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Tonight we put up our Christmas tree, the first Ravella/Gilbert tree. Actually we have two trees. One is artificial. It is perfect. It has p...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Psalm 115:1
Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.

This is the prologue to Ginger’s entry of happy. As we were talking the other day she was telling me how she felt happy, and I was saying I just feel normal. Normal, I never thought that would be my reaction after two weeks of marriage. I continue to adjust to my life, understanding my past my present and my future.

Losing a spouse involves so much more then the initial blow of the loss. In the first days of loss my pain was superficial and as time as gone on I have understood the depths of my loss and the many levels of who I am that were affected by losing Andrea. You would think after 4 years I would have been better prepared but I guess I did not think about losing Andrea other then the initial impact. What would I do about a funeral, really no more than the initial days. In a way I just couldn’t imagine what I would do beyond that because to think of life without Andrea was not really possible. At least at the detail of what everyday life will be like. Plus I was so focused on living I did not allow myself to think beyond the initial thought of living without Andrea. We were fighting to live and we were in the trenches together. It was hand to hand combat but we loved our life for no other reason than it was ours. Normal for us was 3-4 doctor appointments a week, sickness, a lot of time at home and constant prescriptions to be filled, pills to be divided into days and nights, back rubs and heating pads for the pain. That was our normal. I had forgotten what simply living was like. I longed to just live, it was Andrea's and my dream, and we did our best to adjust to cancer and make our life normal as it could be.

Then it hit me as I came home from work one day and I called Ginger and asked if I needed to pick anything up from the store. My life was normal. I got up for work took Anthony to school and came home to Ginger cooking dinner, unpacking of course, and if time and energy allowed a little time to relax together. But do you really want to know what I noticed first? It was when I laid my head on Ginger’s chest and I did not hear anything, I just felt the gentle rise and fall of her breathing. Her breathing was so quite that I could hear it. There was no rattling in her lungs, no strain in her breath, no accelerated pace, no struggle for air, no weakness to walk, she is healthy. It hit me how I had all I had prayed for, my life was normal.

I will tell you I have had to adjust to life without Andrea and it has proven more difficult then I had thought. Strangely it is how wonderful my life is that seemed to be the hardest. And to be truthful I never saw this as a potential area of difficulty. So much of my identity was in Andrea and fighting cancer and it ended so suddenly on Dec 17th. It was like standing in the front row of a concert and suddenly the music stops, it is silent but you still hear the music ringing in your ears. That is what it is like, the intensity is gone, the pressure of the fight, Andrea no longer needs my every attention and yet I found myself looking around as if I should be doing something I just did not know what to do. Life suddenly made no demands of me. I guess I did not realize how consuming the battle had been. And the silence only reminded me of the price that was paid. But Ginger took away the silence in my life. She came to me exhausted from her own battle, seeking normalcy in her life. Her smile warmed me and her words comforted me.

Ginger, who I know God blessed me with is the only person who could make me feel loved in my very soul. I want to explain it but it is hard for me, yet I feel I must try for you to understand the miracle that occurred in our lives. And it is nothing short of a miracle, unlike anything in my life. All I can tell you is there are very few things in my life that I have been so sure of. When I met Ginger in Junction, Texas, half way between San Antonio and her parent’s home in San Angelo, Ginger expressed how she felt about me. I will never forget that day because it was then that I knew she loved me. Her words felt like they physically touched me, deep within me, it was a connection that caught me off guard, but it was a feeling of absolute comfort, and trust. I have known love and I have been loved by Andrea but this was different. I never expected to feel this way again; I did not think it was possible. It is not that Ginger’s love is better or purer than what I had before in my life, it is just different. I knew at that moment when Ginger told me how she felt, and I saw her feelings expressed in her eyes we were brought together by God. I had found in Ginger someone like Andrea, whom I could trust with my feelings and with who I am. I had no fear of being hurt, taken advantage of, I saw in Ginger someone who loved me as herself, and that is how I had loved and how I would love if was to ever love again. That more than anything is what told me Ginger was put in my life by God, to be my soul mate, to become my partner in life. I knew that everything else would fall into place, I did not know how, but I knew it would. The kids, all 7, were part of this plan. this miracle was not for just Ginger and I, exclusively for our happiness, it included all of us. I trusted God, I trusted He would work out the details. And He has. For each day I find a deeper understanding of God's plan in our life. My life is different in so many ways, yet similar in every way that matters and I'm thankful for it. I trust in God's unfailing love who provided it.

So as I drove home the other day and the thought hit me, my life was normal. I could not help but reflect on all that had happened in my life. I turned down the radio and listened to the silence of normalcy. It is going to take some adjusting to and I will have to relearn what to do with myself and my time. The intensity of life has lessened but I think 6 kids in the house will fill a lot of my time, and I’m sure, take away most of the silence. But then again I have found the silence a little uncomfortable.

Psalm 116:1
I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.


  1. Thank you that you continue to share your stories with us. Your lives radiate mercy,compassion, and the goodness of God. I'm happy for you. It's a beautiful story. With love and hope that the story will unfold in many more glorious ways. Wendy and Haluk

  2. I love seeing your blog evolve...the story unravel. I love seeing you feel "normal" and Ginger "happy." What an amazing story, you two or should I say SEVEN:-). I know Andrea is smiling down on you. And I know she believed God would provide for you and the boys. Thank you for allowing us to share in your journey.