Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Those Words You Never Want to Hear!

One year ago today was one of those days that I don’t really want to remember.  While we were meeting with Paul’s oncologist this is what we were told, ”Paul, you have fought a good fight, but it is time to stop fighting…the chemotherapy is not working…you need to go on hospice and let them help you be as comfortable as possible…” Those are words no one ever wants to hear!

At that news, Paul and I held each other and cried and cried and cried…to be told that you will have 7 to 10 days to live…to know that you can no longer fight…to know that all the dreams and plans you created together are about to end…there is no way to adequately describe the pain and sorrow. 

Today, I was reading an article from the Deseret News To Wives: Before You Were Mommy.
This is an excerpt from the article, “But Ladies, when Mommy becomes your name, remember this man. Remember that you are his wife. Remember how much you love and appreciate him in this moment. Remember his dedication to your family. Remember his love and devotion to you. And then, when the days are long and you need a break, fall into his arms.

Men, remember your bride. The care and love that she has given you will soon be spilled over to your children. Her love for you will not change. Give her the grace to be enough even when she doesn’t feel like it. Remember when your days are long, hers are too. Remember her. Fall in love with her again.

Remember each other. Remember the two that made the family. Let the Lord lead you both together. Because when the days are endless and the hours short, it will only be his love who keeps you together. It will only be his mercy that gently guides your hearts as one. Hold tightly to one another, and even more tightly to the Lord. There is no greater adventure for you to experience and no greater gift than to walk through parenthood with your best friend. You are a team. Every single day.”

I cried big tears as I read this article. I remember how much I loved being his wife. I remember how much I loved and appreciated him.   I remember his love and devotion to me. I remember the butterflies in my stomach when I would hear his voice on the phone and when he would come home from work. 

I also remember my teammate is no longer physically here.   I do not get to fall into his arms after a long hard day.   He is not here to give me a break.  He is not here to fall in love with me again.  My best friend is not here to walk through parenthood with.  Not only do I not have “every single day”, I do not have even one day now.

Yes, my husband helped me around the house.  He cooked. He cleaned dishes.  He helped with laundry.  He even, on occasion, cleaned the bathrooms.   

I know that not all men help around the house.  I also know that this is a sore spot for many women.  Yes, I believe that maintaining the house should be a joint effort, but ironically it is not those things that I miss.

I miss talking to my best friend.  I miss holding hands.  I miss laughing together.  I miss the way he looked at me.  I miss hearing his voice.  I miss someone to vent to.  I miss my parenting teammate.  I miss his hugs and kisses.  I miss the smell of his cologne.  I miss hearing “I love you”.  I miss being told I am beautiful.  I miss his smile.  I miss his optimism.  I just miss him…

The last year of Paul’s life he was not able to help me around the house.  He was too sick.  In fact, I had more work to do because I was his caregiver…but you know what, it didn’t matter because he was here with me.   I could still talk to him and see him.  He was present in my life.  

Paul and I had an amazing marriage.  First and foremost, we always put God first.  If you put God first everything else will fall into place.  Because of our love of God, we followed/follow His teachings.  

Why should we love God?  I like Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s explanation, God the Eternal Father did not give that first great commandment because He needs us to love Him. His power and glory are not diminished should we disregard, deny, or even defile His name. His influence and dominion extend through time and space independent of our acceptance, approval, or admiration.

No, God does not need us to love Him. But oh, how we need to love God!

For what we love determines what we seek.

What we seek determines what we think and do.

What we think and do determines who we are—and who we will become”-The Love of God, Ensign, Oct. 2009.

It was our love of God first that enabled us to love each other completely.  We learned by following God’s teachings what love really is and how to establish a loving relationship.

Our relationship was fabulous because of one really important teaching.  Service. It was never about what I could get from him or how he could help me. It was never about what he could get from me or how I could help him. I always worried more about him and his needs and he always worried more about me and my needs.  Therefore, both our needs were always met. 

Selflessness and service is what develops love.  Not the other way around.  Once love is established than continual service is what keeps that love going strong.  Service promotes charity, the pure love of Christ.

I love this quote, “No, love isn’t an emotion or even a noun.  It’s a verb.  Better defined as giving.  As putting someone else’s needs above your own.”

I couldn’t agree more.  Why do we love our children so deeply?  I say it is more than is because we are constantly serving them…it is about putting their needs above our own.  This is how it should be with our spouses as well. 

Lynn G. Robbins said, “If a husband and wife are willing to apply the scriptural definition of love to their relationship, even a stale marriage and romance can be revived. Stephen R. Covey relates the following experience:

“At one seminar, after I’d spoken on the importance of demonstrating character within the family, a man came up and said, ‘I like what you’re saying, but my wife and I just don’t have the same feelings for each other that we used to. I guess we don’t love each other anymore. What can I do?’

“‘Love her,’ I replied.

“He looked puzzled. ‘How do you love when you don’t feel love?’

“‘My friend,’ I responded, ‘love is a verb. The feeling of love is the fruit of love. So love your wife. You did it once, you can do it again. Listen. Empathize. Appreciate. It’s your choice. Are you willing to do that?’-Agency and Love in Marriage, Ensign, Oct. 2000.

As we are approaching Valentines Day, I would like to challenge everyone to reassess their relationships.  Remember love is a verb.  As such, it requires action. How are you serving your companion?  Often times, it is the simple things that matter most!

I miss serving my husband.  I will be forever grateful for the opportunity I had to serve such an amazing man!

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