Friday, October 18, 2013


I wonder how many people bite their lip when they read my happy news on here. Oh, I know many read it with great joy. But I began writing publicly to discuss pain and how much it hurts and how Jesus heals. So I wonder if I am alienating hurting people now? And how many of you come here to read about Chris—one whom you loved very much? And hearing about my new man hurts you a little. You realize that he really is gone. And Emily isn’t “Chris’ wife” anymore. Maybe I was a connection to Chris somehow, and now you wonder if that connection is gone.

It seems to me that quite often, people surrounding a widow—or widower—are a little surprised to see them “moving on.” (Though I really prefer the phrase “moving forward.”  I will never be over Chris—what do I need to get over, after all?) And I’m very aware of how hearing my news of an engagement this time is quite different than when you heard it the first time—when I was 20 and dreaming of growing old with Chris. You all dreamed it for me too. And I love you for it.
And then, you all rallied around me when my dream was dashed. You let me sit in the chair in my bedroom for countless hours—first from sheer caregiver exhaustion and then from intense grief. You cared for my sweet, confused daughter because I could not. You texted me and usually received no response. You delivered flowers and yarn and chili chocolate torte to me. You sent me books and cards and emails. You prayed. You made me food—and I didn’t even care if it was good or not. I cared about very little. And I remember very little.
But you cared about me. And because you cared about me, you put your grief for Chris aside to help me through my own. Because my loss trumped yours. It was my life that was in ruins. It was my daughter that had no father. A lot of life left but no partner with whom to live it. And I fully entered into grief. It washed over me and completely consumed me. I did nothing but was completely exhausted. And those of you who are well-versed in grief told me, “Grief is hard work. You are doing something.”
And then healing started! The Great Healer—through this hard work of grief—started to bind up my wounds.
And now, maybe you feel the weight of his loss. You see that I’m ok, so it’s finally safe for you to be sad about Chris. And seeing me smiling with a man who is not Chris feels jarring and maybe even shocking. It’s interrupting your postponed grief and feels abrupt. Sometimes I feel a little sad that there is not the same joyful freedom in talking about Scotty—and all the things I love about him—as there was when I fell in love with Chris. No one has made me to feel that I cannot have that freedom. It’s just that I am conscious that this all must feel so bittersweet to some of you. It appears to be “Plan B.”
But it’s God’s “Plan A”, and that knowledge brings me great peace.
And so, I just wanted to acknowledge your pain in all this. And I wanted to thank you for your support through your pain.
(Oh, and I know that I promised more details…I have not forgotten. They are coming soon!)