I don’t have adequate words to describe what it has been like to lose my husband. It is to find the fabric of my life torn in two. Not just a single moment of being rent asunder by death, it is the daily unraveling of the beautiful life we wove together over 17 years. Each day I discover something new I have lost of Rob, myself, and our life together. I have lost my sounding board, my parenting partner, my confidante, my encourager, my best friend, my fellow dreamer, my advocate, my iron that sharpens iron, my love. I’ve lost the “me” that was “us.”
In The Art of Dying, Rob wrote of me, “I love her, and I know she will make wise decisions if I am no longer able to be at her side.” I read those words as his enduring blessing over me. As I seek to rebuild my identity and parent our children alone, I am reassured that Rob trusted me in that task. Through God’s enabling strength and comfort, I can lead our family with courage and confidence. It is my gift of love to Rob as I take these torn threads of my life and create something new and beautiful that honors what was lost. I am fiercely committed to that purpose.
Rob’s death has galvanized our family. The spirit of this little band of five inspires me daily. I see my children living in bold servanthood, deep empathy, and sincere love toward one another, even as they shoulder the burden of their grief each day. They are courageous, gentle, brave, and wise. What a privilege to companion my children through life! Though he is gone, I have committed that our family will continue to be marked by the love, values and faith Rob and I held dear together. In the midst of massive change, that remains constant.
We find deep satisfaction, comfort, even joy, in the myriad ways we seek to remember Rob in our daily life. From sharing rituals around the dinner table and recreation activities that capture his spirit, to individual journaling and memory building creative projects, we are processing our loss, saying goodbye, and looking forward with hope. Even as we journey together, each one’s grief process is unique, and it is an honor for me to walk beside each child and see firsthand their vulnerability, insight and resilience. Ours is a years long grieving endeavor, and each step forward is a victory.
There is not a moment of our days that is not touched by the loss of Rob. We are learning to wake up in the morning without our barista and pancake flipper. We are learning to navigate home improvement projects without our foreman and resident handyman. We are learning how to laugh, cry, love, and grow without the warm arms of husband and father to surround us.
All of these things we can do entirely because of God’s grace to us in Jesus Christ. We have a phrase in our house that has become a touchpoint for our family — Our steps are ordered. Whatever we will face, He’s already been there. Jesus knows the end and the beginning, and He walks beside us and goes before us. We place the sorrows and anxieties of each day into His hands, and He fulfills what concerns us. Time and time again over the last three months, we can testify to God’s care for us as Defender of the fatherless and widow. He is an attentive Father and the very best Provider. He is the Mender of hearts and our Beacon of hope. We are safe in His good care.