Sat, Jun 3rd - 4:01PM
These journal entries (written over the past two weeks) deal with the grieving process, letting go of a loved one, and the wonderful gifts of our Savior Jesus Christ.
REV 7:16-17 Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat upon them, nor any scorching heat. For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.
On May 21, 2006 around 11 P.M. my wife and freind of 41 years was taken away from me. She had cancer. She fought a good fight but her body gave out. I was very angry. I could not believe it. I decided to write notes trying to figure out what could have gone wrong. No answers from the doctors, they were stumped. No answers from God. He was silent! My wife had been dealing with uterin and colon cancer, plus chemotherapy for 6 years. But each time we pulled through with the help of God. They found spots in the PET scan and all decided it was the best to operate and follow up with chemotherapy. It was to be a major operation with a good chance for recovery the doctors said.
The operation went well and after a week my wife came home. In 6 days we were to go see the doctor for a follow up. But that Friday morning at 5:30 A.M. something went wrong. We were on the way to see the doctor. She said that things were blurry (her vision) and that this was not good. Later she said that this was serious. She told me that she had laid her shoes and dress out for her burial and she wanted young Rev. Jeffrey to perform the funeral service. I said "please don't talk like that" as I was driving with white knuckles grasping the wheel, all the while praying that everything would be all right. We go to the Hospital and I wheeled her to see the doctor. She was very dehydrated. He said that everything looked good and they were going to give her an I.V. They could not, however, get her blood pressure up. They took her to ICU and things started going down hill. I was bewildered. My son Kurt came right away and tried to sort things out. "We will leave it in God's hands." "Yes" I said. The family came (my two sons and daughter and friends and Pastor Jeff and his wife.) We prayed, we thought of memories and laughed in spite of what was gonig on. My Gwen was going. If I yelled her name her eyes would open for a moment. I sang a song to her "peace sweet peace" and quoted the 23 Psalm. I told her that God was going to take care of her and prepare a room for her until I got there. (I didn't even know how I started to sing or quote verses.) The doctor came in and said that it there was little chance of survival (The major organs had started to shut down. I didn't want to see her like this and I know she didn't want to be like this. We had discussed this before in happier times.) I called the family together. We prayed and said it was time to let go. We said our goodbyes and told the doctors of our decision. (They were artificially elevating her blood pressure with drugs, with little success, her BP slowly dropping.) The doctors said it was the right thing to do. I stood helplessly by. I was always there for her and now I could do nothing, nothing (that was a helpless feeling.) It was a long ride home (after she passed). My son Kurt rode home with me. He wanted to drive but I said no, that I could think better. We kept talking. I couldn't let my wife go. My son said "Dad, who are you doing this for, you or Mom? You are being selfish. Mom is in a better place with Jesus holding her hand." It was a very hard time to walk into a dark, empty house knowing your wife was not coming back. I fell on my knees demanding God for answers. Who was He? I demanded him to come down here. Let's get things straightened out. I was crying, yelling, demanding. There was silence. Not a single word from God. "Show me a scripture verse", I cried, "Something to hold onto." Nothing! I thought God had abandoned me.
It was morning, no comfort, just numbness. I got dressed. The kids were coming over. I heard her favorite song on a Danny Odonnell C.D (I watched the Sunrise) and I cried and opened the Bible. There it was Psalm Chapter 27 verses 13 and 14: I know I will love to see the Lord's goodness in this present life. Trust in the Lord and have faith! Do not despire, trust in the Lord! How could I see the Lord's goodness when he took my everything home and left me behind? What kind of goodness was that? When the kids came and we started talking, laughing, remembering their mother, I began to realize what a great job Gwen had done raising them. I began to see the Lord's goodness. When this trajedy happened they were there support me, putting their arms of love for support, holding me together. I really needed them. Blessed be the bind that tied this family together.
Then came the funeral. I had not realized home many lives Gwen had touched through church, work as a deacon, or just talking with someone (man could she talk!). By having Pastor Jeff do the service, it was her last call for witnessing to people to accept Christ as their Savior. It was very quiet. I was praying somehow, someone would say yes. To go out into eternity without knowing Jesus is very sad. I assured my wife and told her to wait, that I would touch her hand again. After the funeral I went to my daughter's place by the bay of the Jersey shore with my family. Just talking about their Mom, just the way she would want it. We stayed over the weekend. I had lost all track of time. It was Memorial Day. I came home. I cried and told God I would carry on, but I prayed that He would let me know His will for my life and I'll do it!
Next day I was sitting on my front porch feeling sorry for myself. Here I was all alone. Gwen is not coming back. I'm watching the next door neighbors have fun, putting their arms around each other. How dare they! Here I sit alone. Doesn't anyone see me or feel my pain! Don't quote scripture to me, not meant for me. I can't go to work, sleepless night. I need to tie up loose ends. Feeling sorry for myself, helpless. Where is God? I need you God! Read C.S. Lewis "Grief Observed." Hard book to read......big words beyond me but I just needed to read that its okay to grieve, yell at God, and always remember my true Love. I can't hear God, too many distractions. Feeling sorry for myself. "Bring her back!" It will ease the pain, make everything right. "You brought Lazarus back!" I'm waiting for my answer. My son Kurt asked me to listen to Chuck Swindoll's account of Job. When I heard it, I cried! I started to apologize to God for what I had said. He was there for Job, He will be there for you and me! (Be still and know that I am God!) is what the Lord has said.
Its hard to go on. I think about Gwen alot. Grieving for her has brought me closer to God. I seek him more. Just to feel his presence and peace that passes all understanding. Just like Pastor Jeff said. "God does not make mistakes." My Gwen is better off in the arms of the master of all peace. No more hurts, no more pain. The cancer is all gone. She is home with her grandparents whom she loved very much, waiting in Heaven for her family to come to her. With God's help, we will see her again. God is good, God is great! God is merciful, loving and kind. But God is the only God!
I don't know how long it will be, but with Christ at my side, I know I will be able to hang on. It will be rough. Memories will always be there (as they should be.) Never let go of the family and friends who God has put here for us. Cast all your cares upon him for he careth for you! He is your freind that sticks closer than a brother. He knows what is best for us. I must decrease while he increses. Hold me nearer to thee my Lord. Just like the song lyrics "Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on, let me stand. I am tired, I am weak, I am worn. Through the storm, through the night. Lead me on to the light. Precious Lord, take my hand lead me on. Thank you Jesus!
REV 22: 12 - 13 Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.