Featured Post

Perfect Imperfection

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...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm Sorry

PSALM 118: 8-9

It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.

I ended my last blog with the statement that last year I did not see how sick Andrea was. I have thought about that many times since Andrea died. Why did I not see it. Was I too wrapped up in the fight that I did not see her slipping away? Did I not want to see it? Was a afraid to see it? Was I blinded by hope?

What I really struggled with was Sunday night, Dec 16th, the night before Andrea died. She had begun to slip away, and was less responsive that day. Andrea kept staring at a spot on the wall and would only look away when I would speak to her, and then only when she heard my voice. Otherwise she would stare off in the distance. When I went to leave that night I told her goodnight as I always did, I whispered in her ear and prayed with her. I said communion with her and when I began to walk out the door I looked back and she was staring at the wall. I walked back to her and said, "Andrea are you okay, you are scaring me." She moved her eyes towards me and cracked a little smile. I kissed her and told her I loved her and faintly she repeated it to me. It would be our last exchange.

I beat myself up for leaving that night. It was Andrea's last night on earth and left her alone. I so wish I could go back and be with her that night. Did she wake up and look for me? Was she scared and needed me? All the while I was home sleeping. I had been with Andrea through all her treatments, chemos, surgeries, and doctor appointments even when she had to go have her blood drawn between treatments, yet on her last night I was not there. I struggle with this because I was so tired at the time, I wanted to get away. I gave up. Like running a marathon and being so exhausted you quit 100 yards from the finish line. Andrea never had the chance to get away and rest, she fought everyday, 24 hours a day, and I went home to sleep. I want to tell her I'm sorry. Sorry for leaving her and sorry for quitting.

But at the time I still thought she could get better, I knew medically she had a huge battle ahead of her, and I think my hope was that we could just get out of the ICU and go home. I did not want her to die in the hospital, away from her own bed and our home. I was clinging to the hope she would make it out and back to chemo. We both knew her odds were slipping away I just did not see it happening in the ICU. I wanted her to beat that place, in part because I did not want to take her there in the beginning. I did not want her to die there, in a sterile room, it was not home. Death, and Andrea losing her fight, was personal to me, and losing is the right word to use. Because I felt like we had lost; we were beaten. And in a way I did not want anyone to know. I really don't understand all these feelings but they are there and thankfully Ginger has helped me work through them. I know most of them are unfounded but they are real and they weigh on me at times. Maybe it is all part of losing a spouse, someone you pledge to love for ever. You are just never ready when forever comes to an end.

I had spent so much time taking care of Andrea. Now all I can do is go to her grave and pick the leaves out of the grass. I sit at her grave and make sure it is clean and her flowers are straight. I have wondered why I do that, was it just my neatness gene? But I think it is my way of still taking care of Andrea. My way of telling her I sorry for leaving the night.


  1. Wow. What a powerful post. Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly, Jim.

    I've followed your story since Andrea's passing in December. You see, one of our best friends passed away from melanoma in November at the age of 35. Julie left her husband Brendan (our best friend) and her three beautiful children, ages 7, 4, and 1.

    Many times over the last nine months, I have found insight in your thoughts and found encouragement through your faith. So, thank you.

    Take care,

    PS - if you're so inclined you can read more about my friends' journey on their blog at www.lyonsfamily.org (or on my blog as well).

  2. Jim, I wept when reading this. You have touched the heart of a woman that loves her husband as much as Andea loved you. Not many people experience love so freely and awesome as husband and wife. When I found your blog weeks after Andrea passing I read until my eyes couldn't read anymore. I could feel your loss and I do not even know you. God has now blessed you with another woman that loves you so deeply and yet allow you to still love Andrea, WOW! You know God did that. I read and keep up with you and your new family. I couldn't be more thankful for you sharing your heart and allowing all of us to grow with you. May Ginger and You continue to heal and build that marriage that you both had before the loss of Troy and Andrea. You both are a inspiration of the POWER of God in the mist of dark times. God Bless!

  3. Jim--
    All four of my grandparents passed away just a few minutes after everyone had left the room...and we all felt guilty, sorry for leaving them in their time of need. But I have always wondered if, somehow, they waited until we left? Was is easier for them to let go when it was just them and God in the room, no interruptions? Is that even possible? Only God knows. But it always gave me comfort to remember that we didn't leave them alone--we instead left them with God.