One Year Ago

Savannah, Georgia – early 2000s

One year ago Chuck posted this on facebook:

As some of you are aware, I put in for retirement effective June 1 and we placed our home on the market. The house went under contract immediately and we close on 5/19/20.

Unfortunately a few weeks ago I was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. We have consulted with UAB oncologists and decided to return to Jax, FL as planned and I have an appointment at Mayo Clinic this Thursday.
I wish all of you the very best in all life as to offer. Angie and I covet your prayers for strength, wisdom and that the Lord be glorified in our circumstances.

According to the Scripture all 'our days are numbered' so whether mine are few or many "I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for my sins..."

Please forgive me if I ever offended you in anyway, it is never intentional but still there is no excuse.

I pray his blessings upon each of you.

Just a little over a month after this Chuck was gone.

I just finished reading Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L’Engle. I didn’t realize when I started it that it was not only a memoir of her marriage but a very detailed telling of her husband’s death. They were married forty years and their relationship was so very much like Chuck’s and mine, though our lives and careers couldn’t have been more different.

She tells of their first date: “But we had talked for ten hours without noticing the time passing.” This is very much what happened with us – maybe not ten hours in one setting, but we talked and talked on each date. I miss those talks.

We were in this together

“We were not standing, hands clasped, weathering the storm together. He was living the storm and I was standing by, desperately, unsuccessfully, trying to bat away individual rain clouds to get to him.

Somehow, the universe had succeeded in pulling our hands apart.

...And the truth was, whether I was wife or caretaker was never as important as whether I meant the words I’d said to him all those months before: we were in this together, no matter what. ” Elaine Roth

My last post, Everything tells a story: Amazon , is like me trying to “bat away individual rain clouds”. When I was packing up before we left Birmingham he told our daughters I was “busier than a one-armed paper hanger”. One of his old, favorite expressions. And I was. And I wonder, should I have slowed down? Should I have spent more time just sitting quietly with him? But, I felt I had to keep going. I had to get it done because he couldn’t. Then the girls came as reinforcements, yet I still plowed ahead. We had to go. We had to get to Jacksonville. There was no magic cure there, but there was hope. And a longing to be home.

May 3, 2020

We made it there. He struggled on for a month, wrapped in prayers. He sat quiet for hours, unable to do much more than let us poke him with needles and try all the protein concoctions we used to tempt him to eat. I don’t know if he was lost in his thoughts, in prayer, or just zoned out. I do know he never lost his gentleness or his need for me. I just hope I was there enough.

Everything tells a story: Amazon

Little reminders just keep popping up everywhere I turn. And I delve in, trying to remember what was such a blur. As I peruse my amazon back orders, a story emerges. A story of a fast downward spiral.

May 7: Roho Cushion. Chuck’s pressure ulcer developed from sitting in my little recliner for much of the day. And his body just could not heal. It bothered him as much or more than anything else he had to deal with those two months.

May 12: Men’s slippers. I ordered them because all he could wear were his slippers as his feet were swelling. His slippers were pretty ragged, so I though new ones were a good idea. They ended up being too tight and he didn’t wear them. But, Leah has them now and makes good use of them.

May 18: Shower chair. We only ended up using this twice. He just didn’t shower, but he didn’t really need to.

June 3: Compression socks. His legs and feet were so swollen. These helped a little.

June 4: 12 packs of cleansing cloth wipes. I still have about half of these packs. And I think of him, every time I use one.

The story here was of a desperate attempt to slow down something that just wouldn’t be abated. An attempt to ease the pain of someone I loved so dearly.

A lot of of packin’

 

A lot of movin’, A lot of rollin’
A lot of drivin’, A lot of strollin’
A lot of leavin’ here
A lot of arrivin’ there
Trying to go just about everywhere
A lot of thinking about where I’m going next

I could add a whole verse here about a lot of packin’ :

A lot of packin’, A lot of sortin’

It’s nerve rackin’, We’re transportin’

A lot of leavin’ there

A lot of arrivin’ here

Goin’ on a lot of love and prayers

A lot of thinking about where we’re goin’ next

 

I’ve wanted to write a post for a while but have been so overwhelmed by life. To try to make a long story short, I’ll share my husband’s facebook post.

From my husband…

As some of you are aware, I put in for retirement effective June 1 and we placed our home on the market. The house went under contract immediately and we close on 5/19/20.

Unfortunately a few weeks ago I was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. We have consulted with UAB oncologists and decided to return to Jax, FL as planned and I have an appointment at Mayo Clinic this Thursday.

I wish all of you the very best in all life as to offer. Angie and I covet your prayers for strength, wisdom and that the Lord be glorified in our circumstances.

According to the Scripture all ‘our days are numbered’ so whether mine are few or many “I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Savior Jesus Christ; who with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for my sins…”

Please forgive me if I ever offended you in anyway, it is never intentional but still there is no excuse.

I pray his blessings upon each of you.

 

So, here we are in Jacksonville. We are home. One more night in a hotel and we move into an apartment for six months.  This is not the move we planned. We were going to buy a house -our last home -in Jacksonville with cash so we would have no mortgage payment going into retirement. God had others plans. And He has provided for us.

My husband will start chemo next week. Our lives will be much different. But I look forward to a sweet time.

There have been many silver linings in all of this. I have seen God’s providence. Had there not been this “pandemic” our two daughters would not have been free to come help us as they have. We have seen amazing things with these two girls. Young women. Their love and care for their dad and me has been overwhelming. From cooking, packing, and making phone calls for me to massaging feet, taking vitals and tracking meds and food for their dad, they have been here for us. I could never have done it without them.

Our sons, too, have poured out love and help on us. Our oldest with his nursing skills has been a comfort to lean on, traveling back and forth from Tampa, which is NOT a hop, skip, and jump away.   The younger son, thankfully working a new job, maintains constant contact and cheers us up. A few weekends ago they were all at our house in Bham. It was the first time we had all been together in over 13 years.

Silver linings and blessings from God.