In 2002 my husband, Roy was diagnosed with lung cancer. After going through chemo and radiation they ended up removing part of his right lung because they still detected cancer cells and he was blessed to have the cancer gone. But -- after the surgery the surgeon came out and told me that my husband had black lung and we found out what an ugly disease it is. Here's the definition:
Coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP), also known as black lung disease or black lung, is caused by long exposure to coal dust. It is common in coal miners and others who work with coal. Inhaled coal dust progressively builds up in the lungs and cannot be removed by the body; this leads to inflamation, fibrosis, and in worse cases, necrosis which means the death of the precious cells our lungs need to breathe. Roy worked in the coal mine for 22 years and the job that we was excited for him to get to better our family financially, ironicly is what took his life. Professions in which you breathe dust particles and other things can also give you black lung and so can smoking. So please protect yourself in your jobs and quit smoking and vaping and all that stuff! I hate to see anyone suffer like my suband did.
In reality, lung cancer should have taken Roys life, but for some incredibly generous reason, our Heavenly Father allowed him to live for fifteen more very precious years. These years were not easy for him, but he lived them as fully as he could. In fact, many people were suprised to hear of how sick he became and shocked when he passed as he never complained and up until the time he started wearing oxygen full time, didn't realize he was sick. Our family saw it though as it became harder and harder for Roy to breathe and just as I knew it would be, 2017 was extremely difficult. On January 25, 2017 Roy was taken by Air Med to the ICU at the University of Utah Hospital and over the next four months he fought with everything he had to live. On May 30, 2017 he passed away.
June, July, August, September, October, November, December -- these months were still about survival, but now our family was learning to survive without Roy in our lives. The patriarch of our family, dad to our kids and grandpa Roy to our grandkids. The wonderful son-in-law, brother, uncle and friend. We've all found that grief is a very difficult emotion and we all need to deal with it in our own way. We are learning how to survive without him as a family and individually -- and we are even though we don't like it.
That being said, with what I've been through it would be easy to be bitter and angry -- but I'm not. In fact it may sound strange to many of you, but what I went through -- being by my husbands side as he fought to live was a spiritual experience for me. I saw miracles of faith and blessings of love and generosity bestowed upon Roy and our family. Even though there was much anguish, I felt the sweet comfort of peace as our Heavenly Father encircled us in his loving arms and I learned about what is important in life.
I can't believe that a whole year has passed and, once again, I see posts on FaceBook wishing everyone a Happy New Year and saying that 2018 is going to be the best year ever, filled with love and happiness and new adventures and they're setting new goals and making resolutions. For some it will be. For some it wont. A friend posted a picture of a blank rock and the caption asked, "What one word would you put on this rock describing 2018." I knew right away that my word would be "GRATEFUL". I am and always will be grateful for the gospel teachings my LDS Faith teaches me and the knowledge that we will be with Roy again. A loving Heavenly Father and the comfort He provides. My family and the love and support we have for each other. Wonderful, generous and loving friends. The power of prayer and for trials as I know they make me stronger.
In 2018 my wish for you is to:
- Spend every minute you can with your loved ones no one knows how much time we have. Any given moment things can change.
- Assess your life and put priorities first! Time wasted is time lost
- Quit wasting time and money on unneccessary material things as in the end they don't matter. The only things you take with you are family and knowledge. Your material things stay here
- Know that you will have trials and that you will get through them.
- Appreciate what you have and give to others
- Get the world out of your head! Spend more time with nature!! It's ok to step away from the commotion going on in the world and live in a peaceful place
- Learn about Jesus. If you don't know Him --- you better start building a relationship with Him as He's IS your Savior
- Love unconditionally
As I stated above, I'm going to really try to keep writing my blog as there are a lot of things in my head. AND, I have a series to finish. If you are reading this I would love for you to follow my blog and give me feed back.
I'm praying that 2018 will be a healing time for our family and a wonderful time for all of you.