It’s been four years since my first wife, Kristen, died. I’ve learned a lot since then.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned, though, is this:
Time does not heal all wounds.
It just doesn’t. There’s nothing special about the passage of time. In my case, it didn’t make me forget the pain and sorrow I felt or repair the damage my heart suffered when Kristen died. There were times, weeks and months after her death, when I felt worse than I ever had before. After more than a year had passed, I still experienced moments of intense sadness. Granted, they weren’t as frequent as they had been in the first few months after her death, but that wasn’t because I was further removed from the tragedy. It’s not like I missed her less because she had been gone longer. If anything, her prolonged absence made me miss her even more.
So how was I able to make it this far, four years later, with two healthy kids and a wonderful, new wife whom I love and cherish with all my heart?
The only reason I was able to recover after losing the first woman I had ever loved was because I put my trust in GOD to heal me. That’s it. No tricks, no shortcuts, no list of steps to follow. There is no easy way out of grief. I had to learn to turn to Jesus at my weakest moments and ask him to heal my hurt. That may not be the most satisfactory answer to a world that is openly skeptical of religion and becoming increasingly more secular, but this is my story, and I choose to give GOD the glory.
Trusting the LORD meant spending a lot of time on my knees praying, listening, and waiting. I needed to be still and know that GOD was still with me, that He had not forsaken me. I needed to lift my burdens to Him, cry out to Him, at times even get angry and frustrated with Him. Quite frankly, I needed to be real with Him. Only by being authentic with my feelings could I overcome my grief and find peace. Sometimes I listened to Christian music, other times I wrote in my journal and posted my thoughts online (that’s why I started this site, actually), and through it all I saw a Christian counselor (I’m a huge advocate. It works if you work it).
I don’t sit and cry over Kristen. I can’t even remember the last time I did that. Of course I miss her, and of course I’ll always love her, but the sleepless nights and tear-filled moments have long since passed. I can look back on the days we spent together and just smile. In fact, I don’t even think about her every day. If I had constantly reminisced about Kristen and the times we shared, I never would have healed, never would have found love again, never would have seen my kids smile and laugh again from the attention that two parents can give them. I’ve met other grieving people along this journey who seemed no better off years after losing their loved one than they had at the beginning, and I think that only further demonstrates that the passage of time—by itself—is not the great healer.
But GOD is. He restored me, and I’m healed. My journey through grief is over, but if I can help even one person overcome their own grief, then this website will have served its purpose. I was only 29 when Kristen died, and there are so few widowers out there who have lost a spouse at a young age. I want to shine a light on what this journey has been like for me so that other travelers might know that they are not alone. There is hope, and there is happiness on the other side of grief. We just have to trust in Jesus to get us there.
And He will deliver us, when the time is right.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
~ Psalm 147:3