September 20, 2023 - Those “Expected, Unexpected” Moments

Grief has so many emotions and reactions; some are anticipated, some spurred by a memory, a picture, a date, or a conversation.

It seems like the farther I walk this journey of grief, there are fewer of those moments, but today has held a few of those times, and the day is early.

I have struggled with how much I wanted to write during this season, but I have been encouraged to continue to share my journey in the hope of helping others. I am approaching the two-year mark of Shari’s death, October 7. No offense to anyone, but I struggle to call the date Shari died an “anniversary.” Anniversaries are days to celebrate and enjoy, so I am still looking for a word; for now, “mark” will do.

Two years ago today, September 20, 2021, shortly after 8 AM, I received a call from the hospital informing me that Shari had to have an emergency intubation and be placed on a ventilator. Her health had been going downhill, and we had prayed and hoped this day would not come, but it did. It would be the start of a seventeen-day span of time in which the conversation shifted to calls from doctors telling me she was not going to make it; we needed to process a do-not-resuscitate order, to discuss optional treatment plans, hospital transfers, and so much more.

This morning, fully aware of the date and what happened two years ago, all was well until it wasn’t. I had my playlist playing on “shuffle” when three meaningful songs in a row played. The songs “Walking Free” by Micah Tyler, “Brighter Days” by Blessing Offor, and “Goodness of God” by Jenn Johnson all played in sequence. The songs reminded me of God’s sustaining power, of His presence and His blessings, even in the darkest of days.

September 20, 2021, will always be remembered for the day it was. God doesn’t leave us in our despair and hurt; He carries us on the wings of an eagle to soar to new heights and discover new strength in Him.

God doesn't leave us...

To my friends walking through grief and for those supporting us, give yourself lots of grace; God does. Do what you can to prepare yourself for those moments, know they are going to come and don’t get down on yourself. Your grief is an expression of your love. Allow the tears to flow; God sees them all, and He is the One carrying you through your grief. It does not matter how long ago your loss may have been; there are still memories, and there will be moments of grief. They are all signs that you are moving forward as they become moments instead of days or weeks of grief. Listen to some encouraging music, go for a walk, sit in the sunshine, and savor the moment and the special memories of your loved one as God turns your mourning into joy.

Today is a beautiful day, and I choose to spend it remembering how blessed my life has been and the life Shari and I shared for forty years. I will also live today in anticipation of the future that God has for me, His promises that are still being brought to pass, and His plans that continue to unfold each day as I follow Him and live and love the life He has given me to live.

As always, blessings to you all!

Your love and support for those who grieve are always appreciated more than you may ever know. To quote the old hymn, “It is well with my soul,” I pray it is well with your soul.

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