Sunday, April 7, 2013

My promise to my dying husband



Your smile.

Anytime I think of you, the first thing I see in my mind’s eye is your megawatt smile. Your friendliness, your openness, and your sense of humor, all amplified and highlighted by your toothy, crooked grin.

That grin caught my eye over a decade ago, and ultimately captured my heart. From the first days of our relationship when we were just a couple of love-struck high school students, to the moment you saw me walking down the aisle, to the moment I saw you first lay eyes on your son, to the moment now when I enter your hospital room—your smile melts my heart, Ryan. You still dazzle me.

Life with you has been easy because it has been clear from the start that God uniquely wired us to be together. You challenge me, you sharpen me, you inspire me, and you make me a better person. Your unwavering commitment to the Lord makes my own relationship with Him much richer and more intentional because I have you to look to as an example of what it means to live a life sold out for Christ. Even through the last two years, as we have walked the road of your terminal cancer diagnosis together, life has remained colorful and sweet because our God is gracious to me, and you are one of the three biggest gifts I've received from Him. Salvation and our son are the other two.

On May 13, 2006, I saw your huge smile as I made my way down a short aisle to marry you. And on that day, you and I made a lot of promises to each other. "...from this day forward, I will devote myself to you and our family, second only to God / I commit to loving you, as much during difficult times as well as times of happiness / in victories as well as defeats / All these things I promise to you.

When I look back, so much has happened in almost seven years and I have realized that it’s time to restate exactly what I promise to you. Life has happened. And as we stare down this monster with hands clasped together and the Lord firmly entrenched behind us, I want to leave no doubt that you know these things.

Ryan Scott Prudhomme, I promise to you that I will cherish your memory as long as I live. Your character, your integrity, your heart for the Lord, and your unshakable faith in Him are all reasons that I, along with many others, will continue to regard you as a most extraordinary person. I admire you more than you could imagine.

Ryan, I promise to you that your son will know you as he grows. Any creative way that I can devise to ensure that he grows up feeling close to you—I plan to do it. Any person that can tell him about your jokes, your idiosyncrasies, your personality traits—I will ensure those people have an avenue to tell your son about his beloved daddy. Regardless of whether you get to parent him for two or twenty or seventy years, I pledge to you my commitment to raise him to know his dad.

I promise to you I will not despair, I will not be broken, and I will somehow, someday, some way again feel joy and peace. During the last two years, I know your first thoughts are usually of me—not of yourself—and you have been far more worried about me and Colton. Your love for me has never been more evident and has helped gird me through some very difficult times. I could never have done this without your faithful prayer and your encouragement, but I’m entering into a new phase where I won’t have the luxury of your nearness. Despite that, I know deep down that I am a person that can shoulder anything, as long as the Lord stands behind me. And He will. I will, with His grace, stand tall and will endure whatever tomorrow brings.  Don't you worry.

My last promise, Ryan, is not a new one—and it’s not a promise to you. It’s a promise to my Lord and Savior. I promise that my trust in the Lord will not be broken, bent, tarnished, punctured, pushed, nor shaken. I have no idea what He is orchestrating. I may not ever know until I am able to question Him in person someday. But I know the character of the One who alone knows the number of our days, He who knew you from the time before you were born and still, to this day, holds you and I in a tight, secure grip. His goodness and his mercy have been the constancy that we have so sorely needed during the last two rollercoaster years.

My darling, I love you more than I could ever have guessed that I would have loved you when you first flashed that unforgettable smile at me in the crowded hallway of our small high school. You are more than just my husband: you’re my best friend, my closest confidant, my sparring partner, my teacher, and my hero. When I close my eyes and think of you, I will always remember the sweet happiness of being perfectly matched to a person that pushed me to be a greater version of my own self.

And I’ll never forget the beautiful smile on your face.

Which always will bring one to my own.

-Kendra



I wrote this letter to Ryan while he was hospitalized at CTCA in March.  After he read it, he strongly encouraged me to release it on our blog when I felt that it was the appropriate time.  We both pray that it is effective in bringing encouragement to those that read this blog.

Photo Credit: Yeoman Photography, Big Rapids, MI

49 comments:

Anita Anderson said...

And God smiles.....

MBush said...

Thank you, Kendra. Thank you for reminding us to love our husbands the God way. Thank you for being an example of unwaivering faith. What a beautiful reminder of the vows we make.

Anonymous said...

speechless. thank you for your transparency and example of solid faith in our Savior.

I continue to pray for you all!

Jamaal Fridge said...

This was very touching to read, Kendra. My prayer is for God's faithfulness and goodness to shower down on you in particular in this troublesome time. I know as you do that you will be alright.

Ryan, it was wonderful getting to work with you at Grace this past summer, and I appreciate the time you took to sit down with me and talk about marketing. You didn't sit behind your big desk but came to sit beside me in another chair. I learned something even in that approach. Just know, sir, that I honor and salute you, and I appreciate you making the most of your time. You have blessed God's Kingdom. And you've blessed your wife and son.

Del Merrill said...

Kendra, You are such a inspiration to all. I have been following your blog for a while now. I never commented because I never knew what to say, but after reading this and it bringing tears to my eyes and touching my heart so deeply, I knew what I wanted to say. Thank you for this wonderful blog site, I know that God has beautiful plans for you and your family, I pray for your family daily. This has also reminded me of my relationship with my husband, how I need to remember those vows I made 15 years ago and how we can be each others pole. Yours and Ryan's true testimony and love for each other is truly God Sent. Thank you and God Bless you both.

Earlina said...

Tears are streaming down my face as I read your letter & write this. My heart is so broken for the both of you, been struggling so much with some of these hard questions!

Job said it well; "Yet will I trust thee" Your blog’s and fb has shown that trust, that no matter what. We are praying so much for you & Ryan and your families and will continue to do so!

Thank you again for your sharing your story even as hard as it has been, you have shown so many what it looks like to trust and to bring glory to Him!

Love you guys! Mark & Earlina

Anonymous said...

Amazing people amazing example. Praying for peace and comfort.

Stacey Riker said...

Wow! You and Ryan are an amazing couple. This letter is very touching and I feel so helpless. So sorry things have to be like this. We love you all!

Anonymous said...

My heart aches with you. Your faith is incredible and such an inspiration! I could not read this without tears streaming down my face. I do not know you personally Kendra, but am so proud of the woman of God that I see displayed in your posts. You said everything beautifully and so truthfully. The Lord will hold you ALL in His beautiful, magnificent arms! :)

Anonymous said...

Ryan and Kendra, You are an inspiration to us all. I know that God will use the Body of Christ to uphold your family.

Amy said...

Praying for you, Kendra, and thanking God for His faithfulness in your lives in the midst of so much heartache. He knows and He will hold you and carry you. Ryan was right to encourage you to publish this letter. Another way He is using you two to further his kingdom and encourage others. Holding you both in prayer and hurting with you on this journey but also rejoicing in God's gift of salvation and promise of Heaven. Praise God for His tremendous love for us that made a way!

Matt and Nicole said...

You both are amazing and an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story!

Anonymous said...

A true inspiration!

Jess said...

Kendra, you are amazing...heard a sermon this morning and you were all I could think of...I wanted to share its strength with you, but I see that God already has. May God Bless you and keep you!

Annetta said...

What a joy to share in your love and faith. You are both exceedingly blessed to have one another and to be joined as one. That will never change. God Bless you all.

Cathy Gaylord said...

I cried as I read this letter. It is so awesome that in the hardest time of ya'll life that ya'll have chosen to praise God and show your faith in him. I pray daily for ya'll and have my prayer partners at my church praying too. God bless all of you and may ya'll all feel his comforting arms around you as he walks with you. God bless you and Ryan.

Anonymous said...

This wife and mommy to an eight week old baby boy says thank you for the encouragement and reminder of how God desires us to love our husbands!!

Anonymous said...

Wow very inspirational Kendra. My heart goes out to the three of you.. praying for peace and comfort for all of you. May God Bless Your Family. <3<3<3

Bruce Hoeker said...

Absolutely beautiful. What peace this must give Ryan and he goes through these difficult days. I don't understand why God is choosing to work this way, but He IS working. And he's chosen the three of you as part of this Plan. We will continue to pray you through this. If nothing else, just know lives were changed because of you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting into words what I feel in my heart. My husband passed at the beginning of March from cancer as well. It truly touched my heart.

Anonymous said...

Too bad couples can't feel this way towards each other while they still have each other in good health and go through life together.

neal call said...

I've not commented here much, just lurked here and there, but I just wanted to say that reading about your process, about the heartache and hope bundled together in your journey, is inspiring. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

Anonymous said...

An incredibly awe-inspiring example of faith and love. God bless your family! HP

Anonymous said...

I do not know your situation as far as how sick you are. But I do know how big our GOD is. I want to share with you something I just learned. I recently had a surgery and a tumor was found which was precancerous. The Dr told me "cancer cannot live in an alkaline area". Then I saw the very same thing on facebook recently. So if you decide to treat with diet and trust in the LORD, google 'the alkaline versus acidic diet'. May GOD continue to hold you, keep you, and bless you.

Anonymous said...

You are both an incredible couple to be able to share your lives at this time. Thank You for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Prayers for comfort and strength for your family. GOD BLESS!!!

Cindy Benson said...

What an amazimg tribute! Have been, and will continue to, pray for a miracle, and for peace for you all.

Anonymous said...

Your strength, courage, and love for God and each other is truly amazing. I just recently lost my brother less than 3 months ago. It is hard to not have wavering faith. I am inspired by you and motivated to strengthen my relationship with God. I am inspired to try and find myself in this time of confusion and hurt. Thank you for your heartfelt posts. I will pray for your family!!

Anonymous said...

...yet will I trust Him....it is well with my soul - these are the things that come to mind when I read your blog. You two are such an inspiration. You have shared your human disappointment, grief, and unfairness of this surprise diagnosis....and yet you have shown like gold in the furnace, clinging to Jesus and to each other. God has given you riches that none of us would normally know, because they come in the darkest places that we have not walked. Thank you for being YOU and trusting HIM. All the love and prayers and hope and strength you can hold is what we pray for you now.
In Him always, Jaye

Anonymous said...

I hope the book you were doing gets finish, I think that would be a very inspiraring book..your story has touch the lives of so many people it needs to be told..

Beth Ledbetter Chester said...

Through your struggle and your incredible witness, the two of you are shining the light of God before all men...a bright, remarkable light. You are giving each of us a glimpse of Heaven.

We know and believe in your faith...that you WILL wake there to find one another in the flickering of an eye...whole and well, filled with joy we can not begin to comprehend. Thank you for sharing your path with us – for putting the image of Glory in our mind's eye...so vivid and real.

God wrap you in His arms and carry you through the days of this life until you wake there together again.

E Tuck said...

God bless you both and know that we are sending prayers from Southern California and that you are on our lips in prayer... May God bless you with healing Ryan, so you can continue to glorify Him and be a Living testimony to God's mercy and grace. Peace to all of you,
Eric Tucker
Los Alamitos, CA

Nancy Fikkert said...

My husband and I are also battling with cancer. We have never met, but have GYC ties and do know Ryan's dad, Steve. I know how much it has meant to me to know people are praying! We are praying in California and my heart breaks for you! Your testimony is VERY moving and it's a blessing to see how God is working in your lives. Just know we are still praying for a miracle!

Lorraine said...

The peace that passes all understanding...may it be yours as a couple while you walk this journey with God. I pray for each of you physically, spiritually and emotionally. Thank you for sharing your very personal experience...it helps me to understand how Jesus must have felt when he asked the father about passing the cup of suffering. Matthew 26:39. “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will." I am praying for you!

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Anonymous said...

This is such a beautiful letter being shared with so many. I tagged it so all my friends could see it, especially my friends from the Reed City area. Please know your family has been in thoughts and prayers thru your journey. I know from your postings you are a very strong woman. You and your son will be okay no matter your journey. Thinking of you.

Betsy from three20 said...

This is beautiful. So powerful. Thank you for sharing it.

Nan Kubicek said...

I wasn't able to finish reading this yesterday before I saw today's post. It made this one even more poignant. Kendra, I see so much of how I view my husband in your words to Ryan and can only imagine (though I don't want to) the ache that you feel at this time.

Your love was strong and that alone can make you stronger, even now. I know that Ryan is proud of you and this journey you took with him, as far as you could. Please know that you are not alone and that Ryan's love for you is still there.

xo
Nan

Ingrid said...

Thanks for sharing. This message is powerful, loving, inspirational, and spiritual. You are strong and I pray you continue with these strengths on your journey.

christy robinson said...

Thank you Kendra for inspiring me to not take life and love for granted. God has given you and Ryan an incredible gift of love for eachother that most people never get to experience. I am so sorry for your loss Kendra! I can't imagine your pain right now. I will be praying for you and your adorable son. May God's peace be with you!

Alicia Roth said...

Wow Kendra, you are such a strong and godly woman. As I read your letter I couldn't help but be overwhelmed with tears and thankfulness for your faith and commitment. You are a true inspiration! God bless you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Mrs. Prudhomme, this is Eldon Graham from Hesperia where you taught spanish for some time. I am terribly sorry for your loss, as is everyone in this community. We were all very glad to have you as a teacher and have you apart of our community, you and your family are in everyone's prayers. God Bless you, your son Colton, and your husband Ryan

Anonymous said...

I, too, have terminal cholangiocarcinoma and will leave behind children and have been married to the love of my life, a man I am so perfectly matched to and in love with my heart almost bursts every day. This post gave me wonder, strength, and courage to carry on this road, a hard one as you know. Thank you.

E Tuck said...

Ryan, Kendra and Colton,
I just joined the blog last night 30 minutes before what I now find out to be Ryan's time to pass out of this world. I find it ironic that God led me to join just before his passing.. As I prayed for him and your family, as it turns out is exactly the time he went home to be with our lord.. That is no coincidence. God led me to join at that particular moment so Ryan had people praying who did not even know him at the exact moment he let go.. We should all be so lucky as to have that in this life.. tonight, He Walks With Jesus in the Garden.... Enjoy the beautiful sunset Ryan.. Your first of an eternity of new brighter sunsets.. it is setting right now in California, so as i gaze at it tonight, it will always now have a new meaning... Ryan's sunset... Godspeed. Prayers to all the family.. Tucker

Kim Woodard said...

Blessings, Kendra ~

I lost my thirty-six year old husband to cancer six years ago after sixteen years of marriage. Our two children were fifteen and twelve. Your beautiful letter brought back SOOO many memories ~ good memories, actually, and one day, sooner than you can imagine, because of your faith and perspective, your memories of this time will be good too. We're all only here for a season, aren't we? What a beautiful thing it is to fully live through our season, short or long, fulfilling our destiny, embracing the times of sorrow just as we do the times of rejoicing. No regrets!

I'm saying a prayer for you and your family today.
~ Love, Kim Woodard

Pat Hogan said...

God bless you both. Heart-felt prayers to you all.

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Rah said...

ah beautiful, thanks for sharing--made me cry.
praying for you all---

Mix said...

If your man is pushing you away and acting distant

Or if the guy you’re after isn’t giving you the time of day...

Then it’s time to pull out all the stops.

Because 99% of the time, there is only 1 thing you can say to a standoffish guy that will grab him by the heartstrings-

And get his blood pumping at just the thought of you.

Insert subject line here and link it to: Your ex won’t be able to resist?

Once you say this to him, or even send this simple phrase in a text message...

It will flip his world upside down and you will suddenly find him chasing you-

And even begging to be with you.

Here’s what I’m talking about:

Insert subject line here and link it to: Is your man hiding something? He may need your help?

Thanks again.











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