Distancing or Focusing

“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith….”  Hebrew 12:2

(Written sixteen months after my husband went to heaven)

During the last few months of my husband’s fight for life,  I felt like he was slowly distancing himself from me.  There would be long lapses of conversation and little really personal interaction between us except for helping him with all the things that he needed help with.  He never opened up and talked with me about what he was feeling or what his fears were.  I knew that his heart was very tender because he would cry when he prayed or when he would just suddenly burst into song.  His tears were something I had only ever seen twice in our over thirty-six years of marriage.

For the first time as his wife,  I felt somewhat disconnected from him and shut out of his life to an extent.  I realize several things about that now.  First of all, he was trying to protect me.  He knew how very afraid I was and that I did not want to even entertain the idea that he might not live.  He knew how hard I was fighting to keep my emotions together and how strong I was trying to be.

More importantly, I know now that Bob was more and more each day fixing and focusing his eyes on Jesus.  He must have felt that his life in this world was beginning to fade as each day passed.  His personal relationship with God had always been tremendously important to him and as his days were in that final stage, it became ALL important.  He must have known at that point that it was just him and God.  That relationship was his only hope and in his death, it became his reward.

Sixteen months into this grief journey and I am still looking back at what we had together.  There comes a time when I have to say, “I’ll see you later, my darling” and bring my eyes forward as this journey brings about the changes in my life that God has intended for me.  Oh, how very hard it is for me to do that!  My life was so tightly bonded to his that it is torturous for me to try to separate myself from him.

Oh God, please help me to somehow take that first step and tell Bob good-bye for now.  You know that I really don’t want to do that, but I know that at some point in time, I MUST do that in order to be able to move forward without constantly looking back over my shoulder at the life that Bob and I had together. 

It is so completely overwhelming for me to try to imagine living the rest of my life without him.  He was my safety and security.  I knew that he was going to always take care of me and I would never be alone.  But, all of that has changed now that he is with You. 

I don’t know how You are going to do it, Lord, but somehow redirect my focus now to You.  Help me to look at You despite all of the distractions going on around me for it is only in looking at You that I can be completely obedient to Your plan for the rest of my life. 

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13 responses

  1. Thank you so much for sharing. I am nearing 7 months after losing my husband to cancer and it just gives me hope to know I am not alone. Thank you

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  2. Candy,
    As usual this is a post that I could have written myself. I, too, felt that distancing as Michael neared closer to the end. I felt so shut out and hurt. But I quickly realized that he had to focus on Jesus very intently and that Jesus was commanding his thoughts and prayers in order to prepare him for heaven; to prepare Michael to actually SEE Him.
    This is the first time that I actually was able to read about it and to write about it. Thank you do much, Candy.
    Take care.
    Carol

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    • Carol, I’m glad to know that I am not the only widow who experienced that. It wasn’t a good feeling and I didn’t “get” what was happening until after Bob died.
      Thanks for reading and for commenting.

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  3. Candy, I have experienced much of the same with my husband, Dave, before he went home to Heaven last September. I would come into the room and hear him talking, even went it looked like he was sleeping. I would ask him who he was talking to and he said Jesus. I would feel shut out. We had always talked about going in the Rapture together before he got sick. Looking back I think that he knew his life was ending, but he wanted to protect me because we were praying and believing that Jesus would heal him. In fact I believed to the very end that Jesus would do a miracle. What a disappointment when that didn’t happen. God bless you all. Mariane

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    • Mariane, my husband and I were also believing together that God was going to heal him and I was just devastated when that healing took place in heaven and not here on earth. So, I understand what you are saying. Bob would just break out in song (and he wasn’t a singer; didn’t even care that much for music) as if there was no one else around. Very uncharacteristic of him. Isn’t all of this interesting.

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  4. This completely sounds like my story. Four months have now passed since I lost my husband. July happens to be one of the difficult months as I am trying to make sense as to what happened to my self and my children. July 2011 happens to be the last month that I saw my husband fully active and bouncing with life.

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  5. How interesting! I, too, remember my husband becoming more distant from me as he got closer to death. I went from praying for God to heal him, to praying to God to either heal him or take him and then finally, asking God to take him quickly so he wouldn’t suffer any longer from the pain of cancer. He was not given to flights of fancy and always had been a very literal person. So, about four days before he died, when I heard him rouse from sleep and say (to nobody in particular) “corridor…light..I’m okay…”, I instantly knew he was already starting the journey. And, about two days before he died, he roused from sleep to say, “I can’t believe it; I just can’t believe it.” When I asked him what it was he couldn’t believe, he replied, “…that I’m still here.” And a day later he told me that he loved me so much but that he wanted to go to heaven even more. He’s only been gone six months, but these memories still bring tears to my eyes. Despite knowing that he is in heaven, I feel so abandoned because when he went, so did my earthly security and safety. There are days when I am strong and then there are days when I feel I just can’t go on. I am so glad that I know the Lord and can return again and again to the Bible for comfort. What on earth do people do who don’t have the Lord? I think what makes me the most uneasy is realizing how bad the world situation is and knowing that if there was economic collapse I wouldn’t have my husband to look out for, and to protect me. I am not suicidal by any means but there are times when I am almost envious of him because he has already fought his battle and made it home and I still have to navigate the uncertain future.

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    • Judy, how absolutely beautiful these memories you have of those words that your husband said and that you know where he is. The very first words out of my mouth when the ICU doctor came to me and said that Bob’s heart had stopped and they had been working on him for 15 minutes with no success were, “It’s okay. Let him go. I KNOW where he is.” It really wasn’t okay that he was gone, but in that moment I knew that he had been in heaven for 15 minutes and there was no way in this world that he would ever want to come back.

      You are very early on in your grief and all the things that you are feeling are so very, very normal. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other one moment at a time. I totally understand what you mean when you say you are envious that your husband has made it home and you are still here to navigate an uncertain future without him. It’s a hard place for us to be.

      Thank you for being so transparent and for having the courage to share your story with us.

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  6. Candy, A few months after Dave’s passing when I was asking the Lord why Dave’s healing wasn’t manifested on this earth, the Lord gave me Psalm 21:2-6
    You have given him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips. For you send blessings of good things to meet him; You set a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked life of You, and You gave it to him—long life forever and evermore.
    His glory is great because of Your aid; splendor and majesty You bestow upon him.
    For You make him to be blessed and a blessing forever; You make him exceedingly glad with the joy of Your presence. This gave me the assurance that even though Dave wasn’t healed on this earth, he was healed in heaen.

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  7. As I wrote in my book, in John’s dementia, his spirit never got dementia, and his relationship with Jesus grew deeper and deeper even as his mind was fading. He was in an eternal sort of place, seeing things I couldn’t see and experiencing things with Jesus that I couldn’t be a part of. I too felt disconnected from him and I thought it was because of the dementia, but reading all of these comments and this blog, I realize that this must be something that is more normal than I knew. It brings me great comfort to read of the experiences of others who have traveled this road.

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