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Daily Living on a Grief Journey

Updated on July 2, 2017
JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

If sharing my grief journey with just one person helps another, then I am willing to bear my soul.

Our Grief Journey

My family and I are on a journey unlike any other. We lost my husband suddenly in a 5-day ordeal we were totally blindsided by yet we are stronger than ever over seven years later, living, loving, surviving, functioning and still feeling the effects of him being gone. I am hoping our experiences outlined here will help you be prepared for a loss of a loved one or help you handle a loss you are struggling with.

How Did This Journey Begin?

Healing From An Unexpected Loss of a Loved One

We have a big family by today's standards; five children and two parents, plus one married in son. Our children range in age from 28-8 and yes, all from the same mom and dad! Our extended family is up to 45 people and these are people we love and visit twice a year and have done so since we got married. So, family is a big deal to us.

When John was being wheeled out the door of our home by the EMTs, I never even gave it a thought it would be the last time he would leave our home. My personal resources kicked in and I was just doing what experience and faith taught me to do. I am still doing that almost two years after losing John. Some days I ask myself how I got this far because honestly, I could not have been creating this lens today if it wasn't for John, but here I am. I digress.... John died from the result of complications during neurosurgery from a DAVF which is similar to an aneurysm. He was taken from us "like a thief in the night"; like the scripture that says "we know not the time nor the hour." We huddled with our close friends at the hospital on that first night praying and feeling like all would be OK when we got a handle on what "this" was and how do we fix it. We thought that way because John was an engineer for 31 years and he could always fix what was wrong with intelligence and logic an engineer is blessed with. My oldest son and I stayed at the hospital that night and friends came to sit with me the next day.

It was discovered during exploratory surgery that John had this DAVF and they went in and started to fix some of it but it was larger than normal and very complicated. So much so that every time I talked to these high level physicians, I felt like they were baffled. They did not understand how he could have acquired the DAVF and told me that maybe in 10, 20 or 30 years they will have more knowledge than they did now. But, they were going to still try and cauterize the capillaries that were causing the problem and were hopeful this would work. John was in an induced coma and had been since he arrived at the hospital. After a day of rest, the doctors went back into surgery for the same procedure hoping to complete the job. During this second surgery, a risk factor that was explained to me completely, happened and John lost all brain activity. In a case such as this, one can only be declared legally dead after two tests done 24 and 48 hours after the incident. So we prayed for a miracle.

Hundreds of people across the country prayed for us, came to stay with us at the hospital, and ran our household; family flew in, and on that Sunday, Valentines Day, 48 hours after the incident occurred, John was legally dead. Very soon after we said our goodbyes, we decided to donate John's organs.

"What we have enjoyed, we can never lose, .....all that we love deeply becomes a part of us"

Helen Keller

Books for Healing/Coping - Good Words To Carry You Through This Difficult Time

I personally found it difficult to read at all - period. I also talked to two other widows and a widower who experienced the same thing. I've included books here because everyone grieves differently, and eventually, I did read several books on grief and healing. There is some deep meaning material or just the simple stuff - take your pick.

The Songs

One Month Later...

Spring break was just one month after John died and we needed to get our minds off of what we were living. We had planned to go to Galveston during spring break and decided to stick with the plan. Some good friends that live near Galveston took turns hanging with us so we weren't alone except for the last day we were there.

How do I explain what happened on the beach that last day? Something that has never happened to me before.

My two younger kids were playing happily on the beach, it was a beautiful day, sunny, warm breeze, we found an isolated beach that was quiet except for the gulls and the waves. The day before, I stood looking out at the ocean (Gulf of Mexico) and said to my friend, "it's so infinite" because here we were on this big beach with this big ocean and then I thought about what a speck we would be compared to the size of the world and infinite was just the word I could not get out of my mind for the past 24 hours. As I stood there on that beach it was as if the words and music just literally dropped out of the clouds, into my head and hands. I ran through the sand to the car (parked on the beach) to get paper and a pencil to immediately write down this Divine inspiration! Well it came and came and the tune came in just a one-line fashion and I just couldn't believe it was happening. I was completely amazed! A few days after returning home, I worked to complete the song and sat there dumbfounded at what had transpired. I have played the piano for over four decades and while I have accomplished much, I have never been able to sit down and compose a song. Never, until now.

The second song came so suddenly after the first, it rather scared me. What was happening? It was a ballad of the last days of our lives together and my experience in those days. All said and done, I have words to 7 songs and music to 3 of them. It has been very enjoyable to compose this music - something good from something bad.

Music continues to be therapy for me and an outlet for my emotions. So many songs elicit memories that can immediately brake me down to sobbing no matter where I am or what I am doing. Yet, I continue to listen to these songs, not as a punishment, but as a way to express the feelings I sometimes have to shelf or cannot pay attention to. Music is a huge part of my life.

"Just when you think your life is perfect, feeling smug and all at ease, then God's plan, brings you to your knees."

Joanie Ruppel

The First Year

So many "firsts"...

No matter when your loved one passes away, you must face a calendar year of birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, graduations, celebrations and memories to cope with the first time without your loved one. This is not easy because half the time you don't want to be present for all these happy occasions but they come irregardless. I had to go to my nephew's wedding 6 months after John died. I love this nephew and our extended family very much but the anxiety creeped in and it was so difficult to walk into that room where we gathered without my husband, their uncle, brother, son, by my side. When I hugged everyone, I was simply speechless. Fortunately for me, my family understood and just hugged and held me back. I realized they probably felt the same way. After the initial greeting of everyone, I settled down and enjoyed the celebration.

There were times of unease, walking in to the wedding, taking the pictures, but for the most part I felt victorious that I managed myself well throughout the weekend. If I felt like crying I did, if I felt like dancing I did; you MUST do what works for YOU and not what you are expected to do or what you would have done in the past. This is so important to listen to your inner self and act on it. It is being true to how you really feel and they is the key to healing.

The good news is after the first year I felt a relief that I made it - I made it through one whole year running my household and loving and caring for my family and myself! The bad news is the "firsts" weren't over yet....

The First Year Comes To An End

Done with the "firsts" - NOT!

There will be many more "firsts" to come and you may be prepared for them or you may not. One that I was not prepared for at all was my son entering high school. Keep in mind we have a 20-year span between our children so I had experienced high school with a spouse by my side for the first 3 of our 5 children. Now upon returning, I wanted so badly to be the old me instead of the new me. My son didn't have any trouble making the transition, it was just me. How could I participate as a parent again, alone, even with the support of some very caring faculty/staff? It just was a huge hill for me to climb. One of the things I did that helped me A LOT was to have John's wedding band resized and become part of my two-ring ensemble. I also switched my rings to my right hand; this was an outward sign for me that I needed to do and it gave me great comfort.

It's still difficult for me to attend friends weddings and funerals by myself but fortunately, I have a lot of friends who recognize this and offer to pick me up or go with me.

"Grief is...the impotent rage of being born into a Universe of change."

Charles Garfield

Messing With Your Mind

Important Emotions to Pay Attention To

Memory Loss

I am writing this lens during the holiday season. I tell you this because I am in charge of a Christmas program at our school. When planning for this year's program, I simply could not remember what we had done last year. It was a blank. My boss started giving me some clues and a few details came to me but it wasn't until two weeks later in another conversation I really started to remember what we did last year. Why? Because I was on auto-pilot the previous year. I was doing what I was supposed to do and expected to do and did it well but not with a full heart. This is just one incident I experienced, there were several more but don't worry about them because when we are under duress, your brain just does what it thinks you can handle and you discard unimportant information and continue on with the true tasks at hand. There is a lot of information out there about memory loss and grief so please learn more about it.

Anxiety

I never knew this about losing a loved one before; in the days leading up to a special date the anxiety is overwhelming. It can start a few days before, it can start a month before, a week before, it can hit you blindsided, but what I found was that it was always worse in the days before the special date, and the special date went by rather smoothly. It was a huge relief when the day was over, only to have your mind figure out what the next "big one" would be and start dealing with it. It is helpful to have a way to express your anxiety so it doesn't get the best of you.

Always keep in mind that there are days before and after the actual anniversary date that cause a lot of strife for the loved ones left behind.

Despair

I have not experienced despair so deep that I had to act on it. But, I have learned that if you go this far, you must seek help for yourself or for your family. You can start with your clergyman or your school system, they often have the resources to guide you in the right direction.

Some Ways To Help Yourself - During Your Grief Period

Self-care can make a big difference as you work towards accepting the difficult changes in your new "normal". I offer these heartfelt suggestions.

  • REST: This can come in many forms: meditation, putting your feet up, or retiring early for bed and just relaxing. Grief work is exhausting and you need to include some form of rest in your daily routine.
  • CHOOSING HEALTHY FOOD AND DRINK: Purchase foods and drinks that are full of quality nutrients. Load up on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, cheeses, yogurt and lots of water.
  • EXERCISE: While this may sound like a word full of effort you can up- or down-scale as much as you are able. From just getting out in the yard or garden or going on a walk or run or even to the gym, exercise releases chemicals in your body that relieve pain and reduce stress while building up strength.
  • ALONE TIME: Quiet time enables your heart and your mind to adjust and accept the new reality of your life, even if it comes with tears. You may need this now more than ever.
  • SURROUNDING YOURSELF WITH COMFORT: Start with the people who comfort you and move on to more individual activities like listening to music, reading a book, going for a walk, worship experiences - all the things that used to soothe you can be, once again, a focus of your life.

Grief Counseling

The WARM Place

We had been previously introduced to The WARM Place by some friends of ours who needed the service. The WARM Place is a Grief Support Center for Children. Four out of five of my children decided to attend the center and by default since the remaining parent has to transport them there and back, the center hosts a class for the grieving parent too. This has been an intergral part of our healing because in the sessions you attend, everyone is going through the same situation which allows you to dismiss the thought of what everyone else will think because they understand completely what you going through.

It is one big comfort zone and as a result, a bond is formed. This is especially helpful for the children because at first upon losing a parent or loved one, their classmates and neighbors are gentle and caring. When they see their friends start to act "normal" they ease up and think they are back to normal and then it becomes this big subject nobody talks about anymore. At a grief support center, you can bring it out into the open and talk about your mommy or your daddy. (They also have classes for grandparents, siblings and friends - it's such an awesome place!)

Here is a link to The National Alliance For Grieving Children. This would be a good starting point to find help in the area where you live.

The WARM Place is in Ft. Worth, Texas, and was the first organized center for grief support for children in the state.

Organ Donation

The Gift of Life

Four People are Living Because of John!

We chose to donate John's organs. It wasn't a big plan we had agreed upon ahead of time or something you have a lot of time to mull over. You have to make the decision right after the death. There should be a representative from the local organ transplant association at the hospital or on call. They work with the family to get all the paperwork in place. The medical staff will deem what is healthy and viable and let you know afterwards what was donated. In our case, John's heart, liver and both kidneys were in pristine condition and four different people are living today because of it! He also was a tissue donor. Why do this? I'll tell you why, his youngest sister had a double mastectomy at 38 years old and needed tissue for the reconstruction. We didn't think for one minute how wonderful this would be to pay forward for her gift.

Protocol guides you through the organ transplant process. I have my own opinion of it but for the sake of helping you get through this, I will put my opinion aside and I haven't really researched any of the process, just gone through it with much impatience. Basically, you can try and communicate with the recipients at any time through the transplant organization, but with no guarantee that you will get any response. Fortunately for us, just two months after receiving one of John's kidneys, the recipient sent us a card - a beautifully worded card that I cherished for months. I never heard from anyone else in that time. Upon the one year anniversary of losing John I wrote letters to all the recipients asking how they were doing and explaining that it would be helpful for us on our grief journey to know how they were doing. I received another card from the right kidney recipient stating her gratefulness but she did not express the willingness to meet - that was OK. I then received a letter from John's liver recipient and also a letter fro each of his two children, that was very moving. I have not written them back yet. But the big one came from John's heart recipient, they not only wrote us but wanted to meet us! This was very moving to me as I had envisioned this meeting since our ordeal began. Back to protocol, I then had to send my contact information to the transplant alliance, they acknowledged receipt, sent it to the recipient and finally the recipients family sent us a personal letter to our own address! From the time I wrote the initial contact letter, the whole process took 7 months! Some of that was me making the time to respond but most of it is the long period of waiting as the alliance abides by the law. We are grateful we can even find the information out as I am learning that organ donation is not about what you give away, but what someone receives.

How Can You Help?

There are literally thousands of people waiting for organ transplants and it goes without saying if the organs aren't donated, someone needing them is not going to live. We live on a small cul-du-sac of 9 families. Of those 9 families, one-third of them have been directly affected by organ donation. Our neighbor's son had a kidney transplant, and another neighbor didn't make it while he was on the list to receive a heart. Then of course there is John who gave the gift of life. February 14 has been designated as National Organ Donor Day - quite ironic for us, don't you think?

If you have been putting this off, please consider doing it now. Go to the National Organ Donation Registry and Donate the Gift of Life.

Alonzo Mourning - A Voice of Experience

The Heart Recipient Meeting

My Story

A Meeting of the Hearts

November 25, 2011

Yesterday, all seven of us left the driveway in two cars for a journey unknown but one that was dreamed about, read about, and even seen portrayed on TV and in movies. And to me, that's exactly what it felt like. It took us an hour to get to the home of Lindy & Delyn. Lindy is John's heart recipient.

I had spoken to Delyn a few times this past week and she is a bubbly and bouncy woman. As we pulled up to their modest little red-brick home, she was on the porch waiting for our arrival. Lindy was also standing inside the door waiting to see and meet us. Lindy is 64 years old and a quiet, reserved man. (Delyn had told me this prior to our meeting. She also said she did not know how much he would speak but for us to just know he was a quiet soul.) He greeted us warmly and immediately said to me, "come here, I have something I want you to listen too." But I wasn't quite ready yet so I asked him if I could wait a bit. We gathered in the living room and the talking began. They told us how sick Lindy had been and that his heart was only functioning at 2%. He was literally on his deathbed and they knew it. He had only been put on the heart transplant list that week and was declining in health by the day. We learned that people on "the list" don't necessarily get a heart because they are near the top of the list and that many other factors have to coincide in order to be a recipient. Some of them are: seriousness of health, blood type and matching, and size of the heart. Well, Lindy was a match and while he was so sick on that Valentines day, rather jokingly but very seriously he told Delyn, "today I'm going to get a heart, I just know it, it's going to happen today." How did he KNOW?

Delyn described their mad scramble after they got the call to head to the hospital in the city. They didn't pack a thing, they just got him in the car and headed there. This happened on Monday night and the transplant was late Tuesday night. (We did not share any of our angst that we went through during those 3 days of waiting.) Delyn told us how ashen and terrible looking Lindy was when he went in for the surgery and how pink and bubbly he was as soon as he came to. She could not believe the difference!

Lindy has had a few other health issues since the transplant but through them all, the doctors always tell him his heart is perfect and it is the least of his problems. He was so grateful and spoke some very beautiful words to us. Mostly, both Delyn and Lindy feel like we are part of them now and they asked us ahead of time to bring a picture of John. They set the picture right on a shelf with other family pictures just next to Lindys chair.

Then it was time to talk about John. They wanted to know what he died from and if he had been sick long and they wanted to know about what all the kids do and we also spoke about Grandma, Grandpa and John's siblings. We told them that John was very intelligent and that what was so hard for us was that his most known characteristic was also his demise. We said we know we will never know why and we don't question that part of it too much anymore.

Lindy has some new characteristics that have shown up since the transplant but we couldn't confirm to them any that John had. The doctors warned him that he would not be able to hear his new heart for some medical reason or feel it because the nerves were severed in the process (normal) but he affirmed to us he hears AND feels his heart all day long!

I was ready to hear John's heart once again so I first felt on Lindy's chest with his help, where to put my hand. I couldn't locate it so I leaned over and put my ear on his chest and it took about 5-10 seconds but there is was! A perfectly strong beating heart! It fooled me a bit because John's heart rate was always low (his doctors always asked him if he was an athlete - we always laughed our heads off about that, but it happened time and time again) because this heart rate was much faster than John's but I felt a connection anyway. Lindy was wiping his tears and I was wiping mine. I gave him a hug and everyone but Zoe repeated the action; she used the stethoscope and her eyes lit up when she hear her Daddy's heart beating. Lindy had absolutely no qualms about sharing what was once ours with us again.

We told them about John retiring and his mission trips, his substitute teaching, the wedding with all the family visiting, and his retreat just days before he died. All of us agreed that we were both happy we were Christians. The situation meant a lot more knowing we will share the same happy ending John is living out right now.

It really was a comfortable, easy meeting. I think because we had been so busy the past few days, we didn't have a lot of time to think it over or play it out; we were just all enjoying each other's company for the holiday and this was just the next thing to do as a family. I'm so happy we all got to go, it was the perfect time for this to happen.

"Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life."

Proverbs 4:23

How YOU Can Help A Grieving Friend or Family Member

A List of Suggestions

This was such an important section of this lens, I recently broke it off into a new lens by itself. Please click here to learn 10 Ways You Can Help a Grieving Friend or Family Member with the loss of a loved one.

We Live (chorus)

By Superchick

"We live, we love, we forgive and never give up 'cause the days we are given are gifts from above and today we remember to live and love..."

Donations in Your Loved Ones Memory

Make It Personal

When John passed away there were friends and family who immediately wanted to donate in his name. We choose two places that were extremely important to him and over $7000 was donated. Please think of your loved ones cherished activities and places that they loved to gift with a donation. John went on two church mission trips to Guatamala and was also a staunch believer in parochial education. Many were helped by the amount of money that was donated. Some friends and family are still making donations today.

So, in a time when you have many decisions to make quickly, choose something that will make you smile and/or keep on giving long after your loved one is gone.

Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, Deluxe Edition
Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back, Deluxe Edition

A moving account on a little boy's journey to heaven and back to earth.

 

IS Heaven For Real? - For Those With A Christian-Based Faith

It should go without saying that grief knows no spiritual identity. But for me, my faith, friends and family are the stronghold of what has gotten us this far on our journey. I have read several books and articles on grief but the one that meant the most to me is the book "Heaven is For Real" by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. It is a story about a little boy who had a glimpse into heaven and innocently told of his experiences. Faith means we believe, especially without seeing, but this book confirmed a lot of feelings and hopes for me. It was of great comfort.

There is also a version of the book specifically geared towards children and a conversation guide too.

Year 3 of the Journey

We are stronger and are able to do more things because of John as evidenced by a recent outing by my oldest daughter. John was a Geocaching fan and did his last one near grounds where he had been on retreat just 3 days before he went in the hospital. My daughter went there on the two-year anniversary, found the cache, wrote on the note near his name and added an extra note. This was very comforting to her and it was a beautiful sunny day in peaceful surroundings.

We also feel strong about the presence of cardinal birds in our backyard. John was a St. Louis Cardinal fan. We had one of those Beanie Babies sitting on his desk for years. I gave it to his mom as a keepsake, since many of us in the family are nature lovers. After that, many extended family members started seeing cardinals in their yards. To this day, we know that when we hear one singing or see one swooping across the yard, it is a reminder of John.

In the second half of this year, I have had some new challenges presented to me. While John and I always had perfect balance in raising our children, that balance is gone and there is a teenager in the house! It seems that there is never enough time to do everything the way it should be done.

Another thing that hit me blind-sided was the Olympics. We were big volleyball fans and on the second day of the London Olympics when I started to watch volleyball, I was a slobbery mess remembering the two times we watched Olympic volleyball in Los Angeles and Atlanta. Here it was 2 1/2 years later and I was brought to tears by good memories. My friend Patty sent me this comment: "may your heart continue to heal each day with the joy that the Olympics brings to you and may you feel only happiness as you remember all your fabulous memories with your forever Olympic partner." The right words at the right time helped me get my focus back. I'm sure the next Olympics will be difficult too because it will be the four year anniversary of John passing, but after that - whew! we made a cycle!

Things I have Learned to Do and Feel Accomplished By

In the Yard: trim tree branches, manage the garden, aireate the compost pile, mow the yard, backwash the pool, and maintain the pool (this is a big one).

In the Garage: learn what some of the tools are, organize the garage (only part way done with this one), give away things I do not need, have a shed built to store machines.

For our Household: manage our finances, manage and understand our investments, learned Squidoo!, renew utility companies, haggle with credit card companies, banking, and learn new computer skills.

In My Life: learned when to say yes and when to say no, learned to ask for help, learned to deal with things as they come at you, learned that I miss my partner very badly and miss being married a lot this year.

At Work (I work part-time): learned that if I can't make it in that day, it will be OK and I can always make it up; learned that people can be very kind and understanding, learned that you have to absolutely love what you do to keep doing it after a loss such as mine.

For my Family: am still learning how to make decisions like a dad because I will never be the dad, learning to have more patience and understanding, learned to remember that my kids have the same feelings that I do, I'm not the only one hurting.

Grief is like the ocean, it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes water is calm and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.

— Vicki Harrison

Forget Me Not

The Southwest Transplant Alliance sent us a packet of Forget Me Not seeds this spring. We planted them and look at the beautiful results we got. The sentiment was very sweet in both the remembrance of our loved one and the flowers.

Year 4 and Beyond

A New Car and Some Sad News

And the beat goes on.....I just spoke with John's heart recipient. He is alive, well, and still as grateful as ever. I have made it a practice to call Lindy on Feb. 16, two days after John passed away because that is the day Lindy actually received John's heart. Since 4 organs were donated, it was extremely complicated to gather and coordinate 4 separate transplant teams so it took two days. (As mentioned before, that was a very stressful few days.) So as I exclaimed to Lindy, "It's our anniversary" he replied, "it sure is, I'm 3 years old today!" What a wonderful giving statement Lindy gave to me and my family.

As I posted this story on Facebook, I reminded my friends that even though it's been 3 years since John died, that doesn't mean a damn thing. It feels like yesterday and if you've been through it you understand that statement 100%. If you haven't, you are blessed; but you should reach out to someone you know who has lost a loved one with a message, a phone call, a visit, or any type of communication. It will mean the world to them.

Our family had a tough time at the recent 3 year anniversary. As time goes by it does get easier, but the composition of missing a loved one is ever changing. Since I still have two children at home, they tend to hit milestones or just phases where I remember how this was handling with my older children and now it's unfamiliar territory or just plain crappy that I don't have a partner to share it with.

New Driver

My son is about to turn 16 and get his drivers license. My husband taught my older 3 children but here I was teaching a teenage boy to drive (ahhhhh!). Actually, he is really a good driver so I guess I can pat myself on the back a little. He is also in a 12-man pep squad at his high school and I find myself sitting at his pep rallies without my husband is bittersweet. Those are just a few examples.

Insides Matching Outsides

It is still difficult to go to weddings without a partner and for sure attending a funeral is not a simple task. I heard a very good saying the other day - I wish my insides matched my outsides. IT IS SO TRUE! At this point, most everyone unfamiliar with these feelings sees you participating in daily events and circumstances and therefore thinks "Oh, she's doing so good." But the truth is we harbor deep feelings that are not easy to share because we think people are thinking this way.

I am fortunate to have some wonderful friends and family that I can call when I get to this point, but I will be honest. Sometimes I just don't because I think they've had enough of me.

Awesome Facebook Page

For those widows reading this...I found a very Christian based Facebook page called The Widows Might. It's worth checking out.

Buying A New Car (another first, they don't really stop)

I bought a car, by myself with a little coaching from my brother-in-laws, but did it alone and felt so good with the results. If you have to do this, here are my tips:

***Do not rush yourself. I started this process one year before I actually bought the car. I went to the dealer, asked to test drive a few models and explained I wasn't ready. I frankly told them not to pester me that I would come back when I were ready and you know what? They didn't! That is why I returned to their dealership.

***If you have a dealer you have bought from before, try and go to that dealer. You are already an established customer and will get respect because of that.

***If you have a preferred salesman, ask for them. If you don't like your salesman after the initial meeting, ask the manager for another one.

***Do your homework on how you are going to pay for the car. Will you finance it? Will you buy it outright? Talk to your bank and get an interest rate before you go to the finance department at the dealership. Often times the dealer will match the rate you bring to them.

***Say goodbye to your old car if you are trading it in that day. This was the hardest part for me. There I sat with the salesman as he was wishing me congratulations and asking if I was happy with the new vehicle and all I could do was nod because I was starring at my old car ready to burst into tears. This was the car that had 11 years of memories of our family trips, emergency room runs, vacations, singing and laughing, friends and celebrations and I felt like I was betraying the car. Really I was letting go of those attached moments that I knew would be gone when I drove off that lot. I talked to another widow friend of mine and she went through a similar happening except it was on the showroom floor. She was standing there crying and her salesman assured her she had done a good job, by herself, and she should feel good about it. Nice guy in my opinion.

***Read the manual! The car I bought has a cheat sheet manual about 8-10 pages long. Good thing because I put the emergency brake on and when I went to release it, the hood popped open! Get to know your car because there may not be anyone else around when you have a problem.

*Consider purchasing Roadside Assistance and an Extended Warranty. We have used both of these items on the cars our college-age kids had and now since there is no husband to call when you get a flat or have another more serious problem, you will need help from someone.

The Phone Call I Never Wanted to Receive

In early fall, John's heart recipients wife called me to say Lindy had passed away. He succumbed to an infection that he could not shake and passed from this earthly life. We were both sobbing on the phone and so many thoughts were going through my head. I knew this day would come and I had semi-prepared myself for it, but when it did come, it was like we suffered through John's death one more time. One of my friends that has been a rock for me came rushing over and just sat with me and listened, we ate dinner, and it was nice to be with her. It was very difficult to tell my children, my mother-in-law and John's siblings but we all knew Lindy had 3 1/2 good years with his family and friends and what a gift that was!

In Summary

I have had so many wonderful blessings poured upon me, I hope to be able to pay them forward in the future. Our story is just one way to share - so someone else is comforted like I have been by hands and hearts along this journey.

Sharing the Load - Your thoughts...

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      Joanie Ruppel 20 months ago from Keller, Texas

      The EXACT thing happened to me in the store! I simply could not function, had to put the cart back. A sweet friend offered to shop for me for about 2 months. When I was finally able to go, I felt quite victorious.

      I am so sorry for both your losses! It is a milestone to go through all the "firsts" but as you read, there will be many more things that you face for months and years to come. I am sending you strength - who thought Hubpages would be a tool to share these kind of situations and feelings?

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 21 months ago from America

      I have just gone through my first year without my husband. It has been so hard. A few months after he passed away my mother passed away.

      Some days I would try to go into town and get some groceries and start to cry. I would have to turn around and come back home. The next day I would try again the same thing would happen. It would take me days just to be able to go into town. I would pass the hospice home he was in before he died and the cemetery he was buried in.

      I can now make it into town. I have gone through all the "first."

      So sorry for your loss. Loved your hub.

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 3 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @kataburto: No problem, you cannot change a title once the lens is published. And don't worry, your title is similar because we have similar stories. I hope you can add to your lens. Let me know if you need help.

    • profile image

      kataburto 3 years ago

      @JoanieMRuppel54: Thank you for the heartfelt response Joanie,I just realized I named my lens very similar to yours...I hope you don't mind, I'm not sure if I can change it...http://www.squidoo.com/coping-not-moping-my-journe...

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      kataburto 3 years ago

      Dear Joanie, I came across your lens just today; it has been eight months to the day that I went through the same agonizing experience...I lost my husband during a routine medical procedure; he went into a coma as they were trying to bring him back, he had a cerebral air embolism that could not be reversed. I spent the next few days with him while they prepared to donate his liver; he was still on life support, still breathing...still warm. It is a heart rending experience; I truly feel what you have gone through as I am still going through it. The amazing thing is...I was feeling inundated with grief today; just got home from work and fell apart, but then the lights in my hallway flickered; they have done that a few times since he's been gone, but I believe he has tried to comfort me this way! I told him how much I missed him and how I needed to feel his presence and guidance...I had gone upstairs to change my clothes and I looked up and saw a small glowing heart! At first I thought I was seeing things, but then I noticed it moving around the room, floating closer to me; I held out my hand and it came right up and settled in my palm and glowed pink and then red...I was just flabbergasted...and then felt so warm and peaceful...it eventually disappeared, but I was so affected, I wanted to share with my daughter, who is in the Army, came upon this site and low and behold...there are all these hearts on your lens!!! Now if that isn't a sign...I don't know what is! Thank you for posting all your experiences, this is so comforting to me and a confirmation that my husband is never too far away. About Valentines Day; that is our anniversary! We had been together 22 years. Thank you again for sharing; I will be starting my own lens soon, once I am more familiar with the process. Bless you and your family, Hugs <3 Kat

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 3 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @OhMe: Thank you for your kind words. I hope it has helped those who read it. I'm still on the journey...

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      You have done an amazing job of telling your story and I am sure it was not easy to do. There is no telling how many people this will touch and help them get through another day. Beautiful.

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 4 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @SamanthaSays: Thank you so much for your touching comment. Blessings to you and yours.

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      SamanthaSays 4 years ago

      Thanks for posting this lens, losing a loved one is never easy and your lens is surely inspirational....

    • emmesinger1 profile image

      emmesinger1 5 years ago

      Thank you for modeling and sharing a lovely and creative response to a difficult loss.

    • jstarley profile image

      jstarley 5 years ago

      I really like your lens and listed it as a related lens to mine called, Grieving and Reiki. What a resourceful lens! Thanks! https://hubpages.com/politics/grieving-and-reiki

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD. It is now featured on Squidoo LOTD Lenses 2. Hugs

    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      sheilamarie78 5 years ago

      I'm so sorry for your loss, jsr54. I'm glad you have your faith and your music and, of course, your family to bolster you up.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      This is a deeply touching, beautifully written lens. I am so sorry for your loss and yet, so inspired by your gift of life to another. Blessing upon you as you continue to heal.

    • rob-hemphill profile image

      Rob Hemphill 5 years ago from Ireland

      Your sad story is so very moving, and beautifully written. It will, no doubt, help many others in a similar situation. Belated congratulations on a well deserved LoTD.

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 5 years ago

      This is a beautifully written lens. You have such good advice here too. Although I have not lost a spouse, I've lost loved ones, and can relate to what you are saying. It's especially true that the first birthday, Christmas, etc is particularly hard. Thank you for writing this.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I'm sorry you have to go through this. I know I will probably lose my spouse or he will lose me one of these days, and I know I won't every be really prepared for that. I trust God will give us grace, as he gave it to you. Since both our children preceded us in death, whichever of us is last to go will be pretty much alone, since we have no siblings close by either. Thanks for sharing your story. I'm glad it earned your a LOTD.

    • seashell2 profile image

      seashell2 5 years ago

      So sorry for your loss, this page will surely help and bless others going through difficult times! Thanks for sharing!

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      DoraExplorer 5 years ago

      Thanks for taking time to make your lens. I know it must give you some peace. I just lost my husband, my heart, in September, so I am in my First Year of grief. I also did not expect that I would never speak to him as he was wheeled away in the ambulance. I totally know what you mean about attending functions without him. Even though he had some dementia, I still relied on his input for important decisions and that is a void I can't fill at this point. However, I have become stronger, and am starting to look forward to doing things for myself again. Blessings to you and your family.

    • angelaedwards11 profile image

      angelaedwards11 5 years ago

      It is a great lens and it was great pleasure, when i was reading your this lens..., thumbs up.....:)

    • Brandi Bush profile image

      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      Returning to bless this lens...Blessed by a brand new SquidAngel! :)

    • TheAverageOutdo profile image

      TheAverageOutdo 5 years ago

      Great stuff. Thanks

    • bead at home mom profile image

      Teri Hansen 5 years ago

      What a powerful page. Thanks for sharing yourself with us.

    • JEMArtistry profile image

      JEMArtistry 5 years ago

      You are a true inspiration. I struggle every day with the loss of my Dad and Step-Dad (just 3 mths apart). I honestly do not feel as though I have ever actually dealt with it yet. So, reading your lens really touched me. Thank you for sharing this. :)

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image
      Author

      Joanie Ruppel 5 years ago from Keller, Texas

      @anonymous: Susan, I am grateful to be able to help in some small way. That was the goal of writing this lens. Peace and comfort to you and your family, and life to you!

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 5 years ago

      i am sorry to hear about your husband but you have good memories with him to cherish. you have a big family to cheer you up and it is a good idea that you took the pen and continued his work. i am pretty sure that he would agree. blessings for this heart-touching lens.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Your story encouraged my heart, to believe God even more for things that happen in my life. Thank you for having the courage to share your story.

    • Totus Mundus profile image

      Totus Mundus 5 years ago

      Your story is very touching, and very inspirational on coping with bereavement.

    • squid-janices7 profile image

      squid-janices7 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing such a personal story with us. I LOVE the comprehensive list of suggestions for how to help a grieving friend or family member because often times people just don't know what to do to help (these are also great ideas for friends that have a chronic illness or a cancer diagnosis). I'm so glad that you got LOTD so that we could all be touched by you and your family. God bless.

    • SimilarSam profile image

      Sam 5 years ago from Australia

      Thanks for sharing

    • teamunited12 profile image

      teamunited12 5 years ago

      Very nice...thanks

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      MaartjeJepsen 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing this story! Great personal lens!

    • Nspired2 profile image

      Nspired2 5 years ago

      Bless you and your family--I pray this lens bring hope and healing to those precious one facing sudden departure. Thank you for the courage to bare your soul for their sake! The Lord brought my family through a very similar situation when I was 11years old, my father literally dropped dead in front of us from a massive heart attack. We had no access nor understanding of the "grieving" process or help centers back then, but Jesus knows it all. He held us & kept us through it all. Again, bless you for sharing.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      This is a wonderful story and congrats on LOTD. Blessed and featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012 and also on Squidoo LOTD Lenses 2 as well as End Funeral Stress and Recycle Your Body. Hugs

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 5 years ago from California

      Thank you so very much for sharing your story. I know that it will help many people as they go through the loss of a loved one. I am Google+ this lens so I can return to help a friend or myself. Your suggestions for how to help others is very helpful. Thank you. Blessed. Bear hugs, Frankie

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      CTsHeart 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. May God be with you and your family and may His blessings and favor rain down upon you all each day.

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      Michelle61 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing, and thank you for going over ways a person can help. Sometimes in our loss, people want to reach out, but because we are grieving, we don't know what we need, and sometimes others feel at a loss to even ask. Again, thank you.

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      RebeccaE 5 years ago

      this is something which has touched me deeply, thank you so much for sharing your story!

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      macsquared 5 years ago

      This is such a sad story, but I love how much hope and faith and vulnerability and strength you convey. Brought a tear to my eye for sure. Thank you for sharing. If all Heaven is is living on through those we left behind, he is truly blessed.

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      DebMartin 5 years ago

      I'm sorry. I'm touched. I'm impressed with your strength. d

    • makeupbrush profile image

      makeupbrush 5 years ago

      John is in a better place - heaven or the other side - which only fills with pure joy and love. I am sure he comes visit you & your family sometimes. After my dad died, I found a lot of solace reading up on Sylvia Browne's books (She is a famous American psychic) who talks in details about what it is like on the other side. I found "90 minutes in Heaven - A true story of death and life" helpful in understanding and confirming how beautiful it is on the other side. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful story, it is so full of love!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Enjoy some angel stardust on me. I love your lens, and your positive attitude. Keep your husband close to you, alive in your heart, and he'll always be with you. God bless.

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 5 years ago

      I'm sorry to hear about your loss. But I am glad that you donated to others.

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      jo58 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story. I pray that you and your family continue to be blessed while going through your journey of healing.

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      cleanyoucar 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your story, it's truly heart breaking to lose someone you love, it's like a big part of you was taken from you.

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 5 years ago

      I am so sorry you lost your husband and the father of your children. You are trying to carry on and I'm sure he would have wanted that. See you around the galaxy...

    • JK Sterling profile image

      Jim Sterling 5 years ago from Franklin, Tennessee

      Thank you so much for sharing this with us. You are in my prayers.

    • JJNW profile image

      JJNW 5 years ago from USA

      Very, very touching. Thank you. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

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      tally lm 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing! I can relate to in many ways about the grief after losing my dad four years ago. I can tell you that I just take one day at time. Take care!

    • imaginemdd lm profile image

      imaginemdd lm 5 years ago

      We recently lost a young man suddenly, and this is very helpful and thoughtful. We marvel at the strength and compassion it takes people to create these pages that help others so much. Thank you for sharing your story and your ideas.

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      faye durham 5 years ago

      A beautiful story. Thanks for sharing. Blessings.

    • Pip Gerard profile image

      Pip Gerard 5 years ago

      A very important story... thank you for writing it.

    • CoolFoto profile image

      CoolFoto 5 years ago

      Congrats on the Purple Star. I pray the Lord will continue to bless you and your family.

    • CoolFoto profile image

      CoolFoto 5 years ago

      Congrats on the Purple Star. I pray the Lord will continue to bless you and your family.

    • Auntiekatkat profile image

      Auntiekatkat 5 years ago

      Best wishes to your family because family is the only thing we keep going for. Congrats on lens of the day

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      CatJGB 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your story, best wishes to you and your family.

    • RaintreeAnnie profile image

      RaintreeAnnie 5 years ago from UK

      Thank you for sharing your very personal and touching story with us. The way you have written I am sure will help people both who are grieving and to understand people who are grieving. I would also like to congratulate you on a very well deserved LOTD and sending you gentle Hugs.

    • profile image

      dadof4 5 years ago

      Other than grandparents, I haven't lost anyone that close as I have been very fortunate. Several years ago the young 11 year old son of a neighbor was killed in an accident and we were very devistated as a community. Two songs spoke to our hearts at that time and I'm sure you know them but here they are in case you don't: MercyMe: I Can Only Imagine and Homesick.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      This is an incredible story, Thanks for sharing, I know it wasn't easy.

      Regards

    • PamelaU profile image

      PamelaU 5 years ago

      Great lens, and it must have been very therapeutic for you to write it all down.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

      Thank you for sharing your story. I know the first time I opened my heart to tell of my emotions and feelings it was hard, but people have given such encouragement. Knowing John is very much alive in the heart of someone here and in Heaven gives comfort and peace few undertand.

    • teristazko profile image

      teristazko 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for sharing your touching story. I nearly lost my dad to a heart attack last week, so this really hits home for me. I think it's beautiful that you have made this horrible situation into something wonderful. Bless you and your family for being such an inspiration and also bringing awareness to becoming an organ donor. I struggle with that too, but it is so selfless and appreciated!! I am sorry for your loss. You are truly amazing!

    • squid-pinkchic18 profile image

      squid-pinkchic18 5 years ago

      I think this has to be my favorite lens that I have read in a very, very long time. You are such a strong woman and it shows. You've done an amazing job handling the situation that was handed to you and I admire you for that! I agree that the "Heave is for real" book is awesome, and it is a must-read for sure. Wonderfully written, it's no wonder this was made LOTD. Squid angel blessed :)

    • accfuller profile image

      accfuller 5 years ago

      You are an amazing, courageous person. Your story is very touching. I wish you the best of everything in life, and congrats on LOTD!

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 5 years ago

      So sorry to hear about your loss. I think that your experience in coping with your grief will help many people.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image

      Wednesday-Elf 5 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      Yesterday was my hubby's birthday. He would have been 74 years old. In May of this year he will have been gone for five years. Those 'first' special dates to get past aren't the only ones.... a birthday is still a birthday and a time to remember. My grown children are wonderful about remembering to call or come over to be with me at those times :)

      Thank you for sharing your grief journey. The point you made when describing the 'Warm Place' which helped with your children, is true not just for children .... grief eventually becomes this big subject nobody talks about anymore. It's mainly because your friends, co-workers, acquaintances 'assume' that after... say... a year... that you should be 'over it'. :-). There is no way they can truly understand what it's like to lose your husband after 45 years of being married to he who was your best friend, your soulmate; it's not something that can be explained to even close friends.

      My best help, outside my immediate family, came from an unexpected source - a friend of my brother's whom I have never met. He had lost his wife just months before I lost my husband and we began sharing emails and phone calls and 'discussing' those feelings everyone else had already finished talking with us about. We've still never met, living more than 1,000 miles apart, but we 'keep in touch' when needed. We've become caring 'friends'. Nice. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you and congratulations on your special recognition of Lens of the Day today.

    • MrWidemouth profile image

      MrWidemouth 5 years ago

      John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.

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      kpjjf 5 years ago

      Thanks for the story. I lost my mother this way and that was agan totally unexpected.

      Keep your heads high

      Kevin

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thank you. As i sit here sobbing as I read your story, I am so grateful for the insight as I am watching my father wither away from cancer. It is the most difficult journey I have ever taken but I am inspired by your story which gives me hope that there is living to do after a loved one passes away. You are wonderful to have the courage to share your experience with those of us going through this very painful time.

    • Joyce Mann profile image

      Joyce T. Mann 5 years ago from Bucks County, Pennsylvania USA

      This is not an easy thing to go through. My husband and I are still reeling from the loss of our adult son. My personal story on bereavement is the lens "Grieving the Loss of an Adult Son." Wishing you peace.

    • SecondHandJoe LM profile image

      SecondHandJoe LM 5 years ago

      What a touching and wonderful story. I can relate in that a friend lost his wife a few months back and I am helping him get through some of the 'firsts'. He is really having a tough time, but getting through. I will refer this article to him and hope that it helps. Thank you.

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      Lizzy4 5 years ago

      After losing her 22 year old son to suicide my sister wrote to him daily. Her way of seeking answers, staying connected, and finding her way back to the living. It will be 5 years this July. Since then Becky has reached out and supported many others who have been touched by suicide. Her and two other women started a support group in Tulsa. Unfortunately, it continues to grow. Seeing the need to reach others she has decided to share Adam's story in hopes of "breaking the silence." This is a mother's true account, her heart on her sleeve, her journey back to life and to us. I would be honored if you would, at the least, visit http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/note-to-adam-becky... There is a "like" button on the side. Even if you choose not to purchase could you select that? As Becky now says, "Godspeed" and thank-you.

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      Brandi 5 years ago from Maryland

      Oh my...what an incredible lens. Thank you for sharing your story! How incredible that 4 people are alive today because of your husband. Organ donation is heroism. Praying for continued healing for you and your family. Congrats on LotD...it is much deserved!

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      NC Shepherd 5 years ago

      This really is a beautiful lens. Resizing and wearing John's ring is a nice idea. The ordeal is a difficult journey, but it sounds as if you are handling it with grace. Congratulations on LOTD.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Congrats on LOD! Very good lens and strikes close to home..won't say why.

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      freeelectricity101 5 years ago

      This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    • TheFalconPress profile image

      The Falcon Press 5 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      Another great book about grieving that helped me is Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking." You've covered so many important aspects of grieving in this wonderful lens. My heart goes out to you and your family. Thanks for sharing this very supportive lens!

    • MrsPotts profile image

      MrsPotts 5 years ago

      Being acquainted with grief, I appreciate your candid story. It is no small thing to "comfort those with the comfort with which we have been comforted". God bless you with increasing joy and trust in His faithfulness and love for you.

    • PaulWinter profile image

      PaulWinter 5 years ago

      Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with us. I lost my eldest son in 2008, he was only 25 years old. I wrote a lens about it and found doing so very therapeutic. I completely agree with you about the anxiety and pain around the time of the anniversary of losing your loved one. The first 2 years were very painful. Last year it was a little less so, or maybe it's just that I've got used to it bit more. Two months after the day my son died is his birthday, so there is more pain as that approaches. He would have been 30 this year, so this year is likely to be difficult again. I pray you and your family continue to know the loving arms of the Lord around you.

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      ohcaroline 5 years ago

      Very special lens. Thank you so much for sharing this with your Squidoo family. Hugs to you and your family. :)

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I noticed the Valentine's theme right away and it just seemed so right and even more so now knowing that is the day John moved on to eternity. We are just never ready for that and it seems that the grieving process holds us hostage as we go through the healing of it. You share your experience and faith along with guidelines to help others in a very dear way. I love that you are receiving songs or psalms. Blessed with a thank you and a very well deserved LotD

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      saerae01 5 years ago

      Wow I'm really sorry. I could never compare to something like that. I have everybody in my family except for my grandpa. He died when i was 3. Nobody in my family really knew him. My mom didn't really even like him and it was her dad. Great lens by the way! I wish I could write like that.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 5 years ago

      This is tremendously moving, and tremendously helpful. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your story. It's good to know that you are all doing well three years on. It's so important to share this as I know it will help many people.

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 5 years ago

      My husband died in 1994 when my daughters were just 16 and 13. It was a difficult time, but I survived because of grief counselling. My oldest daughter was a part of a "grief group' at her high school. My youngest daughter refused all help and is still suffering today. Counselling is one of the keys to recovery from loss. Thank you for sharing.

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      Kirsti A. Dyer 5 years ago from Northern California

      Congrats on LOTD.

    • Julia Morais profile image

      Julia Morais 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your story. I know it couldn't have been easy. God bless.

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      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for sharing this story with us, I had tears in my eyes throughout. Definitely well-deserving of LotD, and blessed by a SquidAngel.

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      nursecraft 5 years ago

      Our family also experienced a recent loss of a family member unexpected near Valentines Day. (I think Feb 14 is designated for those so full of heart and love!) Your lens has offered me comfort. Tho I cried early in the reading, I was able to gather much solace from your sharing. Thank you. God bless you.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

      It has done my heart good to absorb this account of your journey. Sending up a prayer for you and your family. Peace.

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      Ivylee2122 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your story. You are no doubt, a courageous, strong woman and mother. Always remember this: "If God puts you through it, He will get you through it."

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      Ivylee2122 5 years ago

      Thank you for this beautiful story. You are a very courageous woman and mother. And remember this: "If God puts you through it, He will get you through it."

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      Harriet 5 years ago from Indiana

      Your story is so heartwarming. I do wish you all the be. In some ways you are very fortunate to have such a loving family. It reminds me how much I will lose if anything happens to my husband. We have no family except our son. God bless you all now and in the future.

    • Paperclip LM profile image

      Paperclip LM 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for being willing to share your personal journey.

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      JollyJ 5 years ago

      Thank you so much - for the encouragement lense

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      Came back to google +1 this gem . . .

    • sousababy profile image

      sousababy 5 years ago

      This is a lens that offers hope, guidance, friendship and love to those who need it most. Thank you for sharing this heartfelt story - your experiences will help heal others. Congrats on LotD and purple star - most deserved. Sincerely, Rose

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      fullofshoes 5 years ago

      I suffered the loss of my first husband many years ago and writing your story is very courageous and brought me to tears. Everything will turn out alright.

    • lilymom24 profile image

      lilymom24 5 years ago

      A beautiful tribute to your husband and I am sure this lens is a great help to those experiencing grief.