Today marks 2 years since the day I stood next to a hospital bed and watched doctors unplug my husband's life support. Time is complicated, I can feel the pain as vividly as the moment I received the phone call, but it also seems like a lifetime ago.
After Mark died breathing seemed impossible, waking up in the morning pained me deep in my heart, whole periods of time disappeared. The first week mornings were the hardest, it was like waking up to realize the nightmare you dreamt was reality. I remember driving to the funeral in the morning and telling my brother that I should have had an evening funeral, I surely thought I would vomit. A few more weeks in and evenings became worse. I was able to wake up in the morning with some type of a goal for the day, even if it was just to shower or get dressed, but by the end of they day the sadness had fully set in, I could no longer distract myself from a house that seemed so empty.
Wednesdays and Thursdays were painful by the time I went back to work, it was as if my body relived the moments over and over on a weekly basis. And then the 30th of each month became daunting, like time was ticking away. Time I so desperately wanted to freeze, for how could I go so long without Mark beside me? Then all of the sudden I would have the overwhelming desire to fast forward, for how can I survive another 60 years or so on earth without half of my heart.
Each holiday, or birthday cut deep, his absence crowding my mind, a constant distraction from whatever joy was supposed to be being had.
I recall this day a year ago, walking through it with the sickening feeling of accomplishment. Taking pride in the fact that I had survived. I had accomplished the impossible. I had done something I had never planned, or wanted, survived being widowed.
Survived; I am the surviving spouse. When a tragedy happens we often talk about the survivors, how they were spared, how lucky they are. My view is that the survivors are left to pick up the pieces. Am I grateful to be the surviving spouse? I would much prefer to be the spouse, even if it meant we were to live a life that felt like just surviving.
Now today as I sit here and reflect on the day and all of the feelings I have; I can say I am grateful. I would not lie to you and tell you that my life is not hard, it is. Everyday I encounter a level of hard that I never would have dreamed of. I am still here, but not of my own accomplishment. I am here as a witness, a witness of God's abounding grace.
I have shared before that I grew up being taught about grace. I understood the dictionary definition and the Biblical definition of God's grace; an undeserved gift, received by accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior. And that is true, but boy did I have my mind blown about the expansiveness of God's grace when I met Mark. Because Mark, he was a walking miracle. He experienced more trauma before the age of 18 than I would wish on anyone, but God renewed his heart and gave him a capacity for love that his heart shouldn't have been able to hold. When Mark had his heart attack, had a stent put in and was on life support I prayed for a miracle. My God didn't grant me that miracle, but I can recognize that He gave me a miracle by bringing my Marky to me in the first place. After he died, I was able to learn even more about the mighty grace that God put on Mark's life, the load he carried, the burden he felt, and ultimately recognizing the peace he now has in heaven with his savior.
These last two years have been a living testament to God's grace in my own life. He gives me what I need everyday, whether it be tangible blessings, or just the wisdom and strength to move forward, his grace is never ending. My God is my constant companion, my protector, my strength, and my healer. Again and again in 2022 God has put Psalm 27:13-14 in front of my eyes and on my spirit. It reads:
"I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord
in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord"
And oh how His word rings true, for I truly do see the Goodness of God in the land of the living. And only God can heal my heart in a way that allows me to look at my life and feel blessed, even though Mark is not here. I have the privilege of being confident in the reality of God, the never wavering truth of His existence, not just because it's what I was taught, but because I live in His presence, in His grace, and ultimately in His glory.
I can't think of a way to better end the night than to reflect on this while listening to this song by Blanca. She sings "My God you're so much more than just a feeling, you are my healing, you are my healing. You're healing, You're healing me." He is, he is putting my heart back together by filling all the gaps with His presence.