Although unknown to many of you, my dear wife for almost fifty years was called Home by her Savior and Lord on Friday, March 1, 2013 after enduring serious illness for the past five years. Carol was ready to meet Him, and waited expectantly to hear Him call her name. In heaven she will suffer no more pain. Heart disease, diabetes, and all the other related ailments will be things of the past and remembered no more. There will be no more hospitals, walkers, or wheel chairs, either. The sick will be healed, the lame will leap for joy, the blind will see, the deaf will hear, and the trials of this world will be gone forever. Today, she is safe and well in the arms of Jesus.
I penned the following random thoughts during the early morning hours of the days following her Home-going. In a way, it was a beginning of healing for me Ė a healing that will likely take a long time. My emotional wound will eventually heal, but the scar will remain. My total healing, however, will come from the Lord. Oh, where would I be without Him in my life!
I am sharing my thoughts in the event that you or someone you know might have recently experienced the pain and heartache of losing a loved one. Perhaps by reading them, it will bring a glimmer of hope and assurance into your life, and the knowledge that you are not alone. May God bless you!
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RANDOM THOUGHTS OF MY BRIDE
When we lose someone we love dearly, it can feel as if our heart and soul has been ripped apart and shredded, then, blown away like confetti in a wind storm. For me, that is especially true when the loved one was my wife and best friend who stood beside me for almost 50 years through good times and bad, through thick and thin, through sickness and health, and through times of sadness and joy.
But wait! Carol is not lost! Oh, although I cannot touch her, I cannot see her smiling face, and I cannot hear her voice, I know exactly where she is. She is safe in the arms of Jesus!
There she will suffer no more pain. Heart disease, diabetes, and all the other related ailments will be things of the past and remembered no more. There will be no more hospitals, walkers, and wheel chairs, either. The sick will be healed, the lame will leap for joy, the blind will see, the deaf will hear, and the trials of this world will be gone forever.
It was Carolís appointed time to leave us for a little while. God had called her name. As a born-again believer she went on down the path ahead of us to meet her Savior and Lord. She was not only ready, but was anxious to meet Him. That is a journey we all must take one day. Are you ready to do that? Do you know Him? You must be very sure. I know that I am ready - and soon I will see her again!
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Through all of Carol's life trials our prayer has always been, "We trust in You, O Lord - for our times are in Your hand." (Psalm 31:14)
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We are told in Scripture that we must run the race that is set before us. However, we know our journey will not always be smooth. The road we travel will have bumps, twists and turns along the way. When we keep the faith and look to the Lord for His leading to carry us over the rough spots, we will meet at the finish line - with victory in Jesus.
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Our awesome God is in control! It is only with His permission that we are allowed to take our next breath. We must realize that we are all just a lump of clay in the Master Potter's hands that He will shape and mold into His perfect plan for our lives.
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One day we will walk hand in hand with Jesus - our Savior, Lord and Master. We will talk and laugh with Him as we stroll together down the streets of pure gold. Our special mansion will be ready and waiting for us too. A massive celebration of continuous praise and worship will be there for us to join in with them. What a day that will be!
Until then, all of us must be thankful for each new morning, and thank God for allowing us to be a part of it so we can live our days for His honor and glory. Each day we must count our many blessings He so richly pours out on each one of us. Tomorrow is not certain, but eternity is Ė and we must know where we will spend it!
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I have much faith in the Lord and was always trying to provide encouragement to Carol, but in my quiet times, in a quiet place when I was alone with my thoughts, I felt so sad for her and my tears would flow. When I was on my knees in submission to Him, seeking His face in prayer, and looking to Him for peace, comfort and strength, He always told me to wait on Him for He will never leave us. He told me we are safe in the palm of His hand, He cares for us, and to only trust Him for He is in control and that His Will must be done.
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Heaven is a very real place. Itís a place to look forward to, a place to contemplate and prepare for. Itís a place where we will be more alive than we are today. The Master Creator is there, preparing a special place in heaven just for us.
In John 14:1-4,6 (NKJV), Jesus gave this promise to us: ďLet not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Fatherís house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know. I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.Ē
One day soon our mansion will be completed and Jesus will call my name and yours. Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. Are you prepared to meet Him on that day?
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One of the latter verses of the gospel hymn, ďAmazing GraceĒ, was penned as follows:
When weíve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun.
Weíve no less days to sing Godís praise,
Than when weíd first begun.
Ten thousand years - just imagine! But, when compared to eternity, ten thousand years are not even a blink of an eye. Eternity will have just begun. Itís simply impossible for me to wrap my human brain around that concept.
And then, to boggle the mind even further, the next ten million years will be as a single drop of water in an ocean that extends forever with no boundaries, nor measurable depth.
Throughout those endless years there will be no more death or sorrow, no more sickness, no more tears or pain, and no one will ever grow weary. Also, there will be no hospitals, or walkers, or canes, or wheelchairs. There will be no more Alzheimerís, or dementia, or strokes, or heart disease, or cancer.
Most important of all, however, is that Jesus will be there, and believers will at long last be Home with Him.
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Almost 50 years ago Carol and I made a promise to each other in the presence of a church full of witnesses and Almighty God that we would love, cherish, honor, protect, and care for one another as long we had life and breath. Oh, there were bumps along the way with twists and turns in our path, but with God leading us every step of the way, we did just that with everything that was within us. Now that 50 years have almost past by, the memories linger on and will never be erased from my mind. Would I do it all over again? Yes Ė in a heartbeat!
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I believe that today Carol is strolling hand in hand with Jesus along the streets of pure gold. I believe they are chatting, singing and laughing as they linger beside the flowing River of Life with its water sparkling like liquid diamonds. She is with her Savior and Lord forever. One day soon I will join them there. I canít wait!
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In the final weeks before Carol was called Home to be with the Lord, we both sensed that the end was near. We would spend as much time together as possible, sitting hand in hand at her bedside with tears flowing, often at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, just praying, sharing our inner feelings, re-living our memories, and comforting one another. It was during those times that I could picture in my mindís eye God-sent angels positioned on each side of her bed with wings wide-spread and touching wingtip to wingtip forming a shield of protection over us. Carol and I had an unbreakable bond between us, but our bond with our Lord and Savior was even greater. He promised to be with us until the end - and He was.
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Carol was my beloved bride and best friend for almost fifty years. She stood close by me through good times and bad, through sickness and health, and through times of sadness and joy. Now she has gone away. But, I know exactly where she is. She is safe in the arms of Jesus!
Carol went on down the path ahead of us to be with her Savior and Lord. Until we meet again, the roses will never fade and the memories will linger on in my heart.
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I shared the following during Carolís memorial service:
On behalf of my family and myself, I want to take a moment to thank everyone for being here, for your prayers, for your support, and for your kind words. We appreciate all of you.
Not long ago Carol told me she wished she could be a little mouse in a corner during her memorial service. She wanted to hear the Pastor's message, enjoy the music, and greet everyone who is here. Well, there probably arenít any mice in this Chapel, but I know she is here in our hearts and thoughts today. Carol would be very pleased.
If it were possible, I believe that Carol would be shouting a final plea from within heavenís gates to all in this Chapel who would hear her. She would warn that this is real stuff, it is serious stuff, and that one day everyone must stand before God to give account. It wonít be about who we are, or what weíve done, or whether weíve been a good person. It will be all about Jesus and what we have done with Him. And, itís not whether we simply know about Him, itís whether we truly know Him. There is a huge difference between the two.
If you are not absolutely sure you are a repentant, blood-bought, heaven-bound child of God, then, you must to do some serious business with Him today. You must receive His free gift of salvation by faith alone before it is too late.
And, as Carol knows very well - there is no promise of a tomorrow for anyone.
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I am not in any big rush to sort through Carol's things since I will need some time to get myself together first. Then, they will eventually be distributed according to her wishes.
I had been Carol's life support every hour of every day for a long time. It seems that I should still be doing something for her, but now the house is quiet. There is a big empty hole that will be there for some time. Even my dog Betsy seems lost, but now she needs me too. Carol was Betsyís best friend.
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My family and friends have now returned to their homes. Except for me and my dog Betsy, who continues to search each room for Carol, the house is empty. It is just the two of us trying to grasp onto something that resembles a normal life. But all has changed, and will never return to the life as we had known it for so many years. All we have left are the memories that fill our hearts.
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As Carolís caregiver, I was her constant life support for the past few years. I was tuned into her every need 24 hours a day, and always listened for her voice calling out to me. Even now in the quiet hours of the night and day, I sometimes imagine hearing her crying out for my help. I rush to the bedside where she once lay, but only to realize once again that she is not with us. Then, the tears flow because I miss her so much. Jesus is taking good care of her now, and one of these days I will join her Ė never to be separated again.
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A house that was once filled with joy and laughter, family and friends, pain and tears, conversation and intimate sharing, can do strange things to the mind after those things are gone. Now, I am finding out that an empty house can be quite noisy with sounds I donít remember hearing before. Sometimes the floors creak, ice trapped on the roof will make crackling noises as it thaws, I hear the furnace fire-up many times each day, and I even hear Betsyís nails softly clicking on the tile floors as she wanders aimlessly from room to room.
I talk randomly and frequently aloud expecting a response, but the only acknowledgement I hear is the echo of my words as they bounce off the walls. Betsy doesnít even listen to me unless the word ďtreatĒ is spoken. However, the Lord is listening and will sweep away the loneliness. I hope He will never become tired of hearing my voice.
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Forgive me if this sounds selfish, but with Carol no longer nearby to keep close watch over me, I pray that the Lord might raise a person or persons up to keep track of me in Carolís absence. I will surely need that support as the days pass by. Iím only human with human frailties and missteps - often fumbling and forgetful as I go along lifeís way. Whether I want to admit it or not, Iím no spring chicken anymore.
With the uncertainties of life, illnesses will happen, accidents might occur suddenly, and any number of other unforeseen situations could arise affecting my emotional or physical well being. Thankfully, I know that the Lord will always care and watch over me all the day and night, but I also desire that people might do that as well.
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I attended the Sunday morning worship service at church two days after Carol's memorial. It was the first time I had been able to be away from home long enough to attend church since early December. It was good - so very good! Oh, how I missed worshiping together with like-minded believers!
The music selections and the message filled my parched soul with renewed assurance that I am His and He is mine in spite of the trials and heartaches we must face in this life. We are never alone with the Lord by our side.
Oh Lord, may the healing begin with You!
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I am very surprised that Carol was the first to die. With my cancer diagnosis thirteen years ago, and yet another cancer diagnosis of a different type nine years ago, I had always thought that my death would happen first. You see, in spite of surgeries and radiation treatments, I have always believed that cancer is rarely ever totally destroyed, but rather, is only held at bay until it rears its ugly head again in the future. That has not yet happened.
Thankfully, by the grace of God, Carol was spared the pain and heartache she would have suffered by losing her husband of almost fifty years.
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In my quiet moments as I reflect on our years together, my memories of Carol overwhelm my heart and soul to the point of tears. They seem as real as if were happening all over again today.
I recall her voice giving me comfort and assurance. I picture the love in her eyes and her smiling face everywhere I look. Her sweet scent lingers in my mind like the aroma of fresh red roses. I can feel her soft touch, and her arms wrapped around me in a loving embrace. Not a day passed by in over 49 years without her sweet kisses and "I love you" coming from her lips.
Oh, the precious memories, how they linger. How they ever flood my soul. May the memories never dim and fade away from the depths of my mind.
"I am sharing my thoughts in the event that you or someone you know might have recently experienced the pain and heartache of losing a loved one. Perhaps by reading them, it will bring a glimmer of hope and assurance into your life, and the knowledge that you are not alone."
Those of us who haven't a recent experience of such a loss can also weep and find comfort in your writing. It's a fact of life that any one of us can have this experience at a moment's notice. So being prepared, as much as frail humanity is able, is essential. Thanks be to God, that our times are in His hands, and Jesus has gone before us to prepare the Way. God bless you, Don, and thank you for writing down your reflections while they are so fresh.
Don I shed both tears of sorrow and of joy upon reading your story about your awesome love for your bride. Now that she is with her true Bridegroom I pray the Lord will bring you someone who will look after you, someone to talk to, share with and find comfort in (other than Betsy). Maybe someone from church, or a neighbor, or maybe you could start a blog where so many wonderful people can become a part of your daily life. God be with you always and protect you in the shadow of His wings. Love and hugs . . . Debby
Opening up your heart the way you've done is bound to touch many who have experienced the kind of loss you have. Through it all, you've displayed the kind of peace that is only found in the life of a believer in the saving work of Jesus Christ. One day my oldest brother (who claims he is an atheist) said to me, "Why do you cry when someone you love dies? I'd think you'd be happy they're in the kind of heaven you've talked about?" I replied that the tears were for me, not for the one who had just died and gone to heaven. I am happy this one is free of pain,is shed of a body full of disease and pain, and is basking in the reality of the presence of Jesus. That person was always such an inspiration to me that I'll miss her. I'll weep many tears that I can't call her on the phone, or see her again. But my heart leaps with joy knowing where she is and what she's experiencing. I believe those are your feelings too, Don. I pray God will use this writing of yours to bring comfort, solace and yet a joy unspeakable and full of glory.