Welcome to Christian Widow's Walk

Dear Readers,

Thank you so much for visiting. If you care to follow my story from the beginning, I encourage you to click on the oldest post first and make your way to newer entries. In so doing, hopefully, you will see the hand of God in my healing journey that started in April, 2009.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Camo~ Bofren's Going Home Clothes

Posted May 15, 2009 (3 weeks into widowhood)

It was a good day Wednesday, although it started out teary as I studied the photos that our friends, Bobbie and Ed had enlarged and framed and brought with them to the Funeral Chapel on Saturday, April 25th. One was a picture of the West Virginia or Mississippi Mission Team that Buck was a part of, and the other was a picture of sleepy eyed Buck, drinking his early morning cup of coffee during one of those mission trips. I was putting the pictures away when I noticed he was wearing his W.V. camo cap; the same cap that was part of his burial clothes.
For those of you who didn’t know Buck very well, he was an avid outdoors man and highly skilled hunter. After the Lord and his Girfren, hunting was his great love. It wasn't just something that he did; it was a great part of who he was. It didn’t matter where we were, hiking in the woods or driving on the highway; he was constantly scanning the landscape for deer, wild turkeys, or any type of wildlife. He often spotted eagles and hawks with his keen observation. Just minutes before he experienced the onset of his indigestion type symptoms that turned out to be a heart attack, he noticed a deer in a ditch on the side of a back road, on our way home from Ed and Bobbie’s New Year’s Eve Party. He noticed the motion of the deer’s head as we passed by and he asked me if I had seen it. He had to turn around and go back to find out if that was what he had seen. Sure enough, the stunned, wounded deer popped his head up again as Buck approached him on foot. Buck was quite upset because he couldn’t find anything in the car to put him out of his misery. His compassion made it very difficult for him to drive away. Sadly, it would be the last deer he would lay his eyes on.

There was no question in my mind that Buck would wear camo to his grave. We never discussed it, but I knew he would approve; along with my decision to bury him barefoot. It just felt natural, fitting and perfect for him, an easy decision to make. His love of the outdoors and his affection for antique furniture influenced my choice of casket for him by choosing one made of beautiful oak; like Buck, sturdy and strong before our new year began.

My grieving towel comes in very handy each new day as the waves wash over me and the tears pour out. Pictures affect my emotions very easily and music is off limits for right now, as I prefer the quiet solitude of our, I mean “my”, new home. I think it will take a long time for me to think of myself as I instead of ”we”. One heart tucked inside the other, with the Lord in the center, just like my symbolic necklace. I love what my friend Bobbie said during her visit on Wednesday. When I mistakenly said we and corrected myself; she said, “ That’s okay, it’s just you and the Lord now”. So, “we” is still appropriate, just you and me, Lord. I like that. That realization brings me comfort.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Home Alone ~ The Lord And I

Posted May 13, 2009 (3 weeks into widowhood)

I knew it was going to be difficult to come home, but I also knew that procrastinating wasn’t going to make it any easier. It was time to face my new reality: my new life as a widow. Sarah wasn’t gone very long before the first tidal wave of emotion hit me full force. I didn’t know a person could cry non-stop for 15 minutes, then stop just long enough to catch my breath and be knocked down by another wave when I turned on my computer and saw our user names on the screen. Although I will always carry him closely in my heart, the reality of the fact that “Buck and Renee’” no longer exist hit me like a ton of bricks. Before I could recover from that wave, my screen saver with my favorite picture of Buck and I together: the same one that is on the Carepage and followed Buck everywhere he went, popped up on my monitor screen. That image brought the biggest wave, and I wept until my stomach hurt.

This went on through the night, somehow being able to get through my phone calls with my sister, Colleen and later talking with my Mom and Dad. I promised that we would get together someday this week or maybe next, to celebrate Mother’s Day. Sarah and I did our celebrating together on Friday before she brought me home. I knew I would be in no condition to make it to church on Mother’s Day, It was clear that I needed to spend some time alone, just the Lord and I. I was in need of some one on one time. At bedtime, I was emotionally exhausted and I read from my devotional: God Calling, a gift from my friend, Eva. The entry for April 21st (the day Buck died) read: Do not fear changes. You can never fear changes when I, your Lord, change not. Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever. I am beside you. Steadfastness, unchangingness, come to you, too, as you dwell with Me. Rest in Me. Those words comforted and calmed me. Thank you Lord, for the reminder that you are always near.

The Lord has also used all of you to bring me comfort and I know He will be faithful to continue to provide everything I need in the days to come, just as He has since New Year’s Day and throughout my whole life, but I know that no one can protect me from this part of my journey. As my friend Pat said, “ It is normal and necessary”.

I learned very quickly on Saturday night, that a bath towel is very useful when one is grieving. It is soft, absorbent and can be carried comfortably around my neck, close at hand whenever the need arises; much better than bandanas or tissues. Maybe I’ll save a tree or two. I’ll call it, “Grieving~ Green Style”!

Mother’s Day brought more tidal waves as I went through my day, especially as I read the large pile of sympathy cards that awaited my return home. I sat on the front porch that Buck and I built together and cried my way through the afternoon as so many of the cards deeply touched me. They shared words of love and encouragement and remembrances about Buck and how they so appreciated, respected and enjoyed him. Messages came from family members, new neighbors and people I haven’t heard from in years. Comforting words and promised prayers came from our York Caretaker family and one from our social worker, Bernice and Nurse, Janine from UMMC. Loving notes showed up from long time (notice I didn’t say old) friends, new friends and friends from afar. Cards arrived from Georgia, Colorado and Australia and inspired much weeping as I realized how much my Sweetheart meant to so many. I even received several hand painted cards from two artist friends~ one that included a poem that the Lord had inspired, along with a lovely bookmark, which was inscribed with the same poem ~ how beautiful and wonderful all those messages of love were to me!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Time To Go Home

This is a post that described my first few weeks of widowhood.

Posted May 11, 2009

I want to begin my entry today and every time I write, with a disclaimer or warning to remind all of you that this is my personal journal and it will include details that may be difficult for you to relive with me. I do not desire to cause anyone any unnecessary pain with my sharing, but please understand, I will not be holding back. It is the desire of my broken heart to capture as many details as accurately as I can remember in an effort to paint a picture for me to return to and to hopefully speed up my healing as I walk through the days ahead. I pray it will be helpful and a blessing to someone as they follow along.

I have been staying with my daughter Sarah and her family since my Sweetheart's Homecoming on April 21st. Sarah, Bob and their children have been such a blessing to me, as I face the beginning of my new life. Sarah and my "little" brother, John, went with me to make all of the funeral arrangements. My son-in-law, Bob did all the driving for our lengthy trip to and from West Virginia and Sarah and Bob provided comfortable accommodations for the two nights we spent there. Friends and family also were very generous by helping to cover our expenses while away from home. You know who you are, and I know you well enough to know you wouldn't want me to mention your names. Please know that my family and I appreciate your love and thoughtfulness!

When we got back to their Elkton, Md. home, I spent consecutive days in my pajamas before I realized it had been five days since I had been out of the house. I had very little energy and no motivation, as sleeping has become more of an issue, but Sarah kept me involved and I enjoyed the wonderful distraction that my grandchildren provided. I will forever remember my time spent with my family.

My 13 year old grandson, Justin, gave up his bedroom for two and a half weeks and slept on an air mattress on the floor in the nursery, so his Nana would have a comfy place to sleep and he gave me lots of hugs and extra attention. Three- year- old Colin is a hoot and had me laughing out loud at his antics and drama. Then there is six- month- old Kyrstin, who is growing up way too fast, whose precious smiling face and sweet giggles and laughs make everyone light up!

After being pampered and loved up so well, I decided that although I was anxious, it was time to go home. On Saturday morning, Sarah, Kyrstin and I joined several of the York Hospital Chaplains at Chaplain Bob's church. My friend Chaplain Deb told me that Bob was leading an informal discussion on dreams and I decided that would be a pleasant way to spend time with my new friends and would be another welcome distraction. I felt compelled to be there and Sarah was so gracious to take me and join in on the discussion. We both enjoyed our time and the Lord provided a precious gift for me at the end of our group discussion. I’ll share more about that on another day.

Sarah, Kyrstin and I spent most of the afternoon outside, eating our lunch, sitting on the front porch and enjoying the pleasant sunny weather by taking Kyrstin for a lengthy walk with her stroller. It’s the most exercise I’ve had since the first of the year, aside from climbing six flights of stairs a couple times a day, when Bofren was in the University of Maryland Medical Center for five weeks for his heart transplant evaluation. It was a wonderful day, but all good things must come to an end and it was time for Sarah and Kyrstin to head home. It was difficult to break away from her warm embrace and blow her a kiss as she drove off. She has been the most amazing blessing to me throughout the hardest days of my life!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bittersweet Surrender Part 2

Just so there won't be any confusion, "Bofren" was my nickname for my husband and his name for me was "Girfren". This was Buck's playful, West Virginian spelling and pronunciation of boyfriend and girlfriend. All our readers were well acquainted with those names, as they had seen them in my writing, many times during those months.

Posted May 2, 2009 
My journal will include letters addressed to my Bofren, sweet memories and stories about some of the people I met along the way. These stories will describe how my Lord made Himself so evident, personal and so very real to me, making it so much easier to walk through these most challenging days of my life. It is beyond my ability to comprehend how God provided just what I needed at the very moment I needed it the most. Our God is like that. He never promised us a life of happiness, but He did promise that we could depend on Him to be with us in each and every moment that we are trusting in Him. We are never called upon to make our journeys alone. The Lord always travels with us and is ever present to carry each of us and whatever our own personal burdens or heartaches might be. It is when we are at our weakest that His strength and power can shine the brightest. A whole new world is opened to us when we humble ourselves and acknowledge our need and invite Him to take over because we can’t ‘do life’ in our own strength. Oh, how He has blessed and carried us down this rugged trail.

Although my heart is broken, my happiness and joy for my beloved Bofren surpasses my sadness as I face my future without him at my side. I thank God for the eleven and a half years I was privileged to have him as my husband. He brought so much joy and fun into my life and he taught me so much about forgiveness, friendship and faithfulness, loyalty and unconditional love. He was the best part of my life and I am so thankful that God knew we would be so good for each other and enjoy each other so much. God has blessed me abundantly throughout my life and I will be thankful for the precious gift that I had in my Bofren, always and forever!!!

Thank you for whatever role you played throughout our difficult journey. Know that collectively, you carried us through the hardest days of our lives. I will probably need your continued love and support for many days to come. Thank you all for the precious gifts you have been to me as so much more than family and friends, cheerleaders and caretakers, encouragers and prayer warriors. You are a community created out of love, compassion and concern. Thank you for being there. I love all of you so much! God bless you richly as you move forward on your own journeys!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bittersweet Surrender Part 1 ~ My Carepage Journal

I shared in an earlier post that I used a Carepage to keep all our loved ones informed during my husband's illness, and I also used it as my journal during those four months that he was hospitalized. I continued to use it to share my widowhood after my sweetheart was called home.

Most of my future blog entries will now be from my Carepage journal, in chronological order. My prayer is that any who follow along will see the hand of God, as He carried me through those dark and difficult days.

Just so there won't be any confusion, "Bofren" was my nickname for my husband and his name for me was "Girfren". This was Buck's playful, West Virginian spelling and pronunciation of boyfriend and girlfriend. All our readers were well acquainted with those names, as they had seen them in my writing, many times during those months.


Posted May 2, 2009 12:49pm
It has been a week and a half since my Bofren’s Graduation Day, moving from this life on earth into his eternal dwelling place. April 21st is a day I will simultaneously cherish and mourn over, as such a bittersweet surrendering of the Love of My Life, into the presence of the LOVE OF OUR LIVES TOGETHER! My heart is so full, I truly don't know where to begin. So, please forgive me when my thoughts are random and scattered.

I have decided to continue using the Carepage as my journal as I move forward on my journey of widowhood. It is my prayer that sharing my journey of grief will be an encouragement and helpful to anyone walking a similar path. There are many details that I have wanted to capture and remember throughout our days since the first of the year, but I had neither the time nor the energy to do so. Over the years I have made some feeble attempts to keep a journal, but I never had the will or discipline to maintain it for very long. I have found such joy in sharing our story with all of you and it has been so very therapeutic for me to have a place to pour my heart out. You will never understand what all of you have provided for me and our family over the last four months, through your thoughts, prayers, messages of encouragement and so many acts of kindness.
Once again, you are welcome to follow along, but know that I will not be hurt or offended if you decide not to walk with me. It may be painful for you as well, as you hold my hand, so to speak, as we venture down this path together. Just like you, I don't know what my future will bring, I only know that I trust my Lord, who holds all of our futures in His hands.

To be continued.