• sarah@healingeyes.org

Tag Archives: caregiver

Feeling Outnumbered

Helpless in Africa or just beginning to realize the terrible fact that we are out numbered my kids and drunkards.
Now I just need to hide out from my enemies a bit longer and kick butt tomorrow in the village with fixing huts lol. Yesterday at the destroyed home of agatha there was one guy and 15 kids standing on the fallen tree. I stood there thinking ok let’s fix this house now. But realized oh we need men and oh they are all drinking alcohol down the road and my only guy is half blind and I’m a small lady. So God what miracle will you work for me this week?

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nikki

All Moved In

After a week I am now in my new apartment. It was quite an accomplishment! 10pm Uganda time we moved in under the veil of darkness – and it wasn’t easy. Unfortunately, the bed wasn’t complete yet, so some guys were sawing and hammering for an hour… Everything is slow here!
My mosquito net is the wrong size (too small) so I am now half under it with pillows holding it down, and the varnish on the bed frame is giving me a headache. However, I am happy to say I have a lot of steel between me and the outside, as well as, steel padlocks on my steel doors and I am bolted in snug as a bug in jail. I have many many keys and feel like I am in Alcatraz prison.
My shower was nice even though the design is quite bizarre:)

Today in the village we looked for land and had some good luck..
I also found one of my kids was sick so since I have a car still we took her right to the clinic immediately! Had I not had the car she wouldn’t have made it to the clinic because it is too far. We found out she has malaria. So she now has medicine and I pray she heals quickly. It’s so amazing how in America such a thing as this trip to a clinic is taken for granted. Here the distance and cost for transport prevents many from getting to a clinic. If God hadn’t put Healing Eyes in touch with this village than each child we help wouldn’t know compassion.
This makes me smile and justifies the insane heat, lonely nights, steel cage, and absence of meals.

Goodnight to all and remember today as you rest your head on your pillow that a little girl is in a grass hut feeling a bit better knowing God is caring for her thru our prayers and Action taken to be here in Africa

Sarah

nikki

Take a chance on the impossible

If life is a series of events than who can say each moment is supposed to be happy and free? If hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life then should we always HOPE for more? Can we hope for more than we feel worthy of and why does every step forward feel more impossible than the previous?

You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid…

Is the bible a nice ‘story’ or a test of our faith?  For too long I have played it safe on this blog and have censored my constant questions in my head. It may seem I have it all figured out and my faith is strong but I am reminded daily how I forget easily what faith is. Right now I am censoring my own thoughts so I don’t jinx somehow the results of success. If i begin to doubt myself than others will and then the whole thing falls apart. Power of Attraction!

Are the most successful people always confident in themselves and only ATTRACT success?

Do photos of sad kids ATTRACT hope or despair? I have a longing that Healing Eyes won’t crumble and that it will grow stronger. Longing to help the neglected and forgotten. Longing to see hope return to these little EYES.

…longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

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September 19 6-8pm join Healing Eyes for it’s first Annual Whoa Benefit Concert. Location: 1100 Henze Road
Comstock Park, MI. Discounted tickets now for $8 or suggested donation of $10 ($25 family) at the door.

Take a chance on the impossible

Click the photo above to donate today

Healing Eyes

Support

I’m liking the living by faith thing. It takes some of the pressure off of knowing all the answers and controlling everything. This morning I ran out of fruit snacks and I was sad but then this afternoon I got a package from a new supporter and it had…FRUIT SNACKS! Problem solved!

My first supporter mailed me two boxes stuffed full of food and goodies. Yay! Thank you Becca! This past sunday I finally put money in the offering plate and it was a bit more than I thought I could afford being jobless soon but I didn’t have change. Anyways, a friend said I wouldn’t regret it and that God would give it back somehow. So I’m not saying this was directly related but.. ‘it kinda feels like it’.

It’s gonna be ok. My new job will be learning to live by faith and sharing the story as I flounder around. Maybe eventually I’ll get my sea legs on solid ground and stop waffling.

Written on the outside of one of the boxes: Isaiah 53:4-6

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering. Yet we considered him punished by God, Stricken by him, and afflicted; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

To give your life to Jesus fully? Wreckless abandonment?

Be directed even if it means your heart is broken over and over again? Is that possible?

While living in a fallen world there will be sickness, cancer, death. Is it a fantastical dream to want a world where no more sickness lives?

Matthew 8:20

Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of man has no place to lay his head.

Matthew 8:22

Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.

 

We can have all the plans in place prior to following God’s call, we can wait until our timing is ready. But what if all that is meaningless excuses and we must go when called…

I made a huge upheaval after Andy died and now I am on an island. None of it was easy and still it hurts. I grieve Andy! I grieve loss. It’s a great cost to follow this madness. It would be easier to go back instead of forward. Would Jesus accept any of my excuses to give up?

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

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

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

Transparency thru honesty

There was a friend in my life that was very kind to Andy and I. She gave us meals during chemo treatments and offered encouragement to us during our journey thru cancer. I didn’t know her prior to Andy’s diagnosis and treatments. There were many people that offered support to us during those months of hell.

Why is it that during the most trying moments in our lives we can make some of the worse choices in our lives that will stay with us forever.

I just finished this booked called ‘the healing power of Forgiveness’ by George Foster and it really struck home.  There has been hurt caused to a friend that only showed kindness to me.. I have carried this guilt with me for many months.

As this blog has been a tool in being transparent and honest with followers around the world of Andy’s and mine journey through life it seems hypocritical to leave out a part of the journey that affected so many people and molded the grief that lingers still after Andy’s death. The grief of dishonesty. It seems that this world really is a fallen word and than sin is so easy to fall victim to.

Andy and I went so many years facing life’s challenges together and dealing with pain as a couple. We relied on no one else but ourselves, God was not a source of strength we tapped into. Perhaps that makes it all more fitting to realize now that the third loss in our lives, cancer, was what did us in and revealed how impossible it is to endure life’s trials without his help. We really can’t make it thru challenges with out God’s voice to guide us to do what’s right. It might seem like it for years since we do make daily success stories of surviving the odds but eventually it catches up to you.

Those last 2 months of Andy’s life and our marriage were the most difficult and destructive months. The disease of cancer was doing its best to destroy us both. One thing I didn’t realize was that it was killing me too, it was killing our marriage and the very core of its foundation we prized so much. Honesty was what held us together. Complete transparency. Thru infertility we were honest about the pain and expectations of the outcomes. Adoption opened up the door for exploring what our marriage was to the outside world. The disease was now to inflict its final blow on us by causing us to turn on one another. Andy hid his pain from me in order to spare me more pain. Spare me the worry of not taking care of him enough. The feeling of never doing enough to fix his pain was developing. Andy loved me so much and wanted everything for me and it killed him to watch me suffer at his side.

I began hiding things from Andy in order to seek an escape from the pain. Watching him die each day was taking its toll on my body. I was becoming sick to my stomach and the anxiety attacks were increasing. I kept telling myself I was in control but honestly I wasn’t. The search for why God was doing this was starting.. the search for believing in something took hold in my heart. I feared rediscovering that side of me would push Andy away and so I hid that from him. The dishonesty took its first steps in our marriage.

Cancer changed Andy and me. For me the ‘honest’ Sarah slowly died and looked for ways to escape the pain. To find answers. Sometimes I felt the need to sneak around to rediscover who I was. I missed my relationship with God and with Andy. I mourned it long before Andy died. The disease robbed me of the one thing Andy and I held dearly. And that was honesty. Honest about our feelings, pain, hopes for a future together, happiness were all accessible before cancer. But slowly it ate away at that core value of our love. I was not patient towards the end and didn’t wait on God, as a result I got too close to another person and relied on him too much for support I should have been seeking from God. As a result I now carry a burden of guilt towards a friend hurt in the aftermath of Cancer’s poison. I am so sorry to this person and I regret my actions and I ask for forgiveness even though I do not deserve it. She was nothing but kind to us.

To anyone starting or reaching the end of Cancer’s hold on your life I pray that you will seek out support and direction from God. Even if you may not believe or think its all bologna.. I once thought it was and I even ran from his embrace. He so wanted to help me but I was stubborn. So much pain and suffering in this world that can never be taken away, this world is screwed up and sadly Cancer is most invasive disease since it affects both patient and caregiver.

I have reached out to one of Andy’s past doctors and we have become friends. She talks me down when I am in the grips of despair with words of encouragement. Caregivers take on so much guilt of what they could have done. I never realized the effect cancer had on me. I did but I didn’t. It really does damage loved ones..it’s no excuse for our actions, but it does expose our weaknesses. When we are weak we fall…it doesn’t care who you are or how you used to live…Cancer sucks!

I flipped open my bible in search of a verse about Weakness.. instead I found a story about vulnerability. Which makes sense, we are most vulnerable when we are not in God’s hands. Genesis 20:2.  I won’t recite it but I will write the footnotes, which may have more impact. “Abraham had used this same trick before to protect himself. Although Abraham is one of our heroes of faith, he did not learn his lesson well enough the first time. In fact, by giving in to the temptation again, he risked turning a sinful act into a sinful pattern of lying whenever he suspected his life in danger. No matter how much we love God, certain temptations are especially difficult to resist. These are the vulnerable spots in our spiritual armor. As we struggle with these weaknesses, we can be encouraged to know that God is watching out for us just as he did for Abraham”.

I am not perfect. Andy was not perfect. No one is perfect. But maybe accepting that is the first step towards healing from a past we can never forget.

Healing Eyes

Conversation at Sunrise

I am spending the night next to the Sea! Literally, I can hear the waves crash on the surf and I can smell the salt… and what am I doing… I am bawling my eyes out missing Andy. Guilt is weighing so heavy on me right now of the all the hospital visits I am starting to blur together in my head. This evening I tried to document them all and went back at my calendar to find correct dates and procedures. If I forget the last 2 years I feel like I am losing another piece of Andy. The piece of Andy that fought so hard and suffered so much. The piece of Andy that shined so brightly when facing death. This morning I realized he had such a peace…a wave of peace came over him in that hospital bed that was God’s doing. I saw it first hand and yet it took me months later to really come to grips with it.

This morning I sat on a beautiful patio overlooking the Sea and I was sad. Seriously?! Stop being sad Sarah!

Why is it that when I wake up I can’t be happy and free? Because when I awake I remember I can’t wake from my dream of forever being separated from you my love – my other self. I will forever awake each morning in mourning for you. The loss felt is forever etched in my soul.

While others smile and welcome the day I fear the pain to come.


 

Job 33:

In a dream, in a vision of the night,
    when deep sleep falls on people
    as they slumber in their beds,
he may speak in their ears
    and terrify them with warnings,
 to turn them from wrongdoing
    and keep them from pride,
 to preserve them from the pit,
    their lives from perishing by the sword.

 “Or someone may be chastened on a bed of pain
    with constant distress in their bones,
 so that their body finds food repulsive
    and their soul loathes the choicest meal.
 Their flesh wastes away to nothing,
    and their bones, once hidden, now stick out.
 They draw near to the pit,
    and their life to the messengers of death.
 Yet if there is an angel at their side
as a mediator to tell a man what is right for him..


Andy I knew the words to speak to you. You told me before you died I had a way of reaching you. That I always knew what to say. The day you died I felt useless and words seemed desperate to save you from death. I long to hear your voice again – even if for a flash. What joy I would feel – but quickly it would be replaced with agony as I know I never can feel your embrace again or your breath on my cheek.


and he is gracious to that person and says to God,

    ‘Spare them from going down to the pit;
    I have found a ransom for them—
 let their flesh be renewed like a child’s;
    let them be restored as in the days of their youth’—

“God does all these things to a person—
    twice, even three times—
 to turn them back from the pit,
    that the light of life may shine on them.


Speak no more of woes but take care my child that Andy lives, he lives in your heart and those that he touched with his struggle of life. His pain is gone and he smiles at the sight of you. One day when you wake the pain of separation will be replaced with peace — knowing that Andy is at peace in my arms.

Healing Eyes

Moaning widow

Why am I writing this pointless rant of my boring life. Am I blogging to sound important or to update followers? Just to hear myself rant and complain? Well for today it is for the pure joy of complaining and being completely disappointed in the the turn of my life. So if you want a fluffy, happy, encouraging blog than stop here because it’s gonna get ugly.


 

Let’s list out all the things I don’t have anymore:


 

  1. Husband
  2. Soulmate
  3. House
  4. Cars
  5. Puppies
  6. Cat
  7. Couch
  8. Safe bed
  9. Full time job
  10. Freedom
  11. Sanity
  12. Michigan weather
  13. Bathtub

 

Instead I have:


 

  1. A room
  2. 90+ humid air
  3. A bed with a Centipede in it while sleeping last night that chose to bite me in my upper thigh and it fricken hurt, still does hours later! They are creepy and fast bastards and I lucked out and met it last night
  4. Minimal electricity which means when the sun goes down at 6:30 I am in darkness
  5. Fast cold showers
  6. Books (several)
  7. Bible (2)
  8. Clothes
  9. Friends
  10. Skittles

 

Now then why am I doing this to myself? I have no idea! I can chalk this up to momentary insanity after losing a loved one and started hearing voices. Mid life crisis brought on by a traumatic event which led me to think I could change my life. So I am going to give it until July before going back home. Back in Michigan I can easily get an apartment for one person and 2 small dogs. Have a bathtub and running water I can drink. As much electricity as I want and no CENTIPEDES that crawl on me at night! Yes, this grieving widow is miserable and pissed at her current circumstance. Yes it is a pitiful sight to see. I have knee high socks on since my 3am incident out of fear of another bite (yes its 80+ here and I slept in Andy’s sweatshirt and wool kneehighs). It took me 3 hours before I fell asleep on top of the sheets since I didn’t want to cozy up next to another bug unexpectedly. Am I blowing the bug incident out of proportion? Maybe, but I don’t care… we all get a few moments in life where we can complain and be mad.

Andy called me in my sleep last night and I bolted for the phone.

“Where are you?! Andy, I need to know and I miss you!” – Sarah

“I’m at a friend’s house, why do you care? You left me anyways”. – Andy

I sobbed in my sleep..

“Andy I am so sorry, please let me come to you.” – Sarah

I woke up in a sweat and remembered I was in a bed not of my own and living on an island where I don’t belong. Reality sinks in and I want to run. In my dream I was looking for a first flight out of here but my Internet refused to work. Now I am fully awake and contemplating if I should look up those flights still but I won’t. I will give it until July before going.

There you have it…a blog post worth laughing at… the ‘I told you so’ post about why I shouldn’t have come. All the doubt I had about why not to come is true. Question is what will I do with it? Stay tuned…maybe my day will not be as I expect it to turn out. Until then I am going to lay here with Andy’s wallet and stare at photos of him and I together (yes that’s what this widow does when alone, supposedly it can be helpful when dealing with loss)

Healing Eyes
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