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pursuing the upward call with fear and trembling

just a 44 year old man seeking to share my meanderings with the world at large or the blogosphere at small

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Why did you do this to me, God?

Hi. My name is Linda, and I am Robert's 68 year old mom (understand that I call him "Bob", so if I use that name, you will know who I am talking about.) He asked me to post a guest blog about my experiences as a widow raising small children at the age of 30. He said there are a number of young widows out there who read his blog, and might be able to relate to it. I told him I would give it a shot.

It was 1969. Chuck, my husband, and I had been married nine years, and had two children, Bob (age 8) and his sister Kathy (age 5). Chuck had actually been diagnosed with malignant melanoma (an especially virulent form of cancer) at the time I met him as his nurse in an army hospital. This was in the form of a large mole on his chest which they removed along with all the lymph nodes surrounding it. At the time, the doctors said that if there were no recurrence in seven years, it likely would not recur. So we fell in love, married, and had a fairly typical sitcom like life. Then, six and one-half years later, he was hospitalized for an injury, they did a routine chest x-ray, and found a spot on his lung which turned out to be cancerous. Despite surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, in 1969 he underwent surgery one more time, and I was told the cancer had spread everywhere and was inoperable. Six days later, he was gone. I was in the hospital at the time, and watched him take his last breath. My knees buckled, and the nurse assisted me to a chair in the nursing station. As I sat there, all I could feel was numb. Not sadness, just numb. The main thing I thought was, how do I tell my children that their Dad would never come home, would never hold them again? The next few days went by, the children were told (with a great deal of difficulty), friends and family offered support. funeral arrangements were made, the funeral itself occurred, and I pretty much remained numb throughout. I did all the "appropriate" things, tried to support my children, smile and thank our friends, not fall apart in front of other people (everyone said it was remarkable how well I was "holding up"... little did they know I was too numb to break down and cry...I wished I could), and dealt with bills, insurance, quitting my job to spend more time with the kids, and other mundane things.

Then about a week after the funeral, I was driving to the store by myself to get groceries. It was a beautiful Indian summer day in early September. Suddenly I began to shake. I trembled violently, and could barely hold the steering wheel. I pulled the car over to the side of the road and stopped. I was consumed with anger and grief. The tears came flooding out. How could God allow this gorgeous day when he had ruined my life forever? It wasn't fair. At first I sobbed, then began to scream. I screamed at God. "How could you do this to me? It's not fair! He was a good person, a wonderful husband and father, and you took him away from me!!! I hate you, I hate you, I HATE you!!!" I kept this up for a while, and then just sat there in the car, crying my eyes out, wondering just how I would be able to manage the things I knew I had to do to get through the rest of my life. After about 15 minutes, I was able to drive, felt some kind of inner resolution to go on, told myself to stop being so dramatic, and began to make plans for the future. I actually felt a little better, although I would not admit it at the time.

I wish I could tell you I got an immediate response from God, felt his presence and his love surrounding me and uplifting me, giving me courage and support, maybe even speaking to me, saying something like "I have my reasons, my child, and your Chuck and I will always be here for you." Poetic and spiritual, isn't it? But it didn't happen. (In hindsight, I think some of that DID happen, but I was not aware of it.) In my opinion, I would have to deal with this on my own, and I did. Life went on, but I did not forgive God for a long time. This was my immediate response, and I will leave it at this. I plan to write more later about my reconnection with God and how I slowly realized he never left me as I took the difficult journey of raising two young children as a single parent. I'm really not trying to be overly dramatic about all this, but this was really my story and how I felt at the time. Blessings to all of you, and thank you for listening to me ramble on.


At 7:37 PM, Blogger Robert said...

wow Just as in toastmasters you sure can tell a story mom!! Thanks so much for accepting my offer to share your story and it is very heartwarming to read your inner experience which i would have no way of knowing back then as an 8 year old. Cant wait to read the other 2 coming up and dont worry comments will filter in hint hint people lol jk they will

Love you Mom!!!

At 8:06 PM, Blogger karen said...

Wow. What a trial for you, Linda (my middle name!) and for your family. I'll be looking for more. Thank you for sharing.

At 9:39 PM, Blogger Shaz said...

Bobs Mom that was amazing I thankyou deeply for sharing your story it has touched me.
You have raised an amazing son. xx

At 7:31 AM, Blogger bjk said...

Thanks for telling this and please continue your story...and I totally agree with shaz..Robert is amazing and... real. Thanks

At 8:41 PM, Blogger Smitty said...

Thanks for sharing your story with us. I'm sure there are lots of people out there who could benefit from reading it.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger Barbara (aka Layla) said...

Hello Linda, its been a while since we've emailed. I am so glad you are a guest on Roberto's blog (that's what I call Bob).

I watched my mother go through widowhood at an early age in a story similar to yours. I think its so important that you are sharing because many women in similar circumstances probably feel/felt the same way and there is so much comfort in hearing a story that is similar to your own.

You did a fine job raising your children. I know it could not have been easy.

At 9:03 PM, Blogger Gary Means said...

Linda, thank you so much for sharing this portion of your story. You were neither overly dramatic, nor did you ramble on. It was an articulate and interesting telling.

My father died in February. He was 78. I felt grief and anger even though he lived a relatively long life. How much more those feelings must have been for you in losing a spouse so early in life. How much more must Robert have endured than did I. Robert has written, and spoken with me, about his feelings about death. I heard his words, but now they have more context for me.

I appreciate your honesty in telling about the feelings you experienced at the time. They make so much sense to me. Do you feel that numbness can be a natural, very healthy protective response when we are unable to process a particular burden of emotional pain?

I look forward to reading more about your reconnection with God. I am in a place where I feel disconnected from God. Certainly totally different circumstances in my case, as mine are self-inflicted. Nonethelss, I suspect that I may learn from your story of that season in your life.

Linda, thanks again for sharing your life with us. Thanks Robert, for sharing your mom with us too.

At 7:10 AM, Blogger Awareness said...

Greetings Robert and Linda from Canada. Thank you for sharing some of your story Linda. I can only imagine how traumatic it was for all of you. But to be the parent.....the one who has to keep it together all the while mourning your life partner must have been more trying and emotionally draining than anything else you have ever had to cope with.

I work with many single mothers in my day to day job and have learned just how stressful it is to keep one's head above waters financially, spiritually, emotionally. One foot in front of the other.....living in the moment all the while trying to ensure that the kids are fed and cared for, that the bills are paid, that all the other many many responsibilities have to be accomplished by YOU the parent. By the end of the day, not much left except exhaustion and worries.

Loneliness is a major issue.....to only be surrounded by little ones, and never a chance to just be yourself connecting with other adults. It's so difficult.

Linda......may you enjoy the success and satisfaction of your strength and hard work....and may the light always shine on you.

I look forward to reading future posts....and learning about the turning point in your life when you decided to let God back into your heart.

take good care both of you.


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