Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Six Years

This is a very difficult post for me to write. So difficult, in fact, I haven’t been able to write for an entire week, because I knew this one was coming up. Please pardon my blog absence.

How do you continue to grieve so deeply the one husband who just recently went Home to Heaven while remembering the events of six years ago today that led to the Homegoing of my other late husband? I. Honestly. Don’t. Know. Somehow…I’m doing it.

Before going any further, I need to offer a little disclaimer. Chris’ official date of death is May 4, because that’s when his body was recovered. However, due to the sequence of events, I know he took his last breath on this side of Heaven the evening of May 3. Therefore, in my heart…the anniversary of his Homegoing will always be May 3. 

The first year after losing Chris was very difficult. His death, by suicide, brought with it many multi-faceted emotions. I think I experienced the grief phase of anger for quite awhile, but God allowed me to move on and see Chris again through His eyes, and it simply allowed my love for him to grow that much stronger. Only by the grace and mercy of God and those He chose to walk alongside me, did I even survive that first year. As I reflect back…my faith was THE reason I was able to heal so completely and so quickly from Chris’ death.

Year two after losing Chris…something completely unexpected (and unwanted at first) caught me by surprise. I fell in love with another man, and Joel ended up asking me to marry him, and we did on August 25, 2012. I struggled with how to tell Chris’ family about Joel, but I’ll never forget how precious they were to me and to Joel. They said they prayed I would marry again, and they counted Joel as their son and brother. (I can hardly type through the tears at this point.) Joel had the privilege of “meeting Chris” through my stories about him, and I’ll forever cherish the day he took me up to the cemetery, and he prayed over our new relationship right beside Chris’ grave. Almost like bringing “closure” (of sorts) to one part of my life in the most direct way possible. Joel made that one of the most beautiful days of my life. Sounds crazy, but you would have to have been there to understand.

The third anniversary of Chris’ death brought back a lot of guilt for me. I was a newlywed (again) and very happy in my marriage to Joel. And yet…that first April and May that rolled around after my remarriage brought with it feelings like I should grieve Chris’ more deeply than I felt like grieving that year. Almost as if I didn’t, something must be wrong with me. I quickly learned that was nothing more than a lie from the enemy. Married again or not…many widows experience grief on the anniversary of their husbands’ deaths at various levels (and some non-existent). The next year could be an entirely different situation. That’s how grief works…

And…sure enough the fourth anniversary of Chris’ death was the hardest one since the first one. It was 2015, and we were in the thick of our adoption journey. Something Chris and I had discussed pursuing but never got to the point of actually beginning that journey. Joel and I had just gotten our “unofficial” referral for our children, and we knew our family would be growing again soon. It just made me very emotional, mainly from the standpoint of seeing how mightily God had saved me from the deep waters (of grief) that tried to once consume me and was in the process of restoring my life in a beautiful way through the lives of orphaned children.

The fifth anniversary…I feel it affected me the least up to that point. I was a new mom to three little feisty (yet adorable) Bulgarians plus still foster parenting a very active two-year-old little boy (we would adopt just a few short months later). My life was a crazy zoo! Therefore, while I’ll never forget Chris, especially on this anniversary of his death, 2016 allowed me to be not quite as consumed in the grief part of it, due to all the family changes we were experiencing.

That brings me to today…six years from the time Chris breathed his last on this earth. And…honestly…I’m in shock once again. Not the same type of shock as when I first learned he was gone. Just the shock of knowing I’ve been twice widowed in less than six years, by the age of forty-five, and I’m still here to tell about it.

My heart has been shattered too many times to count, but the two shatterings that did the most lifelong damage were the two that caused me to have to bury two husbands (prematurely in my selfish eyes). I will never be the same again. In some ways, I’m better. In other ways, I feel forever broken. Regardless…I still trust in the God who gave us all life and will be right there with those of us who call Him Savior when we take our last breath on earth and our first in Heaven. What a day that will be!

I deeply long to be reunited with so many people, but at the top of the list are Chris and Joel!

It is well with my soul! #HeIsStillGood