Earp Takes Aim | Faith, Culture, Life

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Three Months


Three months ago tonight, my life was forever changed.

During those awful days immediately following Cindy’s death, a fellow widower {wow…I’ve never typed that word before} told me that month #3 was the hardest part of his early grief journey. Please note: Not the hardest part, just the hardest of the early part.

At the time, I couldn’t imagine my grief being worse than it already was. Wrong! Even though I don’t like the fact that he was right, I’m beginning to realize that he was right.

In the immediate aftermath of a catastrophic loss, what I can only describe as shock immediately overtakes you. It’s not that you don’t feel anything…it’s just what you do feel is numb. Friends have to remind you to eat and your family discusses how they think you’re coping in the third person – even though you’re in the same room.

The funeral director tells you every decision you need to be making – meanwhile a few of the family second guess the decisions you do make – but it’s no big deal, because everything is just a blur anyway. You feel so completely disconnected, as though you were a spectator to your own life.

But by month #3, the numbness is gone {even though you desperately wish it wasn’t} – and your now uncontrollable feelings have become so intense that you have a meltdown over something as silly as candles or rotting food {read my last post, in case you have no idea what that means}.

This particular anniversary has been even more striking than it might have otherwise been – since I’m at a conference right now. A conference where I’m typically surrounded by many of my oldest and dearest friends. A fact that has been repeated this time – except this time? The familiarity has cut both ways.

I saw my high school buddy, Kim, last night. She gave me a huge hug and her eyes immediately filled with tears. Not knowing what to say – or whether to say – I just kinda stood there. I was comforted by her care — and yet, the only thing I could think about was that this very important person in my life never got to meet the most important person in my life.

Then I spoke with my roommate and his wife. Though a very eloquent man, John couldn’t string four words together without stumbling. Not that I cared. I was so deeply moved that he was so moved.

I also met with Tom, a fellow preacher who lost his bride several years ago. I peppered him with questions for nearly an hour – and spent listening to him with eyes clouded by tears.

This morning, I had breakfast with another Pastor – my friend Don. Don’s wife passed away a little more than a year ago and though he’s marked his three month anniversary three more times than me – he contributed his own share of tears to our encounter.

I’ve often said that I’m determined to feel every feeling and experience every emotion that grief demands from me. The way I see it, if I have to travel this journey — and I do — I don’t want to waste one minute in denial. Neither do I want to delay my healing even one day by some stupid and stubborn refusal to admit what everybody knows is true — that I don’t know how to do this thing – and sometimes I’m not sure I want to.

So today hasn’t been easy — but here’s what I’m thankful for as this day finally comes to an end.

At least I can feel again. And several times this week, I’ve laughed and enjoyed the company of both friends and family.

My life has been forever changed. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that my forever changed life can’t still be a good life.

Different? Most definitely.

Painful? More than I could ever describe.

But I’m straining to find a hope rising up inside me. And sometimes I do catch a glimpse of hope — and usually that glimpse is just enough to make me want to get some rest, pray up some more courage and live to hope another day.

And so I will.

Good night, my love.


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