Good Grief

Good Grief

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Knowing You'll Be There - Gaither Vocal Band

I recently attended our church's homecoming and we had special guest singers, The Davis Trio, come and sing. They sang this song and on the first line I was in tears along with Jake. This song truly reflects how I feel about Shane. Enjoy. Listen closely when they sing about "You left so many Fishers of Men" so Shane. Can't wait to go Home so I can run into My Father's arms and my husbands arms, cause he said he'd be waiting, both have promised me that.

Friday, September 10, 2010


  Pride-I have never really thought about this word very much until the last year.  Cancer does not allow a lot of pride when it grows and flourishes.   Shane held on to his dignity until the very end but was never prideful.  I think the dignity that he displayed through his sickness and through his bodily death had lots to do with the grace he displayed.   This man was extremely gracious to me and everyone around us.  Always thanking me and telling me he was sorry for what I had to do for him, he was gracious to whomever was around helping.  He was gracious even to each person that stuck him with a needle, or pulled out a chest tube, or gave him extremely bad news. He was gracious even when he had his head in a bucket, and even when he just wasn't up for company.  He continued to hang on to his dignity through his graciousness. So I think that grace and dignity go hand in hand.  I, too, really try to be gracious, therefore, hanging on to my dignity.  Its rather hard being a widow with children and accepting things that are done for us or given to us.  I have been told time and time again to just accept my blessings without questioning or complaining.  Its hard to depend on others for things, things that ordinarily Shane took care of.  In no way am I saying that I am too prideful to accept blessings, I'm just saying it is hard.  Pride is something you have to swallow and put behind you.  Yes, I've said before that peoples expressions tell the whole story about me, being a new widow.  I just have to swallow my pride and push on.  I try and take lessons from Shane in this area.  When your body is riddled with this dastardly disease, pride goes out the window.  Frankly, there is no room for pride of any kind.  So as I watched Shane put pride on the back burner, I watched his grace explode.  You put pride behind you when you walk through the Social Security office to file for widow benefits and benefits for your children.  Looking around wondering what are all these other people here for.  Did they just loose the love of their life? Or has life just dealt them a bumb deal.  I have to remember putting pride behind me when I am standing somewhere for someone to take my personal information, as in at doctors offices, etc.  "Ma'am, is this information still correct...address, phone number, person to contact in case of emergency is Shane Richardson 706-346-****, insurance under Jon Richardson. May we leave a message with Mr. Richardson concerning test, lab results?" me:  "Address the same, phone number the same, person to contact in case of emergency needs to be changed (never thought about having to change that part), and no my insurance is in my name now. No, there is no one to leave a message with for my test results, just me."  All of this dialog being said where everyone can hear. Can I just hang on to a little dignity? I've been through literal HELL and would like to just not announce it to everyone.  Other times I would like to throw dignity out the window and be like Molly.  "Dang it, my husband just died and I have a right to cry in the grocery store!"  or "My husband just died could you just give me a small break today" or "Hello? Just lost my husband and I miss him terribly, so if I don't smile and be cheerful don't think anything of it." or "No, no one to call unless you call my mom, I'm 41 years old and you will have to call my mom in case of emergency."  Molly says it so matter of factly, "My daddy died,"  she throws pride down the drain.  She ddoesn't care if it makes someone wince when she says it, doesn't really care how the person accepts it.  Oh, to be a child again. 
I have to laugh at this story, I was talking to a very dear person the other day.  She and her family have been facing financial problems for about 3 years.  They finally resorted to getting food stamps just so they could feed their children.  Talking about swallowing your pride.  Applying and accepting food stamps should be bad enough but it gets better.  She and her children were at Kroger (out of state) and had a cart full of groceries.  She said its embarrassing enough to have to pull them out at check-out, but wait and wait.  She stands there and they won't go through on the computer system.  The cashier starts asking questions and another cashier screams out, "yea, I think the whole food stamp system is down."  This person said she wanted to just leave her cart and walk out but needed her groceries.  By this time in the conversation, I am laughing and she is too, to keep from crying.  Then, since the line is getting backed up, they ask her to move to the customer service desk.  A few more food stamp recipients are having the same trouble.  She stands for about an hour and by this time, there are lots of people in the same predicament and people coming in start asking whats going on.  I can hear it now, "Food stamps system is down."  All these people that are already embarrassed to receive food stamps now has it announced to everyone.  Luckily, she had told her children to go look at books so they wouldn't have to be so embarrassed.  I was literally rolling at the thought of this thinking it would have been a great sitcom.  Luckily, she knows I love her and we were laughing together. 
Although I try an hang on to my dignity I am truly humbled.  Now, I am not so judgemental of those I use to complain about when I am in a hurry and I am waiting now for each food stamp to be processed. Nor am I judgemental of single moms or dads just trying to hold it together for their kids sake.  I try not to judge the person that is obviously having a really bad day and is right rude to me on the road or in the store. I have to remind myself, that they too, just may be in a certain storm, they may have just lost a loved one, or they may just be down on their luck, blessings not so apparent.  So as I end this blog, I ask that you would not judge those less fortunate as yourself.  There is just no telling what is going on in their lives.  There is a fine line holding on to our dignity but not being too prideful.  So today I ask God to help me with trying to hang on to my dignity but not being prideful. I ask Him to help me respect those that are around me and allow them just a little dignity and respect.

 But He gives us more grace.  That is why Scripture says:  "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." James 4:6

Thank you dear God for making me humble, and thank you for your constant grace. I pray I never forget this feeling. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Beginning of a new season

Labor day has come and gone and so it begins the season of Fall.  I have dreaded this all summer long.  I know with each day that draws nearer to October dread will be my enemy.  I will be reliving each day of last October and with each day I will be faced with remembering what news we received on what day concerning Shane's diagnosis.  Fall was always one of mine and Shane's favorite seasons.  I always secretly wished we had gotten married in the fall but didn't want to wait any longer to be his wife so we chose spring.  We always loved fall for we knew with it came the holiday season.  This year I wish I could go to sleep and wake up into spring (after April 3).  With all the books and information that I have read on grief facing the first year is the worst.  So this will be a new first for the 4 of us.  We did make it through the first weekend of college football without Shane, whooping it up with Jake, but there was definitely a void here.  I am faced with remembering that last year about this time I started seeing a change in Shane.  He was very distracted with small pains here and there, he would be very distant.  I know in my heart that he knew something was not right.  I do not know when the stupid cancer took up residence in my husbands body but I feel it had started doing its cancerly things this time last year. These past few weeks I have had to relive some things that I didn't want to be reliving this soon.  Some of you know that I had to go through a CT scan.  I recently noticed some swelling at the base of my neck and proceeded with going to the doctor.  Of course, after what we have been through with Shane I immediately thought the very worst.  When I went to my doctor he reassured me, but suggested after what I had been through, to ease my mind that we should do a scan just to make sure.  Thankfully, my mom with with me that day.  When I heard the word CT scan, memories came rushing back of how Shane was terrified of each test, scan that he had to go through.  As terrified as he was he always "manned" up and went through them without complaints and kept his fear to himself.  I asked the questions that I had to learn to ask with Shane.  Would there be contrast? What else could this be? etc. I held it together until we got to the car and then fell apart.  I told my mom that I just didn't have the energy for this right now, that this was just too soon after Shane, why was I having to go through this right now.  Literally, I was having a big ole' pity party of why me's, again.  Satan started toying with my mind and made me start thinking of all things cancer.  Then I start thinking of my children, what will they think? Then I start thinking well, I may be seeing Shane a little sooner than expected.  Satan started dancing in my thoughts and was having his hay day as he often does.  He finds my weakness, and then goes to town.  In this case, it was cancer/sickness.  That day was pretty much written off, until I picked up my kids.  They have a way of distracting me.  Several of my "armour barriers"  gave me words of advice to fight the enemy so I proceeded with what they suggested.  One early morning I decided to visit Shane's grave, as soon as I pull in the very song that was sung at his graveside service came on the radio, "I Will Rise."  I took that as one of my God winks, feeling like it was one of His hugs for me.  Spent some much needed time with God, something about being on that hill that makes Him feel closer.  Read some scripture had a sweet friend pray with me on the phone and left there feeling like I was more empowered than I had been in a while.  Since the tv in the bedroom was struck I have been able to spend so much more time in the Word.  I have never read the whole book of Job, always found it a little depressing.  I turned to it read it from beginning to end along with the commentary.  I can so relate to this man.  No matter how bad things seem around me, I still find myself wanting to praise Him.  He has already done so much for me, starting with the death of His own Son.  I almost feel guilty asking Him for anything more.  I do feel very guilty for ever doubting Him or asking why He allows things.  God just being God is reason enough for me to praise Him.  I made it through the CT scan, thinking of Shane prior to the scan.  As I was preparing for the scan that morning I had some great time with God, just praising Him.  When I got there the tech told me to put my things down, I had Shane's small bible with me, and asked if I could hang on to it, she told me I could keep it on my chest.  So during the scan, while the automated voice is saying "Please lie still and do not swallow" I have God's word on me, while I am singing in my head, "Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus."  It was over in no time and was a sweet time with my Saviour.  Thankfully, my results were a prominent jugular vein??!! Vampires dream!!  Thinking there is a muscle that's spasming and pushing on the vein.  Anyway, thankful and still praying nothing more and it will go away as fast as it came. Dang Satan!!! He's as bad as cancer. Thankful that God continues to sustain me.  Knowing the "first" fall without Shane will be difficult but still praising God for His beauty, His promises and all of the blessings He provides each and every day.  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9  His grace is all I need and I thank Him.  He continues to carry me through each day, even on the days I would rather run and do it myself-worry, anxiety, control. Thank you, God, for knowing me better than I know myself.  Thank you God for the ones that continue to pray and lift me and my family up. Thank you for being YOU!!