Tomorrow will be six months. It feels like a million years ago and it feels like yesterday, all at the same time. Painful memories of a two year, all-encompassing battle for Tim’s earthly life flood my mind daily. Triggered by random experiences, I am taken back to an onslaught of flashbacks at any given moment.
What a fighter he was. For 16 months of his battle, he had no swallow. NONE. I used a headlight, medical gloves, tongue depressor, face mask and surgical tweezers to pull the dried saliva and blood out of his mouth and throat at least twice daily for 473 days. Think on that for a minute.
He. Never. Complained.
Tim Streller was just as gracious, appreciative, and dignified “behind the scenes” with me and the kids as he was in public. What an absolutely amazing man I had the privilege of calling my husband. What a blessing for our children to have him as their Daddy.
This morning, thunder boomed loudly, startling me awake. Lightening flashed across the sky, illuminating our bedroom. A loud thunderstorm rolled over our home; heavy rain pounding the windows. It was gone within twenty minutes, but I was left awake and thinking.
Will I one day look back on the two years of Tim’s illness as a short thunderstorm in my life? Not our marriage, not our love affair, and certainly not the loss of him…but the sickness and the battle to survive that we so valiantly fought side by side. Will remembering these years eventually be less painful? In many ways I hope so. Oh how the rawness of it is still incredibly tender and aching memories are triggered easily; but I oddly also hope the pain never ceases to swallow me when my mind is brought back to this place time and time again. I don’t like pain and sorrow. Who does? But here is my fear. Without the sharp, physical grief that these memories bring, I am scared I won’t fully remember the ways in which God comforted us.
The extent of His love blows my mind. That is truly what I don’t ever want to forget; the powerful comfort from our great and mighty God during this treacherous journey. He calls us in Scripture to use the comfort He has given us in our troubles to bless others in the same way (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). Through Christ, my comfort overflows.
Friends, God is faithful. Whatever storms we face in this life, He never leaves our side. His strength and His power alone are what have sustained our family on this journey. The peace of Jesus Christ is beyond human explanation.
He goes before us and fights our battles (Deuteronomy 1:30).
His love for us will last forever (Jeremiah 31:3).
We can trust in Him, for He will never forsake us (Psalm 9:10).
He watches over us and He listens to our prayers (1 Peter 3:12).
So as the kids and I (and the rest of the family and friends who love and miss Tim) navigate this grief process, I pray we never forget the goodness of our God. May the intensity of those feelings of comfort and love never leave our hearts or minds.
Lord, come close. Turn our sadness into joy (Psalm 30:5). Be glorified in this journey.