Tag Archives: loss

Sorrow

I saw another sorrow this week. I saw it in my husbands eyes, heard it in his words and felt it as he hugged me tighter. We think no one deserves that kind of pain, but that isn’t the truth. The truth is hard, it’s real life and that means if you love someone deeply, you miss them deeply.

The preacher said “It’s because you loved him, it hurts to lose him.” It’s true. Does it make it easier, I guess it doesn’t but it does mean he knew love and that is a comfort.

Does that mean if we know love we will certainly know sorrow? I think it does. I think we try to avoid sorrow, I do get it, I know it doesn’t feel nice. Lots of things do not feel nice but we have to do them anyway. If we avoid cleaning things we can get sick, but no one likes cleaning, well not the normal among us. We might like the outcome but the process is not enjoyable. This is sorrow.

The process of sorrow sucks! It rips at your stomach, pulls at your heart and causes a lump in the back of your throat that cannot be swallowed. It lets us know that we have lost something that makes us feel like our soul has been torn. The puzzle is no longer complete, the game unwinnable and left completely undone.

But as time goes by this pain assimilates into who we are, the puzzle doesn’t  look like the picture we had on the box, and there will always be a piece missing. Yet, it’s our puzzle and we think it’s beautiful. We remember all the times together, good and bad that are threaded into our fabric, woven so tightly that they cannot be separated. When we feel a tug it helps us to remember who they were and who they will always be in out hearts.

I think we need to get past worrying about who sees us cry or if they are uncomfortable with our pain. It’s in everyone’s life, why do we hide it? “I’m good thanks” we say what if we could say, “He was a bloody good man, I will miss with with every fibre within me. I might cry, but it’s OK, I will be OK, but today I am just sad”. I don’t hear that kind of thing much I wish I did though. It’s the truth. When we speak truth it helps release the pain trapped inside. It escapes anyway, the pain, it will burst through, and often in hurtful and regretful ways.

Can we try this? Can we try to listen to sorrow without fixing it? Can we listen without thinking about our uncomfortableness? Can we let our own eyes well up and let the tear slide down our cheek and not care if it’s seen? Can we really care but not care about appearances? It’s a big ask, lets see how we go.

So here’s to Vik, my hubbies Dad and my new families Gramps. He really was a good man, he was his own man and in this house he will be forever missed, loved and remembered.

Vik, mēs mīlam tevi un mūsu sirdis, lai gan dziļi nobijies, atcerēsies tevi smaidošu.

Paul and Vik


No last words

We didn’t hear any last words. No words of wisdom. No declarations of everlasting love. None.

Cancer robbed us of those moments, there should have been more. There should have been time, but God had decided his time was done, he should go Home.

Maybe it wouldn’t have made a difference, but I’ll never know. I had imagined it would have made it better but looking back through reason I don’t see how. How any words, no matter how heroic, loving or true could have made the moments after any more enduring. Not many I can think of.

I’ve written of this before, one entry about your hardest moment however, is not enough. No matter the amount of words, it would never be enough. Is there a word for “don’t worry, you won’t die from grief although it seems you might” or are there words when said together form some kind of magic as to take away the pain? From what I know, no there is not. Nor will there ever ever be.

I know from words spoken in life that he loved us, that he cared and didn’t want us to hurt. But when he was gone I wanted to hear them again. I have letters, I have cards and they have many loving words on them. So much so that reading them can bring tears as they help me remember their meaning. But words on a page, on this page, don’t bring anyone back to life.

Grief; a great sorrow caused by a loss. It’s not grief if there was nothing to lose. It only hurts because I loved and lost. Finding love again is wonderful, and truly a gift I never expected. But receiving a new gift, a new love, does not take all the pain of losing the other. It comes some of the way but the echoes from the crevasse can still haunt at times. Images of his pain, of my pain, of my kids’ can still sound out from the deepest places.

I think I’m one of the lucky ones. I know I can still love him, and at the same time love again. I do find comfort from other words, often those from my faith. Words that seep love, comfort and wisdom I could never dream up. Words beyond who I am, and beyond who my husband was. They help me. Within them I find an understanding, not of what I have lost, but for the pain and sadness. I find comfort in that. Loss is loss though and sometimes it just bites.

Today I was bitten when reminded. But these words help, it’s my therapy. I cried so many tears that seemed empty, but somehow this here on this page does not seem quite so empty. Nothing fills the whole gap, I am wounded. But it helps.

“For I am persuaded beyond doubt that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come, nor powers, Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:38-39‬ ‭AMPC‬‬


Notes for my new husband…

Sometimes I get stuck and I forget.

I forget how special you are and how much I love being a part of us. Life gets busy and I get tired and it clouds my remembering. When it’s cloudy, a storm might just be around the corner. I don’t like storms. I don’t like hail, it hurts, it damages. I don’t like heavy rain, it floods, I might drown.

0ne day there was a storm.

I nearly drowned. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t see sunshine, I couldn’t see through those clouds. I don’t like storms.  I lost a lot in that storm.  Not a house, not things, but I lost being a part of an us when the storm of cancer took my other half away. It destroyed me. Some things were lost forever; a father, a friend, a son, a brother, a husband. Gone.

Gone.

So, I don’t like storms, I get frightened. Frightened of the weather that might bring back the clouds. I can’t stop them, I can’t predict them, there’s no app for that. If I hear the hail I worry, if I feel the heavy rain I panic…what if it’s catastrophic? What if I am not enough? What if I can’t do it all? What if I don’t make it, don’t pray enough, don’t say the right thing … can’t save everyone?

I can’t breathe.

If I bury the worry, the panic, the fear so I can’t feel them, I can’t feel anything. It makes weathering the storms easier, but I can’t feel the sunshine. I don’t feel the warmth, the growth, the life. It stays dark. Really dark.

And that’s my choice. A really hard choice.

So sometimes I get stuck and I miss the important stuff. I miss the warmth in the touch of your hand or the life in your words “I love you”. I’m sorry I miss that. I know you will protect me if you can, I know you love me. Just remember that I still need to choose and if I seem stuck, look around for the clouds, I might be hiding. Just wait for me, I’ll try not to be too long.

I will come back into the sunshine.


A Wonderful Life

After cancer, after death, after a bottomless pit of grief, it really can be a wonderful life.

I have been silent for a while because my life has shifted again. This time for better. I laugh, I love, I work, I play and really truly live.

At 43 I thought my life was done, I knew I would continue to breathe in and out and keep moving through my existence, but I really thought that was it. My partner had died, my kids dad was gone, I was alone, scared, and sad.

So what caused the change?

For the first 8 months I was a train wreck. Pure and simple. It was just hard, I survived hour to hour, day to day. Then I had to face the reality, he wasn’t coming back, I really was in this alone. Kids grow up and move on, as they should, and in a few short years it would be me and the cat. So I had to ask myself the big questions, face the reality head on and get help.

The big questions were answerless. No answer to why my husband died of cancer and the rat bag down the road gets to live forever. No answer to what my life would look like now. No answer to why I felt picked on by God and why He decided to destroy my family. But I had to move forward regardless. Answers or not. I decided to let the questions go. To stop demanding “why” because it was draining me of life. That’s not what Paul would have wanted. I chose to step into a new world and trust that God knew my footsteps before I took them. And you know what? He did.

Beyond that I stopped shutting the world out and began once again to accept love and friendship around me. From my kids, family, friends, and a church family that demanded nothing of me but encouraged me endlessly to bask in grace and believe solidly that God who truly loved me offered new mercies daily. I believe my faith grew up a lot. Now I just know that I know He loves and cares for me. Despite circumstances. My reciprocation of that love is not always without doubt or fear, but it’s there.

I desperately needed comrades for the journey, and I usually needed them in the middle of the night. So I looked online for women, brave women, who had lost and had begun to live again. Their stories, their inspiration, and even their sadness helped me. I was done with pity, I needed real grit and real guts, these women had it.  I wasn’t alone in this; others survived this wreck, so maybe I could too. Some practical sites that helped in some very, very, very dark moments were as follows.

http://www.onefitwidow.com/

http://www.widowschristianplace.com/

http://www.secondfirsts.com/

https://anewseason.net/

Sometimes just reading helped, but through these sites I found new friends from all over the world and we pushed each other along. I am forever grateful.

There is one more reason for happiness, one more joy in my life that is new. I felt a whisper deep inside to keep my heart open and to believe that I could once more experience the greatest gift one person can give another… love. The odds weren’t good. Then 44, 3 kids, and a whole lot of complication to offer, I didn’t like my chances. But God doesn’t gamble, it was all there in His plan, a man that loves me and I love him. Not a secondary kind of love, not someone else’s leftovers, but a man I daydream about, can’t wait to be with and have to pinch myself sometimes to remember it’s all true. I feel adored, honoured, and embraced. I really thought those days were over, it is the greatest gift I could ever receive. He is wonderful and I love him deeply.

Of course I still have moments and ache because my kids lost a good dad, but I also know that goodness and life are true things and not just theoretical concepts. Life can turn around, hearts can heal and love can be felt again.

It really, truly is a wonderful life.


Moving Forward

http://blueskiesandlollipops.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/the-magic-of-beginnings/

Moving Forward

Wow, I can hardly believe I am writing those words. But my world is different now. Never will my life be the same, but it will be OK.

“One Fit Widow” describes the process as moving forward as opposed to moving on, I like that. (http://onefitwidow.com/marrying-a-widow/). I am not forgetting the man I shared 22 years with or moving on from who we were together, that would be impossible. I am however, choosing to have a future that he is not a physical part of. For me, that isn’t easy.

For me it has been a hard slog of facing pain head on, staring its ugliness straight in the face and demanding it give me some life back.  To shift my Paul into a new, his own, room in my heart has been a very emotional journey. To accept his disease, his death, to feel abandoned by those same things, to feel I may have caused or contributed in some way to the cancer, maybe I could have done more, been more, tried harder, given my actual life for his…to accept these things was necessary. To face each one and come to some kind of conclusion in order to put things in place and be able to move on was crucial for me. Otherwise it’s like having a set of hurdles in my heart. Every time I came to one, it seemed insurmountable and stopped me in my tracks. Unable to move forward, path blocked, journey halted. So I had to dismantle the guilt and the grief. One misconception at a time, one solid guilt melting truth at a time. I had to clear the path of hurdles and begin to run again.

It’s not just about finding new love; I can’t control that, although I hope I am not alone forever. Its kids, work, church, social life, recreation; the way I do everything has had to change. I am a single parent who as to negotiate how to do these things now. No backups, just me.  I found that extremely scary at first, but I’m getting there and it’s OK.

To rediscover who I am on my own is important too. I have begun to see things solely through my own eyes again. Grateful for the person my Paul helped me to be, and for the love he gave me and his kids, but I have to make my own choices now, grow up and take all the responsibility. I really did like being married, that part is hard. Seasons can be hard.

Seasons, now that’s something. In the past week I have seen the same passage of scripture come at me from very unusual sources. School newsletters, emails, Facebook to name a few (because I forget the others!!) so I’m taking that as a sign and moving forward. I will accept that it’s OK for the seasons to change; it’s OK to move forward.

Never will my life be the same, but it will be OK.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 The Message

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.


Life and Other Sadness

I lost a friend this week, a beautiful lady, mum, wife, sister, and woman.  So much sadness. She was young; she has 2 gorgeous girls and family that are aching for her.  I get it. I know the sadness, I know that ache, the yearning for it not to be true, the disbelief, loss is hard.

When I heard the news I felt my heart resist, turn off, I didn’t want to feel the sadness, not again. But I have learnt something this week, I don’t need to be afraid of sadness, it won’t kill me, I can live this life, it won’t be the same, but it will be OK.

It means risk to keep my heart open; an open heart can be crushed so easily, to close it off makes more sense. To hide behind excuses of “well I need to protect my heart after such grief” or “it’s just not in my personality” may hold some truth but will only cause my heart walls to harden. It will shut out any potential for pure life that I have, so I won’t do that.

Life dishes up sadness sometimes. It also offers joy and love. God offers me the ultimate choice between life and death. He encourages me to choose life. It occurs to me that so much extreme sadness drains said life and erodes away the ability to choose. So many lives are cut short because there doesn’t seem like a choice exists anymore, there seems like only one way out…such a tragic illness.

So today I choose life, sadness and all. I will not be afraid of sadness, I will embrace it as part of my journey, part of the fabric of who I am knowing that God holds me close, whether in joy or sadness. Yesterday, today and forever I can count on that.


A piece of cake and red balloons

Image

It occurred to me, as things tend to do, that I write about the hard things much, much more than anything else. So today will be different.

Not that experiencing grief and being jolted into a new existence is a party accompanied by a piece of cake and red balloons! But I hope that as the numbness has long wore off and the shock of that reality has settled somewhat, I am able to see the brighter side of life once again. There can be things to look forward to again.

Grief is a robber. But like most robbers, they get caught eventually and hopefully you get your stuff back…not everything usually, but things are found again. To laugh and smile again, at anything, is priceless, I love to laugh. At first it’s accompanied by guilt, (how dare I laugh when someone suffered and died), but I must choose life and laughter is not only the best medicine, but it feels bloody good!

I am, of course, thankful for my wonderful kids, friends and family who have all been exceptional at loving me, not everyone has that. But also for the place I live, not the house but the town, the area, the community. I love it here, and if it wasn’t for Pauls pushing we wouldn’t be here. This is exactly where he wanted to be, where he left us, and it is home. I feel settled for the first time in years.

I am a control freak by nature (well probably from experience but today is about happy thoughts!), so change doesn’t always happen smoothly. I am trying to see change as a good thing, I can be and do whatever I like, new experiences, new job and maybe even new career. It’s not just a new chapter, but a whole new book “Janene – The Sequel” Oh gee that’s lame!! But you get the drift. This is one of those huge hurdles that appears more like a pole vault apparatus without the pole! To accept the possibility of moving on, alone, and that it’s Ok to do so.

I have been blessed I know. To have had the love of a good man, to know what that looks and feels like, is a gift. It’s a lovely thing to feel now that it doesn’t totally rip my heart out when I do; a gift I will have forever. It is a process of assimilating those feelings into a new part of my heart, Paul’s part of my heart.  Forever his, forever mine. As I do maybe my heart is freeing up for other things, other people…maybe.

So there is life in the old girl yet! Thank God! I wandered if I’d see the day. So maybe one day I will have that party with a piece of cake and red balloons…just maybe I will.


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