Widow Like Me?
There is a well known, yet incorrectly quoted Latin phrase, “solus jugis est change”. Correctly translated, “the only constant is change”. We are ever growing, constantly changing, and often times without our knowledge.
Many weeks before a woman knows she is pregnant, changes have occurred in her body. Her cells have changed, her blood has changed, and as many of us are familiar, her entire life is about to change. It is the unbeknown to us changes which are easy, they are comfortable for us to accept and keep moving. I’ve discovered that it is unknown, unexpected change, radical change, change which we see right before our very eyes, not so easy to accept and continue moving ahead. It came out of nowhere, it was unexpected and sometimes unwanted, we didn’t ask for it, but it is.
Change, yeah, truly, 2006 was the year that changed my life. Early in the year, my husband was misdiagnosed as having a rheumatoid condition called Dermatomyositis, a disease which affects both the skin and muscles. The treatment for that illness best suited for him at the time was a course of a drug commonly used in chemotherapy and in rheumatoid illness. We were told that after two months of taking it, it would “catch”.
Well after two months, his condition was significantly worse not better, as I thought better is what was meant by “catch”. We mistook the swollen lymph nodes for which our insurance company dropped us to be a side-affect of the the prescribed drug therapy. Blindly we continued this course of treatment until he became more ill and uncomfortable. In late August, after months of unexplained illness we received and equally unexpected diagnosis of Stage 4 Anaplastic Large Cell Lymphoma, a Cancer with symptoms quite similar to the Dermatomyositis which he was previously diagnosed. More disheartening, it was also in his bone marrow.
Only a month later, after many blood transfusions, fever, and many days in the hospital, a spark of great news warmed our hearts. I was finally 20 weeks pregnant, time for the ultrasound. In Dave’s absences, my adopted big sister Sheri joined me with the preschool girls for the visit.
I phoned Dave’s room at the hospital to announce, “It’s a Boy!” To this great news he had but a soft, weakened, yet happy whisper, “That’s fantastic!”
You could hear his joy despite the whisper caused by the swelling of lymph nodes around his vocal cords. I was due to deliver on February 2nd of 2007. With the pending birth, our greatest desire was that the Chemotherapy treatment would be successful and that he be strong enough to enjoy the baby. Even the possibility of cord blood being used in his treatment made me hopeful.
On October 28, 2006, my dear husband of nearly 14 years passed.
I am a fortunate woman with six fortunate children. My children had a real FATHER, a father active in the home who cared for his family with passion. The children squealed “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” each time he walked through the door. Likewise, he found much pleasure in seeing that I was spoiled to no end. He never made a decision without considering how it would affect his family. I am now a widowed mother living with loss, yet finding strength and courage in my Faith to deal with the hurt and pain of loss.
If you are a W!dow like me, you to know the great pain, a pain as if someone is trying to pull something out of my body like a ghost in a cartoon. Many days I think of my handsome, well-dressed husband, partner, and friend. I think of the times when I’d watch him from a distance as he walked towards me to grab my hand.
This is my Widow’s story, like many testaments of trial and Faith, it does not end here. I am so fortunate, so blessed to have experience true love and to still see Dave’s love in the form of six beautiful and healthy children. I say that I am fortunate because I hold to my gift of Faith and the knowledge that God has a plan for me. My favorite interpretation of this is a scripture familiar to many, Jeremiah 29:11. The Young’s Literal Translation reads,
Though my life has changed far beyond the anticipated wrinkles and menopause , I am determined and full of the hope and peace reflective of Jeremiah 29:11. I know that my experiences in life are not for naught and my destruction as one in despair may believe. God has a plan for me! He has a plan for you too!
jann feels privileged to share with others her personal journey as a young Widow raising a family in a Noah’s Ark World (coupled), being a woman in transition, and her cause for Hope despite pain and loss.
If you would like to hear jann share with you, your group, or conference attendees her story of being a W!dow, you may reach her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 205-314-5723.