The last 10 days have been filled with a wide range of activities and a wide range of emotions. My dear husband, Carlton Hughes, has passed from this world into Heaven.
We have known this was coming for the last 23 years, and we have half-way expected it the last 5 years, but when death comes, it is still somewhat of a jolt! He was here on this earth for nearly 73 years, but in an instant, he was NOT!
It happened like this. He became weaker and weaker as Parkinson’s Disease caused his body to degenerate, until his systems shut down, and he left this earth. During his last 5 days he ate and drank nothing because he was in a coma-like state. We sat beside him, stroked his face and arms, prayed over him, cried over him, and we let him go. In many ways it seemed natural. It seemed like it was meant to be. There was no struggle, really. There was no trauma, really. And there was no pain, thankfully.
His breathing pattern changed twice during those days, and then it just stopped.
For the last 23 years I have prayed for 3 things, and God granted each one. I prayed that he would be able to stay here with us at home, I prayed that he would not have any pain, and I prayed that he would die peacefully. I am so thankful to God that He granted me those 3 requests.
As many of you will understand, caring for Carlton was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. There were many days I wanted to give up, but out of love for him and love for God, I kept on. As caregivers, that’s what we do!
Due to complicated family schedules with 2 graduations in different states, we had the funeral yesterday, just 3 days after he passed. It was quick, but it was truly a celebration of his life. It is available on our church website if you’d like to see it. We buried him yesterday afternoon as our family sat together in the cemetery sharing stories of our relationship with him. It was beautiful.
I am in awe of this quiet house as I write this, and I am feeling very light because no one is here to call my name to come and care for them. Over the next few weeks and months, I know that there will be many ups and downs, and my emotions are likely to swing from grief to joy and everything in between.
But today I am so happy for Carlton because I believe he is in Heaven and has a body with no limitations. He doesn’t have to depend on others to be able to move around! I am so thankful to God for that.
However, there is a hole in my life right now, and I need to just sit with it for a while as I decide what to do next.
Fellow caregivers, do not give up. You are doing good work. It is not going to last forever. Enjoy the good parts and overlook the difficult parts.
Have a great week ahead, and I will be back next Friday or Saturday.