Anna, a set on Flickr.
I have the most beautiful niece! I'm a lucky aunt. :)
Dandelions are the first sign of spring often time popping up where we least want to see them. Dandelions are also the first flowers we pick as children presenting them to our mothers. Dandelions are cherished flowers when our child's hands have gently picked a token to show their love.
Memories, a set on Flickr.
When we look at life and the way our paths travel, the mind wonders and tries to make since of the hills and valleys left behind. We found ourselves in the deepest part of the valley with darkness surrounding us. Just up ahead are the foothills and the path that leads to joy. The climb is going to be difficult. There are storms that battle at our resolve when we try to make it back up the to the peak of the mountain. We desperately reach for that next foothold only for the rocks to give way causing us to slide backwards once again. The rain and wind begin to subside, Our prayers are answered, and our countenance is recharged. The sun pierces the dark clouds and shines brightly on the path ahead. The ground gets solid again and the trek up the mountain is easier to navigate.
If you are reading this you might be like me, you are either walking or are getting ready to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I walked that valley and the part about God's rod and staff giving comfort is very true. I know I am never alone. "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Psalms 23:4"
In the following pages contain a journal of sorts that I wrote when my sweet husband battled cancer. My writing was a type a catharsis that helped me see that God carried me through the toughest time in my life. I am going to tell you my story in hopes that it will inspire, give hope and comfort to those who think that the path they are traveling is way more than they can handle. Our God is mighty and able to do all things. His grace surpasses anything we could possible need or want.
March 31, 1999. Nine months ago we welcomed our newest addition. Joshua Christopher, a whopping nine pound 15 ounce bouncing baby boy. My husband Jim is so proud. Our five year old daughter Joyce became a big sister and relishes the title. We are a happy family enjoying life to the fullest even in the ups and downs. Jim lost his job 4 months ago and I am still new at selling real-estate. The budget is slim to say the least. Unemployment is not going to last much longer. I could complain or nag I guess but I remember mom telling me once when my dad was out of work for a year that she was happy that she had him home.
" life is short and you never know how long you get to have someone in your life."
So I always try to think about that when Jim does something that drives me crazy.
Tonight my mom and dad are keeping the kids for a few hours so we can take advantage of some free money. We received an invitation to attend one of those 90 minute presentations and in return get $50 and a free steak dinner for two. Wahoo!
These things are so boring. Just have to think about the $50. The presentation didn't last that terribly long but now they want to talk to us individually. Juan our sales man did not know how to react to us. "Wouldn't you like to vacation anywhere in the world?" he asked.
"if you could go anywhere in the world Where would you like to go?"
Mine and Jim's eyes met with a twinkle "quite honestly, we are good, content on where we are right now" I think Juan was floored. We did mention that we had no funds but I think our answer really knocked the wind out of his sails. We both chuckled when they retrieved our gifts for attending and quietly showed us the door.
The 20 mile ride out to mom and dad's flew by. It had been a long day. Jim was tired and so was I. The plan was to grab the kids head back to the house pack the car then head out to Iowa to visit Jim's family. Mom and my sister in law Jeri suggested we wait until morning to leave. Jim agreed. The drive to the house was a little odd. Jim was driving on the highway and was all over the place.
"Stay on the road!"
He scared me more than once. He was more tired than I thought.
We made it home and Joyce decides to start running a fever. I was still nursing Josh and since we were leaving first thing in the morning I just popped them both in bed with us. I was really tired and I fell asleep when my head hit the pillow.
I was jarred out of my sleep with the bed shaking and Joyce's sleepy voice "daddy! stop! you are hurting me!"
It took less than a second to realize something was terribly wrong. My husband was having a full blown seizure. I grabbed the kids and ran to the living room and dialed 911.
my husband is having a seizure.
We lived 5 blocks from the fire station and ambulance. Time stood still. Everything began to move in slow motion. It seemed like it took the emergency crew forever to arrive. Jim shook the bed so much that he fell out. I kept trying to dial the phone to call my mom. I must have messed up the dial 4 or 5 times before I got it right.
"Mom. uh Jim. Jim is .Jim is having a seizure"
"He's having a seizure and its bad, the ambulance is here now."
"Ok. I'll be there as soon as I can"
Joyce was being so good. She held Joshua in her little arms and sat on the couch. The ambulance crew are asking questions that are crazy.
"What has he been taking? is he on meth? drugs?"
"His pupils are blown"
Jim does not drink, does not do drugs he doesn't take any kind of medications. No history of seizures. I went back to the kids. The phone rang. My brother Wes and my Uncle Charles are on the way. I was crying, shaking from head to toe. This is a nightmare. I wanted to wake up. I looked at my hands they were moving but seemed disconnected. Pray Pray pray.
"what's wrong with daddy?"
"I don't know honey just pray."
It seemed like the EMTs were in the room with Jim for a long time. I really don't know how long it actually was. Time was still moving in slow motion.
They finally brought him out of our little bedroom. The man that was on the stretcher did not resemble my husband in any way. This man was fighting and struggling and could only grunt out disapproval. He did not know me and he did not know the kids. I was shocked. I could not believe he didn't know us.
My Uncle arrived before anyone else. One of the ladies from church got there at the same time. She stayed with the kids and I rode with Uncle Charles to the hospital. We prayed before we drove away. I had no idea what I would find when I got there. Uncle Charles is good and kept me talking helping me get my mind in order.
We beat the ambulance to the hospital. I prayed and my heart kept singing "Jesus Loves me This I know". Everything continued to move in slow motion. I went to the ladies room and saw my reflection in the mirror. I looked rough. The woman looking back at me in the mirror had puffy, bloodshot eyes and hair an absolute mess. I tried to make myself more presentable. There was really no use. I looked like I had been hit by a freight train and I was still being drug down the tracks. My mind was reeling, but the overwhelming words in my mind were "God will take care of me". At this point I didn't know what was going to happen but it didn't look good.
I returned to the waiting room and Uncle Charles was there with Bro. Kirby. They said I could see Jim. I didn't know what I would find so I was a little scared. Jim was laying on the gurney and his eyes sparkled and he smiled when I walked into the room. He didn't remember what had happened. I smiled and hugged him trying to put on a positive front. The Doctor came into the room and said they needed to do some tests. First was a CAT scan. The rest of the family began to arrive. I sat with them when they took Jim for the scan. A little while later he returned and the doctor came to speak with us.
"I need to show you something. Can you walk?" he asked Jim.
He could but he limped a little. The Doctor asked if there was someone I wanted to bring with us. I asked Uncle Charles to be there just for the extra set of ears. The doctor took us over to a monitor and let Jim sit down. Then he told us what we were looking at.
The picture was Jim's brain and the spots were tumors. Six tumors were covering the left side of his brain. The Doctor explained that when there is more than one tumor it is generally a sign of cancer and it started somewhere else.
I had my hand on Jim's left shoulder. He put his right hand on mine trying to calm my fears that I was trying to mask. He knew, he didn't say anything but he knew I was scared.
The Doctor asked "You going to be ok?" We looked at each other and said in unison "God will take care of us."
They admitted Jim into the hospital to undergo tests so we could find out where this cancer started