One year. 12 solid months. 365 days since Jamie has been gone. I miss him. But in that time, our little family has carried on. We have packed up our house, the only home the kids ever knew, and moved to a new town. My kids started at a new school, made new friends and teammates. We bought a house, did some remodeling and have learned a few new skills in the process. It’s been a journey, to say the least and over this past year we have grown. It’s been cathartic for me to write a bit, so today I share with you a list of a few things I have learned through this painful experience.
I have learned the true comfort that only The Lord can bring. His arms are wide and His love is infinite. He never left my side during the last 12 months through sadness, despair, the deepest of depression and even anger. He was there.
I’ve learned that forgiveness is a choice. Sometimes that choice needs to be made over and over and over again but it is possible to forgive if we decide we want to let the pain of holding on go.
You can live while you are grieving. Again, it’s a choice but we have had many moments of laughter and true joy over this last very difficult year and it’s because we decided to still live. We invited life and grief to walk hand in hand.
I have learned that healing isn’t just about picking up the pieces and putting my life back together because no matter how I rearrange the puzzle, it won’t create the same picture as I had before. My life is different now. I started to heal when I stopped trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. Once I accepted that life would be different, look different and feel different I was able to forge forward.
I now know that it’s much more effective to pray for Heavenly Father to give me strength to carry my heavy burden rather than asking for the burden to be lifted.
I know that I am so much more than my loss. Moving 12 days after Jamie died was not easy. Most of the people I came in contact with (kid’s school, church, neighborhood) knew absolutely nothing about me except that I was a widow. And because of my grief, it was very difficult to reach out and make new friends. So, I had started to fall into a pattern of believing that the widow thing was my new gig and that was it. The pain and grief defined me. Thankfully, after many hours of thinking, praying and spending time with people that knew me before Jamie passed, I was able to gain my spark back and remember that I am so much more than that one tragic day that changed our lives forever.
I have learned to truly be grateful for the simplest of things. Now, more than ever, I know how short life can be. And having felt the deep sadness and grief that accompanies losing a loved one, I’ve discovered that my heart can find joy in small moments and simple delights.
Sometimes grief can feel like quicksand. Stuck. Like there is no way out and at times it paralyzed me with fear. I couldn’t move. Courage felt like something that wasn’t part of my vocabulary anymore, something I couldn’t muster. But as the months rolled on I learned I could function if I chose to do so. I chose to be courageous. I chose to learn new things and push myself forward instead of staying in the same place. Your mind can be a powerful force for good. Many times it’s just about making a decision.
Life can be really, really, really hard but never hopeless.
We were sitting around the dinner table about 6 months ago and the conversation of dreams came up. My sweet Megan looked up into my eyes and said, “Mama, what are your dreams?” I stopped abruptly and was quickly brought to tears. I was overwhelmed with the idea that I HAD NO IDEA what my dreams were now. Every dream I had over the last 18 years, had Jamie in it. Now that he was gone, I had no dreams. So, I set out to learn more about myself and I slowly started to dream again. I’ve learned that in order to forge forward, a girl’s gotta have some dreams.
I have learned to trust in God’s plan for me. I tend to be a person who wants answers, wants to know what’s coming so I can plan and be prepared. It is difficult for me to *not know* what my future holds. I come from a long line of “worry-ers” but I’m learning to let go of fear and just trust. His plan is better than anything I could imagine for myself and I have faith the future is bright as long as I follow Him.
I look back upon this year with great sadness as losing Jamie has been the most painful experience of my life. But I am grateful for the things I have learned and the people who have been by our side through it all. Thank you doesn’t seem to cover the gratitude in my heart for the way so many of you have lifted and supported us. I’ve learned that Heavenly Father loves me just in the simple fact that He placed so many amazing people in my life to help us. So much love to you all.
Questions to Ponder:
1. How does recording your journey help you see the blessings?