10 months ago this week my husband and I were discussing hospital discharge plans with his doctor. We were aware that the tests confirmed the cancer was back. But we also were witnessing the miracle of the paralysis caused by chemo decreasing. We thought at minimum there were weeks maybe even months left. And we hoped that God would intervene and perform the miracle of healing on earth. Our hopes were destroyed when just a few days later on February 14th my husband passed away. Although I knew the cancer had spread, his death took me by complete surprise. And in a blink of an eye I went from wife to widow. My entire life instantly changed. And who I was changed as well.
From the time I stood across from my husband on the day we got married, my hopes and dreams always contained him. When I thought of my future, he was in it.
And yet on February 14th at 7:24 in the morning that future died along with my husband.
Words can’t describe how much I miss him. And I don’t just miss him on birthdays, holidays and anniversaries. I miss him in the morning when he isn’t sitting across from me eating breakfast. I miss him when I am working and not receiving text messages from him asking how my day is going. I miss him in the evening when the front door doesn’t open with him walking in it after work. I miss him at bedtime when I don’t hear him reading a story, singing a song and praying with the kids. I miss him.
But when a spouse dies there is so much that goes beyond just grieving their loss.
There is the pain of moving forward.
On the outside most would probably think I am doing a great job moving forward. If you follow me on social media you see the pictures I post of my children and I living after loss. I don't spend my days curled up in bed crying uncontrollably. At first glance, strangers would never even assume that I am a widow. I am young. I have young children. I don't fit the image one has when they think of widow. And yet, that is the title I now hold. And it is a painful title to hold.
It is painful facing the future without the person I thought I was going to grow old with.
Mel, as a living person, is not a part of my future.
And that is a hard fact to wrap my mind around. One that causes so much pain and many tears to fall. I had dreams before I was married. I had dreams while I was married. Yet when a spouse dies, it is hard to dream again. It is hard to think of the future when the person you wanted to spend the future with is no longer living. And yet it is something that is so important to do. A few weeks before Mel passed away he began to tell me of all of the things he wanted me to do if he died. It was a conversation I didn't want to have because I couldn't fathom a life without him.
And yet, I do have a life without him.
Moving on (or moving forward however you want to call it) doesn't mean forgetting. It doesn't mean no longer missing the deceased. It doesn't mean tears no longer fall. It doesn't mean holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and random Monday's no longer hurt. But I know my husband would want nothing more than for us...for me to be happy. I know he would want me to dream again. He would want me to live. He would want me to build a life that contained joy and amazing memories. He would want me to understand that it is okay to create a life without him.
He would want me to move on.
It is a hard thing to process. And so it is something that I pray about often. God knew when I stood across from my husband reciting our marriage vows on August 8, 2009 that we would only have 7 years of marriage. But God also knew that while my husband's earthly journey would end on February 14, 2017, the journey I have on earth continues.
And I know that God would like me to know that my future didn't die when my husband took his last breath.
You can follow me on IG: @kimjoylira
If you want more information about the church I attend here is the website: First United Pentecostal Church