Suddenly a widow

After doing the usual dating quite unsuccessfully, I decided to try online dating since a couple of friends found their husbands. After a couple of months, Richard found me. He sent me an email, we began chatting, he went to my hometown to meet me, I went to his hometown to visit, he proposed, we got married, and we lived happily ever after. Well, at least for a few years.

Richard was 15 years older than me, but you wouldn’t even realize if you met him. We hit it off right away, we were best friends, we complemented each other. There was nothing we wouldn’t do for each other. We were very similar in what we wanted and how we wanted things. Of course it wasn’t perfect, we had differences of opinions that come as a result with the age and everything that comes from being husband and wife, but overall we learned to compromise to make things work.

We started off in a condo, sold it, bought a house in California, bought another house in Texas, sold the house in California, settled down in Texas. Not only we survived moving a few times, but we also survived years of trying to get pregnant, a failed in-vitro, an attempt to adoption, a successful in-vitro and my nursing school.

Richard was a Registered Nurse, he worked the graveyard shift at a county hospital’s ER. He loved working this shift and he loved his coworkers. He took it pretty hard when we moved to Texas, not just because he left the job he loved, but because now he was a floor nurse. He was miserable, he missed the ER, his buddies and all the excitement that came with it. A couple of years later, Richard got the sparkle back when he went to work for the Cath Lab. Finally some of the excitement he had missed for so long, however that wouldn’t last very long.

Samuel was 2 years old at the time, I had taken him to the doctor a couple of days earlier because he was sick, so he was in a I-want-to-be-hugged-and-held-all-the-time mood. The following day, Samuel wanted his dad so bad that we searched for his daddy all over the house, the garage, the shed. I texted Richard and asked him to call his son before the kid ran out of tears although it seems like kids have an endless flow of tears. Richard called our little guy and made everything better. Richard came home from work, wasn’t feeling good so he skipped dinner. Took a shower with Sam, who spent the whole time screaming bloody murder. Richard said he needed to spend more time with Sam, maybe then he wouldn’t cry so much.

Before he went to bed, Richard told me how proud he was of me for graduating from nursing school a week earlier, and there were I love you’s and hugs and kisses.  Sam and I were watching Finding Nemo, I went to the bathroom, I heard what I thought was loud snoring, so I went to tell Richard to move to the side. When I got there, he was taking his last breaths, and he was gone. I checked his pupils, his pulse was gone, I started CPR but it wasn’t working and Sam was crying downstairs. I kept praying for God to help us, for God to not let Richard die. I ran downstairs, grabbed Sam, ran to the neighbors asking for help, they came over, called 911, firefighters arrived, worked on Richard for 45 minutes, but they said he was not responding. I heard the flat line sound on the monitor. Richard was gone.

I called my parents. I called Richard’s sister, I just couldn’t call his mom. More of my neighbors came over, and they help with Sam and with everything that happened after. We had to wait until 3 am for the coroner to arrive. They took Richard away. When I went out for help, I didn’t realize it was so cold that night. I had no shoes on and just grabbed Sam when I went next door. It all felt like it wasn’t happening, except it was. I couldn’t go upstairs to my room. Richard died in our bedroom, on the bed. It took me more than a week for me to just go into our bedroom. I just couldn’t.

My parents arrived the next day. I had not cried at all in front of Samuel and I had kept him by my side. I was determined to keep his world as normal as possible. When I opened the door for them, I put Sam in my mom’s arms and just completely crumbled in my dad’s arms. I sobbed and sobbed for what it seemed forever. My whole world had taken a turn and there was no going back. I had no husband, my kid had no father anymore. The dogs wouldn’t leave my side, they both knew something was wrong. My main concern was Samuel. I couldn’t upset his world, that was out of the question. I had to take care of everything, and I wasn’t sure how to. I don’t remember praying as hard as I did.

Richard died without a will, we had $200 in the bank the day he died. I knew God would provide somehow but I had a huge knot in my stomach. I believed in God, I prayed everyday, but now my only way to survive was praying around the clock. God will take care of things, I knew that, I just didn’t know how it would all get sorted out. After hours of waiting in lines, filling out endless forms, and more prayers than I can account for, things began getting sorted out. I had to get my license to practice as RN and get a job, God provided both. I needed a daycare that would keep my son while I worked 12 hour shifts, God provided. I couldn’t stay in the house where Richard died, so I put it in the market and moved to a transition house. A few years later, we came back home when we moved a block away from the house we shared with Richard.

Richard was cremated, and we brought him back to California. I got Richard’s ashes in my backpack, the kid on one hand and luggage on the other. I called a couple of his friends, they took us to Richard’s favorite spot, Lake Berryessa. Richard loved the area, he loved the lake and I cannot thank of any other place where he was the happiest. That particular day, the lake was quiet, all peaceful. We prayed, ask for God’s help and guidance for the road ahead, we thanked Him for the time we had with Richard, for the blessings He had given us, and we let Richard go.

We haven’t had the ride of our lives since Richard died, but God has taken care of everything. One morning on my way to work, an illegal drunk driver t-boned my SUV missing my door by 1 inch and sending me to physical therapy for months. My windshield got shattered by a piece of a huge metal on our way to daycare at 6 in the morning. Hail destroyed my car and my house. Our new house got flooded. Someone hacked my bank account. My kid has fallen down several times, broken a few teeth, got black eyes. We have been tested and tried, but God has remained by our side and we’re holding on to God because there is just no other way around it.

On December 28, 2017 it will be 5 years since Richard died. Samuel and I are in a good place. We’ve been blessed with health, with a home, with a car, with food, with a job. God has taken care of us, and that’s more than enough for us. We are now getting ready to celebrate Christmas by ourselves for the first time since Richard left. Why the first? That’s a story for another time. For now we’re praying for God to use our lives as a testimony of His grace. For God to keep us together and healthy. We’re praying for God to send us a dad, and Samuel has asked 2 Santa Claus guys to bring us a dad for Christmas because God is taking too long!

Well, this is it for now folks! We wish you a very Merry Christmas!!!

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