Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Trial is Really a Blessing?

I was looking at pictures of Paul last night.  It was strange to see the impact that cancer truly has on someone.  It can take a vital, healthy person and literally age them and destroy them before your eyes.  I remember thinking as I watched my husband’s health decline so rapidly that it was like watching his life being snubbed out in fast motion…one minute he looked healthy and happy…the next minute he could not walk to the bathroom anymore.

The last picture does not really reflect how thin he was...I think it is because his head was laying back and pushing his neck forward making him look heavier than he really was.  Anyway, please notice the smile.  Paul was amazing because he always had a smile even in great times of adversity and pain.  The first picture taken does not reflect that because he is watching television...but it is the only picture I have of him at Thanksgiving by himself...four days before we got his diagnosis of cancer.

Fortunately, we were able to get video of Paul before he passed away.  I have created a short video with some of those clips.  As can be seen in this video, it was as hard for Paul to leave us as it was hard for us to have him leave.  The first clip is from December 2009, the other clips were taken on Feb. 13 & 21, 2013.  He passed away on February 25, 2013.
Click on this link for video:

I have had some flashbacks recently about those last couple weeks of Paul’s life.  I remember how hard it was to watch him starve to death.  He could not eat anything because of his bowel blockage and we were no longer able to give him TPN ((Total Parenteral Nutrition—given through his PICC line) because he was on hospice.

I have to say that it was excruciatingly painful to know that I could go and get a bag of TPN out of the refrigerator and just hook him to up to get some nutrition.  Paul did not want that.  He was so sick. The rules on hospice are that you cannot give anyone “life saving measures”…Paul could only eat if he could do it by mouth…that was not possible.

I could not throw the TPN bags out…we had a weeks worth sitting in the refrigerator…finally a good friend took them out and threw them away for me…I just couldn’t do it!

When we were placed on hospice we were told that Paul would probably live 7 to 10 days.  Paul lived for 12 days.  He had no food and very little water for 12 days.  If you would like to read more about the last couple weeks of his life see these blog posts It is Time For Hospice and Trying to Adjust.

As I look back on that time, I realize I was blessed, otherwise I would not have made it.  I see God’s hand in all that has happened in my life.  He is always there to help lift me.  He utilized the hands of others then and He is still utilizing the hands of others now to help us.  Many thanks to all my angels!

Is there really any good way to lose your spouse? Not really.  After discussing this with friends who have lost their spouse whether it was instant and unexpected or from terminal illness it is HARD!  They both have drawbacks—just of a different nature.

Are there people who have greater trials in life?  If you were to ask me that, until recently, I would have said yes, absolutely!  Now, I don’t know how I would answer that, but not because I think my trials are greater.  I see things differently.  If I say that there are others who have greater trials than mine then ultimately I am saying that there are others who have lesser trials than mine.  It is not my responsibility to judge or determine how hard someone else’s trial is.  It is my responsibility to have charity.  It is my responsibility to show compassion, empathy and understanding.

I have learned through my own trials that perspective and attitude DO affect the outcome.  As strange as this sounds, trials are a blessing IF you choose to see them as one.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

We become who we are because of trials.  They help to define us as to whether we become better and stronger or become a defeatist!  It is important to remember, “God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain.” –C.S. Lewis

Please watch this short video called “Mountains to Climb”.  It’s message is very uplifting and profound!
Mountains to Climb 

So are trials really a blessing?  It depends on your perspective and attitude!

1 comment:

  1. Sandra...this post has touched me beyond words. Thank you. The video of Paul is a treasure to keep. So generous of you to share. Even though we don't know each other, and had only briefly met Paul through FB...your story has had a profound affect on me. I have been thinking about Paul and your family lately as I know it is soon to be a year since the great loss. I too have had to endure the robbing of a few of my most closest loved ones from cancer, but not my spouse. Your strength, thoughts and words are truly an inspiration to me. You have been and will remain in my prayers. You are an amazing lady.