Friday, September 14, 2012

In which I wear my heart on my sleeve

There's a tape playing in my head, over and over.

I'm on my knees on the bedroom floor, pumping my husband’s chest like his life depends on it. It does. The phone’s on loud speaker and a blessedly calm female voice at the end of the 000 line is making me count each CPR compression out loud so she can monitor my timing. She is reassuring as she tracks the ambulance’s swift progress through the pre-dawn gloom to my front door.

"You’re doing really well. Now you’re going to keep it up till the paramedics are there beside you, OK? The ambulance has just turned into your street. It should be pulling up right now. Can you hear them yet?"

I've already flung wide the front door, so the four paramedics can race up the stairs and immediately begin their work. I phone a friend who lives closest, selfishly waking her with the news that her friend of more than 50 years is battling for his life. She’s there in minutes and together we cling together at the other end of the room as every piece of available modern technology is applied to the situation. It's a comfort to me, and a credit to them, that not once does anyone say my husband is not going to make it. But after 40 minutes we know the truth. My darling man has gone.

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Twelve days later I can still hardly believe it. The sun rose, as it always has, on that Saturday morning, the first day of spring, and life outside my bubble of grief life has gone on as if nothing has happened. The wisteria in my garden has transformed itself from a bare tracery of sticks to a hedge of dripping purple. Everything outside these walls has continued on uninterrupted and the sun has shone brightly every single day.

But my life has changed forever.

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I'm bereft, adrift. I feel half a person. Our whole family is devastated. We are numb with shock at the suddenness of Boak’s death. And whilst I know this turn of events is all part of the Lord’s plan, He and I don’t entirely see eye to eye over this one right now. And I know that’s OK with Him  too.

This week has been a blur. I've been carried along on a huge wave of love and compassion. My house is filled with flowers, my freezer is stocked with food, I have a huge box filled with cards and letters from well-wishers, and I've been oh so cared for! I have the BEST family and friends in the world!

Boak's funeral service on Thursday was so very, very beautiful, but I desperately wish he was here to help me pick up the pieces of a life cut short, to hug me close and tell me it will be alright.

I'll never forget the sight of our brave young assistant minister and the three scarlet-clad bishops doing Boak the singular honour of walking his hearse down Darling Point Road, pausing briefly outside our home of the last 10 years, as the police directed traffic and the whole world seemed to stop for a few minutes.

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Boak was a gentleman, a man of real integrity, compassion and principle. As a minister he loved his congregations, and when they needed him in tough times he was always there. It saddened him when too often he heard someone had been ill, hadn't thought to send him a message to let him know, and now felt uncared for. His great gift, however, was as a preacher. Oh, how that man could preach!

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He seriously underestimated the effect his words had on people, but I've had several separate messages this week from folk to whom his simple greeting at the church door one morning meant the world to them, given the particular concerns on their minds at the time.

What a blessing that he was able to marry Ben and Sunny just 4 weeks earlier.IMG_9190-001


Boak was authentic. What you saw was what you got. He could at times be inflexible, irascible, pessimistic and obsessive. But he could also be tender, solicitous, selfless, loving and funny. I could always rely on him to see a way through difficulties, and handle problems wisely and thoughtfully. Grumpy Grappa

He had a fine sense of the ridiculous. Who in our family will ever forget his performances of "Dancing on the Table with my Teddy Bear", a ditty he composed for The Princess when she was just weeks old so he could dance her around the kitchen?

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He demonstrated his love for me not just in words, but in real and loving actions, the last couple of years waking me with breakfast in bed every morning and making the dinner  every evening when I had lost my mojo for cooking. Wednesday was the day he did his own washing, but that was more about making sure I couldn't lose any of his socks in the wash than about saving me the chore! He always maintained that, unlike me, he never lost a single sock after taking on the washing himself.(.hmmmm...I wonder!).

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We've shared 40 years of marriage and he's been my treasured companion. We've worked as a team and, though I won't pretend life has always been perfect, we’ve always loved each other and told each other so. He had a tender side that few saw and I'm so grateful that in Gods loving plan my voice was the last he heard.

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As I pick up the pieces I struggle to find strength and consolation in four thoughts -

* The way Boak always encouraged me when I doubted my own abilities (which i do most of the time). I want to make him proud of me as I rebuild my life.


* My three grown children and two daughters-in-law who I love so much and who have so swiftly and sensitively taken charge of what's had to be done this week. I know I can count on their love and support - but I don't ever want to burden them.


* My unbelievably generous and loving friends, who’ve also been by my side. They are all an inspiration to me and I know one day, one day, things will get better.

* Finally, I know have the best and most dependable arms of all carrying me through this, and indeed the whole of my life.

Deuteronomy 33:27 - The eternal God is your rescue, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

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I just pray He’ll erase that tape inside my head before too long.

Di

PS. I’ll be back here very soon, blogging about quilting and other snippets ‘n’ scraps of my life, so please bear with me while I try to re-join some of those scraps.

Links  to some articles written about Boak by his colleagues and our friends -

http://sydneyanglicans.net/news/stories/former-dean-of-sydney-dies 
http://markdthompson.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/boak-jobbins-19472012.html
http://holbeck.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/090-boak-jobbins-1947-2012-former-dean-of-sydney-a-tribute-from-a-former-colleague/

42 comments:

  1. What a sweet loving post for your DH. I'll keep you in my prayers.

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  2. They say time heals wounds, I dont know as I have never had to share the grief and burdan that you carry. I hope that it does though and that tape stops playing. In the meantime I am glad that you have had the 3D real support that family and friends can bring - but here in blog world, tears are streaming down my face for you. Thank you for sharing your heart, my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I also have faith that quilting will be a great therapy when you are ready. Read a lovely blog recently about 3 quilts a lady made for girls out of their fathers shirts, as a loving memory that they could snuggle.

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  3. Absolutely beautiful Di, just Beautiful.

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  4. I am so very sorry for your loss. This was a lovely tribute post.

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  5. Hi Di
    I really don't know what to say, and I feel very sad for you. You have wonderful memories and lovely photos to comfort you in this very sad time. I know what you are going through, as my DH of 20 years passed at age 42. Time is a great healer, but you will never forget those 40 lovely years you both had.
    My thoughts are with you Di
    Sue

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  6. Di, I hope that tape stops playing for you one day soon. When I read the item about your darling Boak's death in the SMH it was difficult to take it in - surely it was a mistake, someone else, not Boak? While I never had the pleasure of meeting your dear husband, your post has really shown what he was like. My thoughts are with you.

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  7. Oh, Di, I could barely breathe as I read you post; my family is living life around me and I am in shock -- so I can only imagine how you feel. My dear friend, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I praise God that you are surrounded by family and friends who love and care for you but I understand that it is not enough! Be assured that you have friends you have never met who also love you and care about you, and will be praying for you. May God make His presence felt in your life in a myriad of tiny ways as He deals with your raw emotions and carries you through this time. Thank you for sharing such an emotional and beautiful post with us.

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  8. Such beautiful words so perfect for your love for your Boak xxx Beck

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  9. Di, a loving post for you DH - thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time.

    Denise

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  10. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time. Such a loving tribute to your husband. Sending hugs and sympathy.

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  11. No words can give you comfort at this time so i won't try other than to say I am so sorry!

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  12. Oh Di I was so shocked and saddened to read your post. My thoughts are with you and the family.

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  13. I was shocked and saddened to hear your news Di.
    My thoughts are with you and the family.

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  14. What a lovely tribute from you. May I say that it reminds me of many things I have heard about your husband through my years in this diocese. My prayers are for you and your family now. I think time softens things but the grief for those gone is there and for things done to me as well, and I do know that in my grief, my family have been a blessed gist from God to me.

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  15. Oh Di, my deepest love and thoughts are sent to you at this devastating time. To have written what you have in the most beautiful way that you have about your husband and best friend shows the inner strength you have to help you through. Your love for this man is so obvious and he will also give you the strength you need to get through this.
    When I started to read your post my heart lept into my throat and I cried for you. I know everyone says time heals and I am sure it does. Thank goodness you have amazing family, friends and truly beautiful memories of your time together to keep you warm in your cold and to make you smile in your sadness.
    Much strength and love being sent your way,
    Hugs Deb. xx

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  16. A loving and generous tribute to the man you loved. Take solace in the care of those around you.

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  17. A beautiful, heartfelt tribute to your husband. He lives on in your heart, your memories and the family you created together. My thoughts are with you. X

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  18. Sorry to hear of your loss Di...a Beautiful post..my prayers are with you and your family.
    Take Care

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  19. Di my heart is hurting with yours. Though I didn't know your husband I feel I know you through all of your blog posts and I can imagine how very hard this time is. I am praying that all your joyful memories will fill your moments of sorrow. blessings, marlene

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  20. Dearest Di, I have read this post several times and continue to be be in denial that you have lost such a wonderful man. Your eloquence in describing him reveals how little I knew about him, for he was surely a God-fearing, multi-faceted man. My heart breaks for you. No amount of condolences or platitudes can adequately convey my heartfelt sympathy and concern for you. Even though you have depended on Boak for countless large and small concerns, I believe you are a woman of great inner fortitude who will rebound from this devastation with strength provided by our glorious Lord God. I am certain He is your rock - the spine who will keep you standing during this trial. I am continually praying for you, dear friend. May God pour an overflowing measure of His love and grace into your precious spirit. Bless you.

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  21. Dear Di, through my tears for you I felt that I was reading my own story except it was my 17yo son giving his father CPR, it is an unreal experience. With the love and support of your family and friends you will find your inner strength to continue on as Boak would want you to and a return to quilting will be one of those many steps. Meanwhile take care of yourself, your children & grandchildren.

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  22. I am so sorry to hear this, Di, he was obviously a GREAT man. I felt much the same when I lost my father, the part about life going on when mine was completely upside-down. Prayers and Hugs, Doris

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  23. Oh Di, how my heart goes out to you. Please accept my deepest condolences. I pray that God will comfort and strengthen you until you see your dearest on the other side of heaven. I am reminded of that gospel song, "... When we all get to heaven, what a day of great rejoicing that will be".

    HUGS!

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  24. Hi Di,

    I have been reading your blog for sometime and was very saddened to read this one. My thoughts are with you.

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  25. I have been reading your blog for sometime now however I was very saddened to read this one. My thoughts are with you at this sad and difficult time.

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  26. I have been reading your blog for sometime now however I was very saddened to read this one. My thoughts are with you at this sad and difficult time.

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  27. I have been reading your blog for sometime now however I was very saddened to read this one. My thoughts are with you at this sad and difficult time.

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  28. Oh Di, my heart goes out to you. My best friend faced your reality a few years ago. Trust me, that tape will fade into the background. It will take time, but it will fade and the sounds and sights will be of the two of you laughing and holding hands. Huge hugs & prayers.

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  29. Oh sweet Di, I'm so sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts. What a beautifully written tribute. I'm so glad you are a talented and gifted quilter, because quilters know how to keep busy. Bless you.

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  30. Oh, Di,my heart breaks for you. This is one of my greatest fears right now. I hope you find comfort soon in the Lord. I hope he erases that tape and you only remember all the good, sweet moments of your life together. Bless you.

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  31. I agree with you, that God is OK when we don't always agree right away or see eye-to-eye. Hugs and God Bless you and yours.

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  32. Bloghopping my eye caught your words and I had to read on. You're a brave lady, such a loving way you write about your life and love. A big hug from The Netherlands.

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  33. Di, I just came across this tribute to Boak and to your love for each other on your blog, almost by accident. It is an incredibly beautifully expressed tribute to him - and give us an even deeper insight into what made him special for his friends as well. Much love, Judy C.

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  34. Dear Di, I'm so so sorry to hear of your loss. My heart hurts for you. You're post is so full of love, and the wonderful time you had together, I know that will help you through. My thoughts go out to you and your family, big hugs to you all. Rachael

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  35. What a beautiful post on such an emotional subject. I really am sorry for your loss, though I know words can't help with grief. It's such a blessing that you have family and friends to take care of you and remember such a wonderful man with you.

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  36. What a privilege for you to share so much of your immense sadness. I can't imagine the deep pain you must feel each day. I do pray that the Lord will continue to uphold you in his everlasting arms. Much love and prayers dear friend.

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  37. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. This is such a beautiful tribute to your beloved! I am so sorry for your loss, may you find yourself in a place of continually saying, it is well with my soul! Hugs from the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida!

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  38. Di, in catching up on your blog posts, I want to offer you my sincerest sympathy at the loss of your dear husband. Your tribute to him was so moving and eloquent. May the Lord give you peace and strength each day of this next chapter in life.

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  39. Hi Di, Now I understand the comment I read from you on your blog about the awful 10 months. I have recently joined your blog.....since you won the prize with that gorgeous quilt. I think perhaps God is bringing you some healing joy now - in the form of the 4 blessings you mentioned - to help your life pick up within. Two years from now you will speak and think of your husband without the sharp jab of pain that you feel all, and every day. Recently I read ''grief is but a whisper to the world, and a tumultuous clamour in my soul.'' Whoever wrote that has a perfect understanding of the solitary aloneness of grief. Heal quickly my fellow stitcher.

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