To grow old with her beloved and to pass from this life together are the prayer and longing of every wife that loves. Not all get lucky though and are granted a happy-ever-after, some are simply blessed in a different way. Yesterday, I listened with a heavy heart as a dear friend recounted painfully her last few days with her husband. While she was sharing, it suddenly occured to me that grief is never the same for everyone for the very reason that we each have our own unique story of love and the breadth and depth of that love can’t be compared with another. So it is not right, even for me to say, I know exactly how she feels. I also realized that from the many stories of love I heard from fellow widows, one thing seems to be certain. It is, when there is love there is no such thing as too much, too little, too long, nor even too hard. And it is always, you are, we are, enough.
Archive of ‘Chronicles of a Reluctant Widow’ category
3 years later and I still remember everything like it was just yesterday: how I watched helplessly as the doctor shocked your heart back into rhythm. How I willed the flatlines to move. How I waited with bated breath for the current to bring back the light in your eyes. 38 years of momentum and then suddenly, a complete stop. I imagine the force it took to silence the last beat of your heart. It must have been so great because it flung you out far, too far where I can never reach you, except by remembering. Someday, death will come to stop me too, and I will give him a big fight. He will have to drain the entire universe of every star to hold my body down. And like how I planned it all along, I will be flung out to the heavens too at fullspeed, I will defy gravity, change tides, and slow down light. And I will search every inch of heaven until I find you.
Build a small house with a rose garden. Be owned by cuddly dogs. Surround myself with my little and my big loves. Fall asleep to butterfly kisses and wake up to warm hugs. Grow old with the person I hold dear in my heart. Write and then write some more. Smile and laugh a lot. This life. It won’t be perfect and it won’t always be easy. But, it will be mine and I will be happy. That’s the plan. That’s the want.
While I was scrolling through my instagram newsfeed a while ago, a post from one of the celebrities I followed there caught my attention. I guess it was meant to excite and send positive vibes this new year but it had a different effect on me. It caused my hair to stand on end. It reads: 2013 was practice. 2014 was warm-up. 2015 is game time. If you know me very well, you would understand why I had that kind of reaction to that post.
As much as I want to act all brave and positive about 2015, about the future, sometimes fear still grips my heart. Some days the memories of what we’ve been through the past 3 years still knock the wind out of me. I still wait with bated breath for the next big hurdle that life will throw our way and when nothing comes, I would let out a big sigh of relief. I used to chide myself for thinking this way but eventually I learned to allow myself to worry, be scared, and be stressed about the future because I am no God. I am no superwoman. I am not invincible. I am not indestructible. I get weak. I get shattered. I get hurt. A lot.
Fact is, I need God to strengthen me, keep me whole, and free me from all these paralyzing feelings. When I am blinded by fear, hurt, and worries, I see God more clearly. When I am in one of these states, I feel God’s love and blessings more strongly. For me 2013 and 2014 were both the same, they were full of grace. 2015 wouldn’t be any different. I shall welcome both the good and the bad of it with open arms, for I know either way, the Lord will not be far from my side and from my sight. It is not being positive or negative about the new year, it is being FAITH-full about the future.
Whenever I feel sad about my life, I ask God to give me a good reason to smile. And it never fails, being the great cheerleader that He is, He sends out the most outrageous perk me ups. No husband to talk to at night, He gave me a free iPad. Feeling the blues on my first Valentines’ day alone, He sent Bianca and I packing for an all expense paid trip with pocket money to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Missing having someone who makes me feel beautiful, He had me walking the runaway at a fashion launch abroad and had us featured in a magazine too (nevermind if I am a scoliotic case with a back hump the size of Mt. Everest and pimple marks resembling the craters of the moon). Wanting to do more and be more, He had my writing career in full swing. Dreading the empty days ahead, He instantly sends either crazy conflicts or crazy friends to occupy my time. And my list can just go on and on…Amazing how God has gone to great lengths just to see me smile and laugh again. Yes life has been unkind these past two years but God more than makes up for it. He sends out positive vibes my way all the time so that in the end, I can see clearly that the good far outweighs the bad, always.
It has been months since I last wrote a decent blogpost here. There’s just been so many things I want to write about, so many things that I want to share but the thing is, I simply can’t find the time to really sit down and write them all down. Save for the gospel reflections which I just copy paste after sharing them in my private facebook account everyday and the occassional (read: rare) brand reviews that I do, you won’t find pieces of my heart and slices of my thoughts here unlike before. I guess in my business to become the superwoman that I suddenly have to be after the death of my Nan, I have simply forgotten how it is to really write, in a heartbeat. Here.
It is like this little space has suddenly become a stranger to me somehow, like what I usually feel about my life before when I think about it now. I guess that’s what death, cancer scare, new beginning, and bouncing back do to a person. But then it is inevitable also that at some point I have to do some reconciling, bridging, and reconnecting. This is it. I hope you are still with me on this.
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it?”
I don’t know if it is the same for all widows, but I find the second year as the hardest. First year is for putting your life back together, second year is for new beginnings. Somehow it is as difficult as the actual death of a loved one because in this case, you can’t just pick up where you left off and continue, wether you like it or not, you have to start anew. As I am going through it myself right now, I find that though it’s hard, harder than I thought in fact, it is possible. As much as you can, you have to let go of, not the wonderful memories, but the if-onlys and the could-have-beens that are attached to them. As much as you can, you have to stop holding on to your loved one who is long gone and start clinging to God who is very much present in your life. And as much as you can, you have to pray harder than you ever did in your life for Him to work in the areas of your life that need a fresh start, and trust with all your heart that He will do what He can only do to make you be alright. There’s no easy way in letting go but if you do it with God, it becomes a lot less painful.
“Have I not told you that, if you believe, you will see the glory of God.”
Reading how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead in today’s gospel brings back the painful memory of Nan’s death and how I prayed, begged, and demanded for a miracle during the time that he was being revived in the ER. Looking back now, I think I got that miracle I prayed for. Though clearly not in the way that I would have wanted it that time but still, God granted me the miracle. The miracle of Nan’s swift and peaceful cross over from here to afterlife. Not everybody gets that chance to die painlessly and without hardship. And his death, I do believe now was for everyone’s good. Though it would appear difficult to understand at first especially when we are caught in a painful situation, it would do us well to remember all the time that God always has our best interest at heart.
“Give and it will be given to you, and you will receive in your sack good measure, pressed down, full and running over. For the measure you give will be the measure you receive back.”
I can still remember clearly the day the doctor called me to his office to break the news that Bianca’s lump was positive for malignancy. I was in daze the whole day. Later that night I found myself crying to the Lord not because I was scared that Bianca might die of cancer (because I know she will not) but because I was so scared that I wouldn’t be able raise the money needed to put her in surgery asap as what the doctor advised. Our health insurance didn’t cover the cost of all the medical tests she had to do prior to surgery and this has left me financially drained. But of course the Lord, amazing that He is, responded instantly by sending forth His band of mighty angels in the form of friends and relatives to help me make sure Bianca receives the best medical care. In a span of five days I was able to raise more than enough money to cover not just the surgery but the radioactive treatment and all the others tests that folllowed as well. Relatives, close friends, and people I’ve met during the course of my work as a teacher in Woodrose generously offered their support and expert services. Though I know that God clearly had a hand in all this, I would still like to think that these people readily extended their help because at some point I have given them something of myself too, probably my time, attention, affection, or service and that they are simply returning back kindness for kindness. And as a recipient of such abundant generosity and blessings, this time around I will have to pay it forward too by doing the same good deeds to others so the cycle will continue.
Gospel Reflection:”Ask, and you shall receive; seek, and you will find; knock,and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives; whoever seeks, finds: and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
When I became a widow, my greatest fear was how I will be able to raise Bianca singlehandedly and provide for all her needs. For months, I was at a complete loss but then eventually you get tired of being scared all the time and you start looking for someone or something to anchor yourself on. In my case, I turned to my faith. I turned to God. I just simply sought Him and asked for His help, and there was never a prayer that was left unanswered after that. Everything I ask for was given to me, sometimes with added bonuses and perks. I am truly beyond grateful. But then, though the Lord continue to bless me even up to this day, I am still far from living the charmed life that most of us likes to imagine having. It is because for every answered prayer comes with it a responsibility too. The Lord will not hand everything to us in a silver platter just because we ask, somehow we have to work at making sure all His blessings will not go to waste too. He will not also give us everything we ask, only the ones that will be good for us, what will bring us closer to Him. And the way the cycle of answered prayers go is this: first stage is when you pray, ask, and believe…second stage is when you trust, claim, and receive…third stage is when you value, nurture, and care for His gift. For the cycle to continue, we have to stay anchor to Him.
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