How I Became a Widower (part 4)

After Kristen’s heart stopped beating on March 1, the neurology team slowly cooled her body down over 24-hour period to allow her body to rest, and then they rewarmed her body gradually over another 24-hour period.  It was absolutely vital that Kristen display increased brain activity after that 48-hour period was up.  So many people were praying for us, and I had hope that God would heal her.



March 3, 2013, sometime after midnight

I’m staying in Kristen Almand Ross’s ICU room tonight. I want to be here with her in the morning when her body temperature returns to normal. At that point, the doctor will wait to see how Kristen responds. We need to see increased brain activity and less dependence on the respirator and blood pressure medications.

Please pray for Kristen Sunday morning. If possible, go to church and pray. Flood heaven with a prayer chorus. Sing to Jesus a new song. While on others Thou art calling, do not pass me by.


I slept in Kristen’s room on March 2 and awoke early on March 3 to get ready for the doctor’s arrival. The hospital allowed me to use a guest room where I showered and got cleaned up.  When I returned to Kristen’s room, the doctor was already there, and he delivered the horrible and tragic news that Kristen had almost no brain activity.  She was practically brain dead, and there was nothing the medical staff could do.



3/3/13 – 10:20 a.m.

“This is Joseph. We are very down about Kristen’s condition. her prognosis does not look good. the doctor has no hope of recovery.”

3/3/13 – 12:49 p.m.

“I am at peace. A lot of people are here. I hurt but if God wants Kristen then I wont stop her from going.”



March 3, 2013, around 2 p.m.

Kristen Almand Ross is near death. My heart aches with grief. If this is her time, then I know she will be whole and at peace in heaven with Jesus.


Once it became clear that Kristen was not going to make it, I knew I had to tell Elizabeth.  She had been at the church parsonage, so my family gathered there as I gave her the terrible news.

“Elizabeth, do you remember that Mommy had been sick?”


“Well, Mommy was very sick, and the doctor couldn’t make Mommy better.  Mommy had to go with Jesus so that he could make her better.”

“Is Mommy in heaven?”


Elizabeth and I began crying, as did everyone else in the room.

I placed Elizabeth on my lap, pressed my head against hers, and held her tight.  It felt like time had stopped.  I had been so consumed with Kristen’s condition that I had never prepared myself for this moment.  I can’t even remember what was going through my mind at the time.

How do I tell my 4-year-old daughter that her mother is gone?  

My heart already ached over my own loss, but I felt even worse for Elizabeth.  No child should have to go through this kind of pain and suffering.  I’m her father.  I’m supposed to protect her.  But I couldn’t do anything to save her from the sadness she was feeling.

After about two minutes of crying, something happened that I did not expect.  Elizabeth perked up, looked at me and said with excitement, “Mommy’s with Jesus!”  Then she went back to playing with her friends.

She never has cried that much since Kristen died.  She has mourned her loss in her own way, but she has consistently maintained a positive and loving attitude over the past two years.  Only recently has she begun to ask more questions about her mother.  She specifically wonders, “Why didn’t God heal Mommy?”

I don’t have an answer.  I wish I did, sweet child, but I don’t.  And I never will.


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