Not Ready

I had no idea on Thursday when we checked Matt into the hospital for a neutropenic fever that tonight I would bring my love home to die.  Did Matt and I know he was terminal?  Yes.  Did we think we still had months together, hopefully a couple of years? Yes.

My heart is breaking over and over and over again.  Just when I think I cannot shed another tear, another flood comes pouring out of me.  When I look at his face, the face that has loved me through so much life these last 17 years I am overwhelmed.  I can’t see a future without him in it. I can’t picture a night without him next to me.  Do you know that in 17 years we have spent 4 nights apart?  FOUR.  Our lives are so woven together like a beautiful tapestry that I do not know where I begin and he ends.

So you are probably wondering what in the world happened?  Well, yeah…me too.  Matt’s kidneys have just decided to quit working.  He started in renal insufficiency and by this morning he was in renal failure.  It was so rapid and so unexpected.  Initially his team of Physicians thought he would come out of it.  However with each passing day, his kidneys functioned less.  What this means is that his kidneys aren’t filtering out toxins and all of his medications are just hanging out in his bloodstream.  This equals neurotoxicity and it’s absolutely gut wrenching.  Last night I had to carry my husband to the shower and strip him down and bathe him.  Every time he is in the hospital I am the one to change him, clean him up and bathe him and help go to the restroom. Through the years of me working in the medical field he would tell me “I would rather DIE than a nurse see me naked.”  And friends he meant it.  To carry my 37 year old husband to the bathroom, take his clothes off and bathe him is the most heart breaking thing I will ever do.  My heart beats for this man and I would do it a thousand times over again, but seeing him this way is like no pain I can describe.

This morning his condition worsened literally hour to hour.  Finally his oncologist called in the neurologist again and his assessment showed my worst fear….Matt’s kidneys are failing and there is nothing to do.  The worst part is that it isn’t the cancer that is killing him, it is the chemo.  The last treatment that I don’t think he even wanted to do.  No, wait..I know he didn’t want to.  He was physically ill going into it, he was dreading it so much.  He did it for me.  For his kids.  Not because we asked him to, I have always told him I will support whatever choice he makes.  I have never pressured him into getting more chemo.  Chemo is a hell I would never encourage anyone to endure for more time.  Especially not the man I love more than any other human.  But he was so worried about me and his babies.  He wasn’t afraid to die, he was afraid to leave us.

When his wonderful nurse Tina (Tina we LOVE YOU, ADORE YOU and you are stuck with me for LIFE sister, so sorry), came in and asked me about making my husband a DNR it was like a nightmare.  I became enraged.  How can God ask to me to sign my husband’s life away when He has already made me do it with our daughter?  How God?  How many of my people do I have to hand over to you willingly?? When does it end!?!  Why?  WHY MATT? He is so good.  He is so wonderful.  He is so precious.  Why!?  As I signed the paper I had to repeat to myself “this is what Matt asked Michelle, this is what Matt asked.”  I cannot tell you how difficult it is to make the best decisions for your loves, when you just want them here with you.  No matter the cost.  Honoring Matt’s wishes is the hardest thing I have done yet.  But I’ve said that before….

Two hours after I signed the DNR Matt had deteriorated even more.  When the neurologist concluded it was “over” and time for “comfort measures” only I lost all control.  This cannot be real.  I can’t be here.  I am not ready for this.  NOT READY.  I didn’t say good-bye.  I didn’t know when he slipped away he would not come back.  He has slipped away before and always come back.   I didn’t know…..Lord please give me a minute.  Something.  Anything.  Let me tell him how much I love him one more time.  I didn’t know Friday morning when he asked me to cuddle him in his bed and Tina walked in a said that we were “SO DISGUSTING!!” that it was it.  That I wouldn’t feel him hold me ever again.  I didn’t know God to savor it.  To cherish it because he was going to leave me soon.  I didn’t know we would never see Alaska together as a family.  That his dream would never come true.  I didn’t know Lord.

It all happened so fast.  So very fast.  A flurry of activity and suddenly an ambulance is here and I’m riding home with tears pouring silently down my face staring out the window wondering how this is my life.  How is this happening?  Again?  How Lord, HOW?!  I am angry.  So angry.  Angry at the world.  Angry at God.  Angry at family who have been to scared to love us.  Angry at friends who have been to scared to love us.  Angry at this stupid disease that is stealing the love of my life away from me.  Angry that there are so many horrible souls out there who deserve death and that this is somehow this wonderful mans fate.  ANGRY.  I hate you life.  I hate you world.  You are so cruel.

I cried buckets of tears over Matt in the ambulance.  Buckets.  I told him how much I love him and how we will be together soon.  Not to fight for me or the kids, to just race home.  Love on our babies in Heaven.  Tell Isabella how much her mama loves her and cannot wait to kiss her sweet face.  Please Jesus, let Isabella be the first face he sees.  Oh the rejoicing that will happen for my love.  The JOY.  The LOVE.  The PEACE.  The suffering is almost over for my love. He will meet Jesus face to face soon and all of his pain will be gone.  No more suffering.  No more pain.  No more tears.  Before he lost consciousness I smiled at him crying and said “Heaven will be so sweet my love.” and he looked at me and smiled his sweet smile and said like a little boy who is excited “It sounds so nice.  I’m so tired of being sick.”  Oh my heart.  Oh my heart.

Tonight we are home.  When I told him in the ambulance that we were home he shed one tiny tear.  Because he was happy, I know it.  I have fought to honor him and give him everything he wanted.  I have fought to keep his dignity intact, and only I take care of him.  I change him, I clean him, I love him.  Just like he wanted.  Many times tonight I will kiss his lips and he responds and kisses me back.  He no longer can tell me he loves me, but he responds in the way he can when I tell him.  His babies gathered around him tonight and told Matt how much they love him.  They are heartbroken and need your prayers.  We all do.  None of us know how we can possibly go on without him.  I simply can’t picture my life without him in it.  He completes me.  And he always will.

I will leave you with a poem I read many years ago and wrote it in a letter to Matt one day in our early days because it captured just how I felt about him.  It still rings true today, even more so.

 

i carry your heart with me

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is youhere is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

 

22 comments

  1. Jennifer Jaqua · June 14

    Michelle, my heart breaks for you and your precious family. My daughter had texted me your blog to me this evening and I just read through your family story… Our family just walked this journey last year and we want you to know our family is praying so much for you and your sweet kids. I’m praying for you through this night and I pray you feel Jesus sitting right there in that room with you, He’s holding you all tightly in his arms and crying with you. Praying peacefulness to surround you and Matt and your little ones.

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  2. Lisa Shores · June 14

    Praying continually for you and your precious family. You are an amazingly strong lady. God will be glorified through you and your walk that you share so well. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for you and your kids. Stay strong precious family.

    Like

  3. Lori Gordon · June 14

    Michelle as I read this I’m preparing to take my husband to chemo for the second time around. I didn’t ever think I would have to hear those words again so when we did I just went numb. I think I have been numb for a long time. Just going from treatment to treatment as the chemo kills him a little more each time. Praying he wouldn’t get the side effects that showed up this time. Not wanting my boys men I should say to have to go thru this again. Knowing my grandsons like your precious kids are to young to be going thru this. They don’t know or understand what’s happening. Why Papa G is sick. Why we can’t stay there like we used to sometimes. I like you am angry! I Cried. I Cried like I have needed to do for years this morning. I never let him see me cry last time. I know he doesn’t get it. But my heart was breaking open for you for your babies for where your at for what your facing. My heart was breaking for my family that we are in this hell called cancer for the second time with no chance of an end. My heart is tired of being broke how many times can it shatter before you can’t put it back together again. I hate cancer! I hate what the treatments that are supposed to be healing are killing other things. I wish there was something I could do for you and those 3 babies. So this morning all I can do is cry and feel helpless. I know you know we all Love you it’s not enough now but soon I pray it will carry you when you need it to.

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  4. Jamie Walker Ball · June 14

    Oh dear Michelle, you don’t know me (I’m a friend of Brandi Castle’s). I am so very sorry. The story of your family has touched my heart so deeply, and I am sending you and Matt and your babies so much love. Praying for peace for all of you in everything that comes next.

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  5. Dian · June 14

    Dear Michelle, After reading your story, my heart is very heavy. If there was anything I could do for you and your family, I would gladly do it..I can only tell you that I am sure many people are wishing there was something they could do also to make things better. You must be a strong person who will carry on for your children. They will need you.
    Please don’t think that just because people seem to be distant at this time that they do not care, they just do not know what to say or do. You are all in many people’s hearts and prayers…Regretfully, Dian Darity, Oklahoma

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  6. shelly mora · June 14

    Praying for you and your family.

    Like

  7. Shelly · June 14

    Michelle, you don’t know me but you have my cousin as one of your biggest cheerleaders and Prayer Warriors (Lauren B.). I just ask that you let your FAITH be bigger than your fears, faith is the only thing that will get you through this….your friends will be there to help wipe the tears and with daily struggles but at the end of the day when you lay down and feel lost God will be your strength. I have read your journey and what a testimony your family is to others even through this storm. Big hugs, my heart breaks for you and your kiddos!!

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  8. Kimberly McKay · June 14

    Reblogged this on daily blessings and commented:
    Please send prayers for this family …

    Like

  9. Kimberly McKay · June 14

    I just saw your blog. My heart breaks for you and your family. Please know that I am praying for you all. I have this same type of relationship with my husband and can not fathom what you’re going through … I’m so sorry.

    Like

  10. Brian Doherty · June 14

    Godspeed to you Matt. I wanted to drop a line to let you know that one of your old friends is thinking about you. You are one of the most kind and generous friends I’ve ever had, and you have had an extremely positive impact on my life. I remember our days on the motorcycle rolling around town, going to the river and eating Greek house. I’m sending my thoughts, prayers and good vibes your way in hopes of buoying you in this time of struggle.
    Love,
    Brian Doherty

    Like

  11. Elizabeth Nix · June 14

    Sweet sister. We don’t know each other, and I cannot imagine what you’re going through. I won’t try to offer any words of comfort, because as I learned with my miscarriage almost 3yrs ago, there is none. I only offer my prayers, and to tell you that its okay to be angry with God. He can take it.

    “Preserve me, Oh Lord, for in you I take comfort.” Psalm 16:1 ESV

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  12. Leslie Waldrop · June 14

    With tears in my eyes I would like to say just how special your family is. I had the honor of treating your husband many times. You guys were such a special family to myself and all of my coworkers. There was no greater celebration than the bell ringing you orchestrated. I am so sorry to hear this news and I speak for my entire team when I say our hearts are breaking with you. We are better for knowing him. My prayers are with you and your family.

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  13. Virginia Kyle · June 14

    Michelle my heart goes out to you and your family. I went through this part of life 4 years ago when my husband had cancer. Your writing this message is so beautiful and touching. I can feel your love for Matt and compassion. I pray Heavenly Fathers arms are around you and your family for love and comfort. He will help you get through the next weeks and months, never for get he loves you and will always be with you.
    One day I hope to meet you as we are family. My love is always with you and your family.

    Like

  14. Linda Bement · June 15

    I am praying for you and you precious children. We are never ready for any of these things. I knew when I took my husband to the ER I would not be bringing him home. God revealed it to me as I ran in their asking for help for him. I saw them bringing him in and our Grandson running with them. God has such a love for us that I cannot understand but He does. Yes I signed the DNR. We each knew the others wishes and had told each other several times. I had 24 hrs to prepare for his home going and 6 hrs to prepare our daughters and grandchildren. I do not understand how, but Jesus wrapped His loving arms around all of us standing around that bed 2 and 3 deep and hugged us as we cried. My prayers are hugging you and your precious family now and will continue to do so. Linda in Oklahoma City, OK

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  15. Glenene Neal · June 15

    I’m so very sorry for the heartache your family is going through. We have been going through cancer treatments and surgeries with my 23 yr old son for the past year. I will be praying for God to wrap you in his love and peace as only he can. I will be covering you in prayer each and every day.

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  16. Denise Hayes · June 15

    Hi Michelle,

    My name is Denise Hayes. I had the honor of working with Matt at Cardinal Engineers for a year in 2014-2015. I met you, but I’m not sure you remember me. Matt was the kindest man, with so much integrity. He is my friend.

    I have walked a similar road and have had so many similar questions and feelings, However, no road is the same, and I am so sorry for the pain your family is facing right now. I thank you for being so brave to share your experience, it humbles me. Please know that your family is loved, honored and prayed over. The words are hard to express for some, myself included, but the depth of love you have and are sharing with Matt is extremely evident and beautiful.

    Praying for comfort,
    Denise Hayes

    Like

  17. Whitney Warren · June 15

    I don’t know you, nor do I know your family; however, I know that we are sisters in Christ. After reading through this journey, I empathize with you and the pain you are enduring. Words cannot express my heartfelt sympathy. All I have to offer you is prayer. Today I pray the Holy Spirit comforts you in a way that no one else can. I pray that His Love is so real to you and that Matt can rest in His arms soon. I too pray that he reunites with Isabella. You sound like such an amazingly strong woman. My heart hurts for you, but I pray that through all these trials, God will reveal Himself to you in such a miraculous way that you will allow your anger to be placed at the thief who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I pray you do not lose your joy for your beautiful children need to know that joy that radiates from your inner being that so brightly shines forth in your eyes, your words, and your story.

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  18. Dylan · June 15

    I am so, so sorry. I just read this and I may not know you, but I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through. My heart breaks for you, and I am praying for you. Let yourself continue to grieve, cry, and do whatever you need to do. Pour your anger out to God, He can take it. Jesus mourns with you, just as He wept over Lazarus. Vod is the Father of compassion and God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3) and He knows what it is like to suffer, better than any of us. Remember the eternal hope that Christ offers and how Matt will be experiencing a better life than this one by far (Philippians 1:23). Again, I am so sorry.

    Like

  19. Krystal · June 15

    Lord we come to u right now and declare healing for Matt precious lord Jesus for with u all things are possible and we just pray for your divine miracles and healing cover Matt with your healing from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet Lord Jesus we declare healing for matts kidneys in your precious might name Amen

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  20. Cynthia Roberson · June 15

    Michelle, I’ve been reading your blog shared through a friend (Morgan Collier). Having lost my mom this past Christmas Eve to colon cancer has been truly the worst thing I could ever imagine going through. I can’t even begin to imagine the the way you feel having lost a child and now having to say “see you soon” to the love of your life. I sit here writing in tears because it is ok to be angry with God. He will continue to love you no matter how you feel. Your love for your family and your husband shows through all of your writings. Thank you for sharing your heartache through words. I think sharing this puts our lives into perspective. You are an incredible lady. Always hold onto the Gods Promise that you will be together again.
    All my love,
    Cynthia

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  21. Jeri Hinkle · June 15

    I don’t know you but I lost my son to cancer on Christmas Eve. The last four years were hell on earth.
    The love you have for him will never go away, nor will the grief that comes in waves. I feel for you darling girl
    and am sending healing love your way. I pray you will find the strength to get through this.

    Like

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