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An Anniversary of Mourning

04/13/2012

It is an experience that no one understands until someone has gone through it.  It is an experience that no one wants, but almost everyone will have.  Today is the anniversary of such a day for me.  It was on April 13, 2001 that I said goodbye to my husband of 28 years.  It was painful, more than words can adequately express, but it was peaceful at the same time.  How could that be? Read on….

It all started quite suddenly on Sunday, April 8th.  In 2001 that was Palm Sunday, and I went to church in the morning, but my husband, who was sick, stayed home.  Being in the choir I had two services to participate in, but when the pastor started to preach in the second service, the words I heard were, “You need to go home and take your husband to the hospital.”  I have no idea what the pastor really said, but the words I heard were so clear and definitive, that I got up immediately, left church, and hurried home.  When I got there my husband was still in bed but awake.  He could not open his left eye and the eyelid was very swollen.  I told him to get dressed because we were going to the hospital.

Once at the hospital, we waited our turn.  My husband started mumbling something about swallowing a water softener pill.  When the triage nurse heard this, she rushed him to the back for immediate attention.  The doctor took one look at my husband and knew what was wrong almost immediately.  To confirm his suspicious, he ordered a CAT scan.  What he knew, and we didn’t, was the swollen left eye was a classic symptom of a brain aneurysm in the occipital portion of the brain.  The CAT scan confirmed this, and my husband was taken by helicopter to a larger hospital which was more equipped to handle such a case.

Surgery was performed the next morning, and the days of waiting and praying began in earnest.  All the family was there in the waiting room where we would wait for the rare moments we could go in and visit him.  We talked with other families waiting as well, and in the process heard stories of recovery and stories of loss.

My husband got a bit worse each day as the brain reacted to the blood that had flooded its cavities.  On Thursday, April 12th we were given the news that he was not going to pull through.   Each of us went alone to his bedside to say our good-byes.

On the ride home we discussed taking him off life support, and we agreed we would if they could give us some assurance that he would never be able to live on his own.  As soon as we walked through the front door, the phone rang.  It was the hospital, and they wanted to know if he had cardiac arrest that night, if we wanted him resuscitated.  So, I asked the questions we had discussed in the car on the way home.  I was told that my husband had not had any oxygen to his brain in over two hours.   It was the answer we needed to make the decision.  So, with tears in my eyes and a voice that could barely speak, I answered, “Thank you for that information.  We do not want him resuscitated if his heart stops.”

We receive no more calls that night, however, and so we knew his heart had pumped on through the night.  It was one small glimmer of light in the fog we seemed to be engulfed in.  You see we had hoped we’d be able to donate his organs, but that would not happen until Friday.  So, by his heart remaining strong through the night, we were able to sign papers for the organ donation he had always said was his preference.  When we got there, and before we met with the organ donation organization, we met with the doctors one more time, and then said our final goodbyes one at a time.  There was a definite difference between this goodbye and the one we said the day before.  When we spoke of it later, we each agreed, the man we called husband, father, and son, was no longer there on Friday.  He had left for his heavenly home.

The formalities of organ donation were handled with grace, dignity, and respect, after which we left the ICU unit for the last time.  We would not see my husband, their father, their son again until a later time in another place.  This chapter of his story was over, but the next one had just begun.

Many people have commented on how hard it must have been to have lost a loved one during a holiday season.  I agree that it must be horrible, but it is not the case with losing a loved one at Easter.  My husband went into the hospital on Palm Sunday.  He died on Maundy Thursday.  We said our final goodbyes on Good Friday, and we worshiped the Lord of Eternal life on Easter.  I could not go to my church on Easter, because I could not face a whole church of people with sad eyes as they looked at me and hugged me.  But I wanted to worship the God who made it possible for me to know and have peace with my husband’s eternal destination.  I wanted to thank God for Easter like I had never thanked him before. Easter took on whole new, personal meaning for me.  So, I went to a church where no one knew me.  I cried as I sang because my earthly self hurt horribly, but I smiled as I cried because my spirit was lifted up and comforted by the Lord of all comfort, and the Giver of life.

So today, I honor my husband with my love and my tears, but I worship the Lord with the core of my being.  I know one day I will join my husband, and many others who have gone on ahead,  in a new chapter of life and we will laugh and dance and praise God together.

I look forward to your joining our singing, dancing, and laughing.  I hope you know Jesus personally and have the assurance and peace that knowing him can give you.  If you don’t, but want to, just go to www. peacewithgod.jesus.net/. 

If we don’t meet before, I hope to see you there. God bless you!

From → Family, Spirituality

2 Comments
  1. Desiree J Rivera permalink

    I understand your feelings of peace at the time of your husbands passing, because I too felt that inner peace when my husband died two years ago on March 11, but for a very different reason. I don’t know if it was an inner peace as it was a relief!! I know that sounds cruel, but it is my reality, because that’s what he was to me, “cruel”!!! For the last two years of his life, he treated me with disrespect and said such awful things to me, and I believe he would have physically abused me if he would have had the strength, also, I believe that he was afraid of going to jail, because he knew that I would call them in a heartbeat, I had in the past. I’m not going to go on and on about the abuse that I endured, only to say that my private hell ended the day my husband died.

    • moriahsmusings permalink

      Thanks for your comments Desiree. I know that the relief must have been great. Now that you have come out from under that oppression, it is time to live your life to the fullest. Remember who created you and who gave you a future and has plans for your life. Seek Him. He will guide you, support you, and give you peace, joy, strength, and life abundantly. Spend some time in his Word today. May I suggest Psalms, right in the center of the Bible. There you will find writings that will speak to your heart, no matter what you are feeling at the moment. My personal favorite is Psalm 91 where we read that God is our fortress, our shield, our rampart and our refuge. Fortress – God surrounds us with his strength. Shield – God protects us. Rampart – God avenges us, God guides us, God will provide for us. Refuge – God provides for our needs while sheltering us and providing a safe place in which to rest. May God now provide those things for you Desiree. Seek him and he will be found by you.

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