Once Upon a Time….

“Once upon a time…. they lived happily ever after. The end”

Between those quotation marks lie some of the most painful words ever spoken in the presence of a widow. But… I was challenged this week, in my devastation and pain, to see their precious treasures. This unlikely group of words held the keys to opening the locked door of my grieving heart.

“Once”
This refers to the past and something happening but one time. Sigh…. let’s face it… it’s painful to look back and see all those things that it seems will never happen again the same way. My soul began to ache and my heart cried out as if it had been ripped anew from my body. I said, “no way,” to the proposal that I look at “once.” But, in time it was healing to look back at the memories. Memories that only happened “once.” From first kiss, to first disagreements, to our first child being born. “Once” became a treasure and the discovery had only just begun… the door just needed unlocked.

“Time”
Sigh…. oh this word is packed with tears, “if onlys,” and a longing for more. “Time” was both a thief and a guardian. It was a gift when I celebrated it and a curse when there wasn’t enough of it left. On our first Christmas tree, after my beloved passed, I placed an ornament that has adorned my tree each Christmas after. It looks like a pocket watch. This ornament reminds me of the time I had… and oh such a time we shared. It reminds me that Chris never waisted time, not ever… even to his last breath.

“They”
This is a hard one… as there is no more we or “they.” Life is a bit lonely, if I am honest. It speaks of 2 people or more. And all I could think of, at first, was my loss and its subsequent secondary losses. For a time it seemed I’d lost not just Chris, but our army of kindred loved ones too. I have been examining the word in the light of what I have now. And, “they” has become the dear ones, like you, that God has provided and who have rallied aroun in spite of my loss and how it’s changed me..

“Lived”
Oh this word…. I almost gave it up. I wanted to toss it aside… because I felt dead inside. I said, “do not make me live, my life is over.” And in many ways that’s true… my old life died, my old self wasn’t the same having been touched by death itself. But… I am alive… though the steps are hard and I’ll never walk the same again… my wounds changed me but didn’t end me. I live every time a dear friend whispers you can do it, I live when I am reminded who God made me, I live when I can reach out into anothers hurting life and share what’s been given to me. I “lived” my happily ever after with Chris. Now I am learning to live in deeper sensitivity, painfully determined to walk forward with purpose…. even if it looks like baby steps.

“Happily”
Hmmm… this word incited a bit of anger inside my heart. Yep, it did! I felt I’d never be happy again. Then one day a dear friend shared. Happiness is circumstantial and momentary at times, but joy comes back in the morning it’s there when you cry…. and when you laugh. Joy is eternal. I realized, what I shared with Chris was more then momentary happiness, we shared a forever love we lived joyfully ever after. We were both happy and sad and it wasn’t perfect, but joy was always there.

“Ever after”
Sigh… I thought that I’d have “ever after.” We were young and had our whole lives head of us. We had dreams and plans and living to do. But our days are numbered, there are things we must do before we pass and go to heaven. Chris’s tasks were finished at 44. He always was an old soul. This didn’t stop me from wanting our “ever after” though. As I looked at our lives I began to see we had a full life together. It was rich in love… we didn’t see eye to eye always, but we saw life together. We faced down cancer and won. Though not the way we’d liked to have. Chris now has his eternal “ever after.” And he’ll be there when I arrive one day.

“The End”
I have seen Chris’s early death to cancer as the ultimate “end” to a perfectly precious story. I was bitter, I was hopeless, I was crushed. The wave was tsunami size in magnitude. I felt there was no recovery after such a storm. It was when the winds howled and swirled around me, waves a mile high loomed above me and I felt all of it threatened to undo me…. that God moved the eye of th storm right over me. That storm never touched me as harshly and powerfully as it could have. In the eye of the storm, He whispered, “it is well with his soul… this is not ‘the end’ you will see him again.”

Thank you for praying with and for us.

4 thoughts on “Once Upon a Time….

  1. Dear Wendy, this is an incredibly beautiful retelling that the Lord has gifted to you. Thank you so much for being willing to be so honest with us, and so bless us in return! You are in my prayers so much, as I ask the Lord to keep holding you close to HIS heart. May He let you see the gift that He is bringing through your sharing, even in the hard places. Love & Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

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