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Eagle-96

Six Weeks Out

19 posts in this topic

This is my first post here after reading through a few topics and I'm ready to share.

First my story:

My wife and I met at work in 2002 and were married for 13 years. We all know the story; wife, lover, best friend. We did everything together. She still made me feel butterflies up until the end. Thick as thieves, partners in crime. You name the sappy, dopey, saying about people madly in love and it was us. We decided early on not to have children. Nothing wrong medically, we just chose to go through life as a party of two. It's funny when we would tell people that we didn't have children you would always see the look on their face as if we had endured some sort of tragedy that had stricken us with the inability to have kids. Nope, just a simple choice. Lori's medical history had always been fine. Her family medical history was a different story. Her mother had a massive heart attack at 50 but survived with complications. Both of her aunts had died of heart attacks in their early 50's. Her brother had a heart attack at 52 and survived. You see where this is going. On March 31, 2017 she complained of chest pains. We went to the emergency room(not the one in a hospital) because it was close to the house. She had just gotten over bronchitis that week so we thought it could be related to that but wanted to be sure. She had gotten a clean bill of health from a cardiologist a month prior so we thought, "let's just make sure". The ER sent us home just after midnight with a benign medical diagnosis and we were relieved it wasn't her heart. We stayed up that night as she was still in pain. She went to the bathroom like she did a million times before. I heard her making sounds I knew were not right. That's when I found her on the floor struggling to live. I called 911 and started CPR. It seemed like hours before the EMTs made it but I felt a sense of relief that it would be ok now. We got to the hospital and they went right into the cath lab and found a 100% blockage in in artery. The docs came out and said they were able to place two stents and I thought GREAT, she made it and she's going to be ok. We'll get through rehab and nurse her back to health and and and... There was to much damage to the heart. She died on 04/01 at 10:43 AM. There were so many meetings with the doctors for updates throughout the morning. Each one got a little more bleak. The news became worse and worse. Much of that day is a fog. I was a zombie just going through the motions, signing forms, trying my best to just make it to the next minute. One thing that is crystal clear however is the "oh no" moment I found her and fought along side her to keep her here. That image will forever be burned in my memory. Upon reflection those 5 minutes were, at once, both the worst and best moments of my life. I know that sounds strange but hear me out. It was the worst in that I felt so helpless even while giving CPR. I felt terror and fear that she was slipping away and I was powerless to do anything about it. It was the best simply because my sweet wife was not alone during that time. I was with her trying desperately to save her. We were together like we always were. She Was Not Alone. I hope she found comfort in me being there as I always had been. That is one shred of peace that I hold onto knowing that she may have felt some small bit of comfort having me there. 

Another thing I hold onto is that although this pain I am feeling is deeper and more agonizing than anything I could ever have imagined, she is not the one that is grieving me. I would never wish ANY amount of pain or heartache on Lori, let alone the depths of despair I am in now. I find comfort knowing that I am the one that bears the grief of losing a spouse and not her. It's what men are supposed to do. We're supposed to check out the noises in the middle of the night. We're supposed to put our coats down in the puddle so our damsel won't get her feet wet. We guard the fort. We are the knights in shining armor. THAT is what gives me a cup of peace in this ocean of sadness. I also hold onto the fact that even though she was taken suddenly, we left nothing unsaid. We both knew exactly how we felt about each other. There are no regrets. We said I love you often and made sure we both knew how we felt about each other so I have no feelings of sadness that we could or should have said more.

For me it's still not day to day but moment to moment. I feel like a nuclear blast has leveled everything around me, but I'm still here. I never in a million years could have imagined the amount of sorrow and grief I feel right now. Everyone around me tells me how to "deal" with it. DEAL with it? This is not something you deal with. This is my life, not some insignificant blip on the radar. I think about her ALL day EVERY day. That's what her friends, co-workers, family don't understand. They saw her weekly, monthly, sometimes daily for short times. I was with her ALL the time. That's what they don't get. They had a piece of their lives taken. I lost the whole thing. I know they mean well but as I have seen on here in many posts, "you can't understand this level of loss until you've been through it". A small part of me WANTS everyone else to feel my level of hurt. I want to scream, "Don't you know what's happened? How can you carry on?" But at the same time I don't wish this pain on anyone. It's something that challenges me. Then there are the reactions I get from co-workers, acquaintances, etc... They don't know how to act. It's almost like I have a disease and they don't want to make eye contact. I get that fact that they may not know what to say, but I wish there would be some sense of normalcy. It's strange to say the least. 

 

Well, I'm six weeks into my membership in the club that nobody wants to be a part of. In here I know I am not alone. 

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You aren't alone. I wish it were otherwise. Eagle-96, I'm terribly sorry for the loss you now must confront and this reality you must live in. I'm close to 5 months, and it doesn't go away, eases off, gradually, but it will never disappear. 

Friends will have a hard time with the relationship they have with you, they don't know what to say or if they even should. Family members mean well, but they don't know either. I felt like I was diseased for the first couple of months, some people wouldn't even look at me. People still tend to be uncomfortable around me. It's perfectly understandable, before this happened to me, I was blissfully ignorant of this level of grief. I wish I still was. 

Your situation has a few parallels to mine, the unquestioning love for one another, being with her until the end, dying unexpectedly and feeling helpless to do anything. Throw normalcy out the window, that world is gone. This is a new "normal" and it's horrible. Time won't heal this, the pain will always be a part of you, just as your love for her will always be there. Time allows for coping and acceptance, it may place a scar over the wound, but it'll never truly go away. 

Like my wife, your beloved no longer suffers from any of our frailties, no sorrow, no regrets, no agony of flesh or mind. They are released from all of this, and as you mentioned, it's US who carry this cruel burden. 

This will be a journey you aren't prepared for, one where rules of time and expectations don't exist. This is your journey, no one can tell you how to grieve, how long, or what you should or shouldn't do. The only principal I insist everyone maintains is self care. Eating right, hydration (H2O), finding an experienced grief counselor, if needed, perhaps seeking out a widow/widowers support group. Reach out if you ever feel hopeless or you simply can't cope. Believe me, this journey has many valleys, a they tend to show themselves just when you think you're doing "okay". 

Post here as often as see fit, the people here are beautiful. They carry a horrible wisdom and are always willing to share and help out any way they can.

peace and comfort,

Andy

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I am so, so sorry for your loss, Eagle-96.  I am sure your Lori would have known you were by her side doing everything you possibly could to save her. 

None of the grief books I read shortly after I lost my darling, came close to describing the pain and agony that lay ahead.  But this forum - as you have already discovered, you are amongst fellow grievers who understand all too well. I hope being here will help you as much as it does me.

Sending strength and hugs.

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17 hours ago, Eagle-96 said:

I felt terror and fear that she was slipping away and I was powerless to do anything about it. It was the best simply because my sweet wife was not alone during that time. I was with her trying desperately to save her. We were together like we always were. She Was Not Alone. I hope she found comfort in me being there as I always had been. That is one shred of peace that I hold onto knowing that she may have felt some small bit of comfort having me there. 

Another thing I hold onto is that although this pain I am feeling is deeper and more agonizing than anything I could ever have imagined, she is not the one that is grieving me. I would never wish ANY amount of pain or heartache on Lori, let alone the depths of despair I am in now. I find comfort knowing that I am the one that bears the grief of losing a spouse and not her. I  THAT is what gives me a cup of peace in this ocean of sadness. I also hold onto the fact that even though she was taken suddenly, we left nothing unsaid. We both knew exactly how we felt about each other. There are no regrets. We said I love you often and made sure we both knew how we felt about each other so I have no feelings of sadness that we could or should have said more..

Your post touched me in an amazing way.  Thank you for that.  I too was with my husband when he left this world and we always told one another how much we loved and cherished one another.   We were blessed with 45 years together and I too am grateful for that time.  Same here, - no regrets - we always showed our affections to one another and was never afraid to confess our love for one another.  I am also thankful and comforted that when he left this world, he knew much he was loved.     I think while on this earth, there are lessons we must learn before moving on.  Sometimes painful things can teach us lessons we didn't think we needed to know.  I think some of those lessons maybe learning of struggle; sorrow; submission and love to name a few.  God wants us to know the of love, for love is the very essence of God and we cannot receive it from any other source.   My Charles was loved and loved.   He is and always have been the love of my life; I miss him like crazy and always will; however, I know we will be together again someday and we will never have to worry about ever having to part again.   My Charles is with me still - I carry him in my head, in my spirit, and always in my heart.

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Eagle,

My husband was in the hospital awaiting bypass surgery for five arteries when he started having another heart attack and I ran for help, they came back and started working on him and threw me off the ward, locking the door behind me...so you are fortunate you got to be there with your wife the whole time because I have had a hard time ever since that I was disallowed that, we were always together, always there for each other and to not be able to be there for him when he's facing something so crucial as transitioning to his next life, well that's just hard.  My only consolation is that maybe it took every ounce of him to deal with that and maybe it was easier if he didn't have to worry about me and could focus solely on what was to come.  I don't know, it's weird the thoughts we have when we're facing something like this.  He'd just had his 51st birthday.

I am so sorry for the loss of your wife.  There are no words adequate enough.  You have found a good place to come to, with a group of people that understand what it's like to lose the person you loved most, the person that was everything to you.

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I find comfort in the words from the many posts I see here in that they are a mirror's reflection of what I feel. The adjectives on this board are essentially the same from person to person. Darkness, despair, loneliness, regret, sorrow, pain. They are the horrible words that we ALL feel. It means a lot to see these words in so many of the stories here. Don't get me wrong I don't wish this agony on anyone but there is comfort in knowing I am not alone. There ARE people that know the pain we endure. There is a fine line between sympathy and empathy but at the same time a canyon of distance. People in my life mean well but they just can't find the words to say sometimes. I've heard enough jargon in the past six weeks to fill a lifetime. Before April 1st I didn't know what to say to those that grieved a loved one. I thought I was helping with, "Time heals all wounds", or " - Insert loved ones name here - would want you to do that". I simply didn't know. I hope that this experience can make me a better comfort to those in need. We all have a knowledge that nobody wants, but one that can be an amazing tool to help those in need. We are equipped with something that can mean the world to someone. I intend to use this pain to help others, and hope that the Lord will sharpen this tool to it's full effectiveness. 

I know I did all that I could for Lori in those moments on the bathroom floor but I still 2nd guess myself with all of the decisions we made that night. Should we have gone to a full hospital(egregious mistakes were made by the stand-alone ER. They sent her home in the middle of a heart attack and every test they performed pointed that direction unbeknownst to Lori and I). Should I have demanded more tests? Should we have gone that night for a 2nd opinion? Should I have called her sister who is in the medical profession for advice? I'll always question my decisions even though in my heart I know we did what we thought was best. It's the classic fork in the road situation. Should I have turned left(literally) instead of right. I'll never know what that outcome would or could have been and that is a bitter pill to swallow.

Whenever Lori or I had troubles or worries in our life we would always say, "The sun is gonna rise tomorrow no matter the circumstance". It was our way to comfort each other knowing that whatever happens, we had each other and that was enough. That saying always provided comfort and relief to us. It gave us a sense of calm in the storms of life. That saying just seems hollow now. I know the sun will keep on rising, it just wont be as bright. Theodore Roosevelt sums up our feelings perfectly with his diary entry from February 14, 1884. His mother AND his wife both passed away on that day within an hour of each other. His diary entry simply states:

 

 "The light has gone out of my life".

 

 

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Eagle-96, No, you are definitely not alone here. Not on this forum anyway.I hope you have support from family and friends who will constantly stick with you throughout your journey of grieving.

You and Lori sound like my Ed and I. Two peas in a pod. I am deeply sorry. We know the pain, sadness, loneliness, and many more emotions that go with losing our soulmate. The total devastation of a life and the living of two lives together gone.

I lost my Ed to sudden cardiac arrest. No time for last words. Upon reflection, we didn't need them. We both expressed our feelings on a daily basis. Love never dies.

Keep posting here when you feel the need. We all know and understand.

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21 hours ago, Eagle-96 said:

Before April 1st I didn't know what to say to those that grieved a loved one. I thought I was helping with, "Time heals all wounds", or " - Insert loved ones name here - would want you to do that". I simply didn't know

It makes us a little more forgiving towards others that don't know what to say so resort to the cliches that we hate.  They mean well, they just don't know.

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21 hours ago, Eagle-96 said:

I know the sun will keep on rising, it just wont be as bright.

So true!

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21 hours ago, KMB said:

I lost my Ed to sudden cardiac arrest. No time for last words. Upon reflection, we didn't need them. We both expressed our feelings on a daily basis. Love never dies.

I like that, we did also.

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Eagle, I am so sorry for the loss of your Lori. I totally get the small measure of comfort that comes from it being you facing the grief, and not your beloved. I have always felt that if either one of us had to face this, I would far rather it was me and not my Ken. People say "life goes on", but how can it? How dare it, when our lives are in tatters?

Take care, mate, and no, you are certainly not alone.

 

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Mrs. Plummer, Thank you for posting and letting us know you are still there. I hope you are doing as well as can be expected. Those words are what I say to anyone who asks, but only to those who stick around long enough to hear an answer. Some people ask and they are turning and walking away at the same time. They are rude and don't deserve an answer. Like you, I feel that I would rather take on this pain filled, lonely journey than my husband. I would not want to see him suffering in the way that I have been.

Take care of yourself!  (HUGS)

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14 minutes ago, KMB said:

Mrs. Plummer, Thank you for posting and letting us know you are still there. I hope you are doing as well as can be expected. Those words are what I say to anyone who asks, but only to those who stick around long enough to hear an answer. Some people ask and they are turning and walking away at the same time. They are rude and don't deserve an answer. Like you, I feel that I would rather take on this pain filled, lonely journey than my husband. I would not want to see him suffering in the way that I have been.

Take care of yourself!  (HUGS)

It's the small slivers of consolation that help get me to the next minute. I know we all have gratitude and peace knowing that the ones we loved most in this world don't have to walk this road. I have a hard time even fathoming the despair Lori would be in today if I was the one that passed. My heart swells with the knowledge that she is not in the place we all now reside. 

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On 5/15/2017 at 1:54 PM, Eagle-96 said:

Upon reflection those 5 minutes were, at once, both the worst and best moments of my life. I know that sounds strange but hear me out. It was the worst in that I felt so helpless even while giving CPR. I felt terror and fear that she was slipping away and I was powerless to do anything about it. It was the best simply because my sweet wife was not alone during that time. I was with her trying desperately to save her. We were together like we always were. She Was Not Alone. I hope she found comfort in me being there as I always had been. That is one shred of peace that I hold onto knowing that she may have felt some small bit of comfort having me there. 

Eagle, I just read your story. I am so sorry and I'm glad you shared with us on this forum.  I can relate to much of your story.  I lost my Pat suddenly and he also had a family history of heart disease.  His mother died young, and his brother recently had a serious heart attack but survived.  Pat was the one who did what he was supposed to - the gym, ate right, etc, etc, but the genetics could not be overcome.  

I was touched by your posting about "those 5 minutes".  I understand, but I did not get the opportunity to "help" him during his last moments.  We had just got home from the hospital.  He had chest pains that morning and the plan at the first hospital was to keep him overnight, though the tests were coming back ok.  But....there were no beds so he was transferred to another hospital.  Another but.....they ended up discharging him at 1030pm, because the tests were looking ok!!  I picked him up, brought him home, and debated whether to stay or go home.  (We weren't living together and my daughter was home from college so I went home while he went upstairs. ) He never made it to bed, he died as I was pulling out of the driveway.  I found him the next morning.

Of course I went through all the scenarios, what if the first hospital had a bed, what if the 2nd hospital didn't discharge him, what if I had stayed!!!  He still had his phone with him so it must have been so quick and so big that he couldn't even call 911.  If I was there, I probably couldn't have saved him.  I have come to peace with this.  I truly feel that things happen the way they are supposed to happen.  He did not want me to be there.  He waited until I left.  He did not want me to witness his death.  He did not want me to be helpless.  He wanted me to be the one to find him, nobody else.  And your situation happened the way it was supposed to.  You were meant to be with her so she would not be alone.  Thank you again for sharing your story.

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4 minutes ago, HHFaith said:

Eagle, I just read your story. I am so sorry and I'm glad you shared with us on this forum.  I can relate to much of your story.  I lost my Pat suddenly and he also had a family history of heart disease.  His mother died young, and his brother recently had a serious heart attack but survived.  Pat was the one who did what he was supposed to - the gym, ate right, etc, etc, but the genetics could not be overcome.  

I was touched by your posting about "those 5 minutes".  I understand, but I did not get the opportunity to "help" him during his last moments.  We had just got home from the hospital.  He had chest pains that morning and the plan at the first hospital was to keep him overnight, though the tests were coming back ok.  But....there were no beds so he was transferred to another hospital.  Another but.....they ended up discharging him at 1030pm, because the tests were looking ok!!  I picked him up, brought him home, and debated whether to stay or go home.  (We weren't living together and my daughter was home from college so I went home while he went upstairs. ) He never made it to bed, he died as I was pulling out of the driveway.  I found him the next morning.

Of course I went through all the scenarios, what if the first hospital had a bed, what if the 2nd hospital didn't discharge him, what if I had stayed!!!  He still had his phone with him so it must have been so quick and so big that he couldn't even call 911.  If I was there, I probably couldn't have saved him.  I have come to peace with this.  I truly feel that things happen the way they are supposed to happen.  He did not want me to be there.  He waited until I left.  He did not want me to witness his death.  He did not want me to be helpless.  He wanted me to be the one to find him, nobody else.  And your situation happened the way it was supposed to.  You were meant to be with her so she would not be alone.  Thank you again for sharing your story.

I haven't told many people about the last few minutes. I guess I want to spare family and friends any additional grief. I certainly don't want them to have the images I saw. I feel like I can share here because so many people have been through the exact same thing and maybe it can give them comfort to know that others are rowing in the same boat that they are. I am so very happy that you have gotten to the point where you are at some semblance of peace with what happened to Pat. I'm not there yet. I still wonder. I still 2nd guess my decisions. I still wonder if the CPR I performed could have been done better. My heart knows the truth but my mind won't let me come to terms just yet. You are right! Everything happens for a reason and things turned out the way they were supposed to. Maybe I'll find that comfort some day. I sure hope so.

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On 5/16/2017 at 8:36 AM, Eagle-96 said:

The sun is gonna rise tomorrow no matter the circumstance". It was our way to comfort each other knowing that whatever happens, we had each other and that was enough. That saying always provided comfort and relief to us. It gave us a sense of calm in the storms of life. That saying just seems hollow now. I know the sun will keep on rising, it just wont be as bright. Theodore Roosevelt sums up our feelings perfectly with his diary entry from February 14, 1884. His mother AND his wife both passed away on that day within an hour of each other. His diary entry simply states:

 

 "The light has gone out of my life".

 
 
Right now it may look like everything is falling apart and you just can't see the light at the end of the tunnel; perhaps you are that light for someone else.  Stranger things have happened and God uses us for HIS purpose.   There is definitely light at the end of the tunnel.  The tunnel represents what is unknown to us and the *light* represents all the things that can be known to us.  We must always seek the light and keep learning and growing.  You quoted Roosevelt as stating - "the light has gone out of my life"- maybe so, that however, does not keep us from being a *light* to others.  I don't  think we should ever shine too brightly so that our light is seen by others, but shine so that through us, others can see God's Light.  If we do that, I think our *light* will never go out.
 
Stay strong; night is always darkest before the dawn and your life is just the  same - these hard times will become lesser and lesser, and things will start to get better.   What's broken can be mended; what hurts can be healed; and no matter how dark it gets, and it has the ability to get darker than midnight, the sun will shine again; maybe not as bright as before; than again, maybe brighter if God's light radiates through us.  Don't confuse your path with your destination.  Just because it's stormy now doesn't mean that you aren't headed for sunshine.
 
Be Blessed and stay Strong.  
 
 

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23 hours ago, Eagle-96 said:

I have a hard time even fathoming the despair Lori would be in today if I was the one that passed. My heart swells with the knowledge that she is not in the place we all now reside. 

That has been my one consoling thought too.  I am so thankful my George did not have to go through this.  

I've had a really hard time grasping that there is "reason for everything", instead preferring to believe that some stuff is just really rather random.  Yet I'm reminded of a book I read years ago, "Abandonment to Divine Providence" by Jean-Pierre De Caussade https://www.amazon.com/Abandonment-Divine-Providence-Jean-Pierre-Caussade/dp/1420926586  I do know some things that happen in this world, while apparently allowed or at least not prevented, are NOT "God's Will".  Rape, murder, theft, any sin, these things happen on a daily basis, and people are left grappling with them.

In this book it talks about accepting everything as at the hand of God.  I used to be able to do that...this however, has been unlike anything else I've ever experienced.  I could accept abuse, a husband leaving, losing a much prayed for baby...oh, not easily!  It was painful as everything!  But losing my beloved husband is on a whole different plane from anything else I've ever gone through.  And to accept that, I couldn't consider the possibility that this was anyone's will, let alone my beloved God's!  I am the first to admit, though, that I don't know everything, and certainly can't know the mind of God.  I can't see into the future, I can't know what could have happened had he lived.  I am focused on only one thing and that is I've lost my Beloved!  That overshadows everything else in life!  But perhaps the reconciliation lies within a combination of the two opposing views that perhaps aren't so opposing after all.  Perhaps it is rather a random act and perhaps there is no rhyme or reason to it...or perhaps there is...either way I can't know what that could be, and there's no way my finite mind could understand it!  Mine is only to accept and live with it and know we'll be together again.

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23 minutes ago, KayC said:

That has been my one consoling thought too.  I am so thankful my George did not have to go through this.  

I've had a really hard time grasping that there is "reason for everything", instead preferring to believe that some stuff is just really rather random.  Yet I'm reminded of a book I read years ago, "Abandonment to Divine Providence" by Jean-Pierre De Caussade https://www.amazon.com/Abandonment-Divine-Providence-Jean-Pierre-Caussade/dp/1420926586  I do know some things that happen in this world, while apparently allowed or at least not prevented, are NOT "God's Will".  Rape, murder, theft, any sin, these things happen on a daily basis, and people are left grappling with them.

In this book it talks about accepting everything as at the hand of God.  I used to be able to do that...this however, has been unlike anything else I've ever experienced.  I could accept abuse, a husband leaving, losing a much prayed for baby...oh, not easily!  It was painful as everything!  But losing my beloved husband is on a whole different plane from anything else I've ever gone through.  And to accept that, I couldn't consider the possibility that this was anyone's will, let alone my beloved God's!  I am the first to admit, though, that I don't know everything, and certainly can't know the mind of God.  I can't see into the future, I can't know what could have happened had he lived.  I am focused on only one thing and that is I've lost my Beloved!  That overshadows everything else in life!  But perhaps the reconciliation lies within a combination of the two opposing views that perhaps aren't so opposing after all.  Perhaps it is rather a random act and perhaps there is no rhyme or reason to it...or perhaps there is...either way I can't know what that could be, and there's no way my finite mind could understand it!  Mine is only to accept and live with it and know we'll be together again.

Thanks KayC:

I really struggle with the concept of God's will. I reflect on being at the hospital while Lori was still fighting and praying that she would be ok and that she would make it. A peace came over me when I paused and then asked God that although I wanted nothing more than for Lori to live I also wanted his will to be done. After all, He knows what is best for our lives whether we agree with the plan or not. The pot doesn't question the artist. He knows what we need is more important than what we want. It was the most difficult prayer in my life knowing that in His grand design His answer might be no. 

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I appreciate your expressing this here.  I, too, was praying when George died.  I had a hard time praying in the next year, and I am one who has always prayed and have even taught classes in prayer!  But I came through this and He's shown me He was with me all the time.  It was just me not understanding...

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