How I Became a Widower (part 1)


It’s been nearly two years since Kristen died, so over the next several days, I will be sharing the details of what happened to her and how my life changed as a result.  Many of these posts come from my journal entries at the time, which I also put on my personal Facebook page last year.  Please know that I write these words in the hope of educating and encouraging others (especially my children, who may wish to know more as they grow and mature).  Life is not easy, and I’ve had plenty of bad days since Kristen died.  Even though Christians still face hardship and struggle, Jesus gives us hope of a day when there will be no more death or sadness, no more tears or grieving.  The old things will pass away, and He will make all things new.

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JOURNAL ENTRY

2/27/13 — 8:52 a.m. — Home – Living Room
“Wow! It has been an incredible week since I last wrote. My baby boy, Ian Alexander Ross, was born on February 21 at 12:44 p.m. weighing 7 lbs. 8 oz. and stretching 19 inches. He is wonderful, and I am so blessed to finally meet him and have him in my life. I love him dearly, and my soul is overjoyed when I see Elizabeth w/ him. She loves her baby brother so much and wants to help us. I am thrilled to have two children, and I look forward to seeing them play together.
Surely God has been good to us. I thank Him for His love, grace, and mercy. Kristen’s hard pregnancies are over, and now we have the privilege and responsibility of raising two wonderful children. Praise the Lord! Amen ❤ ❤ <3”
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Around mid-morning on February 27, 2013, Kristen was complaining of a terrible headache. We both figured it was just a migraine, so she went to the bedroom to lie down. When she came out of the bedroom later that afternoon (around 4:00, I think), she asked me to go to the pharmacy to pick up her prescription pain meds since she had just given birth the week before.
I had been gone for, at most, 20 minutes when Kristen texted me to ask when I was coming home. Her text set off a red flag in my mind. I knew she was in a lot of pain, and I knew that everything she usually tried to alleviate migraine pain wasn’t working, so something was very wrong.  This couldn’t be a migraine, I thought. She’d had those for years and knew how to deal with them. Her pain was worse than anything she’d ever experienced, and nothing made it better.
I returned home and insisted we go to the ER, but Kristen didn’t want to because she’d just been in the hospital a week ago.  I suggested we schedule a doctor’s appointment the next day.  She agreed, so I called and scheduled it, but I noticed she kept wincing and pressing her hand against her head. It was like she was trying to pinpoint the pain, but it was everywhere. She was inconsolable. I was worried.
I decided then and there that we would go to Urgent Care. It seemed like a good compromise between going to the ER and going to the doctor’s office. Plus, we didn’t really want to take our 6-day-old baby to the hospital emergency room. Kristen didn’t object, so we began to get ourselves and our children ready.
I’ll never forget what happened next. I can close my eyes and relive the moment scene by scene. Kristen had gone to the master bathroom, and I was in the hallway bathroom about to wash my hands. Just before I turned on the water, I heard Kristen scream my name:
 “JOSEPH!!!”
Kristen never screamed. Never. At least not like this. This was unbridled fear, a scream of terror.
I ran to her. Our house isn’t that big, so it wouldn’t have taken long to get to her anyway, but something told me to move as fast as possible. When I got to her, I discovered she had lost feeling in her left hand. Her eyes were stricken with fear and panic.
“We’re going to emergency room,” I said.
We scrambled together our kids and their things and left the house at around 5:30 p.m. that night.  We got in the car and drove to High Point Regional Hospital.
I had no idea that would be the last time all four of us would be together in our home.
Kristen walked out of our house, and she never returned.

 

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