Thursday, May 7, 2009

my darkest secret...confessed

Dear Brian,

Did you know that I stopped believing you would be physically healed on earth a long time ago? I stopped believing it in April of 2008 when we had to start a new chemotherapy after the Temodar stopped working. In fact, I think I stopped believing it when you were diagnosed with the Grade IV in 2007.

To what extent?

To a strong extent.

I tried to stay positive like you always did. I tried to share your enthusiasm for total and complete healing and restoration. I tried, but I failed. I failed because I watched as your boys learned to stop asking you to take them on a bike ride after you once tried and fell. Grant still talks about it today. I stopped believing because I saw that you could barely walk across our own lawn, let alone play soccer in a field with the kids. I stopped believing because I selfishly would wallow in pity when you would talk about how you needed to exercise to restore your strength and your right side function, yet you couldn’t even cut your own steak or tie your own shoes. Instead, I believed it was an insurmountable mountain to climb. You believed you could improve, Brian, but I stopped and I am so sorry.

I am so tired of hearing how strong I am, how my faith inspires. I am merely a flawed human. I didn’t believe you would be healed on this earth. I put up a fa├žade like I did, but I didn’t believe it. I prayed for God to give us as long as possible, but I didn’t pray for total healing. I asked others to do it for us, feeling incredibly hypocritical all the while.

Do you think people would still think I was so inspiring if they knew that last fall, as I was buying you some vitamins, I SERIOUSLY contemplated whether to buy the 180 count or the 360 count, thinking strongly you may not be here in a few months? As if that lousy, stinking $8 means a damn thing right now. Sometimes, though, I wonder if my lack of faith and that blasted $8 contemplation sort of killed you. It haunts me.

Do you think people would still think I am admirable if they knew I discouraged you from buying an expensive pair of dress shoes in the fall? You see, I saw you deteriorating. I saw it slowly happening, but you didn’t. I saw it and in my gut, I knew the next test result was going to be the one that told us to stop treatment, and there would be no reason for those shoes. I didn't want to see those shoes sitting in your closet reminding me of your hope and my lack of it. You never bothered to bring up the shoes again. Did you forget or did you know I didn’t think you would need them?

Do you think anyone would still respect my strength if they knew I avoided you the last couple weeks of your life? I turned over the night shift so I could still sleep and spend the days refreshed going about life. I went to girl nights out. I volunteered at the school library and spent hours on the computer and in the basement working out while you were slowly dying in our family room. I even went to Wal-Mart just 30 hours before you died for absolutely no reason at all. I was obviously very distracted that day as this is what I saw when I looked down in the store noticing that my right leg seemed shorter than my left.



What I wouldn’t do to have one more day with you. What I wouldn’t do to reverse the clock and spend every single moment of every single day of the last few months with you. Every single moment breathing you in and memorizing your every feature. Every single moment holding your hand and watching whatever TV show you possibly wanted to watch. At the time, I just couldn’t watch my knight and my hero unknowingly decline and die. How incredibly selfish of me. It is my own tragic loss.

You see, Brian, I was not so strong. I was not so faithful and not so vigilant. I was weak and faltering and unbelieving. I am sorry. I am SO SO sorry. Sometimes I wonder if my faith had been stronger, would it have made a difference? Was this a test of faith that I failed? Am I failing now? Am I partially responsible for your death?

I miss you, Brian. I love you.

KEEP BELIEVING

51 comments:

  1. AnonymousMay 07, 2009

    Angie, I was thinking about you this morning and wanted to check in and see how you were doing. I want to try to find the right words to say and not to blow smoke up you #$%. Because I know you are far to smart and would see that coming a mile away. From what I know of you and your heart and what I have read over the past years of your journey I for one still think you are strong, admirable and most definately inspiring. It is your brutal honesty that makes you all of those things. We cannot and do not know God's ways and the Holy Spirit could very well have been preparing you for what was to come. So what appeared to look like lack of faith could actually have been the work of God in your life. DON'T you believe those thoughts that say your lack of faith may have had anything to do with it. The reality of what you were living with was so raw in your face everyday to have moments of not believing for healing on earth would only be natural. I have not walked through what you have walked through so my word seem somewhat crappy but I know when I hear the voice of the enemy and I will pray that today you hear the voice of God pouring words of love and compassion over you. Those are his words. I think of you often as you walk through this and you are one heck of a strong woman.
    Much love from, Echo

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  2. AnonymousMay 07, 2009

    you loved him. you love him. that's what counts.

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  3. My dear, you are human! Humans are not perfect! You love him and that is all that matters, even though it doesn't feel that way to you. Sometimes the Lord gives us insight to help us in ways we don't know we need. You never failed :)

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  4. Oh sweetie. I don't want to believe in a god who would take Brian away because your faith wasn't strong enough...do you? No, Brian had a disease, his body was flawed. But your soul not. You are human.

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  5. Oh my your post was as always a joy and a burden to read.
    A joy because of your love and faith that shines through,
    a burden because I cannot reach out and squeeze your hand or give you a Mothers gentle loving hug that says it is going to be alright again in time.
    Yet because I am anxious to see you continue on this journey and process of growing I do keep coming back.
    I only wish I had the right words for you .
    I do not but in time I do believe you will find them and you will embrace them and share them with those that are waiting for them just as you are doing now.
    God Bless you today and everyday with new strength, new hope and a renewed joy for and from all those that touch your life.
    Thank you for sharing.

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  6. I know you have to work through your grief each and every day and in any which way you can. But PLEASE don't think that your faith wasn't strong enough.

    Your WERE faithful, you WERE vigilant. You love him.

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  7. AnonymousMay 07, 2009

    Angie,
    I've followed your blog off an on for a few months--I don't think we've ever met, but my husband and I are both from Perryville and we know several of your Baer relatives. My husband, Brian, also went to Rolla. So, I feel kinda connected.
    Two years ago I watched my dad die of a rare cancer. I watched my mom do everything she could for almost 3 years before that to keep him alive--watching his meds, calling the doctors, always hopeful that this next drug would be the one. I watched them focus on each other like I had never seen. And then, over 11 incredible days, I watched him slowly let go of life. My mom has second-guessed herself, especially what she did during those 11 days. Could she have made him feel more loved? Could she have included him more and not left him sleeping? What was he trying to tell her those last few days? Did her act of calling hospice signal to him that she was giving up, and hasten his death? From the outside of their relationship I can tell you that she was a wonderful, dedicated, loving wife losing her husband. But she still has her doubts. I'm telling you this because I want you to know that you are normal--a new and different normal for you--but normal in this situation. You made the decisions you had to make and you used the best information available to you at the time. Something like this will shake your faith--I still have trouble when people tell me that prayer makes a difference--I prayed my ass off for three years, and he still died. I get that there's a bigger plan for life and someday it will become clear to me. Give yourself a break, right now. Maybe you aren't a saint--who is?--but you are a grieving wife who is making it through each day. That is enough...
    Angie

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  8. I remember reading that Randy Pausch that it was hilarious when he was going boating or hiking or something with his friends and one of them said, "Don't waste the sunscreen on Randy."

    Do you think that what you were feeling and doing during the last years of Brian's life was odd and unpredictable?

    What would you say if we told you that we not only knew you were probably feeling and doing all of those things, but that we love you, admire you, consider you to be faithful, and find you inspirational. That isn't meant to burden you with the responsibility to be brave and admirable and inspirational, you just are, however you are. You don't have to do anything or be anything other than who you are on any particular day.

    Your faith did make a difference, it still does.

    You were still believing in Brian and honoring him, not with the hope of what could or couldn't be, but believing in Brian and honoring what actually was. You are still believing in Brian and honoring him, in the way that actually is. Sharing yourself so openly and your memories of Brian is inspirational. He's listening. And so are your children.

    Still believing.

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  9. AnonymousMay 07, 2009

    Angie,
    You have every right to feel as you did/are about Brian's illness. Brian needed to believe that he would beat his cancer - otherwise, how would he get through the day? How would he be the type of husband and father he wanted you and the boys to remember? To admire?
    Sure, you knew he was terminal, but you never crushed his spirit - you supported him and asked for prayers and support for you and Brian - that shows your faith and wisdom.
    Your "lack of faith" as you call it didn't make Brian die - it was his time (as much as it doesn't make sense to us). You, the boys, family and friends weren't ready to have him go - but God was ready to not let Brian suffer, to allow Brian to live in eternal peace and to one day be with you again.
    Hang in there - you are not weak, you are a woman with feelings and emotions. You are REAL!
    Love,
    Gretchen

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  10. Praying for you today - that the guilt will disappear forever. I still think you are strong - stronger than I would be and I'm sure your beloved husband would agree. These things you listed, they are just so human and I'm sure many, many women in your shoes would do/think/react/say the same things.

    praying.

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  11. Beloved Angie,

    I love this quote from C.S. Lewis:

    “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

    You never kept your heart from Brian. We were all drawn to your blog because you made us believe that heroes still lived, chivalry had not died, and hope abounded where there should be despair. You are in the eye of the storm, experiencing the backlash of loving with your whole heart. I have rarely known anyone who has done it so gracefully and fully as you.

    Keep Believing, Angie!

    I love you, Shawn from TN

    "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf..." Hebrews 6:19-10 (NIV)

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  12. I guess it is the normal human condition to think that if we could have done something differently, the unthinkable wouldn't have happened to us or our loved one. Five years ago my little two year old grandson was drowned in a tragic accident. Each one of us present that day has done much pondering.

    I had the urge to scoop him up in my arms just minutes before he made his way into the back yard where the pool was located, while people were still coming out. He wasn't in the water that long, but he had been a premie and had fragile lungs. I blamed myself for not following that urge, thinking that he would resist me as he was "pretend" mowing with the little toy mower he had commanded with such great joy and abandon.

    We can't understand the whole picture, but God does. He knows your heart. He knows that you were dealing with your grief in those last weeks the best you knew how, and that you were not abandoning your beloved Brian.

    You are no weaker than the rest of us in our human condition; but you ARE far stronger than you realize. Please look at all you did that was strong and don't give a minute's pondering over that which you perceive as weak.

    If we could stand far enough away from our life's experiences here on earth, we could see that this life is but a very short time when eternity is considered. All we have to do is to stay close to the Lord and we will be on the right path and we'll stay on that path.

    To me you have always been on that path.

    Warmly,
    Gloria

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  13. There isn't one thing I have read here that makes me think for one second that you didn't love him completely, totally and fully. I hope your confession helps you to forgive yourself. You have been though so much. I believe in you.

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  14. AnonymousMay 07, 2009

    BIG hugs to you...praying for your peace as you grieve for your soul mate.

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  15. Oh, Angie, you are much too hard on yourself. In the last little while before Brian died you did what you needed to do to get through that time. There is nothing wrong with a girls night out or going to Walmart "for no reason" or being on the computer or working out. Those were all legitimate stress relievers for you - you were dealing with a lot and you had to take care of yourself so that you could take care of your boys and Brian. Satan has a way of trying to be "faith buster" and he is trying to use guilt to get between you and God - DON'T LET HIM HAVE THAT SATISFACTION! It is clear to everyone that reads your blog just how much you love Brian and how much you miss him. I don't know if this will be consoling or not, but after my Mom died when I was 14, I lived through years of guilt wondering if there was anything different I could have done to save her or prevent her death. It turns out that my brother and my Dad had exactly the same feelings - we all wish we could turn back the clock and change things.

    Angie, your "lack of faith" is not the reason that Brian is no longer here. Cancer, especially brain cancer, unfortunatley is usually terminal. It still amazes me how many years that you and Brian actually got to have together after his diagnosis - it could have been so many fewer. And, as hard as it must be to be a single mom, look at the two wonderful boys you and Brian got to have and, even though it wasn't enough time, look at the years that you and Brian got to enjoy them. If God had called Brian home soon after his diagnosis, you wouldn't have Gavin and Grant.

    Angie,you didn't fail any faith test, but please don't give up on God now - He loves you and He will help you get through this. He needs you to keep believing...in Him and He will give you strength.

    Still praying for you...

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  16. Please do not beat yourself up over this--I think everything you did was normal. I have heard some of what you are saying from my friend. Your facade was created from love.

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  17. I promise you that he did NOT die because of your faith level. He went to be with God because God said it was time. I promise! Do not let guilt eat away at you. That is not what Brian would want nor does God want that for you. Continue to pour it all out, though...in the long run it is good for you and we want to be able to support you any way possible. And we are not judging you for having emotions. Just here with you!

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  18. AnonymousMay 07, 2009

    Oh Angie!!!! Don't do that to yourself, love! And don't ever doubt our love for you, our admiration of you. You are , perhaps more incredible and inspirational to me now than before...to know that you think like a human and still carry on with the grace, strength and dignity which you did/do. For months now, somewhere in the back of my brain I weigh every stress in my life with thoughts of, "if I were half the person Angie is, if I had half her faith I would..." or "I wouldn't..." To know that you did have realistic doubts and thoughts - but all in all you NEVER QUIT BELIEVING!

    I heard on a talk show this morning - and I may be misquoting slightly - but it struck me and I loved it and took it to heart....I hope you appreciate it as well...

    "When it comes to seeking dependence and unity with the Lord, then weakness is a virtue."

    Hugs to you and the boys and I am still praying for you.

    Connie
    Silverton, OR

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  19. AnonymousMay 07, 2009

    You are so brave! my marriage is almost over and I feel guilty becuase I am not home most of the time. I don't want to see this happening to us. Although our circuntances are so different, I want to be so brave like you are, and admit that is is too painful and I dont want to even look at it. I will be praying for you my sister, because you have to forgive yourself. You did help your husband until the end and beyond that. I know thah The Lord is pleased with you. You are a warrior!

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  20. You loved him and you love him still.

    I remember deciding to go to a formal dance (I was 18) in Colorado even though my mom was in the hospital after a brian bleed. She told me to go, that she'd be fine.

    We talked on the phone several times that week. My plane got in around 8 or so at night and my college roommate drove me home. She asked if I wanted to go to visit my mom at the hospital.

    I told her that visiting hours were over and that I'd go in the morning. "But don't blame me if she dies tomorrow or something," I said. She wasn't even diagnosed w/ any disease, but those words came out of my mouth-- a stupid joke.

    Truthfully, I didn't feel like going to the hospita and dealing w/ the parking deck garage.

    The next morning my mom called and I was still asleep. When I told her I was coming right over, she said, "Honey, you must be tired from your trip. Why don't you go back to sleep?" So I did.

    Later I took my sweet time, gathering up art books for her to look at, my camera (!) and picking up McDonalds. By the time I got there, she was moaning in pain-- another brain bleed. This one massive.

    She felt my hand and knew it was me, "Oh, Anna, thank you for coming! I am sorry I'm such a chicken liver! This really hurts." Her last words to me.

    I know how hard this re-living, and thinking can be, especially at night. This wondering, this guilt.

    Sending you love, Angie!

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  21. To post such a confession and bare your soul to us here takes more strength than you think you possess. There are so many things bouncing around on the tip of my tongue, I cannot find the words, so many others here have expressed themselves so eloquently. I am praying for you Angie, I am praying for peace, whatever that may look like. ::hugs::

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  22. Angie,

    I hope that what I write brings you encouragement. Everyone experiences doubt at some point in time. Your emotional tank was on zero after years of a grueling physical, emotional and spiritual battle. Don't give up because of your doubt. That would be such a disappointing let down after enduring for so long. You have already been such an inspiration to so many people who have been following your story. No one considers you a hypocrit.

    To me "Keep believing" is more than keep believing that Brian would get better, although that certainly was everyone's hope and prayer. Rather, "keep believing" is completely trusting God in every circumstance, good or bad, whether we understand why or why not something tragic has happened. That is the essence of Romans 8:28.

    Many people think worship is going to church and singing several praise songs to get an emotional charge. That's not worship; that's euphoria. True worship is completely trusting and obeying God despite everything else, your circumstances, your brain and emotions, your friends and family, etc. telling you to do the contrary. The first place the word "worship" appears in scripture is Genesis 22. It also is the first place the word "love" appears.

    I have not personally experienced anything that even remotely approaches your level of pain of losing a spouse to such a chronic, debilitating illness. My most difficult experience was a bitter divorce. Similar to your situation it was a prolonged episode of seemingly senseless emotional and spiritual trauma. Fortunately during a sermon early in the throes of my divorce I was challenged by the Holy Spirit to give over my weakness (which in my case was my divorce) to God and allow Him to work through it to bring Him glory. We always want to offer God our strengths to glorify Him, but it is in our weaknesses that He is glorified the most. Satan wanted me to give up and become bitter. I was thrown into a situation where I had to totally depend on God. As I took each step of obedience, God rewarded me and affirmed me throughout the entire process. Prospectively, I would not have chosen to take that path, but I readily praise God as he has overwhelmingly blessed me: with a deeper relationship with Him, with my new wife Cheryl, preserving my relationship with my children, peace of mind, fruitful ministries, and so much more.

    I offer this to you to pray to God to continue to bring Him glory in the wake of your tragedy. He will perfect and complete what He has started in you. You may not feel like that is even a possibility right now; that's OK. Remember faith is not an emotion; faith is completely trusting in God and obeying His word. Just be honest with Him and tell Him you don't know where to go from here, and even if you did, you wouldn't feel like going there anyway. Ask Him for wisdom to know what to do and for strength and courage to follow through. Continue to read scripture each day to get your daily "bread" and pray continually. Continue to communicate with the rest of the Body of mature believers so we know your needs and how to best pray for you, encourage you and give you godly advice. God is faithful; if you draw near to Him, He will draw near to you. When He does give you an answer, it is possible God will direct you to do something that is not clear right now or may not initially make sense. Maybe not. Just trust and obey His direction. I know you will enjoy a closeness with Him that you have never experienced before.

    One last word of encouragement. Consider 2 Samuel 12:22. Brian's work on earth is complete. He is now in Glory with Jesus. He has no more pain and awaits to be resurrected with a new perfect body when Jesus returns. Your work on earth continues on. Your boys need you. God has other things He wills to accomplish through you. Cheryl and I and many others are more than happy to help you because we understand that Brian's death, while it did bring some closure for you, is not the end of your grieving and healing. In the meantime we continue to pray for you.

    May God bless you,

    Paul

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  23. AnonymousMay 07, 2009

    Angie, this brings back so many memories of a situation I was in a couple of years ago. Although, it was not my husband, it was my father. I know that I can not even compare my situation to yours, but I see your words in me. Maybe these are words that I didnt really knew existed. I knew it was over before he did or anyone else. I went to the appts. knowing it was a "waste". How awful I felt. Was I responsible? Now I can see, that I wasnt, but at the time, I believed it was possible. Infact, I was hoping it would just hurry up and end! HOW could I feel this way. Please hang in there. Your brutal honesty is refreashing. That is why we love you.
    I wish peace, and some healing for you! It WILL come!

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  24. The ones we love the most are the hardest to watch go. I remember praying over and over for the healing of my mom when I was young...yet when she was at her weakest, at her end, I tried not to be there. I wanted to be anywhere but at home. I wanted people to see me as normal and not the girl with the dying mother. And let me tell you. The guilt followed. I am sure my story is only a glimpse of what you go through.

    It's hard girl. And it was okay to breathe your own air for those moments. You can let the guilt go. It's just one step closer to healing. Knowing Brian from your blog, I wouldn't doubt that he knew you needed that. He probably desired that for you. He sounded like an amazing man. Thank you for sharing him with us.

    Praying for you, lady.

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  25. Dear Angie-
    You did not fail. You have not failed. You are human and you are honest. The fact that you can wake up each day and put one foot in front of the other is what makes you strong and inspiring. What you right is brutally honest---and that's what all of us love. You were a wonderful wife to Brian---you did not fail him. Or God....
    Sugar

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  26. Blah. Don't beat yourself up too much for being human. You failed no one. Believe that.

    This was a powerful post - a cry to the heavens. I only pray it was cathartic too. Hugs.

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  27. I don't know the right words to say to you. I only know that all of this is not your fault. You are human, just like the rest of us. And yes, we admire you even more than before.

    But, please...don't beat yourself up.

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  28. Angie,
    I don't think I could say it any better than Echo did. Those words were straight on and honest. You never strayed from your faith in God and you never strayed from Brian. In a very little way I walked part of your path when James was on a ventilator in October, 2008. I too did not stay at his side all the time. I took time away because I just needed to be refreshed. But when I was with James I was with him, singing his favorite hymns and talking to him, even though he was in a drug induced coma. He says now that he remembers my singing "Amazing Grace" and that it meant so much to him. I am certain that if Brian could talk to you right now he would say exactly the same to you.
    Keep Believing and God will set you free from these thoughts that are from our advisary.
    God bless you and keep you safe, Karen

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  29. I can't add anything worthwhile to all this. Gloria's comment nearly killed me. But you did what you needed to do to survive and help your sons survive. It might have been easier at the end if Brian had been able to better understand/accept what was going on sooner, because then you wouldn't have felt as though you were hiding something and you could have talked. God loves us for our humanity and our frailties, and for that I am grateful. We have nothing else to offer Him.

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  30. Even if you could go back, would you be able to do anything differently? You would still be watching the love of your life die from cancer and that would still be an impossible, unbearable thing. I think you would find, no matter what you are feeling now, today, that if you lived it all again you would have to live it the same way because that is the way you needed to live it to make it through, to survive it. Don't relive it now, wishing to change things that can't be changed and hurting yourself over and over. I hope that sharing this helps you move past it because you are in no way a failure - not in faith, not in love, not in motherhood, not in friendship, not in life.

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  31. Yes, yes, yes! Everyone still loves, respects, and is inspired by you. You mean you're human? What a shocker! I thought you were God... you know, perfect.

    Not only did Brian lose life on Earth through a gradual process, he left you through a gradual process, totally unique to any other person's dying process.

    Everyone grieves differently. No guilt about how you grieve.

    NO GUILT, ANGIE! Don't do that to yourself.

    Still respectful, still loving you, still in awe of your faith, still inspired by you,
    Kara

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  32. May the Holy Spirit give you an extra measure of strength and may you feel His grace each new day.

    Angie, as you pick up and examine these painful memories and the guilt they produce, please continue to seek God's face and share your heart with Him (and with us). We love you. Karye

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  33. I've been checking in on you - believing that you can get through this. I should comment more, but it is hard to find the words.

    I want to confess something that hopefully will make you feel better. As a SAHM, I find comfort when the reports from social security & insurance & retirement funds come in - because it means I can feel like that's one less worry if I lose my husband. At best, it's morbid - at worst, it feels like I'm planning on his leaving me - that I don't think he'll make it.

    But the truth is that sometimes you do need to plan for a worst case scenario - even if it means that you can't believe 100% in the happy ending that you want in your heart.

    It's not that you failed your husband - it's that you knew you had to plan ahead for his legacy & his family.

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  34. angie a in moMay 08, 2009

    It takes a very strong person to admit that they have moments of weakness.

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  35. Angie,
    I for one have never admired you more than I do right now. I don't think your feelings or actions of beliefs of the last several months are unusual at all ... what is unusual is your ability to admit to them and share them with others. You have enough emotions to carry around with you these days. Please try to put down the guilt. Even if you had spent every second of your life with Brian, God's plan for him would never have changed. Yes, He tested your faith and you WON! You might not have always believed that Brian would overcome this disease, but I've never once heard you say that you didn't believe in HIM. That is remarkable, and that is why I keep believing...in YOU!

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  36. This right here. Makes me more inspired. This honesty, realness and unabashed openness is why I admire you and why so many are inspired by you.

    You are more amazing than you know.

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  37. peepaw/peepsMay 08, 2009

    Angie:Brian was an amazing man , he kept the faith, he fought an incredible battle and now he is experiencing eternity. You were with him physically, mentally and spiritually. You were and are an amazing woman! For a person to endure what you Both endured, your emotions, actions,disappointments, hopes and dreams with the world is incredible and you are incredible! No one reading your blog can truly feel what you are experiencing yet the world will continue to pray for you, love you and we will Keep Believing in you Angie and you Keep Believing in Yourself and Your Family. God Will Make A Way He Believes In You and He Loves You!PeacePaul

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  38. AnonymousMay 09, 2009

    You are still one of the strongest people I know. Whether you feel like it or not. You are amazing.

    Noelle

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  39. Angie, you didn't stop believing, you faced reality head on, you just didn't know it yet. You Believed till the very end because that's what mommy's do for thier kids, they hope & believe it will be ok. Your mind faced what your heart couldn't. God Bless

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  40. You have so many amazing readers - I have nothing more eloquent to say to you other than ago ahead and be mad. At yourself? No. At God? Sure. He can totally take it. Get all in His face about it. Throw a tantrum if you need to. He'll love you through it. And so will we.

    And? Love the shoe trend you're starting. It's fabulous!

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  41. I wish I had better words to offer. Hang in there. thinking of you!

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  42. Yes, I still think you're strong. Our brains can only take in so much pain. It's survival.

    Have some tenderness with yourself. You definitely deserve it, sweet girl.

    Love, Jen (Pinky)

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  43. I have no words for you-as you have heard some great words from others up above. I don't want to echo someone else's sentiments. But what I can give you is lots of hugs (((((((Angie)))))))) xoxo

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  44. It is natural to beat yourself up right now, just know nothing you could have changed in the past would have changed your beloved Brian's outcome. Life is the way it is and there is nothing you can do about it except cope. Do not feel guitly of your way of coping. You never abandoned your husband, you were there with him through his whole journey with love.

    Be proud of yourself, you are a strong person even if now does it does not feel that way.

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  45. AnonymousMay 11, 2009

    The most powerful post yet!! If more people could be so brutally honest, what a wonderful world this would be. Your post means your human, but we already knew that. None of us can say what we would do in your situation. Please don't feel any guilt for anything, and please don't get mad, but YES you are amazing (:

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  46. Your raw honesty...has now inspired me even more.

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  47. Angie,
    There is no script for what to do or how to deal with the love of your life dying before your eyes. I HEAR the love you have for him in your words, I can promise her knew your love too.

    You are a human going thru the unimaginable. You were doing what you needed to do to get by. I imagine Brian would be shaking his head at your doubts. He'd understand why you made certain choices. I understand.

    Prayers for you always..

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  48. You know what, Angie? You were not in any way responsible. You are just HUMAN. And being human sometimes means avoidance, shutting down, being selfish. You did what you needed to do to get through it. It's much easier, in retrospect, to look back and say, "If only." We all have our "if onlys" in life. But none of this was your fault, and you clearly made Brian's life full and worth living.

    I admire you even more since reading your post. I still think you're strong. I still think you're amazing. You're just human, bottom line, like the rest of us.

    So many hugs and blessings to you.

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  49. Ok, I have to admit that I haven't read about half of the comments before adding mine... so if this is redundant, I apologize... but I'm going to give it to you straight... are you ready?

    You aren't that powerful. Neither your fear, dread, nor Wal-mart shopping was powerful enough to cost Brian his life. You aren't that powerful... if you were really that powerful, that the tiniest seed of emotion was the key to the outcome - Brian's cancer wouldn't have come back - In fact... in this world... no one would be hit with a sudden loss of a loved one because they didn't "expect" it. There would be no tragic car accidents, late stage discovery of a terminal illness... everything would be as we "expect" it to be. But this isn't heaven. This is the place where we must wait for our Savior, and learn of his faithfulness in the midst of unbearable heartache at times. But you've also learned of his unending love and the joy of experiencing his gifts of true love, passion, tenderness, companionship.

    We pray because God is our closest friend - he's our spiritual soulmate - he wants to be a part of our life in all stages - to give his gifts to us. Sometimes when we petition him - He reaches down into our lives and works a miracle. Sometimes, though, we must live in the bad neighborhood we've been born into - one with loss, disease, crime, and pain. BUT - we are never alone, and he still gives us gifts in our pain.

    EVERYONE has asked people to pray for a situation that we've almost come to acceptance with the outcome. EVERYONE! Why? Because we hope that someone out there with more faith than us will be heard and it will make up for our doubt and the outcome will surprise us. That's reality - that's survival - and that, my dear... is faith... why else would we ask?

    Our bodies have flaws - we all know that. We all know, barring a supernatural event, we are going to die of something. But God, in his loving tenderness, gave Brian a gift. He gave Brian... You - to love and support him as he fought for over a decade. You made a difference in Brian's life. You were "the one". You were the miracle that God reached down into Brian's life and provided. And the love that you've witnessed... well, you know how precious that gift has been and continues to be to both of you, as well as those two little boys.

    It is not blame, nor guilt that belongs on your doorstep.

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  50. My husband is a minister, and he would call this magical thinking...He would also say, because his doctorate is in death and dying, that you started the process of grieving early.

    I've only visited your blog twice, and though you story touches my heart, I don't sit here thinking you're strong or inspirational. You are honestly living the life God placed in front of you, for whatever reason He choose, and you did the best you could while Brian was with you and are doing the best you can now that he's with God.

    Don't hurt yourself more than you've already been hurt. Please.

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