Grief In The Night

A week ago, I had a really rough night.  I had been sick with an upper respiratory infection, been sad, and been dealing with a lot.  So, my grief seemed to get the better of me for a little while.  This blog is about that experience.

I shared it with some loved ones prior to posting it.  One of them said that guilt is not of God.  That is true and so very important to remember.  However, when the guilt comes to you in the middle of the night, you tend to believe it, at least for a little while.

When I am sick, I often feel sad or bad.  I suppose I get the blues at those times.  So on this recent Sunday night, I was up until about 12:30 a.m. with a coughing fit that just wouldn’t stop.  I made some hot tea, got a mouthful of cough drops and then started thinking of my late husband and everything that happened the day that he died.

Parts of that entire morning are still there in vivid clarity. I remember him falling out of the bed face down, I remember trying to turn him over and figure out how to help him. I remember calling 911.  While I was still talking, two police officers came in to the house, turned him over and started CPR.

Soon after they arrived, several firefighters arrived to help, then the paramedics from the ambulance service.  They all worked on my love while I talked with the officers about what happened.  As they worked, our son was still asleep upstairs – having no idea what was going on.

I then called my parents to see if they could come over and help.  I was not sure that I could drive us to the hospital.  Before they got there, Kirk was taken by ambulance to the hospital.  I had no idea at that time that I would not see him alive again.

I prayed for him to be okay, grabbed his wallet, and my purse, etc.  Then woke up Ian and said we all had to go to the hospital since his dad was taken there.  We then went to the emergency department where I told his name to the person at the desk and presented his insurance card.

We were then led into a side room, not a room where they were working on him.  I should have known something was very wrong with that but I was still in shock at this point and hopeful.  Then a doctor and nurse came in and told us what you hear in movies or TV that changes lives forever.  “We did all we could but we couldn’t revive him.  He has passed away.”

We were all crushed and stunned to hear this news.  I then went to see him and touched his cold hand.  I looked at the man who was my love and had been so full of life.  I cried, I inwardly screamed, and I was in total and complete shock.  It was so hard to see him like that, but part of me knew that he was no longer in pain and was in a better place.  Still, I wanted him to come back to us.

I came back and forth twice to continue to check on Ian since I was worried about how he was doing.  I asked for Kirk’s wedding ring and the nurse took it off his hand and gave it to me.  I feel guilty that I didn’t stay with Kirk longer.  I felt like I deserted him since I didn’t sit vigil with him until the funeral home and donor services came to get him.

I still have some guilt since I put our son before him, although he was my spouse and first love.  But, now I realize that he would have wanted me to comfort our son and be with him.  He would have understood why I had to do what I did.  After all, he loved our child as much as I do.

Thinking back on it, I think he might have been gone as soon as he hit the floor at home.  An autopsy was done that said he had an enlarged heart along with a few other issues.  So, he apparently had a heart attack when he fell.  I have no concept of the length of time that he was on the floor before I called and reacted.  I just hope and pray that if I took too long, that wasn’t part of why he didn’t make it.

So there is guilt about that as well.  And, during that recent middle of the night when I was already not feeling well, it reared its ugly head.  I still feel I should have done more, reacted sooner, called earlier, whatever.  But would that have actually made a difference?

I don’t know, but it is something that I continue to think about.  And, I continue to ask my love to forgive me for failing him since that is what it feels like I did.  I hope that I can one day forgive myself and realize that I truly did all that I could.  That it was, in fact, his time to go, despite what I wanted.

I do know that 10 or more people worked on him between who came to our house, in the ambulance and the staff at the hospital.  They all tried to revive him but had no luck that would actually stick.  And that is heartbreaking.

We had plans; we had just talked about some changes in our life the day before he passed away.  He was excited about them and looking forward to what came next.  I am not sure he had any idea of what was coming.  He didn’t feel well but we thought it was a cold and allergy issues that we all were dealing with.  We thought there was time the next day to take him to the doctor.

So this year on that Sunday night, after crying and thinking about everything from that awful day, I was finally able to settle down and rest.  The next day continued as a normal school day.  It was still hard and full of emotions, but I made it though.  I was able to see the good in our lives and move forward.

I have talked with other people who have also lost loved ones.  A few of them also feel some guilt about wishing more could have been done or an opportunity was missed, or that it was bad timing.  That seems to be part of the grief process of the denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and eventual acceptance.

Friends and family regularly ask me how I am doing.  Some days, I am able to say pretty well.  But other days, I am broken and sad and not sure what to do with myself.  So, I cry, I pray, and I think about a lovely memory with Kirk.  I try to remember that he is not in pain, that he wouldn’t have liked living as any less than the man that he was.  It is comforting to know that he is in Heaven waiting to see us again.  That is my comfort in this journey that continues to ebb and flow.

I am still a work in progress and probably will be for a long time to come.  It helps me to write about my feelings and to share them.  And, crying also helps.  It also helps to talk about Kirk, to see his picture, to laugh at a memory or a story that he told us, to laugh at jokes he told, and to tell Ian what a wonderful man his dad was.

Ian is growing into someone who Kirk would be very proud of.  He has so much of his dad in him.  That is a blessing and something I treasure. Still I wish his dad was actually here to see it.  I continue to be reminded of all of the things that he is missing and that is a challenge.

If you too are grieving, may you find support, may you have healing, and may you find your way.  May you know that some days will hurt like hell.   May you know that some days will be full of regret and guilt but that some will have hope and joy.

May we live in honor or those who are no longer with us.  May we make the most of the time we have with our loved ones.  May we be thankful for another day.  May we have healing on our path of grief.  And may God continue to bless us.

Prayers, Tears, and Comfort

graceThis morning as I logged into Facebook, I read several things which game me pause — the death of a young child, the pending death of a parent, surgery of a friend, sickness of friends, cancer treatments of family and friends, and other losses.

Tears came to my eyes and I said this prayer, “Lord, please give comfort to this family as only you can, please stretch out your healing hand to those who are sick, help us be a comfort to one another and help as needed, and please watch over us. Amen.”

The child, Patrick, passed away on Saturday.  He wasn’t quite a year old and had been sick with congenital heart disease.  His mother has been writing a blog about his illness, which is very touching.  I didn’t know them very well but this boy’s aunt is a friend of mine from high school.  I also knew her brother, Patrick’s dad.

Another friend has been called in by hospice for her father.  He has been ill and now the family is gathering with him.  It will be time for them to say goodbye.  So hard to lose a parent, no matter how old we are.

Also a dear friend is having another surgery this morning.  She has already had several and hopes this will be the last one and that comfort will be coming soon.  Other friends are sick and having issues, and some are in the midst of chemo treatments.

prayingSo much loss, so much heartache, so many tears, and so much pain.  Yet there is hope and comfort.  Comfort in hugs, comfort in knowing our loved ones will see us through the pain, comfort in prayers, comfort in our faith, comfort in our memories, and comfort in time.

There is an expression that time heals all wounds.  I am not sure if it heals them or if we figure out a way to deal with them as time goes on. Perhaps it is a combination of both.

Here are a few verses of scripture that are especially poignant this morning:

  • Ecclesiastes 3:4 — a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.
  • Psalm 30:5 — Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
  • Matthew 5:4 — Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
  • Philippians 4:7 — And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
  • Psalm 23:4 — Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

May God be with you at the beginning of this new week.  If you are in pain or are suffering loss, may you find comfort.

A Rainy Day

rainHi and Happy Wednesday!  Our weather today is rainy and windy with the temperature dropping throughout the day.  However, there are breaks in between the rain that we can enjoy. Right now as I look out my window, I can see the sun peaking through the clouds and it is lovely.

Today I am sad yet happy at the same time so this weather is perfect for my mood.  The health of someone dear to me is deteriorating quickly.  I have had a chance to see this person two days ago and that meant the world to me.  I hope to again very soon, but am not sure if that will be possible.  I just hope and pray that it is.

Like the sun through the clouds, there is some light with the darkness of how I am feeling. I will miss this person terribly, yet I have happiness in my heart.  You see, I know where this person is headed – to Heaven!!   That is an amazing comfort and helps me to see happiness beyond my tears.

Not that this person won’t be missed, quite the contrary.  The fact is that an amazing, long, and wonderful life has been lived.  That is wonderful and something I am learning from, and a real blessing. It is just hard to say goodbye.

Yesterday, I thought of the song, “I Can Only Imagine” by Mercy Me.  These words made me tear up, but also made me smile.  It is a song about meeting the Lord face to face and being curious about what we’d do.  Here are most of the lyrics:

“…I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When your face
Is before me
I can only imagine

[Chorus:]
Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine

I can only imagine
When that day comes
And I find myself
Standing in the Son

I can only imagine
When all I will do
Is forever
Forever worship You
I can only imagine.”

Aren’t those words amazing?  Knowing someone will be in the Lord’s presence soon is almost overwhelming, yet such an amazing comfort. This is helping more than I can imagine.

I wonder what my loved one will do when meeting the Lord?  It makes me truly happy to think about since there will be no more pain or suffering, but instead pure and amazing joy.