Sunday, August 14, 2011


You might want to get a cup of coffee, a glass of wine or in my case I am craving a diet coke.  
You will need something to take this journey with me.  I thought about not writing about it, but maybe there is something in it for you.  Maybe I just need to clear the cobwebs out of my brain because I have to start working on Christmas tomorrow…

I can’t remember where I left off on this journey, but I think it was with the first week I was in Dallas at Baylor with my dear high school and life long friend and her husband as he waited on a liver transplant.

When Jack and I left two weeks ago on a Saturday headed to Dallas to see them, I just knew we were suppose to go…as in pay it forward
I had no idea that almost two weeks later we would still be there.  We came home for just a couple of days to pay bills. 

All I knew was my gut was saying “go back and just be there”! 

I did not want to bother them or be in the way, I just wanted to be 10 minutes away and available.

I wanted to be a shoulder for Dianne to fall apart on, I wanted to be a smile to Keith when the world was really dark. 
I just wanted to live out “we care” as so many people had done for us 10 months ago.

I may never know why God picked Dianne and Keith to be on the other end of this journey. 

Oh wow did I learn a lot about the transplant world. That’s another post, but if you are not a donor…think about about it and just do it.
My regular readers know I don’t go many places without a “little” in tow. Ever. So living in a hotel for two weeks in 110 degree weather without the little's was not my idea of a vacation.
But the entire time I was there I knew I was right where I was suppose to be.
I was able to set up a Caringbridge site for Keith and do the posting for Dianne. We were able to be there for the highs and for the very low times.

Talk about a roller coaster.

Remember from Jack’s stroke, I am NOT a nurse.  So every minute I am in the hospital is totally out of my comfort zone. 
Dianne is just the opposite…She was the kindest caregiver and could do anything.
Exactly a week ago today we were settled in the hotel for what we thought was another week.

Things changed drastically on Wednesday and we knew there would be no liver…infection was rampant in Keith's body, he had multiple organ failures…on Thursday afternoon around 4 surrounded by his family with old hymns playing in the background, he took his last breath.
His body just had no fight left. 

Today, in a standing room only, filled to the brim church, we all said goodbye.
This is the part I was not sure I was going to share.  But maybe there is some lady out there that can insert her name and find comfort. 
Yesterday was Dianne and Keiths 34th anniversary.  All week we had talked about it and I would ask Keith if he wanted me to get her something..and every time he would say as only he could, “Naw” (that’s Texan)..

About 11:45 Friday night I sat down to the computer and decided I would write Dianne a letter in Keith's voice for her to have in her email when she woke up Saturday morning.

A Happy Anniversary wish from her man.   It took me exactly 10 minutes, no rewrites, no thinking, meaning it HAD to be God.  I hit send and went to bed.

When I woke up I realized I had five missed calls from her.  When we finally connected all I could understand was “That was the best gift EVER"!
Understand, I thought only Dianne and I would ever know about it or read it..
Her next words were “Can I have it read at the funeral”?
Of course, but not by me…I can’t..and don’t say who wrote it.  So Keith's cousin  beautifully delivered the letter.
I am going to share it with you and if you lost a mate and some things were left unsaid ..take it as your own letter.

This one was to my dear friend Dianne.


I am so sorry I am not here to celebrate our anniversary. I wish we could have spent it in Colorado or Gatlinburg.   If there was ever a year in our marriage that I need to celebrate you, it is this year.
You have been everything to me. At times it probably did not seem that way. I am so thankful that you hung in there thru the bad years and took those vows of "for better or worse and in sickness and health" as a vow to God and not me.
I was a handful and more....a wild man many times, but I loved you with all my heart.
Dianne, you know better than anyone how the devil worked on me as he does everyone. We know the areas that were a challenge to me. Please remind my friends that life can change in a moment. But with YOU and God I WON those battles. Thanks is not a big enough word to you for fighting them with me.

You have been the greatest Mom and Wife any man could ask for.
These past months you have had to be nurse and no one could have asked for a better one. I KNOW I was NOT an easy patient.
You took care of my every need without thinking twice.
Some of those needs you probably could have lived without ever doing.
The hospital was horrible and humiliating, but I know you know that. Thank you for giving me my dignity.
Thank you for every drink of water, every ice chip, every back rub and bath, every night that you slept on that tiny little bed. Thank you for NEVER leaving me alone.
Thank you for encouraging me and trying to get me the best medical care available, even when it meant being away from home for months. YOU ARE MY HERO!!!
I have been stingy with compliments most of our marriage. Please let me make it up to you now. YOU are the rock that held our family together. You are the love of my life. You stayed when most would have left.
I am well now...reunited with so many people, so much family and totally whole. There really are streets of gold. I have no more pain and everyone I have met loves my stories.
I know you are hurting and today will be extra hard. I did NOT want to leave you but my physical body just gave out.
Live life to the fullest, remind the boys how much I love them and how proud I am of them, kiss the grandkids regularly for me. Tell them stories about me. Keep in touch with my friends and if you don't mine, every once in awhile remind them that I was a pretty good (No Great) football player.
Most of all never forget how much I love you!
Happy Anniversary with all my love,

Keith 1
         Keith Whatley….I wish I could hear one more story. 
     Dianne and Keith
So tonight my word to you is if your gut tells you to do something, JUST DO IT.


jojo said...

beautiful, incredible, heart-breaking, God loving, honor, strength and love...this post has it all and has touched my heart in ways you will never know. take care and thank you for sharing your heart so freely...blessings to you.

Anonymous said...

Wow ~ there are no words adequate for how beautiful that is ~ divinely inspired, healing:) you are a true friend, Teresa.

Tammy Ewert

Just a little something from Judy said...

You...are one amazing, caring, encouraging and gracious lady! This is an amazing post! I continue to learn so much from you. Thank you for taking the time to share the gentle nudging that God placed on your heart and it's beautiful ending.

Sally said...

Everyone needs a friend like you. Such a beautiful, heartfelt letter.

Hugs and blessings.

Theresa said...

Oh dear Teresa! God was all in it, his love and words thru your pen! I am so sorry for the loss of this precious Man, Husband, Friend! I am thankful that you and Jack were there for Keith and Dianne! You know how it feels to have someone there for you that you can depend on! I pray that God will give Dianne strenth and courage as she steps into these next days, months and years!

Love and prayers!

MilandDil Designs said...

It was a beautiful letter and tribute to a loving glad you listen to God's leading in your life.

Lynn said...

What a beautiful post. That letter could have been written to me and brought tears to my eyes as I read. I lost my husband a few months after our 34th Anniversary. He had a brain tumor and I cared for him at home. Thank you for sharing these loving thoughts with us.

West Side of Straight said...

Oh Teresa, tears in my eyes when you said you started to write the letter to Diane, and then ended up crying by the time I finished it. What a precious gift to a good friend. Like you said, just do it, God does speak through us!!!
What a wonderful friend you are!

Granny said...

You are a true blessing from God. Your words to Diane from her dear husband was gifted to you by God Himself. Thank you for being a blessing to me this evening. I will always remember this post & the true meaning of friendship. May God continue to bless you & yours.

Nancy said...

I feel blessed that you took the time to comment on my blog. I joined your are an amazing woman!!

Justabeachkat said...

You my friend are one special lady. I am honored to be able to be your friend.

Dianne and Keith were blessed to have you and Jack by their side.

Your letter for him was awesome.


Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

Teresa, you are so obedient to God's calling...He spoke those words to you, right from Keith's mouth. It's no surprise that you didn't have to rewrite it a single time.

I have missed being able to visit you and the littles. Welcome home!

Terra said...

Teresa, this is true beauty, every word in this post and the husband and wife you describe. I cried wet tears as I read the letter and it really seemed like Keith was writing it.
I don't know him, I just sensed it was what he could have written.
God Bless You. You are a power house of a friend.

Bacardi Mama said...

First, I had to dry the tears. Now, I can tell you that you are an amazing awesome friend. I can't even imagine how much that meant to your friend. I'm proud to call you my friend.

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debi said...

Teresa, what a great friend you are to have been there for them and for writing the Perfect letter for one lonely heart to read.

So happy he is in heaven and they will meet again...God has promised those who believe just that....


Grandma Cyndi said...

You warned us, but I had no idea I would be in tears at the end. What a beautiful tribute. So heartwarming that you could share it. You were were God needed you and I am sure Dianne was lifted up by your presence.

Sista In Arms Lxx said...

I am speechless, and teary eyed, thank you for sharing lxx

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Sue said...

Spoken from the heart of a loving friend ~ just beautiful Teresa.

So nice that you were able to be there for your friends.

Linda said...

Teresa...that was so touching and beautiful! What a special gift to give to your friend. I am sorry for her loss...and for the loss of your friend.

I pray for comfort and peace in each of your lives as you grieve.

God bless you!


Debby@Just Breathe said...

How wonderful that you were there for Dianne and Keith. What a dear friend you are. I am so sorry to hear that Keith passed away. Your letter from Keith to Dianne is so beautiful. How awesome you are and I am so glad that God touched you with the letter to her. ((HUGS))

Good Girl Gone Green said...

That was a beautiful letter and you must be a wonderful friend to have! Hugs!

Megan said...

Wow, what a beautiful letter! You are an AMAZING friend and I know that you were SO appreciated there!!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

What a sad story! If I were ever to go through something like that I would certainly want a friend like you by my side.

RIP, Keith.

GrammyMouseTails said...

Teresa! You have a heart bigger than any one I have ever met, even tho we have only been friends online, I can feel how genuine you are. Your heart must be connected in more ways than one to God's ear, to feel her need for you to be near and to be the "pen" to Keith's last words to her. I am sorry her love is gone on to "HIS" glory, but I am sure Keith is smiling down on her and family with "HIM" to guide them.
Blessings my friend! ~Faythe @GMT~

Anonymous said...

god bless you friend

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