Sunset in the Valley of the Shadowlands

I made a decision. It is one that I have pondered for quite a while.

Now, it is time.

Over the past few months, I noticed that most of my last few blogs have been the same. They are pain, more pain and endless pain. That is the way it is after the death of a loved one. Each day is the same, just different circumstances.

It will be 2 years in July since the sunset of Dan’s death. Counting the months and years doesn’t make it easier. It is a reminder that one life ended and yours goes on and on and on.

I must say that I have a “normalcy” of sorts. It isn’t the life that I enjoy, but it is my life. I have made decisions of my life based on what I learned from Dan’s life and death. I have things that I want to do before it is my time to leave this earth.

I also know that I have no regrets in the choices that Dan and I made. We made wonderful memories instead of waiting until “retirement”. I can say that we lived and we lived in love. Music was our language and we made beautiful music together.

Dan left me with a glimpse into my future. He said that he must leave so that I would fulfil my destiny. As to what that destiny is, I still do not have a clue. But, this I know, I will discover exactly what that destiny is and I will complete it as my life’s work.

As for my blog. It has served its purpose and it has been a part of my destiny. It was the vehicle that carried me over the highest hurdle that I ever had to live.

Each one of you who read and followed the darkest days of my life became pillars that held the sky over my head instead of it crashing all around me. I made many “sight unseen” friends. You are as close to my heart as any who I knew in the flesh.

I owe a great debt to each one who commented and emailed your support and empathy. There are no words to tell you just how much of a blessing you are to my aching heart.

The days ahead will be full of life for me. I shall live and I am hoping that it will be a full life. One of love and purpose.

I have been toying with the idea of going to college and obtaining a degree in social work. I already work with children that bear the emotional wounds of mental and physical abuse. I would like to be a part of prevention rather than just binding the wounds.

The effects of death leave relationships and their destruction in its wake. I have lost friends and blood relatives to the aftermath of loss. It pains me to understand that it a part of death and dying. It is an unnecessary part of it, but it is a part all the same.

Rebuilding a single life after living it as a pair is one of the most challenging part of this life after the sunset of death. It is a life that is built one day at a time. Re entering life after being surrounded by cancer is difficult. Cancer has changed your life as much as it has stolen the life of your loved one.

There is only one choice in all of this whirlwind. You must choose to live in the present or live and die the rest of you life in what was.

I aways chose to live. I didn’t know how to do that, but each day, I find that I continually choose life.

That is the key to climbing out of the shadows of the Valley of Death.

Scripture says that we are to choose life or death every day. I choose life and to have life more abundantly more than it was when Dan was here with me. I don’t know where the path of life will take me, but I will live and I will find purpose in each day.

I have another challenge as I choose to live. My sister with Down’s Syndrome has dementia.

She has had an emotional break down because staff and clients have taunted and teased her. They thought is was funny to do things that made her angry. Two weeks ago, she lost all control and became enraged to the point that she began hitting, kicking and biting staff.

I went to the group home and picked her up and took her home with me. As sunset approached, her anxiety intensified and she became enraged with me. She physically attacked me and I had to physically restrain her so she would stop hurting herself and me.

I searched for medical and psychological help. No one would help us because she was Down’s Syndrome and they said that she was ” INAPPROPRIATE” for their programs. I had no help and no hope until someone in the ER kept on calling until she found someone at the State level who would come to my home and evaluate my sister.

Those were the longest 80 hours of my life. They were as difficult, if not more so, than the final days of Dan’s life. Fortunately, the group home has eliminated the staff that allowed other clients to torment my sister. The group home realized that they were unprepared to handle the situation that my sister’s condition presents and they are willing to educate themselves and the staff as to how to best care for her.

In my desperation, I found organizations for adult Down’s Syndrome people who have dementia and these wonderful people are willing to come and advise all of us as to how to care for the behaviors that my sister is presenting.

Now, my path is to help my sister face her final days walking on this earth. I will help her face her fears and comfort her as the sunset approaches her horizon.

It feels like repeating Dan’s final days with my little sister, but because of Dan, I know better how to help her walk toward the day of sunset.

So, it is my decision to leave my beloved blog behind and begin anew. I will be writing a new blog for those who must walk the Valley of Death with those who are more challenged to understand the spiritual concept of NEW BIRTH through death.

It is my hope that others will not have to repeat my days of darkness when I searched for hope and help with my sister.

So, I am saying a loving, “Fair Thee Well” to all who met me here. I love all of you who gave me strength and courage. I will pay it forward to those as you gave it to me…

I will leave you the words of the song that I sang to Dan as he died:

If You must go….

Then go in Peace

Go in His Strength, where’ re He leads.

Know that you take the Bread that’s been broken

Walk unafraid, humble and free.

Know that you are not alone, Know that you are not alone.

Had it not been for sacrifice

Nothing could quench this thirst for life

Never forsake the One that’s been given

Keep His dear cross ever in sight

He has made you His own. He has made You his own

God be with you, May He shed His Grace

On your darkest hours and your best of days

Nothing below or above can come between you and His love

Remember you Go in the Shadow of the Cross

7 thoughts on “Sunset in the Valley of the Shadowlands

  1. I firmly believe God has prepared a special place for you in Heaven as you are such a kind giving person who epitomizes what Jesus taught. I will keep you and your sister in my prayers always and I expect to hear from you through email. Please let me know of your new blog so I may follow. Love you.

  2. My dear Friend,

    As special place in heaven, don’t know about that, but just a place where there is a promise of no more tears is enough for me.

    I watched the movie “Nell” and there was a statement that Nell, the woman who was hidden from the world because of her mother’ fear of the outside world because Nell was her child of rape that touched my heart. Nell said to the man who learned her “Twin Speak” language so as to keep her from being “protected” in a pscyh hospital at a University for her protection. She said to her “Guardian Angel”, her reasoning of who he was because her mother assured her that when she died, God would send one to watch over her. She said, ” I have no sorrows greater than yours” “Do not cry for me”. She lost her twin sister at the age of 8 y/o and then the only other human in her life, her mother. If anyone knew the deepest of sorrows, it was Nell

    That statement rang out inside of me. Yes, I have lost many things and I am having to come to grips with being with out the love of my life and face walking through the process of loosing a sister that I have protected all of our lives, but do not cry for me. I have no greater sorrow than yours or anyone else.

    The losses are a part of living and I have sat in my pain of loss. No one lives this life without learning that a part of living is loosing and finding ourselves alone.

    But, I am never alone. I will someday join Dan and we will walk with the Lord togther. Yes, there have been times that I wanted to let go of that Hope and every time, I realized, there is NO OTHER HOPE. Without hope, a human soul dies and the body soon follows.

    I have learned a lot from this journey and it seems to be my season to say, “Goodbye’

    But, not to you, my dear friend. We shall keep in touch…May we all walk in Hope. Because, ” our precious Lord sees the many tears we cry”

    Thanks for being faithful to read and to comfort, me my Friend.

  3. Mom,
    I think starting a new blog is a great idea. Im glad you have decided to do it.
    I know my Dad loved you very much. I am so thankful that he had you in his life. I am also thankful that we have the relationship we do because of him.
    Call anytime.
    I love you.

  4. Shadowlands,
    I am glad that you have been able to climb up out of the dark valley and can see over the sides even if you are not quite back on flat ground… I hope the sun continues to shine on you despite the new challenges you face with your sister.
    All my best wishes

  5. Bless you in this new phase of life. You have been such an inspiration to so many. I may not have commented on every post but please know that I have prayed for you on many, many nights. I will continue to pray for you as you work with your little sister, you new college pursuits and your next step in life. May the Son always shine on you.
    Best wishes

  6. Are you some where, any where?? Would you let me know just that you are fine. I think you have gone away and are upset with me. Please just tell me.

  7. Your stories touched me deeply and I just wanted to let you know that I gave a prayer today thinking about you and the feelings you have endured having lost Dan. I was hoping to read up on what became of your sister.
    I wanted to share this article about research into dementia that reports that learning is enhanced by negative emotion, not diminished by that negative emotion. Memory is reactive and dynamic, not stagnant.

    Hope you update someday, god bless you..

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