Grief

Let's talk about grief. Even though it's something I am walking through daily I've chosen not to talk about it daily. Oh believe me, I could write posts every day about how much I miss my husband. But I feel it should go without saying. I miss him deeply. Life is not the same in any way. Not one thing in my life is at it was when he was in it. Not one thing. The day he died it was like a bomb blasted my life and everything blew to pieces, falling to the ground in disarray. I've had to learn how to navigate without him, parent alone, run a house without him, provide for our family without him. Life changed. My friendships with others changed. My desires changed. My focus changed. The life I had and loved died when he died.

When I was a teenager my Papaw started to get sick. It wasn't a physical sick, it was his mind. He started to develop dementia. Seeing someone you love walk through that is terribly difficult. Within the course of a year or so he no longer recognized his family. He was a shell of who he used to be. We had to have him moved to a veterans center nursing home and he stayed there from when I was in my teens to my early twenties. It was a long, extended illness. Through it all my Memaw was faithfully by his side. She moved so she could be close to the center. She helped the nurses take care of him. She visited him every single day. Without fail. After years and years of this I started to actually pray that God would take him home soon. I believed my Papaw would not want to live this way. Growing up I saw him as so strong, it was hard to watch what he had become. It was hard visiting him and seeing him in that condition. After many years of things staying the same I started to ask God why He was allowing my grandpa to still live. I didn't understand why he had to continually battle this illness. I was praying for the merciful thing to happen. Not just for him but for my Memaw, who had put her entire life on hold to care for him. It hit me one day, while I may be praying for the "merciful thing" I think God may have been honoring my Memaw's prayers. I think her prayers might have been the opposite of mine. She wasn't ready to let my Papaw go. It didn't matter that he no longer knew who she was. It didn't matter what sacrifices she had to make. She loved him and she wanted him with her. She didn't want to do life without him. No matter how difficult life had become.

I didn't understand how that could be until what we walked through. Cancer made our lives difficult. No doubt about it. Waves were crashing over us and we were barely keeping our head above water. For years. Then, an unexpected stroke, from what was supposed to be a routine surgery. After his stroke he was not the same Joel. Aside from a divine miracle, his first stroke was so debilitating he would have never been able to return to the life he once had. I would have had to give up the rest of my life to care for him. But I didn't care. I would have gladly done it day in and day out just to have him with me. It didn't matter to me the stark reality we were facing. I would have faced it with him. I wasn't ready to let him go. I was never prepared for this to be our ending.

I asked my widow friend if there will ever be a time where I don't think about my husband all day, every day. She said no. He will be in every thought, every memory, and every decision forever. When I realized it was normal it became a source of comfort to me. I grieve every day. I will for the rest of my life. That's ok. There's a pain that comes with grief that you learn to live with. While that pain is a reminder of what you lost it also reminds you of how blessed you were to have had what you had. Through my pain I've been able to find purpose. And the purpose is what I try to share with you all. It's what keeps me moving forward each day when I really want to crawl under my sheets and hide. I do honor the pain but above all I seek to glorify the purpose. My sorrow will never be in vain. Life will never be the same. But He is good.

Sometimes you may say, ‘God is good,’ with tears running down your cheeks, but He is good, and He will see you through, and He never wastes your sorrows. He didn’t waste the sorrows of His Son on the cross. He won’t waste your sorrows. He, by His magnificent power, will transform them into that which is good—that which brings gain to the kingdom and glory to His name. -Dr Joseph Stowell