Writing has always been cathartic for me. Although, I never comprehended that I would be writing as an author for Hope for Widows. My husband, my soul mate, my partner in times of bliss and adversity, and love of my life for 24 years, passed away in 2012. He had never been sick a day in his life; nevertheless, at our family’s 4th of July celebration, he came to me and said that he felt ill. By that evening his pain had escalated beyond control. I rushed him into emergency. They discovered that he was already in kidney failure. The doctors performed emergency surgery and found out that Follicular Lymphoma had spread throughout his entire abdomen region. He spent the next 9 months in excruciating and uncontrollable pain. He courageously endured three different types of chemo until the Lymphoma mutated into Diffuse Large B-Cell. Hospice care soon followed.
Consequently, my soul yearns for my husband and I wrestle with despair. However, I have to choose life despite this dark terrain that I am traveling. My prevailing endurance comes from my faith in our Almighty and my goal to create and embrace a positive, life sustaining climate for my daughters.
I facilitate an autism academic and therapy home based program for my youngest daughter, who has severe, low-functioning autism and requires 24 hour care. She is a treasure and my teacher. She does not process death, still thinks that Daddy is coming home, and asks about him numerous times per day. My oldest daughter is 23, married, delightful, and is my constant source of strength.
During the last, harrowing months of my husband’s life, our conversations ran the gamut from raw, intimate, bitter cries, to affirmations and litanies of our love. At one point, after his last chemo, he grabbed my hand and with intention and conviction in his quivering voice, whispered to me, “When I die, I want three things for you.” I pulled away, not able to grasp that concept as I believed a miracle from our Savior would burst forth. He grabbed my hand again, his eyes piercing, and said, “Please, listen…since our first date, you have treated me like a king, your devotion to me and to everyone else has been selfless, now it is time for you to treat yourself like a queen.” As tears cascaded down my face, he bluntly continued, “I want you to dive back into your writing, I want you to fix your teeth for you, and I want you to find love again.” His pain level then magnified, he screamed, the nurse ran in and the moment was shattered. His words and unwavering love continues to be interwoven into every fiber of my being. Through God’s orchestration in His mysterious ways, I now feel like I am honoring one of his wishes. I feel an odd sense of infused purpose for my sorrow as I only desire to bring glory to our Father and to build connections stemming from love.
Hope for Widows has truly reflected beauty amidst the ashes. It is a non-judgmental, validating, circle of love, which provides the framework for a community of refreshment and renewal for all widows. As I fumble my way through my new normal, I have been humbled time and time again by the members, many who have become friends. I admire their bravery, resiliency, insight and compassion.
This week the Hope for Widows authors were asked to give you a glimpse into our lives. Next week, my Wednesday blog topic will be: A New Identity-From Us to Me. You are always welcome to go to https://hopeforwidows.org/author/lisa-dempsey-bargewell/ and check out my previous 9 blogs as well as the other authors and wealth of valuable information that this organization provides.
May each of you feel grace permeating your heart, peace soothing your spirit, and refuge in the knowledge that you are not alone.
Blessings to You,
Lisa Dempsey Bargewell