Grief: Looking Back in the Rearview Mirror

The year 2018, ended with a very dear and respected family friend in the hospital since Thanksgiving. He ended the year looking forward to spending time with his maker. It was heart breaking seeing him having to say good bye to his love of his life, his boys, his daughter-in-law’s, his grandchildren, and cherished brothers and sisters in Christ. We started the New Year celebrating his going to be with his Lord and final resting spot for his body. He was in eternal peace with his heavenly maker. He was finally home.

Of course the 2019 year started with winter, so dreary, and very cold. Anyone who lives in the Midwest, knows how cold the winters can be. Sometimes we just have an occasional snow storm and it goes away, without much remembrance. We had lots of snow even before previous Thanksgiving. We had ponds freeze and record breaking temperatures. 

The cold added to the misery that we all were feeling about our fourteen year old cat, Stella, as she had been suffering from diabetes. We adopted her when she was about five years old. She was one who had become accustom to sitting in our bedroom window looking out at life that she knew nothing of, which is a story into itself. The medicine that we had been giving Stella was no longer working. Life seemed such a betrayal for her. She learned how to be a cat at an advanced age. We had to say our goodbyes in February. I held her as she took her last breath.

March saw us travel to Germany to see our, son and daughter-in-law, for a week during spring break. We figuring it would be the last time we would get to see Germany while they were still stationed overseas there. I will post about Germany in a separate post. 

When we arrived back home from Germany we could tell, Annie, our nine year old golden retriever’s head was more disfigured. She had an odd shape on top of her head that had been growing slowly. We thought it was, what is often found on goldens, benign fatty tissue. Though, due to the changes, we soon realized it was not the benign fatty tissue, but brain bone cancer, plus an inoperable brain tumor. I took her and Mawmaw for one last picnic at the park with DQ. She enjoyed every single bite of her banana split.

Jamie, Jess, and I went with Annie that evening to the vet as a family to comfort her over the rainbow bridge. We adopted Annie, when she was eight months old, from a sweet couple that wanted her to have a family to let her grow up in and the energy to do so. They came to see her that morning. We called them her grandparents. Unfortunately, Grandpa, was not feeling well. After they left our home he ended up having to go to the Emergency Room. It is with sadness that it would be the last time to see him as he passed away within the month.  He was now happily sitting with Jesus, His Lord and Savior.

Jamie and I celebrated our twenty-sixth wedding anniversary in April. I started a job with a new company and threw myself into the position. There was lots to do and keep my mind busy. There were internal issues at the company and things started to unravel for myself and others as they slowly came to light. I was verbally abused by a person of authority within the company. When this came to light some heads started to spin. I found myself relieved of my duties on a weekend. I was quiet perplexed as I was in the middle of fixing some issues that were found and had eminent deadlines. I found out afterwards that eight more people including the president, whom I had confided in were relieved of their duties too. The whole process left me questioning things about myself, processes that had happened, and the reconciliation took several months but did start to make sense. You can not control others behaviors, some people get away with things that are not fair, but in the end to go forward you give it over to God, heal, and start fresh. 

Another dear friend quickly became terminally ill. It is so hard to say goodbye to someone when there is such little time, and sometimes there is not time to say goodbye. We gathered with their family to encourage them. With Christ as our hope, he is our redeemer.

I decided to take the unplanned time off, and have foot surgery. Though, when I was talking to the doctor about the heart palpations I was having with the current foot compound cream, he said that I needed to stop taking it, and go for Pre-Op Clearance with the cardiologist. I went and saw the cardiologist, who recommended a cardiac cath. I had it done, was a good patient, followed directions, went home to rest. After a week, I still had a lot of pain in my abdomen. I literally went to Walgreens and stocked up on enemas. Well, let’s just say that didn’t help make the pain any better.

Having rested, tried to make it better, yet no relief, I decided to go to the ER and have things checked out. I was triaged and sent back for a CT-SCAN. When done I was put in a room and told a doctor would be in to see me. They came in and told me that I was being admitted as I was hemorrhaging internally from the cardiac catherization entrance site.  I looked up at the ceiling and said, “God your in control.” 

Jamie stayed with me up at the hospital keeping me company in the ICU for the next three days. I had to stay flat and obliged. I had to take it easy for the next few months as the blood dissolved. I realized why people with endometriosis must hurt when the blood gets in places it should not. Over the next few months things started to slowly get better.

Another dear friend was nearing the end of the battle with prostate and bone cancer. My daughter and I had gone several times to cheer him up and show some love towards him and his dear wife and family that we both loved dearly. It breaks your heart knowing the families will miss each other but have faith as they will be in heaven together later with Christ as their Savior. Thankful that we were able to be in his presence at the last because that turned out to be my goodbye to him. His funeral landed while I was in the ICU recovering. 

August led into September, taking it easy and healing with as much rest as possible. Miss Gracie, our 16 year old short hair, tabby cat’s kidney issues were flared up and with several rounds at the vets office we came to realization she was dying. She was our longest living animal since we had been married. The kids were 5 and 7 years old when we found her in a box with other kittens ,abandoned by a car driving away, from the church we were visiting. The kids were now soon to be 22 and 25. Our hearts seemed ripped to shreds with so much loss. 

Broken hearted by all the loss and how we missed having a cat in the house we decided to go to the Humane Society and look at the cats needing homes. We fell in love with a four year old female cat named, Gonzo. She hooked my heart when she stood up on her hind legs and wanted held. I obliged her and she hugged me. We each had a turn loving on her, she won our hearts. We decided to adopt her. On our way to the counter to process paper the hubby started playing with a kitten hanging out in a hammock in a big kitten cage. She was adorable, and so we decided while in line to adopt her too. We took them home and they fell right in love with all of us. They have turned out to be two of the most loving cats ever. They totally broke the stereotypical mold about being independent and reclusive. They flop on you and demand to be loved.

Sweet Molly our 12-13 year old blue healer felt the loss, she had been in the family since 2016. She started showing signs of a fatty tissue on the inside of her leg in October. After several vet visits it was figured out that it was not a fatty mass but indeed a cancerous cyst. It ended up rupturing and bleeding internally. We had to make an emergency decision to help her cross the rainbow bridge. We were not ready to say goodbye to yet another fur baby. Our hearts had been ripped from our bodies. 

In October I had my every quarterly visit to the Endocrinologist which meant lots of lab work. My results answered years of questions of why the diabetic medicines I had been prescribed were needing increased. I had originally been diagnosed Type 2 diabetic in 2012. In October 2019, I was officially diagnosed Type 1 diabetic. Talking about frustrated because I had been working so hard to not just control but hoping to make my health better. The Endocrinologist encouraged me to continue the good fight and praised my hard work which paid off with a great A1C and blood sugar. We decided an insulin pump and sensor monitor would be the next step in the adventure ahead. The Type 1 diabetic journey has opened my eyes to the severity and complexity that is still often not understood by many. 

November rolled around and we tried to be in a thankful mode but it was so hard. I think we suffered from numbness and shock of so much loss. We celebrated Thanksgiving with a dear young couple who were from out of state.  Some times in the thick of pain and suffering you just need to pull together and let love be enough to get you through the difficult moments. Sometimes you have to be still and wait on the Lord to give you strength when you are empty or running low. I decided I was at the end of myself and found myself crying out to God to give me strength to endure.  My kitchen floor became my meeting place giving it all over to God. 

I decided I needed to go to a counselor because the burden was too heavy to bare. I felt that I was not strong enough to be strong for all those I needed to be strong. The counselor said the word that best described the year for me was grief. Grief had consumed me and I needed to work through and reconcile each part to move forward. 

Little by little God put people in my path to breathe life back into me. He saw fit to send nuggets my way to remind me, affirm his love for me, and plans he has in store for me. Some things that he has brought to my attention: Ministry to mentor to other females that need encouraging and support. The boldness to speak and use my voice to help others to use their voice to share their stories. The desire to use several platforms both in blogging, photography, and vlogging to help get out the stories of reconciliation. He has reminded me, life is reconciled one story at a time. 

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 53:5, ESV

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

1 Peter 2:24, ESV

Published by Voice of Reconciliation

We all need a voice and this is my platform to help others and myself share our thoughts.

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