Through the Valley
It is so weird to mark my current life by the illness and death of Jim. Maybe I won’t always take such notice, but the fifth of every month has proven to be especially emotional. Perhaps today more than any other because not only has Jim been in heaven for 4 months, 2 years ago today, instead of celebrating Steve’s 50th birthday as planned, Jim had biopsy surgery and the horrible news given that he had 3 glioblastomas that were inoperable and terminal.
It has been a very dark journey through the valley. I did say through because that is what the psalmist says in Ps.23:4 ~ we walk through the valley. That means that someday, somehow I will get to the other side of this. For now, the uncertainty is not if I will make it, but what life will look like. And some days I work intentionally on my grief, but many I just get through the day. It is “crazy painful” to face the feelings of emptiness, sadness and hurt, yet I know that avoiding sorrow is not the way to get to the peace and the joy on the other side of the valley. CS Lewis says, “No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear. I am not afraid, but the sensation is like being afraid. The same fluttering stomach, the same restlessness, the yawning. I keep on swallowing.”
I know why people say widows should not make any big decisions for 6 months to a year. It is like your whole being has been turned into jelly. You can’t think…you can’t remember…you are often overwhelmed and confused…yet your mind won’t shut off, your thoughts race, there are tidalwaves of memories that you are afraid you will forget.
At the same time decisions HAVE to be made. In the last 4 months I have had so many times when I wished I could ask Jim just one thing. I have longed for one more joke or smile or kiss. And of course the day Emily had a car accident I wished Jim could have been there to take care of everything; he was always so much better in a crisis. Yet I know that life’s challenges will just keep coming; they don’t wait until we are ready to handle them.
We were such a good team. And we had a good, healthy marriage. Even though I still feel married, I know I am not. The dreams, goals and plans for our future and ministry are gone. I am not sure who I am anymore, but that is why widows are told not to make changes. There is enough to do. Wow! I reread what I have written. It is pretty jumbled and not so up…I will need to write on another day besides the “fifth” of the month or after every “first” without Jim. We are leaning hard into the tender and comforting arms of a gracious God, who hates death. Death was NOT his plan; He created us to live. I appreciate your prayers on our behalf and your continued care of us in so many practical ways. Often, I am too overwhelmed to pray, too spent to spend time at Jesus’ feet, too lonely to reach out. It is then I am most startled and grateful when grace shows up!
BTW – Happy Birthday Clayton! Happy Birthday Steve!