Saturday, June 22, 2013

Day 16


 June 22, 2013


Day 16


I actually had several “good” days this week.  I had not been struck with desire to visit Paul’s grave and had very few tears at all – to the point that I wondered if I was ok.  Aren’t the bereaved supposed to cry all the time?  Well, I’m learning that there are really no “supposed to’s” when it comes to grief.  But while nothing is easy right now, the last few days had not been so extraordinarily difficult.


But then I woke up today.  I dreamed of Paul again last night.  It was nothing significant, like previously this week.  He didn’t sit on the edge of my bed and tell me he’s waiting for me, like some stories I hear.  We were just doing normal, household stuff, holding normal conversations like we did in real life.  And then I woke up and had to gasp at the pain of remembering he is gone.


Actually, yesterday morning I woke up crying, which I have never done in my life.  But the night before I had dreamed that Ben had also died, so I think that’s where that came from.   Of course, the tears were for Paul, but my dream was pretty horrific too.  However, it didn’t seem to color my day.  I fully woke up and got on with things and was ok.


But today – I’m not.  I’m short of breath once again, I feel this cavity in the area  of my heart with acute awareness (I understand the term “heart-broken” now – my heart feels like it is literally broken – more like ripped apart, actually).


Last night was my first drug-free night.  I am tempted to keep taking the pills if it means this is how I’ll feel when I wake up.  But, I remind myself of what I wrote earlier, that I have to go through this  time of grief.  I cannot go around it by drugging myself into oblivion or distracting myself from the pain with other activities.  It’s a miserable thing.


Will came home last night, after being gone for more than 8 days.  The trip was good for him.  It sounds like the pastor there in Utah had a special interest in Will because he had been informed what had happened and he reached out to Will.  Will has come home, burdened for the type of work this pastor does and tells me he wants to go back.  In the meantime, he plans to remain in contact with this pastor.


Just this week I was talking with Marcia about the need for the older boys to be able to talk to someone about their grief.  I suppose this pastor filled a bit of that for Will this last week.  I’m glad.  Now, I need to convince David of the need to talk to someone.  He says he feels “too embarrassed” to that, but I’m afraid of what will happen if he does not have an outlet for his pain.


I certainly have an outlet – many, really.  Many are sitting with me, letting me talk.  I feel like I’m repeating myself and I worry constantly that I’m telling people things I’ve already told them because I can’t remember who I told what to!  I’m sure people don’t mind, though.   Marcia came over Thursday and spent time with me in the Word and prayed with me.  She says this is going to be a regular thing.  I’m thankful.


I spent all Thurs. morning at the Farm Bureau office.  Pastor and Marcia went with me.  It was a long appointment.  Of course, I don’t get the life insurance until we have a death certificate, which may take months.  But there are so many other things to consider now that I am suddenly single (hate, hate that word – “single” – in fact the other day I was filling out some paperwork and I had to check a box, “Married, Single, Divorced, or Student.”  I carefully wrote “widowed” below all the choices).  We had to talk about life insurance for me, life insurance for the kids, guardianship for the kids, a trust for Ben’s care later on,  vehicle and house insurance, and  medical insurance for me because I am losing Paul’s coverage.  I was very thankful to have Pastor’s and Marcia’s ears because I just don’t understand all that I am told these days.  It’s like my brain can only handle so much information before it shorts out and shuts down.


Our pool is up!  Wed. night at church Pastor told the congregation that it was going to get hot this weekend and the Heywoods need their pool put up.  He was hopeful that a couple guys would volunteer.  My friend Danielle shot her hand up and calmly told Pastor that she would take care of it – funny.  Danielle is one of these uber-capable people.  I shake my head in amazement at her because she just runs circles around most women when it comes to ability.  The next morning she and another friend from church showed up and set up the pool.  Yesterday, Danielle was back, teaching me how to use the chemicals.  I took notes because I am not capable like that!  The kids are all pretty excited and are trying to coax me in the water.  I would prefer to avoid thermal shock by waiting until the water actually warms up.


David reminded me of last summer when Paul and I would get in the pool in the dark after the Littles were in bed.  It was romantic and quiet…until David would discover we were having fun without him and insist on joining us!


Remember how I wrote a few days about the regrets I had in our marriage?  There honestly was not a lot to regret because we were generally quite happy together, but as a wife, I know areas in which I was lazy or a downright failure.  I was praying about it a few days ago and I felt this immediate sense of peace and the sure knowledge that all was forgiven.  What a beautiful word.  I told this to Marcia later and she reminded me how God tells us that He buries our sins in the deepest sea and “as far as the east is from the west.”  It is remembered no more!  While wrestling with this, I had actually had the silly thought of wondering if now that Paul was enjoying the delights of Heaven, if he looked back on his time with me and was saying, “Yeah, I really had it rough with that woman!”  That thought made me so sad!  But God is not holding my failures against me.  And Paul is not, either.


We have continued to be blessed this week.  Both Thursday and Friday sacks and boxes of groceries were brought to me.  One even came from an old lady in our church who has such trouble with her vision that I had to help her up and down our back steps.  But she was insistent that she needed to bring me groceries!  Sweet. My brother’s old girlfriend UPSed us a box of homemade cookies all the way from Oregon because she remembered how I used to bake for Andrew and his friends when they would visit.  My Christian Moms of Boys group, an online group I have been part of for years, sent me six gorgeous frames, telling me that I can make copies of pictures of Paul with each of the kids for their bedrooms.  I know I’ve written before about tragedy inspiring generosity, but I continue to be amazed as I see it happening to us.


I’ve been printing out my Diary of an Unwilling Widow and re-reading my thoughts.  I didn’t think I would want to do that until much later.  But people are telling me they are reading my thoughts as I post them on my blog and then I feel curious enough to go back and see just what it was that I wrote.  I’m finding it comforting.  I suppose it’s because it’s all about Paul and continual reminders of him do make me feel better.


My greatest source of comfort, though, continues to be the Lord.  He is truly sheltering me under His wings and hiding me in the cleft of the rock. I’m not talking “Christianese” here – I understand now, for the first time, what people mean when they use these Biblical phrases.  When I think of Paul’s death I am comforted by the knowledge that his death was not a random, freak thing.  Psalm 139 tells us that our days are numbered before we ever come to be.  God was not surprised the morning of June 6th.  As I told the kids soon afterwards, God was not sleeping then.  He knew that Paul would live to be exactly 42 years, 5 months, and 2 days old.  We are surprised because we didn’t expect it.  We are lulled into a false sense of security because most people do live well into old age.  Death is a shock to us, particularly when it comes before then.  Paul had done exactly everything God intended for him to do.  And then He called him home.


Of course, we are left with broken hearts.  But I do not have to question God on top of everything else, wondering if He fell down on the job that night.  God’s purpose is not to ensure my perpetual happiness.  His purpose is to make me holy.  Sometimes, holiness comes through deep pain.  Actually, I think a lot of times that is the way it works.  So, even though I hurt with a pain that defies real description, I can rest in the secure knowledge that even now, God is at work.


That’s the truest source of comfort in these dark days.













  1. Continuing to pray Sarah. It was so great to talk to you the other night.

    1. Thank you, Lani. I'm just sorry I couldn't talk longer the other night. Right now things are a little crazy, but they will settle down and we will begin to find our new normal life.

  2. Sarah,
    I am praying for you with understanding!! I am a homeschool widow of three boys! I heard about you in the lastest NICHE newsletter & google helped me find your blog.

    It has been 7 1/2 years since my husband Jim suddenly went to heaven. And I just want to share a few things. Only a few because the "grief fog" as I call it makes a woman not remember alot!!!!

    • B-R-E-A-T-H-E I found that it hurt to breathe at times or that I would almost forget to breathe deeply at times. For the children's sake, I knew I had to keep breathing. There were times that I felt I had so much to do and it overwhelmed me. I would tell myself, "All I got to do is breathe."

    • Run and cling to JESUS. This wasn't always easy, the pain was so great. But just like a parent responds to a newborn's cry, our loving Lord responds to our deep groanings. Many times I cried out for the LORD to just hold me up. He did. I would curl up in a chair and ask the Great Comforter to hold me all night. He has been faithful.

    • People told me to take it one day at a time. Are you kidding me?! A day is full of minutes, 1440 minutes to be exact, and each minute can be agonizing. So I made my own saying, "One moment at a time, one breath at a time, one prayer at a time." And I told myself this often.

    Many hugs & shared tears,

    1. Christine - I treasure your response. I went to your blog, hoping to find a way to contact you, but couldn't find one. So hopefully, you'll get this at some point. And, while I was at your blog, I found myself comforted by some of your writing. It is a wonderful feeling to meet someone a little bit farther down the same path. If you ever want to find me elsewhere, I am on Facebook or I can be contacted at