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  • Laura Alvarado-Newson

Never forgetting

I'm sitting in my sun room, in a daze, full of gratitude. I think about where I have been, what I have gone through and where I am now. Psalm 103:2 says "Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits". Usually our first reaction to our past bad situations is a desire to forget. However, it is so important to remember, not with anger or resentment, sadness or depression; but to remember with gratitude. Let me tell you, plenty of times, I was so certain those pits/valleys were going to swallow me alive. I did not think I would make it, but here I am. How? Not by my strength, that's for sure!

Some memory lanes are dark. Last night my 15 yr old plops into bed with me and, with tears in her eyes, debated on whether or not to go to church on Father's Day. I told her she had a few days to think about it but that I was not going to force her. This conversation opened a door to a walk down memory lane. She told me she remembers the day I came home to tell her and her sister that their dad had gone to heaven. She asked me how I found out. I told her I was there. Just from that answer she burst into tears and held me tight "oh mom, that must have been horrible!" I chose not to go into the PTSD I still suffer with from the alarms that went off when Jorge's heart stopped. I chose not to share about the ear-piercing screams coming from his mother and sisters that just broke my heart even more, or that one of the worst things to witness is a nurse pounding on your husband's chest, desperately hoping to bring him back. I did not share about running out of the room and collapsing to the ground, at that point I felt myself floating over a woman (me) on the ground shaking her head in disbelief, powerlessness and confusion. I know people were with me speaking words, but they sounded like distant echos. For about 6 months, I lived nodding and pretending to understand every one's gibberish and distant echos. No one made sense. Every one spoke a strange language. It took me a year to start understanding again, to get my feet back on the ground. Of course, in every one's eyes I was strong and admirably fine. They never witnessed those 6 months from 10 pm to 4 am of crying to the point of not being able to breathe, to the point of throwing up. The heartache would get so intense many times I thought I was having a heart attack. If I did fall asleep, i would be violently woken by alarms, ingrained in my mind, the sounds of his heart stopping. At 4 am I would collapse in bed, numb and exhausted, just to wake up at 7 am, do the mom thing until 10 pm and repeat. Finally after about 6-8 months I regained my strength and ability to sleep at least 4 hours straight. These nights were between me and God and my dead husband.

My daughter also shared how happy she is that Tom is a part of our lives, that she loves him and that he is so different from dad. "Mom, is that wrong that I notice some cool things about Tom that I didn't see in dad?" "Absolutely not, Tom is a completely different man from your dad. Your dad had strengths and weaknesses and Tom has strengths and weaknesses." Our hearts are big enough to love both of them. She is thinking, feeling, asking questions, she is happy!

Hi, my name is Laura and I was weak and vulnerable. I refused to admit this vulnerability and weakness. It was a cold realization when I met a man and became emotionally attached too quickly. I was scared. God saved me from myself and from my weak choices. Towards the last couple of months of this relationship, God really opened my eyes, showed me who I was and what my true desires were; as well as, the fact that my children would experience any wrong choices I made, this woke me up fast. This gentleman was not mature, and I almost adopted a grown child. To no fault of his own, I thought I could save him. I needed to walk away. I took too long to walk away, I have never walked away from a relationship before. I didn't have very many serious relationships. I was married for 19 years. I am a committed woman, but God gave me the courage to walk away. I pray that God helps and prospers this guy. I apologized to my kids. My girls always seem somewhat relieved when they hear me admit a weakness or mistake, our communication always gets a little better once they know mom is human and makes wrong choices too, not a superhero expecting perfection.

You know, some may judge my relationship with Tom. We did meet shortly after I ended the other relationship. With no intentions to get emotionally involved, we chatted. I had FB relationships with many widows and widowers. There is something to be said about finding people who know exactly what you are going through. Once i noticed that Tom and I were really connecting and had a lot in common, I shared my mistakes with him. He shared stuff too, but that's his story to tell. At one point, after praying about Tom and really feeling a peace about him and us, I started to judge myself. Then the Lord brought to my memory a very important fact. I met Jorge in October 1996, he proposed 2 months later, we married 3 months later. October to March, 5 months of dating/engagement, we knew God brought us together and that led to a 19 year marriage and ended at "death do you part." God freed me from guilt and self-condemnation.

Thomas is a mature, God-fearing, loving, kind man and father. I fell in love with his strength, his story of true love and perseverance, his communication, transparency; his good looks might have had an influence on me a little. One thing that continuously melts my heart, is that Tom loves who I am. He encourages my love for coffee, decor, art, writing and nature. He doesn't hint that i should change, that's huge for me. I am being myself completely and Tom loves the me that I am. I don't have to adjust or change for his love. God is showing me it's okay to love myself and do things that I love.

I spent many years sacrificing my well being to care for a husband, I did it all in love for him, to make him happy all of the time (many times failing, because it was not my job). I almost jumped into a relationship that would require more off balance sacrifice, I found myself not being me, because he didn't like some parts of who I was; not to mention the endless hours talking him off the ledge. No thanks!

Tom cares about me, and we will love and accept each other 100%. Ladies, there is even a balance in loving a man. We are called to love and submit, not be mommies/mental health counselors/saviors. A true man of God will surrender his stuff to God, their maker and savior. Not to say we don't carry each other's burdens, of course we do, but the keyword in it all is: balance.

So as I look ahead in joyful expectation of what's coming, I look back on my journey and how many times my God has saved me, strengthened me, forgiven me and loved on me; despite my messy way of trying to be strong and independent, failing every single time. There will be more to this journey and the same God that has carried me through, will see us through this next chapter. I am happy!

GOD IS REAL!

GOD IS GOOD!

GOD IS FAITHFUL!

*why do i share? my hope is that my story and my heart (the good, the bad, the ugly) will be an encouragement to someone walking through a similar valley. It's hard to keep stuff in when God is so good!

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