Piece 7

“The Lord is more discerning than the sun: He sees the approaching end of those still alive on earth, and sees the beginning of life for those who have entered into rest. For Him who created the earth from nothing, and man’s body from the earth, there is no difference between the earth’s, or his body’s, being a man’s grave. Grain lying in the field or stored in a granary – what difference does this make to the householder, who is thinking in both cases of the grain, and not of the straw or the granary? Whether men are in the body or in the earth – what difference does this make to the Householder of men’s souls?” – St. Nikolai Velimirovich, “22. The Second Sunday After Easter: The Gospel on the Myrrh-Bearing Women,” Homilies Volume 1: Commentary on the Gospel Readings for Great Feasts and Sundays Throughout the Year

God has received my husband in eternal life. He isn’t swayed by sin any longer, he isn’t suffering in his flesh any longer, the perils of this world can no longer touch him. So what life did he not live if he is now experiencing the life eternal of which we all seek? All of this is not to say that the pain and sorrow one feels in the grieving process is not valid. Even Jesus wept over the death of Lazarus. 

So, why do we experience grief? 

“Grief itself is something of a mystery, for there doesn’t seem to be any obvious adaptive value to it in an evolutionary sense. It does not appear to increase an individual’s reproductive success. Whatever its value is, grief is the price of commitment, that wellspring of both happiness and sorrow.” -Marc Bekoff, PhD , Grief in animals: It’s arrogant to think we’re the only animals who mourn, Psychology Today

There may not be much evolutionary advantage to grief, but there must be a reason we grieve our loved ones when they leave us even when we know that they are made better in eternal life. I have felt the need to explore this as I navigate my own grief. From a Christian standpoint, I believe that death did not exist before sin. It was after sin that we experienced suffering and death. Only through Christ who, as the ultimate sacrifice for us, conquered death, can we experience eternal life without suffering and sorrow. 

“The Lord Jesus, though, shed all His tears for His children, to the last drop – and all His blood to the last drop. Never, O sinner, will more precious tears be shed for you, neither living nor dead. Never will a mother, or wife, or children, or homeland, pay more for you than Christ the Saviour paid.” – St. Nikolai Velimirovich, “22. The Second Sunday After Easter: The Gospel on the Myrrh-Bearing Women,” Homilies Volume 1: Commentary on the Gospel Readings for Great Feasts and Sundays Throughout the Year

So as I believe that death did not exist before sin, perhaps grief has its place now as a way to ultimately express sorrow over sin itself. Like Jesus, we cry over the fall of humanity. Death was not supposed to be natural to us. It is because of the existence of sin that my husband suffered from cancer and passed away. It is because of sin that we experience pain and sickness and death. However, I should not be sorrowful for my husband or for myself. By God’s love for humanity, in Christ’s resurrection, Chris is now in a place of repose, and I while I miss him and my life with him, his support, and his love, I can’t forget to keep my trust in God and seek His support and love for me as I am left here on this earthly journey, before I am called too. 

While I believe grief is a way creation laments over the existence of sin and death, I also believe it is a strange process of adaptation to the existence of our loved one that is no longer. In our humanity, we develop physical and emotional attachment, and dependence when we are with our spouse. We are creatures of habit and live in a linear world, so we grieve as we are essentially pitying ourselves and the hole that was created in our life when our loved one left us. This is the part I have struggled with greatly. The pain, the searing pain that cuts through me when I am reminded Chris can no longer return to me. What is this, though? The rational part of my being knows that I do not have to fear for Chris anymore. God called him and that in itself is enough for me to accept his passing. But the love we share here is a gift from God too, and that is something we should allow ourselves to grieve when it is lost.

 
My priest wrote me recently and I have read his words over and over.

 “‘I miss the me I was, before I lost you…’ Saw this quote earlier today and it made me think of you and Christopher. It made me think how much it affirms the wholeness of one flesh that two people become when they are truly dissolved  into each other. Some people are not dissolved and fully mixed in. Some folks are thrown together but they don’t mix and it’s easy to pull apart the bits that make them up. When two are truly dissolved into each other, there is no un-dissolving and the loss of one key ingredient makes what’s left unrecognizable as what it was before. That’s how to identify real, enduring, mature, and deeply rooted love. Yes, two folks in a marriage are distinct enough to be able to describe separately but when one is lost, then you take away the context [of the remaining spouse], and their identity is sort of lost. That is a sign of true love that reflects the perfect love of the Holy Trinity. We can speak of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit individually but there is no context for that identity outside of their perfect union which illuminated their distinctness.”

I see the truth in this. Through God, Chris and I loved and were made whole. We were made one with God and as a human being, in my flesh, I feel the pain of having to adapt to a life without Chris. But just like God allowed for our love and oneness, he also allowed for us to be saved in Christ’s resurrection and that is what I need to focus on. Sin and death may have ripped my husband away from me, but by the grace of God, he was called to Him.

We may be of the flesh, but we also have a mind made in the image and likeness of God, and with that, we can strive to push through our grief in peace knowing that we have eternal life to look forward to, and there, we will reunite with our loved ones. Chris and I will be together again, in a more perfect wholeness, and even more dissolved into each other. 

So why do we grieve? I believe we grieve to show the world our sorrow over sin and death, and to adapt to an earthly life without the presence of our loved one. But knowing of the greater purpose of this life, we can push through as rational beings, as God intended, and strengthen our spiritual bond with God, and by that, our new spiritual bond with our loved one. 

The pain of the stretch lessens as I remember that. 

Piece 6

I feel as though I am wearing many layers in my grief. An infinite amount of layers.

I stand alone and naked, lifeless in my being, trying to tear the layers from my body. 

I grow frustrated as I find the layers are endless. 

I don’t want to feel. Leave me alone.

They grasp harder as I continue my attempts to peel them away.

Their fibers wind deeper into my skin, my soul. 

I pull harder, screaming, clawing at myself, at the layers.

I fall to the ground, winded, and defeated.

I am feeling emotionally exhausted lately. The exhaustion even has an effect on my memory. I have read of “widow/widower’s fog” and I assume that is what I am experiencing. It’s not only a mental exhaustion, but perhaps a spiritual exhaustion too. 
I’m not where I want to be, but I don’t know where I want to go and where I want to be is no longer possible. It is no longer in existence. 

I’m still angry he had to leave me. I may be accepting God’s will, but that doesn’t mean I am not angry about it. I miss our life together. I was not only ripped from the one I love, but ripped from our life too. Our things are hiding in boxes and I miss seeing his mess in his office. His mind worked so quickly that he left a trail of thoughts and work in things all over his space. I miss that. I miss him walking into the room in his Dickies and flannel shirt with a green beanie on his head. He was my mountain man. I miss seeing him in nature, in which he thrived, tying up a hammock or pitching a homemade tent. He brought me back to the natural world which had longed for my presence for many years. 

He loved the river and would take me there to explore and swim. I would watch him, king of the river, dive and float. He would go under and disappear, giving me a near heart attack, and then re-emerge smiling like he knew. 

He was playful. He knew how to get my goat too, but I loved it. He was also very logical and analytical. He didn’t accept nonsense when he was passionate about something. He stood by his research. 

I remember waking up at 4 in the morning and realizing he still wasn’t in bed. I would walk to his office in my haze and see him sitting behind his screen, soaking in whatever knowledge he quested to find that night. He would almost require a white paper for any argument. I needed to do my research before I fought for my case. He made me think more. I feel my opinions, I don’t often think them. He helped me explore subjects on a deeper level, seeking the truth. 

I miss the moments he would take to come up behind me and wrap his arms around me. He would often tell me that I was beautiful. “You’re so beautiful, love.” I would roll my eyes, smile, and give him a kiss. He is the only person who helped me believe I could be beautiful. 

Yesterday, it snowed. I hate snow. I hate the cold and the work required to deal with the snow. Chris loved snow though. He would teach me, enthusiastically, how to outfit myself properly so I didn’t feel the cold. It worked. Perhaps the snow wasn’t so bad when he was with me. I somewhat enjoyed it with him. We could spend days, just he and I, trapped in our apartment as snow fell heavily outside our window. It wasn’t so boring with him and he made the experience joyful. We would play, build forts, hold each other, and cook together. I just laid in bed yesterday, holding on to our snow day memories. 

I hope he enjoyed watching the pups frolicking in the yard. I hope he was with us. I even smiled a bit, giggled a bit, watching them leap and tackle each other in the snow. Blaze likes to eat the snow and then he emerges with a white beard like an old man. And I know Chris would have loved to see Yuki in the snow. He didn’t get the chance to before he passed. He would have thoroughly enjoyed seeing her in her element. She looked so beautiful. 

I carry so many layers and it hurts. 

As I writhe on the ground, they sink in even deeper.

They don’t want to leave.

I fight, but to no avail. 

I slowly begin to accept their presence.

And as they reach for every crevice of my internal being, I grow heavier.

I feel the weight.

But with the weight, I don’t float away.

Piece 5

“Why is she marrying him if he is going to die?”

Those words were muttered on our wedding day. When I learned of that, I must be honest, I was thoroughly offended. How could someone be so superficial and cold? I was upset that was something people were actually thinking about on a day that was supposed to be a celebration of our love and oneness. I let it get to me and began thinking I needed to validate our love to everyone. I felt I had to prove that what we had is real. It was real and has always been real. Chris and I never questioned it, so it surprised me that others did.

I have since had a change of heart regarding my upset over that comment. I realize now that maybe the individual had some insight to the pain I would inevitably feel and the stigma I would have as a young widow. Maybe they knew how difficult our road would be and how heartbreaking it is to watch one’s spouse suffer with such a terrible disease.
What this person may not have considered, however, is that Chris and I were not simply making a choice to love each other wholly, we were fulfilling what God had intended, what we were being called to do.
Love isn’t always the same story. We can hope we live out our days together, have children, grandchildren, and then die in each other’s arms Notebook style, but unfortunately, that doesn’t happen very often. I dreamed of that with Chris. I naively hoped he would survive many years and we could live a full life together. I begged God all the time for that outcome. What I didn’t realize, though, was that I was just falling into the ideal we have created for love. I had the idea of love just sitting pretty on a pedestal in my brain surrounded by a white picket fence.
Through Chris, God taught me how to truly love and that experiencing the fullness of love doesn’t have to be over the course of 30 or more years.

It was a quiet night and I was finishing some laundry at the laundromat. I went home and began folding my clothes. It wasn’t long before I heard Chris coming through the back door. He was out of town for a little while and I wasn’t expecting him back so soon. I immediately ran to him and nestled myself in his chest. He hugged me differently that time. He held me a little tighter and longer. He stood up straighter, almost to make himself bigger so he could completely cover me with his hug, protect me.
That night, he told me the doctors found cancer in his lung. We weren’t aware of more information than that, but I spent the night sobbing in his arms. At that point, we had been dating for about 4 months. And at that point, we were already completely in love.
Not long after that night, we sat in an exam room anxiously awaiting results regarding the extent of his cancer. The doctor entered the room and explained to us that Chris had lung cancer that had already metastasized to his bones. He also explained that his mutation was very rare and could not be cured. He was terminal.
My world came crashing down on me. Chris and I were already planning a life together and in the blink of an eye, it was shattered. My body felt like a bag of rocks, much like it does now. Shattered and lost… Chris was more accepting though. He trusted God’s will probably more than any other human being I know. He was accepting of whatever God laid before him. I, however, was a complete emotional mess and I suppose you can say I was a mess for the both of us. I had more difficulty accepting God’s will.
“It’s just not fair!”, I would often yell, and Chris would look at me and say, “there is no such thing as ‘fair’ and ‘unfair’. It just is.”
His faith taught me so much. He was a no nonsense guy and that’s what made him even more special to me. While he was sad to leave me, he knew it was for a greater purpose. One that we maybe don’t understand right now. He just trusted God. He “gave into the call” – Sia- My Love
We knew our life had changed that day upon his diagnosis of terminal cancer. What we didn’t know was that our love will change too, for the better.

“Maybe, I think, love is another dimension because it is reflective. Predicated on really seeing the other. The seeing externalizes the other’s inner self and makes it real. Love makes us more real.” – Rachel Jamison Webster – Widowed – TEDxMuskegon

Our love morphed into something that went much deeper than before his diagnosis. Perhaps we were forced to reach the point in our love that healthy couples eventually reach after 50 years. We took each other as is. We saw the inner light of our hearts rather than our hearts alone. It was complete selflessness and sacrifice that became the foundation of our relationship. We never stopped serving the other. Even on his deathbed, my husband wanted me to sleep in the hospital bed and he on the window bench I had been sleeping on because he wanted me to be more comfortable. The care and love that man showed for me has changed me forever. I thank God so much for our love. I learned what self-sacrifice really is too. I never wanted my husband to be uncomfortable either. I bathed him, wiped him when he went to the bathroom, brushed his teeth, trimmed his nails (which I would never do for any other human being), cleaned up his vomit, cleaned up his diarrhea, went to the store the minute he mentioned he had a craving for something specific, and labored in the kitchen until I made something he would want to eat. I kept our life moving as his body slowed down and he kept me humble and grounded as we faced the most difficult time of our existence. We pushed past the superficial things quickly and truly saw the other. We saw each other fully and unconditionally, and we brought each other closer to God. We were blessed in a very devastating way, but it was still a blessing.
“Why is she marrying him if he is going to die?” In other words, why would I risk feeling the pain of loss knowing my love will leave me soon? Why would I commit to a dying man? Even Chris told me, a few months after his diagnosis, that he didn’t want me to feel the pain when he left me and I should leave him while I could. He didn’t want me to feel the pain, so he preferred to sacrifice himself, to endure the pain he would feel alone. I responded, maybe a little offended, but I understand now, “I will never leave you. You are my love and I am yours and I will be with you until the very end.” He accepted my decision and later admitted that he never really wanted me to leave, but felt he had to say it at least once so I would know he didn’t want to leave me here alone.
We married because we loved. We loved because we were called to love. We were also called to learn, and we were called to teach.
“the highest does not stand without the lowest” – C.S. Lewis A friend of mine, who is also widowed, shared that quote with me. She explained, “[that quote] is one of the few things that keeps me from feeling too sorry for myself. Sickness stands in opposition to health. We know what beauty is when juxtaposed with ugliness. When I walk into a room and I hear people whisper, ‘that’s the lady who lost her husband’, I see couples stand a little bit closer together. Maybe I imagine it but I even think that my walking in the room has stopped quarrels in mid-sentence between spouses. The higher thing is two people living in love. But the higher does not stand without the lower. The pain of loss is the lower thing, but it supports the higher thing. Is this comforting- not really- not like a comfy blanket… it does help me feel less like it’s ‘not fair.’ There is no ‘fair’ and ‘not fair’. There is the ‘higher thing and the lower thing.'”
Again, like Chris would say, “there is no such thing as ‘fair’ and ‘unfair’. It just is.” I believe God gave him the insight he needed to teach me from spiraling down into a pit of self-pity. My friend solidified that too.
Chris and I made the ultimate sacrifice to serve as the lower in this case. By this, we loved wholly, learned humbly, and will teach with great humility. We were and remain blessed in many other ways though. We don’t carry the lower in every aspect of our life.
The mystery of God will continue to be unknown to us, but with faith, we can accept His will and follow the truth.
That, my friend, is why I married him.

Piece 4

​I remember the night my husband passed and I felt the pain for the first time. I had been feeling pain in my heart prior as I watched him slowly succumb to the disease, but it was bearable. Bearable in the slightest sense of the term, but I was able to keep moving. When he left me though, I was stunned with pain. I felt as if I was simultaneously getting ripped apart from my core and hit by a train. December 8th will forever be the most devastating day of my life.
I want to talk about it.
I returned from dinner with my parents and the nurse met me at the front desk. My husband and I, and our dogs, were living at the hospice house in his final days. I remember my heart racing and my limbs feeling cold. I know she tried to be as relaxed as possible, but I could see it in her eyes that something was different. “I need to talk to you.” That ominous phrase, in my life, has proven to always be a precursor to anything bad. I quiver when I hear that phrase.

“OK, is everything alright?” I asked though I was barely able to get the words out. My breathing quickened.

“I just need you to know that I have noticed a change in your husband.” At this point we had reached the room and she walked me over to his bed. Her brow furrowed and tears swelled in my eyes.

“He’s getting closer. We are seeing the signs.”

I can tell you right now, no matter how prepared you think you are, no matter how long you and your spouse have been living with the understanding that their cancer is terminal and they will pass away in the near future, you will never actually be prepared when the healthcare professionals around you confirm that your spouse is dying. I was quickly wiping away tears and stood up straighter as though I was trying to strengthen my wrenching soul with my spine.

“It is difficult to tell with younger people because we know their hearts are stronger, but I think it may either be tonight or tomorrow.”
It.
It being my husband leaving me for the rest of my life. It being me torn away from my person. It being the end. The end of everything of our life together in the physical world.

So I responded, riddled with anxiety, and shaking at that point, “OK.”

“I’m so sorry,” she responded, “call us if you need us.” I thanked the nurse and she left the room. I realized I had to quickly wrap my mind around all of this. Instead of sleeping on the window bench as I had been, I moved the recliner chair up close to his bed. That night, I sat vigil by his bedside, waiting for the worst pain of my life.

I allowed myself to sleep in 10 minute increments only because I remembered someone once mentioning to me that spouses usually don’t want the other to see them pass, so they wait until the other isn’t paying attention. I didn’t want Chris to hold on longer than he had to because, while I couldn’t bear the thought of him leaving me, I also couldn’t bear for him to suffer any longer. So I allowed those increments of sleep just in case. When I was awake, I kept repeating myself to him. “I love you, my love. I will be OK, you may go in peace, love. Don’t be afraid to go.”

I tried to stay as calm as possible. I know he knew I wasn’t actually going to be OK, but I had hoped me trying to reassure him would make him feel a little better. “I want you to know that I forgive you for anything and I pray you forgive me.” Even though he couldn’t speak, I could see his eyes squint and I knew he was saying yes. That is one of the most important things I said to him before he left. I thank God I remembered to say it. Forgiving for everything was just a way of saying “I love you” in a deeper form. That’s how God loves us. That’s how he calls us to love each other too. We forgive each other because we love each other in the deepest way.

I was praying throughout the night too. I begged God to take him peacefully. For him to feel no fear, no pain, no stress of any kind. I prayed and prayed… Blaze jumped up in my lap and I hugged him close as we sat there by Chris’ bed. He relaxed me as I pet his back and we sat there for a little while. Then it happened.

Chris’ breathing quickened and then slowed, and then he gasped for air a few times. I sensed it was time and got up off the chair. I was trembling and I couldn’t control my tears, but I kept my voice as calm as I possibly could and said my last words to him, “I love you. I will be OK. Go in peace, love. Go in peace.”

And he went. He took his last breath and his soul slipped from his body.

I was numb at first. I knew there was some importance to knowing a patient’s time of death, so the part of my brain that was logical and rational made me immediately tremble down the hallway to the front desk to alert the nurses. I could have pressed the call button, but something made me think that would be too alarming and just not peaceful enough in my husband’s sacred moment. When I got to the desk, they knew. I didn’t even get the words out of my mouth entirely. All I could say was, “I think. I think.” They ran down the hall and I followed, still numb. When we entered the room, one nurse had me sit by her on the window bench as the other examined him. I was shaking as we sat. When the nurse finished her examination and nodded to us solemnly, that was it. It must have just been that my brain needed the confirmation, because I lost all control once she did confirm that my husband was gone. I remember bits and pieces now. I remember screaming. I screamed and sobbed so deeply that my whole body, down to my individual cells was responding to the pain. The tearing. Tearing of my soul as I felt the pull and the spreading distance away from my body. The distance of him from me.

I remember thrashing about on the floor and then getting up and throwing myself on his body. I then laid there for the rest of the time before my parents arrived.

I really can’t properly describe the pain. My words simply don’t suffice in construing exactly how it feels. I still feel the pain. Every moment I think of a fond memory…

My husband is gone and it hurts. It rattles me to my core. I want to thank him though for allowing me to be a witness to his new birth. I remember whispering, “Happy birthday, love. It’s your birthday.” When I was laying and sobbing over his lifeless body. My priest reminded me of that prior. “It is a death of this life and a birth into eternal life.” Those words gave me hope. My husband allowed for me to experience the most intimate, incredible thing a lover can do for the other in that circumstance. I am eternally grateful to him. Not everyone can say they were able to help their spouse transition into the next life. While death is ugly, the transition into eternal life is beautiful. Referencing my second post, God healed my husband.

While I am stuck here with the pain of his loss, I am at peace knowing he is no longer suffering.

I’ll be seeing you, love.

Piece 3

Last night I began watching a movie and had to turn it off after the first 5 minutes due to its content. I’m pretty sensitive, so that isn’t rare for me. What was different for me this time, though, was the fact that I immediately wanted to curl into Chris’ chest and lament over the evils of this world, but I couldn’t. He would have held me and tried saying something goofy to distract me. I could just hear him, “Oh love… just some snuffs”, *snuff* *snuff*, and I would giggle and snuff him back. Snuffs were one of the many actions of affection we made up. I won’t get into detail to keep it special between Chris and I, but I wish to be snuffed by him again so badly. So, I cried. Let me tell you how sick I am of crying! I have always hated to cry and now I am crying just about every day. It is driving me mad. The only thing that helps is that I read it has a scientific, chemical purpose in the grieving process, so I will let it slide.…for now. 

Evenings are the hardest for me by far. I believe it is because of the quiet. I’m not busy with the hustle and bustle of the day, so I have nothing to distract me from the onslaught of emotion when I am just laying there in bed. Not to mention, Chris and I did spend a lot of time in bed as he got sicker. The bed was our place of solace. It was us and the pups and Netflix, and we would cuddle and talk. It was our own little safety bubble, protecting us from the pain of moving and the stressors of life. Damn, I miss that so much. I think the fact that I still have our pups is the only thing that is keeping me somewhat emotionally stable. Blaze and Yuki are my own little grief counselors. I don’t know what state I would be in without their presence. While we didn’t have children, Blaze and Yuki are a piece of Chris that he left behind for me to take care of. They are our babies. Even as he neared his death, he expressed his concern about leaving me and the pups behind to fend for ourselves. They were apart of the equation just as human children would have been. I promised him we would all be OK, so I am trying to keep my promise. Staying afloat. 

One of the greatest things I am struggling with is the fact that Chris became MY PERSON and not having him here makes it so difficult to cope with anything. He was the only person on this planet who was instantly my person and will remain the only person to ever walk this planet to be that for me. So when I say I cry because I couldn’t just roll over and curl into his chest, I mean only his chest. I don’t want just any human support, it is his support I want. I crave. It makes me feel uncomfortable just thinking about seeking emotional support from any other human. That’s just not what I want. That was never what I wanted before I met Chris. Chris was simply my person. So, it is the most devastating and confusing feeling when you are facing the most intense pain of your life and you can’t turn to the only person you would turn to. That is the best way I can put it into words. I am sure that must be normal though. I mean, we marry our spouse because we want to be one with them. We are each other’s person. I can’t imagine I am alone in this conundrum of despair. My person is gone, my person is who I want to turn to in my grief over my person being gone. You see?

I suppose that is a normal part of the process though. It just feels the most difficult. My soul just has to stretch farther to reach my husband now. Maybe that is part of the pain. And maybe with exercise and practice, the pain of the stretch will lessen. We will see. 

Piece 2

​I yelled at Chris last night. I suppose you can say I am beginning my “anger” phase though I am still very much in denial. “Why did you have to leave me?!” I shouted at the ceiling of my dark room. I was sobbing and flailing about my bed like a small child who didn’t want to go to sleep. “I hate being without you! I don’t want to be without you and you left me here! I need you, love!” I was pissed. My heart was wrenching and I felt out of control. I am out of control. I want my husband back and I can’t bring him back. I couldn’t keep him from leaving me either. He had to. I know he had to. It is actually very selfish of me to have wanted him to stay longer. His body was failing him and he held on as long as he could. So then that brings me to my frustrations with God. Not that I actually have the compacity to put into question anything God does, but I am upset with Him that He couldn’t have just healed my husband and taken someone else who has lived a long life. Someone who should go. It just doesn’t make any sense and it is maddening that good, young people like my husband are taken away before they can really do great things in this life. 

“God heals in three ways: He heals through miracles, He heals through medicine, and He heals through death.”



Our hospice chaplain shared those words at my husband’s memorial service. I was taken aback at first and I know others were too. We sat there, stiff, and not ready to accept those very true words spoken. It is much easier to be angry with God than it is to accept this outcome. It’s even easy for me to be selfishly angry with Chris because he left me. I’m the one who is stuck here feeling the most intense pain I will ever feel and having to do it alone. The one person I want to share my pain and sadness with is my husband and he is gone. So yeah, I’m irrationally mad at him for not just healing himself of the cancer and popping up out of his hospital bed to live a longer life with me. But the chaplain’s words still ring in the back of my mind. I hate it because I know why I don’t want to accept it, because it actually softens my heart when I do. I want to stew in my anger, dammit! I want to feel powerful in the most vulnerable and helpless period of my life and softening my heart means to give up my power. God has a way of humbling us though. Humility is another lesson I am learning in this process. In my humanity, I forget the greater purpose of this life. It isn’t to covet what we have here on earth including the love we share with our spouses. This life isn’t ours, we don’t own anything here, and the love that we share was given to us. What we have is God’s, so our goal should be to take up our cross and walk a life in Christ so that we can experience the true life, eternal. This may not be what everyone believes, but even from a more general spiritual standpoint, we can know that this world only brings death, but our energy goes somewhere else. So in a way, I should be rejoicing for my husband because he is experiencing eternal life now. He isn’t in pain anymore and he isn’t struggling with the anger the disease in his brain caused. He is in the place we all want to be, with Christ. God healed him. 

So as I struggle to soften my heart in my selfish and prideful humanity, I want my husband to know that while I am angry at the circumstance of his loss, I am happy for him too. I watched his body degrade for months and he struggled a great deal in his body as the disease spread, so it would be cruel of me to not feel some joy for his relief now. I thank God that I believe in the resurrection of Christ. It brings me some peace knowing that my husband now shares in that resurrection. So for now, I will allow myself some anger, but I won’t let it get out of control. I can at least control that. The rest is God’s. 

Piece 1

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

My husband and I shared an incredible love. We were blessed as we loved wholly, unconditionally, and without any question. We were married for only a little over a year before he passed away from metastatic lung cancer. I lost my very best friend, my most intimate relationship, and I am feeling adrift without him. There is a gaping hole in my being now and the pain of the emptiness is the worst pain I have ever felt in my life.

The purpose of this blog is to share my emotions and thoughts as a young widow while I navigate my grief and the life I must now live without my dear husband. It is not often you hear stories of the loss of a spouse from people in their 20s and 30s, which is actually a positive thing, but as a 25 year old widow, I have felt quite isolated as I read the countless stories of people who are middle-aged losing their spouses. While the pain is the same, there are naturally some differences between the experience of a 25 year old widow and a 65 year old widow and I wish to share about those differences too.

As I write this piece, I am struggling a great deal to hold back a waterfall of tears as he left me only recently. My husband passed away on December 8th, 2016. Today is the 1st of January, 2017. I must say this is even more difficult than Christmas. I believe it is because I can’t fathom the thought of beginning a new year without the only person I ever wanted to spend my years with. I have thrown so many temper tantrums to the heavens as if it would somehow work and he will come back to me. As if he was just visiting a friend or away on business this whole time and he will be back soon. I guess you can call it my “denial” stage, but I just don’t want to live thinking he will never come back even though I know he will never come back. Part of it is also the fact that I know I have so many years to live before I can see him again if I am meant to live to the statistically expected age of 81.1. I am forced to move through my pain and find a whole new lifestyle and career so I can support myself in this world throughout the rest of my life….alone now and afraid. I fear so much, but I am trying to have faith that God will show me a right path ahead. Perhaps sharing my story is a start. 

My wish is for my blog to bring solace to those who may be sharing in my grief and to bring light to the challenges of loss and bereavement as a young person who lost a spouse. I am vulnerably slicing open my chest and revealing my heart and soul in the most intimate way I can. By that, I pray I can comfort or inspire you. Follow me on this deeply emotional journey as I share my pieces with you. 

Thank you for reading.