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The Death of My Precious James

Sunday, January 02, 2011

James & Brenda Coffee, Thanksgiving, 2010.

As many of you know my precious husband, James Coffee, died December 26, the day after Christmas. He died the exact moment I was posting last week’s blog about the loss of loved ones during the Holidays. I can’t begin to understand the “whys” of his death and the finality of it all has yet to hit me. Frankly, I am numb. This last week I’ve been running on autopilot; for the most part, controlled, cutting off my highs and lows and living somewhere in the middle. A coping mechanism I know all too well.

Last Sunday when James didn’t come back from his walk when he was supposed to, I knew something was wrong. I grabbed my coat, a flashlight and a cell phone and made a fast drive down the walking paths he’d cleared on our ranch. I was looking for an upright figure, or one beside the road, so I didn’t see him laying on the other side of his tractor. On my first pass, I looked directly at the side of the tractor facing me, not knowing he was laying on the ground on the other side, hidden from view.

When I didn’t find him the first time down and back, I knew something was terribly wrong and called 911, then the neighbors and told them to bring flashlights and to hurry. My second trip was much slower as I repeatedly stopped, turned off the engine, took the key out of the ignition and called his name. “James. James. James.” My voice echoed his name across the canyon, but I heard nothing in return. I didn’t know it at the time, but I’d passed right by him on both return trips but didn’t see him. Maybe it was because the light was fading or because of the camouflage jacket he was wearing, or maybe he was right when, teasingly, he used to tell me, “You’re not much of a noticer.”

I raced back to the Little House and quickly secured the dogs on the back porch, then drove along the rough, bolder strewn land behind the house that runs alongside another canyon, hoping against hope, he might have come back another way, but he wasn’t there. As I returned to the Little House, Molly, our Great Dane/Black Lab mix began to utter what may be the most plaintiff sound I’ve ever heard, a low mournful howl. Molly and James were a love story unto themselves and somehow, I believe Molly knew James was gone.

The ambulance arrived. Our neighbors told me to wait at the house. By now, 40 minutes had elapsed from when he should have returned from his walk. It wasn’t long before I heard the screen door open. Our neighbor, Trey, solemnly shook his head back and forth. His eyes were sad. “We found him,” he said. I wanted to howl like Molly, but I couldn’t summon even a whisper.

I have so many unanswered questions and “what if's.” What if I’d seen him on my first pass, or even my second? Was he still alive? Could I have saved him? Did he suffer? Did he cry out? My not seeing him, was this James’ or God’s way of protecting me from carrying that final vision of him with me always? With so many low lifes in the world, why James Coffee? Don’t say God needed another angel because the world needs more men like James Coffee. He was a prince, admired and loved by all, with an ability to connect with everyone from billionaires to day laborers who didn’t speak English. He was a man of integrity. “A man’s man,” as a friend said, who spoke at his memorial.

Last night I went outside at the approximate time he died. Within seconds, I was compelled to drive his truck to the place where he took his last breath. Dressed in the camouflage jacket he died in, I laid down on my back, next to his tractor, my right knee bent upward, the bottom of that foot flat on the ground, my right arm extended away from my body. The exact position they found him in. I laid there for a long time, staring skyward, through his favorite grove of trees, staring at the last thing he must have seen. I don’t know what I was hoping for, a message perhaps, a sense of being close to where his soul left his body. Tonight, at 5:45 PM, will be exactly a week since he died, and I imagine I’ll be laying there once again.

He died at sunset, the blue Texas sky ablaze with orange and red and streaks of pink. He died on the land he loved, next to his tractor, under his favorite grove of trees. His Comanche ancestors would have said, “It was a good death,” and James would have agreed.

I’m supposed to be the one with the Survivorship skills, but other than staying busy and cutting off my highs and my lows, I’m at a loss right now. How ironic that at the very moment he lay dying, I was posting last week’s blog about loss and the Holidays and how after a loss, we shouldn’t stop living and believing in life. Last week’s blog was also about the word “hope.”

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Faith is the foundation on which all of our hopes for the future are built. Without it, we would be limited to the very narrow world of only those things we can see, hear, taste, touch and smell. Because of my faith in God and belief in His Son, Jesus Christ, I believe in God’s word and that “we will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever and ever.”

James was a believer, a good and faithful servant, and as such, I have faith that James is with God. Since I am a believer as well, I have faith I will see James again. Hurry. Bring lights.

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Previous Comments
Anonymous commented on 02-Jan-2011 07:01 PM
My dear Brenda, that was a beautiful post. Words cannot describe how much you have been on my mind and how often over the last week I have lifted you up to our God for comfort that only comes from Him. You have given so much to me as I walked through this past crazy year with breast cancer. I can never say thank you enough. I wish there was something I could say to make it all better. This much I agree and know to be true because God's word is true! You will see your precious husband who I am sure is riding on a white horse down the streets of gold in our heavenly Father's presence. That is comforting in knowing where by choice we spend eternity. Know that I will continue to lift you up.
Anonymous commented on 02-Jan-2011 07:38 PM
I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your husband my dear Brenda. Your beautiful post brought tears to my eyes.
You will be in my prayers and you will see your James again. I am sure of this. I too believe and have faith. God Bless.....
Anonymous commented on 02-Jan-2011 07:59 PM
Luann, my sweet friend... You have been a big part of my life this past year as well. Thank you for your prayers. As you know, I am a woman of faith, and I put my trust in God and His Son. A huge part of me is broken and will remain that way until the day I die, but I know I must move forward. I'm still numb. Yes, please continue to keep me in your prayers. Wishing you all God's blessings as well, Brenda
Anonymous commented on 02-Jan-2011 09:13 PM
Tears, tears and more tears my sweet friend as I read your beautiful tribute to your precious James. I cannot begin to imagine your pain as you have gone about the task.
Please forgive me? I am unable to write more at this time.
Anonymous commented on 02-Jan-2011 10:19 PM
Brenda, I have lost count of how many times I visited your site today looking for the post you mentioned you were working on, but now that I have read your words, I am at a loss for adequate words of my own. Imagining you putting yourself in the exact position in which James was found, is heart wrenching to even think about, but also totally understandable. Although your seering pain comes through in this post, it is also quite beautiful because the love you both shared for each other and your Lord shines through. I hope you find some comfort in that. God bless you, Brenda.
Anonymous commented on 02-Jan-2011 10:23 PM
Dear Brenda - No words could ever express my heartfelt sympathies. Your last blog was so powerful and it is HOPE and your strong faith that is going to get you through this. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
Anonymous commented on 02-Jan-2011 10:57 PM
Brenda I am devastated for you and your family's loss. Please know that my prayers are with you; for strength and for peace to be heaped on your head every moment. Certainly from what I've read about your darling James, your loss is indeed Heaven's gain. Praise the Lord we have the promise that we will see our loved ones again. And only He knows but He could come take us all Home sooner rather than later. Oh how we wait in anticipation for that glorious day! Hugs to you:-)
Anonymous commented on 03-Jan-2011 05:56 AM
Oh my dear, I cried reading your words, for though I knew of James' death and had been corresponding with you through e-mail, reading your account here brought the scene so vividly to life. I could feel your panic while searching for James, and your loss and grief at the outcome. You have a journey to face now - one of grief but also of healing. Please keep reaching out to those of us who care for you so that we can travel with you along that journey and hopefully provide some help along the way. Draw on your faith and ask James to help you gain strength and hope along the way.

Thinking of you always.

Marie xxxx
Anonymous commented on 03-Jan-2011 11:01 AM
What a beautiful tribute only you could have penned, Brenda. God gave you James & he most certainly gave you a beautiful talent that touches so many. Unfortunately, you're too familiar with this path of sorrow, but your faith will again rise you up. We're all asking "why?" and, of course, there's no logical answer. Take your time - I wish there was more I could do. My prayers and those of so many are with you and his family.
Anonymous commented on 03-Jan-2011 04:09 PM
I am so sorry to hear of your loss of your loving husband. He sounded like a great man. God bless you. I am sure he would want you to continue the great work that you do. My prayers are with you.
Anonymous commented on 03-Jan-2011 05:29 PM
I first saw the Boerne Star notice about your beloved husband and was so shocked to hear of your sudden loss. You have been a great support to me this year of my June diagnosis of breast cancer and I have thought and prayed for you many times this week as you cope with his passing. God is good and I trust he will hold you in his arms and give you comfort.
Anonymous commented on 03-Jan-2011 07:07 PM
Brenda, my life changed after you called last week. I have been thinking of you and James constantly since. In recent times James and I greeted each other with a military salute, a greeting that carries meaning beyond a simple gesture... denoting a mutual respect of one another. Stephen R. Covey said, "The most important ingredient we put into any relationship is not what we say or what we do, but what we are." This quote makes me think of James, for he was indeed a man of high character. I valued his friendship and grieve at his passing. You were the love of his life and I know you are devastated at his death. James is in the Lord's arms now and we are left with memories which are precious and lasting. May God bless and lift you up and give new meaning and purpose to your remaining days! I love you.
Anonymous commented on 03-Jan-2011 10:00 PM
Brenda, I was shocked to hear of James's death. For several years I shared office space with James. I always enjoyed the "reality checks" I obtained when I went down the hallway to discuss different cases with James. He and I saw the world from different viewpoints. He saw himself as a warrior for his clients, and I was much less confrontational, always wanting to work things out. James was a great realist, and a solid thinker, and I enjoyed our discussions very much. I was still sharing space with James when he first met you. I am sure that he told you that he loved you when he first saw you and talked with you. I have seldom seen people so affected by a brand new relationship. It is not surprising, however, because James thought about and knew what he wanted from life, and he was always ready to risk all when he found it. He readily did that with you. The other point I learned from my time with James was that inside the crusty old warrior was an individual that knew and could relate to and understand people, their strengths and weaknesses. A friend of James was a lucky indivudual, and I occupied that space for a time, and am genuinely grateful for that time. May the Living Christ console you in your loss. Ron Schmidt
Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 10:04 AM
Brenda, I'm so sorry for your loss. I hope you know that there is a community of widowed people on the internet who provide companionship on the road of loss, just as you've built such a wonderful support for those going through cancer.

I -- and we -- will do what we can to help you through.

You are not alone.


Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 12:12 PM
I think of you daily and whisper a prayer for you for strength and comfort from all the many whose lives you and James have touched. Above all, I send you hugs...every single day.
Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 01:01 PM

What a terrible, wretched, tangible grief you're now holding! I'm so very sorry for your pain and suffering. As you walk through these mellow days of mourning, may the sustaining grace, tender love, and tangible comfort of our Lord be your portion.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I see faith in living color every time I visit here.

Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 01:58 PM
Dear Brenda, my heart breaks for you. There are no words to express the depth of my sadnes for your grief. Know you are in my prayers and I hope the New Year brings with it the beginning of your healing.
Always Teresa
Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 04:43 PM
Hi Brenda,
I'm glad that James had 'a good death'. (although untimely, I'm sure) There's something about nature and being surrounded by things that are familiar and serene that probably eased his way onto the next level.
Keep the faith and thanks for writing,
Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 04:45 PM
You are so in my thoughts. I know how lonely and disoriented you must feel to be without James. You will be okay again but miss him forever. You are loved.
Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 04:49 PM
You are never far from my thoughts this past week. Is there anything I can do? You are always welcome to stay with us.

Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 05:24 PM
That’s, all….just hugs. You are being surrounded with great tenderness and gentle, healing thoughts.

You are loved.

Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 05:30 PM
Dear Brenda, I've just come home from running errands down in San Antonio. I looked for a sympathy card to send you, but they all seemed so superficial and meaningless. Just now I sat down to check my email and I read your blog. I am overwhelmed by it and grateful for it. Even in this extrodinary time of grief, you are reaching out and comforting others, though you might not realize it. I'm sorry I didn't make it to James' memorial, but I'm even sorrier I never had the chance to meet him. Through knowing you these past few years as a dear sister in Christ, it's hard for me to believe I actually didn't KNOW him, because he always seemed so much a part of you. Nevertheless, as you said in your blog, I do look forward to meeting him one day. I praise God for the firm hope he has given us and continue to pray that he will comfort, strengthen and equip you for the days ahead.
I also send my love to you, as always, dear friend. Leslie
Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 05:32 PM
I am SO sorry! No, I did not know. I will pray for you. I didn't know him well, but was impressed with those words of wisdom of his which I found on your blog. Thanks so much for letting me know, and for the personal reply. God bless you.


PS I'll put you on the prayer list in Bible class, too.
Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 05:37 PM
Your post this week brought two things to me: tears and amazement. It was so very poignant and well written. It was an amazing testament to both James and you. Know I will be thinking of you today at 5:30 when you're out lying beside the tractor. That's all I can say-
Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 05:39 PM
I am so sorry that I didnlt get this message until today, dear Brenda!
How are you?!
What can I do to help you?!
I am keeping a candle lit for you and keeping you in my prayers!
I love you,
Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 05:43 PM
Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 05:45 PM
I wanted to extend to you and your family my deepest sympathy. I could not attend the service because of an injury to my leg and foot, but we were both thinking of you, and of James. He was a wonderful guy that we always enjoyed being around in any setting. I will miss chatting and kidding with him at the office when I dropped by. We know the coming days will have sadness for you. If we can in anyway make that better, please let us know.
Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 05:46 PM
I am so sad to hear about James passing.
My prayers are with you.
With Heartfelt Love,
Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 05:48 PM
Dearest Brenda,
I have been in Dallas since before Christmas and just got home tonight. My heart goes out to you and you will certainly be in my thoughts and prayers in the days to come.
I love you,
Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 05:49 PM

Brenda, you wrote these words before James was gone...

Negativity feeds on itself and before we know it, we’re mired in hopelessness instead of hopefulness.

I want you to remember these words, a very wise woman wrote, when you are trying to "be the cause or contributor" of James' death. Did not not so. Love you, Kathy
Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 05:51 PM
Dear Brenda,
I am so extremely sad for your loss. You had mentioned your husband at the Summit as an amazingly special person in your life. Please know that my heart is hurting for you, and you are in my thoughts and in my prayers. If I can do anything at all for you, please do not hesitate to let me know. I will even bop up to Boerne!

Sincerely, Lyn
Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 06:04 PM
Oh my Brenda!!!!!!!!!! My heart breaks for you!!! I am soooo sorry!!!!!!!!
Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 06:39 PM
Brenda, so good to hear from you and to learn that God IS central in your loss! He knows He will see you through. He WILL use you even more significantly the closer you get to Him! I bet James is looking down with a smile and fondness at you. Be comforted dear friend and yes, spend your time with Him, He will fill the void and make you whole again. We had a service at my mom's house,she cannot move much,and had Holy Communion too, it was so touching and I cried a bit. I am so thankful I came.
You are in my prayers.
Love & Blessings
Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 06:41 PM
Brenda this world is so unfair at times. You are so right about the scum of the earth that survive. I just wish the Lord would give us some idea of why it should be so. I am so glad that you were able to find the time to reply to my note. My heart breaks for you. I am really at a loss for words. How do I tell you that I cannot begin to imagine your pain? In the short time I have known you it has been very obvious that James is the love of your life. Your soul mate!

The Memorial Service will now be over, and the reality will be beginning to sink in. I am sure you are in a haze and will continue to be for as long as it takes. I do hope you have as much support as you need at this time my precious friend. I simply cannot believe this has happened.

Brenda I have asked my fb friends to pray for you and there are some lovely comments on my wall. I know your deep faith will be the thing that gets you through sweetie.

I have no words of inspiration, or wisdom, to help you through this time, other than to say I will carry thoughts of you, and James, with me at all times as I continue to lift you up in prayer.

Love always

Cheryl xoxo
Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 09:25 PM
Dear Brenda,

I saw your blog today and am anguished over the loss of your beloved James. I am so very, very sorry! You always spoke to kindly and highly of him—I could tell you had a special relationship and know this must be devastating for you. You will be in my prayers for comfort and sustenance during this difficult time. Your blog was so lovely-heartfelt and meaningful and such a tribute to your love for James. I don’t know how you managed to write so eloquently. It will, no doubt, be a blessing to many who have or will experience such loss (I guess that will be all of us at some time!).
Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 10:16 PM
Dear Brenda, I only heard this sorrowful news today at Carla's Bible Study. I am in shock, like so many others, to find out about your incredible loss of James. I see that God is already working through you to touch others even in the mist of your grief. In my human mind I ask myself, "Is God fair"? While I get very upset when I hear tragic news like this about Godly people I am reminded that He IS just and merciful. But, why James? And why now? We must trust God as a child and know that He will hold you up and to lean on Him for His strength and peace to indwell you and carry you gently forward. I will be praying for you. Love, Lynn Egigian
Anonymous commented on 04-Jan-2011 10:55 PM
There are no words. My heart cries for you. I am sorry. Your faith is an inspiration. You are in my prayers.
Anonymous commented on 05-Jan-2011 08:13 AM
I am so very sorry to read this. What a beautiful tribute to your dear husband.

Anonymous commented on 05-Jan-2011 01:23 PM
Such a beautiful post. I felt blessed to go to the service, and learn so much more about your wonderful husband. I appreciate the message of Hope.

I'll continue to pray.
Anonymous commented on 05-Jan-2011 01:43 PM
Brenda, I follow you on facebook and that is how I landed here. Yrs ago a man came into my life His name was Bob, he became my investor on my business Pambra's. He wanted nothing in return but for me to call him "my angel" literally. Bob told me his father told him as a young boy to "find an invention and he would have his greatest riches" Bob didnt need money as he was very wealthy on his own and he had his own invention. But he was following what his dad told him.
I experienced something with Bob that I dont share often enough I guess. But I want to share it with you. Bob was not sick when we started working together. It was 14 months later that he came down with a strange cough and said he would not see me the next week. God lead me to a hsopital in a town I never heard of and there I found Bob in the Cardiac ICU. They had found Bob had a fast growing cancer and it left a gaping hole between his lungs. The Dr said Bob only had this cancer a couple of months. I was blown away by this and could see how God had been working using me to help Guide Bob back home to him. I only had a few moments of Bob being awake in 18 days.. During those few moments, and a four day fast on my part, Bob gave his heart to the Lord. I was near Bob when he went to leave. I felt something happening in the room and looked around, realizing it was Bob's spirit leaving us. The heart monitor was on 20 and fastly dropping. The moment I said I love you Bob now go find the face of Jesus, the spirit left and the heart monitor droped slowly to a flat line. I know without a shadow of doubt Bob's spirit left ahead of his physical body. When the Bible says there is no pain in death Believe it, We can not feel death with out a spirit. Please find comfort in your days and Know that your sweet James was at peace when he left this world.
Anonymous commented on 05-Jan-2011 05:53 PM
Dear Pamela,
I'm so moved that you would leave a comment here after finding me on Facebook. Thank you, sweet lady. I'm so glad Bob found Jesus before he died. I know you're right... James was at peace when he died, and he was right with God. It is how he wanted to die: quickly and on the land he loved. It is me that is in pain, trying to piece the puzzle together. You are so sweet, and I thank you for your note. Best, Brenda
Anonymous commented on 05-Jan-2011 09:10 PM
You're in my heart and prayers.
Anonymous commented on 07-Jan-2011 09:55 AM
Hi Brenda,

First, let me express my condolences. I am so very sorry for your loss. This is an eloquent tribute to a very special man.

-- Beth
Anonymous commented on 07-Jan-2011 09:14 PM
Oh, Brenda, I am so sorry about James. I can't even imagine how you must feel. Your writing exudes your anguish, yet also your hope in Christ. Please know that you are in my prayers.
Anonymous commented on 08-Jan-2011 09:12 AM
Hi Brenda,
I am so sorry about your loss. I read the blog recently and some of your neighbors told me about his passing. I have kept and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers – we are all so affected with this and are all so sorry –know that you are not alone!
Anonymous commented on 08-Jan-2011 09:15 AM
brenda: i am so sorry for your loss. as i was reading this, i was
listening to a cd that was compiled by my best friend months before he
unexpectedly died. the song *so weak, so strong* was the backdrop for
my tears as i read through your pain. my tears ran hot and fast, and i
am so sorry.

may god grant you peace, and then strength when peace escapes you.
Anonymous commented on 08-Jan-2011 09:16 AM
I am so sorry to hear about your loss. What a devastating thing to happen to you and your family. My prayers are with you.

Years ago (1980) my husband died unexpectedly on Dec. 20. He had just turned 42 on Dec. 18. His birthday cake was still on the counter. I was in shock for awhile. His Christmas gift to me was under the tree--the same with my gift to him. He didn't live to see Christmas day.

It was a horrible time, but he went the way he would have wanted--quick. He died at home from a massive heart attack. He was DOA. He actually went to sleep and woke up in heaven with his Lord and Savior.

I am truly sorry about your loss. I'm glad that ya'll were blessed with a happy life and good marriage.

Nancy Anthony
Anonymous commented on 08-Jan-2011 09:21 AM

Thanks so much for sharing. Since you are a writer, I imagine writing
will be therapy for you, whether in a journal or here. I'm amazed to
hear that you wrote your last blog before James died - I just assumed
you chose not to mention it until now, maybe because you had already
outlined or fully written that blog. May your own words about faith and
hope, as well as the fact that James was a man of faith, comfort you.
Please hang in there and know that prayers are going up for you.

Gayle Weinraub
Anonymous commented on 08-Jan-2011 10:17 AM
Brenda I am so sorry to hear about your husband - my husband was also named James (Jim) . I wish I could tell you it get easier - but it hasn't for me. I am still so devastated - I miss him so much! May God be with you and comfort you through this terrible time.

Warmest Regards,
Anonymous commented on 08-Jan-2011 11:07 AM
Dearest one, you will be in my daily thoughts & prayers for a long time to come. You embody grace, courage and strength. I, too, am glad we got to meet your prince and he was, indeed, that. You got what only a small percentage of people in this world get – a romance. Gentle hug –
Anonymous commented on 08-Jan-2011 11:16 AM

We just heard of James’ passing and wish to convey our deepest condolences for your loss. James was such a great guy; smart, funny and steeped in the old west cowboy ethic of good manners whatever the circumstances. He will be missed by all who knew him.

If there is anything I can do for you, please do not hesitate to call me.

All the best,

Mote and Margie
Anonymous commented on 08-Jan-2011 11:53 AM
Dear Brenda,

It is with greatest regret that we hear of your husband James passing. As one of the most open and sincere people we know, you have been a bedrock to so many women and all who deeply love them - in our community, as well as way above and beyond. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this most difficult time. You have taught us all abundantly how to respond to a world of situations, and we are now grieving with you in this inexplicable hurt. We offer our sorrow and sympathy, now and always.

In sadness,
The Wellsphere Team
Anonymous commented on 08-Jan-2011 11:54 AM
I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for having the strength to write your story. Your incredible faith will no doubt help you through this difficult time.
Much love to you,
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 10:45 AM
Dear Brenda, I am so sorry to hear the news. It sounds like you loved each other very much. Please try not to torture yourself with "ifs," or think that you should know the "right way" to survive this loss. You will find your own way. Keep writing, we're with you.
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 10:47 AM
Dear Brenda -- my heart aches for you in this hour and this week and the time to come. What a lovely love story you and James lived. And what a blessing you were to each other. Now, he is watching down from heaven to see how courageously you move forward and honor his legacy.

Linda and I would like to take you to lunch when you're up for it. No rush. Just know we're thinking of you and sending love,
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 10:53 AM
Brenda, I am so sorry for your loss.
May Christ's peace be with you.
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 10:56 AM
Brenda, I am so sorry. I just read your blog post. I’m so heartbroken for you. I love my partner so much, I can’t imagine life without him, so I can only imagine what you are going through right now. I know we can’t be of much comfort at a time like this, but please know your friends and fans at Lancome send you much love. You and James are in our thoughts and prayers. Xoxo
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 10:59 AM
When I first read your first e.mail, I was in Saks, shopping. I meant to get back to you immediately.

Love you Brenda. Xoxo Sandy
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 11:01 AM
Brenda: My heart grieves for you with the loss of your beloved James. He was a gentleman and a true man of God. He will be missed by many. It was my pleasure to meet both of you, to see what a tremendous bound you shared and to be a guest for dinner in your lovely home. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. Geri Wiley
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 11:02 AM
Dear Brenda

I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. I, like you, am a breast cancer survivor. I don’t expect my spouse to go before I do. I’m doing well, but I am a survivor and he isn’t. I can’t imagine the shock and heartache you must be going through and I want you to know that I truly feel for you.

Your blogs have been so encouraging and so helpful to me, and I know you’ve been blessed with a very precious gift in your writing and in your experiences.

Thank you for doing what you do. Thank you for being whom we want to be. Thank you for giving us hope and optimism. Any one of us reading your blog is feeling horrible for you, we’re all pulling for you, and we’re all praying for you. Your honesty and forthrightness are a breath of fresh air.

Thank you from all of us readers of your inspiring words. You are not alone! We are all with you!!!

Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 11:13 AM

What can I say? I was so touched by your notes. You were blessed by God to have James as your husband. But, he was too by having you by his side. Thank you so much for being who you are --- an inspiration to all of us.

ARNORTH Command Surgeon
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 11:17 AM
I’m not sure if you receive these emails, but I wanted to respond to your latest blog and send my sincere condolences. I am SO SORRY to hear about your loss. I cannot even express how sorry I am. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Claudia ( a fellow blogger and Brenda’s blog subscriber)
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 11:20 AM
I have thought of you hundreds of times in the past week - wishing that I had words of comfort for you . . .
I am once again amazed at the strength in YOUR words, and confident that through your faith and therefore inner strength you will manage to continue helping others in yet another facet of your own life's fate. I continue to look with admiration at you - as you faced what must have been yet another horrific loss with the face of an angel who had lost her best friend . . . It's funny - I don't know you all that well, but over the years we have been together, I have never been more certain of a friend's complete adoration of her husband - and what a true "gift" that was . . . and you knew it! Which has to be yet another gift, because although many of us love the person that we have by our side, many do not realize that each day on earth IS a gift, and so too, the joy of that person by our side.
I am here for you my sweet friend, and if there is ANYTHING that you can think of that I could do for you, I only hope that you will call-
I have you in my thoughts and prayers . . .
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 11:28 AM
Brenda, I an so deeply sorrow to read that your husband James passed away so suddenly and unexpectedly.
Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers for comfort and peace.

If there's anything I can do to be of help to you, please don't hesitate to ask.

Marjorie Gallece
Breast Cancer Resource Centers of TX
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 11:30 AM
Dearest Brenda,

I just read your post and I am so sorry to hear of your great loss.
I was crying just reading about it and I cannot imagine how you are coping, except by reaching out to others so lovingly as you always have.
Please feel my arms around you and be lifted up by my prayers of comfort for you.
May you receive the special blessing of a spiritual visit from your husband.

God bless you and keep you!
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 12:10 PM
Brenda, I am a breast cancer survivor of 12 months and I ran across your blog, in a soul search to find other breast cancer survivors, that think/feel like I do. I fell in love with "you" your Sisterhood blog and Love reading it. You are such an inspiration to me. I feel like your struggles are my struggles.
Well, I just want to say how SORRY I am to hear you've lost your soulmate, James. I am holding you in my thoughts and prayers.
Take care dear friend,
Val Ruff
Marshalltown, IA
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 12:11 PM
Dearest Brenda,
This is so beautifully written. I hope it helped you to tell your story. I understand your wanting to be at the spot where James died. Ray died in hiospice and I have never gone back. but I can still see it in my mind as if it were yesterday and not 4 1/2 years ago. I still talk to him every night before I go to sleep.
My heart goes out to you and I lift you up in my prayers.
I love you,
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 12:14 PM
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 12:19 PM
Oh Brenda... unbelieveable!! I am sooooooo sorry. shocked beyond words..How truly strange that he would pass after your truly inspirational blog on hope and death... My prayers go out to you and your family... I am so sorry ....please stay strong... life is so precious,, you did not deserve this,,, so many unanswered questions...I guess God needed him more.. xxxxx Merry
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 01:40 PM
I am so sorry to read in your blog that your husband died.

Hi Brenda, We do not know one another, except, maybe as breast cancer survivors
reading one another's blogs, but you will be in my thoughts and in my


Jean Campbell
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 01:41 PM
Dear Brenda, I cried when reading your wonderful blog about your dear husband James. I shewed my own husband John your blog as we too are in Txas and enjoy those sunsets. How sad to see our loved ones go like this. Your James sounded like a wonderful person, and God was with him I am sure through all of this. We never know what will happen to us or our dear loved ones, but united in faith and love we Will see each other again. Thankyou for your wonderful blog Brenda, and know you have inspired many of to carry on and enjoy life as we have it.
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 01:46 PM
Hi Brenda,
I am so impressed by the open and eloquent way you are sharing your feelings on your blog. I hope it helps you, and please know that it helps all of us who have dealt with grieving and loss. I wanted to let you know that I finally posted my review of your book on my blog today. I hope you don’t mind, but I copied the beautiful picture of you and James from your blog for my post. I can certainly remove it, if you’d rather I not use it.

Here is the link:

I’m praying for and thinking of you every day.

Tami Boehmer
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 01:48 PM
Your blog gave tremendous strength to my wife. She wanted to talk about it last night and we did. She struggles with her illness, but is grateful she does not have caner. We spoke to each other about our admiration for James and you. I so wish I could absorb some of your pain. You are precious to us here in the body of Christ at Northside. You DEMONSTRATE STRONG FAITH, not just speak of it. James' memorial was so well done. I spoke with Bruce and Charlie. I want to be of help and service to you in any way that I can.

God be with you and strengthen you.
In Christ,
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 01:51 PM

We were in Wyoming when you lost James and only learned about this from this email. I did not really know James, but he obviously was a very special and wonderful man. I am very sorry for your loss.

I wanted to tell you that I have always been impressed with your ability to express yourself. However, this effort was remarkable. Your "blog" was moving and inspirational and as close to perfect as one can get.

I just wanted you to know that your thoughts had an impact.

Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 02:01 PM
My heart breaks for you Brenda.

I know that you will hear his voice in your head, You'll have a dream where he is in it, or you'll see a feather or a coin, or the lights will flicker on and off. Its his way of telling you that he is nearby and that he loves you.

Many Blessings.

Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 02:06 PM
Brenda, I know the Lord is with you and will guide you in your writing of tomorrow’s blog entry. I do understand what you have said about James wanting an ‘honourable’ death As a believer in Eternal Life, I know we need never fear death.

I intend to respond to this reply later although, at the moment, I am reading the passage you mention. I have gained strength from Matthew 26:39 Going a little further, he fell with His face to the ground and prayed ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but you will.’

My dearest Brenda, it is by the Grace of God we have been given this opportunity to find strength and comfort in each other.

Somehow, I believe you will find your inner strength and each of us will cling to ‘hope.’

May the good Lord bless and guide you my friend. I look forward to reading your entry and learning more of your beloved James.

Love Chez xoxo
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 02:08 PM
I AM CRYING MY HEAD OFF……………..!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Dear, dear, dear Jesus help my darling Brenda!
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 02:10 PM
We helped you pack your mom's turtle creek apt
A few years ago and knew of the challenges you faced
With mom and her condition. We know that you got
Your strength from your husband and other family members.
We are sorry for your loss
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 02:17 PM
You don’t know this, of course, but we lost a granddaughter when she was just a few days shy of her 1st birthday. My daughter – her mother – and her husband were/are in Cincinnati. One of my requests of her church is that they wrap their arms around my daughter & son-in-law after everyone left – Jenny’s dad, me, her friends…..’cause that’s what happens. The services end and everyone goes back to their lives……but those who need us are still bereft and feeling alone.

I am with you, Brenda….I think of you daily and send quiet little prayers. You are being held closely by not only me, but others.

You are loved.

Hug –
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 02:22 PM
"Oh Brenda...i wish i had some words of comfort that would help in some small way...but all i have to offer you are my prayers and my thoughts let you know you are in my heart - even though we have never really MET.... NONE of this is fair or right or even semi understandable. I 2nd everything Cheryl said. You've given so much to others, now, let us give back to you.
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 02:23 PM
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 02:24 PM
"Brenda, My heart goes out to you. I wish I could reach through cyberspace and give you a big hug. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and the family. James was such a wonderful and powerful man."
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 02:25 PM
Praying for you and your family Brenda. My heart if heavy for you. Sending you hugs...
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 02:26 PM
Brenda, do not fear the grief for the tears are healing. You are too full of love, and life to fall forever into despair. For all the hope, love, and strength you give to us daily will be returned to you twofold. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers today and for as long as you need it!
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 11:33 PM
Brenda, God is very close to you now and He is holding your hand every day. Let him guide and lead you through each day. Take one day at a time. James is also watching over you. He has to be as sad as you are, and I know he would wish to tell you that he is alright. One day, all will be well! One day, the sun will shine again! Thinking of you daily. XOXOXO!!
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 11:35 PM
Hope and strength are holding you together right now! You are in one of the toughest of times but you are not alone and you are strong. You are doing 'all things through Christ who strenghtens you.' Phil 4:13. Remember there is only one set of footprints in your life's sand right now. Love and prayers!
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 11:36 PM
dear Brenda, i have no words to say and dont kno what to do but for what I know right now is to keep praying for you and warpping you and ur family in my thoughts and prayers , much love
Anonymous commented on 09-Jan-2011 11:37 PM
Brenda,I can not even image your feelings but I have a dear friend (Joy) that can......she lost her Ricky the same way as your James.He went out to feed the cows and did not come back,it was a heart attack.I remember the shock of it all........going to Joy's house....trying to comfort her with hugs but not knowing what to say. Just know that God is with you.They say...take it a day at time,I would say.......a second then a minute then an hour.God be you through this difficult time.I am praying.
Anonymous commented on 11-Jan-2011 08:37 PM
Brenda, my dear friend and encourager, I am stunned by what I just read. Oh darling, I can't even imagine what you are going through. You are significantly in my prayers!
Anonymous commented on 11-Jan-2011 08:42 PM
Dear Brenda, No one is immune to the pain of the world if they have a heart, and you are no exception. You are strong, but that doesn't mean you can't cry. Please seek out the comfort of those who love you and just let out those tears. It's not fair what has happened to you! It's not right for a woman to have to bury two husbands! It's not fair you have dealt with cancer has a patient and a caregiver! But now your messages will have even more impact, and God forbid the day cancer returns to us, or we have to bury our spouses, we will seek your wisdom. Until then, allow us to lift you up and carry you through this dark time, for how ever long you need us. You've been our beacon. Let us now be yours.
Anonymous commented on 11-Jan-2011 08:43 PM
My heart goes out to you Brenda x
Anonymous commented on 11-Jan-2011 08:44 PM
Brenda my heart bleeds for you; so totally unexpected. May you find some comfort at this time in the knowledge that you are loved and I am sure I speak for others also in saying we will all be praying for you both. Much love precious friend Chez xo
Anonymous commented on 11-Jan-2011 08:45 PM
Once is bad, twice is unimaginable. My heart hurts for you. What a tragedy. There are no words. I'm so sorry
Anonymous commented on 11-Jan-2011 08:46 PM
Oh Brenda! I am in California and just got this message. I am so sorry for your loss! I know how much James meant to you and how he stood by you through everything. I'm sending prayers out to you and your family, along with a big cyber hug!

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