Yes, My Life Has Changed

journaling
We all live temporary lives here on earth and will meet Jesus one day. Most of us don’t think of our short life spans. Those who have a deep faith know death is but a stepping stone into a better life. But when death of a loved one stares us in the face, the reality of losing them from our everyday lives is a powerful sorrow. We need to grieve. God doesn’t promise we won’t have sad times and suffer loss. He gave us tears for a reason. Even Jesus wept for the loss of his friend, Lazarus.

My parents are in heaven and I miss them. My children will miss me when I pass from this life.

I look in the mirror and see how the years are beginning to take a toll on me. My mind is still young. Oh, I may forget things from time to time, but that comes from leading such a busy life. I try not to dwell on mortality.

My life is not the same as it was when I was a mother with children in the house. It’s not the same as the years after they moved out and it was just my beloved husband and me. Oh, the plans we made when we were younger! Dreams of traveling. How different reality turned out to be.

We learned time spent together, quality time, the presence, is the important thing. Presence is what makes memories and deepens love.

I was blessed with a wonderful man who would do anything to make me smile. We shared a love for God and family. He was my best friend. Living without him is the hardest thing God has ever asked of me.

Life changed when Jesus called him home.

I was no longer a married woman. I was a widow. And I didn’t understand what this new phase of life meant. I still felt married. The difference was the absence of my husband in bed next to me, his laughter while we watched television together, his voice as he read an interesting article from the newspaper, and the sound of the oxygen machine running twenty-four hours a day. I cried when the medical supplier came to pick up all the equipment and oxygen tanks. It was like saying goodbye again.

The house was too quiet and yet too noisy. I never noticed how loud the furnace and air conditioner sounded, or the refrigerator. I could hear the wall clock ticking. Deafening silence.
I wandered the rooms and felt the absence of the heart of our home.

After the funeral, cards arrived constantly. Their words and condolences were meant to comfort. They brought tears. Each beautiful word reminded me of the truth. My husband was gone.

His picture on the wall made me cry. His smile and his face reminded me he had been real, but his absence became a black hole in my existence. How does one spend so many years together with another person, day after day, night after night, and then go on living without them? Is it possible?

An author friend sent me a journal. Empty pages. What does a writer do with empty pages? I picked up a pen and I wrote the pain onto the paper. This was the first entry thirteen days after Ron breathed his last breath.

Just when I get a feeling that I can handle being alone something triggers a deep sense of loneliness and the tears begin to flow. I scare the cats with the sounds of my sorrow. I can’t control the sobbing. I don’t ever remember crying so hard, feeling so lost, so empty and alone. What kept me busy before Ron passed? How did the days go by so quickly? I realize now why God created us to be in relationships. I hate the long, empty days with no purpose. In time I may find my way back to writing. I hope so.

Today I spent two and a half hours sitting patiently in the Social Security office. I had something to do. Since I’ve been home, I wrote out a few appreciation cards, ate lunch, and took a nap. A storm just rolled through dropping an enormous amount of rain. The days since Ron went into the hospital have been rainy. It’s as if heaven is acknowledging my grief. Will I ever be whole again? How do I go on without my love?

I am not the strong woman people see me as. I am dying inside. It’s true. A heart can break. As the afternoon passes, I long to crawl into bed and sleep. Only then is the pain relieved. I have a big house filled with things that mean nothing. The kids all have their own families and jobs, busy lives. I feel so alone and sad. My life has no meaning. I try to sound positive and not show the pain to others.

Sometimes I convince myself I’ll be okay and I’m getting used to this new life. Then a moment later, I’m wallowing in grief not knowing what to do next. Yesterday I received this journal as a gift from a writing friend. I decided to just jot down my feelings without thinking. They say time heals. I hope those words are true.

I need to find a reason to keep living this lonely and meaningless life. I pray for God to show me what He wants me to do now. There is a reason He’s not ready to take me to Heaven yet. I can only pray the sorrow doesn’t keep me from seeing the path He’s chosen for me. I’ve moved all the furniture around, but I wish now I’d left it as it was. Frozen in time so I might remember how things were before my heart and soul were damaged beyond repair. I’m a lonely woman in a silent home that holds no joy.

Pain becomes a living entity residing inside, like a tumor. It stays night and day. And the temptation to withdraw from life becomes strong. It might take everything you’ve got to answer the phone. Some people continue to hold onto the grief for years after they’ve said goodbye to their spouse. This isn’t healthy, and it becomes a nightmare of depression.

There is help, but it will be up to you to reach out, and it will take every ounce of courage you possess to do so.

I read through my journal and see a woman who doesn’t know what to do, where to turn.

The second journal entry:

It’s been a long day. Each day is another day in a long line of days to come. I miss Ron’s presence. The house is so big, so empty without him. I long to feel his presence, but that’s not to be again. Years pass so quickly and suddenly one is gone. Like a finger snap an end comes. I move through each hour searching for a reason to continue.

It seemed as if I had no purpose in life. Without him to care for, I was adrift in a new, strange world. But I hid my grief from the outside world because I felt this was expected. No one wants to see a woman constantly in tears. Yet, every time I had to tell someone Ron had passed, I couldn’t hold them back. I had some good days and then I would feel that wave of grief wash over me again.

One day I wrote:

Today I had a couple of breakdown moments. I try not to dwell on how his presence is missing. Hard, but I am stronger.

The very next morning, I wrote:

Having a breakdown. Can’t stop thinking about how Ron suffered so much. All the terribly long days when he didn’t understand what was happening. And then the long night waiting while he was in God’s hands, so heavily sedated he couldn’t communicate. The sounds of his struggling to breathe tear at my heart, even now. I can’t stop crying. I’m so broken. I don’t understand what happened. I miss him so much. I seek comfort. I fear this pain will never leave. I have to go on living, finding things to keep me busy. But I don’t want to go on. I long for this pain and sorrow to be over. Is this my punishment? Did I not do everything I should have for my beloved? Does he know how much I loved him? If only I could have taken on his illness myself and spared him. Lord, help me, please—

 

As I write this blog, over two and a half years have gone by since this first journal entry. I am able to write again. Each year since Ron’s passing, I’ve published a fiction book.

If this blog series helps one person to understand they are not crazy and it is okay to grieve when losing a loved one, the writing has been worthwhile.

Yes, my life has changed. I still grieve. I still cry. But life does go on.

Blessings,

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Comments

Yes, My Life Has Changed — 5 Comments

  1. Thank you for this post today. I am experiencing the feelings you described and I feel the loneliness but I thank God everyday for the help of my family. Several years ago they told my husband and me that they felt we should move back with them. We did and now I know it was God’s plan that I would never be alone. I miss him dearly but at least I am not completely alone. Thank you for making me feel it is ok.

    • Thank you for sharing with me, Beverly. Just knowing I can help someone else with this blog series is a blessing from God. I’m so glad you were able to move in with your family and have their support and love.

  2. Seems everyone who has lost a spouse goes through a similar experience. I’d been doing well until this past week end, Valentine’s Day. I got out some love notes he’d written over the years and I sobbed over each one. I missed him. I wanted him back and I wanted him back right now!!! When I finally settled down, and reality set back in, I knew he couldn’t come back or stay here any longer when he left. His time was up. He is in the arms of Jesus. There are many unanswered questions I have about eternity but I know for sure he’s there. I asked him toward the end if he had been speaking to the Lord. He shook his head yes. I asked what he’d been saying and he said, “that I love him.” And I know he did and is. Bless you Carol for sharing this. Knowing there are so many out here hurting and having the same pain. Hugs, B

    • Valentine’s Day was difficult. Seems the holidays and special days are the worst once the initial shock and pain subsides a bit. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem fair that we don’t have our spouse with us any longer, even though we know they are in a better place. We all have those unanswered questions about eternity, but it will all be revealed one day. I’m so glad your hubby shared that with you. My hubby was on a ventilator and couldn’t speak or move because his hands were secured to prevent him from removing the tube. Our Pastor came and prayed one day, and afterward, I touched Ron’s hand and said, “Ron and I know where he’s going.” And my hubby smiled and nodded. Then in my Sunday School class, the leader told me he’d been praying for me after Ron’s death, and God spoke to him and said, “Ron has received my promise.” It is such a comfort to know where our loved ones are. Blessings and hugs to you, Barb.

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