What would I say to you if I could see you today, three years after you left earth for heaven?
I know that there are events and thoughts that happen all the time that I want to tell you about. For example, I work at church now as an Admin in the Student ministries dept. and started teaching online for Trinity (God redeemed what I never thought He would). Emily is at Biola, lives at home and is not an art major. Clayton wants to go to Biola, but still doesn’t know what he wants to major in. I would tell you about people who have joined you in glory but you already spend time with them, so that is not news. I would tell you about other family members and friends, new babies and marriages….the kids’ interests and more news that you have missed. But I would also tell you about the things I worry about like finances and finding an affordable place to live; and ask your advice on some of the things you did that now I have to take care of, and how you did certain magic tricks. There is one thing I do not think will ever go away and that is how much I miss sharing life with you – the daily events, the small insignificant stuff and the big stuff too. I mostly know how you would feel and respond, but still I miss hearing you say it and I miss the comfortableness of being with you and saying nothing at all, the security of our relationship and your touch, your hugs and your kisses. I miss our walks and prayers before bed and tea together.
But what would I want to make sure to say? First, I would tell you that I am okay. The kids are okay. We miss you desperately but I am learning to cope by living one day at a time. It is like Manna. The Israelites were to collect what they needed for just the current day. If they tried to store it up, it rotted. I too have learned that every morning God’s mercies are new and fresh for today. And I ask God to help me and the kids to choose Jesus just for today. I do not think I can live without you for the rest of my life, but I can make it through today, by God’s grace.
I think knowing that would make you happy, because you seemed to have understood that concept, making the most of today and not worrying about tomorrow.
Next I would tell you that it has been really difficult at times. I expect that you know this but I want to tell you how the pain is often so overwhelming. Emily has had the most visible struggle since you left. She has been diagnosed with ADD (do not tell Aunt Janie) and anxiety. It breaks my heart and I really don’t know what to do. She is so talented, smart, and lovely but still struggles with the same friend issues and low self esteem. She has a boyfriend now – his name is Connor Osborn (yes – it is Steve & Debbie’s son). He has been a bright spot for her; his biggest flaw so far is that he roots for the SF Giants (but he does root for UCLA!)
Clayton is, as you would expect, more private with his feelings and grief. I just pray that he is sharing with someone and not bottling it up or ignoring it. One of the things about manna is that even though the Israelites didn’t understand it, they allowed it to nourish them. I hope that Clayton is allowing God to use grief to mature him and not just ignore it, and all the memories, just because they hurt.
I would definitely tell you that your children are amazing and I wish you could watch God at work in them with me. I miss your wisdom and your humor as we parented so well together.
I think of you every day and I replay so much of our conversations and the last days of your illness over and over in the DVD of my mind. I think of how brave you were, and how sad, and how much you loved us, because even facing death you put us first, knowing how much we depended on you and wanting to provide for us.
I would also want to let you know that though we do not often understand God’s purposes, we still trust him. We still thank Him every day for his favor and his blessings. I often think of the lyrics to the Laura Story song, “Blessings” and know that God is loving and is in control and that though this waiting is hard, it is short and the next life is not. I remember that you are fully alive and happy and whole and I cannot wait to join you one day.
Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise
And then I would want to ask you a million questions.
Three years. 1096 Days. I thought I would be better this year. I really did. But I am still falling down the rabbit hole. You would think that after the first 1000 days I would be able to look through your “stuff” without tears burning my eyes. But, the memories of you and us and our life together float through my mind, and I often cannot anticipate the triggers that taunt me and remind me of what was, taking my breath away. I turn a corner or see something on TV and the result is sort of like time traveling; it sends me whirling back through some moments that made up our life together at warp speed.
Jim, I miss you every day, but I am getting better, albeit begrudgingly. I will admit that I don’t ever want to “get better” or “get over” you so much that I forget the details. I don’t want the memory of you to fade. I am not the only one who misses you. Of course Emily and Clayton do. Both our families miss you too, and so do our students and friends. Many people say they cannot believe that you have been gone for 3 years already. And even others miss the idea of you, and wish that they had had the privilege of knowing you. You were important to a lot of people and collectively we all miss you every day. The world is just not the same without you in it.
Jim, honey, your death still haunts me. I loved the life that included you. I can still feel you. Not in a weird ghostly sense, but in the warmth of love. I can almost hear your voice at times and you can be found in laughter, especially the laughter of friends and family. I can feel your determination and discipline when I want to quit; your confidence in me when my own wanes; your wisdom when I spend time in solitude waiting on the Lord; your ability to let go of troubles every time I face uncertainty with a closed fist rather than an open hand. Your sense of fun has inspired many a silly conversation (and a number of pranks). Your commitment to others for the sake of the gospel as changed lives, even after yours ended. Perhaps one of the most amazing realities is that those whom you loved know they are loved still. You have joined the great cloud of witnesses and are cheering them on, believing the best in them and standing your ground in defending them. That is part of the reality I hold on to when your death sneaks up on me and tries to overwhelm me. You loved me. You still do.
Jim, I love you now and always…. Miriam