baby steps...

I ran away from this blog. I have not had the urge to write much less tell anyone what I am doing or how I am feeling. Realizing and accepting what has happened are two different things because I realize my life is different now, I am not at the point where I want to accept it. I need to keep reminding myself to take small, steady, targeted steps each day. I need to allow myself to feel each emotion and really sit in it for a while.

Since my last post, I had the chance to meet with old friends in Dallas. It was a surreal moment to see everyone and not have John with me. They all knew of John, never met him, but all knew what happened and I could not have asked for more love to be surrounding me that night and week. It was so wonderful to hear their sweet words and to hug each one of them. I then tried to enjoy an amazing Thanksgiving holiday with my family. My caring brother and selfless sister in law have been nothing but supportive and there for me from the beginning. Being with them, along with her sister and husband, and my innocent niece and nephew was beyond what I thought I needed…but, I still felt very alone. It was obvious…John was missing that day. He was missing from the entire trip. The Thanksgiving Day started off uneasy but I kept telling myself to try. I needed to try to have a fine day and a decent visit. The anticipation of going back to Orlando, to our room and all of our things, weighed heavy on my heart. I knew seeing everyone back home would be just as difficult. How was I to face this alone? I could not fathom it…it did not make sense, and in a way…it still does not. I was welcomed with open arms by my friends and am so thankful to have them here to hold me up. I am continually thankful for everyone holding me up…both near and far.

So…I came home….to the home we shared here in Florida. Michelle picked me up from the airport and I could already feel my blood running thin and my head feeling light. We rounded the corner to our street and the wind was knocked out of me. I could hear my breath…each one, in and out. The car stopped…I crawled out…grabbed my bags and set them down in the entry way. The climb up the stairs was horrifying. John’s ashes were awaiting me in the room, all of his clothes, our bed, and most of all, his smell. I opened the door and almost fell to my knees. I immediately went to his closet and buried myself in his clothes. His smell wrapped around me like a warm hug and all I could do was sob and hold on tight. I did not want to let go because in that moment, it was him holding me…and if I opened my eyes I felt like I would lose that. I did not want to let go, but I could not hold myself up anymore so I collapsed onto our bed….again, met with his smell. My hands tightened around the sheets and I still could not believe where I was, how I got there, and what I was supposed to do next...so Michelle helped me by pealing me off the bed to leave the house for a breather. The weekend was spent in the company of friends, a quick beachside trip, and back home to prepare for another difficult day…cancelling John’s bills.

Monday came and it was a day full of phone calls and errands. I must have listened to him speak the words “John Goddard” on his voicemail at least 10 times before I got up the courage to call the cell phone company for cancellation. It was as if none of it was actually happening…but then, before I knew it, everything was all over….it was either changed to my name, gone for eternity, or pending in some limbo that the insurance company now had to take care of. The following days flew by at work and it seemed to be a better distraction than the constant thoughts running through my head. There are also several other reminders of how much I miss him every day. Songs, quotes, television shows, our puppy, photos…just about everything I feel is placed before me by him…anything to say hi and to tell me how much he loves me. His little way of talking to my heart to remind me he is not gone forever…he is just in a better place…and he is waiting for me there.

It has not even been a month of John’s absence and our family has to face another obstacle. His father, as we so lovingly call him Big John, has been battling his own form of cancer for the past 6 years and everything has caught up with him. He is not doing well and the entire family has not even finished mourning the loss of John, but now are preparing for another difficult journey of his father. I feel terrible for his wife Vikki and my sister-in-law Megan. It was difficult losing the love of my life, but I cannot imagine losing my brother and father within this time frame. Hold our family close to your heart…please…we all still need continued support.

So now what? Where am I supposed to go from here? When is time going to be ample enough for things to start feeling okay? What does “okay” feel like?

I cannot get a set of lyrics out of my head…

“Say it’s over, say I’m dreaming
Say I’m better than you left me…”

Just those few lyrics strike a chord in my heart because it is exactly how I feel. I wish I could close my eyes and pretend none of this ever happened, as if it were a dream…wish away my pain and that of our family and friends…have him walk through the door and kiss me. I want to be better but at the same time, I know this is a process…the most agonizing and excruciating process I have ever been through. I am tired…so unbelievably tired and though my soul hurts, I continue to carry John in my heart. I want so badly to feel his warmth next to me…to wake up and see his smiling face in the morning…to hear his voice and to smell his sweet skin. I will never be the same person and I want so badly to feel normal again…please…no more pain…no more.


  1. I never have the right words to comfort you, my sweet Cat, and I'm sorry for that. Just know that in the short time I've known you, you've changed me with your love for John. And I can't tell you how much I value you and John for that. I love you.

  2. I can't imagine what you are going through. It is interesting that how...in my head...I predicted you would feel, and how it would feel to return...is all made manifest here in your words. Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on how you look at it) everything in the universe is as it should be. We all miss John, too. We cry for him. We feel for you. Losing someone so beloved so young is never easy, but you have learned so much from him and we have learned so much from you both.

    I don't know what to say to make things better. I know who you live with, though, and couldn't imagine a better friend/sister for you through this time. Let the memories make you smile. When I talked to John the last time I saw him, he was talking about you crying and said that would be the worst part for him. So of course, cry because you missed him! BEcause he meant something! But smile because that's what he wanted and STILL wants. Just try. I'm smiling right now with my John memories just thinking about it....:)

    We love you so much, Mommy's Cat :)

  3. Allow yourself to grieve. Grief is sorrow, it's anger, it's allowing yourself to be crazy. I lost a family member this year and the sounds that poured out of me at some times were nothing short of animal like. When you love someone and lose them it starts a process of change that lasts a lifetime. All of this coupled with the Holidays can be unbearable at best. My heart goes out to you. Stay strong and forge ahead and know that John has his eyes on you at all times. He will never leave you. God Bless.

  4. Jennifer Schaefer12/8/10, 6:18 PM

    I watched a show recently called 'I survived; Beyond and Back'. It tells the stories of people who actually died and the experience and memories they had of what they considered the afterlife. No matter what the story, or what happened to each person, EVERY ONE said all they felt was a peace and a happiness you could not imagine. They felt no pain, no worries, no life pressures, just an eternal, timeless peace.
    I know you are going through SO MUCH right now, and have every emotion running through you constantly, and undoubtedly do not want to watch any television right now; but I do think hearing these stories would help set your heart at ease, even if only just a little.

  5. The LORD is my shepherd.
    I shall not be in want.
    He makes me lie down
    in green pastures.
    He leads me beside quiet waters.
    He restores my soul.
    He guides me in paths of
    righteousness for His name's sake.
    Even though I walk through
    the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil
    for you are with me.
    Your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.
    You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
    You anoint my head with oil.
    My cup overflows.
    Surely goodness and love will
    follow me all the days of my life,
    and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

    I pray these things for you, Cat. Thank you for posting. I've been checking every day just in case, and I will keep praying.

    With love in Christ,

    Denise R. from Texas

  6. Cat - We have never met, but your story is so very much similar to my story. I found your blog just a couple of days after John passed. It was just 1 week after I lost my husband, just 39, to pancreatic cancer. I live in Orlando, not far, near UCF. It is so evident from your courageous writing that you are surrounded by so many that love you and are there to support you. But if you ever need to connect with someone who just "get's it", I am here. A strong faith in God and the love of those around me are the only things that have helped me this past month. They will help you as well. Cheryl (cheryl.hillpt@yahoo.com)

  7. You are in my thoughts and/or prayers daily...
    May the God of all comfort, comfort and strenghten you

  8. To Cat and Cheryl,

    I prayed specifically this morning (and many times over the last few weeks) that the two of you would connect--not knowing Cheryl had posted this comment last night. I had seen her earlier post in November and thought how merciful our Heavenly Father is. We are not guaranteed a life without pain but our Father doesn't intend us to walk this journey alone. He sends people to us just when we need them. So, I believe my prayer this morning wasn't a coincidence but confirmation, a petal of His grace. Just wanted to share. :)

    Kim from Frisco

  9. Cat, please know that Adam's family is thinking of you and praying for you, that God will uphold you and comfort you. Above all, and I know this is hard to swallow, God LOVES you SOOOOOOOOOOO much, Cat, and He loved John.
    Adam's mom, Linda Deck

  10. Cat,in time things will get better just believe. And yes John is always with you he is sun in your face in the morning the wind in your hair and the beat of your heart. I pray for you and John's family often. Im always there with you my friend. Love you, Melissa and Kenny

  11. Cat,

    You, John, your family, and loved ones are continually in my prayers. I am glad to see you writing again, it's a happy reminder that not all is lost. Even though, I know what you're going through is not easy at all. You're thought about daily and thanks for sharing :)

  12. I am simply moved to tears everytime I visit your blog...at the overwhelming love and emotion that you exude for John and his memory. You were so, so blessed to have found John and been able to experience such a fantastic love, and I ache for you that you did not have longer to relish him here on Earth. I truly believe that you are right that he is waiting for you to join him one day in Heaven. You've still got work to do down here though, and he'll be with you every step of the way, holding your hand.

    Wishing you love, strength, and hope.


  13. Cat. I am so glad that you posted an update. I miss you. Cancer is horrible and John's death is so hard to accept. Hold on to his smells. Knowing and recognizing that John is with you still is awesome. All of those songs.....We love you Cat. I am not sure if losing him will get easier. I know your heart hurts. One foot in front of the other.....and know that you have so many people walking with you.

  14. Cat, I remember when almost 4 years ago you sent me the sweetest message about some of your memories with my Matthew (Reed) after he passed away. I doubt I ever responded because I was in such a daze for a while but, I remember your message even now. I've been keeping up with your blog for a few months and haven't been able to find the words for you until now. When I read the part about John's SMELL, it took me back in time to when I was doing the exact same thing, just smelling Matt's clothes and the sheets wishing that they would NEVER lose their smell. Even though we lost our loves in different ways, one instantaneous and one gradual, I hope it helps you to know that someone out there who cares knows exactly how empty you're feeling right now. I know you wish you could just hit the rewind button in life and go back to when life was PERFECT and at the same time wish you could fast-forward and get past all of this immense pain. The cool thing is, Cat, if you could fast-forward, you would see yourself smiling and feeling at peace. The good news is that it can ONLY get better from here. Day by day, minute by excrutiating minute, your happiness will return. And you will become a brand new and improved you... well that's how I feel anyways. I just know the same will happen for you. Just keep truckin' girl. Take care love.

    Lindsay Phillips (ADX)

  15. Cat, I know I have only spoken to you via the phone and Yahoo! Messenger. But you must know that I feel everything you have been through and continue to go through. I do thank you for sharing your last short year with you husband with all of us here. It really has helped me know that none of us are ever really alone. I do apologize to you for being away so long. You know the situation with my dad. I have been and will continue to pray for you and your family. Too bad I didn't know about "Team Goddard" before the inevitable, I would of loved to support you and your family buy purchasing several of the "little blue rubber bands" everyone has been wearing around their wrists. Please know if there is ever a time you need a friend, just call on me. I know we have never met and possibly never will but know that no matter what I am there with you. Your blog has touched my heart and soul. Joining your school, having you be there all the way with me, it truly has been a blessing. God Bless you and everyone you touch in your life. With love and Prayers. Tiffany Harris from KY