I’ve read the story to the end. I know how it began and how it ends. My story, yes I know the end, and it is beautiful, joyful and peaceful…. because it ends with a new beginning… in heaven. Aw…. but this middle stuff leading up to and directing me to the gates of heaven, well… that I do not know. I speculate and hope certain things will happen… or not happen. All I do know is that all my days are ordered and God is in all of them and with me at every step.
I was reminded today, that before death, we imagine we know how it will be. For example, we believe the funeral will be the hardest part and that somehow life will miraculously just get better and easier. Or that we will move on and that this pain will just be suddenly gone or lessened. Well, I am here to tell you, we can never be prepared for the passing of a spouse. The memorial was not the hardest partnof Chris’s passing. It was special and encouraging in many ways. No… you guessed it, it didn’t get miraculously better, it really got worse and harder. As for the pain, well… it is still quite painful. Many firsts without Chris… are painful reminders of the reality of his passing and what we will never do together and what I miss. So… preconceived ideas do not make good substitutes for truth and living in the moments we are gifted with. Yes, everyone, good or awful, beautiful or full of scars, inspiring or devastating…. these are gifts carving and painting upon our lives and making us who we are and who we will continue to become.
Before Chris passed, I thought his passing in our home, would be the worst thing and hardest thing ever. All the “what ifs” and “how’s” and “what do I do” questions, they seem to take over and eat in to beautiful moments. So, I prayed, that God would see to it that if Chris had to pass, that it would not be scary for anyone… especially the girls and myself. I prayed that Chris would have a fighters heart and that he’d be up and living as much as he could. When it came to that time, it was all very beautiful. Yes, it was excruciatingly painful too, but I think back at how special it was to have him here, where he was happy. To share that time until death parted us, for now. It was as if Heaven’s windows were opened just far enough for me to look in, catch a glimpse and be filled with extraordinary peace. My imaginings could not have been more wrong. I am heartbroken that Chris is gone from our home, but I am thankful God answered my prayers. His passing was peaceful and I was never alone. Chris was up and around until the evening before he passed. Loving people and living fully.
I am not sure just why I am on this topic. Perhaps because I want to share that, what we imagine and what actually happens, is often very different. All our fears and misconceived notions, fall away in the moments for which we are created for. All my life, all my living and every experience I encountered, was preparing me for our walk with Chris through cancer, for the numbness that followed and for the reality of the painful loss that I am currently walking through today and tomorrow.
God’s grace is greater then we can even imagine. Covering over our thoughts and fears, with a blanket of truth and peace. How thankful I am. This process is going to take a long time to walk through, but I am thankful that God will be beside me through each step. Helping me see what really is.
Written nearly one year from diagnosis of cancer and just a few months after his heaven day. The emotional piece hasn’t changed, this post is as relevant today as it was many months ago.
I have learned more each day I am here on earth, to long for my real home, to love deeper and to live without my beloved one but know I am loved. It is not safe or easy, that wasn’t promised, but it is good and filled with grace. God has called me in the darkness to walk dependent on Him for the strength for each step. I haven’t fully grasped this yet, nor have I become some expert on the subject. I believe it will take my lifetime to grasp it. Until heaven calls me home.