• sarah@healingeyes.org

Tag Archives: death

Anniversary of change and loss

What happens when a shy widow meets 30 kids in a classroom to teach English vocabulary? An opportunity to stretch myself….whispering kids…and an occasional hand clapping to get there attention. Part way through teaching new English words I noticed some sleepy heads and changed tactics. I had them write on the blackboard. One boy was very shy and so I went easy on him but others I forced up and tried to encourage them with smiles. It was lots of fun and after English they learned the ukulele. They also insisted I sing for them. So I stood in front and bashfully sang Somewhere over the rainbow. Then I taught them the words and we sang together. I would love to share the video but perhaps when I have better wifi 😉

It’s been a long journey to get to this point and each day I am saddened by what I lost before arriving at this point. I miss my career and miss feeling important and successful. I try to explain to the kids my ‘job’ and I feel stupid for what I gave up to do this. I can’t even articulate in a way they understand because it sounds crazy to me! 

Selling everything while grieving and then moving to an island and now serving in Africa. When I am not a chipper missionary like they are used to. I stick out and don’t smile and wave enough. Instead I silently wait for kids to find me (and they do) and then I talk to them and find out maybe I can connect with them in unusual ways. Even yesterday I explained compassion and empathy to some students. They had no idea what they were. So I used my story as an analogy to explain how I can empathize with death and widowhood. I think they understood. 

I never thought I would enjoy talking with older kids but something changed in me and now I am so at ease with them. 

I still miss my boyfriend terribly at the same time as grieving my husband. So odd…but being a widow is proving to be a tiring thing for me. I miss my soulmate and still question why me and why this and that. Why do I love again and still love my deceased husband. Why do I like kids now. Why did I give my job up. Why do I doubt and fear. Why Africa?!?! 

Tomorrow would have been my 15th wedding anniversary. Normally I eat a fancy dinner but this year I’ll be having rice and peanut butter. Plus I’m in Africa following something I don’t understand. 

For photos check out our Facebook page. 

Healing Eyes

A child dies in Soroti Africa

My heart hurts for a baby I never met…Another blogger just shared a story about a child that died in Soroti. When I was in Africa in January I went to Amecet and visited, it is a temporary home for babies and children who are found abandoned and/or in need of medical attention. I didn’t stay there long, only an hour, but they do some amazing work there. Below is the story of the child who passed away..


On 20th of November 2013, a very small, 2 week old baby was brought to us by the Probation Officer of Cortido. It was a Karomajong baby. Sabine was very small and weak, both parents had died and her sisters tried to care for her. It was not easy, we struggled for every gram she gained in the beginning. But we had Hope for her. Janneke and me used her picture even for our Christmas card in December 2013,

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We felt that Christ had come to earth also for children like Sabine. It gave us Hope for her!! And we saw a steady growth, she started to develop and we were so happy with that. she stayed longer with us than baby’s normally do, Sabine lived in Amecet for more than 7 months. by that time she was doing very well, smiling and everybody loved her. But our mission is to bring the children back to their families, and the family of Sabine wanted to care for her again. So we had to let her go…. a child belongs in his/her own family and there is where Sabine belonged. But it was not easy and we had some fears, because there was no mother in her family anymore…..Sabine went back to her family on July 3, 2014.

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Last week we got the message from the Probation officer that Sabine got ill and that she passed away, just 2 days ago. We were shocked and sad, but when I think about the picture from Sabine on our Christmas card (picture above) than I realize that she is now in good hands, the best hands!

Healing Eyes

It’s not over yet

It’s not over yet

Have you ever hit your limit and feel finished? A friend sent me a link to a song called ‘It’s not over yet‘.

I listened to it after arriving at the condo I am staying at while visiting St. Croix for 2 weeks. Sometimes a song can really hit hard and sum up all the feelings inside and bring you to tears. Sometimes those tears are a great release to feel better. Sucks while you go through it but afterwards you feel a little weight off of your heart.

Wondering at what point I’ll feel less like a leaf blowing in the wind and more like a person with meaning again. If this is what everyone goes through after someone dies than I don’t know how any of us are functioning adults.

Healing Eyes

Are Dreams real or just fragments of a subconscious…

I had a dream and a vision the other night, if you believe in that sort of thing. My late husband was with me and he told me, “he wasn’t in pain and he was ok, that he had our baby with him and she was oh so beautiful”. He went on to say, “Don’t give up Sarah, It is quite beautiful here and someday we will hug again but for now you have live even though I am dead”. “I am ok”.

Then there a bunch of british soldiers storming a castle I think and some gun fire and then I think a monster and then a ton of kids running towards me. No idea what that means! HA!

We also talked a bit about his last days of cancer and how he changed and that I couldn’t handle that Andy…that the disease had taken over his brain, he said, “He understood and he didn’t like how he felt either and that he loved me still and I loved him still.”

So are Dreams Real or just fragments of a subconscious we ignore?

Beats me but I sure didn’t want to wake up after dreams like that where Andy and I were us again. Where he comforts me and tells me to remember just the good memories and to let the cancer memories fade. He encouraged me to remember specific happy memories and then another and another until I peacefully fell asleep. Then he kept at me in my dreams to tell me he was ok. So I believe dreams are more than dreams…

Now then did I get my miracle to keep on track with Africa?

Well I sure can’t say no to Andy urging me on! I really can’t say no to God saying Don’t Give Up either. So I am in a pickle.

I need employment of some kind for the downtimes and that will be ok with me going off to Africa for 6 weeks. Does that even exist?

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Healing Eyes

A familiar pain relived

She lay in the dirt with tears falling. Her body trembled with a broken heart. People passed her by as she knelt on the dirt road …
Moses, her son, died at age 20 today from malaria. He arrived too late…he died too young.
I did all I could think of and put my arm around her, I didn’t know her language but I understood the language of pain.
She cried and wailed out…she shook and muttered incoherent words of despair. Policemen came by and look baffled by the scene and did nothing to help. Other local woman looked as if she should just toughen up. I sat in the dirt with her and cried tears at her side.
It was all I knew to do.
She suddenly shook all over, stiffened and fell on my lap in a contorted shape, yelling wildly. Slowly she Silently calmed down and sobbed.
Time stood still at that moment as her heart broke over and over.

The scene must have looked odd.
Me a white Mazungoo holding a Ugandan woman in front of a hospital on the dirt ground.

Now imagine how awful some people can be…the whole thing was a sham! The woman and her husband were lying and faked the entire scene!

Beware!!! Some people are beyond deceitful…glad I didn’t give them any money.

Healing Eyes

Fog

I awake from a fog of loss. Last week a storm blew through and now a light mist lingers over the dew of morning. Seeing for the first time the depth of damage done in the wake of a great storm. Lives touched by the loss of Andy, loss of family, loss of fuzzy kids, loss of self, and loss of dreams.

Each wave that crashes shakes free another memory thought long gone. In those days after Andy died I dived deep in the pain felt from losing part of yourself. Feeling hopeless in knowing he’s gone but I remain, as if his life was more important than mine.

Now as the fog lifts I see my chance to view life differently. Andy was taken from me tragically but I blame no one. For this loss I don’t blame God, I don’t blame myself, death just happens. I am thankful for knowing Andy and loving him but now I am thankful for a second life.

Thank you for the rain and thunder of the waves.

Thank you for the clash of thunder and lightning.

Thank you for taking everything away to set me free.

 

Timeline for newbies:

Valentine’s gift from Andy

Cancer Sucks

42 Days 

It has begun..now what

Healing Eyes

Gone from me

I see emptiness where once was life…
I see nothingness where once was you…
Gone from my gaze
Taken in the night
Robbed of those dreams.

I feel death where once was life…
I feel loss where once was hope…

Gone from my touch
Taken from my grasp

My breath clings to your love.
I can’t ask why you had to leave me first
Why I had to love and let you go

I fall into the darkness
Bathing in the moonlight
The stars, as if tears of pain, dance on my skin
Morning won’t come until the darkness lifts

Breathe life into me
Mixed with yesterday and today
Grow me gently from this suffering.

I want you here song by ‘Plumb’…

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Healing Eyes

Dear Andy

Andy my best friend I miss you.

I miss you more today than yesterday…

Last night I had a terrible nightmare. I sleep on the futon now because it seems less sad than an empty bed with you not by my side. I woke thinking the power was out because it was pitch black and then I felt this presence that was evil. It felt like I was not alone in the room and then I closed my eyes hoping it would go away. Then I felt a tap on my shoulder and a creak on the futon as if someone was sitting on the arm rest. My eyes wouldn’t opened, it was as if they were sealed shut from exhaustion but I forced them awake because I was scared. I thought I heard your voice saying something to me but I don’t know what. Perhaps you were trying to comfort me as you used to. That it was only a dream and I was ok. It didn’t work, I only was more terrified by the after taste of that dream. I thought for sure I was not alone. I checked the doors to be sure they were locked and I looked over my shoulder constantly in case ‘it’ came back. I am not sure what’s worse, missing you constantly or sleeping alone.

So many new things to experience and fears to conquer. So many other woman out there right now experiencing the same loss, the same pains in the heart, the same gasps for breathe. Oh Andy, why are we torn apart…why am I left to walk without you.

There is hope…I cling to it..I search for it. 8 months and a few days since you left me, since I last said goodbye to you. Since I last heard your voice and felt your breathe. My sweet sweet Andy I know you are still here. You remind me from time to time that you are watching me. When I visited the dogs you placed a little reminder of your love for me to find. What would seem to be trash to others was a gift from you. The same purple 25 cent ring discarded in the trash after I awoke from cuddling with the pups, cuddling with you. When I saw that ring I smiled, you wanted me to see the dogs and find that ring again. The ring you used to propose to me in that college dorm room when we had nothing to our name. I didn’t care then that we had no money … no flashy ring for us … no we just needed our love. Years later when you surprised me with a new wedding ring You were so proud of it, our birthstones and a gorgeous diamond, you always treated me special. Perhaps that’s all we need in life, love, even if it hurts to say goodbye to it. Goodbye to my love. Goodbye to us. I would marry you all over again if you just asked.

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My little fighter and Love

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Priceless

Andy, today and yesterday were very odd days. I still don’t understand why I am here but you must be laughing when you see the people I hang out with now and what I am doing. So I got burned standing outside yesterday with my friend as his car was broken down on the side of the road. I experienced first hand how no one will stop to help based on appearances..but once you put me there you get a few more people willing to stop since I am a young woman. Then today I gave him a ride around town and then the power went out in Kmart and his plans to buy a new shirt for his trip were thwarted. He was so looking forward to making a good impression when he saw his family again back in the states. So we figured we better just get him to the airport asap before something else bad happens. Determined as he was we tried again to find a polo shirt and we were successful at last. Life is weird..very weird! But my friend is safe in the air now after 10 years apart from his family. I pray he has safe journeys and a loving homecoming.

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Success.. made it to the airport

 

 

 

Healing Eyes

Realizing my life isn’t mine anymore

As much as I fight for control it seems I am powerless. On that day many months ago when I hit what I thought was bottom and cried for God to take my life it seems he took me seriously.
I see glimpses of my life in dreams at night. I walk the day in a fog of reality and memories.
Fighting back the urge to sink deeper into my grief. Deeper into remembering Andy and fantasizing he’s alive. In truth he is gone…he is living a life somewhere I cannot go…what seems like eternity to me is just a blink of the eye for him.
Trapped to walk this earth longing for him and finding contentment no where. I seek and seek for peace but it comes not. No man can ever live up to the memories of Andy. The love of Andy. The friendship of Andy. Oh sweet God take it all away. Let me forget the small moments with Andy and the dogs. Torment me no more with visions of my past that have a hold on my heart.

I am staring at myself sitting in a chair. The mirror reflects a woman cosmetically altering her appearance to feel ‘normal’ again.
All around others are driven by money to be happy. I miss thinking money was enough. This fake person in front of me is broken…no amount of beauty treatments and spa trips will mend me.
Why did my eyes have to be pried open with grief.
The steps of grief are many and I laugh at how we quantify them in articles and books. Grief is the killer of souls. It rips out your spirit and leaves you cold and shivering in the corner.
The shadow world of memories cannot live amongst the light.

Give me strength for I am weak.
Give me light for I sit in darkness.
Give me peace or I shall wither.
Guide my steps and decide for me for I am confused amongst all the reminders of my past.

Lest I forget that moment I agreed to Go…let me never forget the call. Gently pull me .. Gently hold me … Do not break me any more.

Healing Eyes

A Small Life

The approach to raise $5,000 for 5 months of service on the island wasn’t the right approach. Well it felt right at the time, thinking of how will I make it after quitting my reliable paid salary job. Every two weeks I got a check that would let me buy food and pay for lodging. It was a very enticing lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong…I miss it terribly! That was one of my passions that is now gone. The laptop is in the FedEx box waiting to go back to Michigan.

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I just finished listening to another sermon from Ada Bible. For some reason last sunday’s and this sunday’s keep resonating with me. From the Ant Power to now the Barb Wire discipline. Over last week I would remind myself to be like an Ant, be consistent and diligent even if it was hard. Every morning drag myself out of bed even if I didn’t want to. Eat food even when I don’t want to. Now today I am reminded its the Slow and Steady commitment I am after in my life. My blog is the most consistent thing in my life. It’s always been there for me. I consistently update it even if I don’t like what i’ll write about or how it might affect others. I try to be raw in my writing even when it sounds depressing. Life is broken!

Yesterday I got a gift from someone I never met in Michigan but talked to over email. I am realizing its not My journey now, it’s everyones journey. For the people that can’t pick up and just go, sell everything, live off faith, be a free spirit…that isn’t something everyone can just Do. Inside us all is a passion to make a difference, to touch lives, and to make an impact. Not like what I am doing is that impactful, half the time I feel like I am failing and I see no fruit from my labor. Perhaps when little Divani at the club says, “you came back”, makes a difference in my perspective. It’s not just those moments that make my heart feel good, actually my heart leaps when I see friends and strangers joining me in this adventure. The adventure to live life to the fullest and to not wait for my life clock to run out. Andy didn’t know he was going to die at 34, if he had then he would have lived more abundantly. I want others to feel this amazing gift of compassion, denying self, and pain for others.

It’s the sum of the smalls that wins hearts. It’s the sum of the moments that make a life. It’s living beyond what we think is possible that makes it all worth it. I want to live a resilient life by longing for more than what this broken world can give me.

Yesterday God gave me another $60 thru one of his family members. My Paypal account was empty from paying rent and then he filled it back up with $60.

Everyone can’t have their Mountain top experiences. Life altering moments that rip everything away and we are left to start all over. I pray that not everyone gets that wake up call. It’s not pleasant and it scars you. Every morning I need my eyes constantly reopened to what is around me. I hate being slow at things! I hate being patient! I want everything Now and then act on it. My lesson to learn is patience and resilience. Doing great things over and over again!

It really is the smalls 🙂

 

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