Much has happened in the past week. My days have been pretty busy. I have squeezed in some time with family and friends. My two oldest are in Chicago with the team from our church on the annual mission trip. My son has had his cousin here for several days since his sisters have been gone. We have been non-stop.
Last Friday, I was able to pick up the death certificate. I remember the way I felt when I looked at my children's birth certificates...so many hopes and dreams for that life. I wondered what it would hold. This time, I looked at my husband's death certificate. That's it. No more. At least not here on this earth! (THANK YOU JESUS for that sweet, sweet HOPE and assurance!) But for me, my husband is gone. I am sure you have heard that the dash is what matters...December 29, 1967-July 5, 2013. Dave lived his life. He worked hard. He laughed. He was celebrated. He loved the Lord. But I held in my hands, the end of his earthly life. It is really weird the things that go through my mind in this process. These were just a few of the thoughts that day.
On Monday, I was able to pick up his ashes. The funeral director met me at the door and went to get them for me. He walked out carrying a blue velvet bag with a gold cord ribbon. He carried it so respectfully and gently. I signed the proper papers and then he asked if he could carry them out for me. Again with such respect and honor for the life that was now in his hands. I drove away with my husband. Sobering. I am not one to display his ashes as the focal point of the home, so I cleared a shelf in my bedroom. I placed our wedding photo, a plaque with Jeremiah 29:11 (my verse for this phase of my life!), a wedding gift we received (the willow tree angel called "promise" of a couple dancing) and his ashes in the blue velvet bag. I really don't know if I will keep them. I really don't know if I decide to scatter them, when that will be...but I know eventually I will know what to do. But for now, they are mine and will be with me.
Tuesday, I got the call that his boss had the money for Dave's tools and tool box. It was such a blessing that I didn't have to go get that huge tool box and then have men involved in helping me sort and sell all of that. I walked into that office upbeat and happy. Just thankful for this blessing. Then when we were done, his boss said, "We thought so much of Dave. It really saddened us to hear about him." I told him, "You were the best boss he has ever had, no one else in the business ever treated him with the dignity and respect that you did..." tears poured as I told him what a blessing this job had been in our lives. That it was truly a gift from God and we were both so thankful for it. I walked out with tears streaming and they continued to pour as I cried out loud for quite a while. Another taste of the finality of my husband's life.
I got home and decided I might as well go take care of more on the to do list. I went to the bank and again, "My husband passed away, I need to take his name off of our accounts." Words are so painful...usually they hurt the one that is hearing them, these hurt the one speaking them. It was so simple...that doesn't seem right. That quick, just a piece of paper and his name was gone.
I came home and decided, might as well deal with more. So I went to the title department and took his name off the titles to our cars. More of those words, "My husband passed away so..." I will be glad when I don't have to take care of more of the business side of this and can just share my heart and story that God is writing in my life.
It felt so good to get those things accomplished. I have DREADED those moments. I still have a few more items of business to deal with concerning his passing, but the list is shrinking. I am so thankful for the strength God gives in those moments. And I am truly thankful Dave was willing to go with me in March and make sure this would be as simple of a process for me as it could be. SO SO thankful for that!
This journey has been so hard. I am STARTING to feel like I am settling into life without him...although I know it will be a while before I am completely there. I guess it is more like the house is beginning to not feel so odd. Baby steps forward...some healing...I am starting to adjust...and I am thankful!
For weeks, I was in a position of not being able to leave Dave alone. I was stuck here at home day after day. Only leaving for brief periods of necessary time. I am very social! I love time with my friends and being out of the house. This period of time was so hard for me. I felt so isolated and lonely. And at the same time, I was dealing with watching my husband fade away...
But...I know a Great Redeemer...and he is GREATLY REDEEMING...
Friday, I have the HUGE blessing of flying to Washington DC to join a friend on her business trip! Only expense to me is my airfare!!! WOO HOO!!! I was introduced to her through a mutual friend. We have only met through months of messaging on Facebook! So, in a sense, I am meeting a stranger...but I'm not. I am meeting a dear, sweet friend/sister in Christ! She lost her mom about 2 years ago to cancer...she has walked that road. Through this process, she has been a support, encouragement, someone I could ask questions about cancer and hospice care, she is truly a gift that I will cherish the rest of my life. And I get to meet her! I will be there until Wednesday next week.
Then, on the 3rd, my mom and I are taking my kids and heading to Dave's home state and hitting Mackinac City, MI. We are going on a mini vacation and going to Mackinaw Island for a day. Spending time on the beach, doing a little sight-seeing, a whole lot of relaxing...and some good memory making!
I get back on Thursday and then on Friday and Saturday I get a big ole dose of Jesus and I head to Women of Faith! Someone paid my way a while back and now I get to go soak up some fellowship, encouragement, challenge, and worship! I can't wait!
I think you could safely say that God is redeeming the time I spent in our home caring for my husband. (and there's more, but I will save that for another time!)
God is giving me a whole lot of beauty in the middle of such a hard place in life. I sit back and think about everything and feel his love pouring out all over me! In the middle of it all, I can say, I am blessed!
I have mentioned that God gives me songs...I think I have found my theme song for the year ahead...I know with His help and me walking through this process in a healthy way, I am an "Overcomer" no matter what is ahead.