Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Eternal Love

It's been nearly five weeks since our lives were changed forever. 

I have been noticing that a lot of my husbands things are actually falling apart.  His flash drives where all our financial stuff is at - luckily I just bought new ones to transfer everything to.  His shirts were needing to be replaced.  He had a pair of shoes that were causing his knees and back to hurt so we bought new shoes about the time he got sick.  My Dad is now the owner of those practically brand new shoes.  I couldn't just let them sit here and not benefit anyone right now.  

His toothbrushes needed to be replaced - so I tossed those within the first few days.

I took over using his big green bath sheet.
I took over his side of the bed because there is a lamp on that side.  
I took over driving his car, after all it does have great gas mileage. 
I took over his chair at the table.
I took over ... who knows what else.  
I took over hanging the outside Christmas lights.
I took over using his Sam's Club card, since my was misplaced the first week after he passed away.

At some point in the future I'll take over his side of the closet too.  

I need to take over doing the finances.  (I'd rather not, but I need to)
I need to take over giving the kids extra snuggles. 
I need to take over getting guidance from Heavenly Father regarding our family now.
I need to take over planning for my future, instead of the one that we had planned together.
I need to take over ... so many more things too. 
I need to take over training our teenage daughter how to drive.

I have taken up picking up the living room each night before bed. (not perfect, but it's getting there)
I have taken up kissing picture frames, or my kindle screen.  (not the same, but in my mind it helps)
I have taken up praying vocally every night in my room.  (no one else in there, so I'm not bothering anyone)
I have taken up crying in the car almost every time I'm alone. 
I have taken up feeling like I'm a burden to others if I need something done.  (luckily I don't need much)
I have taken up feeling very lonely.  (haven't found anything to alleviate that feeling yet and I probably won't for some time.)

I stopped buying his favorite treats, especially if they weren't mine also.  I'm just so glad that the last thing we shared was a bag of dark chocolate m&m's.  They will always hold a special place in my heart. 

Being kissed by the love of my life has stopped
Being told I'm beautiful has stopped. 
Being told multiple times a day that he loves me has stopped.
Being close to him and looking into his eyes has stopped. 
Being the receiver of his great gifts has stopped. 
Being his lover has stopped.  
Being two people in a marriage has stopped only because one of us has moved onto the next step in eternal progression. 
Asking him about our plans for the day/week/weekend has stopped. 
Asking him about what he thinks has stopped.
Asking him about our finances has stopped. 

All those things that I wish I could have had a little more clarification on has stopped. 
Being able to have him recall details that I forgot has stopped.
Having him at the computer or in the car listening to Dave Ramsey has stopped. 
Having him whistle his awesome whistle has stopped.  

But our love - our LOVE hasn't stopped.  
Our marriage - is still in place however he isn't physically here anymore.
My Testimony - it is still ALIVE and STRONG. 
My Love for God - hasn't stopped, in fact I think it's gotten stronger too.
My learning of the gospel - is still taking place.  
My Love for the TEMPLE - has increased. 
My Faith - has increased.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is still TRUE!
I'm still seeking after good things. 
Being a Mother hasn't stopped. 
I can still listen to his voice tell me important things I need to know from an audio CD I have.
I can still read his words via a letter that her wrote to me that says he LOVES ME and wants me to be HAPPY and have a SMILE on my face. 
I am his WORLD!  And he was MINE!
Our Love - is ETERNAL.

See what I mean it's not really an end, but a temporary pause.  It feels like an end because we are mortal beings and its just the way we are programmed, but really it's just a little hiccup in life's journey.  I know that if Jesus Christ came to Earth and suffered ALL things for ALL mankind.  Why do I think that just because I'm doing good and trying to be good I shouldn't have hard times also.  Now, I haven't had a trial free life by any means, but I think the biggest and most challenging trial I've faced to date is that of losing my spouse.   I have to now take on the task that two people had set out to do together.  It's a bit of a daunting task, but I know that Heavenly Father is on my side and will help me through.  It's not going to be a walk in the park, but I know that our needs will be met, and that we'll be truly happy - one day.     I know that I do feel jipped that I didn't get 50 years with him here on earth, or that we didn't even make our 20th anniversary.  But, what's a few years whether it's 2, 10 or 50 years being away from him compared to ETERNITY. 

That boy and I are sealed together!  And that means just since he has passed on, that our marriage will continue in the next life.  I just need to keep myself worthy to make it where he already is.  I love looking at his photos, and remembering the stories behind them.   He was great at making me laugh, and great at telling me what I needed to hear even though I didn't want to hear it.   He was great at loving me unconditionally. He wanted me to be happy and he surely made me happy.   

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A fairytale, or not a fairytale -- that is the question.

I just keep thinking how my life with Chris was almost like a fairytale.  And the fairytale has been interrupted for who knows how long.  

If it weren't for the photos and my own memories, it would feel like the last 16 years of my life were just a dream, and now real life begins.  I often remember when something would come into the lives of people that I cared about, it made my heart ache for them in that situation.  And when people would willingly choose to do something that wasn't quite smart, it hurt too.   I would often ask Chris, why I cared about people so much?  Because if I didn't care about them, it wouldn't hurt!   I don't remember exactly how he would respond but basically his message was that that's who I am, I am a person that cares deeply for others, and hurt when they hurt and mourn when they mourn.   And that this is how God wants us to be.  He wants us to care for others, and love them, and serve them, and when they are hurting for whatever reason we should be there with them, to help them carry that burden.  

I'm naturally someone who likes to get out and help others as much as possible, and right now, I'm finding it hard to want to do that, because I don't have the energy, I'm too tired, or I'm just trying to discover who I am now.  It's been over a month since my sweetheart was called back home, and it feels like forever!  (I know, I'll probably keep saying that over and over, but that's how it feels.) 

Trying to rebuild my life without him being right beside me is going to be challenging and hard.  This isn't something I asked for, nor did I want it.  At least not to my knowledge.  It feels like a huge prank gone bad, and really don't like it.  

I realize that there are things I will probably want to go and do, but I have no one to go and do them with, and I don't want to be a third wheel either.  So trying to deal with those emotions has been challenging too.  I don't know what to do half the time, and I'm just trying to get through one day at a time and sometimes like today it's getting through one minute, or hour at a time. 

People keep asking me what I need, and really what am I supposed to say to that?  Oh, my kitchen is falling apart STILL, and I can't seem to make meals EVER, my livingroom is picked up one minute and 10 minutes later it's a MESS.  My toilet is having issues, my bathroom wall is falling apart, I'm falling apart, I'm exhausted, but I have so many things to do but they still aren't getting done.  How about, I almost had a dream home - Can you go ahead and make that magically happen?   I miss having a my man's arms holding me tight, what can you do about that, where I'm not going to feel awkward?   I'm lonely, and want to be around people and I have absolutely nothing to do, but everyone else is busy.  My husband is gone, can you bring him back?     Yes, see it's almost impossible to answer that question, because I will probably try and push it aside as if everything is okay when in fact and in reality everything is not okay.   

I constantly look at him in our family photo from a few years ago and just stare at him.  And I feel that in this case staring isn't bad.  I keep trying to remember what exactly it felt like to have him hold me tight, and it's starting to fade from my mind.  And that makes me sad.  I don't know how to feel about looking at all of his things everywhere.   I like them there, but I don't.  (See what I mean, you can't really define anything)  

My sons are great for giving me hugs, and my nearly 10 year old son is getting so big that his strong arms are starting to feel like a great substitute for his father.   I made him promise me that he would give me a hug WHENEVER I needed one and he said, Of course Mom!   And I told him that I'd give him one whenever he needed one.    

It's almost crazy how life can be redefined in a matter of minutes when the makeup of a family changes.  Whether it's through divorce or death.   I'm not comparing the two just the fact that life gets shaken up.  I'm trying to find what my purpose is now, when for so many years I was focusing on making our marriage stronger (with the exception of when I got a little sidetracked).  Now that I don't have our marriage to work on really -- what do I do now?    

I hate feeling alone, and I don't want to feel like I have to contact others, it would be so much easier if others could just drop in realizing that my place may look like a trash hole, which is embarrassing but sometimes instead of doing some kind of chore maybe I just need someone to come by that I feel really is concerned.  Sometimes it's just a shoulder to cry on that I need.  Someone there to help me feel like I'm not alone, even though I know that I'm not, but really it feels like it when all the tears come when I'm by myself.  

I feel like no one is really going to understand because if you haven't been through this (the loss of a spouse) you aren't really going to know a portion of what it feels like.  My heart still aches every day for the loss I have gone through and am still dealing with and trying to process.  I have an underlying feeling of sadness and loneliness ALL THE TIME.    It's apparently part of the process of grieving, and I still stand by the fact that my spirit is roaring like a lion but my heart and body aren't quite there yet.  

I find writing all my thoughts down right now, are the only way I can "Talk" about what I'm feeling because my other half isn't here with me to really tell it to.  I wish he was, oh how I wish he was!  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

"Dear God, was that really necessary?"

So,  I had a friend that passed away a year ago today.   He was in our ward along with his wife for a short time, and he was assigned to be our home teacher.  He was great with the kids, and they all loved him, we all did.  He was faithful in coming, and his smile was so contagious.   He had a big heart and was kind to everyone that I saw him interact with.   However, they had moved out before he had passed away, and they were expecting their first child.  It was a very touching story, and my heart ached, and I cried, and cried because I felt so sad for her, and what her life was now going to be like.  Little did I realize then what my own life would be like less than one year later. 

Well, I too am now taking the journey his sweet wife has been on for a year now.  I often looked to her for a source of strength while she was going through this, and though how amazing she was.   Well, I just sent her a message and realized it expressed a lot of my personal feelings that I wanted to preserve on my blog as well.  

"Oh Erica, my heart is hurting for you all over again! It's been 1 month today that my husband passed away and it feels like a lifetime or two. I can hardly see myself in a year ... I have similar feelings of guilt at least right at first because I kept thinking I should have taken my husband to the hospital sooner and I should have done this differently. And then I thought his family wouldn't like me anymore and would blame me for this ... and all of that I know isn't true, but as a human those were thoughts that I had coming from my brain.

Most days I feel like blah, and other days I feel like more blah... but I look back on just the few weeks that have passed and realize that I'm not the same I was a month ago. I miss my husband as much as I'm sure you miss yours, and I hate that anyone has to suffer this way too. I find myself crying in the car most of the time or late at night. And the only words I ever seem to get muttered are "I miss you like crazy , (or so much) and I love you, I need you." IN some order those get muttered and that's about it. This ache is deep and hurts like nothing I've ever felt before.

I know that I had a little bit more time with Chris than you were able to have with Josh, but when it's love, it's love and feels like they were taken way too soon.

I'm having a rough time trying to figure out who I'm supposed to be now. For so long it was the "two of us" and what our dreams were, and our plans, and now all of those have come crashing to the ground. So now I have to set out to try and find out who I am without the love of my life right beside me, but really I am clueless on where to even begin to look.

I was washing dishes the other night and was set off in a bout of crying because I realized that he wasn't coming through the kitchen door anytime soon to come up behind me and put his arms around my waist and kiss my neck and talk with me. It's crazy how simple little things or tasks or words will bring a flood of emotion to the surface.

Sorry this got a little wordy, I should just transfer this to my blog now that I'm thinking about it. But I just want you to know that I was thinking about you today, and my act of service was going to visit with Chris' father who lost his wife just three months before Chris passed away. And that brightened his day to have us go down to Santaquin to visit. - Just thought I'd let you know. I know we didn't know each other well before you moved out, but I love you as much as I loved having Josh as our home teacher! If I can help you out with anything or you need someone to talk with that might be able to relate a little better please just call, or stop by .

Hugs to you on a very difficult day. "
I did have a few great days in a row, and then yesterday (Friday December 12) I had a rough day again. The tears just don't seem to end, like ever!  But I'm guessing this will be the ride I'm in for, for the next little while.   I've been relieved regarding our financial situation now that our provider isn't physically able to, but really he still is, because he was such a hard worker and paid into a system that will now pay us back.  I hate that it comes to this, but I'm so grateful to know that this resource is available.   

I was talking with my sister in law Shantil today, and I was saying how before his passing, my life was always full of ways to strengthen our marriage.  And all the dreams and plans we had centered around "US".  Now that half of "US" is gone, there isn't a marriage to be strengthened right now, and there isn't an "US" in that sense anymore.   So I'm having a hard time trying to know what direction I go in, what it is that needs to happen.  I surely hope that I'm going to get the personal revelations regarding my family now, since my resident priesthood holder isn't on the premises in an earthly sense anymore.  

This isn't a job meant for one person, and I often want to repeat the lines from "Fiddler on the Roof" when Tevye says this, " Dear God, Was that really necessary?"   

So right now, I've got nothing, except trying to make it through each day.  I know the tears are good, and I need to work through this grief, but man oh man ... I keep wondering who got the short end of the stick?  I feel like he might have it a bit better right now, and I feel it's totally not fair to have to raise our children alone.  I feel I'm not going to do as good of a job teaching them everything they need to learn and know and that scares me a bit.  (Okay who am I kidding, it scares me A LOT!)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Longest three weeks of my life so far ...

You know, I've learned a lot in just the last three + longest weeks of my life. 

Mostly about the atonement. As a younger person I didn't really understand what the atonement was really all about.  I had the idea that it was just for those that had done something wrong and that was it.  But now, NOW I realize it is so much more than that.  And it's the perfect thing in place for me to lighten the burden that I'm now left with.  And the other day before I went to the temple that realization of what it really was hit me, and so before the temple visit I handed that over to the Lord.  I feel at peace and I feel calm, even though things are really chaotic and crazy.  There are several unknowns in my future, but I feel that with Faith I can move forward and know that things will be okay.   This of course, doesn't take away the pain and hurt I feel in losing Chris, but at least it gives me something to look forward to.  

 I'm realizing now, that I was probably at the peak of my personal and spiritual growth with him here, and that for me to complete my learning and growing he had to go ahead of me. I realize how easy he made life for the kids and I.  He was pretty much perfect with a few bouts of obnoxiousness in there.  

Ben (Chris's brother) and Shantil and there family came by last night and were visiting for a while, and before Ben left I asked him for another priesthood blessing, because I have been having a few rough days where the emotions have been so close to the surface.  And the intense loneliness that I was feeling was so much to feel at once.  So in the blessing, I was assured of the Love my Heavenly Father has for me, and that he is still watchful over our family.   And towards the end of the blessing, it was said, "Your husband is still watching over you, and he is thinking of YOU all the time." 

That was something I had been worried with, if he was even thinking of me, and if he had just forgotten me and the kids.  And that just helped alleviate that concern.  He is so dearly missed, and I feel the ache pretty much every day.  And sometimes still can't believe that this is my life now.  It feels weird to try and move forward, and the idea of being truly happy and feeling joy in the future is hard to grasp.  Chris was the best part of my life, and my greatest blessing and now that he's not physically with me anymore I feel a huge whole in my heart and a deep ache in my body. 

Really quick though ... the other night I was having a rough moment and I was bawling and wailing and the kids were all in bed, and I just wasn't feeling so great about this situation at all, and after what seemed like a long time, I had this simple little thought to go and listen to his talk that he gave at his mom's funeral three months ago.   So I went to the computer and put in the audio CD and found the track that was his.  I can't tell you how soothing hearing his voice was to my soul.  I also had his stick of deodorant and kept taking whiffs and I was looking at a photo of him all at the same time and it brought me a lot of peace right then.  I know sounds silly.  But the part that really struck me in listening to the talk, the words he spoke were in regards to his mother, but it was like he was talking to me specifically and telling me answers to questions that I had been asking for the last several days and weeks since his passing.  So he was talking to me, in his voice and answering questions that I was having and it was amazing how calm I felt by the end of his talk.  He was and is a very wise man, and he was so great at comforting me when I really needed it.  And right now, I just wish he was here to bring me that comfort that I so deeply need.    

Anyway, sorry for the rant, I'm just in what I'm calling widow fog and whatever seems to come to mind seems to find it's way out of my mouth or typed onto the screen. 

We have church in a few hours (1pm) so I should probably make sure my kids start the long line of showers and baths to get everyone ready in time.  

And on a happier note, we'll be heading up to Temple Square tomorrow night (Monday) with Ben and Shantil and their kids to check out the lights.   I'm kind of excited for it.  I'm so glad that they had mentioned they were going to do it and offered the invitation for us to join them.   Because taking the kids anywhere and by myself isn't really desired or fun. So I'm glad we have someone else to go with.  

Not sure how today will turn out, since it's the first Fast Sunday since his passing.  I know the spirit will be strong and my heartache will be there too.  I might need to pack along extra tissues today.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The beginnings of a very long journey

So I feel like my memory isn't going to be very solid for a very long time.  As it is, my memory of the first few days and weeks since my sweethearts passing are a bit of a blur.  And really it's a good thing.  

I remember pleading with the Lord that very night and the next day in between people coming over that he would erase the image that I last had of my sweet husband.   I cried, and cried because it wasn't a very pretty last image.  I just had a death experience three months earlier and it was so peaceful and spiritual and expected and we all came together and shared memories and the spirit in the home was so abundant.   

Now, with this experience from just a little over three weeks ago, which was completely different I find myself really struggling especially the last few days.   I remember lots and I mean LOTS of people stopping in to give me hugs, drop off things, clean up the kitchen - which had been a mess for almost a month since he first got sick and all my attention was spent trying to help him.   I had money given to us, and lots and lots of people giving me assurance that things would be okay.    We had people coming in to drop off food items, going shopping for paper goods, (toilet paper, paper towels, plates, bowls, plastic ware etc..)   

I feel overwhelmed to say the least.  I'm not used to being on this side of the service.  My  husband and I have been on the other side of giving to those in need, and it made us feel so good to help out where and how we could.   So I don't know if it's a bit of a pride thing that's hanging me up, but I find it really hard to be the recipient of such generosity and love.   

On the Saturday after Chris's passing, I was looking for a cassette tape that I know he recorded with the kids.  And I couldn't remember where it had disappeared to.  I had a thought as I was looking at his dresser/nightstand and saw his huge pile of neatly folded clothes and under all of that was a shoe box, and I thought "What if???"   So I removed all the clothes to the bed keeping the pile neat and folded, and sure enough after messing with stuff in the box, I found it.   I put it in the cassette recorder that we had and the only source to play a cassette and nothing on the side that was available to play at first.  So I flipped it over and rewound the tape a little and hit play.   

The first thing I hear is his voice and he's singing Chris LeDoux's  "Look at You Girl".   He always sang that to me and EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I would end up in tears.   He sang fantastically, and whistled well too.  He was always singing these love songs to me and it melted my heart.   So when I heard him singing one of my favorites that he did, I instantly felt like I was getting a really tight hug.  And that's all I needed to know that I can do this.  No, it won't be easy.  No, it won't be fun.  Yes, I will miss him like crazy.  But it was his way of letting me know that he knew I can do this.  

Granted after the passing of a loved one, the first of everything tends to be really difficult.  But, I'm trying to face them head on.   I know I'm going in the right direction because I'm feeling peace and know in my heart that somewhere in the future I'll look back at this time and realize that it really was a major boost in my spiritual and personal growth.  But right now, I'm just in survival mode.  I can see how some might want to take their own life after such an extreme loss, and a traumatic experience.  No, I don't feel like that at all, because I have a responsibility to my children to continue to raise them.   And I know that my Heavenly Father loves me and is very mindful of my family.   I know the gospel of Jesus Christ is true!!  Families can be together forever and that means beyond the end of our mortal lives.   I know that I will see him again!  I can only imagine how sweet that reunion will be, and I look forward to it, but hopefully not for a very long, long time from now.  I want to enjoy my children growing up and experiencing all their firsts.  And eventually grandchildren when that time comes.   Chris and I are a perfect match for each other.  We made complete sense together.   Yes, life without him is going to be challenging, but that's what is going to make me into the person Heavenly Father wants and needs me to become.  And I don't think I would be able to become that person with my best friend, confidant, lover, and perfect husband remaining at my side.  

This isn't something I ever imagined to be in my life plan, and it's more testimony to me that I'm not in charge of my life really.   I can make plans, but have to be adaptable if reality changes.  Well, my reality has changed in a major way and now it's going to take some time to figure out what to do, and what my goals are now.  Since things that we had talked about and were planning are no longer going to happen.  

Everyone probably realized that we were set to close on a new house, and I've still felt pangs of sadness when I think how small this house feels and know that I was so close to being able to move into my dream house.  But I know that right where we are is the right place for us to be right now.   And I'm so thankful that Heavenly Father was actually showing me tender mercies all along to prepare me for this, but I didn't realize it as it was happening that it would be for an event as this.

I don't wish this on anyone, at an age like mine.  It's going to be rough, I'm going to be lonely, I'm going to be dead tired, and need breaks.  And my kids are going to want me to do "ONE" more thing, and everything that Chris and I did together I know I have to do on my own now.  And I'm overwhelmed to say the least.

My word of advice for those of you with your spouse still with you, if you aren't out of debt right now .... make a vigilant effort to get out of debt now!!!  Luckily we were out of debt earlier this year thanks to our effort of working together on our money matters, and we were ready to start helping others out exactly how we're getting helped out now.  No reason to delay it, you never know when one of you won't be there and trying to be responsible for debt after the passing of someone could be really hard to deal with.  So other than our home we don't have any debt.  I've been trained really well and will continue to use the system that Chris put into place.  He made it so simple and easy.   I thought going onto a budgeted amount of money for buying groceries was difficult and it sucked, but you know what -- I see now how that has helped me.   And I'm so glad my husband was perfect at preparing for the future.