Death of Husband Twice

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.

About Carol Ann Ritchey

Life is good because God is good.
This entry was posted in Alzheimer's, Bible Verses, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Death of Husband Twice

  1. Faye Burreson says:

    Peace and God’s love and strength are with you. I believe Johannes was a blood cousin of mine. I wish we could have met. Have a blessed life.


    • I wish we could have meet, too! Johannes has several relatives in Norway. I have held the letters. I need to inform them of his passing. I should have written long ago, but I don’t know the language, and I cannot read the return addresses. He used to write back and forth with them until he could no longer do it after the stroke. If you wish to discuss the possibility of your being his cousin, write me on my email address, Blessings to you…


  2. elizabeth says:

    What a sweet and tender blessing from heaven Johannes was Carol Ann. And how blessed he was to have such a beautiful wife as you. I’m sorry for your broken heart right now, but blessed by the wonderful story that was you and Bill and Johannes. The Lord continue to bless and keep you. (((Love and hugs)))


  3. Laura Best says:

    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. I’m sure can can gather some comfort knowing that you stayed at your husband’s side and did all you could for him.


    • Yes, I’m glad I had the opportunity to love him in that way. My days were absorbed in his care, and now I miss him terribly even though I know he is better off with the Lord than suffering here any longer. I know I’ll be better as time goes by and my mind and heart adjust to the change. Thank you for stopping by, Laura. I appreciate it. Blessings to you…


  4. jannatwrites says:

    God may not have provided another husband, but I’m sure He’s got a plan and a reason for it. Death is a blessing to the person who is suffering, but it is hard for those of us left to cope with the emptiness of their absence. I’m glad you have such strong faith and a relationship with God to get you through.


    • You have said it all well, Janna. God is good. I may have reached a turning point. Saturday in the middle of the night I was listening to a preacher’s message on “peace”. I realized that when my hubby died, I lost my peace. I prayed, Lord, I want it back. It’s as though a light turned on for me. Instantly, I had it back. Praise to Jesus, our God and Savior! I’m not sure that means I’m finished grieving, but it’s mad a difference. Blessings to you, Janna.


  5. pattisj says:

    I’m glad to see you posted a blog. 🙂 Your absence from WordPress has left a void in the blogosphere. I didn’t realize Bill and Johannes knew each other. He took care of you in your time of need, and you repaid the favor. What a testimony of God’s love.


    • Yes, they knew one another. In fact, Bill told me not to marry Joe. Bill thought he was poor and in debt. (Bill refused to deal with the long name of Johannes and always called him Joe.) Bill was wrong on both counts. I’m sure something made Bill think that way. He had my welfare in mind. This I know. Bill was a good husband, too. God was in control, and my heart was won by Johannes, who after we were wed I found not wealthy, but comfortable, and not in debt except for his van. I’m very glad I could be there for Johannes when his health became a burden to him. I owed him more than I could ever pay, and I am thankful that God allowed me to be his wife. Blessings to you, Patti…


  6. it must have been a horrible loss for you to lose johannes! he was there when you needed him most, may be thats why god gave you the chance to serve him with a shattering heart!

    I hope and pray that peace envelopes your angel heart and fills it up with love and beauty soon.

    lots of love and hugs.


    • Thank you, sweet Trisha. Yes, Johannes was there when I needed him, not only at the death of my husband, but for sixteen years. I’m getting through this time one day after another. Jesus never leaves us. He cares, and when I grieve, He comforts me. Blessings to you, Trisha…


      • I too can vow for the final part of your comment carol, if we beg, God truly envelopes us in her loving arms till we are brave enough to venture out!

        who else can we turn to but our true mother when we are shattered into pieces!


      • From your educational posts about India, I know that the people there believe in many gods and goddesses. Which one are you referring to here, and what area of life or geography do you believe is her domain? The God of the Bible claims to be Creator God of the Universes and all that is, existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but yet One God. Our cultures are very different. You are a sweetheart, and I pray for you, Trisha, and I treasure our friendship. May every rich blessing come your way from Heaven…


  7. becca givens says:

    Carol Ann, thank you for your visit, so I could follow the breadcrumbs back to you. It has been awhile since I visited. I am so sorry to hear of your loss of Johannes, compounded now with the grieving time for both losses. As well meaning, there are truly no words sufficient to ease the burden of grief. However, I remember you in my thoughts and prayers. I include the petition that the “all-knowing peace” remain as comfort to you until God’s plan is revealed to you. Be kind to yourself, you are a miracle! Blessings ~~


    • I appreciate you, Becca. Your post this morning was precious manna when I needed it very much. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. As you point out, I am waiting for God’s plan to unfold. I must be patient. Blessings to you, Becca…


  8. jayne says:

    I’m in awe at this story! Thank you for sharing your pain and grief! May the Lord grant you peace and comfort!


  9. Che Dio ti benedica. Un abbraccio Orofiorentino


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