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.       


  1. Praying for you. I can't even imagine how you are feeling, as I'm sure you never thought you would ever imagine either. The tears roll down my face as I just even try to imagine your pain and what it will feel like when that time in my life occurs. Which we will never know exactly when that will be for each of us. I have no words of comfort, as I'm sure you have already heard them before, but I offer up peace and healing for your wounded soul. Hugs.

  2. I know you don't know me personally, but Morgan went to OCA and was one of the cheerleaders helping with the pep rally for Tim. I want to thank you for sharing the personal journey of Tim's illness and triumphant return to heaven. You and your family have been such a model of strength, faith and devotion to the Lord and you are an inspiration to more people than you know. Prayers are still coming your way for you and your family. Thankful for being such a wonderful example of God's love!

  3. You are not a failure! You are a wonderful strong mother and supporter of your children. Don't beat your self up. Hugs and love.

  4. There are no words I can say to help you, even though your words have greatly helped and encouraged me. I am deeply sorry for your great loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  5. Praying for you, for peace and strength. I can't begin to imagine what you are going through...I'm so sorry for your pain.

  6. I can only imagine what it must be like to lose the love of your life. However I was divorced after 23 years of marriage in a lot of ways it is a death. I never lost my love for his family and because we had children they stayed in touch. They were true Christian people they never took sides I was there grandchildrens mother and therefore still a part of the family. You will think that Tim's family never cared for you anyway. Don't fall into that trap. You are the Christian it is up to you to show his family what true christianship is made of. Remember he was the child they lost. And if you fall into that trap you will be tempted to keep the one thing they have left of their child his children from them. Go to them Lori let them see that you truly are a Christian and maybe in the process you will truly be blessed.

  7. Dear Lori,
    We don't know each other, but I came across your page from a friend of mine who lives in Oklahoma. We use to live there as well. I have been praying for your sweet husband and your family for many months. First, praying for his treatments, and praying for his complete earthly healing. When it didn't seem that it would come about here on earth, I began praying for strength for you and your children as well as for Tim to have a peaceful passing. I can't imagine the pain and loneliness you are feeling. My husband and I are your ages and have been together about the same amount of time. I have no words of comfort for you, but I will continue to pray to God that He can give you peace, and comfort, and love, and endurance to run this race alone as you raise your children. Your faith is amazing and your walk in this journey has reached many people who don't even know you guys. Thank you for sharing with us, this walk that you have been on with your sweet Tim. You are an amazing wife and mother and your children know that things are different and they can love on you just as you love on them. I pray for easier days ahead for you and your kids. I do know that God will never leave you nor forsake you. Its ok to not be perfect or as organized as you once were. Things have changed and you will find a new way of handling all of things that need to be done. Sending hugs to you from St Louis.

  8. Praying for you and your family. Lots of hugs!

  9. Praying for you and your family. Lots of hugs!

  10. I have known your family for along time when we were in high school. Your family is a strong Christian family. Great values. I did not get the chance to know Tim. But reading about him the lives he's touched. Your inspiring words are through him. God gave you that through him. He will live on through you. I hope and pray the days ahead are better for you. His legacy lives on in the children you have togather. God bless you my friend. To me your an amazing strong godly woman that I've always known.

  11. Oh dear God. Help my sister, day after day after day. In Jesus name.

  12. E'en for the dead I will not bind my soul to grief;
    Death cannot long divide.
    For is it not as though the rose that climbed my garden wall
    Has blossomed on the other side?
    Death does hide,
    But not divide;
    You are but on Christ's other side!
    You are with Christ, and Christ with me;
    In Christ united still are we.

  13. Amazing the confidence I see in those held hands. Tim's hand looks resolute and steadfast. And that is right, isn't it... Steadfast love endures the ages. I am sure the pie was as much enjoyed the next day as it would have been earlier at dinner. A new beat is being created and you will prevail, Lori.