Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How Could I Forget?

Several months ago Kenny and I were sitting at the kitchen table. He said, "I hope you won't forget me"....."WHAT???....how could I ever forget you???" He went on to say, "Well, if you live to be ninety, that is a long life....and you would have only known me for about four years or so....that is such a short amount of time in light of your whole life". Of course I reassured him that I would never forget him...no, not ever. I think there are a lot of people in my life that have influenced me and taught me much along life's journey. But Kenny....he has made the greatest impact of all. He has changed me forever. He gave me what my heart has longed for for many, many years. Yes, he changed me. He gave me the greatest of all gifts. He loved me. Truly. And he let me love him back. Could I ever forget him? Never. Not a single day will go by where I don't lean on Kenny's love and influence to get me through.

I was talking to an old friend yesterday. I was telling her that I have really been experiencing the love and tenderness of the Lord....that I have been looking to Him to meet me in ways I have not been looking for Him in the past few years. I have been looking to Him to meet me as a husband would....to fill in the empty spaces that are now so evident with Kenny's passing. She said "you had that love through flesh and bones". Yes....Kenny was that for me. He was a vessel of God's love poured out to me. Poured out....spilled over...and abundantly overflowing. What a great, great gift. What a great, great love.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

One Month, Two Days

I can hardly believe that over one month ago now, Kenny left. His memorial service was just last week and I have to say it was both beautiful and honoring of my Kenny. I had all the emotions that go along with a service like that. I cried, I smiled, I laughed out loud. There was joy and sorrow both and I have to say I was glad when the day was over. For me, it was a big hurdle to get over, and once I was over it, I wanted nothing more than to go home, wrap myself in a blanket on the couch and zone out in front of the TV.

I keep thinking....."ok...NOW is the time when you have to get it together". I think as long as the memorial service was looming in front of me, I felt it was ok to grieve in my PJ's all day if I felt like it. But now, I am feeling like I need to move on....there are no more 'markers' in the road to ease my expectation. No more hurdles to jump. Just a long, long road ahead and one that I have never been on before. I have a hard time seeing much beyond today. To me right now, the road ahead looks flat, and dry and dusty, and so uninviting. But it is the only road in front of me.... and so I go.

I have a lot of friends and a lot of opportunities to get out. I take advantage of them... find myself having a good time...and then I crawl back home and hole up for a few days. I am finding my way. Today I was planning on going to church, but I was up so early that as the time to get ready approached, I wanted nothing more than to go back to bed. I made a bed on the couch and ended up staying there until noon. Then, this afternoon I went to the stables. I have a friend that is 'loaning' me her horse to love on until I can get my own. Her name is Char and we are just getting to know each other. I took her out and walked her around and we had a chat. I was alone at the barn, so I felt free to have a good long talk and bonding time with her. I ended up in a puddle of tears and emailed her owner telling her I think I am now officially her auntie. I think a horse is really important for me right now and I am trying to be patient on acquiring my own. I need to wait for now....but in time the right one will come along and the timing will be perfect. Waiting is hard....but at least I have a horse to love in the meantime....

I was talking with my son the other day. He was asking how I was doing. I think I am at the place where I am standing back and thinking "wow...what just happened?" While Kenny was alive, I was so focused on the day to day. I was focused on getting us through another day well. I had almost forgotten that there was a time when we were vibrant and healthy and looked forward to a whole life together. Those thoughts did not enter my mind much during his illness..... it was what lie ahead that consumed me. It was thoughts of the imminent future that frightened me. "Can we do this....can I do this?" But now, I have time to look back. Time to think about what we had. Such a small amount of time together and gone so quickly. I look at pictures and my heart breaks. He was....is the love of my life and I am still reeling from all that has transpired these past few years. But this one thing I know....I would not change anything. Of course I would change things if I could. But I can't bring Kenny back. But I will forever be grateful for what we had. For what I had. It was great. It was wonderful. It was....everything.

Friday, June 17, 2011


It's Friday night and I have chosen to spend the night alone. I actually haven't even left the house all day except to go get the mail. I had dinner plans with a nice older couple I had met a few years ago at my work place. She has been a widow before and understands this strange time I am in. She had given me an 'out' if I needed one...."you can always cancel if you're just not up to it". So I did. This morning. I woke up with the the thought...."I just want to be home all day....no plans".

I have not been spending all my days at home and in bed. Actually, I have been out almost every night this week (one person cancelled on me...yeah!) with friends and family and frankly, I just wanted some down time. I know tomorrow the family will be arriving for Ken's memorial service so once again I will be in the throes of people. I am looking forward to seeing Ken's family though. We all loved him so much and it will be nice to be together with others who loved him in a very special way.

These truly have been strange days for me. There was a great scripture that my niece sent me in February and I still draw from it today.

"I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make the darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them". Isaiah 42:16,17

I find a lot of comfort in knowing that even though I have not been down this road before I know the Lord will guide me. He certainly went before us during Ken's illness, and I believe He will do the same for me today. I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed these past few days. Even though Kenny tried to prepare me, there are so many 'things' coming in the mail that I am not sure how to deal with. Nate and I will get together tomorrow morning and hopefully he can help ease my burden. I don't like this.....no, I don't like it at all.

I think over all I am doing pretty well. I went to work out at the ranch yesterday and ran into someone I sort of know. We got to talking....I told her about Kenny. She remembered him and told me that she too was a widow. It has been eight years for her and she was just able to clear out his clothes last year. She said she didn't do anything at all for the first two years. I asked if they had talked about his death and dying much and she said not at all. She realizes, as I do, that the lack of communication, of working through the hard and the inevitable as a couple, can be such a huge set back. She experienced it, and I think she has regret. I will be forever grateful for the ease and openness Kenny had in his final journey. We talked often and openly and I know it has been a great source of strength and healing for me. "Thank you, Kenny!"

For me, I believe my darkest days are behind me. When Kenny received his diagnosis, my world caved in. I could not believe that this man that I had longed for my whole life, this man who truly 'got me', was not going to ultimately be with me. Not for long anyway. I could not accept that. I prayed and pleaded...denied it was happening, and cried my eyes out. No...this is not going to happen. But it did. I honestly feel like much of my grieving is behind me. I had come to that acceptance phase months ago.... and even though there are sad and lonely times... I still accept. This is my lot. This it what has been handed to me and I am trying to receive it with grace. God is good and I know I am loved. My life will go on, and I believe it will go on with joy and love and all the good things that God has in store for those who are His. One of God's best and greatest gifts ever given to me was Kenny. He changed me... helped me... believed in me. He taught me an awful lot about life and love, and I will be forever changed because of him. Forever better. Forever loved. "Thank you...."

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Yesterday was a good day and I think some of it spilled over to today. I didn't leave the house the day before and the day before that almost as much. I spent a lot of time in bed, just feeling drained. Sad too, I'm sure, but truly, physically, just really tired. Bed was a huge draw. I laid there and said to myself "you've got to pull it together...you can't just lay around all day".....and then I thought, hey, I can do this. I just lost my husband, I can lay around. I can, and I did. If I am doing that six months from now I will give myself another talk.

I woke up yesterday morning with a text from a new friend inviting me to come to her barn and she would give me a horseback riding lesson. I had a plan! Something to get me out of the house. We had a date for 11 o'clock and I was there on the button. I had a really good time. Horses are so therapeutic for me. I stayed for a few hours and knew I needed to go to Salinas which was on my way home. I needed to stop at the mortuary to pick up Kenny's death certificate. I was feeling pretty good and decided I really wanted to get a haircut on the way so I came across a Super Cuts and "Juana" started cutting my hair. I was a little worried as she seemed to be taking off a whole lot more than I indicated but she seemed pretty confident so I just went with it. Loved it. So I picked up the death certificates and it did not seem to change my mood. I came home, showered, and met friends for a glass of wine which ended up being dinner too. I got home around 9. Being alone, I don't really like coming in after dark, so I make it a point to get home when there is still a little light in the sky. I am not sure what I am going to do when winter is here and it is dark by 5. Maybe I'll be braver then.

So, I had a good day yesterday. And a pretty good day today too. I would have liked to crawl back in bed around noon, but I knew I was getting together with a couple of pastors at 3 to discuss the memorial service. So instead of crawling back in bed, I got dressed and ran a few errands before the meeting. The meeting went well and we came away with a plan. I am not good at this stuff so I am thankful for the guidance they provided. I was on my way home and realized I was really hungry but didn't feel like going home to eat, nor did I feel like eating alone. I called an old friend and she met me for a bite. A good way to end the day. Now home, long before dark. The TV is my friend tonight.

Such a strange time I am living in. I have no clue what lies before me and I can get a little scared when I think about it. But one thing I do know. I need to live in the same truth that I lived in when Kenny was diagnosed. We said, "one day at a time"..... and it works. Jesus said so..."don't worry about tomorrow.....tomorrow has enough cares of it's own". I know whenever I didn't live one day at a time, I would worry about Kenny. How was I going to take care of him....what if..... And now, I know that so many things I worried about never happened. I never needed to worry, but just live each day as it comes and live it to the fullest. That is what I need to do now. I don't need to worry and I don't need to know everything ahead of time. I just need to live each day as it comes and by God's grace I will.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

One Week

Little did I know when I woke up last Tuesday that it would be the final day. The day Kenny would exit this world and enter glorious heaven. Little did I know that it would be the last morning that I would wake up with my true love beside me. I didn't know....how could I know? But I knew it was coming, and I knew it was coming soon. Kenny passed away while taking a nap. I had been on the phone with someone while he was sleeping and told that person I thought he had about a week. A week, not minutes. I kept checking in on him while he was napping, noticed his usual labored breathing, and then, at one of my check ins.....quiet. I knew he was gone. Just like that.

It was like something burst inside of me. A dam that had been shored up came undone and I felt a wave of sorrow, unbelief and tears come over me. I crawled in bed next to him, spooning him from behind and cried and hugged and kissed and cried. At one point I called my friend and neighbor who I had just gotten off the phone with before my final check in. "He DIED!"..."what???"....."Kenny died!"....."I'll be right over". His uncle came, my son came, Hospice came. Suddenly it was all so real....so final. It was a day I will never forget and I day I would never want to relive. But I do relive it. I have relived it every day many times over. They say that time is a great healer and I believe that to be so. I know there will come a time when I don't think of that day as often as I do now. That day will come....Kenny would want it to.

What I do want to remember is the life we had. The life he had when he was strong and healthy and whole. I want to remember the long walks we took that always turned into adventures. The Tuesday night dance lessons or hitting golf balls at the Ranch. I want to remember that birthday when Kenny bought me ten dresses. Kenny was fun. Really fun. And he loved me. Really loved me. I never thought I would be loved like that. Didn't think it was in the cards for me. But I was loved by him. And it will last me. If that is all the love I will find from here on out, it will last me. It was a gift.... and it was enough.