Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Why I can't watch HGTV anymore

I used to love watching HGTV.

When my husband was diagnosed with cancer in December of 2014 we sat in the emergency room waiting for the results of the CT scan, praying it was just pneumonia. HGTV's Fixer Upper played in the background. Mel would eventually make around 8 more emergency room visits during the next two years and each time HGTV played in the background.

(hospital stay # 1)

When my husband was getting chemotherapy he would spend two weeks out of every month in the hospital. The type of cancer he had required high doses of chemotherapy. He was often hooked up to chemo for hours at a time. Many nights I would spend the night with him and he would graciously let me watch HGTV in the hospital. He would tell me it didn't matter what we watched, he was just glad I was with him. So as he was hooked up to chemotherapy or wearing a mask because his white blood count was so low, we would spend time together watching HGTV.

(hospital stay # 3)

He somehow started liking the shows as much as I did. He spent hundreds of days in the hospital during 2015 and HGTV always played in the background.  In December of 2015 Mel received his last cycle of chemo and we didn't have cable at home so we thought our days of watching HGTV were over. I was happy about that. As much as I loved the channel, I wasn't going to miss the shows because not watching HGTV meant that Mel was in remission. It meant that we were done with hospital stays, chemotherapy and separation.

(my children walked through these hospital doors hundreds of times)

But then April of 2016 came. We found ourselves in the ER once again and the test results showed that the cancer returned. And the hospital stays began again. And so we picked up watching HGTV. Mel listened to me without complaining as I talked throughout each show. I always said I wished we lived in Waco so the Gaines could remodel a house for us. And when we were watching House Hunters I would tell him about all the things I would like in our new house when the cancer treatments were done and we could move.  As we watched Flip or Flop together he would always hear me complain about how expensive California was. He would just smile.

( Hospital stay number 4. This is how we spent Easter Sunday)

 In July we thought Mel was going to get a bone marrow transplant and hopefully be cured from cancer but during his last cycle of chemo in August he became paralyzed as a result of all the toxins that were placed in his body. That hospital stay was supposed to be five days and yet lasted six weeks. And during the days I spent with him and the nights I stayed over we watched HGTV together. During the nights I wasn't able to spend the night, Mel told me he would have the nurses put HGTV on for him because it reminded him of me.

(hospital stay # 16)

Mel was sent home in October on hospice because they thought the paralysis was going to spread to his brain. It didn't. But a bed wound that developed during his six week hospital stay grew and in November we were back in the hospital and back watching HGTV. There were probably a lot of other things Mel wanted to watch but because he loved me so much he let me watch what I loved. And so we watched Fixer Upper, Flip or Flop, House Hunters and Property Brothers.

(Mel never left the hospital during his 18th stay. He ended up passing away)

In January we were back in the hospital. This time his blood counts were low. It was suspected that the cancer had returned to his bone marrow because he needed many transfusions. He spent a week and a half in the hospital and we returned home, only to return back two weeks later. Once again HGTV played in the background during the day and the evening.  This time blood work confirmed that cancer had returned. An MRI showed an infection in the bone from the wound that developed in the hospital. Doctors started him on an antibiotic to treat the wound and that antibiotic created a bacterial infection within Mel.  And within just a few days of starting that antibiotic my amazing husband passed away.

(we were discussing discharge plans with the doctor an hour before taking this picture. Little did we know that Mel only had six more days to live)

And for the last month I have been unable to watch HGTV. My day is so busy I don't have time to really watch television but in the moments when my kids are playing, I stare at a blank television screen. It hurts too much to watch the shows I used to love because they bring back so many memories of the hundreds of days and nights Mel spent in the hospital. As difficult as the hospital stays were I cherished that time so much because Mel and I were able to spend so much quality time together. Typically spouses find it hard to make time to go on dates because life is just crazy. And while I would have preferred dates in places other than a hospital room, I am thankful because for two years when my husband was getting cancer treatment, God gave us so much alone time to spend together.

(There will be no more pictures of the two of us sitting on the front porch together)

We did more than watch HGTV all day long. We talked. We laughed. We prayed and read the Bible. We shared our dreams. We cherished every moment we had together. But it hurts so much to put that channel on now. Because memories of the last two years come flooding into my mind. Memories of the time I had with my husband. My best friend. The one I thought I was going to get old with. And now he is gone. I am left with just pictures. With just videos. And with just memories.

I just want to be sitting on the couch with him, holding his hand and watching HGTV.

 (The weekend we officially started dating)

Here is the link to the FB page where I detailed my husband's battle with cancer  https://www.facebook.com/prayersformelchor/

My IG is @kimjoylira

Monday, March 20, 2017

Why Satan doesn't want me to pray

On Saturday I found myself alone in the house for the first time since Mel passed away. There has not been one day since Mel died that I have been without the children. And really there hasn’t been a day since probably since April or May of last year that I have been by myself. And so I went upstairs to the room where I usually pray and fell to the floor and poured my heart out to God. There were times during my time in prayer where I had no words to say, but I let the tears that fell so freely be the words of my prayer. I presented my hurting heart to God. I presented the intense pain that doesn’t seem to go away to God. I gave Him my worries and my fears.

Prayer is one thing that Satan doesn’t want me to do. The Bible talks about Satan being like a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour. When lions hunt they usually look for the weak. They target the young, the old and the hurting because those are the easiest to take down. The strong animals fight back too hard and too long and the lions want to devour one that is weakened and who won’t be able to withstand their attack. And Satan is just like that. He seeks after the weak and in his eyes, I am vulnerable. My husband just died. I am hurting. I am mourning. I am devastated. I picture Satan like the vultures that swarm overhead looking for something that is dead. Satan wants me spiritually dead so he can devour me. And he doesn’t want me to pray. He knows that if I don't pray and if I don't talk with God, he can then fill my mind with anger, confusion, bitterness and resentment. He can strip me of peace and joy and comfort.

Prayer is what sustains us. So Satan is hoping the pain from losing my husband will keep me from praying. He is hoping the pain will turn to disappointment because the miracle didn’t come the way we wanted and I will stop going to God in prayer. He is hoping that the pain will turn to anger towards God for leaving my children without a dad and I won’t pray anymore. He is hoping that the pain will turn to resentment as I see other married couples and that I won’t pray. Because there is so much power when we pray.

When we go to Our Father in prayer things change. Mountains move. Our perspectives change when we pray. Today in prayer I told God I don’t understand. Because I don’t. I don’t understand how it can be a part of God’s plan to take a husband from a wife and a father from his children. But I didn’t end my prayer there. I let God know that even though I didn’t understand I trusted in Him. I trust in His plan. I trust that He has not left us. I trust He will restore the things that were lost. I trust He will sustain us. I trust that the purpose and plan for His life doesn’t involve pain always lingering.

I praised God during my time in prayer today because God is good. Satan would like this situation to destroy me but I know that situation will be a testimony of how in our darkest times God doesn't leave us. Yes, I am hurting, but I am not turning my back on God. Through praying and turning to God my broken heart will be pieced together. My mourning will be replaced with joy. My time of sorrow will not last always. There is no walking away from God. I am drawing closer to Him each day. I am leaning on Him during this time. I going to Him in prayer. God will see me through. And I will not be destroyed.

If you are going through something difficult, whether it is the loss of a spouse or something else, I encourage you to continue praying. Satan does want to destroy us. He doesn't want us to have a relationship with God. He wants us to throw in the towel. But Satan is the father of all lies. God is good and He will see you through.

Here is the link to the FB page where I detailed my husband's journey with cancer and am detailing the transition from wife to widow https://www.facebook.com/prayersformelchor/

My IG is @kimjoylira

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The challenges a young widow (and widower) face

When I go to the grocery store with my children no one would know that a month ago my husband passed away. From outside appearances, I do not match the image most of us have in our mind about widows (and widowers). I am 36. I have a five year old daughter and a six year old son. Most people when they see me in the grocery store, the park or a restaurant, would probably assume that my husband was at home or at work. It most likely never crosses their mind that my husband is no longer living.  I don't claim to be an expert on widowhood. I have only been a widow for a month. I write about what I am going through though. I hate that the last two years my posts have been about cancer and now about being a widow. Those are two things no one wants to experience but cancer and death stormed into my home and I write so others can see a glimpse of what those things are like.

There are challenges a young widow (and widower) face. There are some who may feel that because your time with your spouse was so short it will be easiser to move on. Some may even think that because you are young you can just remarry.  And some people may feel that because you didn't have as many years of marriage as someone who had 50, the pain you are experiencing is not as brutal. But the truth is the pain stings no matter how many years a person was married. The person you dreamed of spending the rest of your life together with is no longer here. And a part of you is gone as well.  Because my time with my spouse was so short, I at times feel as though I was robbed of time. Robbed of making memories. There will come a day when the date on the calendar will reveal the time spent apart from my husband was longer than the time spent with him. And that stings.

Finding time to grieve can be hard for a young widow (or widower) if they have children. Financially, I have to work. And so two week's after my husband passed away I returned to my job.  My day is incredibly exhausting. I work full time. I homeschool my children in the evening. I have laundry to do, meals to prepare, dishes to wash and toys to pick up. There is no down-time in my home. I have lied to my children on more than one occassion, telling them I have to go to the bathroom, just to get a moment to breathe. My children (although they are 6 and 5) still sleep in bed with me and while I enjoy this, I really have no time to myself. And so grieving is challenging to a young widow (and widower) with children. I can't just lay in bed and cry like I would like to at times. My day is so busy that it seems as though the grief hits me the hardest after my children fall asleep. It pounds me like a wave that has been building up throughout the day. Then I reminded I don't have my husband's hand to hold anymore. I don't have his chest to lie. I don't have him to share my dreams with. He is gone and the pain is crushing.


It is also hard seeing the pain my children are enduring. We are a fix-it society. We want to make things better right away. When a parent dies, things aren't better right away for children. Malachi and Hannah spend their day playing. Laughter fills our house. They have smiles on their face throughout the day. But they are hurting and the pain reveals itself in the evening. This week, I have comforted my children as they lay in bed at night crying so hard because they miss their dad. It is the every day things they miss so much. They are missing the piggy-back and shoulder rides, the games of catch, building forts together and reading bedtime stories. They had an amazing dad and he is gone. And for a young widow (and widower) their focus is not just on healing for themselves as they learn how to navigate without their spouse, the focus is on the children as well.


Again, I don't claim to be an expert on widowhood. The grieving process for one widow may be completely different than the grieving process for another. For myself, I know the only way I will ever obtain healing over the loss of my husband is to rely completely on God. I know the only way my children and I will make it through these incredibly challenging days is to draw near to God and place our complete trust in Him. I am shattered over the loss of my husband. But I am trusting that God has not left me. And I am trusting that my husband's death will not destroy my children and me. There are many challenges that a young widow (and widower) face but those challenges are not too big for God. There are obstacles that I will face in the weeks, months and years to come, but I know every step of the way, God will be there. I know we will be able to look back and while we will see the pain from losing Mel we will also see the hand of God upon our life. God is close to the brokenhearted. He sees our tears. He knows our pain. Though my heart is hurting, I know God's love will cover me. His comfort will surround me. His peace will fill my mind. His strength will see me through each day. The mountain placed in front of me is not too big to climb.


Here is the link to my FB page where I detailed my husband's fight with cancer and continue to share https://www.facebook.com/prayersformelchor/

Many people have asked so I am including the gofund me link to this post gofundme.com/melchorlira

My instagram is @kimjoylira