• Deborah

Blogging During Personal Tragedy

Updated: May 29, 2020

How to keep writing, blogging, and finding inspiration during personal tragedy.

Life happens to all of us. If you’re reading this, you have either experienced tragedy or you will. You can’t be alive on this Earth and not experience personal tragedy. At least, not as far as I know.

If we stayed safely as spirits in our heavenly realm never experiencing pain, suffering, tragedy, stress, and death, we would never grow to become the beautiful unique spiritual being God planned for us.

If you want to follow the path of any great spiritual leader (like Jesus is for me), you will see that their path is not an easy one to follow. That's how it was meant to be. If you want to have unwavering faith, want to experience great wisdom and compassion, learn all the various types and depths of Love, the way will be very difficult.

This week when deciding on what to blog about, it was really challenging. If you aren’t aware, I am heading towards the end of another personal tragedy with my husband's terminal illness.

Current Personal Tragedy

As near as I can calculate, my husband has been living with FTD (Frontotemporal Degeneration) for about twenty years now. I’ve been his Caregiver at home for the last few years as the disease progressed and he was no longer safe. There is no way to accurately describe this part of the journey. There are no words. It’s just tragic.

I could blog about an art technique, painting style, or how to compose the perfect photo, but that isn’t what this blog is about. (Because painting, gardening, and photography are my passions, I will undoubtedly add bits and pieces of these topics here and there). But not this post.

Inner Conflict

At this point, the human side of me would find it easy to just walk away from writing, not add another responsibility to my long list. Life is filled with choices and consequences.

But, when you read my mission statement, well, I can’t just walk away. I’ve made a serious spiritual commitment that requires a physical follow-through.

So dealing with so much this past week, what was I to do?

I’m a human being. I have limitations. I’m dealing with anticipatory grief. Exhaustion. I’m not sleeping well. Each day I’m on pins and needles wondering what is going to happen next. Each time my husband stands (with great effort), I’m praying he won’t fall. The hospital is the least safe place to be during this pandemic.

How do you sort out all of your emotions and thoughts, find clarity and inspiration when you are so conflicted?

Finding Something To Be Grateful For

Sometimes, I have to take some quiet time. I meditate on how God has helped me through other challenging times in my life. As they say, this isn’t my first rodeo. It was time for prayer.

I thought back to all of the other times I felt that He took me right up to the edge, right where the peek over the edge was downright scary. But, He always gave me strength and courage to turn back around and face whatever my current difficulty was, with the sure knowledge that I wasn't facing it alone.

Thessalonians 5:16-18 ~ “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7 ~ “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

As an only child, I learned how to entertain myself and be alone with my own thoughts. Through the years, I have seen many adults that are very uncomfortable looking inside.

They are afraid of their true self and what they might find there. I took a firm stand years ago to trust God and not provide space for fear. Fear destroys confidence, trust, and faith… if we let it. It’s a choice.

I fully realize all of my shortcomings, weaknesses, and failures... I have faced them and embrace them all as part of my journey. He loves me anyway.

I know that if I look inside, I only find His Spirit dwelling there, loving me unconditionally and waiting to help me. This, too, is a choice. I have invited him into my life, my heart, and my mind.

After reminding myself of this choice and this truth, I found I was centered once again. I felt His Love for me and knew that my suffering doesn’t go unnoticed.

Our situation with this illness can be an experience to open up our hearts and minds to new depths of Love.

After this exercise, I was once again reminded of how Loved I am. In the scheme of things, I am important to Him, just as each one of His children is. I recommitted myself to the mission. All would be okay.

It’s Never Too Late

No matter how discouraged we become, no matter how far off the path we may find ourselves, no matter how deep and dark the valley, He will bring His Light.

Never give up hope, never quit, never lose your faith. All we have to do is call upon Him. He will show us the way.

Accomplishments I Made This Week

Soon I will be sharing a very personal story as to how we decided to donate my husband's brain for autopsy and research. (I will also outline the process for those of you that may need this information).

I must add here, I am finding all of the documents required on this FTD journey very tiring and tedious, but absolutely necessary.

If you don't put important documents in writing, your desires and those of your ill loved one will not be respected. You have to ask all of the hard questions while your loved one is able to clearly and with a sound mind clarify what they want. I will go into detail in a separate post.

I worked hard on gathering my caregiver notes, medical history, and appointment summaries. I also came up with clear instructions on how to copy MRI and PET Scan data and easily send the information to a clinical researcher for free. This will help others moving forward.

Over the months and with the help of a retired pastor, I created a brief outline of a memorial service for my husband. I found it almost comical when I realized that I had tucked away my notes several times and in several places around our home. I had been avoiding the task. Time was up.

I am feeling that we are drawing nearer to the end of my husband's journey here. The need to complete the final arrangements felt like it was being placed top of mind this week. No more putting it off. I think I am about 90% complete now.

The hardest part of the memorial service planning was creating what I like to call the "Remembrance Speech" for me to read. The word "eulogy" was too depressing. My mind didn't want to hear that word or contemplate that word. So I changed it for the program.

As I thought about my husband's life, I kept picturing how he sounded then, how he looked, his various mannerisms... this was all so painful because he's been gone so long. I miss him so very much.

The person I care for now is a complete stranger. I might see little tiny bits of my husband now and then, a moment of clarity. But, I now have a helpless innocent child to care for in a weak man's body.

He needs my guidance, care, physical assistance, and my insight as well as my advocacy. I fight for us each and every day while I care for his every need. It is a choice, but with my deep understanding of why we are here and my personality, walking away is not a choice.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, we shall see), I am not one to find writing through the pain helpful. It doesn't ease the pain or bring me peace.

In the meantime, I have been feeling inspired and am working on another painting.

Until next time,

Be well, be blessed.