April 12th – Davidene’s note

Hi, Friends :

Another weekend is here, which makes me think about last weekend, which makes me smile. Last Saturday I was allowed to step back into a role I had for years, but which has decreased during the recent years of Kent’s illness. My church women had an annual event – a church wide ladies’ luncheon and program. I did not do anything very helpful in the weeks leading up to it, but I was able to help with the stage arrangements for the program, and act as MC for it. It was so enjoyable and comfortable, and was also encouraging that such times would again be in my life. I was thoroughly happy for those hours.

Then, on Sunday, I was able to stay throughout both Sunday School class and the church service. Afterwards, as was Kent’s and my custom, I went out to eat with a group of friends. As I walked up to the table, I was aware that a certain sweet friend was moving people around to make sure that I had a seat in the middle. I wanted to cry with relief. There I was surrounded by people, and could hear all of the conversation. She had been doing this for me for the weeks since Kent died, and I was touched by her sensitivity. I had the opportunity to tell her how much I appreciated her gestures in my behalf. On the way home, I got teary just thinking about how blessed I am to have friends who go out of their way to think about how I feel in new situations. (And any situation without Kent is a new situation, no matter how normal it was before.) It seems crazy, but thinking about where to sit is a big deal! It is so easy to feel alone when I am at the end of a row or a table. The absence of Kent is so much more apparent to my heart unless I am surrounded by people. It seems silly, but aloneness is a pervading feeling, and with it comes emotional unease and insecurity. And it is very easy to be “alone” in a crowd. God bless the people who see and understand this, and I have many family and friends who do. They make my efforts to “do life” so much easier.

With such love around me, and wonderful prayer support, I think I am doing well. Really. There is grief, of course, and will be for a long time. I still do not have a clue as to what ‘Davidene’ and her life will eventually look like, but I am taking one day at a time, and that is enough. I am still doing crazily stupid things, almost daily, but I read that this is standard with severe grief. I am exhausted by day’s end, and sometimes by lunchtime, but it makes sleep come easy – which is a real blessing.

All in all, I am thankful for you and your prayers. Please continue, and think about my children and grandchildren as you do. I wish I could blog what is in the lives and hearts of my children, but suffice it to say that they have a great depth of grief, too, while they are also trying to help me and their own children. Lance and Stacy’s family also lost “Grammie”, Stacy’s sweet and lively Grandma, within weeks of Kent’s death; so they have had a double dose of loss. My family has been amazing to me, and I love them all, way above my ability to express it in mere words. God has truly given me great blessings. I love them, and the God who gave them to me.

Love, Davidene

 

EASTER SUNDAY, 2013

Another first today – the first celebration of Easter without Kent here. It made me think all day about what it must be like in Heaven on the day which we choose to set aside to celebrate His resurrection. Our are holidays even noted in Heaven? Is every day there a day of celebration of who Jesus is and of what He did for us? I wonder if such a celestial occasion would be marked by music, light, and joy? – or by worship and quiet awe? – or both?

I do know that Jesus Himself instigated one event of remembrance that He specifically wanted His followers to continue after His departure to Heaven – the one we now call “Communion”. It began during the solemn and reverent Passover dinner, and was followed by a song and prayer in the Garden. I suppose that it is not necessary in Heaven, where Jesus is present; but I don’t know for certain, because we are not told. I attended church with my youngest daughter and her family in Ada, Okla. It was a sweet and timely service for me, a comforting one. It was highlighted for me by “Communion”, and the comments made about it. I felt extra emotional support, and knew prayers were being offered for me. Thank you.

After that service, we all drove back to Oklahoma City, where we met with the rest of the Humphreys clan – sixty plus strong in number. It is our family tradition to meet as a whole to celebrate both Christmas and Easter, and Easter is always special. We pray, have a big meal, and play together. The time is centered around the children, and most of it takes place outdoors. The adults run around taking pictures of the kids having fun, and eventually it all quiets down to quiet conversation on the porch. It is a relaxing, easy, family time, and it was even today. Kent’s favorite part had been everything, but we loved watching him out taking pictures with his tiny camera, acting as much like a kid as anyone. He loved sitting on the porch and talking (of course!), and I missed him terribly. The whole family was attentive and sensitive, and if any of you read this blog, THANK YOU for making this day easier for me. You sat by me and talked, were aware when I didn’t know where to put myself, and filled in the empty seat beside me at dinner (you were a blessing, Randy). All in all, I think my children and their families and I did well getting through another first. What a strange journey. Another happy/sad day. But a good one. Enjoying my family, Davidene

Monday, March 25th – update

Dear Friends, it has been awhile since I posted anything, but not because I didn’t try! I sat here multiple times, and did not know what to say. It is bizarre. Life is like walking through a thick fog. You are walking, going somewhere in familiar territory, but nothing looks the same or quite right. Rain happens when you don’t expect it and don’t see it coming, usually in the form of tears. You actually get some normal things done, although they are now accompanied by mistakes wrought by not thinking well. I feel like my brain has short-circuited, frying some other circuits, too. It just doesn’t respond in the clear sharp way that it used to.

I have made some pretty big mistakes already, which makes me want to stay home and do nothing so as not to be so foolish. But I think it is better to keep going out and living life, however haltingly, then to stay safe. It is a dilemma some days. Some of my mistakes have actually been comical, such as the time I tried to mail an old phone to a company that takes them, but I put my new phone in the box instead, barely catching the mistake before the box had completely left! I have done so many of these things, that I am keeping a whole page of silly mistakes that I write down daily. It will give me some giggles some day, I’m sure. Right now, acting this way is frustrating! I would like to think it is not the normal “me”.

My family passed a huge “first” a week ago. We took the first weekend of the grandkids’ Spring Break from school, and went to our lake house. Only two days – a good starting point. Of course, we walked in, took one look at Kent’s empty chair, and had the first good cry of many. But over-all, the weekend was highlighted by lots of laughter, playing games, watching funny movies, and doing “sweet crafts” with the kids. Hannah, Kenda’s oldest girl, found an great idea on the internet about making sundresses out of men’s shirts. So each granddaughter picked one of “Wads'” shirts, and we are creating sundresses for them. We are all going on a trip to the beach this summer, and the girls will wear their “Wads dresses”. The highlight of the weekend was probably the hours spent sitting on the floor, looking through boxes of old pictures that Kent had been going through to put on the computer. It was precious.

Another huge successful “first” for me happened yesterday – I got through a whole service at church. I didn’t cry, and I even enjoyed the music. That has been the hardest thing – music. Who would have thought?

Well, as you can tell, we are all doing life a day at a time, and that is what God wants, anyway. He sends people, cards, comments, calls, and sunsets at just the right time, every day. His words are precious and sweet – food for the soul. With such nourishment and the calmness of prayer (like a good night’s rest), healing will come. Slowly, but surely. We love all of you, Davidene and family.

 

Sunday, March 10th

I am at home today. Can’t do church and music yet. It is gray and rainy outside. My two dogs are lying beside my chair as I type, asleep. Although this sounds melancholy, I am actually fine this morning. I have been worshipping with the Scriptures that your comments and emails have given me, and it is peaceful and calm in my heart. I think your prayers have everything to do with that. You friends have really upheld me for the past days, and I am so thankful. There are still plenty of tears, but there is hope, too. I wrote in my journal yesterday about another set of opposites that I feel – a hole and a lump, both huge in size, both inside of me. But today it has been easy to dwell on the fact that God will fill the hole with his grace and plans for me. He will also shrink the lump in time. Some days all I can do is to feel them. But today is one of hope – thank you.

I also journaled about the things I am thankful for, and the list is long. One of these days I will share with you all of the things Kent did to prepare for this time, and it will amaze you. I need to write about the ways in which my children and friends have sustained me. They have been wonderful, and have shown me love in ways that I did not think about before. They have taught me things to say and do that are so helpful, and also things not to say and do. Helpful stuff.

Well, I must quit for now. Thank you for making me and my family your on-going ministry of prayer. God’s family of brothers and sisters has never been more precious to us.

Love,

Davidene

March 7, 2013 – update on Davidene

I thought I would keep you posted about how life is now for me. You have been faithful in prayer for years – could you keep it up for a little while longer? I need you. I have been journaling, and I thought I would share some of it with you. I call my journal “Reflections”. It is somewhat random, with scattered thinking, but that is how I am right now.

I have been a widow for 35 days.  It is not what I imagined at all.

Music hurts my heart.  You would think that it would bring comfort to hear about how God is my strength and comfort and hope. My head knows that, and I live every day only by His grace, peace, and hope. But music reminds me only of what I have lost – why I so badly need God’s presence right now. It makes attending church hard, too. I have yet to get through an entire Sunday morning at church. And yet, sitting in my recliner in my living room, with the fireplace going, not looking at the empty recliner beside mine, comforts me. You would think that spending evenings as we did for so long would keep me in tears. But the opposite is true. It seems right – restful and calm. How can such opposites reside in the same entity?

Another set of opposites in me – simplicity and chaos. The two activities that primarily defined my life were taking care of Kent and writing for him. Both are missing at present.  I should have more time, but life seems busier than ever – filled with things that are not me. Like going to the office, sorting through stuff that were in their rightful places to begin with, an activity made more painful by giving and throwing away. He doesn’t need them anymore, and someone else can use them either physically or emotionally. But my heart needs for him to need them. That would mean he is with me.

I woke up this morning thinking, “This is enough. He needs to come home now.” I cried for hours. Then my daughters arrived and cried with me. Then we all hugged, made some coffee and chai, and went back to writing “thank you” cards. And how very thankful we are for our friends and family who have so faithfully shown love and care in so many ways. Although it is real work just to think and write, I am glad for the tradition of the cards. We want to say “thank you”, and we mean it.

How do widows make it without loving children? My kids and grandkids have sustained me in so many ways. When my girls arrived yesterday, they came bearing cards and pictures made by grandchildren. Carly, my eleven-year-old granddaughter, spent a long time on the computer, printing out many many photos that she thought would make me happy. They are all of her and her brother being silly and adorable. They are now all over my house, spots of happiness everywhere. My son, Lance, has supported me in untold numbers of ways. His dad prepared him to oversee the business, and teach me what I need to know and do, and he has been amazing. He is dealing with his own grief, but he has made the way easy for me, just as Kent knew he would.

I think I am finished for today. I will keep on sharing my journal with you as I can. I love you and your prayers.

Davidene

Feb 6 – update

Dear Friends:

Yesterday we observed graveside and memorial services for Kent. Many of you were there, and came to get a hug. I loved that. Many of you are too far away to come, so I thought I would share a few things about yesterday.

One of my dear widow friends told me that, in a strange way, I would enjoy the day. She was correct. I loved it, and Kent would have, as well.

I woke up to a gloriously sunny day with no wind. Since that never happens in Oklahoma (especially the “no wind” part), I decided that the whole day was a gift from God. Heaven seemed happy. My children and grandchildren were healthy, and you should have seen my handsome grandsons in their suits. It may never happen again that they are all together in suits, but I have pictures to prove that it happened yesterday. Their “Wads” would have said, “Classic!” (By the way, for those of you who are wondering, the name Wads rhymes with “Dads”.)

Both the graveside service and the memorial service were filled with praise and honor to our Heavenly Father, as well as tribute to Kent. I think both of them were pleased. Of course, true to Kent’s pre-planning, he had his services written down for us. We just followed his instructions and added a few tiny details. He made everything easy for us before he left.

When we arrived back at the house, it was obvious that my children and grandchildren did not want to leave me there. But I had a plan to keep somewhat busy for the evening. I had my dogs returned to me.  They had been staying at a friend’s home during the past chaotic week. They are both trained therapy dogs, and I think they immediately took me on as their next work project. It is nice to have something alive and happy to see you when you get home. The house seems really big now, and empty without all the medical equipment sitting around. Please keep praying for me and my family. We need it. Adjusting to such a huge change will not be quick or easy for us, but I do know this. God would not have taken Kent if that plan did not work into the plans He has for the rest of us as well. We will trust Him to develop what life is supposed to look like – one day at a time. No hurry, just let grief and time work its way eventually into something else. How can I not be “Mrs. Kent”? Only God knows.

Again, thank you for your prayers and other thoughtful ways of expressing your care. We do so appreciate it. I’ll still be in touch to let you know how things are from time to time.

We love all of you,

Davidene and family

Feb. 3 – update

Dear Friends:

I want to share with you the beautiful tribute that our daughter, Kenda wrote about her dad:

 

The Wads

Two days ago I lost my dad.  We called him The Wads.  I know you’re thinking us kids made up that name when we were young and couldn’t pronounce words, but that is actually not the case.  My brother and I were older than I want to admit when we developed a secret language that we were sure no one else would be able to speak or understand.  Mostly, we started everything with “W” and ended up sounding a lot like the French chef muppet.  That is when dad became The Wads.
You knew the minute The Wads walked into a room…and the minute he walked out of it.  He was a loud speaking, big laughing, close talking, arms waving, fast moving, high octane, force of nature. He had a faith so big it left no room for worry, an optimism that plowed through every obstacle, a passion that sparked the fire of dreams, and a joy that swept up everyone in his path.
He taught me the value of prayer and bible reading.  As a little girl I watched him go into his study every morning to meet with God before going off to work.  He taught me not to forget the alone…the widows and orphans.  I watched as he took care of them every month with his encouraging cards and gifts.  He taught me to give to others until it hurts, then give some more.  He taught me to show grace and love not only to my friends, but to those who would wish to harm me.  I saw how he treated others in business even when they were unjust to him.  He taught me to work hard, every hour of every day.  And he taught me how to think big, dream big, and believe I could do anything.
His life was an adventure.  Definitely not because he chose an exciting career…he was a businessman, a distributer…but because he chose to dream.  He chose to allow God’s dreams to fill his heart, and he chose to pursue those dreams.  He believed God could use a single businessman from Oklahoma to change the lives of people across the world.  And he did.
My dad’s life was amazing, incredible, brave, and more powerful than he knew.  But he would never say that of himself, only of the God who gave him life.  In fact, Wads said this…”If Jesus can take a driven, impatient and religious Pharisee like me, and begin to change me, then he can do it with anyone.”
In a world full of people who are beat down, stressed out and depressed…going through the motions, but going nowhere…caught in the doldrums.  Wads would say we can all have a different kind of life.  We can all have joy and passion, energy and adventure, because we can all have the God who provides it.
I am proud, honored and eternally grateful that I got to be his daughter.  And in his honor, I will take this life and I will live it to the fullest.  I will allow myself to dream and to get swept up in the adventure God has for me.  And when I come to my last day, I will be as happy and peaceful as my dad was on his.