“And Job died, an old man, and full of days.”
My husband died in the supposed prime of his life. He was 45 years young when he passed away. He never even got to have his midlife crisis! In a few weeks, it will be my 45th birthday. The shock of being alone has worn off over the past few years. The rhythm of this new dance without him by my side has settled into its familiar cadence. Grief cuts in occasionally now, but the debilitating occurrences are further apart. Maybe partially because I refuse to slow dance with my grief over and over again or possibly because the time spent on the dance floor of widowhood has changed me.
I appreciated my husband. I was blessed and I knew it. I had one of the good ones; a hard worker and great provider, an involved father to our children, a follower of Christ, and a hilariously witty man. May I tell you a secret?
Sometimes it makes me sad that he isn’t here to be loved by the new me.
Don’t get me wrong, we loved each other well, but losing him has made me more aware of my faults and flaws in the marriage. It has given me fresh perspective on struggles we encountered and how I could have been more for him. He knew he was cherished and respected. He was secure in my love for him. We had great communication and a ton of laughter. But, if I was given a do-over with him as who I am now, I think he would be pleasantly surprised at how mellow his loss has made me. I hope I would remember to sweat the small stuff less, not worrying over the goal of perfection in each area of our lives. We loved our life together, but I’m fairly certain he would be super proud of my increased passion for living.
Tim was perfect for me as he softened my rough edges and taught me it is okay to not always have a plan A, B, and C. Losing him to cancer taught me that I can only control my responses to life’s circumstances, not always the circumstances themselves. I am softer in many ways and much stronger in others. I still laugh at most things (that is just part of who I am and part of why he loved me); and in general, I now tend to keep things lighter and more relaxed around our home. I am more tolerant of others personal journeys and less accepting of unnecessary input and opinions in my life. I wish my Tim could be loved by this Lori. I am a better person for the spins I have taken on the dance floor of terminal illness, death, and the aftermath of loss.
Losing him caused my deepest pain so far in this life. I could choose to park myself in that despair, focusing on the negative, and miss the gifts his loss gave me.
The gifts of…
awareness that time is fleeting and we won’t all be given a life “full of days”, which causes a sense of urgency within me to fill my days with living!
knowing God’s strength will never fail me, and choosing to tap into His strength!
a deeper desire to enjoy the now and the wisdom to slow down and soak up moments!
Lord, pour Your strength into each of us on this day and lead our hearts to fill our days with living. May we complete this day knowing we chose to focus on the gifts that came through the dance of our loss. Thank You that You are always teaching us and molding our hearts. Amen.
Lori Reynolds Streller is a mother of two who finds herself smack dab in the middle of widowhood. She is choosing a life of gratitude by intentionally living this new life well. She answers to Mom, Daughter, Sister, Aunt and Friend. Her sanity is fueled by daily time with Jesus and a lot of coffee. Boot camp workouts and running are her stress relievers. As a writer/speaker for aNew Season/A Widow’s Might Ministries, Lori uses her sense of humor and her reliance on God’s faithfulness to minister to others. She boldly claims the goodness of her Lord in the midst of chaotic suffering.
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Other articles written by this author: Lori Reynolds Streller, A Widow’s Might