Monday, February 27, 2017

How children grieve

My son is 6. My daughter turns 5 tomorrow. Most of their memories consist of Mel being sick. The last two years of their life they spent their Saturdays in hospital rooms visiting their dad. They watched their dad hooked up to IVs dripping chemo in his body. They spent weeks separated from Mel at a time as he was hospitalized. And the last 4 months they saw their dad go from being able to walk to being confined to a bed paralyzed.

And two weeks ago I had to tell them that their dad died. Children grieve different than adults. The day Mel died we came home from the hospital and played with their toys. We watched cartoons. We did arts and crafts. They understand their dad died and is not coming back. But they are kids. And kids play. They watch cartoons. They do arts and crafts.

But they are kids who miss their dad. Mourning and grieving with children is interesting. There are moments when I break down and cry uncontrollably but much of my day is spent being a mom to Malachi and Hannah. It's in the morning when I first wake up and in the evening when I go to bed that the pain of not having Mel here anymore becomes overwhelming. During the day as I interact with the kids hi absence is always felt. Kids grieve different than adults but they grieve. Malachi and Hannah don't spend their day crying but they are very much mourning the loss of their dad.

At bedtime that is when Malachi and Hannah tell me how much they miss their dad. But during the day their actions illustrate how much they miss him and how hard the last two years have been on them. Hannah is a lot more sensitive to things than she usually is. And Malachi's feelings are hurt more easily as well. At six and five my two little children are hurting.

And the pain they feel is one they will feel for years. They will continue to play, watch cartoons and do arts and crafts but they just lost their dad. And as they get older that pain is likely to grow. We have pictures and memories that convey what an amazing dad that Mel was. And that is something malachi and Hannah will mis out on as they grow up. It doesn't matter how amazing of a mom I am to the two of them, they will always not have their dad and there are going to be many times as they grow up that the pain of not having their dad is going to be intense. Their grief may even grow stronger as they get older. They will mourn the loss of their dad into adulthood.

And I know these two have their eyes on me. I cry in front of them letting them know it is okay. I talk about the memories I have of Mel letting them know that is okay. I talk about the feelings I am experiencing because it is important for malachi and Hannah to know those feelings that they have are okay. And I pray that I am everything they need in a mom and that God will fill the void they have in their life from not having Mel with them. They will have questions that they will ask God as they get older and I pray the peace of God fills their life. I pray that as God is providing me with comfort He would fill Malachi and Hannah with comfort.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Mel's testimony

(This is part of what I said during Mel's memorial service. I wanted to share it in a blog because Mel's life truly was a testimony. So many people want to be applauded and recognized. They want recognition but are not willing to endure tough times. God used Mel in a mighty way. And Mel had to endure pain but in the end Mel made it to heaven and got the greatest reward. His life was a testimony)

Someone sent me a message on FB on Sunday letting me know that she shared Mel’s testimony in her Sunday School class. She told me that she shared how Mel lived for God in spite of what he was going through. During the last two years many, when they prayed for Mel, told him God chose him to be a testimony. No one more than Mel, myself and the kids wanted that testimony to include a miraculous healing. We wanted the story to end with the cancer to be gone, the paralysis to disappear and everything that was lost during the last two years to be restored. But Mel’s life truly is a testimony. Within the last few weeks especially, Mel felt as though he wasn’t going to survive. He would have dreams where he was in heaven and he could feel his body growing weaker and more tired. But he never stopped praising God. Probably because he had to be turned every two hours, Mel never got a restful sleep. And so within the last few months he often talked in his sleep. But even when he was talking in his sleep he was singing praises to God. I would wake up to hear him praising, singing songs, praying and speaking in tongues. Mel knew that he probably wouldn’t survive but he never turned his back on God.

That is a true testimony. His service to God wasn’t dependent on the miracle. And that is so powerful. It is easy to serve God when He heals. It is easy to serve God when He does what you want Him to do. It is easy to live for God when He makes everything work out the way you have been praying that He would. But Mel served God even when he knew that God wasn’t going to complete the healing. Mel’s life is a testimony, one that I pray is shared and told for many years to come.

During the last two years, he underwent 14 cycles of chemotherapy. He often spent two weeks in the hospital at a time getting the chemotherapy. He was hospitalized 16 times. He received 18 days of radiation. He became paralyzed and was confined to a bed for the last 4 months of his life. He had been given multiple times negative news. But he always declared the goodness of God. Mel served God in the good and the bad. He trusted in God when others had given up hope. He praised God until the very end. Never once did I hear Mel speak a word against God. He never cursed God. He was never angry towards God.

Today we are gathered because God called Mel home. We didn’t get the miracle we so desperately wanted but God did perform many miracles. When Mel was first diagnosed with cancer he had a tumor in his chest. Without any chemotherapy, and only with steroids, the tumor disappeared. The doctor came in the room and said
“surprisingly the tumor is gone.” The miracles did not end there. When the cancer returned in April, his doctor began salvage chemo. This is essentially a last ditch effort to save a patient. This salvage drug did not work and by July the cancer had spread to his spine, bone marrow and was scattered throughout his body. His doctor said there was a 50% chance that after 3 cycles of chemo the cancer would go away. After only one cycle the cancer was gone. And when the paralysis started Mel was sent home on hospice because they thought it was going to spread into his brain. Yet it didn’t. And we were given 4 more months.

I have no idea why God did not heal Mel. I don’t understand. But my husband’s testimony is an example to everyone. It is not enough to live for God when it is convenient to you. Mel blessed the Lord at all times. And he has received the greatest reward. He is in heaven with the Lord right now. 

He will always be my hero, my best friend and my true love and there will always be one missing from our table but I am thankful that my husband is in heaven.

Friday, February 24, 2017

This is so hard...

Everything about this is hard. I look at the walls in my house and the pictures and it is hard because they are just pictures and that is all we have left. I look at Mel's smiling face in the pictures and it hurts that all I have left is a memory of my husband. It is so hard not having Mel here. I want to hear his voice and not in videos. I want to see his face and not in pictures. I want to ask him what he wants me to cook for dinner. I want to make plans with him for the weekend. I want him back.

I took the kids to the zoo today and memories of all of the times we went there as a family came flooding back. We took Malachi to the zoo for the first time when he was 6 months old and we have been going regularly since then. As we drove to the zoo this morning, Hannah said "daddy usually drove us to the zoo." The last time we went to the zoo as a family the giraffes had just arrived. We couldn't feed them yet so Mel made it a point as soon as the giraffes could be fed to take the kids by himself when I was working. That was the last time the kids went to the zoo with their dad.

I sat down to make a menu for next week since I go back to work and I couldn't believe how hard it was. I planned our meals around what Mel liked. I enjoyed asking Mel each week what he felt like eating. I enjoyed cooking for him. The day after Mel died I went through the refrigerator to get rid of old food and I saw all of the ingredients I would use to make his favorite meal. Instead of being able to ask Mel what he wanted me to cook, today I asked Malachi what he would like me to cook him next week.

(one of the last things I cooked for Mel was spaghetti and meatballs)
(This showed up in Mel's FB memories today)

Today Hannah had a meltdown because I made her eat carrots with her dinner.  During Hannah's meltdown today I just realized that parenthood now falls on my shoulders and my shoulders alone. And that is so hard. I never thought I would be a single parent and yet that is what I find myself. There is no Mel and me. It is just me. Just me working. Just me homeschooling. Just me doing all of the cooking, laundry, dishes and cleaning fall on my shoulders. And then the things that Mel alone did like taking out the trash, getting an oil change, changing the light bulbs and filters for the air conditioner I have to do as well.

I have needed so many times to talk to Mel. And he is not here. When he was paralyzed I spent virtually every single minute of the day next to him as we transformed our living room to our bedroom and my office. When he was healthy and working we spent the entire day texting each other while we were at work. And now I just have pictures. I want the phone to ring and it be him on the other end telling me he is coming home from work. I want the text message alert to go off and it be him telling me how much he loves me. I want to lay down at night and have him laying next to me.

And all of this is so hard....

Psalm 121:1-2 says "I lift my eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made the heavens and the earth." And this is what I do. I lift my eyes to the Lord. My heart is hurting but I lift my eyes to the Lord. Next week I go back to work and my days will be even busier but every morning I will set my alarm and I will get up to begin my day with prayer and reading the Bible. My help comes from the Lord and prayer and reading scripture is not optional it is necessary. The only reason I am not falling apart right now is because God really is giving me the strength and the comfort I need. This is far harder than the two years of Mel getting cancer treatment. The pain of losing Mel is so brutally intense. But God will see us though. He will get us through the darkest days. He will heal our broken heart. Some people when bad things happen pull away from God. But that is not an option in our family. God was good when everything was going according to our plans. But God is still good even though my husband has died. Mel won the race we all talk about and sing about and I have complete confidence and faith that God will see us through and that He does have good in store for my family.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Missing Mel's chest to lie on

I can't sleep. And I realize bed time is probably going to be the hardest part of my day. I have a 6 year old and an almost 5 year old. Soon I will return to work. I will be busy during the day working and then homeschooling in the evening. Things will distract me and keep me busy. But at night time after the kids are sleeping, I won't have my husband's chest to lie on. 

Mel became paralyzed due to the chemotherapy in September but once he came home from the hospital I would pull up one of our beds next to his hospital bed, pull down the railing on his bed and lay on his chest. When he was able to walk our kids slept in the same bed with us. But once they fell asleep we moved them to the bed next to ours and I would lay on his chest. And I don't have my husband's chest to lie on anymore.

I have so much peace concerning his passing and knowing that he is in heaven but that does not diminish the giant hole I feel like I have in my heart. He was the one I talked to about my crazy day at work. He was the one I shared all of my dreams with. He was the one that I talked to concerning our children. I created our dinner menus around what he liked to eat. I have thousands of text messages in my phone indicating that we spent most of our day talking to each other. And when it was bed time and the craziness of the day died down, I would lie on his chest as I fell asleep.

And yet I can't do that anymore. I want to hold his hand again. I want to hear his voice. I want to receive a text message from him letting me know he is on his way home from work. I want to hear him playing with the children in the loft. I want to lie on his chest again.

I want this so desperately to be a nightmare. Until you have lost someone you may never have prayed that God would rewind time, but I have prayed that prayer so many times within the last week. I know He is not going to but I would like Him to. I have complete confidence that God will see us through. I am not going to let grief consume our life. My children are so young. And they like to spend most of their day playing and they need me to play with them. They need me to laugh with them. They need me. They are my priority and I know the hole in their heart will probably grow bigger as they get older from missing their dad. And I know that they are looking to me. They are dealing with not just the death of their dad but the last two years they have witnessed more than most young children witness. They saw their dad hooked up to chemotherapy. They spent weeks at a time separated from him when he was in the hospital. And they had to see the dad that used to play on the floor with them and give them shoulder rides confined to a bed. There is a great weight on my shoulders but I know that God will help me to ensure that I am the mom my children so desperately need me to be. I know that God was with us every single day when Mel was undergoing chemotherapy and I know that God will continue to be with us every single day. I know that God is not going to let me fall. I know that He is holding me right now. I know that He has seen every single tear I have cried and has seen how broken my heart is. I know God knows the pain I am in. And I know that He is providing me comfort. I know He will restore my joy. I know He will give me the strength to make it every single day. I know that Mel's death is not the end of the story that God has for my children and myself. I am not mad at God. 

But I so desperately want to be able to lie on my husband's chest right now. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

There will always be one missing from the table

This morning I stood in my closet for a long time trying to decide what to wear. You wouldn't think picking an outfit would be so painful. Yet every single piece of clothing I own reminds me of Mel.

(I still have this dress. I wore it the day Mel and I officially started dating after talking on the phone and getting to know each other for a few months)

The light blue skirt that I first wore when we took Malachi to get seafood for the first time. Mel was so excited that Malachi wanted to try shrimp, lobster and crab. The dark blue dress that I only wore when we went on dates because Mel's reaction when I wore indicated it was not a church dress. The dress with orange in it that I bought after I had Hannah because nothing else fit and yet he told me I was beautiful in any size. Every outfit represents something I wore when he was in my presence. And then there are a few that he never got to see me wear. And looking at those hurt just as much as looking at the ones he did see me in.

On Thursday I received an email from the school I am attending letting me know I am receiving an award for a paper I submitted. And I wanted to tell Mel. He would have told me how proud he was of me and how smart he thought I was. When looking through pictures the other day I came across of a picture of me in an outfit he always told me how much he liked. And I wanted to show him the picture. There have been times since he passed that I have been frustrated and I wanted to tell him how I was feeling. Today Hannah told me she wanted to be a pilot when she grew up and I wanted to share that with Mel. I will never be able to text my husband again. I will never hear the phone ring and see his name on the  other end. I don't have my best friend to share my dreams with anymore.

98% of my memories from the last seven years that we were married contain him in them.We did everything together. Besides when we were at work or he was at school we were often not apart. My plans revolved around him. And his plans revolved around me. We were both quite similar in that we did not care for social events. We did not need nor did we want to be around a crowd.It was Mel, the kids and me.

Today I went to Whataburger and cried as I ate my meal because for the last few months I would get Mel a cheeseburger and cut it into 4 sections to feed him. We spent hours watching HGTV when he was hospitalized and I can't imagine watching those shows by myself. I have not had coffee since Tuesday because it reminds me so much of him. And this afternoon I spent almost two hours screen-shotting five thousand text messages that were in my phone from since July. And I wish I had 7 years of text messages to screenshot. But as I read the text messages from the last few months I am thankful that God called Mel home. I know God could have healed Him but since that was not His plan, I am thankful that God called Mel home. I would have cared for Mel in the paralyzed state he was in for 50 more years. I would have taken him to the hospital every week to get blood transfusions if that was needed. I would have woken up every two hours to turn him for the rest of my life if it meant having him by my side. But I am thankful that God saw how tired Mel was. I look through the text messages that we had since July and so many of them contain messages of him getting chemo or some medical procedure. I look at pictures when Mel was healthy and before he became paralyzed and I know how much it hurt him that he couldn't do the things he used to with the kids and me During the last two years Mel endured so much. His body endured so much. And I am thankful that God took away Mel's pain. I would have preferred the miracle but since the miracle wasn't in the plan, I am thankful that God called Mel home and didn't have him suffer any longer.

I know in my heart that we will be okay. I have such confidence in God that He is going to get us through. I know that in midst of this dark time, God's light can shine. I don't know why God chose to call my husband home, but we sing songs about heaven and so I am happy for my husband. I wish God could have called him home when Mel was 95 not 31. But I know that God will not let this destroy me. I know He won't let this destroy my children. I know there will be tears. I know there will be pain. I know that we will always be missing one at the table. But I also know that God will never leave us. I know in my time alone with God in prayer, He will speak to my spirit. I know that as my children grow up He will keep them in His arms.

 ( I took this picture a few months ago. And it hurts me that from here on out pictures will be just the three of us. We will always be missing one from the table)

There really is a peace that surpasses all understanding. I started my day with tears. I cried in the shower. I cried while brushing my teeth. I cried while reading the amazing tribute a reporter did on my husband. I cried while looking at pictures. I cried while watching my children play. I cried while reading text messages from Mel. And I know that tears will be my companion for many more days, weeks, months and years to come. But there is a peace that I am experiencing. My heart is breaking but there is a peace. It is a peace that only comes from God. It is a peace that whispers that things will never be the same but things will be okay. It is a peace that says all will be well.

All is not going to be easy.
All is not going to be fun.
All is not going to mean it is not going to hurt.
All does not mean there won't be tears.
All does not mean our heart isn't crushed.
All does not mean that our life has not been forever altered.

But all will be well.

Friday, February 17, 2017

I laid in bed all day

My parents came in from California today so since the kids had someone to watch them I laid in bed most of the day. I didn't want to get out. I didn't have the energy to do anything. So I cried myself into a nap and when I woke I up I stayed in bed for longer. I looked at videos and pictures of Mel.

Mel often called me his guardian angel.  When he was in the hospital if the nurses were changing his wound dressing he would want to make sure I was right there next to him. Within the last couple of months when his red blood count and sodium numbers were decreasing there were period when he was somewhat delirious. But he would always tell me after that my voice was the only voice that calmed him down. He would tell me he didn't know what he would do without me. But the truth is I don't know what to do without him.

I feel lost. Before Mel got sick any time outside of work and school we spent it together. I didn't desire to have a girl's night out. Mel didn't desire to hang out with the guys. We were most content being together. For the last two years since Mel's diagnosis we probably spent more time together than most married couples do. He wasn't working and I work at home so our whole day were spent together. During the last 4 months since he was sent home paralyzed we spent even more time together. I rarely left his side. I have been upstairs more time since Tuesday than I had been in 4 months.

And I feel lost without my best friend. Mel was sick. We knew that but his death was unexpected. We were discussing discharge plans on Thursday. They started him on an antibiotic for the infection he had in his bone from the wound he got in a different hospital. And that caused a bacteria that his body couldn't fight. There's a lot for me to take in. And today I needed to do it by laying in bed alone all day. I couldn't get out of bed.  I so desperately wanted and believed that God would heal Mel. And I don't understand why He didn't. Mel was 31 years old. His son is only 6. His daughter turns 5 in two weeks. I only had seven years of marriage. I don't understand why the diagnosis was cancer. I don't understand why there was a relapse. I don't understand why God didn't heal him. I don't. I don't like our reality right now. I don't like that I only have videos and pictures of the one I loved so much. I don't like that my children only have memories. It hurts. It is crushing. It is the most painful thing I have ever experienced. And so I laid in bed all day today.

But I know I will get out of bed. Above all I know my children need me. And I know I won't be laying in bed every day. And I am thankful for those two little children so much. A lot of times when people get married they put off having children for a few years so they can enjoy time together as newlyweds. Mel and I decided when we got married that we were not going to do that. And we also knew that we would only have two children and if they came back to back that was okay. So five months after our marriage I got pregnant with Malachi and when he was 9 months old I got pregnant with Hannah. And I am thankful that we didn't put off having children. And I am thankful we didn't spread our pregnancies out. I know my two children need me but they probably don't understand how much I need them to get through this dark time.

And so once the memorial service is over our Saturday's will be spent going to the zoo. We will take trips to the park. My house will be a mess as toys will be scattered throughout every room as we play together. This summer they will take swimming lessons. Nights will be spent homeschooling them. And dinners will be eaten around the table.

We talk about a season of mourning but I really do feel like it is a lifetime of mourning. The intense pain may not always linger and healing will come but my children don't have a father and I don't have a husband. We will always be missing one from the table. And if there is anything I want people to understand is that. My children may have smiles on their faces and they may be spending their days playing and watching cartoons but before bed they lay in my arms crying and telling me how much they miss their dad. And I believe, for them, missing their dad will grow as they get older. And so as the days turn into weeks and the weeks turn into months and the months turn into years that is something I hope people will understand. I will always miss my husband. I will always wish we had more time together. My children will have a void from not having a dad in their life.

But I know that God will see us through. I believe the words my husband declared that no matter what God is good. The miracle didn't come the way I so desperately thought it would but God is still a healer. I will still praise God when I hear of testimonies of Him healing. I will still go to God in prayer because He still answers prayers. I am not angry at God for not healing my husband. I know  it is the comfort that comes from God that will see us through. I know it is He who is giving me peace and will continue to give me peace. I know that He will restore my joy. I know that in this intense season of pain, God's love is covering me.

To everyone who has prayed for my family it means the world to me. To those who have donated you have no idea how much that means. We were a two income family until my husband got sick and for the last two years we have been one income. I have an amazing job where I work from home and that is so desperately needed right now. Unfortunately my income doesn't cover all our expenses and so to those who have donated you have lifted a burden off my shoulders.

Here is the link for those who have been asking

Thursday, February 16, 2017

a widow and a single mom

On February 13th I was a wife and a co-parent. One day later I became a widow and a single mom.

Two years ago when Mel was diagnosed with cancer and had to spend two weeks of every month hospitalized getting chemo I was forced to do things I didn't do. I was forced to take out the trash. I was the one who had to check the house before bed to make sure all the doors were locked. I set the alarm before going to bed. But those things were supposed to be temporary. He was supposed to get better. Even when he became paralyzed I believed that he would get better. When our air conditioner started messing up a few months ago, even though Mel was in the hospital, I was able to text him to figure out what to do. When the water in the bathroom tub wouldn't turn off in August, even though Mel was in the hospital I was able to call him to figure out what to do. He was the one who took the car an oil change. He was the one who fixed anything around the house. He was the one who assembled furniture and toys. He changed the light bulbs. I don't know how to build a toy house. I don't know how to put together a trampoline. I don't know what to do if something becomes wrong with the plumbing. We split everything in the house. We both did the laundry, the dishes, making meals, cleaning. When I heard a noise in the house, it was Mel who would check it out. And now it is just me.

He was my best friend. I talked to him every single day. When he was healthy we text throughout the day. His phone is less than a year old and we have 5100 text messages between us in his phone. I have thousands of pictures I have taken of us throughout the years. He knew me better than anyone else. And I knew him better than anyone else. We shared our dreams with each other. When a person gets married you really do become one. And when a spouse dies, it does feel as though half of you has been ripped away. It doesn't matter if a person was married 15 years, 25 years, 50 years or 7 like I was the loss of a spouse is devastating. There were plans we had. We discussed the future and those plans are not coming to pass. Every room of my house is full of amazing memories and scenes that have taken place throughout the years.  It was his hand that I held throughout the day. It was his chest that I lay on during the night. It was his lips I kissed every morning. It was his face I saw when I went to sleep and his fact I saw when I woke up.  I was his wife. And he was my husband.

Today I watched a ton of videos of Mel interacting with the kids. It is so evident watching them how much love he had for his kids. Along with me, his kids were his world. And it is unfair that they now have to be raised with only one parent. Hannah will turn 5 in two weeks. She will celebrate her first birthday without her dad. Malachi's first tooth is ready to fall out and his dad is not there to pull it out. My kids don't know how to tie their shoes, and while I can teach them, that was something Mel was excited to do. He wanted to be the one to take the training wheels off the bike and teach them how to ride without them. I know that God will be with my kids but I can't help but think as they see fathers with their children, how much it is going to hurt my children that they don't have their dad in their life. At church when they see dad's taking their children to the altar to pray, my kids won't be able to experience that. Mel won't be there to teach them how to drive. He won't be there to show Malachi an example of how a husband is supposed to be. He won't be there for their high school and college graduations. He won't be able to talk to them as they figure out their majors. He won't be there when Malachi is preparing to propose and he won't be there to walk Hannah down the aisle. My children are forever impacted by not having their dad in their life. They only got 6 and 5 years.

And this is where all of the songs I ever sang become more than a song. If I profess to live for God then in my darkest hour right now I can't curse God. I can ask questions but I can't question His ways. I can't just sing about praising GOD in the storm and then when the storm comes turn my back on Him. I can't proclaim the importance of trusting in God and then when devastation occurs allow anger to come in. It's hard to explain the peace I am experiencing in the midst of the pain. The pain is brutal. The tears flow heavy. My heart is breaking. But there is a peace that fills my heart and my mind. I know I have many dark days ahead. And I know this road of grieving and mourning is going to be bumpy and more difficult than the last two years with the cancer. But I also have total confidence that GOD will be by my side and He will see me through.

Above all I am thankful that my husband lived for God. I am thankful that when he died he went to heaven. I can have peace because I know that Mel is not in pain anymore. He is rejoicing with Jesus. He won the ultimate prize. And he only had to live 31 years on this earth before he got to meet Jesus face to face.


I woke up today sandwiched between two little children and started crying. I so desperately wish this was just a nightmare and that the last two years didn't happen. I want to wake up to December 30, 2014 and have the doctors tell us Mel just has bronchitis not cancer.

Grieving when you have children is a mixed blessing. My day can't be consumed with tears as my almost 5 year old and 6 year old want me to play with them, do arts and crafts and watch cartoons. Yesterday I even went to McDonald's because they wanted a kids' meal. Yet at the same time they are so deeply affected by Mel's loss so scattered in between all of that is me answering questions and comforting them when they tell me how sad they are. Yesterday Malachi sat in front of a picture of Mel when he was younger for a long time and took it with him when we went to Mcdonald's.

I went to the funeral home yesterday. That shouldn't have happened until I was like 90. I had to discuss arrangements for my husband. And I came home to a house without a husband. I look at my two children and I just don't understand. Our life has completely changed. It breaks my heart that they will have to navigate through life without their dad. He won't be there to teach Malachi to ride a bike without training wheels. He is not going to be there to give Hannah the shoulder rides she loves so much. And that void will be felt for years as there are so many milestones they won't have a dad for. And they will grow up with that void in their life. And they will have probably always wonder why God didn't heal their dad.

And I feel so guilty. Within the last few weeks Mel kept telling me how tired he was. He told me on multiple occasions the dreams he was having of heaven. And he would attempt to talk to me about what if He died. But I didn't want to. I didn't want to think about that. On Saturday I felt like I needed to give him permission to die. But I couldn't. And now I feel so selfish. He wanted to have those conversations but I couldn't think of a life without him. Every time he said he was tired he probably wanted me to tell him that it was okay to let go but I didn't.

I take comfort in knowing that on Monday he could hear me and had his eyes open when he was on the breathing tube. So I told him then that he had fought so hard, would always be my hero and that he could stop fighting. I told him how amazing of a father he was and how he was everything I ever prayed for in a husband. And I told him over and over again how much I loved him. But I do feel guilty that when he wanted to talk about the possibility of dying I would tell him that he was going to get better. And I would talk about the plans we could make for the future.

Mel often said that I was his guardian angel and he couldn't live without me. But I felt the same way about him. And I don't know how to go through life without him by my side.

Last night the kid's wanted to go to church and I wasn't sure how ready I was. Not because I didn't want to go to church but because I wasn't sure if I was ready to see the spot we sat together as a family. I wasn't sure I was ready to see the platform where Mel played the bass guitar. I wasn't sure I was ready to see the lobby where Mel stood many times when the kids were babies. I wasn't sure I was ready to step into the place that Mel loved going so much. I'm not ready for any of this. Hannah has said many times that she thinks God is still going to heal Mel. She said that it is just taking God time but God is going to change His mind about Mel dying. And I wish that were true. I wish God would change His mind, rewind the clock two years and just have the diagnosis be bronchitis. I wish that I wasn't typing this but that I had my husband by my side.

And as happy as I am that Mel is in peace I am selfish also because I just want him here. I would take more days of him in his hospital bed. More days for me to hold his hand. More days for me to kiss him. More days for me to hear his voice.

Yet in the midst of our pain there is not anger towards God. I know God will continue to provide us comfort. I know God sees every tear that I cry. And I am thankful that God saw how tired Mel was and that He took him home. Yesterday in church during the worship songs, I lifted my hands in praise and worship to God. As hurt as I am. As much pain as I am in. As many questions as I have. I still trust in God.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A grieving family

I have used words during the last two years of this cancerous journey to describe the things we have endured. I thought cancer was brutal but this is worse...far worse.

Words don't do justice in describing how amazing Mel was. Some called him friend. Others called him cousin. To some he was their co-worker.  But I had the ultimate privilege of calling him my husband. And my children called him dad. During our seven years of marriage we spent nearly every single day together. With the exception of a couple work trips we spent very little time separated from each other. When he was healthy, we never felt the desire to have time apart. Mel never needed a "man cave" and I never needed my own space. I was the happiest when it was just the 4 of us hanging out together. Even when he was hospitalized getting chemo every day I saw him. He was usually the first face I saw in the morning and he was the face I fell asleep next to. We spent our days texting each other and talking multiple times. Last night I didn't get to see his face when I went to sleep and his face wasn't there when I woke up.

Hannah has said multiple times how much she misses her dad and those were the first words that came out of her mouth this morning. She also asks the question I think we are all wondering "Why didn't God heal him?" Didn't God see the pain his death would cause me and Malachi and Hannah? Didn't he see the void we would have without Mel in our lives? Didn't God know that Mel and I were a partnership with raising the kids and there were things Mel did as a dad I can't do? Didn't God care about all of that?

The Bible says that God is a God of love. God loved Mel more than I ever did. I got the last 7 years of marriage with him, but God knew Mel even before He formed him in his mother's wound. God knows all things. So He saw me sobbing on the bathroom floor, hidden from my children, as I type this. And just as much as He loves Mel, God loves me and my children.

This is the darkest storm of our life. And I know that there wasn't one time THAT God  couldn't have healed. Even as Mel's organs were failing and as he was hooked up to life support I know THAT God could have healed. He didn't and I don't know why but I do know that during the last two years God did extend Mel's life many times. During the last two years with Mel getting treatment we spent every day together. And when he was not hospitalized during his cycle of chemo he spent so much quality time with his kids. God gave us that time. When Mel was bedridden for the last four months every single day and every single night I was with him and the children were with him. God gave us that time. And even though Mel was hooked up to the breathing machine he opened his eyes and nodded his head in communication with me. God gave us that time.

For some reason, God chose to call Mel home.  I don't pretend to understand why. But I do know Mel was tired. He never complained. But during the last few weeks he told me how tired he was. And so much as it pains me I am glad that he isn't in pain anymore. He is rejoicing in heaven and I am thankful for that.

The pain and sorrow we are experiencing right now is crushing but I know God will see us through. There will be joy again. God is comforting us in our time of sorrow. I am in transparent with my pain because it is important, for everyone, but for Christians to see this. I can talk about experiencing the peace of God, which we truly are. But at the same time, the devastation my children and I are facing right now is so immense. This mourning process will not stop in a week, a month even a year. Our lives have been forever altered. My children will miss so many things without their dad in their life. I  have many more mornings of sitting on the bathroom floor sobbing to come. And I will continue documenting it. In the midst of all that I know that God will continue to do for our family, I will be transparent with my pain.

If you would like to help our family out here is the link:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Heaven just gained an amazing man (Melchor Lira 1985-2017)

I woke up a wife today but am going to sleep a widow. My children woke up today with a dad they could touch and are going to sleep with just memories. Mel's body was too tired. Too exhausted. He had fought for so long. And he could not fight any longer

Crushed. That word doesn't describe how I feel. Death is hard. But this was unexpected. We were planning hospital discharge plans last Thursday and the expected discharge date was February 14th. I had no idea that he was going home just not his earthly one.

Devastated. Because I don't know how to go through life without my husband by my side. The Bible talks about what two get married they become one and so I feel like half of me has been taken away. He was an amazing husband. God truly knew what I needed in a husband and while I am devastated I only got seven years of marriage with him, I am blessed to have had those seven year.

Heartbroken. More than the pain I feel from losing my spouse I am broken over the fact that my kids will just have memories. That devastates me because no matter how good of a parent I am they will have a hole from losing their dad. He was such an amazing dad. He got up in the middle of the night with them, changed their diapers, and found joy in all of their milestones. Malachi and Hannah were so blessed and if I am honest, I do feel that they were robbed with him passing away.



He was such an amazing man. His name deserves to be known by many.  He will always be a hero to me. During the last two years he exhibited a level of strength I have not seen from anyone. Even though he was getting chemo and was beaten and bruised by the cancer he gave 100% as a husband and 100% as a father. He never stood behind a pulpit to preach but his testimony preached to many. He was a true definition of what a husband and father should be. He was also a true definition of how a Christian should live. He never cursed God. He praised God through the end.

Malachi and Hannah are asking tough questions. And they want to know why God didn't heal Mel. I don't have the answer to that question. I wonder it myself. I am sure in the months and years ahead I will have questions I will ask God but I won't question His choice. I am not angry that God took my husband home.

He won the race and we do have a long painful road ahead of us. A road full of sorrow and hurt. As I sat next to my husband though watching his monitors I felt God tell me we were going to be all right.  I will never know why God called my husband home but I am blessed beyond measure to have known him. And after he passed away I felt so much peace in the room. I started praising God. I know there are tears ahead of us. I know that we have a long road of healing. I know we will have our ups and our downs. But I truly believe God will be with us every step of the way.

I do ask that if you can donate please do. I have a funeral to plan and I have two broken children who lost their dad but who need their mom so desperately. I want to be able to give them 100% of me right now. I have no paid time off left and will have to work. I have an amazing job but the pay doesn't cover my expenses. It allows me to work from home though which is so needed right now. Any donations help so that I won't have to look for another job.