Saturday, May 03, 2008

It's been two years...

My Dear Carol,
Wow, I can’t even begin this letter with out tears coming to my eyes. I am finally starting it after not being able to so many times before. This is very difficult and if this were paper it would be wet with tears. The emotion I feel writing this is a bit of a surprise to me, but I really wanted to send you a note, now, at the two year anniversary of the lowest point in my life. So here it goes.
Well, it has been two years since your death. Sadly your arrival in Glory had to include losing you here on earth, where tons of people still miss you like crazy. We have tried to make some sense of it but that really hasn’t been easy. I guess I still think your death was a wrong result of sin in this world. But God also gives grace and healing for us to be able to proceed with our earthly lives without you.
We, the kids and I, are doing pretty well here. I think you would be proud of us. I have to say that first summer was extremely difficult. For me the only thing worse than climbing into bed alone at night was getting out of bed in the morning and facing the day alone. As you would imagine, our family and friends from church offered us tremendous support, and still do. That first summer, between Tim and Maxine, my sister Marcie, and others, there were hardly any evenings that I was home alone. They were wonderful listeners and supporters even as they themselves were grieving your death.
I think the kids are ok. Early on, they too, had their circle of friends and supporters who were wonderful and there for them in countless ways. You would be extremely proud of the young adults they have become. I continue to see you in them every day and for that I am so very thankful.
Amy actually has your job at Hillside. Everyone keeps telling me what an outstanding job she is doing there. I know, also, that they miss you tremendously at Hillside. Amy has also bought her own house. It was a real fixer upper and she did a wonderful job of turning it into a very nice home. As we were working on it, I was thinking about how much you would have loved to be there cleaning, painting and helping Amy any way you could. Here’s some big news! How I wish you could be here to share and celebrate this. Amy has a boyfriend. His name is Pete and he is a good friend of Laura’s husband Tim. They make a great couple and seem very compatible. Amy seems very happy!
Perhaps the news about Sara is even bigger. She is doing great. I’m so proud of her. She is graduating from Calvin this May with her nursing degree. She has worked so hard at it...while working two other jobs. She has been hired full time by Spectrum hospitals here in town. She and I have had many good talks since your death and her gentle spirit continues to be a blessing to us all. Her graduation is May 17 at VanAndel Arena. Maybe you could look in if things work that way. Here’s the big news about Sara. You really won’t want to miss this. On June 21 she is getting married. She started dating Laura C’s brother Josh and before long they were engaged. There have been showers and parties, etc. in Sara’s honor. We all wish so much that you could be here to enjoy this time with her.
Matt is doing very well. I think maybe he has missed you the most. I know he still misses all the funning around the two of you used to do and I know he misses your input and direction in his life. He has been attending a local film school and has really dug into it in a way you would be proud of. You would love that he always stays positive, and never speaks poorly about anyone. He has become very involved at Hillside also on a volunteer basis. He sings, he plays guitar, and recently has begun doing many video type presentations. These are shown during services and other special occasions. I hope you got a chance to see some of his (and Amy’s) work recently at the “Hillcademy” awards evening. I also hope you got a chance to see him as the” Beast” in Beauty and the Beast last summer at CCP. He is a very talented young man (takes after you). So far there are no love interests for him, but he can’t afford to consider it just yet.
As for me, yes my life has been changed in huge ways. Nearly everything you and I had ever dreamed of went out the window. There is that cliché about “a new normal” but that doesn’t come easily. I’ve learned so much about death and grief, stuff no one would ever want to learn. I learned that grief, in some form, will be with me as long as I live. It has gotten less intense, of course, but I still have my moments.
One of the things young widows talk about is that their spouses would want them to be happy. As impossible as that seems at first, I know that is what you would want for me. I have tried to remain positive and maybe I have succeeded at that on some level. I have tried to trust that God has some big picture plan that makes all this worth while and maybe I have succeeded at that on some level as well. I do believe the God I have believed in my entire life has never left me. I believe he has worked diligently in all of our lives since May 7th, putting the leftover pieces back together in good ways.
Honey, I really believe you will be happy to know that last summer I met another widow who quickly became very special to me. We met while both attending a widow support group. Her husband, Phil, died a few months before you. Her name is Lisa. Lisa and I have often wondered if the two of you have met each other there in heaven. We both definitely feel like the Lord has brought us together. I look back and think about last summer and all the feelings bouncing around in my head, but I feel very strongly that it was God who made it possible for me to love romantically again after losing you. Lisa is a sweetheart and maybe it’s strange, but I wish you could meet her. I know you would approve of our relationship. We really have a lot in common and she has been through a very difficult grief journey herself. Much like loving a second child without loving the first less, I want you to know that I really love Lisa. She is a gift that could only be given by a GOOD God. We were married on February 8th. Pastor Ron performed the wedding and did a great job given the losses that our two families had experienced. Lisa has three, great kids also. It has been a real pleasure getting to know them in a deeper way. I just pray that I may learn how to be a good “step dad”. I never figured that would ever be a role I would have to fill. It really does seem like I’ve stepped into a new life. Lisa has been great with Amy, Sara and Matt also and they really seem to enjoy having her in their lives. I must say also that your Mom and Dad, not surprisingly, have gone out of there way to make Lisa (and kids) feel comfortable in our family. They have been great to all of us.
Honey, there are still a couple of things I think about often. I’m so sorry I never got to say “goodbye” to you. I’m sorry I wasn’t there with you, holding you at the end. I never imagined you would be leaving when you did. I was just out of the room letting the doctors and nurses do their work, then you were gone. I ask for your forgiveness in that. Had I known, they couldn’t have pried me away from you.
I still wonder about heaven. What it’s really like. What you’re doing. What you’re seeing. Some day, soon enough, I know I will find out for my self. I am learning that whether one lives 1 week, 18 years, 50 years, or a hundred years, it’s all really just a short time, then we get to walk the “streets of gold” that lead to the “sea of crystal” for eternity. I know I will see you again then.

Until Then
Your Loving Husband