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Redemption and Restoration After a River of Tears

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Welcome 2019:  I chose the word Gather this year as my word.

Last week I bought a handwritten sign that said:  Gather.  I hung it in my dining room, somehow thinking it might feel welcoming for new friends to come and for family to feel their presence is precious to me.  Living alone is an adjustment.  Living alone is......well, lonely.  This past week I came to the conclusion that my heart is fighting feelings of insignificance.  Who do I matter to?  Who would even know if I didn't wake up tomorrow morning?  I don't have a spouse or children who need me.  I have become fluent in the language of loneliness.  What to do with such thoughts?  What if there is no one to gather at the table with me.  Why choose a word for the year that causes pain?

Everything about the "widow" banner I wear is difficult.  Adjusting to being physically alone is difficult but tucked deep down in my heart I know that I am not special to anyone.  To take in the magnitude of that fact takes my…

This Fragile Grief Journey Continues

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It's been almost a month since I packed up and moved from our home to my new home.   The beginning of my story is much happier...

Sam and I were married 32 years ago in a small restaurant by the Fox River in Geneva, Illinois.  All my friends were there and Sam's parents came.  I was terrified!  Sam was calm, as always, and I knew the moment I saw him that he was the one!

We worked through immigration and lived  the first seven months of our marriage apart:  he in Vancouver, Melissa and I in Geneva, Illinois.  Eventually we packed a moving van and our new family moved to North Vancouver where Sam's mom, dad, sister and cousins helped us unpack and settle into a small co-op apartment.  It was beyond frightening moving away from my job, friends and familiar surroundings.  It's almost as if history is repeating itself with moving away from our home to this new place I plan to call home.  Fast forward to today...

I've been asked by friends how things are going and it…

Second Glances

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Coming up on the one-year anniversary of Sam's death on September 13, I began re-reading my blog to somehow grasp this monumental event that changed everything in my life and to glance back and try to see how far I've come.  Just about a year ago, we discontinued treatment with no idea of what was to come.  Sam and I talked the day treatment was halted and I asked him how he felt about stopping chemo.  He said he wasn't surprised, that he knew the chemo hadn't worked.  That was all we said about it.  It was this elephant in the room constantly.....too emotional and delicate to talk about...but always between us. 

So...how to take the past year and put words to paper on how I feel and what I've learned....precisely the purpose of this post.  With my house sold and my work resignation in, I've heard recently:  Bless you as you move forward in this new season of life or Good luck as you move away and go forward.  The word "forward" is spoken as if it is …

Practicing Courage to Walk Into the Future

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As I sit here almost 10  months since Sam died, it feels like just last week......and yet it feels like I've been alone for years.  Memories are vivid...and yet they fade.  I have a hard time remembering what our days were like together..and yet I don't.  Life is confusing.  Trying to make sense of it is impossible.  Nothing makes sense.

What is worthwhile thinking about is the daily transformation each of us makes toward our future.  Today formed tomorrow.  The strength I gained today will hold me up tomorrow.  The courage I mustered up to do the hard things today will come back tomorrow.  Practicing courage enlarges courage; practicing faith and reliance on God's plan for me helps grow my faith.

My short-term goals are still being formed.  Today my lawyer sent me the final papers to dissolve our chiropractic corporation.  I initially felt tears welling up and my throat tightening, but it seemed to pass, and I honestly just felt numb.  I signed the papers and asked my won…

Forming New Hopes and Dreams

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Coming up on nine months since I lost Sam, it feels like just yesterday...and yet it feels like a lifetime since our hands intertwined and I walked down into his office and leaned over for a kiss while he was sitting at his desk.  Going to the same building each day to work is very difficult.  I still can't bear to sit on the couch at home where he sat most of last year and although I've  adamantly insisted I was getting a new couch, I can't quite bear to let it go.  When I'm ready, that will be the right time.

There are two directions in life: backward and forward. Looking back, I am conflicted about the traumatic experience of what happened versus seeing where I am today.  Fast forward to today:  Through what I believe was divine intervention, our family was protected. So many friends and family rallied to help with food and encouragement. Each need was met precisely when it needed to be.  I look back in amazement but mostly with gratitude. 
Recently I've though…

Gratitude Amidst the Grief

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As the year turned over, I began reading a lot about choosing a word of the year to concentrate on.  So many words came to mind, but Gratitude was the recurring word I wanted to claim as my own this year.  There are so many negative words to define my last year, heartbreak, loss, deconstruction of my life, disagreements, misunderstandings....Cancer.  Why does gratitude continue to force its way into my soul??

Last year when Sam was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, I went into survival mode.  I tried to explain to family and friends how I felt about losing our livelihood, businesses we built while we were just kids, young parents, 30-somethings, but I am confident it can't be understood.  Even I have trouble grasping what has happened to me.  The depth of loss is just now seeping into the hollows of my heart where so much has been stripped away already with the loss of Sam.  I realize now that losing Sam was so much more than losing my partner, the guy I met in Chicago th…

A Year Since the Crash...

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Exactly one year ago tomorrow....life crashed.
How can two perfectly fine adults, one in pain, of course, but holding hands, walking upright into the medical clinic at 1:15 on December 15, 2016, possibly be prepared for the kind of news we were about to hear.  I picked Sam up at work and we went to the doctor's office to hear the results of his CT scan.  We knew it could be serious -- our daughter was recently in remission for lymphoma, and having lived through her chemotherapy treatments, we were prepared to hear that this pain Sam was feeling was something serious.  We were not prepared to hear the words that came tumbling out of the doctor's mouth without emotion:  "You have cancer.  It's pancreatic and it has spread to the lungs, bone," (other places I can't even remember due to my fogging out), and the worst -- "it has collapsed several vertebrae and that's where the pain is coming from.  It's the worst of the worst that I've seen."…