My ways…

…are higher declares the Lord Isaiah 55:8-9

Warning, this is not pretty, not “spiritual”, it just is what it is.

So, I believe it’s here.  This depression that has been lurking for the last month.  I’ve been dreading  it, pushing it back, ignoring it.  But it’s here, I can no longer avoid it.  I hate feeling depressed.  Hate it more than anything I can think of.  My husband struggled with depression most of our married life.  There’s a stigma that comes with depression when you are a christian….yeah, basically you’re not walking with the Lord, or some even went as far as to say that he had let demons rule his life.  Helpful huh? Nothing like pushing someone deeper into the dark hole they are already in.   Anyway, over the years he learned more about the different kinds of depression and got some medical  help.  These days I have a whole new appreciation for my husband and what he struggled with.   He still did every day life without complaint.   He had an amazing compassion for those who struggled in this area..he understood them and wanted to give them hope.  True Hope.

Thing is, Chris is not here to help me get through this.  He’s not here to tell me that its gonna be okay.

My life has been reduced to an endless amount of responsibilities.  Responsibilities don’t seem like such a big deal when you have someone to share them with.  Raising children doesn’t seem so daunting when you have someone to share the burden with.  I’m trying to figure out now what the point of everything is?  Before, Chris and I were building a life together.  We had even starting talking about what it would be like when all the kids were gone…what ministries we would be involved in, places we would like to go.  Now the thought of my house being empty is terrifying.   The thought of doing anything by myself is depressing.

My children are all still anticipating their lives..looking forward to their future, and they should, and I will help them every step of the way.  But a part of me wants to hold them back, that little selfish, self preserving part of me.

I hope this “step” in the grieving process is not one I have to revisit often.  I hope it doesn’t last long, but my feelings tell me otherwise.  The chasm seems dark and deep.   I know others have walked this before me and have come out fine on the other side.  I’m doing my best to remember that.

 “… It is the LORD who goes before you.

He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.

 Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Deuteronomy 31:8

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13 Comments

  1. I just want to hug you and tell you it will be ok. Because, it will. I don’t know how and I don’t know when but even though you are in that ugly chasm right now, think about where you have been in the last few months. You and your kids got through that, and you will get through this. And it’s going to be many years before you are home alone, and you may never be (I hear your basement is mighty comfy). Take one day at a time. (Cliche, I know.Sorry) LOVE you!

  2. Being a single mom is never easy, no matter the reason we’re in that situation. We don’t have time to think about all the things we’re responsible for because we’re too busy doing them all. Though I’m certain you don’t want it to, my heart aches for you. This parenting gig by yourself is a tough deal but you should lean on those who’ve done it before; these people have been where you are and they have tried and true techniques for getting through. While you have this time of questioning what you’re supposed to do with your life now, use it to really explore. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find. I wrote a blog about just that: http://caraduchesne.wordpress.com/2011/09/28/joy-to-the-world/. It’s not your situation specificly but it’s my (unsolicited) advice as to what might make the difference in your, now single, life. Chin up. Fake it until you make it.

  3. I never knew that depression could feel like a dark beast stalking you, but it can. Sometimes the beast can be kept at bay, other times it cannot. Know that you will always defeat the beast in the end, and that the struggle, brief or prolonged, is temporary.

    I don’t know how you are feeling…wondering what happened to your future, being so utterly alone in your day-to-day life. God knows, I don’t want to know what that feels like. You are in my thoughts and prayers every day.

    Thanks for writing this blog, Nicole. It’s…, well, thanks.

  4. Holly Palacio

    You don’t need to keep it ‘pretty’ or ‘spiritual’ for us, just real. We love you always and even though I cannot fathom your walk, I am confident that Christ does and is walking with you. He felt this depth of sorrow in the Garden and is sure to recognize your grief as His own. Please know you and your family are forever in our prayers.

  5. Susan

    Hang on to the cross….all our hope lies there….cast your eye upon Jesus. When it seems there is no hope….

  6. Adrienne

    Many Chrisitian women have and do struggle with depression. Catherine Marshall comes to mind as does Elizabeth George. In fact Elizabeth George addresses it up front in the introduction to her book “Loving God with all Your Mind.” Elizabeth’s George’s verse she uses to refocus her mind (in many battles) is Phillipians 4:8

    Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

    It is SO hard to do that. Sometimes, it’s hard enough to even WANT to do that. Hugs.

  7. Theresa E. Gonzales

    Hang in there, depression affects so many people in so many ways, USE your friendships to help you thru this, and your children and yes our Lord God. I am so sorry for you loss and you were given such a huge job to do alone. But remember The Lord and many others are with you. Prayers are being said.

  8. Patti Sandiford Thomas

    Thanks for sharing with us, Nicole. Love you and praying.

  9. Pamala Price

    Many times I have wondered if this would be the natural thought/occurrence of myself as I tried to envision what it would be like. I am so sorry. Thanks for telling it like it is. I am daily praying for you. I wish I knew what I could do to help. Any ideas? Loving you.

  10. Ok. So now I want to run right over and hug you tight! But I will be there next week! Love you!

  11. Gail

    I LOVE your honesty. Ignorance is behind people saying that about depression. Physical and mental differences are present because we are human and God made us all different and all unique; and God allowed these differences in us because of the people that He would put in our path to influence as we worked our way through it all. Don’t doubt who you are, or what you are feeling,…Just be authentic. You’re doing a great job of dealing with everything. I’m proud of you!

  12. Dave Hanson

    A friend of mine passed on your blog post to me and I thought I’d leave a note. I lost my wife about a year and a half ago. She dealt with depression all her life and yes it is a difficult road that your husband travelled. I also know there is no bright side to the loss of a spouse. It is simply terrible. My understanding is this was in March. It is likely you are experiencing full grief for the first time. As a parent and a widow (at least this was the case for me), the first three months are numb. The focus is getting through a funeral, the first part of the estate, and the kids. Always about the kids. A counselor who was working with my son told me a very interesting thing about mental health treatment. He said – we treat things that should be treated – he said often he has people wait a full six months before sitting down to talk with someone. The grief we feel (and for most people the worst of the grief happens between 3 and 9 months) is normal. That’s not to say it doesn’t hurt. Doesn’t present one of the greatest challenges you’ll ever face. But grief is a huge part of the process. It is worse for those who’s spouses died suddenly (like yours). I don’t know your situation, but I will tell you grief is just a part of it. You will walk with it no matter what. It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything hugely wrong long-term. It’s a huge deal to have a spouse taken away. You’d probably be crazy if it didn’t hurt this much. There are coping mechanisms, but please know mostly it’s just about feeling right now. It will for some months. My best advice is to find people you can share your feelings with… friend, relative. Sort of like the blog posts, but a more human to human method. These people need to understand this is about solving a problem or pumping you up necessarily. This is just about listening. You are a mother. Parents have to do this for their kids – I’m sure you’re doing it already – but you need that person/people to unload some of the burden, to just listen.

    As for positive steps, my best advice – based on experience – is to do two things. First, try and find something to do that’s just you. Maybe just one hour a week. But it should be fun and should not involve the kids. This is for you to remind yourself about life and there are things you still enjoy. I joined a volleyball team and still play for about 1.5 hours every week. It was one of the best things I ever did. The other thing I would consider is picking a big project you can do with the kids. I picked a vacation date out into the future with my kids and told them we were going to plan the trip and do the trip. This is less about making anyone feel better and more about helping the family unit start functioning in a new way. It wasn’t all wine and roses, but honestly it kept us going during some bad times and it really helped all us to learn about the dynamics of a one parent – widower – household.

    Unfortunately, there are young widows made every day, but it is still a relatively small group. Most of the resources and help are really designed for older folks… just my experience. If you ever need to talk or ask questions about being a young (younger) person who has lost a spouse. Please don’t hesitate to contact me. You can get my information from Karen Zimmerman – the mutual friend.

    I’m sorry for your loss. I’m sorry you have to walk this journey. We never really get over this loss. We merely learn to live with it. That’s OK. As long as we remember to live.

    • nice to “meet” you Dave. Thank you so much for your great advice. I thought your last comment was pretty profound. thanks. And I do have a wonderful support of friends who are amazing listeners…so very thankful for that! Doesn’t take away the stress of parenting 4 teenagers and a 7year old alone, but it’s nice to know that I’m not alone.

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