“…Nothing tends more to relieve that overwhelming sense of wretchedness, with which the heart of the sufferer is sometimes oppressed, than a generous pity for a fellow weeper!”
“Your long and intimate letter gave me great pleasure. There is a sympathy in the feeling of people who have been recently afflicted, which cannot be expected to be found in others; a mutual chord, which, touched, vibrates with a kindred sound. We have not suffered exactly alike. But we have suffered; and that circumstance has made us love each other better than we did before.” – The Widow Directed to the Widow’s God by John Angell James, 1841
There truly is sympathy in people who have been recently afflicted. I have found this to be so true in recent months. I have connected with other widows who are suffering as I am. I have also connected with women who have lost a sister or a child. I never thought I’d have a need for a “group”. But, I went at the urging of my son. And I am so glad I foundgriefshare. I thank God for these fellow weepers.
I am slowly reading a book called A Widow’s Journey by Gayle Roper. It is like picking up someone’s journal and almost mistaking it for my own. Her husband’s name was also Chuck and the things she relates hit so close to home it’s weird. But in a helpful way.
She talks about how much of her schedule revolved around her husband’s schedule. “I sometimes thought how much I’d love to do what I wanted when I wanted. Now there’s no one to build my life around. I set my own schedule, and it’s scary to have the freedom I thought I wanted.” Wow – so honest. And so me.
She ponders which is better, a prolonged decline to the end of life or a quick death. She tells of the difference between herself and her friend who are both widows, yet with different experiences.
“We both lie alone at night. We both cook for one. We both lug our garbage to the curb each week…but our ache is the same.”
I found such a friend yesterday. She became a widow about a month and a half after me, but she had essentially lost her husband long before to dementia. Finding these kindred spirits has been a blessing from God, my Father who is watching over me.
I cry aloud to the LORD;
I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy. I pour out before Him my complaint; before Him I tell my trouble. Psalm 142:1-2
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.
“Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.” – Psalm 54:4
My husband got me a copy of Gordon J. Keddie’s Prayers of the Bible: 366 Devotionals to Encourage Your Prayer Life. Today I was struck by this verse. I thought of those in my life that God has sent to uphold me, to support , stand by and sustain me. Beginning with my mother, who though we didn’t always agree, she never left me. I think of Marshall Heath who supported Chuck spiritually and arranged for some financial support for us when we went off to Clearwater Christian College. During that time, Ann and Moose Wacker also gave us financial support and sent encouraging letters, one of which I came across recently that brought them back to my mind.
Years later, Chuck’s Aunt Amy did the same when we moved to Georgia. Her financial help was a reminder of her love for us and support of our ministry. So many others, too, have helped us and loved on us over the years. They have upheld our souls in prayers and in preaching. And God, our ultimate Helper, has allowed us to to the same for a few others along the way.
I’ve read stories of people who pay for a person in line with them at a drive-thru, or pay for another customer’s meal in a restaurant, but I’ve never had it happen, or made it happen. Today I was able to observe a random act of kindness.
I was at the Dollar Store to get two items, which turned into five, but that was better than most trips that turn into ten items. As I get into the only line open there are six people ahead of me. Each one had a story, a life, a reason to be at the Dollar Store. The two older ladies who were checking out together shuffled slowly just like Mom used to. The next lady told the cashier to add a pink helium balloon to her order as she went over to get it. Then she turned and gave it to the toddler sitting in the shopping cart of the customer behind her. It was such a sweet, spur of the moment gesture. After they left I noticed the woman in front of me only had one item – some googles. Like the kind you might use in a chemistry lab at school. She began digging around in her big purse and could not find her wallet. She told the cashier she’d have to come back. That was my chance to follow the example of the balloon lady. I paid for the goggles. Such a simple act, a whole dollar plus tax, but I wondered, would I have even thought to do it had it been another day without the balloon lady in front of me? I want to think I would have.
“Ashamed of herself as mothers are when they realize they have passed that point in life when they want more from their daughters than their daughters want from them.” – Frederik Backman
I hit this point many years ago. It has taken a while to settle in my heart that it’s a natural progression, this growing away from our mothers. And sometimes there is a point where we tip back towards them. I was still in that tipping back that comes when the empty nest makes you realize your mother’s nest has been empty a long time, when Mom died. Now there isn’t even a nest for her except in memories. Yet, I try to follow in her footsteps and reach out to those I know are lonely. I have a long way to go, but I have Mom’s example to guide me.
And all is not lost on the mother/daughter front. Sure, I yearn for the days when they were young and occasionally thought I hung the moon. But, I see in them a spark of Mom’s kindness and know that they will always tip back to me now and then.
“The worst thing that can happen to you is to cut yourself lose from people. And the best thing is to sort of vaccinate yourself right into the streams and blood of the people. To feel like you know the best and the worst of folks that you see everywhere and never to feel weak, or lost, or even lonesome anywhere.” – Woody Guthrie
I was in the library a few weeks ago. This happened…
He could steady a one-hundred-and-eighty pound man by himself, fold up and carry a wheelchair one-handed, but that didn’t count on the basketball court or in grammar or much of anywhere. – from Stand Tall by Joan Bauer
There are skills that are sometimes taught, sometimes caught, that often go unnoticed. I saw this last year in a fourth grade classroom. I was standing in the back of a room while another teacher was reading a story about Rosa Parks to the students. A chubby, red faced boy in the back was kind of sniffling and putting his head down. I wasn’t sure if he was ill or sad or if I should approach him. Before I could decide, a student just acted on his instinct. I watched a sharply dressed young black student walk all the way across the room, put his hand on the blubbering boy’s shoulder, and speak kindly to him. I was so touched. I thought how proud Rosa Parks would have been to see that moment. I finished up reading to the class for the other teacher. I read about Mrs. Parks, and her struggles and we had a wonderful discussion.
A short while later, I saw the boy smiling broadly who had before been so sad. Seems he thought he’d lost a watch and was going to get in a lot of trouble, but he found it way back in his desk.
I didn’t get a chance to speak to the kind boy, but I wish I had. I wish I had told him I noticed.