It happened 800,000 times last year. It happened to me and a few people I know, I hope it didn't happen to you. What is it? It is the death of a spouse. Five words, the death of a spouse. Never have so few words had such an impact on my life. Why does it happen, what does it mean, what does it entail, what will the future hold? The answers to these questions will probably never be comprehended
Death is inescapable. Sometimes it is intentional, sometimes it is accidental and other times it is natural. Some people struggle to die and some people struggle to live, nevertheless, it is always permanent. They're gone!
Prior to August 27, 2015 I looked upon death as just one of those things families go through. Everyone had to experience it, so why not just accept it? Sometimes you see it coming, but can you prepare, I mean really prepare? Unfortunately, the answer is no.
The death of a spouse takes more away from you than you've ever lost. It takes more than half of your being. It is something only half of us experience. Statistically, women are left behind more often than men. Not so, in my case. I was always worried that I would pass before my wife, Susan. How would she manage? Could she make it without me? Could she handle it? Those thoughts were by no means egotistical, they were my feelings of sadness in advance for what she would have to go through. She had already lost so much in her life, I just didn't think it was fair for her to have to go through loss again. Now me, I'm a man, I can handle anything. Wrong! I couldn't then and I can't now. My life is torn apart. I am more lost now than I was in the days that immediately followed my beloved Susan's passing. I was busy then, doing things: arrangements, notifications, auto titles, insurance, changing my beneficiaries and eventually moving. I was surrounded by family, blood and Christian family. My questions then were answered by others. Now, months later I have no one to ask, because there are no answers for the questions I have. I'm not even sure what my questions are. I do know there's a empty space, a big empty space, in my heart, in my mind and in my life.
There are so many things I do not know. I do know however, that without Susan's true dedication to me, I would never have made it this far in my journey. It used to be our journey... now it's mine. Susan taught me to pray, to seek God in all things and most of all, to give Him thanks in good times and in bad. I distinctly remember driving home together from the doctors' office after having been told Susan had glioblastoma, a rapid growing type of brain cancer. We were told then that she had maybe 18 months to live. "They don't know how long you have," I insisted. I was right. She lived four months. She also told me that nothing is so insignificant to God that it cannot be prayed for. Nice weather for a planned event, snow for Christmas Day (only), even a parking place close to the entrance of Walmart can all be asked for. And if we don't get those things, there is a reason. We may not ever truly learn the reason, it there is a reason. God's like that; a mystery at times.
I'll continue trusting in God, that He knows the desires of my heart and He'll see that I get exactly what I need, when I need it... and not until.
Death is not a terrible thing. Death is beautiful, after it's happened. I know Susan believed in Jesus, let him into her heart, accepted Him as her Lord and Savior and knew that He was raised from death. She is now in the presence of God. All those names in the Bible, the ones she'd smile at hearing my pronunciation? She KNOWS those people. She sees them, she resides with them. She is resting in the arms of Jesus.
To those of you whose mates have recently passed on, I prayed for you. Some by name, some not, but I prayed.
I still will not say that my wife is dead, she is not. She has passed on, yes, but she is very much ALIVE.
So, I am still married. My wife is not here on earth, but I will be with her again when Jesus calls me home.
I get through many days by singing a beautiful song written by Bill Gaither,
And then one day I'll cross the river,
I'll fight life's final war with pain.
And then as death gives way to victory,
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He lives.