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!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hello, Joy

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. Ps 94:19

I've dealt with a great amount of anxiety since Terence's initial (terminal) diagnoses in 2009.
 In fact, our new normal was learning how to live above the effects of a devastating report. 

For 36 months I cried out to the Lord for peace  and strength while I watched the effects of cancer devastate my husband's body. We prayed. We believed. And he got sicker and he died.

I don't have the answers as to why. I may never find out. Frankly, I haven't spent much time energy has been spent trying to heal. His death took so much from me and all I want is to find strength and joy again.

The Lord carried me through those 38 agonizing months.  There were days I curled up in a fetal position crying out to God "I can't do this!." And right there on the floor in the middle of the living room, the Lord gave me a simple promise: He would strengthen me according to His word.  And He did. Day by day- sometimes hour by hour or minute by minute as evidenced in pages and pages of this  journal. I suffered greatly.  But He gave me the strength to endure and overcome.

But my anxiety level peaked as Terence slipped away telling me, "I'm sorry, but I have to go....."

Joy? No. I have not been experiencing joy. I haven't even prayed for it!  All I was doing was crying, asking the Lord to sustain me on a daily basis. 'Be the lifter of my head', I would beg him (I can't lift it myself!). That had been the only prayer I've been able to squeak out of this mealy mouth.

38 months: 2 simple prayers.  "Lord strengthen me according to your word" and "Be the Lifter of my head".

In His faithfulness the Lord did strengthen me. I've walked through this nightmare sometimes dazed, but  strengthened by a sovereign God.  And because the pain of losing your best friend and lover is so great,  I begged that He would lift my head- I just want to get over the devastating pain and be able to hope again.

Surprise of all surprises- little by little He began to lift my doing so, I realized that joy was present!  Hmm. I began to think that joy is the by-product of hope (the lifting of our heads).  

Wow. The Lord is so good. In facing the holidays and my birthday there were some natural tendencies toward anxiety because they are my 'firsts' without T. But I promise you, the Lord has answered all prayers we've sent up in that He is truly sustaining me and has lifted my head. From the fullness of his grace I have received one blessing after another (Jn 1:16). 

As I opened my eyes this morning I was awakened by the peace of the Lord, without thinking I slipped my wedding ring off my finger.... another huge step surrounded with His peace. Wow. I'm speechless. Unless you've been there, you will never understand the pain something like this could bring. 

I am still mourning, 
but I am dancing too. 

I am still sad. 
 But there is joy too. 

I don't understand 
this miracle-
But I am grateful for it!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

His absence is still what I come home to

I would give anything to have Terence lay beside me in bed again.                                                                                                        I have to be honest, my last post was great; it was all about me learning how to convert my relationship with Terence from being a relationship of  "presence" to a relationship of memories.                                                                                                                  Well surprise!  I'm not there yet!  I need a hug from him right now more than anything.  I'm facing the most tragic moments in my life without the one person who can physically comfort me.  Pictures are bringing no comfort at the moment. 
This yearning for Terence is too painful.  It's so.......acute. There's no other way to describe it.  No matter how busy I make myself, his absence is still what I come home to. How, how, how does one ever get used to that?

Do I accept my Terence's death?  I know he's gone.  Sometimes I cry "come back, I need you" .  Then I say, "I know you can't, but I want you to anyway.It's my protest against a very big reality.  I was with Terence when he died, at home, in a hospital bed in our bedroom, in my arms.  He's definitely gone.  

I can only think of one thing.  I need to find comfort elsewhere:    
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" Ps 147:3

                                                        Thank you Lord.


Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Read more:

Friday, November 16, 2012

I don't remember days, I remember moments.

I don't remember days, I remember moments
A lot of our 'moments' were captured on film during the course of our cancer journey.  In grief recovery class, we've been transitioning (for several weeks now) into 'Letting go'. 
They say death ends a life, not a relationshipSo I'm learning how to convert my relationship with Terence from one of presence to one of memory.  So you can see where  the photo journal I kept would be important in my healing.  But the pictures have been hard to look at.

We first started this exercise three weeks ago.  He were asked to use photographs, videos or letters to tell our story.  At first I was excited because I've photo-journaled our entire story from the beginning.
But as I started filtering through pictures, I  found I wasn't ready to look at his 'sick' pictures.  It was overwhelmingly sad for me.  Which meant, I couldn't tell the complete story without those.
So I took my time.

The initial goal in telling my story is to help me identify and understand my grief emotions and work through the grief process instead of going around it.  As I said earlier I couldn't do it at first.  When I began to fashion my inner story (pictorially) it carried me right into the heart of pain.

 I've pretty much avoided Terence's videos and most photos
(especially the 'sick' pics) thinking that circumventing these memories would be better for me.

My biggest question has been 'what kind of relationship do I have with Terence now....?'

 Reflecting the significance of our relationship through videos, pictures, journals and
converting them into legacies are examples of a different form of a continued, 
but different relationship with Terence. 

 The process of beginning to embrace my memories began with embracing
 these memorials (pictures) and offers me the opportunity to affirm the
 value of his life that was lived.

Telling my stories is a part of my healing.  If our world had no stories, we would have no history.
The story of my life with Terence, our fight against cancer, our families struggles and victories will become my new relationship with Terence.  In my mind I hold a conversation, see the sights and hear the sounds, the details surrounding our life.  Each time the story is told it removes one small bit of hurt from inside with me and eases my pain.
 I am learning to cope with the fact that Terence is gone by visiting our memories.
 I am pursuing a new relationship with him.

I am told that this is a slow and painful process that occurs in small steps.  The video I created here would take me an hour or so under normal circumstances, but it took me three weeks to put together. A lot of tears accompanied those three weeks. 
Slowly, these images are becoming precious memories. 
Slowly. Slowly.
And I will begin to embrace these memories as a part of my healing
in a continued, but changed relationship with Terence.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The most I ever did for you is outlive you....

I was not prepared to be left behind.  For what ever reason, both Terence and I assumed that (not only would we grow old together) but that I would 'go' first.  And yet, here I am coping with aloneness.

Outliving Terence was never a part of my plan.

I am alone. I am lonely, but when our grief counselor asked us today "if you were asked to decide between being the cause for sorrow, or accepting the sorrow of loss, which would you choose"?

I visited an old thought.  When Terence was alive- throughout the last 36 months (up until his last 2 weeks) we would have conversations like this:

 Me:       "I wish it was me, not you".
Terence: "No, I'm glad it's me and not you".
Me:         "but I hate seeing you suffer. You know, if it was possible I would willingly be the one to
                have the cancer instead of you".
Terence: "well then if that was possible, I would take it back"....

...and on it went, us telling one another that we would gladly give our life for the other.

Living in the moment we were focused on the one who was dying. But neither of us were thinking about the one left behind.   It is we, instead of our loved one who is experiencing the sorrow.  It is , in a way our gift to that person.  I guess we had it backwards.

"We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord"
2 Corinthians 5:8

I think Terence got the 'good side' of goodbye...

I am here to go on
to carry on the legacy of our relationship
into the generations ahead 
making bright our memories in their lives.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

The winds of winter

"...a strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough...." 
 Jn 6:18

The initial impact of Terence's death is starting to wear off.  
It's been 12 weeks.  Sometimes I feel that I am losing control.  
In fact,  I think I lost control a long time ago.

They say I may 'experience a feeling of temporary instability'...
yes, and it's a scary feeling.  
 I think this is an important time for me to
 remember that I have the ability to cope:
"God is my refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore I will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, Though the mountains shake with its swelling." Psalms 46:1-3

 The winds of winter are blowing heartlessly 
and the waters have become rough... 

I am realizing 
that this is a time 
when much of my adjustment 
to widowhood takes place.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Heartache is when your love have no where to go

"Heartache happens when your love have no where to go"

I miss his smiling eyes
Last night I cried myself to sleep.  I had a great day and even went to be feeling at peace but woke up at about 3:30- my mind replaying Terence's last hours.  I tossed and turned- shutting my eyes tightly as if that would make the images go away... and the images brought on powerful surges of grief. 

Someone recently said "Heartache happens when your love have no where to go".  I can attest to that.  I miss Terence so much.  He's gone.  I can no longer reach out and hug feels like my love has no where to go.

However, I discovered something new today. 
There is a love that is driven by compassion and it does have somewhere to go. 

I went shopping today- the cashier asked me if I wold like to make  donation to the American Cancer Society .  I said "Of husband recently passed away from cancer".  The young man standing behind me joined in our conversation- he said " I'm so sorry to hear about your husband......I just got my test results back- I am now 2 years with No Evidence of Disease (NED)".  He told me that he has been fighting stomach cancer since he was 22. He is now 26. I have a son his age.

I started to cry.  Not because Terence had died, but because this young man had lived.  I was overwhelmed with emotion appreciating what it takes for someone to battle cancer.  Without thinking, I reached out and hugged him and said "I am so happy you are alive!!!"

He started to cry.  

Later he told me that he has no family and his wife left him when he was diagnosed. He had faced the journey entirely alone.  He was touched by what I did because there had been no one who appreciated his fight, or his life. 

I genuinely celebrated this young man's life with a hug.  I guess my love does have somewhere to go.

I can't explain what happened inside of me- but when I got home my heart ached less.

"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn". 
Romans 12:15


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Grief work

Terence and his dog Cead, October 2011
 Lately, my days are quiet and lonely- filled with all the emotions related to grief and mourning; denial, loneliness, confusion, helplessness, guilt, anxiety, disappointment, anger, sadness, resentment, inadequacy, fear, envy, depression, pain, dread, bitterness, loss, anguish, dismay, sorrow, apathy, distrust, lack of emotions have been  intense, draining, and hard to hold back; they are tangled up inside of me and run deep. 

I am attending grief recovery groups a couple of times a week.  Seems like a valuable investment of my time.  There are several new widows and together we are simultaneously doing our grief work.  There are also several women who have been widows any where from 5 to 9 years that have never (until now) joined a group but had figured they could work through the mourning process alone...and they are stuck. In grief...THAT ALONE makes me want to make sure I give the grieving process it's due season- to attend to the sorrow and sadness; address the angry feelings and overcome all the fears.  The last place I want to be in 5 years is exactly where I'm at now.

 The only remedy for grief, is to grieve.

Grief is a journey and from what I've observed (in my few short weeks as a widow )- is that it can be perilous if you don't understand it's power and work through it.

Looking at this chart and evaluating my emotional state, I'm somewhere between the "Shock" and "feelings of loss" but transitioning into "needing to let go".

Sometimes I feel normal and think I am doing well then something happens. I received a phone call (insurance stuff) from a very nice but confused lady on the other end. It seems I filled out the form(s) in a rather confusing manner. To be honest, I don't even remember filling it out I've been so disoriented. "Did you get re-married?" she asks. "No----oh no, no, no....." says I. "Oh, okay-the 'married box' was checked"(I have difficulty dealing with that stupid box!)...she goes on; "Did he pass away this year?" .  "Yes....(what did I do now?)". I sighed. "I thought so" she said patiently- "but you marked down 2010"...and it went on;  'yes' instead of 'no's', wrong signatures or no signatures, a page missing... by the time she was done asking her questions I wondered how I even got that that thing mailed out. And I felt sorry for her!

I'm so disoriented.  I'm getting  my mail returned to me- it seems I am sending off the wrong checks/letters to the wrong address, or at least putting them in the wrong envelopes.  It's a crazy time, and boy do I miss Terence in the midst of all this.

Halloween parties at school today
Fortunately Terence was a very diligent husband and prepared me well for his absence.  We talked and prayed about everything; spiritual, emotional and financial which is providing me the freedom to grieve and not have unnecessary worries. 

My grief work is simple but not easy.  Here's my agenda for a typical day:
My days are spent trying to:
  •  greet the day (some days I can't).
  • accept the crying (most days I do).
  • deepen my faith (read my bible, go to church).
  • keep a journal (write, write,write!)
  • walk each day (even if it's just to the mailbox:)
  • surround myself with a support network (church, grief recovery groups,etc)
  • postpone some decisions (I already failed this one: I cut 20 inches of my hair off right after he passed away!)
  • live in the present (This is the most difficult for me, because Terence is not here in the present with me).
  • venture out alone (I have coffee or breakfast by myself, go the the library or shopping several times a day).
It sounds so simple, but living " intentionally" is so exhausting- and it takes a lot of thought and inner effort..........

Fortunately, the 'real grief work' that I do is not work at all.  I ultimately rest in the Lord.

 Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

            "What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. 
All that we love deeply becomes a part of us" ~ Hellen Keller.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I tend to dread the trials in my life.

Over the past three years (36 months- not mistakenly the same period of time we fought cancer)  I have been exploring how God teaches me humility through difficult circumstances (or trials).

The tumultuous waves leaves me with sand in my pants.

I tend to dread the trials in my life: conflicts with other people, physical limitations and sickness, lack of money or other resources, weaknesses, dealing with sinful habits, etc. I tend to think that my life will be better if I have fewer trials and more comfort.

 I want to consider a different attitude toward such circumstances. If pride is my greatest enemy and humility my greatest friend, then circumstances that lead to humility are also my friend.

Making peace with my limitations/weaknesses is an expression of humility.
In many ways have I have come face-to-face with own limitations.

 I've realized that:
•   I can’t do the things I used to do physically...aging is real.
 •  I can't control my children.
•   I can't control cancer.
•   I can’t handle all the circumstances that surround me (work, home, church, friendships, etc.).

When my limitations are exposed, it would be a huge mistake to think, “If I just try harder and seek God more, I won’t have these limitations.”

There is a place for trying harder and for seeking God more.  But our goal in life isn’t to get so strong and competent and “together” that we no longer have limitations or weaknesses. That’s not going to happen.  Our limitations aren’t a curse. They’re an opportunity to learn humility.  They are a God-given reminder that He is omni-everything and we are omni-nothing.

I am making peace with my limitations. 2 Corinthians 12:9. Jesus said this to Paul-
"And He has said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.' Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me".


Sunday, October 14, 2012

The trauma of survival

There are many dimensions of grief that lead to healing.
The trauma of survival
Sunday October 14, 2012
by sherry

There are many dimensions of grieving and I am told all are necessary- working through my grief will lead to my healing.

"Eight weeks ago, I watched my best friend die".  I survived the death of my husband.

 I think I must be the guilt stage" because my mind replays Terence's last few weeks, last few days and his last few hours.  I find myself sobbing, telling myself, "I didn't realize how sick he was....and  I made him walk to the kitchen to get his own smoothie"  How could've I done such a thing?  Similar scenarios are played over and over in my mind, shattering my heart all over again.  I ask my sisters over and over again (who were present the last few weeks, days and hours) "Did you know he was dying? How come I didn't see it?  And I made him get out of bed up until the very last day....".  

 My mind is playing the 'survivor's guilt' game with my heart.  It should've been me. He was the nice one! I failed in the compassionate caregiver department!  My mind is recalling my unskilled actions, my forgetfulness, my selfishness and my overly emotional behavior. I should've done more. God, are you sure it wasn't supposed to be me?

My mind is mercilessly berating my heart. The trauma of survival as well as the daily fear of survival has a tendency to be all consuming at this point.  To overcome this I have to live every moment of every day with intentional thoughts or else I find myself losing track or truth.

The truth is that none of those thoughts had any type of bearing on  the outcome of Terence's death.  The truth is he had cancer and I didn't.  The truth is I couldn't see his last few days as 'his last' because he needed me ( and I needed me) to continue to hope in tomorrow.

So I survived our cancer journey and he did not. 

There is good news though; He is absent in body, but present with the Lord, and  I will be comforted by the Lord Himself.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. — Matthew 5:4

Grieving is hard work. But attending to this sorrow and allowing myself to mourn brings the eventual payoff: healing.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Turning a page in time.

Fall 2011
My change of season 

Fall is here.  Summer is over.  No more ice-cold smoothies on a hot afternoon.  My spouse died and my marriage is over. No more vacations together. No more mornings drinking coffee together. No more planning for the future together.

Seasons change. It feels like I am turning a page in a book, moving on to the next chapter of my life.  I go from summer to fall to winter to spring. My life went from single, to married, to widowed.

I barely remember my first night as a widow. I spent the entire night staring into darkness. "Terence? are you really gone?" My thoughts went back and forth all night between replaying my husband's last few hours on earth and planning his memorial service.

My life seems confusing and off balance. As I am moving forward to find some sense of direction, without warning, I can collapse in despair. Perhaps a memory is triggered causing me to instantly fall apart. Then sometimes I don’t care to move on and I just want to wallow in memories of Terence. 

I never know if I am going to go forward or backward each day.

My world is still spinning and I sit waiting for my equilibrium to return. Some days I have to pick myself up and make a decision of what to do next, other days, I just do. Sometimes I don't.

Fall 2012
It feels good to have a few productive days of moving forward and then  all of a sudden I have a few days of back sliding into that familiar place of sorrow. Kind of like a few days of sunshine, after a couple days of rain.  I never quite understood what people meant when they said they had a panic attack. I imagined an anxiousness and fear, but had no idea how debilitating it could be until I became a widow. 

My life has taken a new direction, I am trying to reprioritize it. Every morning I  pray that the Lord will surround me with peace so I can face the day. After all, my life was shattered 7 weeks ago. Now, all I can do is handle one moment at a time. God's peace is helping me along in a forward direction.

And so by His grace I turn a page in time and welcome autumn.



Monday, October 1, 2012

The worst and the best

I've been reading Terence's journals.  I am enjoying hearing what he thought, what he had to say about various things.  I've decided to begin to share excerpts with you.

August 31, 2010
 by terence (a letter to me)
"Hi my love! I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate you! You are a wonderful wife to me, I don't have the words to express my love for you!

When I consider the 'better or worse' vows we made, I realize that your love and care for me has made this 'worse' some of the best days of my life"

My thoughts-
by sherry
I am blessed to read this---he actually considered his worst days some of his best. I guess that was because during his illness we spent every minute of our days together- he relished my company and I his. He didn't need to get sick in order to appreciate our time together.  We always have. He compares his cancer fighting days with our fishing trips on the Greys river, our European back backing trip, our visit to Ireland...some of his best times!

His worst days are behind him now.  His suffering is over.  He faced his "worst day" with fierce courage, fighting to his last breath surrounded by his entire family. 

 For me though I am living my worst days and my suffering has only just begun... and I can guarantee you that these are not my best days of my life.

Loneliness is a constant companion.  Terence and I committed to a lifetime together yet we experienced the marriage vow moment  "til death do us part" ...and I find myself alone.

It's been 5 weeks since he died and I find myself living life without exclamation points.  Not only do I lack luster in life, I find myself driving slow, moving slow, thinking slow.  My life is slo-mo. 

Grief is my tireless companion. Just like I was Terence's- but with one exception; I don't enjoy it's company.  In the midst of this anguish I find myself wondering if I will have any 'best days' ever again? My heart asks the question how is that even possible? Will  I ever enjoy life again?
 I am like humpty Dumpty- how can I ever be put back together again?

The Lord in His faithfulness answered me in  scripture:
"...and after you have suffered a little while, the God of all Grace who has called you, will himself restore, strengthen and establish you"  1 Peter 5:10,11

I can't see it now but the Lord promises me that I will enjoy life again... after a 'little while'.

That gives me hope. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Even after he is gone.

I've been reading Terence's journals.  I am enjoying hearing what he thought, what he had to say about various things.  I've decided to begin to share excerpts with you.

May 2006
by terence
"Sherry spoke in her sleep last night.  She was talking to God asking Him to bless me, honor me and answer my prayers. 

She continued to casually, yet intimately converse with God about me. I can't quite put my thought to paper. It felt like Sherry was talking to a friend.  I know God is my friend but I don't think I've conversed with the Lord like how I heard Sherry pray.  Amazing. I am blessed and I am challengedDo I speak freely and intimately with God?".

My thoughts-
by sherry

I love how some of the smallest things in life challenged him.  He didn't need big, earth shaking instances to search his heart and to make necessary changes in his life.  I admired that in him.

It seems that I may be the opposite.  Stubborn and strong willed, only earth shaking experiences seem to catch my attention as reflected in reading through Terence's journal, he would usually add "I hope Sherry understands this" when reflecting on the answers to some of our life's circumstances.

Widowhood is earth shaking.  I'm not liking it.  It scares me.  When looking at my bills,  taxes, insurance (life, health, car, etc) coverages,  I think "I can't do this".  I see winter coming and think "How can I face winter alone"?  I am challenged to the max. 

But Terence wrote letters to me that I am reading only now; "You can do this Sherry, I believe in you. Let yourself be challenged. You'll grow from it. Don't be afraid.  The Lord's grace is here for you.  He'll help you. I hope you understand this; His grace is sufficient for you. You can make it."

Times like today (first time grocery shopping for 'one'.... I broke down and cried in the store. So I left),  I'm glad he thought of ways to encourage me even after he was gone.    He was such an encourager.  Thank you for reminding me, Terence. 

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is 
 made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about 
my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” –2 Corinthians 12:9

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Don't de-friend me

By Sherry
September 23, 2012

Hi everyone- just  briefly journaling tonight.  It's not my intent for this become a 'widow's blog'- even though technically that's what I am and I'm the one writing..........

My intent is to continue to share our journey- "Living above cancer".  You've witnessed  three years of Terence and I as well as our children painstakingly learn how to live above the unkindness of cancer and it's effects on our family.  We are now left behind to deal with the wreckage of cancer and it's final effect, death.  How do we go on living- not just living, but living......moving beyond devastation. My desire is that we will say, "I've been devastated but not destroyed".

Given to me tonight by Bella
Bear with me.  I am far from that place right now but I've made that my goal from the very beginning. Cancer may think that it had the last word, but death had no sting on Terence (he's in a better place) and the grave- well, it is my desire to heal so completely in the hands of my Lord that I will be able to say that the grave has no victory over me. 

Devastated-yes, yes  I am. But I believe I will find healing in the wings of Christ and in time restoration will come.

Until then I, like any other person who has lost a spouse or loved one and I am afflicted by the results of death; suffering a sorrow so deep- it feels like a surgeons knife slicing through my heart with  no anesthesia; I feel deflated and torn, somewhat un-balanced and one dimensional.  I have panic attacks (I am told they are called grief spasms) moments (or hours) that seem to come upon me suddenly where I can't stop crying and I re-live Terence's last few days. It's exhausting, horrible and debilitating.  I told my best friend "bear with me; even if I start acting crazy, don't de-friend me on facebook, I won't be like this forever".

Terence reminded me many times before he passed away of how strong I am. How able I am to walk through this in the hands of the Lord.  And how capable God is in taking care of me.  He readied me, prayed for me and prepared me for this day so that one day soon I can rise up out of the ashes, pull off the sack cloth and say "here I am; I was struck down, but not destroyed- thank you Lord".

That's what Terence was all about. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The hurt and the healer collide

The question that is never far away
The healing doesn’t come from the explained
Jesus please don’t let this go in vain
You’re all I have
All that remains

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ve fallen into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

Sometimes I feel it’s all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through

So here I am
What’s left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ve fallen into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

It’s the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty
When grace is ushered in for good
And all our scars are understood

When mercy takes its rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of the weakness we must bow
And hear You say “It’s over now”
I’m alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I’ve fallen into your arms open wide
When The hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here........  (by Mercy Me)

And the Lord said to Moses, “For you have found favor in My sight, and I have known you by name.”  Then Moses said, “I pray, show me your glory!”  And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion” (Exodus 33:17-19).

Our prayer is that the Lord will show us His glory, even here- in the death of Terence.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Sometimes I find myself a little angry at God and questioning and doubting His promises for tomorrow. Sometimes I don't even want to think about what tomorrow, will it be as painful as it was today???

 The pslamist cried out " My God, my God, why are you turned away from me? why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my crying?"

Obviously the psalmist felt that God had turned away from Him.  I have to admit, sometimes I feel that way...  when things don't turn out as I had hoped.....but deep inside I know He's a good God so even in my darkest hour I know God has not forsaken me.  I don't understand all the things that have occurred, but that doesn't change His goodness and kind thoughts toward me.

For I know the plans I have for you, saith the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, 
to give you a future and a hope." 
Jeremiah 29:11
At the moment I cannot even to begin to fathom what my future will look like without my best friend.  But I cry myself to sleep each night and I commit myself into the Lord's hands and cry out to him so that He will sustain me and be the lifter of my head and trust my tomorrow to him.
That's about all I can do on a day to day basis.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Heavy sighs and cries.

Heavy sighs and cries.
9.7.12 by sherry

"Heavy sighs". My yoga teacher told me that I sigh because I am stressed, and the stress is causing me to take shallow and short breaths. Deep breaths are good.

But I'm not there yet.

I'm still at the part where I cry when I look in the pantry and see Terence's cereal box.  I cry when I open the fridge and see the carton of milk (he's the only one who drinks milk).  I cry when I put my socks on because we share socks.  I cry when I  see his truck parked out side. I cry when I see cowboy Joe. I sigh when my Annie bug climbs into my lap silently and just cuddles me- no words spoken.  I cry when I pick up the mail, I cry When I check our DVR and all that's recorded is "The Best of the West" (Jim and Dean) and good old Judge Judy.  I haven't even told you what happens when I go near his closet or dresser. I cry when I sit in his chair.

I spent the week at my sister Charla's house..... I slept the entire time there and if I was awake, I was crying or sighing. I cried (and sighed) on the two hour drive back today.....coming home to an empty house and responsibilities are now all mine.  I cried when I had to balance the check book, pay bills and read condolence cards (although, the cards brought some sunshine to my heart).  I sighed when I turned the sprinklers on.

I know if Terence were here he'd still my sighing with a long hug and dry my tears with the palm of his hand while my head would be in his lap; he'd be telling me everything will be okay, then he'd lift my head up and I'd give him a kiss.  Somehow he makes everything okay for me, he always has. 

But here's not here.
"But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head".
 Psalm 3:3

                      "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." Matt 5:4