Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Saying Goodbye

I have to say, these past few years that I have journeyed through have been vital to who I am today. I was broken, torn to shreds, and was ripped of any hope of what I thought my life would be like. I had countless days of not wanting to go on, and luckily countless people in my life who not only helped me but made me. I started this blog as a way to not only mend my heart and document how I got to here from where I was, but to reach out to others who may have experienced even just a miniscule piece of what I have been through. I have touched lives and lives have touched me. It is because of all of this that I am able to say goodbye to a chapter in my life that is no longer. I no longer feel like a widow. Yes, I have lost my first love, husband, father to my son, and best friend tragically too soon. But I have also gained so much since then. I am now remarried to a wonderful man who not only loves me but my son as well, and have also had a precious baby girl with my husband who has reminded me just how wonderful this life can be. I feel, that in order for me to move on completely I need to leave my widow life behind me. I find it too hard at times to talk about what I have been through, and it pains me that others have and are experiencing that pain as well. I have spent many days in prayer about this and I know for me this is the best thing to do. If this blog has helped even just one person get through their journey then I know that I have accomplished what I had been trying to do for all those years. I would like to send out my love to all of those who have supported me through all of these years as well as those who have lost a spouse and are trying to make sense of this journey. God bless you all.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Speech

My grandfather passed away Friday. I know I should be sad, and I am, but I am filled with more joy because I know without a shadow of a doubt that he is with our Father in heaven.

Grandpa was, as my Grandmother would say, "a true gentleman." Which was one of the main reasons why she married him, and for those of you who don't know, 20 days after their first date. He must of been a confident man as well, because when met her he called up his mother and told her that he had met the woman he was going to marry. I love hearing the story of their short courtship. Especially since they were married for 55 years. Which in these days we all know is hard to come by. True love. I never doubted their love for a second either because of the way he would look at my grandmother at times. It was in his eyes. Something I didn't know though, they had spaghetti for dinner on every anniversary because that was the dinner they had on their wedding night. He insisted, which I think is romantic.

The love that I speak of in his eyes wasn't just for Grandma, it was for all of us in his family too. The sparkle he had in his eyes and the smile on his face when any of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren walked into the house was an undeniable love. He loved spoiling us and teasing us at the same time. When us grandchildren were young he use to tell us that the boogie man lived in the closet and would get us if we didn't take a nap. His cane was also used on numerous accounts as a way to play with the great-grandbabies...And his lap always had an open invitation for them to sit on while he sat in his favorite chair. Not to mention the candy drawer that was always stocked with King Size Candy bars, which we could have as much as we wanted. However he did have some expectations of his grandkids...well at least from me I know that he expected that if I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies that I was to make a special bag just for him. Which I always did because I loved how happy it made him.

The great thing about grandpa was that his love and generosity was never limited to just his family. As my grandmother put it, if you were hungry and all he had was a loaf of bread he would give you the whole loaf and save nothing for him self. He volunteered countless hours teaching computer classes and assisting residents in his community at Lamplighter Village. He was also very involved with his church of 22 years, Rockledge Christian Center. He was always one of the first ones at the church every Sunday morning opening the doors and helping with the preparations for the day. He also was the go to man for the kids to get candy from.

Now we all know, that he was also a wise guy. He would always have a way of sneaking in a joke or two into a conversation, which usually in turn made my grandmother blush or shake her head. Matter of Fact, when he was being baptized Pastor Joe had asked him why it took him so long, and my grandfather replied, "Why did you let me take so long." Plus he was always up for a wise crack from someone else too and could go back and forth with the best of them. Which is one of the ways that he earned the nickname "Grumpy Old Man" which was bestowed upon by my sister, Michelle.

My grandpa, or Jim, or Papaw, or Pop-Pop...whatever name you called him was so many things to so many people. He was a gentleman. He was a man of honor, a loving man, a giving man, and a man who knew how to find laughter in life.

See, there are so many reasons why I know my grandfather is looking down on all of us right now smiling from heaven. He is no longer restricted by his disease and handicaps. He is no longer in pain. So, even though we miss him tremendously and we would give anything for just a little more time with him, I am joyful knowing he is happy. To add to the many reasons why I know he is happy in heaven. This past Sunday morning when I was at church our worship team sang a song that they had never sung before and while introducing the song they told us to have fun. As the song began to play I realized it was one of my grandfather's favorite songs, "I'll Fly Away". I feel it was my grandfather's way of saying hello and that he is happy and joyful in the arms of heaven.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


We grow up believing our parents are invincible, almost superhero like. We know we can go to them for anything, bad or good. That they somehow will heal our wounds and give us the encouragement we need to go back out into the world.

Then one day we become parents. The excitement in their eyes is enough to make you beam with pride. Then you lean on them for a whole new realm of issues. You call them in a panic because your baby has been crying for hours and you don't know what to do. You cry to them that you feel you aren't a good parent and you are ruining your child forever. In return they always lift you up with the knowledge you need and the reassurance that they felt the same way you did. Of course you don't see how they could feel incapable the way you do because in your eyes they were the perfect parents.

But what about the day when you see them hurt and broken? When you can tell in their voice that they need reassurance or encouragement? When they need someone to talk to?

My parents for me have always been rocks. Strong as a fortress. Although some signs have shown of defeat from time to time, never were they shaken. Although there are few things that could make me worry about my parents, I know the one thing they hold dear to their hearts is their family. I saw this when I lost my husband. My parents still my rocks, suffered. I could see the pain in their eyes. As much as they were there for me I knew in their hearts they felt they weren't doing enough. However they were doing everything I needed.

Now I seem to be in the position that my parents were in four years ago. As they watch one of their parents slip into dementia, I can't help but want to take away the pain from them and my Grandmother. I want to hold my mother and tell her everything is going to be okay, like she would me. I want to help, but what is there really one can do. You can help physically by running an errand, taking lunch/dinner to someone, but nothing I do can heal the heart and shield it from the pain.

There comes a time when the roles are reversed and your parents become the ones that need protecting, healing, and words of encouragement. There comes a time when you too want to shield them from the harshness of the world.

Monday, November 21, 2011

How much life changes in a blink of an eye. It has been four years since Brian has passed but it seems as if it was just yesterday he was here. At the same time I feel like my life has changed so much since then that the girl I was that day is a distant memory.

As I always tell my fellow widows/widowers...the anticipation of the anniversary is always worse then the actual day usually turns out. Which in normal fashion I have had anxiety all this month, sometimes about normal everyday stuff and sometimes as I thought about my late husband and that day. Today, although nothing like I had planned it to be, was just like any other day. I had hoped to make it to the zoo, but with the weather and how I have been feeling being pregnant and all the zoo will have to come another day.

I still can't believe that in four years I have remarried and am now expecting a little girl with my recent husband. I look back and if you would have asked me a few years ago if I would ever love again and get married, I would have told you I might love but not the way I loved Brian, and marriage was never going to happen again. Funny thing is, I love so deeply for my now husband and feel lucky that God has given me a second chance with the whole family thing. I use to feel robbed, but now I feel blessed. Blessed that I have grown and learned from that tragic day. Blessed that instead of letting that day/moment define me, I let it mold me into a better person and bring me closer to God.

They always say that every situation is what you make of it. Well I find that saying very true. Although I still miss Brian dearly and wish he was here so that Brandon could know his daddy more intimately, I know that everything is going to be okay and that life really does go on.

These past four years I have cried, been broken, laughed, and put back together again. I have leaned on my family members more than I would have liked to and many friends who didn't have to be there for me wiped tears from my face. I know that not everyone is as blessed as I am and I thank God everyday for each and every person who is and was in my life. I also thank God for all those who loved Brian dearly whether they were family, friends that felt like family, or acquaintances.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Almighty Healer

It was brought to my attention that I have not updated my blog lately about our precious Bryn...

When you are pregnant and you go for the ultrasound where you learn the sex of you baby along with how he/she is growing and that all is well. Really the only emotion that ever came to mind was excitement. So when I was told the next morning that they wanted to take a better look at her heart I felt like I was hit by a truck. Then instead of getting the relief that all was well, I was told that she may need surgery right after or soon after she was born due to a significantly large hole.

For the next two and a half months I went to doctor visit after doctor visit waiting for someone to give me an answer or a plan on what is going to be done and when. However instead I got one doctor telling me one thing and another telling me something completely different.

So, for my latest Cardiology appointment and Perinatal appointment they finally both agreed. The hole was gone.

I didn't understand. I still was a little scared and really didn't know how to feel. As I broke down in the doctor's office and asked him "What does this mean?" He simply replied with, "This means it is time for you to stop worrying and to start enjoying being pregnant and start getting excited about your little girl." The tears were part relief and part frustration all in one.

There is only one explanation that I can come up with, God. How can a hole that large suddenly disappear? I had two doctors see it and then the third couldn't see it. It was if it had never had been there in the first place. I know some may say that it could have been a mistake, but I'd rather think of it as an act from our Almighty Healer. Sometimes science can't explain everything and I am fine with that. Sometimes an explanation really isn't needed

I hate to admit this but until that news I was having a hard time being truly excited about being pregnant. I couldn't bear the thought of our little girl needing surgery or even the possibility of loosing her, so I was a bit disconnected. I was afraid to love her too much and then loose her. I didn't want to buy clothes or get her room ready. I didn't want to really do anything to prepare because I was scared. My husband had to push to start getting her room together.

I will say, as sad as it was for my husband to hear how I was feeling and how I had a hard time connecting, he never made me feel bad about it. He just encouraged me to have faith that everything was going to be okay. I didn't really tell anyone but him how I felt, and I am so glad that my husband was all I needed to get through those feelings. He had more faith than me, and I love him more because of that.

So now I am super excited about our up and coming gift even more than I was when I first found out I was pregnant. Plus I was taught a valuable lesson. Just because I have been through some bad things in my life and I have suffered great loss, that doesn't mean I should loose all faith that something that starts off sounding bad can have a good outcome. He will take care of us, even when we feel like there is nothing that can be done. You would think I would have learned that lesson already, but sometimes we need a little reminder :)

8 more weeks till Bryn makes her debut!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Trusting in Him

Our church is doing a 4 week series on the book of James. I was definitely looking forward to it because the series is all about Jesus being a part of your everyday life and not part of your life when you go to church or when you say your prayers at night. This is something I fell all of us could improve on, no matter how wonderful of a Christian you are. And well I definitely need help in this area in my life, so off to church I went on Sunday...

During church Pastor Mark said something that really hit home with me. He said, "Don't base your relationship with God on what is going on in your life." Wow, I thought. That is exactly what I have done in the past. When things were great I praised God for all he had given me in life and when things got hard, I shied away from him a bit. Don't get me wrong, I still believed in him and I still knew this was all part of his plan, but I didn't trust in him. Because I didn't know why the things in my life were happening I felt as if he didn't really have my back.

By the end of the service during the last song we sang I was brought to tears. I have been so upset with God about the troubles that have come to our attention with our little girl that I couldn't trust in Him. I thought, "Seriously! Again? Enough already!". Instead I should have praised him for all the wonderful things that I have in my life including my baby girl and trusted in Him that everything is going to work out just fine...no matter what.

It is a concept that I would guess that most people who go through difficult times have a hard time with. I know I have had my share of trials and I definitely questioned the Big Man Upstairs many of times and wondered where he was.

We all know that all bad in the world, disease, death, illness...is all the work of the devil. And although God has the power to shield us from these awful things in the world, he sometimes lets these things into our lives to teach us something. Kind of like when your mom or dad lets you fall every once in a while so you can learn about life on your own. Although I wish bad things never happened, I will say I have learned something about each and every mistake, wrong turn, and tragedy in my life. I am not the same jealous insecure girl I was in High School, I am not the same selfish woman I was 5 years ago. I am ever evolving and more and more becoming the woman that God intended me to be.

So i would like to take this moment to Praise God for all the wonderful things in my life:

Thank you Lord for...

My loving family, husband, and son.
This beautiful baby girl growing inside of me whom I know is your perfect creation.
My friends. All of them.
All the things you have blessed me with in my life.
The lessons you have taught me.
The lessons you have yet to teach me.
Giving me more than one chance to know you.
Always loving me, no matter what I say or do.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Matters of the Heart

The human heart. We not only refer to the heart physiologically but emotionally as well.

We have scientist, doctors, surgeons, nurses, and anyone else in the medically field study it. They study how it works and how sometimes it doesn't work. And when it has an issue we try desperately to fix it. Because without your heart, the rest of your organs can't function.

We refer to the heart with emotional ties. When we face upsetting times we call it heart-break. When we miss someone desperately, we say our heart aches. When we fall in love our heart leaps.

I have had the pleasure of experiencing the heart in many ways. I have fallen in love, had my heart broken, and my heart has ached. I have also become very aware of how the heart works and how it sometimes fails to work properly. It seams lately, really the past 4 years my life has been burdened by matters of the heart.

During the experience of the heart break of my husband passing away, I was told that the cause of his death was a congenital heart disease called myxoid heart disease. I was also told that I know had to have my son checked every year to make sure he doesn't develop the same thing his father died from. So, once a year I stress over his appointment with the pediatric cardiologist praying he hasn't developed any signs. Matter of a fact, we just had a check up on him on Monday and all was well. Whew! Now he can play soccer without me worrying about him dropping in the middle of a game. Which believe me, as time passes and we get closer to his annual appointment I often think about.

Now being the positive person I strive to be...I was sure that my run in with heart problems was done. At least physiologically. Well, as we all know, life is not a road that is straight and narrow. Life throws us some curves, bumps, and sometimes mountains to climb in the road.

A few weeks ago I went for my monthly OB check up. I was excited because we got to get an ultrasound and see our little one growing inside of me. We also found out the sex of our baby as well, which we didn't know if we were or not, but we found out it was a girl :) Everything looked good, she was the right size, healthy heartbeat, ten fingers, ten toes, all looked well...so it seemed.

The next morning, early, 7:30am early, I got a phone call from our doctor telling me that he wanted to send me to get more ultrasounds done. He said he wasn't sure if he got good views of the heart. So, off I went that day to see another doctor to get more ultrasounds done. Then, what every pregnant mother fears, I was told that our little girl had a significant hole in her heart called ventricular septal defect (VSD)and that I needed to see a pediatric cardiologist because it was very probable that she was going to need surgery after birth.


So, today was our appointment with the pediatric cardiologist to get more ultrasounds done. Of course Bryn, that is what we named her, wasn't cooperating very well. However, he feels he was able to get some good views of the heart. He couldn't see the VSD. Which means two things. One its not there anymore, or two he didn't get the view he needed. So good news considering two weeks ago I was told the hole was a significantly big hole. Unfortunately, there was a small caution sign to go with it. He also saw extra fluid around the heart. Everyone has some fluid around their heart, but there was more than she was suppose to have. Which means one of two things, one she is just fighting off a virus that I might have caught, or two, signs of congestive heart failure.

My hopes going into this appointments was to either have a game plan of what to do or have definite relief that she is perfectly fine. I didn't get either one of those and I left feeling the same way I went in, confused, worried, and a heartbroken.

I am starting to realize something, no matter what, matters of the heart surround us. In some way or another we are feeling our heart, whether it be emotionally or physically, our heart has a large presence. I pray that our little girl is just having a little hiccup in her development and in two weeks we will get a definite answer that she no longer has a hole in her heart and in four weeks we will be told that he fluids are at normal level. Because to be honest, as far as the matter of heartbreak goes, I don't know how much more i can take. I just know that no matter what God will take care of me and my baby.