• sarah@healingeyes.org

love

You know your on the right path when you hear the word Free

Can you believe that today I had my own little miracle happen? God takes care of widows and today after spending almost 3 hours at the mechanic to get my oil changed he worked his magic. Free! the $40 it was supposed to cost was on the house today because they took forever trying to find an oil filter for my car. But wait! It doesn’t stop there! My next visit is free too!

So I have no income and give away what little bit of money I do have, but at least my oil change was taken care of today and tomorrow:)

My salary is paid with long waits of patience opportunities and unconventional ways of supplementing a ‘normal’ income. Yea it’s not the most comfortable or risk free way of living but it beats paying $40 I didn’t have today for routine car maintenance at a place I hadn’t visited since Andy died. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?! Perhaps my utility bills will randomly get lost in the system.

Healing Eyes

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Healing Eyes

Lost Dreams

For the first time I am realizing I have no dreams left. All the dreams me and Andy had together are now gone.

 

We dreamt of having a bigger house and a large garage for all our cars.

We dreamt of having kids.

We dreamt of getting better jobs.

We dreamt of growing old together.

We dreamt of having a cabin in the wood in the U.P. together.

We dreamt of retiring together.

We put all our hopes and dreams on a life together forever.

 

Now

It’s gone…

Just like that there is nothing left of that dream.

 

I am sitting in a beautiful little condo by the Caribbean sean. The wind is blowing, the waves are crashing on the rocks literally feet below my deck…and I am sad..I am crying and clutching Andy’s wallet. His wallet untouched from the final day in the hospital. When I took his final belongings with me and his body went to a room I never saw. His sweatshirt he was wearing is now covering my laptop to keep the salt from ruining my computer. If Andy was here he would be going crazy about the effect of salt on electronics.

 

My dreams are gone… lost in the wind that now beats on the windows. Will I ever get it back? Will I ever dream of a life that doesn’t involve Andy? Right now it feels too soon and somewhat like betraying him to think I should live and dream with out him. Though I go to bed tonight and close my eyes I pray I dream of Andy and he smiles at me one more time. I feel his loving embrace and his eskimo kiss on my nose. If that were to happen I would wake smiling, knowing he is at peace and that I should be too. That is a fairy tale though. Life is far from a fairy tale.

Healing Eyes

Long day on da island

This evening I had a very sudden burst of grief overwhelm me. It’s been at least a week since that’s happened. I saw a man that was skin and bones , literally , not exaggerating. It brought back painful images of Andy’s body being ravished by starvation. His first started the month before we learned he had cancer. He lost 30 pounds in a month! After his stomach came out he began losing more. After his final chemo rounds it just kept getting worse. The month of his death he was so frail. To hug him was to feel bones protruding under his skin. He walked slowly and bent over a little. He just looked sluggish and confused. When your so close to someone sick you see it but you also kinda don’t see it because it’s a slow progression.

I drove home in the dark crying and repeating , “Andy was that skinny, Andy was that skinny”.

I miss Andy. I ache for Andy.

I dreamt last night about him. He was not healthy in my dream. He rarely is:(

Prior to my melt down I had a good day. The kids last day of after school program at the lighthouse. They were extra extra loud and crazy. Little Gracie was up and down on emotions. She has a hard time with anger I notice. Also she craves attention and will do odd things to get it. I think she is testing me to see what she can get away with. I of course am a push over and have a hard time getting her respect. In the end I did get her to apologize to me in return for her fruit snacks. It’s so weird being around kids. I’m getting better though. It’s sad it’s summer vacation now and my practice with kids will lessen:(
There was one point today where Gracie noticed I had my bracelet on still that I made with her. She asked why I had it still. I said it was because I made it with her. This was during her anger spell and she wouldn’t apologize for misbehaving. So then the other girl with us said how awful it was that Gracie was being mean when I just said how important my bracelet was. Then Gracie seemed to understand more that she should be nicer.

I have a lot to learn about kids. But that must be why I’m here. One of a few reasons at least.

Tomorrow I pack my two totes up and move to my one bedroom apartment. I’m pretty excited about that…but also scared I’m splurging too much on myself. But it seems God wanted to spoil me this time and I need to not fight him on it.

 

 

 

 

Healing Eyes

iMac

I am in the thick of self doubt.. Doubting my decision to move..to pack up my belongings into boxes again. This time even smaller boxes…

Downsize again from what already is sparse. My head says stay but my heart says go. I have about 5 bins left of my stuff and it still seems like too much but if I ever come back I need warm clothes right? If I ever come back I need my stuff. My brother will read this and think, ‘great, where am I going to store more of my sisters stuff….’.  Garbage can? lol.

I have about 2 weeks left and I need to vacate my apartment by next week. I will be sleeping in my brother’s basement..oh my word I truly will have no place to call my own now. The beginning of a hobbits life for me.. Why? Why Me?

I have one more belonging left that is worth money. Andy’s and mine 27 inch iMac..its soo gorgeous and sleek. I want to drewl all over it when I stare at its glossy, shiny monitor. In fact I am a staring at it right now while typing and its soo beautiful.  Now I could store it and let it collect dust and depreciate or I could sell it and use the cash for a smaller more mobile computer..I know the answer but it doesn’t make it easier. Andy bought this computer over a year ago now and he was so excited to use my bonus check to buy it. He said he was going to make so many videos on it (but never really did)…he did make just one special video on it that I am glad he did, his valentine’s gift to me, his final goodbye but he didn’t know at the time it would be his last homemade video for me. I’ve put a link to it numerous times but it seems fitting to do it again since it was made on this glorious imac 🙂 Valentine Gift.

Don’t be mad Andy if someone buys our iMac.. Don’t put a raincloud over my head..It’s someone else’s turn to enjoy staring at this machine for hours on end. I promise I will instruct them to always wash there hands and absolutely No Food by the Keyboard. It’s awful when you spill Root Beer on a keyboard or even a computer….as you explained time and again to me.

 

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little link to a fundraising page…

..if you can’t tell I’m not very good at fundraising. I’ve been asked though what will I do there. Well i want to build my faith…help others in pain…learn to be loved and to love others. What more could God want from a lost broken heart like myself? God Knows. But I will eat ramon noodles, english muffins, and cereal until I find out what path I am supposed to take over the next few months in this transition period.

Healing Eyes

Andy in the woods

When you have no experience of pain it is rather hard to experience joy.
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The night before I say goodbye to my puppies… another loss to be felt in my story of pain. I wait on the edge of fear of what’s to come. Another step forward in this endeavor of faith and love for the Spirit that has awakened inside me. Relentlessly pursuing me with a passion I do not question. Today I took the puppies for a hike in the woods. The snow was pure and the air was oddly quiet. As if the woods was waiting for me to come. It has become my place with Andy.

He was waiting for me in the trees, the stream, the breath on my cheek. With each step I took I drew nearer to his love. His voice whispered sweetly in my heart. After I went past the bend in the river, where some of his ashes lay, I opened my mind to the woods and felt a peace enter my heart.

Over and over it repeated, “I am okay… I am well… I am not in pain… cry no more for me Sarah… shed no more tears and grieve no more for I love you. I will always be with you and shall never leave your side”.
The voice was mixed with Gods voice. As if in this blessed spot my two loves were brought together to comfort and walk with me. The tears flowed and I wished to see Andy in the trees so badly. Oddly the puppies walked so calmly next to me… Not once did I have to call them back. It was as if Andy was walking with me and telling the puppies to stay close.

Towards the end I heard a bird whistle our tune. Through this Little bird my love was reaching out to me from heaven. As I whistled back the bird replied so sweetly–until at last the bird was gone. My love had come to say hello and quickly was gone again. For an hour of my day I was with my soulmate again. We were a family again us three.

Refined by fire my heart is seared. The flames engulfed me, the heat burns me, the air is sucked away from my lungs. Nevermore will I love as deeply as I did. That chapter of my life is gone. Although I burn in the pain of yesterday… I look towards tomorrow… for hope sings true in my heart. Each moment of my days brings reminders of hope and pain … Which makes the happy moments all that richer.
Tomorrow or the next A cool wind will return to blow the flames out. Through great pain comes great love!
My God waits for me and he has my Andy close by.

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Healing Eyes

Are we all ‘Ok’ ?

Is it ok to share with the world doubts?

Is it ok to expose ones fears to the world about trusting in God?

What good can come from being that transparent with people about one’s thoughts and feelings? Doesn’t that leave us vulnerable to being seen as weak to ones peers? Putting everything on the line and letting others judge you however they see fit. Every day we get dressed and prepare ourselves for a day of barrage of negatives mixed with positives. More often than not I find myself waking up and sighing anxiety thinking what will today be like and am I ready for more dissapointment. Not a very healthy way to start a day when I already assume its going to be bad before it begins. It seems we can’t every be entirely genuine out of fear of what others might think of our actions or even physical appearance for the day. Is that what God wants? To have us be less genuine and put on an ‘ok’ face in order to make others more comfortable? Sounds silly when said out loud.

Last night I looked at old photos of Andy. Our last vacation together in June for our 13th Wedding anniversary we went to Jamaica. We figured let’s go all out since we had wanted to go Ireland but that was right before cancer was diagnosed. Our dream vacation was to go to Ireland together and that was quickly snatched away. As I was looking at photos of Jamaica I saw a pattern develop in how Andy looked in each photo, something I had subconsciously been ignoring while he was sick. However, I knew it was happening since I saw it every day. That slow death in the eyes, the hollow pain filled look in his eyes. For months on end he was in pain and his eyes showed it every day. At times I could look past it and see the Andy inside but soon that pain was just overwhelming him as hard as he wanted to pretend he was ‘ok’. In each photo he did his half smile he always did but this time his eyes showed the other side…the side of internal pain and struggle with cancer. June was the mid point for his remission (I dislike that word) and our high point of being able to do activities together without him being completely wiped out. Most of the vacation I would walk the beach while he slept, or I would swim while he chilled in a lounge chair. He tried so hard to swim with the dolphins but as I knew he was having fun seeing me smile it was killing him to continue putting that happy face on. Maybe I tried to smile too much for the both of us. Maybe that’s where we shined…I could put the happy face on for the both of us and pick up the slack. Oh what a great vacation though! I got to see sooo much of past Andy on that island before the coming months back at home would prove too much for Andy’s strength and mine. Inside I was a mess and putting on that face to the world that I was ‘ok’. Some days we both were good at it but other days it was obvious. Cancer was ruining everything..the disease was stealing everything away.

Is there life after Cancer? Depends on the stage in my opinion. First round of chemo, yes. After major surgery and removal of a stomach, yes’ish. After 2nd round of chemo, barely. That last round of chemo was what annihilated Andy’s body and spirit. That last round of chemo took the last of my pre-cancer Andy away and we were left to muddle thru the aftermath. We did find happy moments that made it worth it..such as Jamaica!

Oh that Andy is finally free is what keeps me going each day. Fly Andy, Soar Andy, and guide my days on this earth as an Angel by my side. Nudge me to move..Nudge me to try.. Nudge me to just Wake up in the morning like you did those weeks following your death. Where you whispered ever so quietly in my ear, “Please Get Up”.

 

Dolphin Andy Resting EEk

 

Fundraising for my Real Mission Trip

 

Healing Eyes

What does one do with Great Pain?

 

They either let it swallow them up and poison there heart or they set it free hoping the words once spoken will free them from it. Maybe that’s why I lay my life open like an open book to complete strangers behind this mask of story telling.

Just over 2 months ago I lost everything. Cancer had taken hold of my marriage to my soulmate of 13 years. In August of 2012 my husband was diagnosed with Gastric cancer in the midst of our hopes and dreams to adopt a child and free ourselves from the pain of child death and childlessness.

We searched for so long to find that missing piece in our hearts. Little did we know that was God at work in our hearts. Patiently waiting and laying out events and choices before us. While both of us were undecided on God in our lives, cancer the C-word took hold like a thief. Andy lost first his stomach and then the freedom to live without physical pain 24 hours a day with little sleep.

I watched as my husband slowly died month after month in my arms. In the end his mind went and I felt I had lost him completely. But then hope came to us in a series of events _ both good and bad. I was in Germany when I had him ambulanced to the hospital from an overdose. When I returned home we hugged, cried, and found love again. His health quickly declined and the cancer slithered back in with a vengeance. In less than 3 weeks my love died forever in my arms. Thru incredible pain he finally found peace _ his heart slowed and he fell asleep in Jesus’s arms. Within 2 days I kissed him goodbye forever as his body turned back to dust and his battered body was free from its chains.

The day he died he gave up and threw his arms in the air and said, “I love God”! He would join our baby in heaven and he was ready to die. With that closure of death my life became Gods, I just didn’t know it yet.

The connections started prior to my husbands death with a missionary named April living in St. Croix took hold in my heart and soon I was on a plane to an island not knowing why God said go and what I was to learn so soon after death.

My first leap of faith as a newly reborn child of God full of questions and fear. I met pain head on and I heard people’s stories of heartache and endurance thru misery. I was challenged to see a strong faith in something I couldn’t see and an openness to building relationships that I in the past would have shrunk from. My walls were falling and I did not like it. It was overwhelming to say the least when I started to hear a still voice in me that wanted so badly to expose my raw pain.

I volunteered my time at Lighthouse Missions, I really felt quite out of my element and being stretched outside my comfort zone every minute of the day. I was passed between April (the CEF missionary) and Debbie (the director of the lighthouse mission). For 2 weeks my life really wasn’t mine, I was to watch and listen. A feather in the wind going where God wanted me, meeting the right person at the right time to just hear their story and perhaps tell my sappy sad one. It was becoming clear to me that God was calling me to something. He wanted me to remember what faith was like that I knew when i was a kid. He wanted me to fall in love with something bigger than myself so that when I returned home I could tell a story of a broken heart that might just have a chance to mend, but only with the help of someone much bigger than me. I did not want to listen and I did not want to believe I could be used for something if I just gave up control.

I am going to take a leap of faith and continue my crazy journey outside my comfort zone. Sometimes after loss and during grief a person can decide to run from pain or avoid it. My calling is different…my calling is to use my pain in order to heal from my pain. Sounds messed up? That’s probably a good thing because that means it’s not my idea. Selling my house, both my cars, and donating most of my assets to Goodwill are not logical things to do. What I gain is peace each time i give up more of me.

When I married my Andy in June of 2000 on a beautiful sunny day, God had begun his plan, to let me go for awhile so that I could slowly take his blessing of Pain in edible bite sized pieces. If I had known on that day what was to lay ahead of me I would have not survived the weight of that pain. In time the memories, experiences, trials, illness, and finally utter loss would open a door for me to return to God a different person. A broken person that will seize the chance to take action and trust in something unthinkable.

So over the next few weeks I will continue to shrink my belongings and surrender to a life not my own so that I can be free to go where I must.

Healing Eyes

Moving on but not budging in my heart

With each piece of furniture, clothing, fork, spoon, video game, lamp, and computer I say goodbye to what me and Andy built. We built a home full of love, sharing, sadness, pain, illness, but above all it was Me and Andy. I packed each item into little boxes that would move with me, the items that ranked high enough to move to a 2 bedroom apartment. The other items went to the far right, stacked high with each pile that would eventually make its final destination to Goodwill. Some day another ‘Andy’ type thrift shopper will happen upon each item and smile, purchase, and then run out to his or her significant other and share the joy of finding a piece of treasure at a low low price.

The house is quiet now..no more voices..no more snuggles under the covers..but most important..no more cancer lurking in the shadows. Cancer will follow me wherever I go, the memories hang heavy on my heart. Andy lived a great life..I must hold on to that and pray the good memories will outweigh the final year of sickness and pain.

In my apartment I have a room of stuff ready for the second round of downsizing. My goal is to get down to clothing and bare necessities of living. In truth one person doesn’t need a lot but for some reason we crave stuff. It can’t fill the void left after losing a soulmate. I must remember that as I give up more of myself.

Today starts a new day.. a day where I now sign away my house, complete with death certificate in hand. I am sure tears will be shed and my final goodbye to a house filled with memories. In my mind and heart I have packed those memories up already and they go wherever I go.

What to do when one door closes? Step out into the unknown and follow something greater than me, breathe in each day with a purpose, remember the loss and use it to my advantage. God gave me Pain as a gift and I will never forget that..thru suffering we appreciate life and the blessings just waiting to be opened.

Bring it on God! I am empty, broken, and moldable!

 

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Healing Eyes

Tears of change

God has turned my tears into tiny crystals of hope. Each day is a blessing waiting to be opened. Each hour of the day is a test of faith. Each minute of the day is a test of my strength. What have I learned from this? Well, I am weak and I have no control over my life. My life is not my own, I have been pursued by God relentlessly. His patience and perseverance is amazing! How he never gave up on me years ago is shocking. When you allow your eyes to be opened and your heart to be touched, then be ready for astounding things to happen. From the smallest interaction with a stranger to an intimate conversation with a friend miles and miles away (cough cough St. Croix:))
I have faltered over the year.. I have tried to do everything..I have tried to be independent.. I have tried to live my life. Silly Sarah, God wants to take that control away. What a relief to let go of control and open my heart to something more. Not to say that makes everything peachy keen but at least it’s a step in the right direction. Yesterday I was a mess as the snow consumed my house and roof, the rain flooded by apartment, and my spirits were low. This morning I cried out for a blessing and strength to live today. He answered my prayer with the tiniest details in mind. It’s amazing how he moves people around on the world called life. Even just an interaction with another person going thru their day can be a blessing if you allow yourself to open up. Let the walls down and share your story..share your pain.. share you mistakes…God wants to love ME of all people. Ha!

 

This morning at Degage Ministries I served breakfast for the homeless..people in need of a bit of food and love. I saw Andy serving toast (my 88 year old version of what I like to think would have been Andy had he lived). Once again Andy made sure I took time to EAT a breakfast haha. I shared my plans with the other volunteers there, I shared my story of St. Croix and Lighthouse Missions on the island, I shared my heart.. ME opening up my heart to others in order to touch there’s thru God. I prayed this morning, God use me today to speak for you…use my voice..just use me for something because I am awake. What does God do? Well he said, “OK, sarah let’s get to business and talk to people”…  I even prayed in front of a group of people for the morning breakfast, lol, ME..little ole me.

 

Song after song on the radio God is talking to me..the verses of each one touch me and I cry out enough, enough

Take me apart.. I give all of me for all you are.. here I am … TAKE ME APART and rebuild me into something glorious!

Break open the stars.. to save those who cry out his name! Thru the winds and waves of pain. During cancer the pain is overwhelming. During death the pain is overwhelming. How can we ever expect to hear God when pain is just throbbing thru every part of our veins. My gift from God is PAIN, but that’s ok, we all have gifts and skills to give so why not let God turn that around for something better. Our sins, our pain can all be turned around for good once we say, “Why not!?”  While Andy was in the hospital leading up to his death I asked, “Andy should we pray?” he said, “Why not? It couldn’t hurt”.  OH ANDY…I love you, your stubbornness, your forgiveness, your unconditional love even when I disappointed you. Today I listened to a song called “Oh My Dear” By tenth Avenue North. It was as if you were talking to me and saying how much you loved me. My love, my otherself..you are amazing even thru death.

“Oh my dear.. I will wait for you… Grace tonight will pull us thru.. Until the tears have left your eyes..until the fear to sleep at night.. until the demons that you are scared of disappear inside.. Until this guilt begins to crack and the weight falls from your back. Oh my dear..i’ll keep you in your arms tonight..

I miss your arms Andy.. You understood me so well. There is no way any of us can understand why you had to suffer for so long or why you had to leave us so young. I know that you are finally sleeping..ever so peacefully in Jesus’s arms. God pursued you and won you over in the end. The angels rejoiced the day you said, “Why not?” Love me from afar, love me forever, love me thru the storms of life I will face without you.

Healing Eyes