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Author Archives: Healing Eyes

Shopping without my partner

Andy would be proud. I broke down and grocery shopped. The instant I took that step into Kmart the memories of Andy overwhelmed me. He loved grocery shopping more than me. I hate it. He loved looking for clearance deals in electronics and automotive.

I got the oil changed on the jeep. I bought a tire wrench. All for Andy. Check that off my list of getting past. I even bought rainx windshield cleaner and micro fiber clothes because that’s what Andy would buy. Oh it’s hard starting over and living without my partner. It’s terrifying each time I go out that door to face a world without Andy.

Early morning after a night of sleeplessness I finally fell into a deep deep sleep. I remember Andy whispering something to me..as if he was there helping me sleep. I even thought I felt the dogs on my legs but that’s impossible since they are alive still. So much I miss from my life with Andy and the pups. Normally we would go to the dog park before grocery shopping and also take the dogs out to eat first during the summer months. So many ‘no mores’.

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Healing Eyes

Coconut Oil

What do you expect when you wake up and start your day? My day involved serving breakfast to the homeless at the Catholic Church. Followed by a phone call from social security to discuss my deceased husbands back pay that I may be eligible for. Helping clear heavy palm leaves from a friends estate in the summer heat. Finally ending with a treasure hunt for cold pressed coconut oil which involved Rasta’s and goats.

My adventure to find coconut oil began after I just got out of my friend’s pool to cool off after hard labor (of which I had forgotten my swim suit and for the first time just said, screw it I’ll go in my underwear).

Another friend led me to the spot where he thought the street vendor would be that sold the oil but that ended up leading to another vendor, followed by fake directions to throw us off the scent of the true coconut oil vendor. Eventually after stopping and going in the middle of the road, backing up, turning around, and just laughing at the obscurity of the task at hand we found a man with goats. Yes, we ended up down a road and he said lets just stop and talk to this guy with goats. Alright why not. He was a Rasta, an organic, true to nature and all around nice guy. At first I was scared since this was a stranger down a back road and he looked unapproachable. But I followed And smiled as he asked about where the coconut oil could be bought and imagine the coincidence when he said his sister sold the oil and she was up the road. We then started asking questions about goats and sheep, on how they will eat the grass differently. Sheep will eat the grass down do the dirt but goats won’t completely annihilate the earth. There was a dog that guarded the goats. The dog’s sole purpose was to watch the goats, he was not a buddy and you did not pet him or see him but he knew his goats. The chickens will peck you if you get too close. The guy burns the top of the beak off so that they won’t kill each other. The white geese, three of them, lay there eggs but the darn mongoose keep stealing them. How crazy this new world is when you have the right guide to lead you around.

Up the road we found the oil and a very nice lady named Violet. The place was what looked like an old cargo container on the side of the road and a vendor stand in front. It was clean and there was fruit, soap, oil, handmade items and all were very nicely displayed. The oil is in a very nice bottle and it just seemed almost unreal that in the middle of no where it was like we found a mini bath and body works slash fruit stand. I am being taught something from a ton of different angles and I like it. Plus now my skin will be smooth and moisturized from the coconut oil and I can protect myself from the sun. I even got some nice natural bug spray.

A year ago I was in Michigan and Andy was sick. Now I am traveling around an island with my ex-marine friend and having my eyes opened to new things and realities. Thank God I got out of Michigan. There is a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. Some days are dull but days like today remind me why I went and why I was supposed to go.

Healing Eyes

Empty me

I cry for my love

I cry for his pain

I cry for memories gone

and memories to never be.

I cry for the pain endured

to finally let go the chains

that held him on this earth.

I weep tonight – I weep for the day yet to come.

For when tomorrow comes without you I grieve even more.

I am left with pieces of a man

pieces of a blessing I held so dear.

If life goes on amidst the pain

then God take my life, take it and make it free.

Free from pains deadly grip upon my heart.

Let others feel my pain thru your plan in me.

My eyes only see fear and doubt but thru my heart find the crack to break me more.

 

A song someone shared with me a few days ago… Thank you friend.

Keep making me. by Sidewalk Prophets

Healing Eyes

Remembering

Having a hard time sitting still and being ‘still’. Isn’t that what one does when trying to listen for what to do? What to do? I served breakfast at the Lighthouse and I did the grocery shopping. Shockingly the groceries fit in my jeep!

Groceries

Groceries A nice guy helped me load the car. Thank goodness!

Dan doing dishes. He's camera shy.

Dan doing dishes. He’s camera shy.

So as far as ‘doing’ something I succeeded at something today. Oh and went to the police station again since they misspelled my first name, Saiah isn’t me.

I am stubbornly procrastinating on the task given to me to ‘write’ my story. My logical side says know one would care to read that book and everyone says they want to write a book when your life goes upside down.  I am going thru my old journals and re-reading and typing my past pain..my journey thru infertility. I am noticing some reoccurring themes in my writing. “It is my gift, pain”. Perhaps we all have pain but can’t say it outloud and my task is to yell it from the top of my broken heart that pain sucks.

While trying to procrastinate my writing task I started flipping thru photos from Andy’s memorial service. He sure was a cute guy. He used to be full of life and smiles. The transformation I saw over the years took a toll on his smile. I’m trying to think of something brilliant to write but maybe the photos are enough for those missing Andy today too.

 

In contrast to college and married Sarah…I seem to not recognize this new person. Last weekend I had fun Kayaking, hiking, swimming, and star gazing with friends since. It was a weekend of fun because one of the girls was leaving island and moving back home. During the week volunteer Sarah is sweating and juggling numerous things. I am totally confused on what I am doing. I did drop my application off at the Jeep Tours today and my updated police report with my name spelled correctly. The owner was there, he remembered me so that’s good…I might just be driving Jeep for tourists. Hilarious how a year ago I was in Jamaica on those kind of tours and now I might be doing that? Really? Irony?

Healing Eyes

Where in the World is Sarah

New plan…

50 states where is the best place to live and work?

I have to have enough followers to cover some of the states so I can get a good feel for what state would be good for me. I’m 34 so I’m at a good age to start all over. I have no kids to find a school for. This should be easy.

I got myself to an island I sure can get myself to a basic states of the United States. Doesn’t require a uhaul or even a car. Oh yea, requirement, must have mass public transportation. New York could work, not so sure about Chicago though..kinda pricey. Does Atlanta, Georgia have good public transportation I wonder?

And no I am not trying to be like Jonah and going the opposite direction I am supposed to. This is completely logical and a suitable alternative to living on an island in the Caribbean. No, it is not like a paradise everyone imagines. Really..get past a 2 week marker and its really not paradise. It gets to be rather tiny and claustrophobic. The heat is intense, the bugs are well buggy, and the prices are so insane.

No I am not ‘running’. Just re-prioritizing my location. Yea that works. God won’t notice that loop hole.

I doubt anyone really wants to hear about the mundane routine of following God and all that God stuff. It’s rather boring actually. It’s not like this morning I got up and picked up a random person on the street to take her to McDonalds because I had this squeeze on my heart and a voice in my head when I drove past her.

That’s crazy talk.

It’s not like I got some free mango’s from a guy I have gotten to know who has fallen on hard times and totally understands grief and cancer.

That’s just boring talk.

It’s not like I just swam in the ocean under a beautiful son and butterflies flittered over my head as if God was enjoying spoiling me.

That Sh**t doesn’t happen in real life.

God doesn’t try and give a grieving widow a break by showering her with sun and blue water and mangos. No, it doesn’t work that way.

I need to find another state to wander around for say 40 years in. That can totally work. That way I would eat more since it would have restaurants and a Target store.

This is how twisted my mind works. I doubt God’s love because I don’t think I deserve it. I don’t understand why I get to have beauty all around me and an ocean by my side, the sun above me, free time to think and write. All of these things I can’t fathom, why me? I watched Andy die. I was with him during the surgery, the chemo treatments, the vomiting, the feeding tube, the pain and sadness of realizing he was not going to last. I am so brainwashed that now I think I am only to see that. To always be in pain and have no time for myself. To not allow myself to be happy. I can’t be happy when I know Andy is dead. My mind will not let me indulge in such an idea. To pick up your cross and follow Jesus means to suffer constantly. Idle time makes me go mad…I need to be doing something and be busy or else I am letting others down and letting Andy down.

So let’s vote…And seriously I know I have followers and you are just dying to push the vote button and let your voice be heard! Now is your chance! Where should the wandering widow missionary wanna be live?

Healing Eyes

Perseverance

In an effort to learn the island and try and fit in as best as I can with islanders I had my friend Stephan take me around on the West side. Being that he is ex-marine and has a reputation on the street it was a fun day. I saw some other sides of my friend that you never would guess existed if you just looked at his appearance. One being that he loves espresso and he can get one for free by flirting with the espresso maker. Let’s just say the espresso maker was not a girl and that Stephan can really blend in with any crowd. Regretfully I did not capture much of these moments with my camera since I wanted to kinda not look like a tourist. Although wearing bright pink and short shorts kinda makes me stick out next to a black dude.

I started my day not knowing what to do and also feeling very sorry for myself. Another night missing Andy and crying, I’m not sure what is up with this week but the wound seems wide open again.

When I first came to the island I met Stephan at the lighthouse and for some reason God was saying that he was to be my guide if I were to come back. I don’t know what for exactly but as I talked more with Stephan today I learned he has an interesting skill. He was trained to gather information on areas before troops were sent in. So this means he automatically will scope out an area and figure out where is the bad spots and what are safe. If somehow he can teach me how to do that, who knows what God will use that for, wherever I land after this island.

I am being trained for something. For now I am supposed to write and share my story. Figure out how to not let grief consume me and figure out how to get Sarah back.

Andy would be proud of me today. I jumped off the pier with some others encouragement. That was fun! I may stick out like a sore thumb but for some reason it doesn’t really feel all that awkward being so different here. All the others on the pier counted down for me to jump..1..2..3..Go! Oh who am I? I do not recognize this person in front of the mirror. Faintly she reminds me of college Sarah, fearless and curious.

Good news! I had my poo tested and I have no parasites! Yay! Ok yea gross…but I guess that’s needed for a health card, which I need to get tomorrow as well as my police record. Thank God I had someone with me when I went to the police station today to fill the paperwork out. Tomorrow I drive all the way back to the West side to get my report and hopefully there is not blemishes on it, haha.


 

“Pain is weakness leaving the body” –Stephan

 

Romans 5:3-5

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character, hope.

Healing Eyes

No bike for you

For some reason I’m missing Michigan so much tonight. Perhaps it’s missing Andy. This wound won’t scab over. It seems to keep breaking open over and over this week. I can’t seem to shake the feeling of aloneness.
I am in my room by the sea and tomorrow the only friends near me are moving away for a month.
Another friend is leaving island completely and The pastor’s wife is gone for undetermined amount of time.
It seems God is isolating me for some part of his plan.

I almost bought a plane ticket to Michigan a minute ago but I stopped and prayed. I flipped my bible open and it landed on:

Psalm 78:36-38 KJV
[36] Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. [37] For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.

The footnote explained this to mean again and again the people of Israel said they would do something but there heart wouldn’t do the same. God was patient even though they kept going back on there word. So I’m on st croix and I said I would but my heart has to be also. I can’t let Michigan keep pulling my heart back. As much as I miss Andy. There is a bike ride Saturday back home for cancer. I rode it last year for Andy while he was alive and I thought I could just fly back and ride it. I almost bought the ticket. Alas my life is not my own and God says no. I have to let Andy go this time. I want to ride for Andy and relive that memory but I don’t think God wants me to.

Instead…solitude and writing are my assignment. I must write. God commands and I must listen. It really sucks when you can’t have what you want.

Another night crying myself to sleep. Grief sucks!!!!

Healing Eyes

Thank you to a long lost friend

I’m trying to think of something inspiring to say. What can you say when all is lost and only grief fills the gaps?

I got an inspiring email (and donation woot woot) from an old friend of Andy’s (and mine) this morning. I think it was around 2am. Sometimes it takes a lot of courage from others to reach out and connect after so many years. (it can go both ways). I cried over and over when I read the letter. It’s always nice to read others perspective of Andy’s and mine relationship. Especially when its from one of Andy’s childhood friends and someone who knew us before we married and was in our wedding. Oh Andy…you are so missed by many. You were an amazing guy and the best soulmate I could ask for. If I am doomed to wander this earth with your soul haunting me I would ask for no other. She said when Andy first mentioned me to her that he was ‘electric’. I can just imagine that green hair skinny 19 year old saying he met this gimpy girl at college. He had no filter you see. Some people think before they speak but not my Andy…he spoke straight from his heart and was so amazing. Cancer may have took that Andy away in the end but I remember that Andy, I feel in love with that Andy.

I am faced with many decisions on this island and what options to say no to. I will explore each one but I also can’t let some distract me from my mission. The main mission is to grieve and be reborn. To rediscover who I am after a long marriage that ended so painfully. How do other support such a mission?

With words
With memories of Andy
With encouragement
With patience

For the ‘God’ mission? Well that is a mystery. I guess in order to keep doing what God says to do I need to have a body that functions and that requires food and shelter. Seems easy enough to support that. Now for me to not give up hope and doubt every decision I make..that will be a true test of perseverance.

I persevere because I must. I persevere because if I don’t who will? I’ve been avoiding the one thing that’s clear and that is I am to write. To write more than a blog.. to write Andy’s story and mine. Perhaps someone out there going thru cancer needs that. So give me the words God, guide my mind and heart to speak the truth about what pain and doubt is. How a disease can rob you of both and leave chaos in its wake.

Healing Eyes

Second guessing

Jumping into the whole God world head first is proving to be difficult.

I am not ‘Godly’, I am just Sarah. A wife, businesswoman, car lover, dog lover, writer, artist, and pianist. I crochet and enjoy gardening. I do not play with kids and I am not a teacher of kids. I can’t even have any kids biologically…Andy and I tried and there is no little Andy running around with his hazel eyes.

I know how hospitals work, the ins and outs of cancer centers, how to use an IV pole, how to set up a feeding tube bag, medication doses, nausea remedies, eating without a stomach, and watching someone starve to death. Those are my skills!

I can work on computers, lead projects, and communication with global teams, travel, play video games, bike long distances, rollerblade, and even teach dog agility. Those are my assets.

I am tired and ready to give up, to realize my grief stricken mistake of moving to an island believing in something bigger to escape grief. Move back to Michigan and renting an apartment and working in an office is quite suitable to my skill set. I could even take up a medical career since I have 2 years experience in care giving.

It’s acceptable!
I miss Andy.. I want my life back!

The Caribbean sea is a prison and my mind is the torture device to keep me in a fog. Over and over I see who I was and long to have it back. The Emergency Room visits and all the nurse questions I can handle. I have notes and records for all of that. Every bit of that old life I would gladly take back if I could just see Andy again. To hold him in my arms and see his smile. I am a wife with a ghost husband.

What so called ‘God’ takes a 34 year old man and gives him a disease and lets him starve to death. While allowing his wife to watch him die, and in the end makes the necessary requests for the final narcotic pain relieving drugs to be given to him so that he can die in peace. Why do Christians always say, ‘It’s God’s will’. … ‘It’s God’s plan’.  When really its just cuz cancer sucks and we are stuck on this earth where there is nothing you can do but suffer thru it.

We can choose to cling to words in a book. We can choose to drink the pain away…take pills..exercise a lot..or just ignore the pain by shoving it deep down in the abyss.  Hundred of outlets and different religions are at our disposal. Is there really one magical answer? I don’t think so. It’s going to take several tools to get past the pain of death…deciphering which ones to combine is the age old question. Why does God allow so much pain for the ones he ‘loves’?

I remember how I avoided ‘God’ blogs because I didn’t want to hear the cliché over and over about it’s God’s will and God gives me strength. Now it seems I have turned into that cliché and it irks me. Andy and I did not find our strength in that. We talked thru things, we discussed our problems, and we worked as a team. Before Andy died the drugs took that side of him away. He wasn’t coherent enough to be my partner anymore. He was a shadow of Andy’s personality. I lived with a ghost already dead.

I find it really hard to turn to God for everything. 14 years of the opposite mind set is hard to just reverse in a matter of months. I am not even sure if it should be entirely reversed because there is some validity to living outside a bubble of faith. Dose of reality and pain can give different perspective on things.

Now what to do…? Stay on this island and still test this ‘God’ theory out and see if it’s for real by studying the bible. Or. Go back to the states and figure out what I want to do and what I am good at now that I am a widow. Or maybe there is a middle ground.

Either way cancer sucks! And Grieving sucks even more! Us elite cancer caregiver survivors wobble between guilt and pain and loss. What could have been done differently? What did I do wrong? Why cancer? What now?

Healing Eyes

Prison

I am being dangerous and typing outside by the salt air. Most likely damaging my laptop.. sometimes you have to sacrifice precious things to get more. I like the sound of the waves anyways and inside its muffled.

So I’m laying outside trying to get over my night of nightmares and lost memories of Andy. I tossed and turned last night between my reality of an island to the memories of Andy. Sometimes I confuse the two and feel my dreams are my reality.. or perhaps its wishful thinking.

I woke suddenly from a voice in my head that said, “Shmookie Poo I love you”. Over and over it was said in my head and I couldn’t shake it. Andy used to call me that in his high pitch cute voice. He used to be such a goofball before cancer robbed him of his very personality. Sometimes in the midst of pain you can’t see what is being taken away from you.. instead you slowly ache and feel an emptiness taking over. Looking back I know that Andy was dying mentally and I couldn’t stop it. The pain of that was far worse than any physical pain I saw. The physical pain was easy enough, you go to the hospital and the nurses pump him with drugs. Then you get released and you keep pumping him with drugs. The effects of the drugs and physical pain will then take away the very personality you fell in love with. I missed my Andy and I couldn’t do anything to pull him back. As a last result I pulled myself back in order to break from the pain and breathe. I pulled my heart back in order to save it from the pain. Foolish me since I still am in pain and it didn’t save me from anything. I could look ahead and I knew he wasn’t going to make it long, I knew I was to become a widow. How was I going to survive if he took me down while his ‘body’ was still alive. His body alive, ha, that’s so hard to even type because how can you call a skeleton with skin a live body. He was robbed day by day of his ability to live, oh the misery he must have endured inside. Stuck in his jail of a body, screaming to get out.

Yesterday I was able to walk around an old penitentiary on the island, it was long over grown with trees and grass. The walls were falling apart and the ground was rubble. If I think about it, that place was full of ghosts long gone. Andy was trapped in his body as if a prisoner in a earthly body. So much suffering.

 

I’ve been reading C.S. Lewis’s book “A grief observed”. I read it once before Andy died and it affected me but reading now after his death it feels more real. The words in it speak stronger to me.

Maybe Andy and I had become all that we could be and God chose to end it so that a new lesson could be taught. We had reached our high and it was time to break us. “His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down”.

My heart is ash – my bones are broken – Grief consumes me and I can not breathe. I trust no one and I let no one in again. I did that once and that trust shook my walls and broke my love. My love once lost is lost forever.

Bit bitter? Perhaps, but what are words if not to be spoken and felt. Maybe honesty about how we feel is important.

Am I holding so tight to Andy’s memory to prove some loyalty? To raise our love onto a pedestal too high to be true? There is no perfect love! Only perfect dreams of that love. It doesn’t exist like we imagine, just as the American dream is a fantasy. No one is truly happy or content because we are all sinners and broken. We lie about our feelings, we put fake faces on to hide the reality of our heart. There is no security  in this life..It can all be break and fall in an instant. Why put our faith in a world that is broken…

Repeatedly I wish for the grief to end..the tight hold grief has on my heart is unending. Time stands still as if I am waiting for something to change. When in all likelihood I am stuck. Perhaps I am in the prison cell curled up in the corner with no hope, or maybe I am knocking the steel door begging to be released. I’m innocent! Whatever did I do to deserve this pain? The prison guard silently walks past to hear another say the same story of woe. When will we ever learn, our peace and happiness is not to come..wait and breathe for another crack in the chains.

Amazing Grace…Chains

Healing Eyes