Good Grief

Good Grief

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Amazing Love-Continued

Today is the 30th and the overwhelming dread hovers over me.  I try an make things as normal as possible for me and the kids but just knowing what faces us is hard.  I spoke with a sweet friend this morning at Bible study that has lost both her mom and dad and we were talking of the "death" anniversary.  She told me that she has found that the anxiety and dread before the actual date is worse than the actual "day" itself.  I completely get that.  After bible study I was able to have lunch with a dear dear friend that was a tremendous encourager, helper this time last year. I enjoyed our time together and her insight on the whole matter.  While there I spotted a sweet acquintance, that unfortunately, lost her husband yesterday of last year.  I had to get my arms around her.  Bless her, she had her tray in one hand, bag in the other and I pretty much tackled her.  She doesn't know me that well, or my enthusiasm so she probably thinks I am a freak of some kind, it was just really good to see her. I have had her on my heart so much these past few days.  Even the memory of receiving that news this time last year puts me right back.  Funny how God had us at the same place, same time today.
Please pray for her.
Anyway, I know I am suppose to finish what I started so here goes. 

I ended Monday with the statement about all of "this" being a love story between a man, a woman and their Heavenly Father that loved them.  Please let me clarify what I mean. I knew what I wanted to say on Monday but so glad I didn't finish because today while having lunch with "D" I realized exactly what I meant about it being a love story.  In talking with her about what is going on in my head and heart I, again, said "Why this happened, I don't know."  She quickly answered, "I know why, because look where you are now."  I have said all along that Shane taught me how to really love through our relationship. I can't even put into words how much I love that man, probably more now, than this time last year. I could write forever on how much.   However, the greatest thing he ever gave me and taught me was how to really love GOD.  What is more precious than that?  What can a husband give his wife any better than that???? There is nothing in this world that I would ever trade for that.  Even better still, he gave my children that same gift.  Albiet it will be up to God to write out their testimonies, but Shane showed them how to really love Christ.  Could he have done this for the children and I here, in the flesh??  Of course he could have!  Would we have received it as intended? Probably not.  What we were able to witness was what true FAITH, HOPE and LOVE in Christ is really all about.  This whole love story was written out by the same God that created Heaven and Earth, that placed each star in the sky, the same God that has my name, Jake, Sam & Molly's name written in the palm of His hand, He wrote the scenes of this love story before I was even placed in my mother's womb.  He knew that Shane would endure this, did he endure it for me and the children and many others?  I believe with my whole heart and soul that he did and would do it over again if asked.  The best part of this love story is the love that our Heavenly Father has for us.  The same peace that covered and surrounded me this time last year, I am experiencing again at this very moment. Things may be different for me come Sunday, but He is the same God as He was this time last year and I have confident faith that His presence is here just as It was last year.  I find comfort knowing He has taken care of us and He won't forget us now.  His love never changes or waivers due to circumstances, He loves me the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow.  If I could edit the story I probably would just so I could continue my life on with Shane as I would have written it, but this is not my story, its Gods, and I have full confidence in knowing He is a better writer than me.  I am just thankful for the chapters I was able to share with Shane and all that I learned, I look forward with anticipation when I get to the last page and see The End so I can place this book on the shelf and open up a new one that's entitled  "Welcome HOME!!"
And now these three remain...Faith, Hope and Love, but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

Monday, March 28, 2011

Amazing Love

Today is March 28th and we have dreaded this week for sometime now.  I can hardly put into words what is going through my head so I can't imagine what is going through the kids heads.  I have openly talked about the 1 year anniversary of Shane's passing with the kids.  I was first planning a beach getaway but then we couldn't pass up a week with the grandparents over spring break.  I talked about how we were going to escape for the day.  As I don't want to focus on the 3rd as a day of dread it has been recommended by many to escape.  Although we can leave on that day, we can't escape the reminders of day to day.  When we came home from the beach a week ago I couldn't believe how the green grass and our pear tree outside our bedroom window made me go right back to last year.  Baseball games are just beginning for the boys as they were last year at this time.  The temperature, the rain, the smells all take me back to this time last year.  How do you escape that???  I can't even imagine being here on the day before and the day of the 2nd and 3rd.  I told a friend just the other day that I can't know what I will be feeling as the days draw nearer but I do know I have this overwhelming feeling of dread, much like I had this time last year.  The only thing different this year is I know what the outcome is.  I also have that overwhelming feeling of joy and peace that I also experienced last year.  Strange how devastating grief and extreme peace go hand and hand right now. When those memories come streaming back of the oxygen running, medications, Shane slowly becoming too weak to talk with me, the constant people coming and going in my house I try and cancel them out with the memories of the love that surrounded us, the peace from my Father and the presence we experienced the days leading up to and  that early morning.  I have to be honest, there have been times this year that I didn't want life to go on.  I have yearned to go to that same place that Shane is now, I have yearned for Jesus to come and get me and the kids, then something will remind me of how Shane expected us to live on.  I continue to get to see how much Shane really loved me and how he continues to love me.  Just when one of those days comes along that I could care less about living I may receive a letter from one of his dear friends about a conversation that they had with Shane over lunch.  I can see that Shane knew the inevitable may happen and that he was planning out who to tell what- knowing that they would share it with me.  One friend wrote that when they were saying good-bye, on what was to be their last lunch together, how Shane paused and said, "If this doesn't turn out good for me, tell DeAnn how much she meant to me."  I just received that letter in February.  God knew I didn't need that letter back in April when Shane's love for me was still fresh, He knew I would need it almost a year later.  He also knows how that one single bird in the morning singing his morning song, always makes me smile and makes Molly say, "Good Morning Daddy." God also knows that the red cardinal (which I think is the one that sings his morning song) that sits on a branch right outside my bathroom window reminds me of Shane and gives me so much comfort.  Just like the night of the 3rd last year when I dreaded getting in our bed without him how a bird sang a little song at 10ish, which made me smile and gave me the strength to lay my head down and rest, I could put money on it that its the same bird.

While I thought this past year would be unbearable I have to say we have come a long way. God has everything to do with that.  When I look back now to this time last year it amazes me that I was not crouched in a corner with my hands over my eyes and ears shouting "I can't do this."  It amazes me that I was a functioning human being taking care of the human being that I loved the most.  It amazes me that we planned plots, caskets, a funeral.  It amazes me that Shane and I continued to enjoy each other immensely, that he continued to make me laugh and cry in an instant.  It amazes me that even though he knew he was dying he took the time to make sure I knew how much he loved me.  I have to say it was a love story that could not have been played out better in a great novel or movie.  It was not just a love story of a man and a woman but of a man, a woman and their Heavenly Father and His love for them.   "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love!" John 15:9    To be continued....

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Well it’s back to reality for me and the kiddos. We enjoyed a week at Ft. Morgan AL last week with Shane’s mom and dad. They treated us to a sweet house on the beach, oceanfront. I have decided I need a shack, house, trailer on the beach for my respite. They wanted this trip to be for us, and it was just that. We all had a wonderful time. Extremely bittersweet, the drive down was the exact drive we took so many times with Shane, 11 times to be exact, the restaurants we ate at, the ice cream place we stopped at, the grocery stores, all were just reminders and memories. When we went to Orange Beach the memories hit Jake pretty hard and seeing him hurt made me hurt and all that hurt made Shane’s mom hurt. Jake realizes that this is just all a part of the healing process. He even said himself that next time we are there it won’t be quiet so hard. It was a time of healing and making new memories all at the same time. I struggled being there without Shane, it was our favorite place to vacation with our little family. Each child visited there as tiny babies and the last time we were all there was 2 years ago. The day I was packing and getting the boys golf bags ready to go, it slammed me in the face that they should have been planning to play golf on vacation with their daddy. Something he couldn’t wait to do. He was not like me in the sense that sitting on the beach from sun up to sundown got a little mundane so he was looking forward to when he and the boys could play golf together. I have to say I was looking forward to that day too, hoping Molly would be like her mom and love the beach from sun up to sundown. Don’t get me wrong I am so thankful that Paw Paw, aka Big D, was willing to take them but it still should have been their daddy.

Before we left I decided to get the book my sister had recommended to read. I decided to read it while I was there because the author is from Orange Beach and the story took place in the area. The book is The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews. I highly recommend this book. It is a true story and has just enough history, suspense to keep you from wanting to put it down. The main reason it kept me captivated was the whole theme of the book…forgiveness. As I got to the end of the book I was on the beach with the kids and of course my kids can detect tears a million miles away now, so Jake asked me if I was crying. Yep, I was and this time it was because of a dang book. As rare as it is, that day my kids were ready to head in and did so with Shane’s mom, aka Pooh. So I finished the book without interruption and then had ample time to sit and think about it. Again, the whole theme of the book is about forgiveness. While I watched dolphins splash by, and watched the sun go deeper I started thinking about what I needed to forgive. I thought I had forgiven God for taking Shane away, but when I really think about it, I don’t think I fully have. Then I thought about a conversation I had just had the day before on the beach with a gentleman that shared with me that his wife had a terminal disease and probably had about 2 years to live. He was telling me he completely understood what I had been through and hated to know that he was going to know what it felt like for his spouse to pass. He asked me if I had fought with being mad at Shane during his sickness. This conversation made me ask myself did I and had I forgiven him and myself? So many times I wanted to yell at him to FIGHT!!!! I wanted him not to give up, I wanted him to fight this stinking disease. While I know from the pit of my heart that he did absolutely nothing to be forgiven by me I know I need to purge this and get it out there. I also realize that I need to forgive myself, for beating myself up for thinking I could have done so much more, more time, more patience, more understanding, just more. I had time to sit and think about all the forgiveness that I needed to take care of in my life.

Now, fast forward to my Wednesday morning bible study, what was it on today???? Yep, forgiveness. Just like God to put it right there so He would make sure that I was going to deal with it and not let it just wash out with the waves of the gulf. Our leader hit it home when she answered her own question of, “What do we usually need to forgive?” She answered, “Sometimes don’t we have to forgive what our circumstances are?” She got a loud Amen on that one from me. That was it. I need to forgive God for what I have been handed. We talked about how God forgives us and what makes a person think we are so much better than Him, to think we can’t forgive. We are not even close to who HE is, so why do we think He should forgive us if we can’t forgive others. I almost could hear a loud slap on my hand from my Father. So as I finish this post I ask you, what do you need to forgive? Something small, something huge, something trivial, something that seems almost unforgivable, something you have to dig really hard inside to pull out, or something you just don’t want to let go of?? By not forgiving someone it will steal so much joy that God has promised us. We also talked about how unforgiveness will also drive a huge wedge between you and God. I challenge you to dig it up, purge it, let go of those grudges and hurts and forgive whatever it is. Life is too short!! God forgives us so easily why can’t we be like Him and forgive as easily??? Are you better than HIM?? I can answer that with a big fat NO! I am going now to settle some things of my own.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

One year ago today!

 It's been a bittersweet weekend here. Yesterday at my church we celebrated the Rev. Charles Evans. This man has been in the ministry 70 years.

Can you imagine?

As usual,his sermon was eloquent and insightful and from the heart. He spoke about how we need to take every opportunity to speak about our Savior. He spoke about how many times he has had the chance and didn't do it. I can't ever imagine Preacher Evans not speaking about Christ and His goodness, but I have to remember he is human. It was bittersweet knowing that he is at the age of needing to retire, but I have a feeling he will not retire from spreading the wonderful news of Jesus Christ. Lakeview Baptist gave him the honor of Preacher Emeritus of our church. As he spoke about it being the possibility of it being his last sermon (God forbid) I had a wave of emotion fly over me, remembering 1 year ago on the dot that Shane was behind the exact same pulpit giving what we now know was his last testimony/sermon. I also thought about Shane doing exactly what Preacher Evans said we all should be doing. Then I sat convicted that I am not taking EVERY opportunity to talk about Jesus. Shane admired and respected Preacher Evans in so many ways,he loved to hear him preach and said he could listen to him talk all day long and loved how he always included in his sermons the Lord's prayer. As I was leaving yesterday and gave Mrs. Adele and Preacher Evans a hug, I told him how much Shane admired him and his response was, "Shane was a special man, he was an anointed man of God."

Those words from such a Godly man meant so much to me and I will always be thankful. I'd like to end with the post from Caring Bridge from 1 year ago following Shane's last time behind the pulpit.

Saturday, February 27, 2010 4:18 PM, ESTGot a few minutes and thought I would give you the low down on the YACS meeting and what not. First of all thanks for all the support we have received for starting this support group. River City Bank and Craig Brewster, you are amazing, they are allowing us to meet in their beautiful building, they (or Craig) provided Chick fil A for us. How awesome is that. For our first meeting we had 12 in attendance. I had a wise lady remind me that 12 was a pretty special number. Hadn't even thought about that until she mentioned it. Dr. Dillmon (Shane's doctor) was there, and that meant the world to Shane and I. She has been extremely encouraging, has awesome ideas, and seems to be willing to help anyway she can. She is pretty awesome, and we adore her. Overall, it went pretty well. Basically, I just went over why we decided to start this support group and then Shane facilitated the rest of the meeting. It took a little while for everyone to warm up, but once they did, people were very open and had some great ideas for upcoming meetings. It was awesome spending that time with those that truly understand each other. Everyone was so extremely nice and seemed to enjoy themselves. We are going to attempt to have a Relay for Life team. So be watching out for that. We are in the works on ordering t-shirts, etc. Today we are gearing up for Shane's post cancer diagnosis testimony that he will share tomorrow morning. He is feeling pretty well, he started steroids yesterday to give him a little umph for tomorrow. His flushed cheeks are always a tell tell sign he is taking steroids. He even went in to the office today (tax season) and did a few tax returns, then showed up at Jake's baseball practice. I am a little nervous for Shane, hoping he has strength to get through it, that he won't start coughing as he sometimes does after talking for a while. Sounds like there will be lots of his friends there to support him and that always makes me a little bit nervous also. He seems fine with it, depending on Jesus to get him through it. I try and put myself in his place and wonder what I would want to share if given the chance. There is so much I would want to share that I really don't know where I would start. I do know that I would share how God has taken such great care of us through this. Also, Shane has mentioned Paul before, when he was first diagnosed with cancer. How Paul was torn on being with God in heaven or staying in the flesh and doing what he needed to do here on earth. What I am seeing is Shane, no matter if he has been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease or not, wants to continue to do God's work here on earth. No matter how bad he might feel he still wants to share with others what He has done and is doing in his life. I am not so sure if it was me that I could or would do it. So today, I just want to tell everyone just how much I love Shane and how PROUD I am of him. He is suffering well. How many of us would be willing to suffer the way he is???? Don't get me wrong, he has had his bouts of anger, feeling sorry for himself, etc. but overall, he is doing exactly what God wants us to do when faced with adversity. Just like the song says..."He never promised that the cross would not get heavy, or the hill would not be hard to climb, He never offered a victory without fighting, but He said help would always come in time." Shane seems to be carrying the cross up the hill with courage, and love for God and waiting to see what God is doing. Say a prayer for him that tomorrow he has the strength to speak, that the cough will stay at the door, and the Spirit will surround Shane and everyone that will be present in our church. I'll let you know how it goes as soon as I can.