School Days Part I

Growing up in the ’50’s was all about doing it “right”.  It was re enforced by watching Roy Rodgers and Dale Evans.  We identified right and wrong in the black and white of the TV Western and the good guy always won in the end. For some, it was a good time to grow up in this world.

 Of course, I don’t remember my mother wearing high heels and doing housework like June Cleaver, but I do remember some of the magazine articles that were printed for instructions in how to have a “Happy Home”.

Women were encouraged to change into nicer clothes just before their husbands arrived home from work. (That didn’t work in my home because we never knew when my dad would be home. He was always gone before I woke up and I was in bed many times when he came home)

They were instructed to cook good meals including making the table setting appealing. There were many magazines that instructed how to “entertain” in the home. The fifties were the hay days of Emily Post and proper etiquette. The late ’60’s were the years of Lady Bird Johnson’s “Great Society”.

For the most part, my husband’s family was like everyone else. A father, a stay at home mother, well behaved children, a house, a car and a lawn to mow. All was perfection and everyone expected the pastor to have the highest reflection of a good home. Everything looked perfect to the outside world.

Growing up in a pastor’s home brought many pressures that were unique. My husband learned at an early age to not get attached to the house that he called home or to the people in the congregations. The church provided the roof over his head and it was tied to a  “vote” of the congregation that was taken every so often. If the congregation voted yes, they could stay, if not, they would have to leave and find another “home” and leave all that he had known behind.

At an very early age, my husband learned to set in a church pew by himself or with his younger brother while his mother played piano and his father was in the pulpit. He also recognized that “look” from his mother that said if he didn’t behave there would be consequences when they got home. These were the days before churches had  nurseries or children’s church.

It wasn’t all that much different for all of us who were born into “church” families. We all had to learn to “sit still and be quiet”. We all learned that there were  high expectations for us. In the light of today’s lack of discipline in young children, I think we learned things that prepared us for when we entered school. The teacher didn’t have to spend weeks to get us to listen or follow instructions, we already knew how to sit for endless hours because of sitting quietly in church. It wasn’t all bad, in fact, I think it was a good thing. We learned to respect a place of worship and we also didn’t fight against authority as much as some.

For my husband, it was in these early preschool years that he welcomed a brother. He was about 4 1/2 when he became a “Big Brother” and he soon took his position as his brother’s protector very seriously. He was no longer alone in this world.

The difficulties for my husband’s journey through his school years began with the incident with the Kindergarten teacher and proceeded after a particular incident that took place between my husband and the neighborhood bully.

Around the age of 8 years old, the neighborhood bully enjoyed backing my husband up and he would walk backwards all the way home. I am sure that he believed that he shouldn’t fight with this kid because he was a preacher’s son. But, after so many times of turning away from the fight, a different lesson was learned.

On this day, my husband’s mother watched as this kid backed my husband up to the steps on the house. Neither he or this bully knew that his mother was watching as this scene unfolded. As my husband was about to walk up the porch steps, his mother told him that he didn’t need to back up anymore. She told my husband to let this bully have it.

Whether she understood what she did by giving my husband permission to fight with this kid or not, we will never know, but it was a permission that my husband took seriously. And, yes, he whipped up on the neighborhood bully. That kid never bothered my husband or his brother again. But, this incident set the stage for the trouble my husband had in his grade school years.

Growing up in the ’50’s wasn’t easy for a preacher’s kid. Every kid seemed to test the child of a pastor by trying to get them to do something “wrong” or “testing” them so that they could go home and tell their parents what this preacher kid, who was held up to them as an example, wasn’t all that “good”. Recess time was not pleasant for my husband. He was “called out” and he never failed to answer that call.

My husband refused to be bullied by any one in his neighborhood or on the playgroud.  Of course, the school called his parents and they would “talk” about his fighting problem. But being bullied by anyone was not acceptible to my husband especially after his mother instructed him to settle things with the neighborhood bully.

Unfortuantely, the incidents of fighting only esculated and as the years passed, and my husband’s brother began school. My husband became his brother’s playground protector particularly after a terrible playground accident.

My husband’s brother was playing on the “see/saw” when a kid pulled him off and the fall fractured one of the vertebre in his neck. Of course, my husband believed that he should teach this kid a lesson about pulling his brother off of anything. He fought the kid who was picking on his little brother.

It seemed that once this reputation for fighting was established, every kid big or small wanted a “shot” at him.

In those days, corporal punishment was meeted out for sassing the teacher, chewing gum after warnings and fighting on the playground. After it was all said and done, school was a microcosium that seemed to foretell my husband’s future. He would not be bullied, he would not be “paddled”, and he would not bow to school authority.

Due to my husband’s fighting, the grade school years resulted in three different schools within the same small town and the last one was the worst. It was a “Christian School” with a dress code and more church. More sitting quietly for long periods of time. It was enough to drive any kid to distraction.

Moving from house to house and school to school insured that my husband had little if any security and it also insured his inability to make attachments to people and places. My husband’s young heart was wounded and confused at a very young age.

When my husband told me about his early school years, I wondered how many times we give our kids “implied permission” to do things that we scold or reprimand them for later. It seemed that my husband lived with a lifetime of mixed messages.

I believe these early school days impacted my husband by hardening his heart. He was going to be noticed, if not by his academic achievement then by his ability to hold his own in a fight. School was a hard place for this son of a preacher man and there were changes on the horizon.

There was to be another house, another school and other bullies with which to deal and he would be enduring all of these changes as a pre teen in a big city….

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Forgiven, Not Forgotten…

This song has brought me a complex kind of comfort. It seems to speak to that place in my heart that is open and bleeding.

I know that my anger is multifaceted. It isn’t at anyone, it just is.

To be as honest as I can be, I know that I am angry at God for allowing me to be left here on this earth without the love of my life. A love that for 25 years, I thought was lost to me because of the circumstances of when we were 17 and 18 years old.

When he came back in my life, I was amazed that we were given a second chance at happiness. And what hurts so, we found true happiness after 25 years of heartache and heartbreak. Then, to have only 17 years instead of the rest of our lives, it feels like salt rubbed into my wound.

I suppose, there is a part of me that is angry with him. I know that he could do nothing differently. It was not in his power. I know that if he had the power, he would still be here with me, enjoying his grandchildren and we would still have a life together.

It is the part of my heart that is like one of a child that says, “He left me…” that hurts. It is that primal fear that says that I will not survive and I could die if you are not with me.

Would I bring him back if I had the power? Absolutely not. I could not wish him back here to a life that was nothing of the essence of the man that he was and still is. What a cruel and selfish thing to do!!! It would be pure selfishness to have him to be here in suffering just so that I would not have to feel this loneliness and emptiness. I loved him too much to keep him here for my benefit.

The multifacets of anger are in the loss of my life as I came to know it over these past few years, in the pain that wells up inside of me when I hear the throaty rumble of a Harley and I know that I will never be in the “Queen seat” that was mine to occupy with him in control. Anger when I see familiar places that we frequented, when I see a couple that is our age and they are holding hands like we did in the grocery store. It is just plain anger at having to loose.

When hurt finds its way so deeply inside of me, anger becomes a protective response so as to stop the pain from consuming me.

I don’t know how long this stage or phase of grief lasts. It is wearing me out already.

To help dissipate some of the anxiety and anger, I have been doing a lot of manual labor. It seems that if you wear out the body, the mind and heart soon follows, so I have been removing the dirt from around the old farm house.

This soil has not been disturbed in 70 years or more. It is full of “spider” roots from the maple trees that line the drive. The roots are stubborn and they resist my efforts in every way possible. How like me these little roots are.

Like these tenacious  roots, I seem to  resist change until I am violently forced to do so. I put down my roots in this man. He nourished me and I him. We grew together in every way. Loosing him to cancer has torn me in places that I cannot identify. I am so much less without him.

But, the other day, while I was digging and diligently pulling  the “spider” roots, I heard my husband’s voice say, “Oh, Nome, if you could just see this..”

When I heard his voice, I turned my head to see him. When no one was there, I had that kind of delayed response that reminds you that the person is gone. 

For a moment, I was in pain again, then I thought about what he said. He was trying to tell me that the place where he is is wonderous, so very awesome that he wanted to share it with me. He was letting me know he is in a place that is nothing less than amazing.

As I went back to digging dirt, it soon turned a little muddy from the tears that fell from my face.

Yes, I do  want to see the wonders of God’s mysteries. I want to experience the life that he was telling me about, but I can’t.

I feel so hurt that I was left behind to face this life alone. That is a very real part of my anger…

So, for now, I will forgive him for walking into the sunset. I always knew that I would have to turn and walk away from the final sunset in his life.

But as the song says, I will never forget the man that loved me and the one that I loved.

He is forgiven, truly by his Lord and by me, but he will never be forgotten. As long as someone lives who knew and loved him, he will never be forgotten.

Thunderclouds…If This Is Numb, I Don’t Want To Feel Pain….

If It Seems

 

If it seems that I am ungrateful for the kindnesses that you do,

Please, overlook my lack of enthusiasm or my plain expression of gratitude.

 

If it seems that I have lost my patience and “irritable” is my only mood

Please, know that I am angry and I feel so cheated.

 

If it seems that I am sad and nothing can bring a smile to my face,

Please, know that my heart has lost its joy and nothing can bring back my happiness.

 

If it seems that I am not listening as you tell me your heart,

Please know that my pain is crying so loudly that I cannot hear yours….

 

If it seems that I should be past all of the grief and the tears,

Please know that it will take more time to overcome the idea of being alone.

 

If it seems that I have changed,

You are right.

My heart was torn in two when

The love of my life died.

 

If it seems that enough time has passed and I should be over this,

You are wrong.

 My brokenness is not on a time schedule.

 

If it seems that I will never be the same,

You are right; I won’t

 

If you think that I should be on medication to make me feel better,

Please, keep your opinion to yourself..

 

All I ask of you is to let me grieve and be sad without judging me.

Continue to care even if I don’t know how to show that I still care.

 

If you cannot, wait for me to find myself,

Then go.

 I don’t want to waste your time,

 

But, if you can wait patiently for me to become myself again,

Know that, even if I don’t show it,

I am still here and I will survive.

 

Please, let me grieve

I sent my friend this writing.

She is younger than I am and her husband died four months ago. She is trying to work and resume her life as it was before her husband’s death. She is struggling and she is so sad. They had been married for 25 years.

She has endured some of the most thoughtless and tactless comments. Things like, “Your young, you will find someone to marry.” to “Your numb now. You are going through the motions. Wait, until the real pain starts….”

Finally in desperate emotional pain, she turned to her pastor and elders for help with this “black hole” that keeps following her around. The pastor told her that she didn’t need prayer, she needed to get out of her self pity.

What total denial on his part!!! How wounding that was for her !!!

When she told me about these circumstances, I referred her to Merry Widows website. There she found others who truly understand what she is experiencing. It was for her that I wrote “If It Seems…..”

After I emailed it to her, she replied that I captured how she truly feels. I know that her pain is real and she is not numb. I know that my pain is real and I am not numb…for anyone to assume that you can wish this pain away, they are deluding themselves and others. It is their own pain that they are trying to avoid and you are making them face that grief and berevement do not vanish with the flowers that are sent as a condolence.

This pain must be felt. It may take a long time for me to ever feel like who I was once. At his moment in time, that is alright. I must grieve because I need to live and not just survive.

I know that I do not need for anyone to tell me that it has been 2 weeks and I should be getting over all of the sadness. “Life goes on” is the phrase of the day.

Maybe it goes on for everyone around me, but my life stopped when cancer entered in…I am not living right now. I know that I am “treading water” and it won’t take much to push me under.

 I feel so cheated and disappointed that I can hardly bear it. And I know there is an unpleasant conversation with God about all of this. I am just still to angry to talk to anyone about it.

As Sally Fields said in the movie, Steel Magnolias,  she wanted to hit something and to hit it hard. She wanted to make someone else feel as badly as she felt as she stood next to her daughter’s coffin. I am relating to wanting to hit something. I don’t know if I could ever make anyone feel as bad as I do now…I can’t hit hard enough.

I am so thankful that I am aware that anger is part of this process. I know that this is part of the journey out of the Valley of the Shadow. Anything that I do to cut this process short will result in a longer stay.

That is why I am trying as hard as I can to stay as honest with myself and others as much as I can.  I know that I don’t really want to be so irritable. But, it is how I am feeling and I will not deny the place that anger plays in recovery.

I feel like I should wear a sign to warn people about my disposition of the moment, but, as usual, people don’t read signs, do they?

To care for my husband, I had to live in my head most of the time. I knew that my heart was breaking, but I had to keep it together so as to not fail him in his care. 

Now, I am not living in my head. I am living in my present and I am living in my heart. My heart is a very painfully raw place and it is bleeding.

It is so raw that it doesn’t take me long to ask if anyone understands this process and most people that I know do not have this set of circumstances in their lives.

I don’t know how my friend kept from loosing her composure when her pastor was so “high handed’ with her. I don’t know if I could have walked away without belting him one. I find it sad that so many in the ministry do not know how to cope with death and dying. If they are unable to understand those processes, then how can they ever understand grief?

So, it is my hope that no one tells me that I am numb. I am not in the land of “No Feel”. I feel this mounting pain everyday and every moment of everyday. 

 

 All I can say is that I will reject her pastor’s words and accept what Jesus said, “God blesses those who mourn because they shall be comforted”. End of story.

My friend, Roads on “The Price of Love” has a  wonderful post that addresses grief and berevement. I would recommend for everyone who has someone in their life that is going through this kind of pain to visit his site and drink in the understanding that is missing in our society today in regards to grief and berevement….

Compounded Pain Part II

And, finally, their last words to me were, “By the way,  we won’t come get the body until payment is in full.”

I am not proud of my response to their statement.  I very crudely asked them, “What am I supposed to do? Put him in the deep freezer in the garage and bury him in the back field?” Of course, I was being facetious, but I also was so angry, that at this moment, the very moment of his passing, I was being mired in details and in the greed of an industry whose purpose is to take a part of the pain and burden away when you need it most.

I was in shock!!!! They were refusing to not only work with me on payments or any other possibility that I could reasonably offer. They were allowing my husband to remain here “until the cows come home” if I didn’t pay on the spot…..

I was beside myself in grief and in panic…My daughter in law was on the phone with the original funeral establishment, my son was on his cell phone and then my sister called.

After informing her of my husband’s passing, my sister began the search as well.  She called funeral homes that were in a 20 to 30 miles radius, hoping that someone would help me. Then she called the competition to the original establishment.

What my husband wanted for his final arrangements were very simple. He wanted to be cremated and then a Memorial Service. That didn’t require much compared to the traditional funerals and their costs.

The average “package” as they call it, includes a viewing at their facility, a casket, preparation for the body, a service at their facility and graveside services. Then there are thank you cards, registration book, etc yet it doesn’t include the cost of the burial plot or the headstone. The cost starts at $7,000 and the sky is the limit.

The only thing I wanted was the comfort of the facility that buried my brother, my mother, my father, my grandparents, my aunts, uncles and cousins. Since as long as I can remember, there was never a question as to where we would be going to pay our last respects and to see family members that are seen at weddings and funerals. As the ugliness continued, I knew that it was not going to be that way and I was hurt beyond words by the disappointment and by the way that I was being treated.

I was being excluded from my own family tradition. At the very moment that I became a widow, an important part of my family traditions was ending and it was going down in an angry ball of flames.

My sister talked with my daughter in law and told her to call the owner of the competition to the original funeral establishment. She said that this man was the coroner of the county and he was willing to help. I would have to call him anyway if the body could not be removed.

To my relief, this man, instead of a looking at how I was going to pay, had a heart. He agreed to come without any discussion regarding money or payment arrangements. At that moment, he became my hero. He was an answer to my desperate prayer. His kindness, his compassion, his willingness to believe that I was destitute and that I had nothing was like a cool breeze blowing on my white hot anger. 

After asking permission to come into my home and offer his condolences, he asked if I needed another moment to say goodbye to my husband for the last time. Once my husband’s body left our home, it would be the last time that I would look on his face in this world.

I told this kind man that I had said my “Goodbyes” just prior to my husband’s death and that I was fine. He allowed all the children the same opportunity. In short order, it was time to retrieve my husband’s body. With the greatest of care and kindness, I watched my husband leave this home which he regarded as a refuge. As they backed out of the driveway, I watched the vehicle until it turned the corner and was out of sight. My husband was gone and I had kept my promise to him…..

We were told to come into the facility when we were ready. In an hour, I, my son, and daughter in law  drove into the funeral home where the arrangements were made. I discovered that I should have been presented with an itemized statement of the costs. That was never offered at the other facility. When it came to how I would pay, options were given, including being able to pay over time, if needed. The other establishment said that it was a federal law that prevented them from accepting payments, blah, blah, blah……Another piece of information that was given by the other facility was false.

After taking information for the death certificate and the obituary, the arrangements were made. For the first time since my husband was pronounced, I felt like I could breath again. This gentle and kind man and his staff made this nightmare come to an end.

I was able to concentrate on the issue at hand and that was grieving. I had a duty to my husband’s children, my children and grandchildren. I needed to be with them instead of “haggling” over money. This was my last action as their  step grandmother and stepmother. It was my place and my duty to be there for them, instead, for hours, I was taken from them by this “racket” called Funeral and I resented those who made it more difficult than what was necessary.

This man who came to my rescue will always be someone I will appreciate and to which I will always feel obligated. Not because of any expectation on his part, but because he saw a desperate woman who was in the midst of such pain and he took pity and decided to help.

In the grief process, anger is a very real part of it. After recovering from the shock and panic of the events, my anger began to burn white hot over all that had transpired and I will never forget what the original establishment did to me and to my husband.

Unfortunately for the original establishment, they overlooked something that they may consider rather important. There is a trust on their financial books for the funeral arrangements that my father made for my sister who is mentally handicapped. This sizable sum has been on their financial books for almost 17 years now. This establishment has benefited from the money as an asset on their books and they have reaped interest from that money left in trust.

My older sister and I are the guardians for our youngest sister. I may not personally have money, but I am responsibile for something that they believe is theirs.

I must research the process and procedures as to how to retrieve that trust and to place it with the establishment that helped me. Even if I have to petition the court or write a letter to the judge that oversees this particular trust,  I will not stop until it is removed. The callousness of the owners should not be rewarded. They need to have a wake up call as to their business practices and they should not benefit from what is left of my immediate family.  My older sister, who has MS, also has stated that she will not frequent the traditional funeral home after witnessing all that took place with me.

The other fact that this funeral home failed to realize is that I have several elderly family members, as well as, over 50 plus first and second cousins.  As in many families, and especially in mine, if you “hit” one of us, you “hit” us all….

I intend to tell this story to as many of my family that will listen and they can make their own decision but, I will never step my foot inside that establishment  again. I will pay my respects to those I love, but it will not be there. I know that I am holding a grudge and I also know that I must forgive them. But right at this moment in time, I am still too angry and God will have to help me get over this deep wound that still bleeds.

Many may wonder, ” Why, if my family is so well established in the community did I have so much trouble?”  I believe that it is because it was impossible for this small business community to believe that someone in my family, and me especially, had no money and no means to pay. It is a reverse kind of prejudice. I have run into it before. It will be their assumption will always “bite them in the butt” . It does every time.

My emotional guard was down. I was so very vulnerable and I was not prepared to find the attitude that I did at that moment in time and in that establishment. As far as I am concerned,  there was absolutely no justification for this kind of treatment.

I am sure that the owner will say that this would have never happened if he had been present, however, I owned 2 businesses over 13 years, and I always knew that each one of my employees represented me by their words and actions. For his staff to be so unhelpful and unbending in regards to payment, he had to instruct them. He had to establish the costs and protocol. It was his face that took the “hit” and I will not accept the excuse that it was the mistake of his employees. It is his. It rests with him. That is the way it works in a service based industry. If you want to keep doing it, you better have service.

This total experience left me feeling like vultures were circling over my head and I was desparately trying to fight them away and protect the love of my life. I believe that by doing what they did, they were testing me and they wanted to see if someone in my family was going to cover the cost for me…at least that is how it felt.

I am not finished. I will be paying a visit to the owners and I will be actively working to remove any further business with this funeral home.

My last words about this compounded pain is for those who may find themselves potentially being victimized as I was. 

“Don’t forget, there are uncaring people in the business of death and dying.  Be aware and don’t allow anyone to cause this intense pain to be escalated into anything more than what grief inflicts. Don’t assume that you are being treated fairly. Ask and insist on an itemized statement for the costs. If they fail to provide it, they can face a $10,000 fine. That is the law in this state. And by any means, take someone with you who can hear what you are unable because of your grief. Never forget, it is a business and don’t let them play on your emotions as a way to make an ‘add on sale’. They do this by saying these arrangements are the last thing that you will ever do for your loved one. Don’t allow them to talk you into anything that is not in agreement with the one who passed away and with what your breaking heart tells you. It is not the ‘package’ that is important, it is the wishes of the one who passed  on and it is your wishes that matter.”   

                                              

….At first, my pain was compounded by vultures, but then God sent an angel….

Cheating Update

About 5 hours after my last posting about my husband’s cheating on his liquid diet and possibly obstructing his PEG tube with a dehydrated onion, the irrigation seems to have been successful…It is draining quite well at present, but he hasn’t taken in as much today as he normally should.

He has been upset most of the day. I don’t think he is as upset with me as much as he is with himself and with the feeling of being cheated out of the last of life’s simple pleasures, i.e. food.

After we both calmed down, we sat and talked about the emotional impact with which this journey is presenting. We both feel more tension because his condition is failing. He seems so anxious about the tubes, both IV and PEG. Because he has watched the procedures performed, he thinks that he knows more than I do. In a few areas, he has more experience, but he doesn’t know the reasons why they are performed in the manner in which they are.

I understand the reasoning, I just have not had my hands on the equipment and so I am learning how to perform the procedures and by now, I am quite adapt with them. His level of confidence in me is growing, but again, the reasons for his anxiety seems much deeper.

The elderly know the fear of loosing control over their life. It is a terrible thing to loose independence. They know that they are physically unable or they are mentally impaired and cannot carry out the everyday duties that are required for self sufficiency. In my husband’s situation, the anxiety  loosing control over the things he has done all of his life. The things that make him the man that he is…

He is not able to drive because of the potent pain medication that he is taking…he has been a professional driver since he was 18 years old.

 We had a big argument over him driving the first day he came home from the hospital. He told me that he was going to fire up the Harley and take it for a drive. Of course, I said that he was absolutely not going to do anything such thing. He proceeded to tell me that he was. I then told him that I didn’t care that if he got on the bike and totally wrecked it and killed himself, but he could also take out an unsuspecting family and that is a different matter entirely. I told him that he could ride, but he had to be stronger than he was at that particular moment. He was so very weak and after realizing this, he relented.

Little by little, everything thing that has made him the unique person that he is seems to be slipping away. He has always loved food and he loves to cook for people. He loves having big dinners with family and friends in the house.

He is a very good cook; much better than I am. He truly loves it and better yet, he loves to eat. Since the bowel obstructions, his ability to enjoy cooking and eating has dwindled down to clear liquids. He feels deprived.

I try my best to not eat in front of him. I content myself with clear liquids as well. No one likes to eat alone and I will not make him feel deprived and isolated. I find times at night or when he is napping to sneak a sandwich or a few vegetables.

Of course, he is concerned that I continue to loose weight. My kids and step children voice their concern, but I know that I am still a few pounds over my BMI and I don’t feel badly, so I am not concerned. My daughter in law has threatened me if I do not take these mammoth vitamins that she brought me. I have faithfully taken them and I think that I am fairly healthy. But my face is showing the stress. My husband and I both look ill. I know that will change in time, but for now, I believe that I am doing well with all that I am living with.

The other things that my husband has loved and lost are those things associated with being a married man. Our ability to express our love for each other physically has been gone for a while now. This man is a vital and sensual man. He has always been a very loving man and we miss each other terribly…there is no substitue for this and the loss is felt deeply by both of us…The power of touch for the sick and infirm is so important. The art of massage and the laying on of hands have a healing effect in themselves, but the touch of love on a person’s body transcends any words or deeds for the expression of intimacy. That is lost to us and he and I grieve over the loss.

Other losses are with things that everyone take for granted…the ability to track income or pay bills, going about moving things or making simple repairs that most husbands find on their ” Honey Do List”. He has always been good to put things up or fix plumbing problems. I rarely had to ask twice for something to be fixed and most of the time, I never had to ask the first time.

As things are presently, it is quite a change for me. Now, I am responsible for all of the yard chores, taking out the trash, taking care of the maintenance and washing the vehicles. It is the small kindnesses that he always did for me that I miss. After my divorce, even before my divorce, I was self sufficient. I knew not to ask or wait to get things done around the house. When we married, I never asked him to do anything for me, I fixed it or I paid to have it fixed. It took 5 years of marriage before I finally allowed him to do things for me. My pain of loss is that I will be returning to  those empty days when no one cared to do them for me.

For 13 years, he and I worked side by side in business and at home, our time was spent doing things as a team. It didn’t matter if it was hanging wallpaper, or  helping work on the vehicles; whatever it was, we did it as one.

Each week, it seems that he is loosing something that defined him as a man.  He has always been a proud man and he has been a wonderful husband to me…. I may know how to do something, but I usually do not have the physical strength to do the task. 

I see the pain on his face as he watches me struggle with the jar of pickles. He knows that he isn’t able to open them for me. A look of shame creeps over his expression and it tears my heart out. It is heart wrenching for him to watch me and know that I will struggle with these simples tasks after he leaves and my heart breaks.  As I watch this proud, self taught, survivor of a man become a shell of himself, I mourn the loss for him and for myself.

We both suffer in this journey. He in his body and me in my heart….and both in our spirits…this is a slow path and a painful one.

Cheated is how we feel. We are too old to be young and too young to be old, but cancer is hastening our aging. He is leaving me and I  feel cheated to be left in my old age without a spouse who knew me when I was young and pretty…He feels cheated that he remembers and still sees me as I was that 17 years old and feels guilty to leave me at a time when a woman needs the man that has those memories. On days like today, the losses seems so unfair and our hearts hurt with injustice.

Cheated is a good word that sums up this day. We started out with a physical condition that began because he could not resist temptation and he cheated on his diet. At the end of the day, his condition is no worse, but the realization of being cheated is so acute that It cuts both ways into our souls.

The only justice that cheating has is for a miracle of healing to manifest so that he could cheat death…I can’t think of a better entity that deserves to be cheated….

Cheating…

It is dawn (around 5 AM) and we are up…normally, I fail to see many sunrises. I am a sunset person as most of you know…but we are awake and it isn’t by choice.

I have just spent the last few hours trying to clear my husband’s PEG tube. It is the tube that was surgically placed in the stomach so that he would not have to have the NG tube down his nose all of the time. And, right now, I am scared and mad as hell.

It seems that my husband added dehydrated onions to his clear diet last evening. That means that these bits of onions swell up and return to a solid piece when they are in liquid….and at 4:30 AM, he woke me up to tell me that the PEG tube isn’t draining and he feels a lot of pressure.

I didn’t know that he “doctored” his soup. I think that he did it when he knew that I wasn’t around. I know that he wants food and he feels so deprived because he can’t eat anything solid. Clear liquids leave a lot to be desired if you have been someone who loved to eat. I can understand that in my head, but cheating like this can be disastrous and I am angry.

I irrigated the tubing and it was definitely plugged with something. When I saw the onion bits return through the tube, my husband confessed his crime. That only made me angrier. I told him that if this thing plugs, there will be a pain that makes all of the other pains look like a walk in the park. I know that frightened him, but I also know that what I said is true…and I know all that was done to get this tube in place and it is all undone over an ONION….

I feel so guilty when I get upset with him. I feel so bad because I know that he feels that this cancer is robbing him of everything that he loves. But, I am still his wife and his nurse and I am afraid for him and the pain that he has caused himself over the sake of “flavor”.

In some ways, ignorance is bliss, but this time, ignorance has the potential to harm him so. It isn’t because he didn’t know in his head that eating things would cause problems. He was instructed. I have instructed him and told him what would happen. It just isn’t real to him until now. Now, may be too late to save the PEG tube.

If this tube fails, he will have to have his NG tube down his nose and I don’t know if they can remove it again. The other risk is that the tumors have grown and closed off the way to the surface of the abdomen and in that case, there is no other options….but if it is an onion problem, then he will have to bear the guilt of hurting himself and me…

I can see him outside walking in the morning mist. I know that my words have hurt him and they also scare him…I know that he is praying and asking God’s forgiveness. I also know that he is trying to walk around to stimulate movement in the digestive track.

Cheating seems so minor at the time. It was too great of a temptation to pass up. But, as in all things, cheating costs a greater price than what is discerned at the time. Ask Eve.

I know that I am thinking of myself, too. I know that if this tube fails, that his care escalates to a higher level. It isn’t that I can’t care for him at that level, it is just more time and more work for me. It is a selfish point of view, but it goes to my desire to keep things at a minimum as along as possible.

We would be at this point at a later date. The tumors can grow and block the tube’s way to the surface of the abdomen and we would have to go to the NG tube to decompress the bowel, but we didn’t have to go there just yet. We could have more time that is unencumbered by all of the tubes and equipment. We could keep things as normal as possible for a little longer.

Now, his grandson, who is coming here for Father’s day will be afraid of him. That tears at his heart.

I don’t know what to do. I have done all that the hospice nurse would do for him…I irrigated the tube with Coke so that the carbonation and the acid would dissolve as much as possible. I hope that he doesn’t become nauseated. That is a sure sign that the PEG tube is closed and will not function….

Time will tell. I can’t go back to sleep now. I will have to keep watch and make sure that I can get to the doctor quickly. I am praying that he will not have to pay the price for cheating. I am praying that God will forgive my anger and my selfishness. But most of all, I am praying that the tube will become unplugged and this worry and frustration will lift off of me and my husband…

 

The Other Shoe…

In my last post, I asked the question, “What’s Next?”. This morning, it became obvious that the other shoe was about to drop on us…My husband’s face was swollen on the right side all the way up to his eye.

As he has aged, he has inherited his mother’s “bags” under his eyes. This morning, these loose folds of skin were full of edema. Around his nose, the swelling was the worst. It was such a shock because, last night before I went to sleep, his face was normal. I didn’t see this coming.

The week prior to his last hospitalization, he complained about three of his front teeth. He said that he thought that they were loose; he could move them without effort. Because we do not have a dentist in town, presently, I didn’t try to find our old dentist who is in the National Guard. He is the last person to look at my husband’s teeth and that has been several years ago. I thought that when the old dentist returned from duty, I would make an appointment. And last week, my husband went into the hospital. Because he was on antibiotics while in the hospital, I did nothing more regarding this complaint. I dropped the ball.

This morning, after seeing his face, I immediately called our family doctor. We do not have dental insurance, however, if this is related to an infection, Medicare may possibly stand for the billing. If not, this kind of problem can totally drain every penny that we have left for this month and we need groceries.

When I called our family doctor, the receptionist said that there wasn’t any openings. I explained that this couldn’t wait and we had to see the doctor today. On Wednesdays, after our doctor finishes with his patients for the day, we usually go for my husband’s relaxation session, so I knew that we would see him.  I didn’t want to wait until then and take the risk that all of the office help would be gone. By all rights, this needed to be an billed office visit.

The receptionist came back on the phone and said that we could come in at 3:30 PM. I agreed with a feeling of relief, but I wondered if we didn’t need to be seen even sooner. This infection and swelling appeared in spite of my husband taking a high powered antibiotic. It was clear to me that this infection is not a “run of the mill” kind of “bug”.

It is either a very virulent strain, or it is a “super bug” that has developed from all of the antibiotic use over that past few months. Either way, cancer patients succumb to infections much sooner than complications related to the cancer. This is a life threatening situation.

When our family doctor got a glimpse of my husband’s face, the expression on his became very grave. He immediately called a dentist friend of his and an Ears, Nose and Throat Specialist. We anxiously waited for these doctors to return his calls.

The doctor asked my impression and I told him that for the past 6 months, my husband has had to take an antibiotic for a chronic chest congestion condition. I told him that I thought that this may have been a sinus problem and the drainage from the sinus may have caused the problem in his chest. I suggested that over time, the chronic “bug” and my husband’s body, may have become resistant and now we are looking at an all out sinus infection with a “super bug”…The doctor thought a minute and said that my scenario was very plausible, but we could not rule out the possibility of an abscess setting up in one or all of the three teeth.

After the doctor and I discussed things a little further, he ordered the nurse to give my husband a Gram of Rocephin ( a very powerful antibiotic used for cellulitis and soft tissue infections) and he wrote a prescription for a different antibiotic to be taken orally.

Finally, the specialist called back and our doctor was able to get my husband an appointment for tomorrow around noon. Our doctor stated that he asked for a morning appointment, but noon was the earliest opening. The specialist will determine whether my husband will be admitted into the hospital. This hospital is located in a town that is 20 miles away. It is all depending on whether the specialist has to drain an abscess in my husband’s sinuses or not.

For anyone with a normal immune system, this would be a big “bother”, but there would be no fear or question as to a recovery. For my husband, there is no such assurance and this infection is very serious as to his survival…

At least, tonight, we are at home. My husband is sitting on a hot water bottle to help with the pain at the sites of the massive injection. (Both buttocks were targeted and my husband has complained about the pain ever since). I am writing this to help relieve some of my anxiety. Please forgive me for giving a detailed account.

I will pack a bag to bring along to the appointment just in case my husband is admitted.  Gas prices are too high to drive the 40 mile round trip every day. I don’t know what I will do about our little dog. I suppose I will  ask my cousin who lives down the road to look in and feed him…

I am so weary right now. I am scared, tired, and totally pissed off. I am not angry at my husband. I am angry at this cancer and its way of being in control. I am upset that my husband has to endure another area of pain. No matter what I am angry over, it doesn’t change anything. This is the other shoe…I suppose I was expecting it. I just didn’t see it coming in this form….

God, help me, I am so over all of this!!!! This is the first time that I have felt this level of frustration. When I get a little perspective, I remind myself that this is nothing compared what it can become “…so stop feeling sorry for myself and Buck up!!!”.

I suppose, I just need to take a minute and then I will “Buck up”. After all, I am an US Marine Mom. I am made out of tougher stuff than this..At least, that is my self-talk, talking…

This is just the other shoe. With God’s help, my husband will recover and I am determind to plant my flowers sometime next week, even if I have to do it the dark….

After my self pity party, I remind myself, there are more shoes to come and more that can drop…

We Made It!!!

We made it! 

March has come and gone and his prediction has gone with it…He is still here. In fact, he is in a holding pattern of sorts.

Of course, having the “flu” isn’t good. We are through the “fever” part of the virus. The other symptoms didn’t materialize. I should say, they did not make the appearance that we expected.  That is great, too.

He has complained of pleurisy type pain. The first order of business will be to fill the Rx for the antibiotic. We just have to get through the next 48 hours. The disability money will be in and we can get the medicine filled.  In the mean time, we are taking collodial silver. It was the antibiotic of the 1930’s and it is effective without adding stress on the liver. Hopefully, it is having a positive effect on keeping us from experiencing the usual symptoms of this flu.

Anyone with asthma or a compromised immune system i.e. cancer dreads the idea of having the flu. Others will suffer through it and in a couple of weeks, life returns to normal…what takes two weeks for them takes us a month of recovery.

For cancer victims, the secondary complications that lead to pnuemonia can become the usher of death. So far, he is being very resilient and we are not having the complications, but we are only a week into this round. We must still error on the side of caution.

As for me, I never know which virus will trigger my asthma and I always sit on “pins and needles” looking for the changes that I have come to know too well. I am happy to say that I am not having any asthma symptoms as yet. This is peculiar.

The main complaint has been the exhaution and feeling worse than dirt. My husband battles fatigue from the cancer. I battle it from the “depression”. So, add with it the virus, the world has come to a halt and we are dragging ourselves around this little house like some sort of zombies….

This is the first time in a week that I wanted to sit at the computer and write anything. I am grateful that I have had the desire. If it produces anything, all the better.

Then, it hit me…it is April. We made it!!! March is gone and April is full of many things to look forward to. (for better understanding see the January post where my husband predicts that he will be gone by March.)

In two weeks, the new grandson will be here. His birthday is scheduled for the 17th. (my husband’s daughter must deliver by C-section)

We are having dinner with an old friend next week. Oldest Grandson is in his first musical. (he is in first grade. I am thrilled because I was in musical theater and I am hoping for one of my grandsons to take up the torch and run with music in his heart)

The week following, another friend is in the area for training and she will be stopping by or we will be going to dinner with her. And the last week of April, we have another friend who will be coming here and staying while she works in Kentucky…April is quite full for a couple who usually has very little to accomplish…

It is also the month that I will continue the story of Lela. I am working on the rough draft a little at a time….and I am still researching her life.

I am also continuing on with my journey towards forgiveness. It is important for me to overcome this particular shadow. I understand that it is an ongoing journey, but the major accomplishment is that I want to pursue forgiveness. I had no desire to do this for a very long time.

There is a line in a song by Brad Paisley/Dolly Parton that says, ” When I get where I am going, I will shed the sins and struggles that I’ve carried all these years, And I’ll leave my heart wide open,  I will love and have no fear….”

This part of the song speaks volumes to my hubby and to my heart as well. I just don’t want to wait until I leave this world to accomplish this goal. I want to shed the sins and struggles now. I want to live now with my heart wide open and love and have no fear …

That is my desire. It is so contrary from what my head says. I have lived before with my heart wide open and I have lived long enough to know that leaving your heart so open results in great pain…that is the risk you take when you love.

I am so tired of the pain and the pain brings with it anger. The anger fails to walk alone and brings fear with it. That can evolve into a defensive nature that pushes everything away. Everything like love, peace, contentment, all of these things are kept behind the wall of defense. I don’t want to live like that any longer.

I want the hurt and the bitterness of life’s disappointments to be laid down. Carrying this load is more than I can bear.

Sometimes, it seems like I am walking the Valley of the Shadow as a mule that has one purpose and that is to carry the heavy packs along a narrow trail. I am not as sure footed as the mule. I know that I can slip and fall. I have fallen many times on this journey.

I want to lighten the load by forgiving those who have used me.  Those who have found me not as dependable as they thought I should be. Those who have demanded of me and I failed them. I am weary of bearing the guilt for disappointing them. .

I want to forgive myself and I want to forgive God.

All of these things are in my hopes for April. It will be interesting to see how this month proceeds.

Wait…I caught a glimpse of something outside the window…It is a robin. Wait, I can  smell the earth warming….yes, finally….there are the green sprouts of daffodil…oh yeah!!

It is Spring…we made it!!!! 

In the Shadow of Forgiveness-Part I

In the light of Eternity and in the shadows of cancer, soul searching is an important inventory to keep. Forgiveness is a concept with which I struggle a lot lately.

I have written about some of the difficult times and circumstances in our lives. It is funny that when I write and then read it, I think, “Wow! That is really bad!!”  I suppose the mind is funny about keeping things repressed until the heart and soul can safely handle the intensity of the emotions.

Lately, I have taken time to research “Forgiveness”. I was always taught that you forgive and forget.  Humanly, it is impossible to forget the actions that become like hot brands used on a soul. There are things in my life that seared so deeply into my heart that, if I allow it, I would never attempt forgiveness.

My brother always said that he didn’t get mad, he got even; and he usually did. He, his wife and I discussed a particular vexing situation that he had with the leader of a gospel band in which he played guitar. He had just cause, but because it was a “gospel” band, he didn’t want to act badly. It wasn’t his nature to fly off the handle like “some” of us did. (See me with a halo. *smile*) The longer the situation went, the angrier he got.

His wife and I suggested that his anger might find release if he would write a “hit” letter. That is a letter in which you tell the person how you truly feel about them, the situation, their parentage or anything else you felt inclined to grouse about. I explained that after writing it all down, you take the letter out to the fire-pit or fireplace, light a match and burn it….Not my brother…

He wrote the letter and then he mailed it…yes, he did. Then he proceeded to take back everything, including instruments that he contributed to the band….he was done. He could genuinely smile, greet them kindly and be totally free from any hostility.

Of course, those in the band were quite uncomfortable around him, but they would not engage in such honesty because they needed to keep their “righteousness” intact. My brother knew this. He had already anticipated their behavior. He was free from the anger and he was done with the band…

My mother was different. She would overlook the transgressions over and over until an invisible line was crossed. When the line was crossed,  that would be that. She would never treat the person impolitely, fail to greet them will a “Hello” or say a cross word about them to anyone. However, she was done….stick a fork into it kind of done. There was nothing anyone could say to cause her to allow the trangressor back into her good graces. Done.

The only people that had half a chance to uncross the invisible line were her children. Even for us, it could get to a point that the relationship would not return to its orginal state. She didn’t love us any less, she just didn’t trust us like she did. She forgave you, but she never forgot how ugly your words or your actions were. Her wisdom instructed us that when you find yourself confused, look to the actions. If they were the same as the words, then life was true. When the words walked a different path from the actions, then believe the actions. Actions were more of a true indicator of the heart…I have found her wisdom true.

For me, I can forgive and I can lie to myself and say that I am able to forget the infraction. It is only over time and in my explosion of anger that I learn that I never truly forgave. That usually causes a lot of guilt for me. I always wanted to believe the words more than the actions. In my younger years, I thought my mother was just “old fashion” and the words were more true. Silly, I know.

In today’s society, forgiveness seems to be granted before it is asked. In the justice system, the punishment is abated before the crime is even charged. Forgiveness seems to be considered so lightly and its insincerity cheapens the word and action.

Personally, I truly wanted to forget as well as forgive. I wanted to forget the pain, the humiliation or the fact that someone could be so callous. Also, I believed that forgetting was the way God would have me to forgive. I believed that He would have me “release” the person from the offense and carry on the relationship as if the transgression never occured…that is what I wanted.

Lately, I have learned that forgeting was never a part of the act of forgiveness. Forgiveness did not erase the crime. It released the offender from the punishment by granting a pardon, but the crime still stood.

I also learned that there were three degrees of forgiveness and that there were steps or criteria that had to be met before forgiveness could be granted.

Firstly, the offender had to ask for fogiveness. There was no such thing of talking around the subject or just ignoring that the offense occurred. The words had to be said. My grandfather never uttered the words, “I am sorry” in his long life. When he would gamble or play cards, he would come in the door with a new dress for my grandmother. That was his “Sorry”, but hearing the words was never an option.

The second part was that the offender had to stop doing the offense. Intent was not enough. There is no such thing as saying that you are sorry and then contining on with the offending. That denotes a lack of remorse of any kind or a lacking of change in the heart. No action to follow up the words meant absolutely nothing.

The third component was that they had to make restitution. Something had to be given or an action of some sort had to accompany the remorse. I think that my grandpa went straight to this part of the process….and grandma didn’t complain too much, she just knew that he was guilty.

Without all three components, forgiveness was not to be granted. According to the author of the article of explanation, to grant forgiveness without meeting the criteria  promotes evil in the greater community.  In light of today’s headlines or leading news story, the concept of cheap forgiveness promoting evil makes some sense. The crime still stands and the punishment is dispensed or pardoned in the making of the plea deal. Somehow, we have confused forgiveness with mercy.

When all three components were met, the criteria for granting forgiveness was satisfied. With that satifaction, an obligation to grant forgiveness was required.  To withhold forgiveness was committing a sin or transgression as serious as the original offense. No one could say, ” I’ll never forgive you for that.” if the offender had met all of the requirements.

Accepting that the person satisfied the requirements, forgiveness was granted. It was a moral obligation to forgive. No emotion required. That was the first kind of forgiveness.

The second degree of forgiveness is when the person that was wronged empathizes with the offender. This seems to be easier for some than for other. This deeper kind of forgiveness involves the heart of the one offended and can make life easier on all involved.

The third kind of forgiveness is reserved for God. It is called “atonement” and it is when the crime is not only forgiven after the person meets the criteria, but it is totally forgotten. When it is forgotten, the relationship resumes as if the offense never occurred. Atonement is reserved for God alone because it is humanly impossible to totally forget offenses done to the heart or to whose heart you offended.

After all these years of attempting to grant atonement for offenses when that person never ever admitted that they committed the transgression, I realized that I had it all backwards. That is why I would want to believe that I had forgiven. I confused myself further by believing that I had forgotten the transgression only to act out and reveal that I truly never forgave. I was trying to be God.  No wonder I messed everything up!

I understand that the New Testament teaching doesn’t agree with this concept, but it was a great help for my own understanding. I really had this forgiveness thing warped and I was the one paying and satifying the crime on the part of both parties… Now for the really hard part…

Just how do I forgive???

All I can say right now is that I am working on understanding more about this very important concept and action. The offense held to the heart is more damaging for the one offended than to the one who committed the transgression. I suppose it is like the death sentence that the Romans  pronounced when they strapped a dead body to the guilty person until the decay and bacteria caused the living to die. Unforgiveness is that deadly…

I am still learning and I truly want to forgive. I want to forgive rightly and whole heartedly, but I am still in the shadows of forgiveness…..

Shadows of Unkept Promises-My Crisis of Faith

                                                          For many years, I could not speak of my cousin, Jeff. After his funeral, the bond between us all remained, but we were silent. In fact, until last week, I never spoke about Jeff. 

Thirty minutes before the study started, I found myself racing to my cousin’s house. The first words out of my mouth was, “Why????” The painful words were out of my mouth with a pain that had festered without a voice for over 30 years…….. It was a crisis of faith for me. 

In my cousin’s living room, it was good to finally talk about Jeff, about our pain, about the feelings of  betrayal. We all suffered in silence. We all spent years coming to terms with the same questions that filled our hearts, souls and minds. 

For me, there was never a doubt concerning God’s existence, my doubts were with the perplexities of God’s character. I came to a bare and honest truth. I felt that I believed and knew my God so well that I could personally influence Him. Jeff’s death became a quantifier of God’s love for me. I felt that God did not love me like I loved Him.

I suppose I was arrogant to believe that God possessed the kind of love for me that He should do as I asked and bid Him do. I felt that I possessed God. He was mine…. and I was His…God should love me to the point of giving me whatever I asked. I realize now that, in my faith, I was more like a two year old child that believed that they were entitled to everything in the toy department.

In light of the past 6 years’ experiences and disappointments that came to my husband and I, my belief in a God that cared for me had dark shades of doubt. Somehow, I had come to believe that I did not serve a loving God. Rather, I served a harsh task master. One who did not hear my desperate prayers any longer. Somewhere along this road called life, I lost those wonderful experiences of prayer and fellowship that occurred between my God and me. Somehow, they were distant memories.

Until the night of the Bible Study, I wasn’t conscience that Jeff’s loss had become such a crisis of faith for me. My faith became an enormous issue after Cancer came into our lives.  Especially when everyone gathered at our home for prayer with the sole purpose of believing that my husband was to be healed from a cancer that had no cure. God was and is the only cure. He remains the only hope for my husband’s life on this earth.

Deep in my subconsciousness, it was my cousin, Jeff, that filled my heart instead of faith. It was the memory of praying for Jeff’s miracle and the reality of those prayers failing to produce Jeff’s healing that loomed over my heart as a huge, dark, impermeable shadow that blocked any faith from entering. How could I pray for my husband’s healing when I had not reconciled my faith or lack of it in God’s healing of Jeff?  If I loved Jeff like a brother and God chose not to heal him, why should God grant my most earnest and heartfelt petition for my husband’s healing?

These two questions, “Do you trust God? and Do you trust God with everything?” coupled with the deaths of the innocent combined to reveal my deep crisis of faith.This rainy night had uncovered one of the deepest and darkest stumbling blocks in my ability to believe in the healing of the love of my life. 

How well hidden was this disbelief and doubt!!  Now that it was out, what would I choose? The question posed another question. Would I choose to allow God to heal this jagged wound in my bleeding heart? In the next moment, I saw my heart was similar to the woman with the issue of blood. The difference was that she knew that she had a problem and she believed if she but touched the hem of Jesus’ garment, she would be healed. For me, the issue was not one of bleeding, but of faith. Unlike her, I was unaware that my heart was bleeding  faith for 30 years. Would I reach out and touch God for the healing of my hurting heart?

When it came time for me to answer the Bible Study question, I had no answer. Somewhere, in the deepest recesses of my soul, I knew that I had to make a choice. This night, I had to decide whether I was going to truly trust God with everything or trust Him with nothing. 

It was in the moment of hearing about the deaths of these promises, these children, that I realized I did not trust God because of a miracle of healing, nor did I trust God to prevent the deaths of young children or teenagers.

I trusted God because I chose to believe that “God was too kind to be so cruel” (See earlier post). I chose to trust God because I believed. I believed in a God that was bigger than any man’s (pastor’s) depiction or any man’s (biblical teacher’s)explanation. God was greater than my human logic or reasoning. He is a God who creates universes, galaxies and suns and moons.

I realized that I do trust this great Creator. Somehow, in the midst of all of this doubt and disappointment, I know that this great and mighty God, loves me. I find His Love in the small kindness of others and the provisions of a warm home, electricity and food in the cabinet (these are not small accomplishments). But most of all, I knows that this All Knowing God, the God of Everlasting Love, knows my name.

In His Mystery, He and He alone knows the answer to the question of “Why”.  It is not for me to know. Like a parent who does not explain the intricacies of reproduction the first time a child asks,  my God does not explain the details of everything to me…nor is He obligated to do so.

The closest analogy that brings this wonder into a form of comprehension for me is one of  electricity. I do not understand electricity. But, there is one thing I do know. Should you have something that requires 220 volts and you put in 440 volts through it, it will shatter and explode.  There is too much power for the apparatus to absorb.

So it is with me. I am 220 and God is 440. I will only understand a small portion of Who and What He is. In the midst of making mountains and men, God saw me and He knows my name….That is Who I trust.

In the cold darkness of the loss, He knows the answers to the crushed and bleeding hearts of suffering parents. I choose to believe that my God still heals. But, I do not have a formula to move Him to do as I wish. He is Sovereign.

I choose to serve Him because of Who He is and He does not serves me. I do not have understanding as to why these children, these wonderful promises were made and yet, their lives could not stay, these promises were not kept. 

These are mysteries that only God knows. In the midst of the pain of  loss, it must be enough that God knows our names…that the God of the Universe holds all the hearts of the Unkept Promises