25 December 2015

Dealing with Loss During the Holidays by Teresa S. Mathews

Carlton posing with his "wise man" crown!
He loved having fun at Christmas.
Yes, it was made from a pie pan and yes,
he was very proud of it!! lol
As most of you know I lost the love of my life, my husband Carlton, on May 7th and as expected I have been dealing with overwhelming grief. There are days that I make it through without crying, then again there are days when all I do is cry. When you love someone and have been married to them for 28 years the loss is unbearable.

I have found out that the holidays are especially difficult. The first Mother’s Day we were at the funeral home for the wake; that was very tough for my sweet mother-in-law. Father’s Day was rough for the boys and Thanksgiving was extremely difficult because sweet Carlton loved eating lunch with his family and he was very thankful for turkey! J

Christmas was our very favorite holiday, as worship leaders we loved singing the beautiful Christmas carols. Every year at some point we would sing O Beautiful Star of Bethlehem and a newer one that he loved was I’m Glad I Know Who Jesus Is and we can’t forget Joy to the World. There is absolutely no better feeling in the world than losing yourself in the wonder of Christmas; the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus!  Until you lose the love of your life; I have found everything has lost its appeal. I haven’t lost my love for Jesus, but the joyful celebration I once felt is just not there this year.

I know there are different ways to deal with the at times almost suffocating and over powering grief that sweeps across me, my favorite way is to just crawl up in my Father God’s lap and let Him hold me and soothe my pain.  Reading His Word and praying is a wonderful way to find the solace you need. I am going to share a few scriptures that the Lord brought to me, usually late into the night, when my sons are sleep and the house is way too quiet. I have been a Christian since I was five years old and at the age of ten I started reading the Bible through from cover to cover, and I am still amazed that no matter how many times you read it certain scriptures don’t register with you until the exact moment you need them. GOD is great like that!

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. This is the one that He brought to mind when I was on the way to the hospital during the time Mom’s hip was broken in the nursing home. I was crying and telling Him I felt that I couldn’t take anymore, then this precious scripture came to mind. 

Joel 2:25-29 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. 27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed. 28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: 29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. I came across this scripture on March 22; this wasn’t long before Carlton began to get worse. This proves that GOD is always looking out for us, sometimes we are forewarned when trouble is coming, but most times, GOD wants us to live in the confidence He provides His children: unwavering faith!

Jeremiah 31:25-26 For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul. 26 Upon this I awaked, and beheld; and my sleep was sweet unto me.  This was another of those restless night’s scriptures. I know when you are going through hard places there are times when you can’t rest or sleep but GOD has promised us it will come! Another scripture about this is Proverbs 3:24 When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid: yea, thou shalt lie down, and thy sleep shall be sweet.
There are so many more scriptures I could share that have been my saving grace during this time, but this one has been the most special to me; 
Isaiah 54:4-7 Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer. The day I found this scripture I felt like I was drowning and this was like a lifesaver being tossed to me. I won’t go into details but it was a particularly trying day and the Lord knew I needed to be reminded of His great love for me. 
When I married Carlton I had only worked a few years, and when the boys came along He wanted me to stay at home with them and we stepped out in faith believing GOD would supply our needs, (and of course HE DID).  So I basically went from my daddy’s provision to Carlton’s and when Carlton left for Heaven it was very scary for me, a woman with no college degree, to think about providing for myself and my sons. I do pride myself on the fact of being a quick study, so, when the Lord reminded me of this scripture I immediately realized the error of my thoughts. Just as HE the put the words, GOD’S GOT THIS, in my spirit the day Carlton was diagnosed with cancer for the second time; they are even more true to me now that HE is proving to me daily that HE does in fact have everything that I need, precisely at the moment I need it! GOD IS SO GOOD!!

Below you will find a poem I wrote a few days ago, I don’t mind you sharing it but please leave my name on it, as it was written especially with my dear, sweet Carlton in mind. 

CHRISTMAS IN HEAVEN

Christmas was our favorite time of year,
The joy, the laughter, the spreading of cheer.

Loving the story how Jesus came down;
Singing the carols, oh, what a beautiful sound.

We loved the presents, receiving and giving.
The happiness of the season made life worth the living.

We thought we would celebrate this year just the same;
Until the day you heard Jesus calling your name.

This year Christmas for us will be lonely and blue; 
but I'm glad that's not the way things are for you.

I know that you are happy in Heaven above;
the beautiful place that is filled with GOD's love.

What joy you must feel to look on Jesus face,
and to say thank you for His saving grace.

Your first Christmas in Heaven must be glorious and grand,
and I can't wait for the day I join you in that land.


© Teresa S Mathews 2015


Yep, these were just a tad long for him! 
He was happy with every present but he did love chocolate!
Christmas 2014

Christmas 2011
Big, Squishy Hug Christmas 2010
Christmas 2012


Christmas 2013
Our last Christmas together 2014





Merry Christmas From the OWG Crew;

Carrie, Diana, Noela, Bonnie and Teresa!!




24 comments:

  1. TERESA, thank you for sharing this lovely post. I know it had to have been difficult to write. The scriptures that you mentioned God has brought forth to me many times as I have gone through trying times; this past year especially. Nothing as dark as what you have gone through, but trying nonetheless. For some the holidays are not joyous at all -- especially those who have loss a loved one or who are sick in body. God bless you, Teresa, and remember He said He would have everlasting kindness and mercy on you! What a promise! I love you, my sweet friend. Thank you for sharing the pics, too.

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    1. BTW, I meant to tell you I'm totally diggin' those red boots! :)

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    2. Yesterday and today has been good and bad. Lots of sadness, missing Carlton but also lots of joy remembering the good times we've had.

      I do love my red boots too!! lol

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    3. Yesterday and today has been good and bad. Lots of sadness, missing Carlton but also lots of joy remembering the good times we've had.

      I do love my red boots too!! lol

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  2. Oh Teresa, Your grief expresses joy thru your poem - and I can relate. I lost my husband on June 6th, and what a hole we have in our family. I was so profoundly busy taking care of my husband during his illness that I didn't realize others were facing the same tragic situation. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your feelings, poem and scripture blessings. I was feeling a bit out of sorts today until you shared about losing your loved one. Just knowing his soul is in heaven is a celebration like no other. May we both have a much happier and fortunate new year.
    Blessings and Sharing His Love,
    Barb Shelton

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    1. BARB I am so sorry to hear about your loss too, but I am so happy to know we will see our dear husbands again. To know they are healthy and healed now, means the world!!

      Looking forward to the New Year and the new path GOD has chosen for me. :-)

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  3. Such a hard year and difficult holidays. Thanks for sharing your precious memories in words and photos. You're in my thoughts and prayers. Love you, dear mom!

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    1. MARIAN it has been very hard but having precious family like you makes it easier. Love you my sweet girl!!

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  4. loveLoveLOVE and hugsHugsHUGS and blessingsBlessingsBLESSINGS then some more love and hugs! It's amazing how many times God brings you to my mind to lift you up to His throne. I know no one can take Carlton's place, but know there are so many people who love you, dear lady. God is indeed good to keep you and give you timely Living Words. He is so dear.

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    1. CARYL, thank you for the sweet love and hugs and blessings and especially your prayers! That is what is getting me through this time. Big ole (((HUGS))) to you!!!

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  5. Teresa, May the God of all comfort continue to be with you and your family!

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  6. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I hurt for you, even knowing he's been rewarded with a home in heaven, but with those left behind, hurting. Merry Christmas!

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    1. Oh MELODY, it's a glorious thought when I think about all he is enjoying now and amazing it has been sharing Christmas with the LAMB. That thought makes all this a lot easier to endure!!

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  7. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I hurt for you, even knowing he's been rewarded with a home in heaven, but with those left behind, hurting. Merry Christmas!

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  8. Thank you for expressing and sharing your heart with us in this post, Teresa. It's beautiful, and such a wonderful tribute to Carlton and the loving God of grace Who provides for each of your needs. My heart grieves for you, and rejoices for Carlton - at the same time. You, and your boys, are continually in my prayers, sweet Teresa - love you and sending hugs!!

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    1. Oh BONNIE, we love you too and so appreciate the prayers. GOD has been so good to me and the boys to give us such good friends. :-)

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  9. Teresa, thank you for sharing your heart, pictures and Scriptures with us.
    May God bless you and your sons and continue to give you strength, comfort and peace each day.
    Continued prayers for you and your family.
    Hugs, love and blessings,Tina

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    1. TINA I am so glad I was able to share, it has been so hard to concentrate in the past few months I wasn't sure I would be able to. Thanks for the prayers!! :-)

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  10. Teresa, thank you for sharing your heart and memories! I pray God will continue to strengthen you and give you His peace as the months and years go by.

    My sister just lost her hubby in November. She's having a difficult time. I wish I could be there as she goes through this process. I tagged my niece so she can share this my sister.

    Hugs and love to you and your family!

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    1. REGINA, thank you for sharing this post. I hope your sister can find some comfort in my words but most importantly in GOD's Word. :-)

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  11. Carlton was an amazing man and I pray God brings you comfort. So good talking with you yesterday sweet angel! Hugs and love!!!

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    1. CARRIE you made my night when you called. I love that it was ok to laugh and cry when talking with you. GOD blessed me abundantly when He placed you in my life. Love you my sweet friend!!

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  12. Dear TERESA, thank you for sharing your heart in such a beautiful, open, and touching way... Through it, we feel your love, your loss, your enormous pain, and your joyful hope at one day having that spectacular reconciliation with God and your beloved. I so wish I could have met Carlton, I love his spirit, faith, humor, and kindness... And I only know him through you! I know how hard it has been for you and have cried tears with and for you. I'm always so thankful though knowing that God is with you every step of the way. I particularly love this verse God gave you... Jeremiah 31:25-26. I don't remember reading that verse before but how true those words are!
    I love your poem Sissy, it makes me want to cry and smile at the same time. And I adore those pics you posted too!!! Hugs and much, much love from your little sister down under. xx Oh and yeah, those boots are rad!! ;)

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    1. NOELA, I so wish you and Allen could have meet CARLTON too, I know one day will be all be together in Heaven. Maybe we will all live in the same neighborhood! :-)

      Life will never be the same without him here but I am so glad we had such fun memories to look back on.

      GOD has been so good to me to bring all the wonderful people into my life to pray for me and the boys during this time. It still amazes me that He gave me that little sister I always wanted, I just wish you live a little closer to me! lol

      I didn't get to wear those boots this year, it was way too hot for them. It felt like Summer yesterday, it was 78 degrees (25.6C) here but I may or may not have worn red cowboy boots! lol :-)

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