And so life really does keep going. Time ticks off the clock. Days disappear from the calendar.
Suddenly, it is January 11, 2015.
How is this possible?
A year ago, I couldn't even imagine the next ten minutes in front of me.
It has been a full year of countless tears and an emotional roller coaster that continues to nauseate me.
I am wounded.
I am damaged….damaged in a way that doesn't always show from the outside. I carry deep, gaping wounds that continually have the edges of their tender, healing scabs catch and snag on a memory, then rip open again. There is a bleeding out from my soul that can’t be stopped with a kind word or a hug. My eyes have seen suffering that cannot be unseen. My heart has been shattered, it will never go back together in the same way it once was.
It is something I have to walk through; this grief.
|Me quoting Scripture|
over Tim in his hospice bed.
There are days when no tears fall, but there has yet to be a waking hour when he hasn't been on my mind. Not a single one. My ache is so guttural.
There are also periods when the muck of the grief is so thick that I am tempted to stop, lay down in it, let it smother me and just surrender to the pain. My chest feels heavy and breaths are ragged.
I know that this deep suffering is a result of the loss of an even deeper love. I accept that. I wouldn't trade our love story for anyone else’s. But quite frankly, it doesn't make it any easier. I am lonely without him. It is a loneliness that is so acute; it can completely swallow me while I am in a crowd of people.
But life continues. God didn't take me. He took the best part of me, but I am still here, just trying to muddle through each day, and sometimes each hour.
I’m struggling to guide our children without Tim’s wisdom, his level-headed parenting, and his wicked sarcasm that lightened every situation. Oh how he loved these two...with a total acceptance and all-consuming love. They were his pride and joy; his very heartbeat.
I don’t have a choice but to keep trudging forward. I let the grief waves come, some days they gently lap against my ankles and others they attack like a tsunami. I have given myself permission to feel what I feel; to cry as long as the tears will fall; to experience the full ups and downs of emotions that ravage me.
I have only given myself one rule for this grief. One single rule has kept me sane over these past twelve months. I DO NOT have permission to take my eyes off of Jesus.
I must stay focused on Him.
That is my rule.
He is my strength. He is my constant companion. He guides me. He reminds me that He has a purpose for my life. He redeems my brokenness. He assures me that time is in His hands. Tim’s time, my time, our children’s time; it’s all there, in the hands of our Savior. If I am left here without Tim, then I have a responsibility to fulfill. I am now living for two. Experiencing our children’s youth for the both of us. I am leaning hard into God as the leader of this little family of ours.
So while time keeps on ticking, and days fly off of the calendar…I want to really be choosing to live this life. It is a gift with an expiration. No one knows their time.
I have no idea how long God will choose to leave me here, but I know Tim expects me to choose wisely.
He expects me to lead our family well, tucked under the ultimate leadership of Christ.
He expects me to continue moving forward, whatever that looks like.
He wouldn't allow me to wallow in the mire of grief. He sure didn't when facing death. He faced it with honor and dignity.
He faced it with a bravery that I can’t comprehend, even though I witnessed it.
So yes, I am damaged. I am different than I was. I may never stop leaking unexpected tears. That's okay...
Because my eyes are on Jesus.
I trust Him.
Whatever He has in these next 8,760 hours, I will follow. I give Him the messy grief. I depend on Him for the healing of deep wounds that will eventually turn to scars. I choose to collapse in His capable arms as He carries this family forward. Not away from Tim, but forward, in honor of his memory.
You are missed constantly. You are cherished deeply and respected beyond measure. You continue to be an amazing provider for your family, even in death. We are doing okay. The pain is harsh and the missing is raw; but we are putting on brave faces, smiling in your memories, and leaning hard on Jesus, just like you taught us.
All my love, forever and ever,