Monday, November 16, 2009

Looking past the Pain

Lately, I find my writings to lean more towards life and the stuff that comes down the pike. Things that effects our everyday lives. The Cancer information, seemingly still so valuable to me, tends to fall on deaf ears.

There is a very short phrase coined by this generation , that I think we all need to visit more often. It’s called “OWN IT”” Simple to learn, easy to remember, but very deep in content.
June 18th , this year ended a 13 yr cancer struggle for Jenny and I. And I’m left with a 3 pound box of ashes, fading memories, and a ton of questions . The attempts to get back to normal were futile, and it took a revelation from my youngest to put it in place. “normal is never going to be again Dad. ,We need to seek a new normal.”  Convinced she was right we began again, trying hard to patch up the old wounds and move on.   There are no options, life changes, you just need to 'Own it', N move on.

October 27th, four months later I stood with my son, in the lower level of his home. And watched helplessly while he tried to revive his wife of 20 years. I will never forget the look of desperation on his face as we tried everything possible to breath life back into this one who had bore his children and shared his life . In a few short moments all that used to be was gone, replaced by challenges so huge that even an attempt to think it through was overwhelming.
Kathy’s life now over, the first hurdle was to tell the kids. Much discussion and planning took place to make sure all avenues were investigated. That meeting took place in Al’s living room where a very simple and honest delivery of guarded facts were given to three very concerns kids.
A few whimpers and tears followed as an 8,11 and 12 year old tried to absorb the fact that Mom would never come home again. And within minutes of that  information, all three were on the trampoline, seeing who could outdo the other, tucking thoughts of Mom somewhere back behind the giggles.
Today is day eight of the new normal. Much of what used to be is gone. Replaced by a numbness that carries you from point A to point B in a function, non-function status. New routines begin to develop and Al assumes the roll of Mister Mom one step at a time.
He points to his chest and says, “did it hurt Dad in your chest, when Mom died?". The reply, “Yes Son it did, But it wont stay, it will get less n less.“  I can read the look on his face like a book. I can feel the pain in his eyes as if Jenny's passing was yesterday. But I can do nothing but be here to try and support him as the walls of the life they built together comes crashing down on him in waves so heavy they drove his dad into a bottle if only for a short time. This is my first born, a son so dear to me that I’d give my life for him. But I’m only allowed to watch.
I had asked the Lord one time, after the kids had left the nest. "What lord, What good am I now". His answer, "to keep them in prayer and covered by the blood of Christ". When Kathy died my son had said , “I don’t want to be alone Dad”. So I’m here, but I’m able to do nothing but watch him go through this alone. When his mom died, I could at least shield him and the other kids from some of what I saw. Here, he must take it alone.
Life goes on for those of us left behind, for Kathy, a new life begins. She rests at the feet of the master awaiting the day she receives her crowns and begins eternity with the King of Kings.

Like any Father, the first couple days I worried for my son. How could he manage, when can he work, how will he assume all the tasks now required of him in this now very real 'MisterMom' position. A realtime crash course in adjustment 101 with no “spring break” in sight.
The years have givin me both insight and advantage, both absolutely necessary for survival. And both a free 'perk' for walking with and getting to know Jesus Christ. I used to chuckle at those who would be so stupid as to say 'the Lord talked to me'. I’d make a face maybe turn my head and pity the jerk, hoping he’d just go away. At 62 enough waters run under this ole bridge that we are carefull with the kiddin and very serious about who the boss is. Cemetery’s full of folks who thought they could outrun Him, And life is just a whole lot easier when you bunk with Him n try to listen to His laws. But heck, I know there’s some tough guys out there, Go for it! You deserve the truth. If you're so stubborn that you gotta do it the way I did, no better time than now for learnin. . Always figured if you gotta take a beating its best to get at it n get to the other side.
The day after Kathy’s passing, I sat across the kitchen table watching Al try to juggle work, issues with the house, a good number of folks who just wanted to help and then try to respond to 3 motherless kids with questions on dress, homework, etc. I could do nothing but sit there and my heart ached to be able to pitch in. And out of the blue the Lord spoke to my heart and said,
”your eyes are focused on the hurt and confusion. Look past to find Me. It was no surprise to me. I knew Kathy was leaving, I placed her to rest, She sleeps with those who wait the day of my return. Your Son will grieve as I allow it, and as you also did grieve. Those grandbabies are covered in the love of their father and all will be well. . This is a new beginning and not an end. No part of the future has been forgotten. And he will not be alone. Trust me for I am He who sets the moon and the stars. I am fully able and will leave nothing undone."
And as I was able to look with new vision and insight it became very clear that what was revealed was very true. We were truly walking through the valley of the shadow of death but the sting was gone. My Son functioned incredibly well and his grief was haltered. Many times I see wisdom in the things he does and says that would not be there if consumed by this. Three grandkids laughed and played with hardly a sign that mom was gone. Denial? Not a chance. Dad created journals and each night before prayers they would each write something special about Mom. They “camped out” in the Rec room together, two mattresses tossed together to create a place of safety,. where that little family could lay close at night to dispel the fear or talk and cry. Dad said the questions got very deep after the lights went out and the oneness of a bruised family could heal in its own time.  At bedtime I would not even attempt to enter that area. It was sacred ground, a place for just him n the kids. Gods wisdom created it and it works exceptionally well.
At the risk of sounding bizarre what an incredible thing to witness. Death is as much a part of life as life itself. And to be able to see beyond the vail,..such a blessing

Age is not all bad. At 62 I can see back a stretch. See both hills and valleys, both joy and sad times confirming once again the truth in Gods word. My Son now says he wants to go to the Lord before me, because hes lost enough. But time will change that. He will see the joy in seeing those he loves grow and become adults. At that time he will know the blessings I now enjoy. .
At 20 we are invincible, at 30 smarter than most, 40 brings forth life’s reality’s. And by 50 we begin to see mortality through Gods eyes, maybe the aches n pains help. But you definitely are aware that life is not forever and you’d better get at the business of trying to understand where your headed. At 40 death scared me, so much so that I petitioned the Lord to teach me so I could function without fear. I feared seeing a son or daughter laying in a coffin, and it consumed me, yet I was helpless to change a thing. He has done that  and much much more and I stand ready to rest at His Command.   But until He tells me my days are finished I walk by faith. There is no fear, no disease, nothing placed here that does not bow its knee to the King of Kings, and by His grace He has allowed me to be His Child. Nothing in me deserves this love, for I am as filthy rags. But this Holy God, who simply spoke this world into being has kept His word and walked with me and blessed me way beyond a fair measure. Should I die this day, I am so far ahead.

This article seems to have no end. Each attempt to close brings more thoughts, more blessings, memories that need to be shared. That being said I’ll simply give the alter call and it will be your choice whether life will be your struggle, or the joy it can be. If the Lord Jesus Christ see’s value in spending time with me, then surely He will listen when you speak. I promise you, that if with sincerity in your heart you’ll ask Him to reveal Himself to you, you’ll never be the same again. for He is a GREAT and Mighty KING ,,,,,A.L.R.


Anonymous said...

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Alicia said...

Your writing is so heartfelt and powerful. I've enjoyed reading your words, and greatly admire your strength of spirit! I agree; you're blog is an inspiration to those in the midst of a similar struggle!