We are so excited to welcome Becky Steiger as our guest blogger! Becky was suddenly widowed in 2015 after an unexpected heart event took her husband home to heaven. She is raising three children (16, 14, 8) while working as a teacher’s aid with preschoolers at her children’s school. She clings to Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (ESV).
Words spoken as a wide-eyed bride while facing the one who took my breath away. I vowed to “have, hold, better, worse, richer, poorer, sickness, health, until….
Death Do We Part.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.
Matthew 19:5-6 ESV
God joined together, yet I find myself alone, parted by death. My heart has been shattered. The breath taken from the man who took my breath away.
In the first few months people tried to encourage me: “He’s watching over you. He’s by your side.” and I would silently respond “I wouldn’t want him watching over me now. He is with Jesus.” What was with me now was all “the stuff”. I was in a state of manic urgency to sort, organize, and donate because I knew I would screech to a halt soon and become mired in the memories, confused by the value of “the stuff”.
What makes the man?
Is it the accumulation of stuff? The task I’ve struggled with lately is attempting to sell items that were important to him, but unnecessary to me. I believe a man’s life is not reflected by possessions, and yet I have resisted placing a monetary value on the things that gave him joy. The fly reel and rod bring back his voice and “the one that got away”. An acoustic guitar leans against the wall; a gift to himself for following through on a difficult decision that changed his life forever.
These things do not make the man. They are souvenirs of a life lived the way he wanted to live it.
So perhaps he’s defined by his accomplishments. Triathlon numbers hang from the ceiling in his office. T-shirts, medals, and hats are stored in plastic tubs. The Ironman bag is with him still. Business cards, framed college degrees, and an Eagle Scout award collect dust. Reflections of a man who met his goals, but they don’t make the man.
I sit at the desk he worked at and listen to the gallop of our eight-year-old running through the house. My cell phone announces the sixteen-year-old is on her way home, while another text pops up from our son, sharing his adventures of the day.
And that’s it.
The stuff around me will never come close to the value of the man. His accomplishments give a glimpse of who he was, but his children are his legacy. A life of one, multiplied by three. I see the determination of our eldest to meet her goals, the twinkle of his eyes in our son when he runs in dad’s shoes, and his smile ripple across the face of our youngest, his little “sack of potatoes”.
We were parted by death. I check the “Widow” box on forms, but can’t bring myself to change the relationship status of social media. I wear the ring on my right hand, but still sleep on the left side of the bed. Pictures throughout the house are barely glanced at, but I’m caught off guard by images on an old camera of his broad grin. Another land mine detonates and my heart is pierced again by loss. I want to touch that face again.
It has been eighteen months, twenty-six days, three hours, and twenty-four minutes since we parted.
We were physically separated by death, but not emotionally. I still feel we are “joined together”, as the Scripture stated. This is what makes it very difficult to move forward.
Jesus, we know You joined us together in marriage. Being separated by death is so hard! Give us the strength today to make the difficult decisions with the earthly stuff and help us process the accomplishments of our loved ones. Wrap Your loving arms around us as we grieve our losses. Amen
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