11.23.2010

i will...we will....

I cannot seem to find my footing. Where am I? What has happened these past few days? How can I go on? What is my life supposed to look like? …What was our life supposed to look like? When can the healing begin and the hurting stop? How do I live without the one I adore so much?

There is no question John was not supposed to leave this earth…leave his family…leave our future…leave me as early as he did. Ask anyone…it is not fair. Cancer does not have a fair button. You cannot call some sort of “cancer council” and ask them to revoke the chosen few they have put their fury upon. You just can’t. I could only wish this existed…because I would have contacted them a long time ago…because this ending was not what we expected.

Wednesday, November 10 is when John started showing signs of fatigue more than the norm. His normal, like I have said before in previous posts is nothing like ours. His constant pain and feeling of helplessness came to a head this day….and he knew it. We kept him on the oxygen tank most of the night and he turned to me between his bouts of consciousness and said. “Baby…it is happening.” My heart fell to my feet…I replied, “Oh my angel…I love you.” These words, in this moment, were the only ones I could find. We both broke down…held each other and cried for what seemed like the remainder of the night. All of the doctors had always said John was like no other they had ever treated. His pain threshold was beyond anyone else’s and he always was two or three steps ahead of the rest of us. He knew his body, he knew where the cancer was spreading/had spread and he knew how much time he had on this earth. Even weeks before, his mom asked how much longer we had with him and he forecasted it to the exact day…unbelievable. Wednesday turned into Thursday…November 11. We decided to start gathering the family and letting them know it was going to happen any day. He had not eaten anything all week and his bowel movements were not as frequent as they used to be…even with the amount of water he was drinking. As friends and family started to gather at his sister’s house, John continued to get weaker. I would kneel down and whisper in his ear every time he would have a new visitor. He would open his eyes…say “hi” and drift back to sleep. 

I will never forget the last thing he said before slipping into the coma-like state for the 12 hour final fight….his dad came into the room and sat in the bed next to him. I leaned into John’s ear and said, “I love you my sweet angel.” He opened his baby blues, turned to me and said, “I love you more princess.” I proceeded to tell him his dad was in the bed with him and he looked over, said “Hi dad,” and closed his eyes for them never to open again. It was from there….I laid right next to John for the remainder of his life….I did not get up. He was on his back and I was on his right side. His right hand in my left and my right hand rubbing his chest and touching his face….for his final 12 hours. My voice was in his right ear the rest of the night and into Friday morning. His breathing continued to worsen and his pain began to elevate. The nurses were on top of everything that night and morning. They made sure he was completely comfortable and when we could tell he was getting a little agitated, they continued his comfort. I did not want to leave his side. I did not want to miss his passing. I did not want to miss his possible awakening. I did not want to miss a hand squeeze. I did not want to miss anything…I just wanted to smell him, whisper in his ear, love him, be near him, continue to tell him how proud I was of him…touch him. All of it. Finally, his body had enough. I know he did not want to go…but his body was so tired. We talked many long nights and he said he was not scared…he was never angry…he never had an ounce of hate within him because of this disease…but it does not mean my devoted husband, a loving son, a sweet brother, an admirable friend, and this authentic man was ever really ready. At 6:17 Friday morning, John William Goddard took his final breath. My God…I will never forget that final moment….and I cried out. I could not help it…every emotion came pouring out of me at once. Everyone in that room could not do anything but cry with their own incredible grief. What felt like moments later, I left the room and went outside in the freezing air…I sat down on the driveway, shivering and cried. My bellowing voice that Friday morning I am sure was loud…but I could not hear anything…it was like I was deaf. I knew I was crying uncontrollably…but every sense I had was dedicated to that cry. I kept picturing John’s face and how hard he fought in those final moments. Up until his last breath…John fought his heart out. I somehow picked myself up off the ground and ran to the family…to have their arms draped around me and mine around them. 

As the color drifted from his body, he slowly became colder. Everyone got their alone time with John…and between visitors, I could not seem to stay away from him. I could not keep my eyes off him…my hands…and I continued to talk to my angel and let the tears fall. The funeral home came about an hour later…took him away…and it was like saying goodbye all over again…it would not be the last time. 

My incredible father, John’s amazing sister, her resilient husband and I continued the planning…just as John wished, he wanted everyone to get the chance to say goodbye. He requested a viewing and service followed by his cremation. We did it…for him…for my angel…gave everyone a chance to tell him they love him and to show support to our family as we so desperately needed it. There were several blown up photos, melodies he loved, words from his sister, a poem to his parents, words from a friend…and even his own beautiful expressions displayed in the service…it was perfect. Over 500 people came through that room on Monday, November 15 and it was completely overwhelming. The love and support from family, friends (both near and far), those I have never met, those who had never met John…all came…to fill the room with his memory and with their admiration for the man who fought for more than just his own life…but to show how important it is to love with all your might, to live life to the fullest, and to never forget who you are…no matter what.

The Wednesday following the funeral was my birthday…my 27th birthday. It was hard to smile that day…but I tried….because I know he would have wanted me to have fun…and I know he was there with me. I could not believe it was just two days after the funeral. I wanted so badly to ask for a rain check or even skip that day. To have celebrated this day with the love of my life so many years before that and then this one immediately following his service felt impossible. The rest of the week flew by with family and friends…it all seems so surreal. I sit here now in Dallas at my brother and sister-in-law’s house for a change of scenery. I will return to Florida after Thanksgiving to try and continue the life we started together there. The hardest part of my return will be setting foot into our bedroom…the room where we shared so much together. 

I will continue…we all will...I will carry on with John’s love in my heart…though I long for him so much and I feel as though my world is in shambles…I will continue…because I know he wanted me to. I will….I miss him more than anything in this world…I miss him so much it hurts. To John: I love you my sweet angel…I love you more than any words, any blog, any tear, any vow can really express my devotion and immense sorrow. I cannot believe you are gone but I am so thankful you are no longer in pain…I love you baby.


37 comments:

  1. Wow. As I sit here in tears I have nothing to say but WOW. I know you may not think you're amazing for doing what you had no choice in doing but...wow.

    Love you.

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  2. Simply beautiful. John will be missed.
    Can't wait to have you back in Florida surrounded by love.

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  3. your love was and is beautiful...an inspiration.

    thinking about you through this hard time.

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  4. This is a beautiful blog that brought me to tears. You are truly inspiring.

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  5. I wish you could only understand, the way I'm sure John can see now, just how many people's lives you both have touched....simply amazing!

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  6. You're a wonderful wife, Cat. I love you. I hope that in the moments where your heart feels like it's breaking, you can take yourself back to a memory of you and John and smile. He will never stop loving you. And I know that he would always want you to smile. It's what he fought so hard to see.

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  7. I stand here in tears... You have touched so many, you are a strong person. So many people take so much for granted, not knowing what others have to suffer and go through. Keep your head up lady. God bless you.

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  8. cat your love for him is so inspiring. i'm in tears after reading your beautiful words and i can't imagine what you are going through. please stay strong and continue to surround yourself with friends & family and all of your beautiful memories together! sending love prayers and hugs your way!!

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  9. Your love, strength, and eloquence are truly inspirational and are so touching to everyone who is following your journey. I am truly affected and moved to tears by your love for John. You and your and John's family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

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  10. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of "us". The strength you've shown, the strength and steadfast way John battled the cancer, the obvious pure love between the two of you is so inspirational to so many people - I wish you could find some comfort in that. My heart aches for you. I hope somehow John is still able to be with you (if he is able, you know he won't leave your side!) Let your friends and family help carry you through this time, do not forget that you are very very loved!

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  11. Thank you for sharing Cat. You don't know me personally, but I'm sitting here, in tears, at work mind you, following your story. You and John are the most amazing two people I will have ever crossed in my life.

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  12. I am sorry for your loss but am happy he is no longer suffering. Where i heard the news my heart went out to you. I know how we use to talk about him and the undying love you carried around. I love and wish you the upmost blessings!
    DeAnna

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  13. You don't know me. To be honest, I don't even know what my connection is to you, but I've been following the progress and the events that you share with us and it's all so incredibly moving. I don't have much to say other than I am and will continue to think of you and your family. Your strength and courage is truly inspiring. There is a great plan for you both and you will meet again.

    Most sincerely,
    Rachael

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  14. my Cat... I wish I could take all that pain away from you... I love you so much!

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  15. To John's entire family I am so terribly sorry for your loss of John. John and my dad had a very similar fight. My mom and I know how horrifying it is to only be able to sit by and watch this terrible thing happen to some one you love so very much. You and John were obviously an exceptional couple. And the same love that got you through the fight will get you through his loss. The best advice I got was to still talk to him everyday.....and I do. They are never really gone......he just went somewhere you can't go yet. I commend you Cat for keeping this blog. It was a very brave and generous thing to do. You will continue to be in my daily thoughts and prayers. Sincerely, Vashti

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  16. Cat, I am so sorry for your loss. I can't even imagine the pain that is going through your heart and body right now. You are in my thoughts and I will be praying for you as you venture back down to Florida the days after Thanksgiving. You and John are such an inspiration to me and your love is astounding. Use that love and strength to get through this difficult time. Thank you for touching a stranger's heart.

    Sincerely,
    Katie

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  17. As I now sit hear crying trying to think of the right words to say, but nothing comes to mind. All I can say is I'm so sorry for your loss. I wish I could give you a big hug right now. Please know you and your family will continue to be in my prayers as I know from personal experience how long and hard this next journey can be at times. I wish the best for you. Please know that although I don't believe we have met, I am always here if you want someone to talk to.

    Nichole/Michael and Stephanie/Dustin's Friend.
    Crystal

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  18. Cat - I also sit here crying and imagining what you and your family are going through right now. Although we have never met in person, I think you are an incredible, loving woman who has touched so many with your words of love for John. I have read every blog and have felt your pain along the way. I have shed tears of sadness and joy. I truly feel you are an inspiration and should definitely consider writing as a career. You have such a talent with words. I always felt like I was right there with you. You truly have a gift. I know that John is your angel and will always be with you watching over you. I also believe you will see him again some day. Keep his memory alive and know that you were always there for him and that he loves you. Knowing this will help you through each day. I will continue to read your blog. Keep it going. God bless you and your family Cat.

    Pam Cowan (work with Justin and Alicia Lindgren)

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  19. Cat,

    I've commented before but we don't know each other. My daughter found your blog one day and I have been fervently praying for John and you for the past several weeks. I have been checking this blog every day just in case you felt like posting something. My nephew's funeral was today so I am just now checking the blog today. My nephew was 23 with a 4 month old baby and he passed away from cancer in his sinuses that had spread as well. Thank you for sharing your feelings and memories with us. I hope you find some comfort or release in doing so. More importantly to me, it gives me the opportunity to continue praying for you and for your needs. I have continually and fervently been praying for you since we found your blog and since learning of John's passing and I will continue to do so.

    We live an hour southeast of Dallas so it was kinda surprising when you mentioned you are there. My husband has a very aggressive form of multiple sclerosis that keeps trying to kill him by causing lesions in his brain that look and act like tumors. Usually with MS you have disabilities to worry about from each episode, but with him he also gets tremendous swelling in the brain. Twice this summer he has just all of a sudden become unresponsive from swelling from lesions that we didn't even know were there. His doctor and hospital are at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

    However, it wouldn't matter if you were half-way around the world because I will continue to pray for you no matter where you are. I will especially be praying for you during and after Thanksgiving when you will be going back home but will continue even after the holidays.

    I wake often in the middle of the night and early morning and I pray for you every time and also throughout the day. These are some of the things I pray for you:

    Father in heaven, surround Cat with your Holy presence. Comfort her with the comfort that only You can give. Make her lie down in green pastures. Lead her beside still waters. Restore her soul. Guide her in paths of righteousness for Your name's sake. Though she walks through the valley of the shadow of death, may she not fear. May your rod and your staff comfort her. Prepare a table before her in the presence of her enemies. May her cup overflow. May goodness and love follow her all the days of her life and may she dwell in Your house forever. Lord, give her what she needs for this day. Continue to provide for her and especially surround her when she goes back home. May she feel your presence at all times.

    May the God of hope fill you with ALL joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13.

    With love in Christ,

    Denise R. from Texas

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  20. continue to be strong...you are so amazing and your words are beautiful. you're love is so inspiring and john will always be the warmth around you...the tickle on your nose...the feeling of being watched...the breeze in your hair...the sweet smell of the air...smile and think of him!

    prayers...

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  21. Cat, I'm so sorry for the pain you've endured and are enduring at this very moment. What you've written has brought me into a world of emotion so deep that I can't help but cry out myself. I's truly amazing how you describe John, he is an Angel. I admire you for your strength, and as Stephanie is there to give Tia strength when she needs it, I know John will be there for you. You're inspiring, you're talented, and you're a gift from heaven. Keep spreading the love you have to give, it brings warmth to so many peoples hearts.

    If you could give me some information on the Team Goddard Memorial Fund, I would greatly appreciate it. I read your last post about John's passing and went straight to the nearest Fifth Third Bank in Atlanta, unfortunately, they could not find the fund or account...This was before the funeral so I am not sure if things have changed. Please let me know when you have time.

    You're forever in my thoughts and prayers.
    God Bless you.

    Sincerely,
    Justin

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  22. My sweet Hers...

    I want to share with you something my father shared with me when my grandmothers each died two months apart from one another.

    Smile.

    One word, consisting only of 5 small little letters. Twists and curls, lines and corners. A word. Seemingly so simple to express. Yet so hard to form.

    Feel the hurt, the sorrow, the seemingly unbearable pain, the angst...the heart-break. Don't deny yourself that time, the need to grieve your sweet angel. But each time, when you remember him...smile before you move on. Think of a different memory, or the same, but smile each time you continue on with your day. Leave each memory happy in your heart.

    It is one thing that got me though the hurt, and still does to this day. It's been 5 and a half years now. Today is my grandmothers birthday. She would have been 83. We made a meal she always made, and followed with a special dessert she loved to make for us.

    I remembered special moments of my time with her tonight...And I smiled...

    My Hers... you're a beautiful soul. Smile.

    I love you.

    --Reahs

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  23. Cat, I am so sorry. I don't know what else to say about this. Someone else who is following this blog with me said...in light of the tragedy...how lucky (and strong) you were to be able to document it and share the trials and tribulations with friends, family, and even strangers. So many of us have cried with you but none of us can understand how deep your tears truly are. I really, really wish peace for you...somehow, someday. And thank you for continuing to share you journey and for showing what true love actually means; never taking a single moment for granted.
    All my love and prayers to you and yours.

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  24. Cat,
    It took me a few tries to get through this post, your emotions are so raw and beautiful that it is impossible for them not to spread.

    Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for reminding each and every one of us what we have to be thankful for this holiday - and to pull our loved ones just a little closer.

    I have felt loss like this, and I am grieving right along with you. It's not a comfort, I'm sure, but know you are surrounded by love - from friends and strangers alike.

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  25. I am balling... you and John have taught me so much about what it really means to love someone. Cat, I hope I can be at least half the wife you are someday. Love you girl...hope to talk to you soon...

    Jen

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  26. Cat,

    Like many, I don't know you personally. I came across your blog through my friends, your friends. When I read this most recent post it reminded of a prayer I recenty read. I lost my Godfather to a decade long battle with cancer, the following prayer is from his prayer card. I would never attempt to give John words or conceive I know his thoughts but these words comfort me daily:

    "Thank you Lord for seeing how weary I am, and letting me rest. The pain is gone, the peace is beautiful, your love surrounds me. I have fought the good fight (I think) and somehow at this stage, no matter what the outcome, I feel I have won.
    My homily- "for everything there is a reason." I want my family to move on with their lives, and realize everything is for a reason. Have no regrets. Everybody did everything they could. I love you and will still be with you."

    Peace be with you.

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  27. Dearest Cat,
    I am so sorry for your loss...
    May you have comfort in the love you know...
    From Deb Dikeman

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  28. My best friend lost her husband to cancer the same way as you, the difference, he was 34 as John was 28. Still too young. She stood by helpless as he drifted out of her life. Her words are time will heal, but memories never fade. You are one of the most amazing individuals I have ever known, but have never met. I'm so sorry for your loss, as tears are brought to my eyes daily as I read your blog. John will forever be missed by people who knew him and people who didn't know him and you are an inspiration. Keep your head up and I pray in time you will be able to live life again to the fullest, you deserve it. I'm so sorry this had to happen to you both, but one day you will be together again.

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  29. Jane Crockett11/26/10, 1:25 PM

    Cat,
    You, Wally & I spent so many fun working days together. When I think of you, I think of the day we fooled Wally & you pretended to cry. I've laughed about that a lot. However, I knew then that you had no idea about your strength, your beauty, or who you really were. I knew you would know someday. You are a remarkable woman and you were undoubtedly married to a remarkable man. I'm sorry I never met him. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Time will heal, but for now let the love of your friends and family surround you. You have experienced a love that some people only dream about. Both of you were blessed. Love to you. Jane

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  30. Cat, just remember you will always have John with you in your heart. I love you my friend always. Be strong.
    Love ya, Melissa and Kenny

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  31. I am at a complete loss for words.....only tears and happines in reading the love you two shared. Cat, you have a amazing gift in putting feelings into words....so much so that we can feel we are there with you. I hope that you have felt all the prayers and love that you have so richly deserved. Maybe someday you will find the strength to put this experience in a book that can help so many of us who have lost loved ones to cancer. Many prayers for peace and comfort. Janie

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  32. Cat - you are in my thoughts and prayers. I have no concept of your loss, but your words are life changing. You have a gift from God as your writing evokes strong emotion. You won't remember me but you played club volleyball with my daughter your senior year of highschool. Always know that you have John in your heart and that you were a wonderful wife to him.
    Love to you and your family.
    Mrs. B in Plano - setter mom

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  33. Cat, I just wanted to tell you that I'm still praying for you several times a day. May God bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you.

    With love in Christ,

    Denise R. from Texas

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  34. I am so sorry. This is not fair.

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  35. Cat, I met you when you were a new student to Middle School in Dallas. I met your Mom too. We watched you grow into a strong,beautiful athlete. About 8 months ago Stefanie asked us to join in praying for you and John. Thank you for sharing your life. We hope you will look up this web sight: watermark.org and listen to the words we heard today, Dec. 5,2010 Monte and Marsha Dunn

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  36. “Baby…it is happening.” When I read that it made me start to uncontrollably sob. He is so brave!

    I found your blog from Kelly's Korner and last night I was so pulled into your story. I stayed and read the entire thing from beginning to present. I don't want to say end because I know in my heart John lives on in the hearts of his dear family, friends, and most importantly...you. I know this Christmas will be the hardest you have ever had to endure and I just wanted to let you know I am thinking of you nonstop. I hope you find some peace and comfort in knowing your angel is constantly shining down on you. Merry Christmas and hang in there.

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  37. Cat - I have never met you nor will I ever probably. I stumbled across you blog in the wild world of the web and I've been taken by it. It is beautiful and heartwrenching. Your words are amazing and your strength is second to none. As I sit here feeling so grateful and fortunate my heart breaks for you. My heart breaks for a complete stranger and I hope you know Cat that although I have never met you I just want to give you the biggest hug and make everything better. As a wife I cannot imagine the pain you have endured. Please continue to be strong.

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