Johannes and I were together 16 years of a blessed marriage. I was his 24-hour caregiver for the last five years, but last year, after his massive stroke, with his Alzheimer’s disease escalating, Johannes was completely confined to his hospital bed. The amount of care required increased significantly to include constant turning of his body, keeping his skin clean, giving medications and feeding him. All the while Alzheimer’s disease was destroying his ability to eat without aspirating (food and drink entering his lungs rather than his esophagus). This constant hands-on care of my husband formed a special bond between us. I was lovingly consumed with his welfare and determined that no bedsores would develop. By the grace of God, none did. His skin was free of any kind of breakdown.
Johannes stopped eating and drinking in the afternoon of October 14. Early in the morning of October 16, he passed with a hospice nurse attending him and me at his side. He seemed to be unconscious during those hours of struggle. By faith I know that Johannes is completely well now, present with the Lord in Heaven. This knowledge comforts me, but it has not greatly diminished my grief. My sorrow, I surmise, is all about me, my loss, and the gaping hole in my heart. It hurts.
This is my second loss of a husband by death. I first lost my husband Bill in July of 1996. Johannes told me that Bill had expressed his concern for what would happen to his wife after his death. Johannes promised Bill that he would take care of me, and, he truly did. Johannes married me nineteen days after Bill died. I confess that we barely knew one another. Johannes was a member of our church, but we didn’t know him until he volunteered to sit with Bill while I worked three of four hours each week to make ends meet during the last several weeks of Bill’s life.
My grieving period after Bill’s death was much alleviated by my marriage to Johannes. There was no time for me to think about my loss of Bill. Even the nineteen days between his death and our marriage were spent arranging Bill’s burial and our small wedding. After that, my thoughts were consumed by the attention required in having a new husband, a new home, and a new job. I am thankful for Johannes, and I praise God for His gift to me when I needed it most. Although God has not provided me an immediate husband this time, I am cared for by my brother and his partner, my children and more family, many friends, and kind and thoughtful bloggers. Thank you all.
God’s provision, His grace, and presence make it possible for me to survive this time in my life. I cannot imagine enduring grief without being able to call on the Lord in the lonely hours of the night when I feel like my heart is bleeding. Jesus is the answer. Praises to His Holy Name!
Philippians 4:19 – The Bible (KJV) – But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Psalm 37:3-5 – The Bible (KJV) – Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.