Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Where in the World am I?

It's been less than two years since my last post in November, 2017, but to me it feels like forever. Time is like that when everything changes and your world goes topsy turvy. Two years ago, my husband and I were living in Salt Lake City and planning our next move/trip/lifestyle change.
At home in the Guatamala highlands, near Lake Atitlan


On our list was Cambodia, India, the Philippines, definitely Vietnam. And maybe back to Mexico because we had loved living in Comitan, Chiapas. When we left Comitan, our landlord said the apartment would be ours if we ever came back. Considering we could live comfortably in this friendly mid-sized town in southern Mexico for just $800 a month for everything, we certainly discussed moving back.

But God had other plans for us. A year ago, my husband had emergency surgery for a dissected aorta. It ruptured on the operating table, before they were able to properly prep him for surgery. Miraculously, they did save his life and he did wake up from the surgery. Although he had a long road ahead of him if he were to fully recover from the trauma his body had gone through.

It was four months of ups and downs, much fasting and prayer for healing, many hospitals as they moved him around based on whether he was progressing or not. In July, it seemed like he might make it. Finally, he seemed to be improving. My hope was renewed.

Until an infection they'd kept at bay with powerful antibiotics flared up again. With a vengeance. Within days he was admitted to LDS Hospital, since the care center in Salt Lake didn't have the means to handle the situation. I saw him go downhill so fast it scared me. I felt this was the end. I cried buckets of tears that week.

He passed away on August 23, ten days after our 48th wedding anniversary. On our anniversary, he'd been lucid and even written a sweet note in a card one of our sons brought to him to sign for me. Five days after that, I knew it was over and five days after that, he was gone.

He died surrounded by our family, surrounded by love. He had fought valiantly for four months after surgery to recover and stay with us. We were grateful for the courage he showed through this battle, but also grateful he was now released from his pain-racked, very ill body to return home to his Heavenly Father.

I've been blessed to feel his spirit with me often since that day, my eternal companion. We were married in 1970 in the Oakland, California temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for time and eternity. Our church believes that families are forever, that the bonds of marriage and family are not for this life only but can continue on after death. The work done in our holy temples is simply that of uniting families for eternity. I've never been so grateful for that work as I have since Bruce died.
Quetzaltenango temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
So where in the world am I? Currently staying with one of my sons and his family in Cedar City, Utah, while I get my bearings and decide what should be my next move.

I'll end this by sharing a picture of Bruce and me taken in 1970, our first Christmas as a newly married couple, heading out to travel to Illinois to spend the holidays with my family. We were so young! We had no idea what lay ahead of us, but as long as we had each other nothing else really mattered. And that is still true.




29 comments:

  1. Hello Karen. Thanks so much for posting this. A blog follower for years, I felt so sad when I had learned of your husband's death and wondered about your "whereabouts" spiritually and physically. So wonderful you have family support. Love the photo of you and Bruce in the early days! Take care and please, keep posting as you navigate through this next life phase.

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  2. Karen, so sorry for the loss of your husband. Prayers for you and your family. I'm glad you were also surrounded by family and hope they've been a great support for you.

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  3. Hi Donna. So great to hear from you and to know of your concern. I do hope to keep the blog current now that things have settled down a bit.

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  4. Alex, my family has been amazing. I don't know how I'd have made it through otherwise.

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  5. Thank you for this update. I'm so very sorry for your loss. I thought something had happened but wasn't certain. I'm praying you discover the next step God has for you.

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  6. May God bless you and keep you safe, Karen.

    I'm so glad your family is there for you. Be well, my friend.

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  7. Oh Karen, I am so very sorry! Keep relying on family and God.

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  8. I am so sorry about your husband passing. I'm sure he is still with you in spirit. He went through a lot with that surgery. My brother passed about a month after the same type of surgery. It is such a hard surgery to recover from.

    You'll know what to do when the time comes. I'm glad you have a good son to stay with. Again, I am so sorry for your loss.

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    1. Ann, I am so sorry as well for the loss of your brother.

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  9. I was just thinking about you recently and was wondering what you were up to now. I am so sorry to read of the passing of your beloved husband. From what I have surmised from all your posts is that you are a very strong lady and you will soon find a new path in life that is right for you. Once an adventurer, always an adventurer.

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    1. Yes, I do have my plans. We'll just have to see what works out.

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  10. Karen, that is so sad. I'm glad, though, that you have so many happy memories to treasure.

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  11. You and your family have my deepest sympathies. My heart and thoughts are with you.

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  12. Oh, Karen...

    I am so sorry to hear about your husband. What a beautiful and loving relationship the two of you had. He will always be with you in spirit. I'm sure you feel his presence every day. Continue your journey with him protecting you with every step you take. Keep your adventurous side because that is a part of both of you. Having you family must be of great comfort to you, but God has something else in mind for you. I can feel it. Knowing you for as long as I have, I won't be surprised at all when I see you shining face in another beautiful and exotic place. Take care and remember you always have your friends here in the blogosphere no matter how many years pass.

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  13. Dear Karen - I am so sorry to read this ... as I could see how close you both were - with your delightfully large family. I'm glad you're adjusting and am sure Bruce will be with you as you make plans for your future ... all the very best - and with thoughts - Hilary

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  14. You had a very hard road and you continue to journey on that road uphill but you are taking that road with the feeling of love your husband had for you. To be blessed with 48 years with someone you love is something to hold dear. My mom passed away January 15, 2018 and it has been hard as she was my rock even though she had dementia since 2010( when I first noticed it). My dad died April 30, 1988...31 years ago and I have spoken with 2 people who knew my parents well and both stated how strong their bond was and their love. They only had 27 years together but it was cherished. I am certain you cherish the 48 you had with your husband and am glad you are with your son right now because family is needed.

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  15. Karen, I'm so sorry for the loss of your husband but was happy to know you still feel him with you. I'll keep you and all of your family in my prayers. God will keep you on the path he's laying out for you. Love and hugs ♥

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  16. How wonderful to hear from you again, Karen, since your move from our sweet neighborhood after your terribly tragic loss of Bruce! I still miss you and love your spirit, spunk, and talent that keep you going on to new adventures and goals. I'll eagerly watch this blog to see what happens next--just like turning the pages of one of your great books. Happy Mother's Day and upcoming birthday, while I'm at it!

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    1. You're so cute, Marilyn and how fun to see you show up on my blog. Thanks for commenting. Miss you too!

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  17. So sorry for your loss, Karen. And I'm so glad to see you back on the blog. Best wishes on finding your next adventure.

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  18. Karen, so very sorry for your loss. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

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  19. Thank you for this share, Karen. I have thought of you both since I read of Bruce's passing. You could say I formed an attachment since reading your "diamond" books, fictional though they may be.
    Love is forever, and the only real thing.

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  20. Oh Karen, I am so dreadfully sorry at the loss of your soul mate and eternal friend. I understand what it is like, Karen, and my heart reaches out to you.

    I am fortunate to have made Bruce laugh several times and I really think if we had met we would have been good friends,

    Thank you for sharing. Your account see-sawed from shock to hope to despair and to hope again and I really did think he would recover but sadly I shared a tear when the outcome was a sad one.

    Thank you for calling in the other day and I did wonder what had happened to you, and now I know.

    God bless you and God bless Bruce. You will be reunited one day as I shall with my Maria. x

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    1. Eddie, you certainly did bring a chuckle to Bruce. He would say when he saw me blogging-- Has Eddie Bluelights posted anything new lately? He wanted us to go to England so he could meet you and have a chat. I said, Pretty sure Eddie Bluelights isn't his real name!

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  21. My email should have been this one which has my link.

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  22. Dearest Karen, I'm so sorry for your loss of your husband, your love, your best friend. I'm glad you have your family, your faith, and your many friends. And I hope you will come back to us, your blogger friends. I have missed you.

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    1. Thank you, Inger. I know you've been through it too. I remember your posts during the time of your husband's illness and how sad when he passed away.

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  23. Dearest Karen, I'm so sorry for your loss of your husband, your love, your best friend. I'm glad you have your family, your faith, and your many friends. And I hope you will come back to us, your blogger friends. I have missed you.

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  24. .My real name is Edwin Rigg and it would have been my pleasure to meet both him and yourself. Eddie Bluelights was a sort of extovert version of myself and he could get away with murder . . . lol. Everyone loved him . . . You might be interested in reading his Sunday Roast interview, done before I took over the weekly column.
    http://david-mcmahon.blogspot.com/2009/09/sunday-roast.html
    I am so sorry I never got the chance to meet him and I am extremely honoured he said that about wanting to meet me

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