Friday, March 20, 2015

It's March 20....

It’s March 20…
The mention of that date brings with it so many memories and so much emotion. 

Yes, I’m back. 
I know, I know…it’s been a long time. 
There has been much emotional “water under the bridge” since my last post.
But I’ve not forgotten about the blog nor have I completely ignored it. 

In fact, I wrote an entire post in which I endeavored to describe what I experienced over the months of December and January. But I lost it. 
And the energy to recreate it was…well, nonexistent. 
Nor could I remember a thing I had written. 

So, I didn’t write…
I didn’t write about our first Christmas without Michael.
I didn’t write about the New Year.
I didn’t write about the one year anniversary of Michael’s death.
I didn’t write about my birthday or Valentine’s Day that followed shortly thereafter.

I’m not sure what was expected of me, but if I were to write about anything, I supposed my readers might expect me to write about those events. I think I even expected it of myself. 

But I didn’t. I didn’t do what was expected. I couldn’t. The well was dry. 

That particular emotional journey was such a difficult and private one I had no words with which to adequately describe it. 

And again, at this moment, emotion is running high. 
The fear tries to sweep over me again…the fear I felt on this day five long years ago as we began to realize this was no ordinary situation…no quick-fix scenario. 

I will never forget seeing Michael being carried in by two men unknown to us. 
…the way he so bravely tried to mask his intense pain so he wouldn’t frighten the kids.
…the drive to the hospital.
…the cold, dreary weather, the snow on the ground.

…the beginning of the saga that was to become “our story.”

My watch broke that day. 
Now you’d think that a little thing at first mention, wouldn’t you? 
But for me, it was a symbol…

You see, Michael bought me that watch. 
He had purchased it on a random whim as he made one of his regular treks around Oak Park Mall the winter of ’09-‘10. He loved to exercise a bit on his lunch break, and in inclement weather, the mall served as an interesting place to walk. One day he saw the sale, then the watch. And he chose it for me, then presented it to me “just because.” 

Then on the day and in the place his leg broke, so did my watch.
It became very important to me to get that watch repaired. 
So, when my sister-in-law asked how she could help, I mentioned the watch. 
She quickly agreed to get it fixed and back to me, and she did just that.

We could fix the watch.
And we tried to fix Michael. 

He had the amputation surgery to remove the invading cancer, 
and he received chemotherapy to ward off new tumor growth…

And as Michael’s journey continued, I wore the watch…almost every day.

But then it began to lose time. 
At first it was barely noticeable. 
And I thought maybe it was my fault.
You see, it was the kind where physical movement of the watch served to “wind” the watch. 
So, I just assumed I wasn’t moving it enough.
But it didn't get better.
Rather, it slowly got worse…until finally the hands would no longer move at all.

Early on, the tumors in Michael’s lungs were very, very small. 
Barely detectable. 
And we thought maybe it was our fault…because we chose to forgo a portion of the original recommended chemo regimen.
But as the tumors grew, and we were forced to go back to the chemo treatments, we were told it was likely we could do little to stop them. 

We could only slow them down.

The jeweler said the watch wasn’t worth what it would take to fix it. 

I wore no watch at all for a long time. 

My watch was broken. 
My husband was physically broken.
My family was heart-broken.
My marriage was almost broken.
My world had been shattered.

It may be somewhat shocking to some of you to read those words. 
But the devil fought hard, and none of us escaped his wrath.
When it was obvious he couldn’t have Michael, 
he blasted me with depression and near panic attacks.
Then when God began to rescue me, Satan blasted our marriage. 
Days were dark. Nights were even darker.

But God reached down in His infinite mercy, 
and with precious grace and patience, 
helped us put our “us” back together again. 

God granted us a special gift…an amazingly sweet and precious five months of soul intimacy just before Michael died - the best months of our entire marriage! 
The devil was defeated once again! 
I remain immensely grateful for this time and will forever praise the Lord for it!

December, 2013 - the month was extremely difficult…
Michael was slipping away from us rapidly…but God gave us Christmas!
And, though heart-wrenching, what a precious Christmas it was!

Not too many days before the holiday arrived, I came upon Michael on his hospital bed there in the living room…the laptop was open, as was often the case. 
But this time, he was shopping…

Guess what he had found? 
A beautiful watch with interchangeable bands in a variety of colors! 
He was so excited with his discovery! (He’s never been good at keeping surprises a secret!) 
So after getting my stamp of approval on the watch, he ordered it for me for Christmas. 
We kept it under the tree until our official family Christmas, but I was thrilled with the gift. 

Because he had remembered.
Because it was a gift from his heart.
Because to me, it was a sign that for “us,” all was well.

And I knew it would quite possibly be the last such gift…

I have worn this watch every day since then (except for one visit it made to the “shop”). 
I wore only the black band for quite some time as a silent testament to my mourning.

Then I began to enjoy wearing it as it was meant to be worn…as Michael wanted me to.
I enjoy the variety and the colors…and the remembrance of the precious, kind, thoughtful man who gave me not only the gift of time, 
                    but also the gift of his life, his laughter, and his love….

…the man who spent the rest of his life with me, Michael Jay Wright!

On this, the 20th day of March in the year 2015, 
…once again, I remember…

Scriptures and quotes that ministered to me 
during Michael's amputation surgery, March 25, 2010:

He gives strength to those who are tired
    and more power to those who are weak.
But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again.
They will rise up as an eagle in the sky;
    they will run and not need rest;
    they will walk and not become tired.
                                 ~ Isaiah 40:29, 31
God is our protection and our strength.
    He always helps in times of trouble.
The Lord All-Powerful is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our defender. 
~Psalm 46:1, 11

I believe in the sun, even though it doesn't shine,
I believe in love, even when it isn't shown,
I believe in God, even when He doesn't speak.

The Lord hears good people when they cry out to him,
    and he saves them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted,
   and he saves those whose spirits have been crushed.
                                                        ~Psalm 34:17-18

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
God is the Father who is full of mercy and all comfort. 
He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, 
we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us.
~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

The God who spoke still speaks...
The God who came still comes.
He comes into our world.
He comes into your world.
He comes to do what you can't.

(from God's Promises for You by Max Lucado)