TWELVE MONTHS/ ONE YEAR
It is hard to grasp the range of emotions that I have felt in the last year. The tears, the anger, the frustration, the loneliness, but there was/is also the comfort I received from the Lord, from my family, and from my friends. The greater love I have come to understand from my Lord and a greater appreciation of the love I had with Terrie.
As I have said before, Terrie’s love for me was an intense, pure love. It has reminded me of the way God loves me. She was easy to love. She would yield to my preference because she trusted me and trusted God working in me. She wanted to please me and she did.
We enjoyed our company together. There was peace in our home, which was always clean and uncluttered. We liked to talk to one another and go places together. She was my very best friend – in all of my life. No one person changed me like she did. I wanted her acceptance as much as she wanted mine. When we were together, we didn’t really need anyone else around. She made me smile and gave me joy. Now, I feel like the lone inhabitant on a island or distant planet.
With her death so close to Thanksgiving, the Lord impressed upon me, last year, that giving thanks should be my theme as I walk the “highway of grief”. That in giving thanks for Terrie and my time with her, it would help me take the next necessary steps.
In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV
It was this verse that kept pointing me in the right direction. It was this verse that kept my attitude en-check. It would not be a surprise to most of you, but I can get impatient, especially when I am not seeing progress. A couple of weeks ago, I was at a doctor’s appointment and as we were talking, I teared up when I thought of this date coming up. The doctor sent in a social worker, who does some counseling among her duties. We talked for about fifteen minutes and she thought I was on track and making good progress, but she said I had to be patient with myself and give myself some time.
What do I need to wait for? It’s not to just to get past a certain date, but it’s to allow my heart to heal from the hurt, it’s to make adjustments in my attitude and my lifestyle, it’s to establish a closer walk with the Lord and see Him work in my life, it’s to not do things that the Lord doesn’t want me to do yet. I often pray -“Lord, please don’t let me mess up!!” While my intent may be right, my timing may be wrong and that could create a mess.
Dr. H. Norman Wright writes about the Four Phases of A Crisis. They are: The Impact Phase; The Withdrawal – Confusion Phase; The Adjustment Phase; and The Reconstruction Phase. In the Adjustment Phase, you are able to gain hope that life will go on. In the Reconstruction Phase, you experience newness and growth. My sense is that I may be at the beginning of the Reconstruction Phase. At least mentally, I am willing to start some exploration of what my life might be as a single person.
In the last year, I have tried to be honest with you about my feelings, my pains, and my thinking. I have talked with you about “E-bombs”, about the loneliness, about hope in a future relationship, and perhaps the most important thing of all – my walking the “highway of grief”. It has not been easy……..but there has been some rewards.
In the last year, I have visited with others, especially in my church, who have experienced grief in the passing of a loved one. The consensus was that grief was an individual experience and everyone did it differently because of the unique relationship of those who died and the survivor, and while I agreed with those thoughts, I felt that there had to be some common steps in healing. I began doing some research and discovered a program called “GriefShare”. This program is in over 12,000 churches around the world. It is a program that in 13 weeks provides video input from grief experts and the stories of individuals who had lost loved ones, It also has a group discussion and daily individual workbook focus time. Our church has added this ministry for our membership and for those outside of our church. I have the pleasure of directing these sessions. My co-facilitators and I have seen God move to give understanding and healing to those who have joined us.
So what happens now? Well, life goes on. The grief is not over, but I’ve made good progress. I anticipate my baby steps will get larger, I will become more stable, and perhaps, maybe some day, if the Lord says the same, I may be able to love again. But whatever His plan for me may be, I am to remember the purpose of giving thanks -“for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Thank you Lord for Terrie and thank you for your faithfulness to me.