Friday, January 18, 2013


One year ago today, we decided to move into my parents’ home.  The day before, the nurse had been out to the house.  She confirmed my thoughts about Chris’ rapid decline that week: it wouldn’t be long.  I was drowning in grief and in the needs of my two people.  I was tired and overwhelmed.  I needed back-up.
That day, Chris’ brother Steve came over to help him get some projects completed for Erika.  He signed birthday cards for his kiddo for each of her birthdays until 21. And a card for her wedding day.  And one for the day she becomes a mom.  And he recorded some video for her—telling her all the things we wanted her to know (and had the camera focus on a healthy picture of him with her, rather than on his gaunt face). And Steve recorded him reading a few of her favorite books to her.

And then he helped me to carry Chris into the bathroom, where I showered my skeleton husband for the last time in our home.  Steve, I will never forget that trip down our hallway.  I looked at your pained face as you carried your baby brother. What a contrast to see your bodies next to each other!  One so strong and able.  The other so weak and broken.  I will never forget the love and tenderness with which you helped me to care for him. Thank you, my brother.
That night, a crew of family came to pack us up for our big move.  Aunt Sissy told me to go into the bedroom with Chris and to shut the door.  She told me not to worry—they would take care of all the packing. I will never forget that evening with my beloved.  Completely relieved of all responsibilities, I soaked in some of the deepest fellowship of our entire marriage.  I read to him some of our favorite Spurgeon devotions and we talked about heaven and about how blessed we felt to have walked together on this earthly journey for a little while.
I wrote this on his CaringBridge that night:
I am so very honored to spend intimate last moments with the best man I know. He is my best friend. He has shown me how to be graceful and trusting in seemingly the worst of circumstances. A prayer is always on his lips. I love him so dearly but am also so filled with peace that I can release him. His service is almost done on earth. And I want for Him to go soon to a place where there is no more sickness and no more tears.
This week I have been overwhelmed again by the gift Chris was to me—an undeserved gift. And I’m grateful for the grace we each received to walk through that awful time with a peace that passed understanding. We cried out: “Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by.“ (Psalm 57:1) He was merciful. He was near. He tucked us into the shadow of His wings.


  1. The only response to this is tears.
    Tears that share in your grief and loss.
    Tears that celebrate God's faithfulness in the storm.
    As always, thank you for sharing.

  2. I held back an out loud weep as I read this post. Sweet Emily and Erica, what a gift Chris was and still is to you! As I still grieve the loss of my dear mom, I think of what a treasure (still) all of her written words are to me. The cards that Chris wrote will be a true gift and treasure for sweet Erika. Thank you for sharing Emily! You bless me!

  3. We've never met, but Chris was my history teacher for a few years. I've been reading your blog for a while, and am always in awe of your strength and surrender. I'm getting married in May and my fiance is also named Chris, so reading that name in the context of your writing really strikes a chord for me. I can't even imagine.