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April 18th, 2010 Update

April 18th, 2010

“Gone too soon.”

“Not enough time.”

“How will I do life without her?”

From the moment Cindy finished her courageous trek through the shadowy valley and passionately embraced her peace-bearing Prince on the other side, I’ve been troubled by those recurring thoughts. With slight variations on how I voiced them, the theme was unwavering.

“I want her to be with me…I need to be with her.”

Pick any of the stages of grief and I have been there — denial, anger, bargaining — the only one I’ve been spared is guilt. Thank God, I have no regrets. But those other three…? Trust me, I’ve been bouncing {and will continue to bounce} around that trio of emotions.

But the bouncing took a time-out {briefly} this past Wednesday night. Cindy died one week ago Wednesday at 9:45pm. And this grieving husband had worried all day about what that observance might feel like.

Here’s what it wasn’t like: It wasn’t at all like Monday’s service.

Monday’s celebration was public; Wednesday’s was private.

Monday I was surrounded by hundreds of loving friends and family; Wednesday I wanted to be left completely alone.

Just before the appointed time, I slipped into our bedroom and sat on Cindy’s side of the bed. I looked at the picture I still have on her pillow and at her favorite picture now affixed above our bed. And then I experience another wave of emotion — except this one caught me completely by surprise:

I felt thankful.

No, I really did! I felt utterly grateful that God would allow me to experience what had become a wonderful intimacy with this breathtakingly amazing woman…my wife.

Don’t get me wrong, I still wish we had more time – and I may never get over that desire. But here’s what I realized Wednesday night: When you have a love like our kind of love, there will NEVER be enough time. And when you finally get to experience God’s intention behind His promise of “one flesh”? The other half of you — that felt as though she would always be there — that half will always be “gone too soon.”

So when I saw Cindy’s passing through the prism of this incredible gift of love she offered to me? And when I realized how much she taught me about selflessness and giving oneself to another person so fully, so freely?

I said, “Thank you.”

I told her first. “Thank you, sweetie. You gave me life again. You made every heartache and loss I had experienced find its purpose and meaning. You completed the two-piece puzzle that was my heart. I will always love you…but honey, right now I’m also grateful.”

And then I told my Father. “Thank you, Lord. In providential wisdom, You selected Cindy to make Steve better. A better man. A better pastor. A better follower.”

I dunno how else to say it…Wednesday was kinda strange, to be honest with you.

I didn’t cry or ask why.

I didn’t feel afraid.

I didn’t shake my fist at God and demand an explanation.

“I thank[ed] my God every time I remembered [her].” {Philippians 1:3}

I thought, as Paul put it: “How can [I] thank God enough for [Cindy] in return for all the joy [I] have in the presence of our God because of [her]?” {I Thessalonians 3:9}

I gave thanks even in this thoroughly painful circumstance {I Thessalonians 5:18}.

Okay, just so you don’t think more highly of me than I deserve? I was back riding the roller coaster by 4:30 Thursday morning. And I suppose I will continue on that ride for a long, long time.

But for one beautiful evening in the midst of some very rugged ones…I really way.

I was…thankful.

 

 

April 14th, 2010 Update

April 14th, 2010

As I prepared to brush my teeth this morning, I reached inside the drawer and grabbed the familiar tube of paste.

Not as easy as it sounds.  See, her tube of Biotene, a brand Cindy began using when she developed mouth sores from the chemo, was sitting there staring at me.  It wasn’t intentionally trying to unsettle me — that’s where it had been sitting all along.

But the tube’s very presence distracted me.  I thought, “I guess I need to rearrange this one drawer.  Yeh, that’s what I’ll do.

And maybe it will be healing for me.”

So I ditched the Biotene.

“That was easy.”

Then I picked through the remaining contents and neatly sorted them according to kind on the countertop.

But then I was done.

I thought I could do it…but I couldn’t.

So I didn’t.

I went into the family room instead…and got distracted again.  This time it was Cindy’s laptop, her second favorite set of keys.

I plugged it in and positioned it where it always seemed to wait for her…on her table beside my chair.

But then I got distracted by the memory of so many mornings when I would get up and find her feverishly tapping those keys — so I puttered into the kitchen.

Same story.

I’m kinda like a inquisitive toddler these days.  I see something and I become oblivious to the thing I was doing that I thought I really needed to do — and I do that other thing instead.

Except I never seem to finish any one thing.  The stuff in the drawer…?  It’s still on the countertop.  Sorted.  Prepared for something to be done with it.  But it will have to wait.

Which is fine by me.  Let it sit there.  I’ll get around to it sometime.

Or I won’t.  It just doesn’t matter right now.

I’m finding that morning’s are worst for me.  Getting a day started is what I find so unspeakably hard.  By the time I get moving, there is a rhythm that takes hold.  But finding that pattern at daybreak…?  I struggle to hear it.

I got up before 6:00…still haven’t had my coffee.

The paper is unread and still sitting on the driveway.

I’ve come back to this posting about seven times now.  And if I never finish it…?  That’s okay, too.

You see, this blog is beginning to morph into something I want to do…for me.  It was birthed as a way to get Cindy’s story out to as many people as I could — so that people who knew of her journey would pray for her.  And every new posting brought an avalanche of renewed strength, hope and courage.

But now… this blog is something I need to do for me.  I write, it’s what I do.  I have always found that putting my emotionsinto words helps heal me.  It’s cathartic, in a very inexplicable way, to give my heart its voice — not after I’ve processed each emotion — but in the raw reality of the moment.  And even if nobody else wants to read my ramblings, I’m gonna keep writing.

Because I want to grieve my bride’s recent departure with as much dignity and transparency as she demonstrated in her hard-fought battle to stay here with me.  And I want to mourn her passing the way she would want me to — with health and an abiding faith in God.

Just know this:  Healing is sometimes messy.  A hasty pass through Psalms or Job will tell you that much.  And I intend to be as unfiltered as I dare be – as I make my unplanned and vigorously resisted journey through the valley of the shadow.

Now…where was I?

 

April 9th, 2010 Update

April 9th, 2010

My dear Cindy dropped by heaven to see Jesus the other night. Sad for me, she decided to stay. So from now on, whenever I need another Cindy-fix…? Or whenever you need one, too? The only thing any of us will ever have to do is set our sights on Jesus — and I promise you, she’ll be close by — quietly sitting in wonder at His feet.

Or tapping her foot with one hand raised and another on the keys —loudly singing His praise.

Given that truth, how could I ever regret her decision? I do regret it, but how could I? I mean, as much as I wanted her to stay with me, why wouldn’t she choose to be with Him instead? No more tears. Nor more pain. No more death. No more cancer or chemo or radiation or seizures or meds or hospice. No more vomiting, no more brain-fog, no more walkers or wheelchairs or ports or biopsies or back pain.

Instead, just a sweet forever life beautifully rescued from all that vile garbage. Even more, she’s resting — my baby is resting, finally — and in the presence of the One she loved as passionately as anyone I have ever known.

And that’s why, at 4:00 Monday afternoon, her family and friends — plus hundreds of other people who have been impacted by the magnetism of Cindy Wyatt — will gather at Christ’s Church of the Valley {7007 W. Happy Valley Road, Peoria, AZ 85383} to celebrate her life well-lived.

I’m still hoping that her family and friends who are NOT in Arizona will also be able to celebrate via a live-stream webcast. We’re still working out the details, but once everything is finalized…we’ll post a link so everyone who wants to take part — will be able to take part.

I’ve got a lot more to tell you about Cindy’s decision — and I will, in the weeks to come. But right now, the pain I still have to endure is a bit too-overwhelming for me. But before I close, I’ve got one last request:

Please take really good care of her, Jesus.

 

 

April 7th, 2010 Update

April 7th, 2010

“Pray for healing. Complete, miraculous and stunningly breathtaking healing.”

When I wrote that request, on February 19, I knew God would answer our prayer. What I didn’t know then, but what is growingly increasingly clear to me now, was His divine choice in exactly how He would answer.

His answer has been “stunningly breathtaking.” Just 30-some hours ago, I told you about our need for help as we planned an alternative treatment plan. Many of you graciously responded. Cindy was accepted into the program and a treatment protocol was submitted for our review.

About 24 hours ago, however, Cindy’s physical body began a stunningly rapid decline. So quickly has her health deteriorated that her abused and frail body, apart from God’s divine intervention, appears to have fought its closing battle. Exactly when this battle will end, only God knows. I can only tell you that the speed has both stunned me and took my breath away.

When the dear love of my life does release her body, that’s when her healing will truly be “complete.” And also “miraculous.” For as soon as she takes her last breath, in that very instant she will be in the presence of her beloved Jesus. Fully and forever alive, never to die again.

Please pray for her comfort until that moment.

Please pray for me and our entire family as we extend our love to her and to each other.

Please pray that the impact of my beloved hero’s way-too-brief life will only be superseded by the impact of her breathtakingly courageous journey through the valley of the shadow of death.

My Lord gave her to me. And now, apart from His miraculous intervention, He appears to be her taking away.

May the name of the Lord be praised.

 

 


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