The Hounds of Winter

Things have been hard. There have been the saving graces dappled throughout the heartache that this holiday season brought upon my family, but I have to be real here and say that the winter blues, which I always experience to some extent, have been so intensified in this particular season.

I can’t believe as I sit here that we are just two days shy of two full months since Brian has been with us. Two months without his laugh, his hugs, his micromanaging ;). Its unbelievable. At times it feels like its been an instant, and then there are moments he feels very far from me. I can remember what his laugh sounded like, but I struggle to hear his voice in my mind. I didn’t think that would happen so soon. He used to talk and talk and talk about so many topics. Most were above me, but I listened to it all because I knew I would be sitting here as I am now, yearning for those talks. I remember one night in particular, just clinging to him and crying, “who is going to talk to me about fractals, and recursion? Who will put the Mandelbrot Set on my desktop for me, or tease me about my unrequited (and very made up) love for Erwin Schrödinger?

Also, I wasn’t ready for all of the “big” firsts to come so fast. The first of Ethne’s birthdays without her dad, our first Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and the biggest gut punch so far, the first days of a brand new year that Brian won’t exist in. I both welcomed and dreaded the new year. I was glad to put a year of such turmoil behind us, but I hate that Brian won’t be here for any of it.

By way of an update, I did finally undergo the TACE procedure for the liver anomaly. I was told I may be a little fatigued for a few days afterward, so I was not prepared for the nausea, vomiting, and unrelenting pain that I experienced for a further four days outside of the procedure. I am still not 100%, but its finally getting better. I don’t even have the energy to go into all of that aside from saying I’m glad its behind me. Elliot had Strep but so far Ethne is healthy in the new year.

Oh, except one thing. I did feel Brian very near me throughout my trials this last week. He has visited me in my dreams each night since my procedure on Friday. The first night I was making him a peach pie. The second night, which was my very worst for pain, I ignored him in the dream. I was angry at him for leaving us. I woke up crying and had drenched my bed in sweat. I had to take a shower and change my sheets. The third night, we went to Red Robin. (Lots of our best memories revolve around food, clearly). And then last night was the briefest. He came up behind me because I wanted to show him on the computer that I had passed all of my nursing classes for this term. He told me how proud he was of me. This was almost premonitory because today I got a nasty email from my school threatening to withdraw me because I haven’t been “engaged enough” this term. Even though I am two and a half classes in to my four classes I need to have finished by February.  I think that’s pretty good considering I lost my husband, and I had two major surgeries to treat my own cancer. And I am trying to help my kids adjust to losing their dad, but what do I know? Anyway, to have that dream last night that Brian was proud of me about school, and then to get that email today, could not have been mere coincidence.

I have to say a huge thank you that will never be enough to express my deep gratitude to everyone who donated to our gofundme and participated in the JohnsonsNEVERgiveup benefit. Also to the Gawelek family for donating all proceeds from their Christmas Light Show and to everyone who visited and donated to our family. And to the Illinois Cancer Care Foundation for making our Christmas bright. We have been well looked after and our temporal needs have been met above and beyond. Which is a huge blessing because I would be in some major debt without it. The funeral costs and grave marker edged us up to $20,000. I was able to pay for it all up front thanks to these many blessings. I don’t post the numbers for sympathy, just to let everyone know how much we desperately needed the help to make these things happen. And I personally had no idea how much everything would cost. Death is big business, but that’s for another time.

There may be a bright spot heading my way in the form of a new opportunity. Say a prayer for me if you will. Once again, it was not a coincidence how this fell into my lap, so I have to believe my best angel is pulling some strings for me.

In love and gratitude always,


18 thoughts on “The Hounds of Winter

  1. Oh, Lindsay, I understand it all but I am working on year four but it feels like yesterday. Just do one day at a time…best advice I got. It still hurts especially at holiday time but you have a marvelous family and support group. Your children are your greatest blessing. All your signs from Brian are so special…I loved those moments. I pray for you every day and am so sorry that you have this to deal with but keep writing as it will help and know that Brian is with you every day.


      1. I am so sorry for your loss. Your words fall heavy on my heart as I am on year 4 without my husband. Hold on to those special “visits” from Brian. Keep blogging and keep talking about him daily. Some think “moving on” is natural and helpful but for me “moving forward” and never forgetting is so helpful for healing especially for my children. God bless you. I look forward to reading more from you.

        Bloomington Illinois


      2. Thank you Stephanie! Thank you for reading and sharing. It’s nice to hear from people further along in this journey than I am. It helps. 💗


  2. Thank you so much for the update Lindsey. You’ve been through so much and still take time to keep us informed. We are still praying for you here in TN. Love and hugs ❤️🙏🏼


  3. I’ve been looking for a new post from you since the new year has started. I’m continuing my prayers for your dear family. I pray that you feel better very soon. Please God, reach into Lindsey’s life and new opportunity to give her the best outcome for both her health and the opportunity before her. Please help Lindsey and Ethne’s hearts to heal. Thank you God for giving all of the people to help Lindsey’s family at this very difficult time. Amen


  4. Been thinking of you. It’s been over 20 years and I still wake up some mornings thinking what the hell happened and how did we make it? I must say for the millionth time that Henry is a great place! Lean on your friends and family, you don’t have to be a hero! There will be good times and bad but you will make it!


  5. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but I think you should pursue writing. You have such an amazing way of sharing your experiences with us. I’m in awe of your ability to touch us with just words.
    I’m glad your procedure is behind you. I wish you only the best in this new year.


  6. I was struggling with my own after the holiday blues, then thought of you and prayed, wondering how you must be feeling, How tough those firsts must be for all of you! Thank you for continuing to share. I have been praying for you to feel Brian’s presence as a source of comfort but it sound like it makes you miss him even more. Know that he is never far from your heart and truly is that angel pulling some strings for you. Love and prayers.


  7. Hi Lindsey, I continue to keep you all in my heart. Again, I don’t know you personally but through your mom and your writing I feel a connection. I know you’re a busy mom and student and that you have a huge to-do list, but I hope you also find some times to love and care for yourself. A dear friend also gave me this advice when I was first going through this and I want to share with you: turn on lights when you enter a room, even during the day. Keep lighting your spaces until your light returns. It helped me immensely. Thinking of you always. ❤️


  8. Dear Lindsey, I thank you for your posts as I think of you often and pray for your strength as you go through all you are dealing with. I pray your medical issues resolve for good so you will be here with your children. I’m glad Brian is there for you in spirit. As for your writing, your first book should be all of these beautiful and truthful blogs put together to share with the world. You would help so many people going through similar circumstances. My heart hurts for you. God bless you and your family. ❤


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