Sunday, September 30, 2012

Life AFTER Cancer - The NEW Norm



 


“I Miss You When Something Really Good Happens, Because You're the One I Want to Share it With - I Miss You When Something is Troubling Me, Because You're the Only One Who Understands Me SO Well - I Miss You When I Laugh and Cry, Because I Know That You're the One Who Makes My Laughter Grow and My Tears Disappear - I Miss You All the Time, But I Miss You the Most When I Lie Awake at Night and Think of All the Wonderful Times We Spent with Each Other for Those Were Some of the Best Memorable Times of My Life - Author Unknown”

It was raining…I hate driving in the rain!  It was an area out of my element, I love where I live and all around me…sometimes scared to venture out of my “loop” and try new things.  It was a drive, something inside pushing me to go – continue to move forward, accept my “new norm”.

It was as I could hear the theme song to ‘Cheers’ playing through my head, you know “The place where EVERYONE knows your name.”  Well in fact, this area, no one knew me nor was my name…I facing it head on.  I logged that I had recently come in contact with a new group to Houston.  A widow/Widowers group that caters to “Our” age --- the “youngsters” in this “club”.  This was the first official meeting for us to introduce and get to know one another, (which only had me circling the area for an additional hour – ha! Dang GPS) to now step out from behind the screen and get to know one another and share our stories…I headed to the door.

Thanks to the day and age we are in of Face book and Internet sharing, I pulled the door open and was welcomed with smiling faces and warm hugs…it was as we had already known each other for a little while, even only by our circumstances that brought us to these four chairs in Tomball, TX.  Immediately we dived into conversation that took us from discussing being in our new role, to hobbies and interests to by the end of the night being introduced to all sides of our personalities with some “Meep, Meeps”, a “Whoop!” and a “Boop with a side shake” by the end of the night – it was a TRUE unforgettable experience that has opened up a door for new found friendships that will last a lifetime…unbreakable bonds.

It’s a role that no-one unless you have walked the shoes as a window/widower, you can’t come close to knowing.  Losing a loved one is one thing and I have lost a few close to me, and each loss whether a parent, sibling or a friend, the feelings of grief remain similar but not exactly the same.  This group allowed us all to come together in a neutral, vulnerable environment to offer a since of compatibility that is like no other…I am thankful!  I walked away at the end of the night with new insight on others that have traveled this path, seeking understanding from others that is not so easily found. 

I found this group ‘The Young and the Widowed’ through an MDA publication.  I hope that anyone who reads this will know there IS life after cancer.  I felt alone, though I had so many family and friends for support, I yearned to find others who may really understand what the journey I have completed with my husband of 5 years and onto my new journey as a widow.  The website is --- http://theyoungandthewidowedhouston.com/ and a small group to date, our goal is to continue to spread the word to all widows/widowers in the Houston area…you are not alone…you do not have to be.

It is a choice that we/some were not prepared for, surely a choice at our young ages that as a happily married couple spending our “Forever” with our partners…we now have our lives ahead of us – a horizon of opportunities that I know in my heart our loved ones would surely want us to move forward in peace and live our lives to the fullest just as they taught us to!

XO LC







Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Table for One









“She that Outlives a Husband Whom She has Long Loved, Sees Herself Disjoined from the Only Mind that has the Same Hopes, and Fears, and Interest; from the only Companion with Whom She has Shared Much Good and Evil; and with Whom She Could Set Her Mind at Liberty, to Retrace the Past or Anticipate the Future - the Continuity of Being is Lacerated; the Settled Course of Sentiment and Action is Stopped; and Life Stands Suspended and Motionless. -Samuel Johnson

Before I start – I must just state this quotes stands so true and really illustrates of the new role I have taken on as a widow…

Recently I had an awakening.  I started looking through the pantry and fridge and did some cleaning out – items that had expired or something I didn’t necessarily care for but was a favorite of Mike’s – I actually kept a few of those, for those were at his special request I bought.  My pantry and fridge now seem so empty, it kind of was another moment that allowed the reality to sink in more.  Just until my last trip to the grocery store I had been purchasing like I had done when Mike was here and I was cooking our favorite meals and the never-ending leftovers J  This last trip I finally broke down and came to the realization that I am now a widow…I am single.

I have to admit it was a lot cheaper, but a little bitter-sweet too! I LOVE LOVE LOVE to cook!  I cook for friends here and there, but the pleasure of cooking for the man you love, who even if the chicken is a little salty, the steaks are a little tough or the eggs are a little runny, always with a smile and pat on the tummy was what I got – sometimes he would just be a snarky man at my worst attempts on a new recipe – it became a joke…we laughed…cooking for him was fun!

It remains strange how the more months that I pass through; it seems at times harder than the day and even month after he departed.  I thought it was supposed to get easier.  October is rounding the corner (I still cannot believe this year has flown by like it has).  I have to mentally prepare myself, for October 11th we would have celebrated his birthday and then the next day, I will mourn for it will be 8 months he has been gone.  I remain so blessed for the last year that we had – a SPECIAL birthday with special friends, a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday with family and a beautiful road trip and then a special Christmas again with family and dear friends – GOD provided all these events in perfect timing for he knew he needed Mike up above us all – for his “Call of Duty”.

I have been so fortunate to have all of you on this journey with me and very blessed for my 2 girlfriends who have also recently lost their husbands in the past year and have been a HUGE support for me, for each other!  I recently read an MDA cancer wise blog posted by a young man that also in the past year lost his wife to cancer.  I had posted in one of my previous entries that I had visited a widow/widower support group but it didn’t go as I had planned.  It had no one my age, and offering people from all walks losing loved ones to all different circumstances, they were all very bitter, older and not wet behind the ears to this role…I didn’t go back.  I had prayed many times, for I remain thankful for my two girlfriends, I had hoped for a group that was our age…as a friend had posted…not all people in this situation are blue-haired, many; many out there are my age and even younger.  After reading his blog on the MDA website, at the end it stated that he had created a local group in Houston to cater to just this.  A group of mutual ages, similar stories, tales of young/true love.  It was a blessing and I remain thankful.  I have met a few others now that it is like being in the same sorority – we just get it, we get each other!

I remain grateful to awake each day to continue to make a difference.  Do I cry? Yes of course!  Do I get mad? Yes of course! Do I miss him like crazy? EVERY-thing about him!  Recently I had been told that dogs and children can see spirits…they do not understand as if it was us as an adult.  Now being alone, the dogs offer such protection, but I still sometimes fear – blame it on all the Lifetime movies ;)  It is as if GOD knows (well I know he knows) and has allowed Mike to intercede and continue to be my protector.  Duke our middle “wet-nosed” kiddo was what Mike would call a “Mamma’s Boy”, true to an extent, but during Mike’s stay at home, Duke was his snuggle buddy.  Duke and Mike shared a special bond and ONLY for Mike would Duke “Sing”, a special howl just for Daddy.  Also Mike would wrestle with him on the bed and toss around and play.  Well recently this fear set in, and for the past week, Duke as soon as he hits our bedroom, jumps on the bed, start rolling around as if someone is tossing him around like a playful wrestle, then hops on all fours and “sings” – the first time I saw it, I got goose bumps and just watched in amazement – my fear subsided.  For these things, just as the cloud sightings, I remain so blessed that GOD allows these things…HIS plan.

In closing, I know with the hard days, right next to that a great day is given!  As Dolly Parton once said, The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain - Dolly Parton, and that is just what I do…when it rains it sometimes pours, but then I am blessed with such a beautiful rainbow!  I thank you ALL for everything! Friendships, love, support and just a shoulder to cry on when needed and a good laugh at just the right time!  I remain blessed and though I have a new role…a new “name” (still never thought I would be a WIDOW), but rather than allow it to be a bad thing, I will embrace it…I will have a happy heart knowing I was his last love, he made me feel wanted. 
XO LC




Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Here Goes Nothing (But Hopefully Something)




OK -- Well, here it is! FINALLY! I am sitting down with ALL my thoughts, blood, sweat and tears and starting my memoir that I have in my heart to share with everyone!  It will not happen overnight, but it surely will not happen if I do not start!  Please Know --- YOU ALL have been an inspiration for me to move forward with this.  I started off a few years ago, with a simple blog to journal my everyday which quickly became (literally) my therapy during Mike's journey...I receive emails and messages to move forward with sharing this, turning it into a book...so to speak, and in my heart it remains that this is what I want to do.  I can only hope that somewhere, someone will (when it is complete) will read this and feel inspired to not only endure a journey that involves cancer, but to endure and hold their head high during ALL adversities in life and dig deep for a faith of any kind (mine being GOD) but dig deep to allow that faith and happiness to outshine the negativity in their way.

I have spoken to a few publishers (from recommendations - thank you!) and I have been advised to start after reading my blog -- so here I go.  I love you all -- Family, Friends and strangers (that are now friends) that have joined me, US on this path -- we are forever GREAT(FULL) -- XOXOXOXO

Please be advised, I have never ever written with a way that I have to proof-read or second guess what I write - I speak from the heart and that is what you read in my blog -- writing a book, I am not sure if it is the same...I am sure there will be A lot of proof-reading, but dang it KART-WHEEL will remain with a K!  SO here you are -- my "first chapter" -- I will leave it at this, and hope that you want to see more...

Love you ALL!!! OXOXOXO Lyndie



Why’d You Come in Here Looking Like That

Chapter One

It was a weekend like the rest.  I was twenty-seven, living the single life up and just returning from my very first ever Las Vegas trip.  Vegas really is just what I expected.  No sleep, a lot of pretty people, a lot of old money, a lot of new money and hookers…I felt like Randy in ‘National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation, without his luck.  I was proposed to once in Vegas, by a local bum that wanted to share his 40 oz Old English, I kindly declined but did buy him a new beer.

At the time I had a roommate, a younger one, a male.  We sort of had this deal; we were each other’s wing man/woman.  We would have weekend BBQ’s, our friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends and maybe even a cousin in there would join us.  It was SO convenient, for we lived on the corner building away from everyone and right next to the convenient store!  Music was loud, drinks were accessible and we even became friends with the store owners, it was a bachelor/bachelorette paradise. 

As I pride myself on being a “hostess with the mostess” I just loved having gatherings – no matter what the occasion! Heck I believe my roommate and I made up holidays just to have people over, a reason to make great food and drink cheap drinks!  This weekend as many others, a dear friend of mine called me and asked if he could bring a friend, my response “The more the merrier!”  With that said, I had no idea what I was about to get into.

The music was loud, the conversations were flowing and amongst all the people shuffling around, it was as if the music had stopped.  I took a sip of my crown and diet and turned to my left.  At that moment the door swung open with my dear friend seeking me out, beer in tow and something unexpected, a VERY handsome (easy on the eyes) man…was this to be lust at first sight?  Six-foot Two, tan, hat backwards and an electric smile, at this moment I put in my head “he will be mine!” and I wasn’t too far off!

I rushed to the door to welcome my him with open arms, knowing already I was not going to make too much eye-contact with “The new guy”, for haven’t we all learned it’s better to play hard to get?  I wrapped my arms around (Joe) and proceeded to welcome him, and politely allowed him to introduce me to Mike.  Agh Mike, what else is there to say about him?  You know the ole’ saying “Tall, dark and handsome”, this fit him to a tee!

Throughout the night, I managed to meander my way next to him, not too overbearing, just an occasional touch of the arm and a laugh if he said something funny.  As confident and as outgoing as I am, I knew the minute he walked through my door, he was destined to be with me…even if just a make-out buddy for the night, but yet my shyness overcame me. 

The night seemed to linger and with drinks a flowing, music blaring, we migrated to the patio with some other friends to “escape” and I got to know a little more about this man named Mike.  Growing up in the a similar environment with a blue-collar family, started working at a young age, out on his own as well as a teen, he became more intriguing to me by each beat to the music playing --- I wanted to know more…I did not want the night to end. 

As I looked down I noticed my Red SOLO cup was empty – agh, the horrific site when I was just starting to get a good buzz.  I announced to the small patio group that my cup was empty and I would be more than happy to “buy the next round”, oh the humor I can offer to a group – ha!  I noticed a few others had joined us on the patio, which some included some very pretty females.  At that moment, it was as if I had become a dog marking his territory and I did what could have only come from the slight buzz that was lingering…I asked the boy to kiss me. 

I looked this stranger that I had only met a couple of hours ago straight in the eye with the most serious face ever, “Are you going to kiss me?  Can I kiss you?”  Not a second later our lips met, for what seemed like 10 minutes, but realizing the urgency of others asking for drinks around us, it was only a split second.  I quickly pulled away, looked at him with a snarky smile and skipped off as I do with just a slight glance back as I went through the door…he was smiling.  This became the night that changed the course of my life, his life forever.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hell On Heels





“She's a Root Tootin' Pistol From the Lonestar State, She's Mixes Up a Double at the Break of Everyday; She Might Get Crazy But She Don't Get Mean; Until Some Drunk Cowboy Asks Her to Sing – Pistol Annies”

Have no idea why going on the end of the 7th month I’m taking it any harder than any other month or day...Sitting here at the computer, I scan the house…the couch he sat on daily and snuggled with our boys (the wet-nosed kiddos), the Dixie Carhart I refuse to take down from our coat rack (along with his dusty felt Stetson) he wore just months ago our Alabama trip…why today just seems to hit me harder.

I remember nights I would not feel like writing – Mike encouraged me to write.  He pushed me to let all know what was happening, the results, his moods, just all he was feeling…he wanted you all to know…good and bad.

Recently, a friend from the past came back into my life…not planned.  On a trip home from a girls night out, she introduced me to ‘Pistol Annie’s’ --- Now I love me some Miranda Lambert BUT never knew she had a “girl band” before she became all ‘Kerosene’ and married to sexy Blake Hilton.  Wow! Songs hit spot on and this was one!

I will not speak for the other women I feel fit these parts ;) hahaha! But sort of for me, I feel I’m all rolled into one by circumstance…and I don’t care!

I married a man that came into my life…we had an imperfect marriage that set records because TRUE love was involved…he was taken away from me (not suddenly), but taken…I yearned for more. 

In closing ---- I continue to learn the new me…BUT I will never be alone…





Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Moment Like This


 
 
 
 
 
 
“I vow to love you, and no matter what challenges might carry us apart, we will always find a way back to each other – The Vow”

 
Today embarks on the 7 month mark…this will be a day I remember forever.  I invested in a calendar FINALLY this year.  I am the QUEEN of making plans, making appointments and either over-scheduling myself or just plain ole’ forgetting – true story!  So I have birthdays, outings, deadlines, due dates, etc – one date that I do not have is the 12th of every month – for this day is etched in my mind – FOREVER!  It’s honestly a day I figured once a year, the 12th, Feb 12th, I would look back and remember lying there with Mike as he took his last breath – clock striking ever so quietly at 4:20 AM – the day that literally felt like time stopped – a day I will never forget.

I have shared with people, not all, not because of any particular reason but it is just such a touching moment that it brings tears of joy, tears of fears, at this moment I felt very blessed and fortunate.  It was the night before Mike passed…the doctors had just left the room to inform me of his deteriorating health and that if not hours, it may just be a few days.  Mike had been sleeping all day.  He had not moved, reacted to anyone that was coming in and out of his room.  After the doctor left, I called the nurse into the room to sit with him…even in the state he was in, not knowing what was going on around him; I still refused to cry in front of him.  I excused myself and went down the hallway to call the one person at that moment I knew who could give me comfort…My Grandma Hazel.  I told her of the news and she gave me, most likely one of the best pieces of advice I had ever heard.  I could hear her holding back the tears as she started to speak…”Lyndie-Pooh, one thing I have always known and believe is that when someone seems gone to the world, not responding, I know and have experienced they can hear.  I don’t know how it is done but I believe GOD allows them to hear when we speak in moments like this.  You need to go upstairs and get close to his ear and tell him how you feel…tell him what your heart says.  I love you Granddaughter and GOD is with you.”

HIS Moment --- I raced up the escalator and came bursting through the room doors, thanked the nurse and closed the door behind me.  I crawled in bed with Mike, our heads touching and my hand on his heart.  I leaned into his ear and spoke the last words that I believe he heard – the ones he needed to hear, “Hott Pocket, good gosh you have had a great life!  You have seen so many things that people your age do not get to see or experience.  You have touched so many lives, including mine and to this day know that GOD chose you for a reason for this path, and for me to be your wife and caregiver.  The moment you walked into my life, we were each other’s wave on wave – HIS plan.  You now must know in your heart that I am going to be OK, the boys (“wet-nosed” kiddos) will be fine.  Your family is going to be OK, our friends will be OK – what is important now is that you must rest…it is your turn to be my guardian angel, caregiver oh the Heavens.  You are tired, your body is tired and it is time for you to be with GOD above and all others who have left us too soon – I will always love you just as I know you will always love me.”  At that moment, it was as if GOD opened his ears and he heard every word – for 10 seconds, he lifted his hands, held my face and caressed my cheek…at that moment my heart stood still and peace overcame my entire mind, soul and body…GOD knew what I needed and knew what Mike needed as well – for it remains HIS plan.  The night went on and a few hours, with me holding his hand he took his last breath and entered the pearly gates – 4:20 AM, February 12, 2012 – A Day that I will NEVER forget!

Since that day, I am consumed with such great memories of Mike and I.  I do not cry often, for I continue to know he is healthy and happy, roaming the REAL GREAT Lakes in Heaven Above.  Shooting the bull with all he meets and familiar faces that have also departed.  But on this day every month, I resort back to that day, that moment, the last words I had with him, the last touch I would ever get from him…it is bitter-sweet, for I am upset, happy, mad, confused, heart-broken, joyful, scared and any other emotion one can feel all balled up into one.  It almost crossed my mind to ask “Why Me? Why Him?”, but I remember to tell myself – It is HIS plan, no matter how much I want to take it and break it open and dissect it…it is not for me to do.  What I can do is be thankful to wake up every day and share our journey with others.  I can choose to be positive and blessed in knowing the last moments with Mike were just for him and I…something that cannot be taken away, for it was HIS plan.

I remain ever so grateful for ALL of you as I continue on my road of “The New Norm” – My life will remain filled with “Kart-Wheels and Pain – Sunshine and Rain.”

XO LC
 
 
 

 
 
"If you see me getting smaller, I'm leaving, don't be grieving, just gotta get away from here. If you see me getting smaller, don't worry, and no hurry, I've got the right to disappear - Waylon Jennings"

 

 

 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A River Trip – NEVER to Be Forgotten





“If Children Have the Ability to Ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them.  When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope?  We have two options, medically and emotionally:  give up, or fight like hell - Lance Armstrong”

In a few entries before I have used this quote above – I just love the truth behind it and this weekend I was fortunate enough to meet first hand an inspiration behind this quote.

It really started out like any trip to the Guadalupe – my second time this year to go, and again another trip without Mike.  It was bitter-sweet as many days are when encountered with memories and familiar places we had such good memories, but as always, I was welcomed by good friends, smiling faces and just overwhelming love!  Oh goodness – the trip there was a trip within itself!  My “other half” – my Michelle to my Romey headed out to Up the River Camp for an adventure that would surely be one that as all is unforgettable! 

Like all road trips…”Are we there yet?” came out of our mouths a handful of times, and with the music cranking, random stories and memories shared, the 3 hour trip (thank Goodness we didn’t end up on Gilligan’s Island ;) we were there before you knew – let the fun…eeeerrrr randomness commence!

I have to admit, I have not been “camping” since my early 20’s – the sweaty nights, fans blowing, dirt in EVERY-thing and massive sunburns --- I have to admit, this was quite a treat!  When we arrived, our tents had been set up (full accommodated with window A/C units), air mattresses – it was really inviting!  Minus a few water leaks, wet clothes and lost items through-out the course of the weekend, it was an AMAZING weekend ---- AND no Sunburn!

On to the touching part(s)!  As always, you know I seek daily to find Mike in something I do, and this trip being the one place that Mike and I shared SO many great memories, it didn’t take long before he appeared…El Toro showed up as always. Shay and I saw him in the clouds, the minute he crossed my mind overlooking the river our song came blasting over the radio and the most AMAZING moment of the whole trip came in the form of a precious 6 year old boy.

Our day/night at camp consisted of waking up, the walk of death to the 2nd River float.  Aye! We were so excited the day before, so eager and rushing to that water to drop in and just relax…it felt like death row the next day! Needless to say, we made it, floated, made it back to camp and ALMOST called it quits.  We opted to stay at camp, play some games and just spend it till the next morning…HIS plan was bigger than us!  We somehow managed to gain a 10th wind (after failing with lighting and a swarm of River flies we still can’t identify) so we decided to end our night once again at River Camp General Store and belt out some Karaoke and chill the night away!

We arrived…parked our chairs and the night began! Greeted all we have been hanging with, greeting new people and the night went into affect!  A few songs and Jell-O shots in, a family that we had danced with the night before came to stage with a small chair, 2 parents and a little precious 6 year old boy.  We all assumed at this time it was his birthday and we were about to go into a restaurant welcoming of Happy Birthday from the entire camp…boy did the tide change.  Lisa, Little Rickey’s beautiful Mother along with his father Rick Sr. -- As she started to speak, she thanked not her family and friends that joined them, but yet the entire audience for sharing this special moment – Ricky has just finished his LAST chemotherapy and his Leukemia that was lingered…IS GONE!  This was indeed a celebration!  All of sudden the thoughts of singing Happy Birthday seemed a far distance and I felt that this weekend that I almost (almost) chose not to come due to work, fell right into place and ‘El Toro’ was so strong and allowed us to become one with Ricky and celebrate this moment!

I am not sure about anyone else, but I couldn’t hold the tears back – for they were not sad, yet happy to know this young boy has endured what my husband has endured – a man that stood 6’2”, has lived such a diverse and fulfilling life and was able to rest in peace knowing all he had accomplished.  A young boy that at his age, knows the pain he feels, but yet endures what is given to him to make it possible for him to live.  A young boy, who does not see the tears of his loving parents who strive, themselves to compose to be strong for this young boy and keep smiling and positive to ensure his mindset, does not change.  A young boy who was not promised tomorrow, yet celebrates at Camp with us just in the midst of months of my husband passing giving me peace (he is not aware of) to know that my ‘El Toro’ remains with me daily…what a blessing!

In closing, I will FOREVER remember this River trip – what a blessing to so many!  What a GOD-sent to share this with such a diverse group, and not realize amongst the group a common is shared…I am forever in awe of HIS plan --- his timing!

XOXOOX  --- LC







And a Dedication to ALL Fighting and Surviving ------