Looking Back and Ahead

I think most people have probably had a year here or there that was just really rough. 2019 has been that way for my family. My husband had prostate cancer (successfully treated, I’m thankful to say), quickly followed by a hip replacement, then his opposite knee had to be replaced. Those of you who have been through joint replacement know that’s  so worth it, but the physical therapy is long and arduous. Then, of course, thanks to Scout the Lab–who insists  it wasn’t his fault, but it definitely was–I broke my ankle out in the woods. Right around the time we thought we’d gotten through it all, the worst imaginable happened. Our son died. I will miss him forever. The picture above is one of of my favorites.

I know how much other people also suffer–health crises, losses to fire and flood, and death in their family by natural and unnatural causes. If this has been a rough year for you, too, I empathize and care. I also am aware that while much is taken, much abides. My husband and I have a wonderful, loving family who were all here to support us and each other. We have resources–a solid home in a safe and beautiful town, always enough to eat, and can meet our physical needs. So, so many cannot say the same. We are genuinely grateful.

I can’t say I’ll be sorry to see 2019 move into 2020. But first I do want to say thank you, that I wish you lovely holidays whatever ones you celebrate and, especially, joy, health, peace and a good year in 2020.

34 Responses to Looking Back and Ahead

  1. Evening Lynne, this is the date my Mom was born and had she lived, she would be 95! I am so grateful that she was close by, got to see many of Bryan’s basketball games and he got to be with us to celebrate her birthday. I played golf this afternoon and one of my golfing friends talked about the death of her daughter at age 40. She was asked by someone about her death and how she was doing. She told him that at least, in her daughter’s case, she had died in her sleep ( she did have cancer), not on foreign land during battle and in pain, and she was 40, not a baby of 21. Pretty remarkable comment from her, because it is still so awful to lose a child at any age in any situation. I am so grateful that I got to see David on my visit to Oxford. Know Lynne that you and Alan did your very best! Love you two!

    • I understand you are missing your mother today, Wendy, and I know it’s hard. Thank you for your thoughts and care about Dave.

  2. If it makes you feel even the slightest bit better I am so happy to see this year end as well. Been thinking about you all a lot. Take care of yourselves and Happy New Year ❤️

  3. I am so sorry you lost your son, Lynne. I know that kind of experience, and I know how it felt when it happened to me. Grief remained uncontainable for a very long time, years and years actually. I would break out in sobs, anytime, anywhere. Directly following the death, I lost 50 pounds in a month, and simultaneously fell into what I call severe psychological regression–in particular, resorting to prayer, god only knows why. The universe became a courtroom, and I just kept on pleading for the accused. It was a neverending plea for mercy addressed to the void. I actually re-learned prayers long forgotten, and also made up my own. I still say my own to this day, almost 30 years later. It was all utterly shattering, to say the least. I had no one to share my grief with, although even if I had, it may well have made no difference.
    Both you and your husband have faced some terrible ordeals together. I know something of the physical pain your husband has suffered, being cursed with the same disease myself. And I also know how unbearable it is to watch someone you love suffer.
    My own grief produced some small poems, products of temporary insanity you could say, although how temporary I am not sure. I’ll close with one tiny example:


    I shall not give you up for lost,
    though grief prevail,
    tears overcome,
    strength fail.

    Though silence join with ash
    to prove all perish;
    though sorrow mock my hope
    for all I cherish.

    • Thank you so much for sharing this, Tom. I didn’t know about your son, and I’m so sorry. Thank you, too, for including your beautiful poem.

  4. Lynne I’m so sorry for the loss of David. Such a vivacious young man I remember at the TRI. 2019 has been rough for my parents. Hip surgeries for Dad and back issues for Mom. Although time travels on I am not looking forward to 2020 in fear of losing my aging parents. I also have a step daughter battling addiction and am always hoping she will get the help she needs, we have her son living with us. Prayers, family, friends will get us through. Thinking of you!

    • Kim, I so hope 2020 won’t be a hard year for you, that your parents won’t decline and that your stepdaughter will get help. Thank you for remembering Dave.

  5. I feel your sorrow and sadness as we lost this past year all our parents to various medical issues. I tried not to let their deaths define me as months went on, but it’s there every single day reminding me they are gone. I felt like I could not plan one more service but we had to. I take for granted that their voices will always be there but it wasn’t meant to be. They did live long lives. I feel worse for our children as they will have no grandparents with them this holiday season.
    So yes, 2020 can bring us all some some good times. I am so sincerely sorry of your profound loss as none is greater than what you bore. Prayers to you for continued strength each day,

    • Oh Kathy, I can’t imagine losing all parents within a year. I’m so sorry. I hope 2020 will bring you some ease and lightness as well as peace. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hi Lynne
    This is my third try to respond to you.
    What a year you had!
    But you know, it seem like you had the strength n stamina to endure. Sometimes it is important to say Thanks God I made it with your help. Wonderful that you had that strength. Hopefully 2020 will be kinder to you n yours.
    I haven’t been to aerobics for 2 months. I plan to start again in Jan. Shin problems kept me away.
    I hope to see you there whenever we are there on the same day. Jackie told me you left a message for me about Dave. My prayers were n are with you
    By the way I am looking forward to your next book. I so enjoyed the last one.
    Hope to see soon.

    • Barbara, you re doing wonderfully with that darn computer because ALL your responses are here! I’ll delete the others as I don’t think you’d want to have 4 responses up that all say the same thing. But thank you so much and I hope you’re much better and that 2020 will be good to you.

  7. Thinking of you Lynne. May you find peace. I have also had to deal with loss this year. However, I have so much to be thankful for. There are so many positive signs in South Africa despite huge challenges.
    May you experience peace and love over Christmas.

    • Amanda, I hope both South Africa and the United States will meet their enormous challenges! I’m sorry you, too, have dealt with loss. I hope you’ll make it to the States, to CT in the fall of 2020, too. Stay safe and well.

  8. I’m so sorry about the loss of your son. I pray the Lord continues to hold you close, comfort and uphold you as time passes. Many happy memories of David that will grow richer and sweeter and wrap you in warmth in the days ahead. I’m sorry too you and your hubby have had physical challenges but happy all seems to have stabilized now.

    I’ve had a number of health issues also in 2019 but the Lord’s blessing have been abundant and far outweigh all else. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Praying 2020 is a happy and healthy year for you and yours.

    • I hope your health issues will stay behind you in 2020. Thank you so much for responding. I hope the next year will be gentle and kind to you.

  9. Oh, Lynne. My heart hurts for you. I often tell friends to hold their loved ones close in memories, and for me, memories are helped best with photos. I can tell from your son’s eyes what a lovely person he was.

    2019 seems to have been particularly rough for so many. I commend you for your bravery in telling the story — and for me, it’s given me strength to tell mine. I haven’t written on my blog in months because I haven’t known what to say, but your strength is boosting me. Nearly four months ago, our beautiful, brilliant daughter (Isabel in the blog, but her name is Madeleine) stopped her medications, had a complete break with reality, and chased her bipolar demons down the rabbit hole. She’s homeless at the moment, for too many reasons to explain, but we hope she can regain her lucidity and decides to come home.

    I hope 2020 is a better year for so many.



    • Emily, It breaks my heart for you to read this. I’ve missed your blog and knowing the reason for your silence now I completely understand. I imagine the holidays have been very difficult and I am holding you in my heart along with all kinds of hope for your beloved Madeleine, that she soon makes her way back to health and home to you. Please let me know how you’re doing.

  10. Hi Lynne,

    We’re getting ready to meet the rest of the Heile’s to go caroling. Somehow, I was dressed and ready to go early, so have a few moments to write you. Toby and I
    Pray that you and Alan enjoy the blessings of this Christmas with your grandkids. We’re counting on a healthy and happy 2020!

    • Thank you so much, Judi–I’ve seen pictures of your huge and beautiful family on Facebook, and hope that you all had a beautiful Christmas and that 2020 will be a good year for you all.

  11. I know Christmas and your birthday after losing David have been and will be tough. I wish we were around to share our love and support…but I know you feel it long distance. May this new year be full of happier, healthier stuff!! Love you, B and H

  12. I type and erase, type and erase, disgusted that my own attempts at comforting words are just plain inadequate. My heart hurts with yours. Love you so much.

    • One thing I’ve learned through this is how much words and gestures of care and support mean. Showing up. Cards, notes, muffins brought to the door. Meals offered and brought. Dog walked. Children babysat. Understanding hugs. Those who come to the service. Donations of any size to the designated charity. Phone calls. All this when people tend to stay back thinking not to intrude on a busy time or private grief. I’ve learned a lot. I say this because you, Jannie, have been there from the first moment, all the time. No need for you to find one more word now. I know and I’ll never forget.

    • Thank you Terri. You’re one of the few people who really know—which is, of course, good in several ways. But thank you.

  13. The photo which is one of your favorite pictures of David is of course the only photo of him I’ve ever seen, but I can’t imagine there is in existence another image of him more beautiful. Seeing it suddenly overwhelms me afresh with your ineffable loss — and makes me feel a personal sense of loss because I never got to know him. I mourn for your sorrow, at the same time I envy you your memories.


  14. Dear Lynne, my interaction with you has sadly not been enough. I have meant to read your blogs regularly, but there has never been enough time. That of course is nonsense – there is always time.
    I love getting to know you through your writing. I wish I had known you better in New Canaan.
    It was particularly sad to read about your son’s passing. Every parent’s biggest fear. I lost my first born son when he was only three months old. He was born with serious heart deficiencies. It was probably easier because I had known him for only three months. It has made an impact on me and the way I see life.

    • Thank you for your kind comments, Amanda. Whether a child is 3 days, 3 months, 3 or 30 years, it is always a devastating loss. Thank you for sharing yours–I’m so sorry. I do understand the impact. I hope you are staying safe and well in S. Africa.

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