Louise: Crossing Over

This column is extremely difficult to write.  On Sunday morning, May 29, I lost the love of my life to pancreatic cancer. Carl fought valiantly to the very end, always thinking of our boys and me. There are no words to describe my pain or loss. This was not what I wanted, not what I prayed for. My heart is broken, my mind confused and the grief is overwhelming. Forty-five years just wasn’t enough time to spend with my husband. I expected that we would grow old together, purchase hearing aids together, buy a vacation home and watch our grandchildren grow up together. It’s hard to imagine another day, much less a lifetime without him.

But this is my hope and my promise: I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Carl is in Heaven with the Lord and Savior he walked with for so many years. I am certain that angels carried him into the welcoming arms of Jesus. In fact, I believe Jesus was holding our baby boy, Travis, with his mass of strawberry blond hair, sky blue eyes and a smile that always melted his daddy’s heart, as he welcomed Carl into Heaven. What a reunion it must have been when Carl embraced Travis after a thirty-eight year separation. Carl loved his children with all of his heart.  That love will continue throughout eternity. Aaron has been a tower of strength and help to me during this time of grief.  His dad was and always will be his hero. Jay adored his daddy and they did tons of things together. Saturdays were their days to run errands, swing by Sonic for a Coke then kick back in recliners and watch a WWE video. Jay desperately misses his daddy’s daily hugs and laughter.

Thanks to each of you for the heartfelt messages and prayers sent on behalf of my husband and a special thanks to the numerous friends and family members who prayed, encouraged and spent hours caring for Jay while I was at the hospital with Carl. God bless each of you for taking this painful journey with us. Your prayers were a lifeline. Each day I would print out messages from the Caring Bridge, along with e-mails, cards and scripture then read them to Carl as I sat on the edge of his bed, his hand resting on my leg.  He loved them all.

There is no easy way to say goodbye to a loved one, especially when it is unexpected. Carl has been my rock for 45 years. The truth is, I don’t know how to live without him. I still wait for him to walk through the back door or to call and tell me he is picking up something for dinner. I just don’t know how to stop missing him. So many things we planned to do. So many hugs and kisses still waiting to be shared. But my husband prayed a blessing over me before he ever went into the hospital, asking God to give me an extra measure of strength, so I know the Lord will carry me through, even though it doesn’t feel like it right now. And if this heart-wrenching pain, this horrendous grief, is what comes from loving and being loved so deeply, then I gladly accept it. A lesser love would not have been so painful, but oh the love and joy I would have missed in our 45 years together. Enough to last a lifetime. I will treasure our love forever.

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