Lots of hugs. Lots of tears. But I did ok, cuz I was in the nursery for Sunday School, then in JR Church for the morning service....I was very preoccupied! I only cried when people would come up to me and give me a hug or say they were praying. The ladies in my Bible Study group were crying right with me, and even though it was embarrassing, they were so sweet. And no one even knows what is going on!! They only know that Todd was coming home today and going back for more tests after the holidays. I was overcome with their compassion. Everyone wants to do something, but there's really nothing to do. Since he's the song leader, he was really missed and it seemed so quiet without his cheery "Good morning! Welcome to Immanuel Baptist Church!" :)

Todd's home. I hate this. He's sleeping. He said the urologist is going to do another test Wednesday, still thinking it could be a large blood clot causing the blockage. Todd doesn't know who to believe or what to believe, because everything is so conflicting right now. I may try to get ahold of his urologist, who told Todd today that he thinks it would be ok for him to go back to work tonight. Todd is completely wiped out right now and I don't know how he will have the strength to go to work, yet I know him, and since the dr said that, I know he will try to go, and that just scares me to death. The dr said if he has any more bleeding or blockage, to go right to the hospital. Todd won't do that if he's working. He'll keep working till the job's done, like Friday. ugh. I'm praying he just feels too tired to go in tonight.

5 Years Ago, Yesterday...

I wrote:

I just got off the phone with him and the dr told him this morning that there is some type of blockage to his right kidney, and they thought it was a blood clot, but that doesn't explain how enlarged and swollen it is. So they are giving him an antibiotic, even though there is no signs of infection (no fever or anything) and possibly sending him home tomorrow. However, the other scenario may be that it is a tumor that is taking over that kidney (the dr said he's only seen that once in 20 years of practice), and so an oncologist (sp?) will see him this afternoon as well.

I'm scared.

Dec 18, 2009

Dec 17, 2009

5 Years Ago...

I wrote this:

Todd's in the hospital. They admitted him this evening after he came home from work in terrible pain. All the dr said to me was that they do not suspect a stone, but the right kidney was significantly swollen. One nurse told Todd it was a blood clot, the dr told him he thought it was cancer. They're running more tests tomorrow am.

I'm scared. Thanks for the prayers, Wendy

Dec 10, 2009

5 Years Ago...

I wrote this in an email as well:

Todd did say he was feeling better and the pain was lessening. We think he did pass a kidney stone last night. I really hope and pray so.

Dec 3, 2009

5 Years Ago...

Another journal entry...

Todd's back is continuing to give him a lot of pain, and now anxiety over wondering what is wrong. The blood work hasn't come back yet, so he's still waiting, and the MRI is next Wed. So, we're just waiting on all that.

Nov 30, 2009

5 Years Ago...

Another email I wrote:

Also, Todd had a catscan done this morning, and they called after lunch and told him they found an "irregularity on the right kidney," so he has to have another MRI asap. The pain is getting worse...

Anyway, I hope all is well there. We're going to try to get our Christmas tree tomorrow, if todd can handle the trip! ugh.

Nov 27, 2009

5 Years Ago...

Here's what I wrote in an email:

It's hard to believe another Christmas is coming so soon. Todd does such a good job with our decorations, but this weekend he wasn't able to do anything but get rid of the pumpkins and hay bales! He's been having pain in his lower back now for months, and the dr told him when he first complained about it, that it was muscular. Then they said he had blood in his urine, so after seeing a urologist (sp?) Friday, they think it may be something to do with his kidneys. No sign of any stones or infection, though. He's a mystery too! He's had so many tests lately, that he's getting frustrated with no answers and still in pain. He's starting to think he's just going to have live with the pain. Now they want him to get a catscan. He's not happy.

Nov 2, 2009

Exclusion

Ever feel excluded when you really aren't? I do. I'm invited to a lot of church functions and dinner invitations for families. We are invited, as a family. Yet somehow when we attend these things, I feel excluded. I don't feel like our whole family is present, and the fact is it's not.

There are other exclusions as well. It's a hard reality to live not being a wife anymore, but still a mother. Single parenting is tough enough, but it also has a negative stigma with it, especially in Christian circles. This is not easy, and often leaves me feeling excluded.

And what about the church as a whole? Most everyone my age with children are married. When talking about being a good wife, I'm excluded. When talking about fathers of our children, I'm excluded.

The exclusions hurt in the deepest part of my being, in my soul. I'm so thankful that the Holy Spirit is in that deepest part as well, and can comfort and soothe like no one else can. He understands like no one. He cares like no one. He NEVER excludes....thank you, God. What and where would I be without you? Thank you.

Oct 17, 2009

The better it was, the more difficult it is

Ever hear the term "soul mates?" Todd and I had a very close relationship. We couldn't wait to be in each other's presence when we were not together. We cherished every minute together. We shared our deepest feelings and deepest thoughts. We were inseparable. Todd never had a night out with the guys and I never had a night out with the girls. When given that opportunity, we preferred to be with each other. He did attend Men's Bible studies, and I ladies' Bible studies, but that's not what I mean. Never did we spend a night apart, except when one or the other was hospitalized. I hear a lot of wives say their husbands are traveling or hunting or away for various reasons, and I just can't even imagine that, because we were so blessed to not have jobs or other responsibilities that would keep us apart for anytime overnight or for weekends, etc. I'm sure we would be on the phone ALOT if it had to be that way, but I just can't fathom that scenario for us. I guess I'm trying to say that if given any other choice to spend time with friends or family, we would both for certainty, choose to be with each other.

In our pre-marriage counseling, we were advised to not let things get "stale" or "boring" in our marriage....not to let things be taken for granted. We both strove to keep it "fresh," you know? We would leave notes for each other. Todd would bring home roses. I would make special candle light dinners (even with the kids at the table...just eating together in the dark!). We would just take off without planning to walk the mall or in the park. We did this together, as a family. The kids were just added blessings, but Todd was always first in my life. It was his happiness that counted. It's funny how the closer we were as a couple, the closer the kids were as a family. We just loved hanging out together...even if it was just watching tv! I can remember the wrestling on the floor during commercials, the race for a drink or snack, the water flying in the kitchen, races back to our seats, tickling, joking, hiding favorite pillows...

It was the best. I couldn't ask for a better marriage and family life. Sure, we had our disagreements (never real arguments, though), we had our trials with health and exhaustion with raising young children, sadness....but we were there for each other. We were strong. And we were strong in the Lord as well. Todd was a great leader, husband, and father.

So, that makes it even harder now. Yes, almost 4 and a half years later, I still cry and I still hurt and I still feel like I can't make it through another day without him. People can't believe that it's been almost 5 years and I still can miss him this much. They ask if I will remarry. What? It still feels fresh. It still hurts like I can't describe. I'm convinced that the better it was for us, the more difficult it is now, and for who knows how long. I miss my soul mate.

Aug 1, 2009

painful memories still linger...

Whenever one of the children got hurt, I always asked Todd what he thought....worthy of calling the doctor? or ER visit? What did he think? What should we do? And he was the one who tended to the wound, took out splinters, made the medical decisions necessary...

I was and still am not very good with medical things, especially blood. When Todd was sick, I had to take Nathan to get stitches in his hand. I couldn't watch as they stitched his hand; in fact, I almost got sick just being in that atmosphere! When it was time to put a new bandage on, Nathan went into Dad and had him do it.

Last week Winter hurt her finger. I tried to ignore it, but finally ended up taking her to get it checked. Today I had to re-tape the hurt finger. Our ped gave me instructions and showed me the medical tape to use, but I didn't even think we had any at home. I was wrong. The kids reminded me of the box of supplies that NIH allowed us to keep from when Todd was so sick. There was tape in the box. Looking at the tape again, brought back so many memories. Friends and friends of friends would take turns and come every day, sometimes twice a day, and tend to Todd's medical needs here at home. They would give IV's, change his bandage, take his blood pressure... what a blessing that was!

Remembering those days, even now, is painful, however I praise God for the blessings through that difficult time in our lives. To watch my husband slowly lose his life was indeed, very painful. I remember the cane he used because of his lost vision. I remember the walker he had to use as he slowly lost strength in his legs. I remember the wheelchair he had. And I remember the evening he could no longer get out of bed or even sit up. I remember when we had to give him his medicine in a straw, because he could no longer swallow. It was not easy watching the love of your life lie in that hospital bed and slowly die before your eyes.

Yet the house was literally filled with family and friends, and some I didn't even know who came to be of some help and support. God was so good. Even though the memories can be painful, I can still praise God for His Hand of care and blessings on me through it all.

Jun 27, 2009

Can't Sleep

This is one of those nights where sleep just won't come. I'm exhausted. It's been a long day, and I feel like I've been running since early this morning (or yesterday morning). This has happened before. Every time I close my eyes, I see his smile. It's so quiet right now that I can hear his laugh and his voice. Sound like I'm going crazy? Maybe I am... but I am just missing Todd tonight.

On these nights when the pain feels unbearable, I try to pray. I ask for comfort, for ease of pain, but then I start praying for others and begin thanking God for all that I have. Most times this works, and sleep comes easily after giving it all to Him. But some nights, like tonight, the pain keeps insisting on nagging and festering until the tears come and I feel like I am going to completely fall apart.

I know God is here.
I know God loves me.
I know He has promised to guide and direct.
I know He is the God of comfort and understands this pain like no one else can.

Now it's time to trust Him, keep praying for others, and give thanks...but it still hurts.

Jun 18, 2009

I was blessed

I took a lot for granted being married to Todd. I've come to realize that what we had was rare. I knew there were "bad" marriages, I heard the complaints, I knew friends who were separated and some who were divorced...I knew it was "out there," but I honestly thought that was the exception, and that most married couples were living in bliss as I was. In seventeen years of marriage, I can honestly write that Todd and I never had any "blow outs" or angry arguments. never. Sure, we had our disagreements, but we never, ever attacked each other's character, personality...things we could not change. We were who we were and we accepted each other, faults and all. Before Todd went to sleep, he would say, "we ok?" and "I love you." We were told in marriage counseling to never let the "sun go down upon our differences," and so we didn't. We were also told never to withhold pleasure from each other over disagreements, and so we didn't (we have six kids, but well, that's ok! ...for those of you wondering, YES, we DID use contraceptives!). :)

Todd would leave notes for me all over the house. I was reminded of this when my daughter found a photo album where I had saved many of them. I wrote Todd notes as well, and I did find a pile of them in his dresser drawer from me as well. I loved finding those notes. Todd and I loved each other more than words could possibly express. He was everything to me. There was never a time when I doubted his love for me nor he for my love for him. never. I knew he loved me. He knew I loved him, and we told each other this many times every single day. The last words Todd said to me was, "I love you."

I was truly blessed with a very special marriage. God was good to us. Losing Todd was like being cut in pieces (not in half...in pieces). But today I'm trying to find and remember all the good pieces, all the love, all the great things I was truly blessed with. I'm not saying Todd was perfect, because believe me, he was not! In fact, I'll have to dedicate a post (or two...or more!)to his many faults! But not today. Today I know I was truly blessed with a wonderful, loving, godly marriage that honored our Lord and gave glory to Him. I was so blessed.

Jun 11, 2009

Buying shoes for six! (alone)

Tonight we all went out to buy shoes...all seven of us. This used to be a two parent ordeal. It took both Todd and I to deal with all the looking, sizing, checking, and pricing. Even though the older ones were able to pick out their own, it still was a big job for one parent. I miss Todd. He always made shopping fun, even with all the busyness and craziness that went along with dealing with all the different children. It wasn't fun tonight. I thought I was going to cry right in the store.

Part of being a husband was being a partner to shoe purchasing with me. Tonight I miss my shoe purchasing partner.

May 8, 2009

Missing him

This week we passed the four year mark. May 6, 2004 Todd left our home on earth and went to his new forever home in heaven. It's been a tough week, but I am thankful for all the good memories we cherish of Todd. He is still so missed by all of us.

Today I missed talking to him. I just want to talk to him again. I miss his touch, his love, his smile, and all the physical things, but today and tonight I would do anything to just talk with him again. I miss the way he looked at me when I was talking. He could "read" me like no one ever could or can. He knew my soul. He knew my thoughts. He loved me despite it all, too! Sure, there were plenty of times I would be talking to him and soon hear him snoring in the darkness. But more times than not, he would look me in the eyes with that smile. I loved talking to him. Sometimes I wish I had talked less and listened more, but I miss talking to him. And I miss his voice.

Apr 28, 2009

And yet another loss...

I was walking by our white board and scratched my back. How do you put a band aid on your back??

The loss? I'm missing and have lost my personal doctor to apply bandages on my unreachable back!

Apr 13, 2009

Another loss...

When I was working through the Grief Share program, I learned that there are numerous losses when you lose a spouse. God graciously does not allow us to see all the losses at once. As time passes, more and more losses come to light. Another loss came to light today.

I've missed my companion and best friend and have felt that loss for years. Today a friend asked me to pray for something, but did not want it public. Tonight I miss my prayer partner with whom I could pray in confidence with.

Mar 12, 2009

I haven't forgotten

I know why I created this blog, and I will get back to the uniqueness of my grief in losing my spouse. I will. There are so many things that I am still working through, so many details, things I was told to expect, and some things that are quite unexpected. Lately there seems to be more to work through all at once. I feel bombarded with decisions and emotions and daily tasks of life.

I enjoy writing, but it's difficult to do so when your mind is so jumbled. I haven't forgotten my main purpose for Death of A Husband. ...just wanted to remind readers and myself of that fact.

Mar 8, 2009

The "two of you"

If you're married or ever were married, this term, "the two of you" automatically comes to mean you and your spouse, right? God says when you are married you become "one," thus, the two of you is one, or one couple. At least that's what I've always thought. In fact, have you ever heard "the two of you" used any way else? Perhaps, but it would have to be directed face-to-face with those present, correct?

It sounds like I'm rambling, and probably am. It's just that someone called me the other day and said they were able to get a great deal for "the two of you." This person knew I was no longer a "couple." That's hard enough to handle. I still struggle with the thought that I'm no longer married, no longer a couple....so when someone is talking to me, just me, on the phone, and says, "the two of you" wouldn't you assume they are talking about you and your spouse??

Perhaps I'm making a big deal out of nothing. But the fact remains, that it still hurts. It still hurts to say out loud that you are no longer married. No longer a couple. No longer one with someone you loved with all your heart. It just hurts.

The kids and I watched Fireproof the other night, and an overwhelming desire to wear my wedding rings came over me. I've been wearing a silver band on that finger, a "memorial teardrop ring" that says until we meet again. After watching that movie, I've been wearing my rings again. It feels good. Some would say this is not "right" because I'm not married anymore. I guess I'm not right. I love my wedding rings. For now, it feels good to wear them again. So they're staying put (at least for now).

Feb 26, 2009

February 27, 1988

Tomorrow we would have been celebrating our 21st wedding anniversary. I can't really put into words how I feel tonight. Cheated? maybe. Lonely? definitely.

Happy Anniversary, hon.

Feb 24, 2009

That Question

I tutor kids after school and today I was asked "that question" again. "Are you married?" How do you answer that? If I say "not anymore" they assume I got a divorce. If I say "No," they wonder how/why I have six children and why I wear a ring on my finger. If I say "Yes," is that a lie? I don't like that question. Today I said "yes" just to avoid the conversation. Being a widow sucks.

Feb 20, 2009

Death

Death is weird, foreign to us. I'm reminded what a Creation Scientist, who studies life, once told me after losing his son in the war in Iraq: "God never meant for us to experience death. He created us to live." That made quite an impression on me and gives reason to why we often struggle so much with death and losing someone close to us.

When people close to us die, it becomes a unique experience, because everyone's relationship with that person is varied. Even when experiencing the death of a spouse, although you become part of a "club" (for lack of a better term) you never wanted to be a part of, everyone's marital relationship is different. Some struggle. Some don't. Yet ALL go through what we call GRIEF from the loss of that spouse.

Grieving the death of a spouse is shared by countless people, all with varying circumstances, relationships, and ages. Each of these differences makes the grieving process unique. Surely there are some obvious similarities that make us all part of this "club," but this blog is not about those. This blog will be unique, because my experience with the death of my spouse is unique in the ways mentioned above (circumstances, relationships, and ages).

I suppose a good place to start would be with the circumstances surrounding my husband's death...

To Lose a Spouse

Losing a spouse is painful. It's like part of you has been amputated. Everything changes. For me, the death of my husband has been the most horrific thing that has ever happened in my life. That's why I created this blog. This is the first of hopefully many posts that will help others get a glimpse "inside."