Tuesday, August 5, 2014

hard things

Andy has been on hospice now for a month.
Because of this new transition and the foreshadowing of something heavy and hard that awaits us, we have had to deal with a couple of heavy and hard things already.

hard thing 1.

Because of his worsening condition he was moved to his parents house last week. This was a decision Andy and I made long before it came to pass... when he as still able to think through things and understand what was happening.

His mother can take better care of him there and the boys have a little distance, so their memories of him will not be tainted by aids helping him with everything, and watching him deteriorate. Also, they can still run and play and be loud little boys at home now... I did not want to be shushing them and shooing them away all the time so Andy could rest. 
We visit the Captain everyday... for long stretches of time.
And even though this was the plan he and I made together... and even though it was time, it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. To pack up all his things and move him out of our home, knowing he would never be back. It broke my heart. Every time I would go back into the house for one more thing he might need, I would break down all over again.
When the boys and I went to leave and go back home, after getting him all moved in and situated at his parents, Andy thought he was going too. His face fell when I had to explain to him all over again that he was staying... that he would not be back home.
The Captain came to the door to wave goodbye to us... it is a memory seared into my mind. I cried all the way home.
And now my house is full and loud and messy from little boys, but it is also empty and silent and clean from the absence of my husband.

hard thing 2.

It occurred to me that although my boys and I talk of Heaven and of death a lot... we had never discussed the actual, tangible, physical things that happen. Specifically that when you die, if you believe in the work Jesus did on the cross, you will go to heaven but your body stays here.
When I realized the details I had been leaving out... I quickly became concerned that the boys, Rigg especially, might become confused.
So I took them on a field trip.
We went to Caden's grave and discussed what happens to a person when they die.
I explained that your body stays here and just your spirit goes to Heaven. (try explaining a spirit to a 5 & 3 year old!)
I went on to tell them that the body gets put in a box, buried in the ground and we put a stone with your name on it above where it is buried.
I used Caden as an example.
I told them that when Caden died, we put her body in a box, buried it and put her name on a stone above it. I reiterated that her body was in the ground but her spirit was in Heaven.
Rigg had a million and one questions.
"who puts the body in the box?"
"is it heavy?"
"how long does it stay buried?"
"what color is your spirit?"
"Can Caden's spirit hear us?"

As far as Ryder goes... I spent more time telling/yelling at him to not climb on the headstones.
 Rigg asked why they couldn't climb... to which I replied that it was disrespectful... and he came back with "why? they are not here... just their bodies."
I was struck silent for a moment, and then said...it is disrespectful to their families...
this seemed to suffice.
Rigg really amazes me sometimes.

hard thing 3.

I was hanging out with Andy one morning, just him and me.
We were watching a rerun of Fresh Prince, laughing at Will Smith in his neon nineties zoobaz pants when the Captain looked over at me and asked me a question.
Now, Andy doesn't speak so well anymore...like, actually not really at all ever... so when he tries, you stop everything to listen and try to make out the words.
I turned off the TV and gave him my full attention.
He very slowly asked "what is wrong with me?"
Which he has asked before... but he has always meant something different than the actual question.
But this time I could see in his eyes that he was really asking.
I took his hand and asked him if he remembered that he had a brain tumor...
I saw the recognition wash over him and then his eyes welled with tears. I squeezed his hand and asked if he was sad... he nodded. I asked if he was scared... he nodded.
Then we just sat and cried together as the knowledge of what is really happening to us washed afresh over him.

He forgets things so easily now. This is not the first time I have had to deliver bad news to him... news he had heard before. It's like a really horrible practical joke; having to give the same bad news to the same person over and over.

It is hard to watch him weaken, to see him being slowly erased from the Andy I once knew. However, he holds on to his joy and delight in the small things. He never complains, gets angry or frustrated. He is accepting and peaceful. The Captain is still silently leading.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.


Joy Altman said...

Oh Cari, my heart breaks for you and your family. And yet I rejoice with you in the hope of our Jesus.

Ashlee said...

I'm so sorry for all of these hard things. Praying for you all.

Anonymous said...

It is good you take the time to write these hugely important moments down. My love and admiration for you increases daily dear friend! - Mindu

Nicole Tow said...

I think of you guys often. Wishing you peace and comfort through this horrible time.

Lea said...

Hugs! So glad you shared your hard things with us! It lets me know how to pray for y'all. It makes me long for Heaven just a little more! So very glad this earth is not our home!

Andrea Whitley said...

You are my hero. I dont even know what else to say except I'm still praying for all of you. xoxo Andrea

Kylee said...

Praying for all of you.

Anonymous said...

Praying for you and your sweet family. May you sense our Father's arms around you, and may He comfort you as only He can.

Mary said...

Praying for extra God-given strength for you during this awful time.

Maryellen said...

Praying for you and your family.
Imagining the glorious day when you see a restored Captain and sweet Caden running towards you as if no time has passed. Thank you Lord for our Hope.

Anonymous said...

It's not fair that your family is fighting this battle... it's not fair... I know life isn't fair... that's hard to understand... Praying for peace and comfort for your family.

Uche Unogu said...

God has never failed you, He is not about to start now. You will look back in time and see that all this while, He knew exactly what He was doing. Your faith is remarkable. And with your story, many will come to know Christ....praying for you.

Hockeygirl said...

Oh what to say...I am soo sorry....lifting you all up daily. And all the people said AMEN

Grace Ida Rajan said...


Anonymous said...

I can not being to understand the things you are going through. I can say that you are such a strong person. You are facing all of these trials but yet take time to share those with others. Not only are you sharing the trials but you are sharing your unending love for the Lord. It's amazing that there are no angry or hurtful words that you speak. Thanks for being an example to others even if it's not what you would have wanted. My prayers are with you and especially the boys. God is carrying you during this time.

lovejoy_31 said...

I am so very sorry. I am praying for peace and understanding for all of you. I can't say that I was in the exact same situation, but my mother died of glioblastoma and it was the hardest thing I have ever been through. Her battle was very short and difficult, but everything you describe is spot on. Many prayers aer being said for you. I wouldn't wish this disease on my worst enemy.

Anonymous said...

These hard things suck. Big time. Know that there are many of us praying for your family and for the strength to handle it all. But to see your humor still shining through at times is heartwarming and let's us know that you WILL be able to handle this. It sucks. Big time.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is what it looks like. You are doing it correctly. It is hard. But this is not our true home, and everything is working according to the plans the Lord God has for all of you. Thank you for sharing.

Julie : ) said...

Man. Those are hard. I'm glad you wrote them out. I agree with someone above that it's good to document this stuff. I'm glad he has your hand to hold as he is reminded of what is happening. I always think of that frame you have in your living room that says something like "We can do hard things." It's profound.

Kate said...

You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

Tamera said...

I admire your strength, courage and the love you have for your Captain. I hope you can feel the love and prayers everyone is sending to your family.

The Buchanan Family said...

I can't imagine what you are going through. I've followed your blog for years now and hate this is happening. Prayers for peace and understanding.

Johanna said...

My mom was your BSF leader and has asked us girls to pray for you and your family for quite some time. I do, every time I read your blog. The section of Second Corinthians that you posted brings courage to my heart so often, and I hope and pray it continues to encourage and strengthen you in this achingly difficult time. Live under the Mercy.

KR said...

Thank you for sharing your journey. Your faith is amazing and I think about and pray for your family often.


Kristy Booth said...

I have read your blog for over 5 years now.....I feel like I know you both even though we've never met. My heart is breaking for you and my eyes are filled with tear. I know that Heaven is the Reward...so grateful for that truth. But I am praying for peace and comfort for you all...the kind that surpasses all earthly understanding.

Christina said...

You are in my prayers...for peace and comfort and joy in the time remaining.

You have no idea what a phenomenal witness for Christ that you are throughout this journey. So many would be bitter and choose to stay in the bitterness, but you are focusing on the joy that is set before you. I cannot even begin to imagine how hard this must be, but you are truly amazing as you travel this path.

Crys said...

So sorry Cari. I think of you and your family often and you are in our prayers.

Boyka said...

My heart is bleeding...Thank you for sharing...my faith in God,our Lord, grows stronger - thanks to you,my dear young and brave friend...
Praying for Andy,for you,for your boys

Anonymous said...

love you.

Kelly R. said...

I don't know you personally, but I think of and pray for you often. My friend directed me to your blog. My husband has the same type of tumor and will undergo his 2nd surgery in 4 yrs in just a few weeks. Your positivity is so encouraging. Thank you for sharing your story.