|Tegucigalpa, Honduras 2014|
I was born in 1966. But I didn’t grow up until 2008. What was remarkable about 2008 would not be the stresses and challenges that would threaten our home and financial security. My family faced the consequences of small business ownership gone awry. As we curled our toes and prayed for deliverance from the inevitable bankruptcy that was sure to follow our naiveté and youthful dreams to be more than we were, I was certain that this failure would mark not only 2008, but the many years that would follow. I was wrong. For my family, the year of 2008, specifically May of 2008 and forward would be marked by the day my first husband, Brian, did not return home.
As I lay in bed the night of May 3, my thoughts were on the cares that consumed our days lately, occasionally checking the clock and waiting for the familiar keys to hit the desk in the home office a floor below. Instead of the keys-on-wood sound I expected, I eventually heard the sound of the doorbell. In the door, were dear friends and a police officer to announce Brian’s death earlier that evening in a plane accident shortly after takeoff on his way home.
All of the worries of a few minutes before were cleared in a tidal wave that blew through my heart, mind and soul, and I would never be the same.
A new family picture
I learned so many truths through profound grief. I quickly discovered that suffering is everywhere. It is sort of like the experience of buying a car. You never noticed how many Silver Honda Accords are on the road until you start to shop for one. It’s the same with suffering. Your grief makes you keenly aware of the pain of others. It is like a TV with only one channel; you can no longer look away or avoid the pain by flipping past it. In short, you are suddenly dialed in. I didn’t really want to grow up like that.
I learned that no matter how independent and capable we believe we are, God created us for community. He intended us to travel this journey with others. Unlike my nature to handle my problems on my own, I knew I would not travel well through this valley unless I could lean in and accept assistance and tell others what they could do to help. It was my journey, but it was not just about me; God’s glory would be revealed through the love of his people toward me. More uncomfortable growth.
I learned my journey was not the same as that of my daughters’. They also had a grief journey to travel. As a mom and a problem solver, it was hard to trust their journey to God. I could not carry the burden for them. But, God proved faithful in so many ways and provided just what they each needed. I had to trust Him. I am still learning this. Growing up is hard.
I learned that Brian’s death was not the end of my journey. It was the beginning. God had many things left for me to love, learn, do and be. He would bring new love into my life. He would plan a move for us to Tennessee to be closer to old friends and family. He would provide blessing upon blessing that I would have never dreamed or agreed to ahead of time.