Saturday, July 30, 2016

A lot of time in between posts this time. It has been a hard month. My wonderful daughter-in-law lost her Mama to Pancreatic Cancer. The evil Cancer has struck our family, yet again. Now her father joins the ranks of Widowhood. He is not happy about it. Both he and my daughter-in-law, and my son are devastated by this loss. So many memories have flooded me at this time. But this was not about me. This was about them. But even in the midst of my sweet daughter-in-law's grief, she thought of my pain. She realized the memories this all stirred for me. I am a truly blessed woman to have such a wonderful woman as my daughter. I assured her I was fine. This was not about me in any way. I told her to concentrate on her Mother, her Father, herself, and other family members who were so stunned by this news. They are reeling from shock.

I discovered that now I can give back, pay it forward, as it were. I am now able to give advise to Marissa's dad and to her. I am grateful that my journey can now help others. I pray that I am able to do that.

I belong to a group on Facebook geared towards those who have lost spouses. Yesterday, in response to another who is struggling so hard with the pain of losing a spouse, I wrote:

It has been three years for me since my husband went home. I can honestly tell you that Father has prepared me for this life I am now living. He guides me daily (if I listen) and tells me that His plan for me is not finished yet. I will have more joy and love in my life again. This is my time to prepare. When you despair, take it to the Lord and pray for the Atonement to be applied to your pains, fears, hopelessness, depression, or whatever other feelings you have that are holding you in the circle of despair. Men are that they might have joy. Get the necessary rest you need to refill your empty wells. This grieving is HARD work. The pain dulls, the memories start to warm your heart instead of tear it to pieces, the hope for that brighter future magnifies. Find your peace in the sure promises of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. This life you have now IS your new normal. Embrace it, learn from and grow in it. It IS possible. God bless each of us in this journey.

I only hope that others are comforted by my words. Does believing in God and Eternal Life take away the pain from losing our other half? No, but it can and does give us hope. This and applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ to all of the feelings associated with this new journey helps us to keep living; to keep moving forward.  There are still so many blessings we have to enjoy.

It takes just breathing at first. Then taking a step. Then another, then another. And never, never stop praying for help with anything we need. Our Father and Savior are always there, ready to carry, to prop up, to push a long, and to help us find joy again.

This I KNOW!! This I BELIEVE!! This I TRUST!!

Friday, June 24, 2016

     Okay, so I said I would write once a week. Yeah, here is one of those 'things' about grief and grieving. You have all the best intentions, but sometimes the drive is just not there. You would think that after nearly three years, I would be 'Normal' again. Well, here is another 'thing' about grief and grieving. It hits you when you least expect it.

     Father's Day started out so well. My eldest son dropped his family off in California so they could visit us and went on his business trip. I had an amazing time with four of my grandchildren. We explored the California Science Museum and the Getty Museum. Then we had a 'Just Hang Out' day and made waffles with a delicious variety of berries, syrup, whipped cream, and snow (powdered sugar)! Sunday morning everyone came for breakfast. It was delicious, great company, and so wonderful to be with two of my sons and families at the same time! So, what was wrong with that you ask?  Nothing. Not a thing!          
     After breakfast, my family left and I decided I was pretty tired from a very busy week. So, I took a nap. This 'nap' lasted 3 hours. I guess I really was tired. I was going to go over to the Cemetery and put flowers on Terry's grave, but decided against it. I thought maybe I was coming down with something because I still felt so tired. So, I laid around and took it easy for the rest of the night. Well, that was June 19th.

    All week long, I worked on my Sewing Room project and accomplished a lot. Good, right?? It was good it was getting done, but I felt myself slowly going down the proverbial Rabbit Hole. I had no desire to talk to any one. I just wanted to quietly work on my project. So, I did.
    My dear friend, Debbie, called every night to check in on me. She has been a rock for me through this journey, as have many others. She knows I am not usually a non-people person so when I become that she knows I have started to hide in my shell. Before Terry passed away, I asked Debbie to not let me stay in bed for more than a week after he passes. She has dutifully done what I have asked. Thank you my friend!
     So, today, I woke up. I said a very long prayer because I knew it was not good to stay in this funk. After my prayer, I listened. Father in Heaven told me that I was doing all right. He let me know that I am on track with this grief thingy! (Good to know) He told me that for the past 40+ years of my life I have taken care of others, whether it be my husband, my children, my parents, Terry's parents, callings in church; the list could go on forever. He admonished me to know that it was NOW time for me to take care of myself first. What???  This is a foreign concept to me! I am ashamed to admit that I have gained a bunch of weight over the years. I want to lose it now. I want to be healthier. I want to be able to do some of the things I used to do. So, okay... sounds simple, right?
     Another 'thing' about grief and grieving is NOTHING is simple any more. Not for me anyway! Maybe it is different for someone else, but it is not simple for me. Everything I do involves me creating a plan or it just does not happen. Yes, everything. I cannot explain it. Well, maybe I can. I have always been a list-maker and I think because of the lack of control over losing my 4-parents and then my spouse, and a bunch of friends, I now feel the need to 'know' exactly how things are going to be.  I simply feel like I cannot do last minute. I do not deal well with last minute changes.  I am trying to work my way through it, but I am not quite there yet.
     In time, I am told. In time. So, time marches on and I keep waking up every day. I keep trying to accomplish all that I have set goals to accomplish. I am finding new ways to succeed in taking better care of myself. I am getting out to activities that involve other 'Singles' (that will be a topic for another day).
     I am a work in progress. As this blog continues, I will begin to insert stories of when our lives changed, blessings, miracles, courage, and love. Bear with me... Remember, I am a work in progress!

Monday, June 6, 2016

One Widow's Journey

I have a story to tell. A story about loss. A story about suffering and pain. A story about peace and hope. It is the story about my continuing journey through the hardest time of my life. I was told that I should write this back in 2013, but it has taken me these three years, crossing many bridges, and scaling many mountains, before I felt I had the strength and the ability to share my story.

 But first, I need to catch up on a few other events in my life: I can hardly believe that it has been six years since I posted anything. Well, many times I have thought I need to write "My Story so I can help others get through their pain." But where do I start? So many, many life altering things have happened since 2010.

First, my dear mother, Emalyn Hunt Keith passed away on 22 September, 2011. She was diagnosed with Lung Cancer on 5 August, 2011. It was a tough journey for my Momma, but I know she is at peace finally.

 I need to preface this news with what preceded this event. In 2002, December 1st, my mother-in-law, Jean Jeannette Burchfield Shelby passed away after a 4-month battle and surgery following a stroke. In 2005, October 13th, we lost my father, David Glen Keith, Jr. to Lung Cancer from Asbestos Poisoning from years of working as a painter. In 2008, December 1st, 6 years to the date of his wife's passing, we lost my father-in-law, Charles Ancel Shelby, also to Lung Cancer.
For those of you who believe that smoking doesn't hurt you, take a look at my family. Yes, every one of these people smoked for decades and each of them suffered terribly from the after-effects.

Ok, so we thought we were going to get a breather for a while after all of this loss. It was not to be so.

On November 26, 2012, we received news that would change my life forever. My husband, Terry Shelby, was also diagnosed with 4th Stage Lung Cancer-Adenocarcinoma. There was a tumor the size of a liter bottle found on his right lung. This explained so very much to me. My husband did not 'feel' well a lot, but he also did not want to go to the doctor. On Saturday morning, November 24th, 2012, Terry was getting into the shower when I noticed many welt-like bumps on his chest. He had been coughing a lot and thought he had bronchitis. The welts looked like swollen blood vessels to me. Terry said, "We will just wait to see if it goes away." These were words Terry lived by. We will just wait and see.

I told him this time we were not going to just wait and see. Something is terribly wrong. So, we went to the Urgent Care and the doctor ordered a chest x-ray. TJ, Nicole, and family had driven in and were going to be at Disneyland for a few days. Monday came and Terry still wasn't feeling well, so he told me to go to represent us both. While I was driving in on the Tram, Terry called. I could not hear him over the voice-over on the Tram. I told him I would call him as soon as I got off. When I did, he told me the doctor called back. There was a large mass on his lungs. She scheduled an appointment with the Pulmonologist on Tuesday, the 27th. I told him I would head home. He told me not to come home because we did not even know anything yet. I talked to Jared and told him to make sure he went with his dad. He did.

I spent the night with TJ and Nicole and family. The next day, we stopped for Pizza for lunch and Jared called me. He told me I better sit down. I said, "Then this definitely is not good news if you are telling me I have to sit down." He told me it definitely was not good news. Terry had Lung Cancer, Stage 3 or 4, the doctor guessed. He scheduled Pet Scans, Bone Scans, Blood Tests, and every other type of test you can imagine. I went home that afternoon. I could not be at 'The Happiest Place on Earth' where the love of my life and I had spent so much time at during our lives together, while my life was falling apart.

All of the boys gave me advise. Don't let Dad see you cry. You need to be strong for him. Tell him he can beat this. Tell him NOT TO GIVE UP!

Well, anyone who knows me, knows that I cry at the drop of a hat. The darn hat dropped, got run over, and ripped apart all with one sentence. "He has Lung Cancer." I cried all the way home. I cried the moment I saw him.I cried all night long. I just did not want to let go of him. How was I going to get through this and be strong for Terry? I have had to be the strong one throughout a good part of my life and now, when I needed to be the strongest ever, I just wanted to curl up in a ball and die!! Yes, I did say that.

 I begged Father to not take him home. I begged for it to be me instead of him. I begged for a miracle. And, a miracle came. Not the one I wanted, but it was a miracle, none the less. Because of the size of the tumor in Terry's chest, the doctor's told him to get his affairs in order. We knew from my father, David Keith's lung cancer, and from his father, Charles Shelby's lung cancer, and from my mother, Emalyn Keith's lung cancer, that there usually is at most 6 - 8 weeks from diagnosis to death.
We called our Home Teacher, Craig Holmes, to give him a blessing. Clive Woods came also. Terry was blessed with a miracle to be able to get everything of Eternal consequence completed before his death. He gave his son's and oldest grandson, blessings, as well as me. The biggest step to get done was to be sealed in the temple to me for Eternity. And he did accomplish this.

We were blessed with eight months of time that were spent filled with love, struggles, and pain but Terry knew he was loved and will be loved forever. On August 4th, 2013 at 1:15 am, Terry passed from mortality into eternity. I have never felt such physical and emotional pain as I did that day. I stepped into the shower and laid on the floor and just poured my heart out to my Father in Heaven. I prayed for Him to stop the pain. I prayed for the Atonement to be applied to my pain and deep sorrow. It seemed like I was in there for hours. I don't know. Maybe I was. I just know that when I asked for a release from the pain and to feel hope again, I was granted that blessing. I was able to get back into bed and to sleep more soundly than I had in months. Terry was in my dreams. He was whole and happy. I was so grateful that he was free from that horrid pain he had suffered from so valiantly.
Does life continue? Do we move forward? Does the pain ever go away? Stay-tuned...Life is an adventure.
Such an incredibly sad day. Robin Williams has apparently committed suicide. He was 63 years old. It feels so tragic that he would take his own life. He brought such joy and happiness to so many,many people and yet it appears to have alluded him. Will we discount the man or his incredible talent because of his final choice? I would hope not but I do understand that many people believe that he has lost his eternal reward. I, for one believe our Heavenly Father is much more  merciful than that. He knows each one of us so well . He loves us with a love so deep and so very unconditional that it is almost unimaginable for us to even relate to. I pray for Robin's family and closest friends to have peace and comfort during this very difficult time. God bless all of us who had the great honor and pleasure of enjoying his great talent and humanity. I pray that he will find his peace and his family will be able to gain comfort from knowing he finally has. Our hearts are broken from the loss of such an incredible human being. Rest in Peace Robin.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

December 27th, 2010

Once again, time has escaped me! Well, we made it through another year!
Terry is still out of work. His back is not co-operating at all. Time will only tell what the future brings for us.
I have decided to go back to school to obtain my master's degree in Education and a certificate to teach online courses. My goal is to be able to work in my pj's if I so desire! Classes start on January 31st!
So.... life is never boring! Always so much going on. We keep taking baby steps to getting the remodeling done around here. Bought a brown leather sofa for the living room. It looks grand! Tore up the kitchen floor and emptied most of the cupboards and took one down from the wall. Now I just have to decide on a layout!
So... on to my New Year's Resolutions... This is truly the year I will conquer the weight problem, once and for all. I have been incorporating exercise into my daily routine again. This is a good thing!
I'm on vacation through January 10th, 2011! Getting kitchen plans organized, bills organized, completely incorporating a new schedule in to my life in order to keep up with my life and all the plans I've made for
the future! 
Of course, God is first and foremost in my life. I sometimes stray from the path by not praying daily, nor reading my scriptures daily. 2011 is the year I plan to change my life back to those things that I know ground me. My Father in Heaven is my guide and my guardian. My Savior is my strength  and the source of my joy and happiness, as I follow the path I was sent her to take. My rewards for following this path may not come until the next life, but I cannot worry about this life any more. Men are that they might have joy. That does not mean that life will be perfect and we won't have any challenges. It simply means we will have 'moment's of great joy and happiness. I have been blessed with those moments in my life.
My family is second in my life. I hope to have many opportunities to see my family members more this year. I hope to help my mom get out a little bit and maybe make some memories before it is too late for her.
Andrew will be moving out sometime this year to start his own life in his own place. He and Marissa postponed their wedding but are still planning on a future together. Jared is starting school this year also. Cameron is in Cub Scouts and moving up in the ranks. He loves participating in Scouts and is looking forward to participating in a team sport soon. Matthew and Kelly are in school now and moving toward a brighter future. Fayth and Bubba are both thriving in school and in dance and sports. They are indeed a busy family! TJ and Nicole welcomed little Aaron Liam into their family and they are all doing well. Nicole is a very busy, but awesome wife, mother, and homemaker. TJ is busy with traveling for work. Hannah and Adam are loving school and helping mommy with their little brothers, Caleb and Aaron; who are doing very well!
So, my life is full; crazy busy; but full of love and opportunities to create myself into the kind of person that Father in Heaven will be proud of. God bless you all in the new year!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Wow!  Time is flying by! News updates on the Shelby Front!
Terry has been out of work since June 1st, 2010 with his back pain again. He was diagnosed with Arthritis in his spine. Once again, the doctor's are taking forever to do anything that might help. (Yeah.. It has been an early morning again... negative nelly....Terry woke me up with his snoring at 3:30 am. *Sigh* )  The good news is that we have a new grandson, Aaron Liam, born July 8th! He is our 5th grandson and 7th grandchild. What a blessing!
We went to Utah for vacation in August to visit TJ and Matthew's families and to see our newest grand baby!
Cameron spent the summer with Uncle Matt, Aunt Kelly, Fayth and Bubba! He had a blast playing with his cousins again. School has begun again and this year Bubba and Adam started kindergarten! Time is flying by! Grandma and Auntie Nicole took Fayth and Hannah to the beauty shop for a manicure! Good times! They loved it. They felt like the princesses that they are!
Our little Caleb, (Aaron's big brother and Hannah and Adam's little brother) was having trouble with his breathing and sleeping. While we were there he was diagnosed with obstructive apnea. Bless his heart! He is such a happy little boy, in spite of this problem! He had surgery on September 7th to remove his adenoids and tonsils. Nicole informed me the surgeon said the tonsils were huge! Again.. bless his heart!
That is all I have time to write for now. Will try to do better about keeping up!