Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Lonely Ache

I am lonely.  It is a loneliness that having a room full of people surrounding me cannot quench.  It is a deep-in-the-soul aching.  It is an all-encompassing ache that is specifically for my Tim.  Our marriage was based on Biblical principles and we truly took the "leave and cleave" portion of our vows seriously.  

God made us one.  

Death has separated me from not only my Tim, but also from a portion of myself that was interwoven with him.  (I was pondering these very thoughts when I read a devotional this week that shared the same perspective.  It was reaffirming for me to hear other widows share this thought as well.) 

Grief is weird.  Like, really baffling weird.  Tim passed away on Saturday afternoon, January 11, 2014.  My mother or my sister slept with me in our bed for a full week after his passing.  They say my sleep was fitful; full of whimpering and hyperventilating nightmares.  I don’t remember much about that, to be honest.  I only know the ache.  I know this bottomless pit of loneliness and this grief.  I am grieving for the love of my life, my one and only teammate.  At times when awake, my heart physically feels pain and my breathing is labored.  I assume this is what I am experiencing in my sleep as well.  I guess that is when my guard is down the most.  

Because we were joined by God in holy matrimony, I grieve for Tim and I am grieving for the part of Lori that he took with him when he left.  We were so intricately woven together that it was impossible for Tim to be taken without it ripping me in half.  So here I am, 17 days out and still with a gaping hole and loose threads straggled every which way.  And of course, still with the loneliness. 

The kids and I have an amazing support system full of family and close friends; but the only one I want to talk to is Tim, the only hand I want to hold is his, the only hug I want to feel is the one from my husband. 
Taken on Tim's final day.
I had no idea it would be our last photo together.
When the grief grabs hold so tightly that my body is racked with sobs and I cry out to Jesus for comfort, my God reminds me that I am His bride too.  He reassures me that He can and will be all of the things to me that Tim was.  That just as Tim and I leaned heavily on God throughout our marriage, I can lean heavily on Him as a widow.  He is constant, unchanging, solid and faithful.  God is here; right here, where I am.  He is quietly and delicately binding up the loose strings of my gaping hole and rebuilding me into who He has designed me to be.  He alone can fill the empty void left behind in me when He called Tim home to heaven.  Oh sure, I could try to fill it up on my own with busyness, food (I tend to be an emotional eater), bad habits or other human people; but that would never hold in the long run.  For a fulfilled life, I must let God indwell the hole with Himself and tend to the mending of all my loose ends. 

In order for me to get through each day, (and honestly, sometimes it is just an hour by hour surrender) I am focusing on eternity.  Keeping my eyes on the eternal perspective rather than my circumstances is allowing me to put my feet on the floor each morning and take each step throughout my day.  I am brand new to this widow gig.  My heart aches with knowing Tim will never return, but my head is confused and still looks for him to walk down the hall, or be sitting on his chair in our closet, to be standing at his bathroom counter trying to clear his throat.  I awake in the night and panic that I can’t hear him breathing.  I sit up and look for his hospital bed, only to find both it and him gone.  I keep re-living his final breath over and over in my mind.  It is a constant choice to train my mind on Scripture and joy; thankfulness and surrender.    

For 16 years my home and family have been my full time job and I took my “stay-at-home” wife/mother responsibilities extremely seriously.  I worked hard at making a comfortable home for Tim and our children, desiring for them to be able to be at complete rest when they entered this sanctuary.  Now I am adding sole provider to that job description, as well as sole parent, sole Spiritual adviser, sole everything….and it is overwhelming.  Yesterday, after a long 9 hours in the office and then a few hours cheering on our girl from the basketball stadium seats, I started preparing dinner (still in my heels) at 8:40PM. 
Sauteing veggies for homemade chicken noodle soup.
It made me laugh.  I felt like such a failure, knowing that I intended to have several steps of the meal prepared in advance, but never got to those items on my weekend to-do list.  The old Lori would have been better prepared and organized.  Do you want to know how my children responded to this “monumental failure” in my book?  

With grace. 

With thankful hearts that I was cooking a healthy meal for them. 

Apple pie didn't come out of the oven until well past bedtime.
Another "fail"!

These kids of ours are something else.  Their Daddy modeled grace and gratitude every day of their lives together and seeing them respond so kindly to me was as if God dropped a tiny droplet of love into the gaping hole of loneliness that is myself.