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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dear Dave,

It's almost Christmas Eve eve and as we get closer to Christmas, my feet drag slower and slower. It's been a day weeks month and more of pain, sorrow and grief. People who barely know me have asked the Most Intensely Personal Questions and it has Boggled my mind! People have treated me with utmost shabbiness, dare I say even rudeness, and have felt ??? compelled to ask me "so, are you moving now that Dave is gone?" or "where are you spending Christmas?" or "are you selling the farm?" To the woman who asked the later, I was tempted to say, "does it matter? You can't afford it." but, at the last moment, God stayed my mouth.

Bless Him.

I think.

To the woman...why is it mostly women who are so rude???...who said, "where are you spending Christmas?" I responded, "where ever I spend it, I'll do my best to be happy." She doesn't have the best reputation; was she asking so she could case the joint? One feller asked, "what was wrong with you the other night?" I said, "some days are harder than others." He said, "yeah, but you usually just let things slide off your back." I tell you what, Fat Boy; grief doesn't slide; it's dead weight pinned to my shoulders and I carry it, daily. This is my life right now; if you don't like it, do us both a favor, keep it to yourself and move on.

I do strive to be happy and when that's not possible...which is the majority of the time...I strive to be content. In contentment, at least, I am succeeding.

What I want to say to people, and may yet do, is, "If you're a Christian, please pray for me." Although, surely if they were Christian, they wouldn't be asking such rude questions, right? Ah, I can hear you now, "Jeremiah, you think this is real; you've never known it was all a game." Like you told your cousin one time, "Sandra is the thing of substance. She's totally unaware most people are outward appearances only." Oh Dave, there will Never be anyone like you; God broke the mold when He made you. I'm just so grateful He allowed me to be your companion wife; He blessed me in ways only He understands! No one, save me, will ever know why your nickname for me was 'Jeremiah'; that name was laid to rest the day you died. So many dreams were laid to rest that day; I suppose new dreams will be dreamt but they will never, I don't think, be as wonderful as the dreams you and I had together nor as the realization of some of those dreams.

Over the Christmas holidays, I'm keeping Mary and Donald's three children. Yes, you're right, I have lost my mind. If not before, certainly since -laughing-. It saves Mary and Donald a boatload of child care fees and it's been, mostly, good for the children and for me. Although, it did take my breath when K. said to me, "I think Sam is sad because Dave died. You're probably sad too, aren't you?" Oh child. I pray to God you never know!

Nelson has put me in touch with someone who is going to help me. I've spoken with G. on the phone and none of my bells went off. You would always tease me, Dave, about my ability to discern when something or someone was "off". God has blessed me with discernment and He has taught me to listen to that "still, small whisper". What a Friend We Have in Jesus indeed! Things are still up in the air but there's light and I have breathing room now; a good thing because so many times I struggle to catch my breath.

Lately, it has been the strangest of times. I've wanted to wallow in grief, even though the three children need, nay demand my attention, but God had other plans. Several people have told me, "Oh, you're so strong; you'll be fine." They seem nonplussed when I say, "No, I'm not strong and have wanted to quit, to just stop eating and die. My purpose is gone; I am bereft of even breath and there are times I catch myself gulping air, my body depleted of oxygen and starving for air." There are those, I am quite sure, who would condemn me, a Bible believing Christian, for saying my purpose is gone. But Dave, you have been my purpose these last twenty-plus years. We saved each other from certain horror and, for me, the saving grace is knowing you made peace with Christ the week before you died. Was that what these last decades have been about? Then, Beloved, it is...worth it all.

Bless you for giving me the assurance you loved me. Cathy was the love of your youth and, after she died,  it took years for your grief to subside. Even after we married, you mourned Cathy; even so, I was glad to be second because it was better than not at all. Most women will go to their graves never knowing the love of a great man; bless God I knew your love. In the week before you died, you told me, "as much as I ever loved Cathy, I have loved you more." Oh Dave, what a gift you gave me; bless your heart, you prepared me as well as I was able to bear.

Merry Christmas, Dave. Thank you for loving me and thank you for letting me love you.

Blessings ~ Christmas ~ oxygen ~ Dave ~ three children ~ God's arm around my shoulder and His hand over my mouth ~


  1. I am praying for you, Thistle. Your words are so honest and true. Bless you for taking care of the school children. I am sure they are enjoying themselves.

  2. People are some times cruel because the don't have the tools to deal with life and death.
    Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)
    I wish you peace and love

  3. I agree with cathy@home. People ask dumb questions because they don't know what else to do.

    Prayers for you.

  4. Oh honey. As a whole, people are so careless with their mouth. Some do not mean to be and others do not care. I cannot imagine the pain you are feeling. Know we are praying for you. Lifting you up before our Lord. Bringing your name to his remembrance daily.

  5. Dearest Sandra, I happened upon your blog today by chance. But I was glad that I did because I wanted to tell you that while I don't exactly what you're going through I will pray for you. And I am so so sorry that all of those people who said those things, not realizing it, I hope, said what they did to you. So often we don't what to say to people who are grieving. I know I don't. But to you I just want to say, you had many a year with a wonderful wonderful man who obviously was the light of your life. Not every one has or had that. So when you are grieving stop and remember one memory at a time. Hopefully they will last you the rest of your life. Carol

  6. I'm sure people don't mean to be unkind or thoughtless Sandra. Just try and let it wash over you. Your friends are suffering too remember. It isn't just your grief. What I want to do right now is give you a hug and let you cry it out.
    I am thinking of you and hoping that the Christmas season will show you that there is still lots of love left for you in this world.

  7. I remember going around looking at others and wondering how they could just go on with each day living life. All I felt was a deep abyss. Folks don't understand the depth of that emotion...and the paralysis. I pray that you have some good souls to unload the worst of it on. Please feel free to email me anytime you want. I am praying for you, my dear.

  8. Dear Sandra, I have been away and only now have heard of your loss. My heart aches for you. If there is anything I can do please let me know. Dave was so lucky to have you and you him. I am wishing you gentle days ahead and lots of hugs from the children. Love, Jamie

  9. I always think of you. This man on your side was so beautiful.

  10. I don't know you, nor can I say that I know what your going through, but I can and will say that I will say a prayer for you.

  11. I am shy to leave a comment on this very personal post. It feels as if it is a journal or a special letter to Dave, not something that I should see or speak to.

    But I would like to share that we seem to have some things in common: One of my twin sons is named Jeremiah and I have 3 children who I take care of by myself most of the time. Hubby is working in Phoenix for 2-3 weeks at a time and only comes home for 2-3 days.
    My Mother committed suicide when I was just 8 yrs old and I have no siblings. Sometimes I feel so all alone, no one to talk to and understand what I'm going through. No one to just lend a shoulder or give a hug and just let me cry.
    I haven't cried in so long, although my heart has felt heavy enough to, but my children and animals need me and I can't break down and let the tears flow.
    I just wanted you to know, we're not too different you and I and we do have some things in common.


  12. You already know, Dear Sandra, that my prayers for you continue...but it never hurts to hear a reminder!! Love you and pray you feel the peace of Christ, that can only come from Christ, this Christmas day!!

  13. You'll be in my prayers.

  14. What a vibrant man Dave must have been. And it's nice to hear of your great love for each other. So rare nowadays to truly have a soul and help-mate.

    I continue to pray that you are aware of God's hand on your shoulder and perhaps Dave's voice in your ear as you find your way.

  15. I am praying for you, my dear friend. I can only imagine how hard it is for you and my heart weeps.

  16. I've been thinking about you a lot lately. I have two thoughts. One is a deep sympathy of your grief. The other is a sense of awe for the relationship that you had with Dave. It was so special that I think few people ever have that. I know it's a horrible time for you and I know I can't say anything to help you. I hope that the children bring some happiness to your holiday and that you continue to find solace in the beauty of Thistle Cove Farm.

  17. Dear One, About 21 years ago my world came crashing down. The pain made me fall to the floor and for the first time in my life, I came to understand how a person could die from a broken heart. It was pain that I didn't have a name for...couldn't describe it in human words. It was pain to the core of my very being.

    I began to understand that society generally doesn't allow people to grieve for very long before they look down their noses in disbelief that someone continues to grieve for long lengths of time and it doesn't just go away.

    During this time my faith in God grew and I was allowed to see into a realm that I hadn't been before and it was that God comforted as no human can. He is the faithful one.

    There were times the grief would flood over me and I would collapse to the floor....i'd talk to God and eventually He'd give me the strength to stand back up. I'd raise up and stand.

    The anguish didn't just go away. It was like peeling an onion layer after layer. There may be times you are taken by surprise how much this hurts.

    I believe that with God's help and much prayer you'll find your way through this pain.

    Praying for you and believing.

  18. One would not expect it, but the truth is that there are people out there with thoughtless words, and worse yet,uncaring attitudes toward folks in grief. It seems like you have met up with all of them! I hope that is the last of them for you.
    What a thoughtful gift to the parents to have their children in your care. Let them draw you into their childish laughter, if only for a time.
    In your letter to Dave, I recognized two precious gifts to you from Dave... that he made his peace with Christ... and the expression of his love for you. Wow, that's basic. But not everyone has that assurance. Brought tears to my eyes. Think how difficult it would be without those two memories. I'm thanking the Lord for you for those two assurances... And as always, you are in my prayers. I'm sorry for being so busy not to check in on you. Hugs to you --mine and God's.

  19. Hang in there Sandra. Hugs Maa

  20. Thank for this post,Sandra!
    I wish I could be with you now and give you a big hug...♥!!!

  21. Dear Thistle, Dave is in Christ and Christ is in you. The words of the world can not disturb your intimate LOVE. Listen to his soft voice.

    Lovely, the photo with the Thistle-child and the black lamb on your google-photo!!!

  22. Dear Sandra, thanks so much for popping in to see me the other day. As I have said before I love your honesty. I know that I would feel those very same things if I lost my Rob, we too saved each other from horrors. I know because I have rehearsed just such conversations many times in my head before now (wrestled with panic attacks at such thoughts) & have experienced the insensitivities of others (christian woman!!) as I struggled through the last 20+ years of poor health & emotional difficulties. I have learnt to be a truth teller, a questioner & to be honest, sometimes, brutally whether it suits those around me or not. I've discovered that God is not phased by such frankness. There's no going back now, on that one. I am thinking of you in the uncomforted & raw place that you find yourself in this particular Christmas time. Much love Catherine xoxo

  23. Wow, that was tough to read but so true. I'm sure people are saying things that just hit you right to your core now. I'm praying for you and praying that you will be surrounded by people who have the right words to say to comfort you!!!

  24. Sandra - just tears - all I have for you today is my tears. Will try to write something coherent in an email but right now - just know you are loved from afar!

  25. Dearest Sandra, Although my heart has felt the sting of death this yr, I've not lost my spouse and that is the ultimate pain. You are in my thoughts and prayers during most days. Hugs!

  26. I am a new reader of your blog and happened over through "This Old House 2". I am so sorry for the devastating loss of your husband. I have no idea what you are going through as losing a mate is very different than losing someone else, I would think. I did want to say that when I lost my mother 5 years ago, I was plunged into a grief that I could not even imagine. I walked around the house for 3 months in a total fog. I could not go to the grocery store without wanting to scream at people for being able to go on with their normal lives whilst I was suffering so! I lay down in the middle of the day and just stared into space. Friends were of little comfort, I am sad to say. NO ONE can understand until they have been there themselves. The worst expression EVER is: "I am so sorry for your loss!" I don't know what it was about those words, but my mother was not a "loss", she was my mother!!! The entire first year was horrific and I think I might have been a little depressed as time went on. Only my younger brother went through it the same way that I did and that was a comfort. Even after so much time now, I miss her every day. There is no replacement, but God has been good and I am more focused on eternity in my daily life now. I have since lost the grandfather who was like a father to me and that pain has been great, too. I know that I will see them both again and that brings me great joy on the worst days. I believe that we lose sight of the eternal in this modern world. Yes, we must live here and now, but for those of us believers suffering the death of loved ones, there is (AMEN!!!) the eternal joy! I am praying that God will Bless youy Richly in the days ahead with his everlasting comfort which is so valuable. Bonnie

  27. I am a Christian, and I am praying for you. I know there are no words that I can say to ease your pain. But I know that God will send His Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to lift you up when you feel low. His strength is made perfect in our weakness, and when we are grieving we are at our weakest. Hold fast to the thought that one day you will see Dave again. Praying for you my friend.

  28. I will be forever amazed by people who speak before they think and edit their words. Praying for you daily. Love and hugs!

  29. Sandra - what a gift, a blessing.. to have a love like this. You're many will never know that joy.

    Warm wishes to you this holiday season -

  30. Anonymous5:57 PM EST

    Sandra... I understand and am so sorry that your grief is so deep that breathing itself is almost too much effort, I pray that the Lord infuses each breath with His peace and comfort. I too, am so sorry you're enduring rude, cutting questions. One can hope they didn't mean to be rude and for lack of better quick verbal choices said what came to mind (not that that makes it hurt less). I'm so thankful that you and Dave knew such deep love, what a gift and even more that he accepted the Lord and you have that well founded expectation of hope in knowing that you will see him in heaven with joy!

  31. I have been thinking of you and will keep you in my prayers. "Write, write, write," my grandmother told me when my best friend died years ago. "It will help ease the pain of your loss." Grief's a monster, but writing did--does--help. I wish you as much peace, love, and strength as you can feel.

    Oh, and for Dumb Stories of How Rude People Can Be Around Grieving People: I was asked at my friend's viewing "Was it a BAD accident?" (She had died in a car accident.) And I understood what they had meant, but I wanted to respond, "Clearly! It killed her!" Gahhhhhhhhhh, the stupid things people say at such times. And did they think I wanted to discuss the details of how "bad" it was in the first place, especially at her viewing?! That still burns me. Gah! Vent all you need to, and try to hold onto the wise and good things people say and do too.

    And what a blessing, indeed--it is clear to all of us--what a great husband yours was to you and what a gift his love was and is. That he was able to articulate it is richness beyond measure.

    Much Love,


  32. Your grief must be so great. I couldn't even imagine. I'll be praying for you. For God's sustaining love to be poured out upon you in extra measure.

  33. The Grief will never go away, but you learn to go on. Happy the Children are around you. Best thing. Listen to happy Music, that helped me. Good luck
    and best wishes for a Better new year.


  34. Hi Sandra,

    I am praying for you, and will be praying for you in the days to come.


  35. Merry Christmas Eve Sandra.

    To the one who asked about selling the farm, she must have been related to the one who wanted to know if my friends herd was for sale, not a week after her passing.One can only hope for those of that ilk.

    You are doing great! We love you , God loves you, Dave loves you. Don't despair!

  36. Oh Sandra, you're loved , and prayed for.Bless you and praise God for blessing your life with Dave, and blessing Dave with you.One day at a time, one prayer at a time...all anyone has really. I am praying for you.

  37. After reading your blog today and the comments I realize there is little I can add, except you are surrounded by the Light. God keep you as you walk through this dark valley and remember the key word is Through. A Christmas hug ( )

  38. You did what I have done time and time again . . . you wrote. I felt Gary's arms around me when I wrote to him, (knowing it wasn't the same, but it helped) and as I read your letter I was hoping it gave a moment of comfort to you in the midst of your unimaginable grief.

    Writing seemed to bring some kind of authenticity to grief for me . . . and yet it was so allusive because in the same breath the realization returned . . . and once again Iwould feel . . . "he is gone . . . "

    Heartless words and thoughts will no doubt continue . . . I hope your honesty extends right back to those words . . . I am sure I too have said heartless words to a bereft in my lifetime . . . unknowinly at the time . . . and if I have done so to you, I would hope you would "zing" me back so as to "teach" me.

    I am caring about you . . . right this moment. I trust you are holding Dave's professed love close to you today where you can reach out and grab a memory and think 'yes' with a smile . . .

    Beautiful love you shared . . . God knows and sends His blessing . . .

  39. Sandra you are a Beautiful Woman.. I love that you are honest to the core you are real about everything you feel and that is just the way God wants you. Your emotions, your feelings , your thoughts , I can't imagine anything more real they all make complete sense to me. God has given you a beautiful gift to share yourself and your hurt pain and sadness with us ..and what I read will stick with me all the days of my life and if I face such pain as you I will remember your words and it will give me comfort that someone else has trudged the path before me and left me with their thoughts and wisdom to fall upon.

    With Love ..Sara

  40. How like a child to get it and say something so sweet. And often, we adults in our brokeness say something really stupid.

    You have been on my heart.


  41. My heart is saddened by your loss. May you know the healing and comfort of our Lord during this difficult time.

  42. Sandra, I am visiting your blog for the very first time, following the link given by a commenter on another blog I follow. I feel like I've stumbled into a private gathering of family after the loss of one of its beloved members.

    Your letter to Dave is overwhelming in its love, and honesty, and pain, and faith. Fifteen months ago my 48-year-old husband had a heart attack; the Lord must have known I could not raise our son (age eight at the time) without his father, and preserved him. My heart goes out to you; you are now on my prayer list and your blog is on my "followed" list.

  43. Dear Thistle, please know that I am praying for you too.

  44. this reminded me of c. s. lewis' writings
    after the loss of his beloved wife. so raw
    and authentic.

    it also reminded me of jeremiah. dave
    was blessed to have you, too.

    i'm sorry people are so unkind. if i were
    in your place i would be in the fetal
    position 24 hours a day.

  45. I love your heart and soul broken opened and shared ~ I cry tears for you now ~ you said it best when you said you've known the love of a great man. May you also feel the love I am asking God to wrap you up in today.
    Love, me

  46. I am sorry for your pain, God bless.


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