Friday, January 11, 2013

Never Forget

Son, niece and nephews takes 'Cowboy Joe' to the next level in honor of Terence.
January 11, 2013
by sherry

I haven't written in the blog since December 10th.  
Not so much because I've been sad.  
On the contrary, I've been doing pretty good.  The Lord has been restoring my 
joy and healing my heart.  I've enjoyed times out with new and old friends 
and have even begun to find new interests. Prayers are being answered.

Reaching new milestones have still been difficult. Such as welcoming in a new year and
 not celebrating his 50th birthday which was yesterday. It seems the 'kids' have been memorializing Terence with tattoos. My sisters and I text to share memories, or sometimes 
I just call them and cry, either way.

I am copying and pasting an in-box conversation between my sisters Brook and Charla and I today. 
Not for lack of writing material, but to give you a peek-a-boo instant in some of the grief processing we're still doing even after five months..........

  • Sherry Parker Luttrell

    I Just opened and read a weekly email I receive from John Hopkins on the latest Prostate cancer research break through and my mind sorted through the last 3 1/2 years- of living and breathing PCa- wondering and hoping for the next great breakthrough for Terence and it all seemed surreal- like, did all that really happen????
    And then- I begin to remember every little (and big struggle), all the research you guys did, all the time you guys spent over here, and I remember what it all felt like- from the beginning to the end and I told myself, "yeah, it did really happen." 

    Still such painful memories.  I'm working on that.
  • Charla Parker Echlin

    I know. I have updates coming into my inbox too- I need to stop them. The other night I felt bad because that stupid Cancer Centers of America commercial came on and I yelled at the TV that nobody cared anymore. But then felt bad, because there are people in that same place we were 5 months ago...
  • Sherry Parker Luttrell

    I did the same thing! And felt bad too. Weird- I just want to forget but those updates and commercials don't let me.
     I guess we're not supposed to forget.
  • Charla Parker Echlin

    yeah. probably not.
  • Brook Parker Gramann

    I just watched a NY Times video that was featured. A nurse dying from pancreatic cancer who had two months to live and invited other nurses from her alma mater, Holyoke to come in and learn as she was dying. Then yesterday in GodVine a young guy- in his 20s wrote a song about goodbyes. He had bone cancer with a month to live. It is unreal, cancer period. And surreal what you and Terence and the family has experienced the last 3 years. Cancer is the worst, stupid disease. But Terence fought hard and you did all you could to the 1,000th percent!
  • Brook Parker Gramann

    P.S. And remember good memories are there too. The other day I was looking at your wedding vow renewal pictures and thinking how cool was it that the family got to go through that - regardless that Terence was sick and dying. And then all the super quality time you guys got to spend together and with the kids and grandkids before Terence got really sick. Even just sitting outside on your patio spending time together. Invaluable. Many couples and families NEVER get to experience what all of you, us did over the last 3 years. And Terence blessed us with that. Even through his dying and how he handled it and how strong he was and you were/are. It is a gift that has been given to me.

    Nadine and Andrew's tattoos.

    By the way, the photographs in today's blog are a peek-a-boo view into how the kids are dealing with their grief of losing Terence.

    Interesting observation.

    We'll never forget.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Yoj is joy spelt backwards.

God will turn mourning into gladness and sorrow 
into joy. 
by sherry

I forgot how good it feels not be in the presence of so much sorrow.

Not that Terence caused my sorrow. Cancer caused it. Sickness caused it. Death caused it.

He is gone now. Absent in body (but present with the Lord).  Daily suffering no longer taunts me; it no longer forces me to behold it's destruction upon the one I loved so dearly.

But the absence of suffering does not equate to joy.  The lasting kind of pleasure we all search for is called joy. It happens on the inside and works it's way outward.  It can come even in the midst of some of our deepest pain....and only then does a true transformation begin to take place. 

Transformation is a big business (it helps sell everything from new homes, to gym memberships, to make-up, to jewelry, to clothes, and to cars).  But the Bible sees transformation differently. Transformation involves us getting back in step with life. We’re brought back into an understanding of our purpose in this world.  When we see examples of transformation in Scripture, we don’t just see outward changes; we see inward changes. We see a new life that now lives to praise and glorify God.

That would be me!  I cried out to God from the depths of my despair and God answered!

Okay,  I admit some days are not perfect.  I'm still healing.  And on those days I may seem a little dyslexic and I sing for "yoj"  instead of "joy" but I mean well... and I'm trying.

 I look back to the days of my deepest sorrows and remember thinking I would give anything to live through a day with out this pain.....  mistakenly thinking that it's absence would bring joy.

Wrong. God turns our sorrow into joy (Jer. 31:13).

 My prayers are being answered and my heart is on the mend.  Instead of mourning I am beginning to dance and instead of wearing sackcloth of sadness, I'm clothed with joy and I can’t help but to praise God.

 I'm falling in love with life again. 

Miracles do happen.

Friday, November 30, 2012

May I simply keep moving forward.

by sherry
The journey of grief is one that I ultimately decided to complete. Because time moves forward, and so must I. 

I remember (not long ago) when this statement brought a lot of anxiety to my heart. And seeing that everyone was moving forward with life was painful for me. It would sometimes make me angry-  because I was stuck in a painful time warp where nothing seemed real (especially his death).  My days ran into one another and I definitely could not see past the moment.  Great grief was making it so I couldn't transcend time.

 But God's Word is always going forward.  And I need to also. I figured that I need to get into the flow in the unforced rhythms of God's grace...  and together with the coping skills I'm gaining from grief recovery and the grace and strength that come only from Him, I can......I can move forward too!  

That was a conscious decision about a month ago. I intentionally began to detach myself from the need of Terence's presence and focused on building a newer relationship with him- one founded on memories and legacy. There's a richness there that far outweighs remaining in the pain of his absence.

I still have some tough times at (they are fewer now, but I still have them), I have begun anew. I am focusing my attention towards new explorations and beginning to make prayerful and informed choices about my future.  Wow, That's big!

I began a new journal on my Birthday, November 25th  (anyone who knows me, knows my journey's are challenges arise, marking a milestones).  My daughter Nadine gave me a valuable gift on that day- one that encouraged me in new beginnings. A new challenge.

In Philippians 3:14 Paul says that he moved forward toward "the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (NASB). The Christian life is not static. It's a walk with God that moves you forward into a larger life with God.  In my journal, my daughter started the first page for me. She wrote;

" you begin this new life though it's not one you wold have ever asked for, the Lord is still in control..."  and she encouraged me to continue to trust in the Lord as I do this.

The Lord's plan for my new life is pure and simple: Don't lose my grip on honor and loyalty;continue to trust the Lord with all my heart; listen for His voice in everything; seek His wisdom; and honor Him with everything I own. Truely, a Father's delight for His daughter (me!) is behind this!

Lord, may I simply keep moving forward, walking with You. Take my hand and guide me. Thank you....I am experiencing a miracle....a broken heart healing!