as written by GOD

It's pretty late and I'm pretty tired, but I'm thinking I won't sleep unless I "journal", so here I am!  I'm kind of afraid this might be one of those "not so pretty" posts . . . that's your warning to quit reading NOW if you want!!

Over the course of the last {almost} 6 months {gasp! is it THAT long already?}, I have been given MANY books, MUCH advice and read NUMEROUS stories of people who have lost their spouses.  In most of my reading, there are a couple of "common threads".  These are not all inclusive, but some that have really stuck with me.  When you first start on any journey (an exciting trip, schooling, a new job, marriage, the death of a spouse), there are MANY unknowns.  Sometimes you can rely on the "expertise" of others who have experienced the journey before you, sometimes, you just have to find your way as your journey is not that of anyone else, it is uniquely yours.  Although my journey is unique to me (as it is to each person who was touched by Rick's life . . . but this is my blog, so I only speak for myself - not even my children most of the time!), I am experiencing some of those "common threads" that I read about, heard about and was even "warned" about.  Some of those things I have heard/read/been advised that I am finding true are:

  • The death of a spouse is a unique loss.  The spousal relationship is the only one in which the Lord commands that TWO become ONE.  In the parent/child relationship even, no matter how close the relationship, there is still a point of separation - USUALLY it is when the child leaves home, often to marry their own spouse - they are then instructed to "leave" and "cleave", God did not intend for that relationship to continue on with the same bond as a husband/wife.  So, in losing a spouse you truly lose 1/2 of yourself. 

  • The death of a spouse is the loss of identity.  When you are married, you are often referred to as "the couple" (Rick & Sheila) . . . all of a sudden, that distinction is GONE.  And unless you have experienced it, you don't realize how much of a "couples oriented" society we live in!  It's also VERY DIFFERENT than the divorce "from" a spouse.  Not to take away anything from all my "single" mom friends, but it's NOT the same - at all!

  • The death of a spouse will bring about "secondary losses".  This one seemed crazy to me at first, because at first you are thinking about surviving to the next minute, not necessarily the next hour, the next day, the next week or the next month.  Once some time has passed and some of your bearings have returned, you realize the truth of this statement, and to be honest, this one REALLY STINKS!  To have to lose Rick, my BEST friend, the ONE person who I could ALWAYS count on, the ONE who ALWAYS had my back, the ONE who laughed with me, cried with me, loved our kids with me is just . . . gone.  Just like that.  That was ENOUGH loss, I did not/do not want any more!  As I was reading/hearing that I'd not only suffer the loss of all that Rick represented to me, but I'd lose in other ways,  I didn't want to believe it.  Sadly, I have found that it is true.  Some of the losses are VERY obvious, and some are more "subtle".  Some others can understand, and some are very hard to explain, but each is a loss just the same.

This list is NOT complete, it is just some of the things that have been running around in my head today.

Today.  It's a Saturday.  Saturday is a marker of time in my world.  Another Saturday marks another week.  Another week of change.  Another week of trying to learn how to live with 1/2 of me gone.  Another week of being "single" in a couple's world.  Another week of realizing other things that I have "lost" along with the loss of Rick.  It is also another week of praising God for giving us another week.  It's another week of thanking Him for carrying us through - giving us love and laughter and "new" memories.  It's another week of relying fully on Him - more than I ever have before.  It's another week of being thankful for the big and the little things in life, knowing that it can all change in the blink of an eye.  

As I wake up slowly, realizing that I'm waking up on my own, not to an alarm clock, I happily remember that it's the weekend - no alarm and today, we have nowhere that we have to be early in the morning!  Oh, yes, it's the weekend, it's Saturday.  What time is it?  What was Rick doing at THIS time on THAT Saturday . . . I look at the clock - it's about the time that he was quietly leaning over the bed to give me a quick kiss on the cheek before going to finish up THAT roof.  He didn't always do that before he left in the morning - I'm so glad he did that day! I get out of bed and get ready for the day, starting some laundry and beginning to straighten up the house to prepare for our guests this evening (our "extension" kids from Northland International University).  Throughout the morning, I'm glancing at the clock, remembering.  Tessa & Kajsa take a quick trip to town, I take Taya up to Driver's Ed (she only has 2 more days of driving and then she will have her learner's permit).  As I am driving home, I remember calling Rick, asking when he's coming home, and both of us ending the call (almost in unison - years of practice!) "Love you, see you soon" . . . the last words we shared here on earth.  As I turn on our road, I'm aware that it's almost "that time" (the time that I know, according to the death certificate, that Rick went to Heaven).  I pull into the driveway very aware that none of us are guaranteed to do that when we leave . . . did Rick have ANY CLUE of that . . . did he ever DREAM he'd not be coming home that day?  I need to DO something, I decide that I will run on the treadmill, it's a beautiful sunny day, though the temperature is in the high 40's which I'd usually like for a run, I can't get warm today.  So I choose the treadmill, at a slow pace (4.5 mph), but I run the entire time (61 minutes) and complete 4.75 miles (the FURTHEST I've EVER run in my life!).  I'm feeling a little better.  That ALWAYS happens once I get past "that time".  Once I know that we've passed the moment when on that Saturday, Rick made his move from earth to Heaven . . . then the day can move on without me watching the clock.  It's not something that I can describe . . . it's not an overwhelming feeling what I experienced today, it's just what it is.  I am o.k. with that.  I'm glad that I don't panic anymore when I remember those moments, that last kiss, that last "I love you".  I'm glad that I had those things and they bring a smile to my face! :)  I still struggle throughout the day.  Now days, it's more based on the not knowing . . . the not knowing for sure "where" I "fit", "who" I am now, with Rick gone.   I've come to accept that it really happened, that Rick really isn't coming "home" here on earth - he really is HOME for all eternity!  As I got into the shower tonight, I realized that except for my Dad & Mom and the Driver's Ed instructor, I've not talked to anyone beyond college age ALL DAY.  I've texted a couple of friends a couple of times, but no other contact.  No phone calls, no visits, no "connection".  No Rick to chat with at day's end.  No Rick to laugh with about the funny events of the day.  No Rick helping me clean up the kitchen after supper, or to build the bonfire, or to show the graduation party invitations that we made today for Tessa's party.  No Hunting Channel on the TV in the bedroom . . . More of those changes, those "secondary losses", tightly intertwined with the "primary loss".  The being a "single" in a "couples" society on a weekend day - when couples are doing couple things with each other.  So many changes, so many losses, so much to learn!  Rambling thoughts, not looking to be "fixed", just needing to get "out"!

I don't share my day to gain sympathy.  Tonight was just a night I needed to write.  I needed to get my feelings out of my head and onto "paper".  Maybe some day, in some way they will help someone.  My prayer has been that some day in some way, I can help someone!  I want to "use" my loss, "primary" and "secondary" to help others deal with their own losses.  I pray that the Lord will use this journey that He has me on for His honor and His glory.  I pray that rather than become consumed with the "half - empty" glass I could see in the "losses", that I will see it not just as "half - full", but full and over-flowing.  Because even in the midst of loss and change and learning, my glass IS still full.  It IS EVEN overflowing!  I HAVE been blessed beyond measure.  I am FULLY CONFIDENT that Rick is safe in the arms of Jesus for ETERNITY.  I am BLESSED with awesome kids, family and friends.  I have lost far less than many others have lost - some of the widows who I have "met" online have had to sell their homes, they have had to leave their churches, they have lost contact with their in-laws and they worry about where the money for the bills will come from.  Rick did NOT lose on November 5, and though I "lost" in the earthly/human sense of the word, that is NOT true . . . "For to me to live is CHRIST and to die is GAIN."!  As long as I keep my eyes on the TRUE "gain" and not the earthly "losses", I will survive and I will grow.  My life will be different, and that's o.k.  for my "different" is exactly the story HE has written for me!


  1. * well said, Sheila * joy comes in the morning, and your dark days will not last forever, as you know. hugs to you

  2. Sheila, it's so good for us as widows to write out exactly what we are feeling. I so totally understand those feelings!

    You know, I purposely have never looked at my husband's death certificate to see the exact time his heart stopped just because I know that I would be so aware of that hour on that day of the week. It would just be too painful for me. I find it strange that I have no concept of that exact time although I was waiting there in ICU and do remember that it was in the morning.

  3. Sheila, so well said are these words of yours. There are so very many "no mores" we have in our lives these days. I like what Ferree said about joy coming in the morning - I hold onto that verse and in my mind say it as joy comes in the "mourning" because as we "mourn" we find our way to the joy. As we travel this road together supporting each other we will find eventually that our mornings will once again be filled with joy - for after all that is the Father's plan for us for He loves us so very mcuh. Thanks for sharing your heart - you have put words to feelings that so many other widows have. This post will be a blessing to many.

  4. Hugs and love to you and your girls!

  5. Sheila, God has blessed you with the ability to put into words what very often I cannot express, on 4-21-2012, Den and I would have celebrated 50 years, we planned to have a celebration but it was not to be. I understand what you mean when you say that you have lost the other-half of yourself, and for me this has been the hardest part, to face myself without my other-half was unbearable, as I continue going forward in Christ, I can sense my now husband, filling up the space with his love and comfort, I thank my Lord for his unfailing presence in my life for it is that which takes me forward to meet the eternal life that he has prepared for us all, God's grace, peace, love and comfort be your strenght until we All meet again in him. love you, Bev.


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