Crying My Way To A New Normal

I reached out to a lot of people when Kristen died.  I sent text messages, posted status updates, and spoke candidly about the whole situation.  I felt transparency was a better option than shutting myself off from the rest of the world and refusing to deal with my grief.  That’s part of the reason why I spoke at Kristen’s funeral, why I shared my story with the local newspaper, why I created this blog.

I speak.  I testify.  I write.

And I cry.

It’s how I deal with my grief, how I keep from drowning in a sea of sadness and despair.

I cried so many times in the hospital.  When Kristen and I found out she had a brain hemorrhage.  When she went into cardiac arrest.  When the doctor told me she was practically brain dead.  If I wasn’t crying, I was praying.

But mostly, I was crying.

The tears kept coming at home.  Everything in the house reminded me of her.  It’s the first house we bought together as husband and wife.  Just being there was a constant source of pain and sorrow.  I’d see something on TV that would remind me of her or read something that I know she would like, and the tears would start flowing.

Sometimes right in front of my kids.

Puffy, red eyes.  Crocodile tears.  The whole works.

I’d start crying sometimes just looking at my kids.  They look like Kristen, after all, but what made me so emotional was knowing that they would grow up without their mother.  Elizabeth knew her for four years, so maybe she’ll have some memories of her when she is an adult.  But Kristen died only eleven days after our son was born.

Let me put that another way:  Ian was eleven days old when he lost his mother.

I can’t even begin to imagine what that would be like.  All I can do is pray that God will provide for my little guy’s every need.

"Ian was eleven-days-old when he lost his mother."
“Ian was eleven days old when he lost his mother.”

I also cried every single night for the first three months.  I’d put my kids to sleep, go into my bedroom, shut the door, and just weep.


For minutes on end.

Until I had no tears left.

The tears followed me to church.  I cried on the first Mother’s Day when my kids didn’t have their mother anymore.   But I also completely broke down one Sunday after church in the sanctuary.  One minute I was talking to a couple of friends, and the next I was bawling.

Like a baby.

Without warning.

Some of the most therapeutic tears came when I finally saw Kristen’s tombstone.  I designed it with several personal touches.  Took months for it to arrive, but it was worth the wait.  I remember fixing my eyes on it, smiling, and crying.  To me, putting the time and effort into her grave marker was my last opportunity to take care of Kristen.  It had been my pleasure to know her, to love her, to cherish her.  I cared for her in life, and I cared for her in death.  That headstone represented the fulfillment of my final duty to her.

So I cried tears of joy.

This journey has not been easy.  What would have been easy would have been if I had thrown in the towel, succumbed to self-pity, bitterness, and depression, and simply quit.  I don’t think anyone would have been surprised to see that happen, considering the tragedy I’ve been through.

But God put me on this path for a reason.

I don’t know why.  I may never know why.  But I’m OK with that.  I’m OK with not knowing.

I’m OK with the new normal.


6 thoughts on “Crying My Way To A New Normal

  1. What a touching article…it took courage just to write it….it has touched me deeply and has also reminded me to continue to pray for you and your children…I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through but pray God will be with you and reach inside and bring you that inner comfort that only He can…May God be with you in a mighty way…Debbie Heater


  2. And contrary to what some might think, all those tears aren’t just carbon copies of the ones they followed. They fall for so many reasons: what your Kristen and my Myra won’t get a chance to see and do; the sudden (and in our minds, premature) timing; the anguish we see in the faces of loved ones left behind; our inability to protect the one we loved most; and the thousand other reasons that are added to our massive sense of loss. Every tear tastes of its own emotion. Each springs from its own source. And every single one lasts as long as it needs to last. I’m thankful for the tears. I choose to believe they’re what God gives us to wash clean the wounds on our soul. Painful as they are, they’re proof that healing is possible.


  3. Joseph, you don’t know how much I enjoy reading these blogs. I shed the same tears when I hear a song, read something or see something on TV that reminds me of her. We were in a store back at Christmas time and Judy Garland’s version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” started playing over the speakers, I started crying in the store and had to walk out to the car. Kristen is very proud of you and loves you for all you do in her memory. She is with you, and all of us, always. We will make sure that Ian will know his mommy and keep the memories alive for Elizabeth. My sister was blessed to have you in her life. I praise God for bringing you two together. I am proud and honored to have you as my brother. We all want these answers you speak of, but by the time we get those answers, it won’t be important anymore. I will always pray for you and of course my sweet niece and nephew.


  4. God bless you & keep you in his arms. I’m sure you have heard it
    over & over but I will sincerely
    pray for strength, courage & faith
    for you every day as you continue
    your daily routine filled with no
    routine as there can not be one with
    2 young children. thank you for
    sharing your grief with us. I too have
    shared my grief of losing my husband & truly my friend with
    others. that is the only way I can
    live. my God show his face to you
    with your beloved. keep on keeping
    on each day. your children will rise
    up & praise you for what you are
    doing for them. thanks so much
    for sharing. Ellen Lancaster


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