"We can choose to be grateful for the time we did have instead of being angry about the years we didn't have." (Courageous Movie)
Four years ago today I was sitting with my husband holding his hand as he lost his battle with cancer. I had been privileged to care for him in home hospice and we knew his time on earth was coming to an end. As I heard him take his last breaths, I prayed. We were grateful that he would no longer be in pain, but there were so many questions about those who would be left behind to carry on. How would our kids be able to handle this? How would it change and impact their lives?
Our family motto had become "Finish Strong" as this had been Bryan's prayer request that he finish strong. So the kids and I moved forward in faith.
To those who have also experienced loss over the past few years, I've shared with them that sometimes it's moving on a day, an hour, a minute, or a second at a time, but we must keep moving. So our family has done this as well.
Our son graduated college and has been working and supporting himself in Oregon. Our middle daughter graduated high school with honors, is now a senior in college in Oregon, and has grown into a beautiful young woman. They both have wonderful significant others who have helped them to press on and to heal. And our youngest daughter graduated high school with honors, just finished her first semester in college, and made the dean's list at her honors college.
Our kids have experienced such pain, yet are continuing to finish strong. We are so incredibly proud of them as they could have made different choices that could have derailed instead of drive them.
As I prayed and heard Bryan take his last breath, I wondered if I would ever meet and marry someone again or would be called to stay single and focus only on my kids. I hated the word "widow" as I always pictured someone in their late 80s or early 90s, but here I was in my 40s and the word now described me.
But I believe we go through things so that we can help others going through similar situations. Just as I'm able to empathize with and help military spouses dealing with separations due to deployments, I'm also able to do the same with young widows who experience loss at an early age.
None of us knows the path we will be asked to walk. None of us knows when our time on earth will end. But when you experience something like this, it changes you. You no longer 'sweat the small stuff" or take time for granted. You cherish the time you have with those you love (and probably take more pictures - ask my kids if this is true! smile emoticon You re-evaluate your priorities, the difference you make, and how you spend your time.
But as the beginning quote states, you also can choose to be grateful. For those you love, for the time you did have, for the memories, and for new opportunities that come. Our greatest pain can lead us to our destiny.
Had we not walked this journey, I would not have found my current company LegalShield that allows me to help people on a daily basis. I would not have met & married a wonderful, kind-hearted gentleman Geoff who saw me as a person and loved me for who I was - even though that included being a young widow. I wouldn't be able to help other young widows through their journey with the compassion and understanding I had gained.
Thank-you friends who prayed for us, walked with us, held us, provided meals, and have cared for our family over the past five years through the diagnosis, chemo, passing, and continuing to live as we believe God would ask us to walk on - in faith.
I've always said "Faith, family, friends" make the difference and it has been so true in our lives. We love you and thank-you for being part of our lives and for your continued support. heart emoticon
for our story)