Surviving Grief. Coming to the end of the first year after the death of a loved one.
|In four days it will be one year since my husband died from terminal brain cancer, glioblastoma multiforme 4. It will also be two years from the day of his first of four surgeries to remove the tumor, each surgery stealing slightly more of who he was on the outside. Nothing could touch the man he was on the inside. His faith in and love for Jesus never wavered for an instant. The last day of his life, when I awoke, he was reaching for heaven. Faith - Hope - Love. He'd achieved Faith and Hope, now he was reaching for Love. This was a Sunday, November 8, 2009. When the house was empty except for Larry and I, everyone was off to church, I sat beside him. His hospital bed was set up in the corner of the living room so he could be part of everything that happened in our lives. I sat beside Larry's bed and held his hand, even though he couldn't tell that I was holding it, because the hand that I was holding was his paralyzed hand. I took advantage of the quiet time alone together to tell him how much I loved him. I talked of how we'd met in Casper, WY at the Corrosion Conference. And how he'd told me he owned a cottage and a house in Michigan, but failed to tell me that he would be losing both when his divorce was final. I talked about how quickly we'd fallen in love, getting engaged 5 1/2 weeks after we met. As I talked on about how much our years together had meant to me, about our sons, about how being his wife was the biggest blessing God has ever given me.... a single tear fell down Larry's cheek. He was "unresponsive" that whole day, but he was still there, inside. That single tear told me one more time, "I love you too."
I'm not sure how I got through this past year. I know there were days that I just sat and stared at the walls. There were days that I curled up into a ball and wept, begging God to let my husband come back, or let me join him in heaven if that wasn't possible. There were days when I yelled at God, furious with Him for not healing Larry on this side of heaven. And days when I yelled at Larry for leaving me here all alone to have to figure out life without him. Somewhere along the line, I found that I had strength. Strength I never knew I had. Strength that comes from the Holy Spirit when you place yourself back into the hands of God.
One year later I have one foot planted firmly in the past and the other planted tentatively in the future. With prayer and quiet listening within I am following God with my focus on the foot that is planted in the future.
Philippians 3:12-14 (The Message)
Focused on the Goal 12-14I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back.
As long as my focus is on the foot that is planted in the future and I continue to take steps toward that future that God has planned for me, then healing will come. If I focus only on the foot that is planted in the past, that is where I will remain and I will stay in my grief, unable to heal. Where my focus is, there will I be as well. I choose to go toward the future, one step at a time.