Sister, if you’ve just lost your husband, I am so very, very sorry. It’s a life you never chose, a path you don’t want to walk, a club you never wanted to join. Yet, this life was chosen for you. The days, weeks, and months following the death of your husband are so hard. I’m not going to sugar coat that. I literally felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest. Never before had I ever felt emotional pain so incredibly physically. I was so nauseous for so many weeks that I had to buy some new clothes for fear that my sweet little baby boy who was just learning to walk would pull up on me and pull my bottoms down. There will be a lot of tears – more than you ever thought one person could cry. There will be a lot of emotions you have never truly felt before. There will be a lot of sleepless nights. You will feel overwhelmed much of the time.
So what do you do? First of all, understand that things will get better. It will take time, but gradually, you and your children will adjust to life on your own. God promises that suffering and mourning will only last for a season. Now, that season can seem never-ending, but it’s not. Eventually, you will be able to laugh and smile again. Someday, you will be able to see hope again. Until then, just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Do not look into the future. Let me say that again; do not, at all, think about the future. It’s a scary, uncertain place, and you don’t need to go there. Right now, just concentrate on getting through the day. Don’t beat yourself up about what you have to do to survive. If you need to just let the kids eat brownies or frozen waffles for dinner, then let them. They’ll be ok. If you need to just let them watch TV all day one day, then let them. It’ll be alright. Occasionally, I just gave up on trying to homeschool in those early days and just went to play outside with them. There is something incredibly healing about being outdoors. If you’re having trouble keeping it together, go to your doctor and accept that you may need medications to get you through this time. You can’t stay awake all night crying and then take care of your children the next day. Believe me, I know. Counseling can also help for you and your kids. Find a movie or TV show that is light-hearted. Read fun books or listen to funny podcasts. Have ladies you can call when you just need to talk.
Allow yourself to do irrational things; give yourself grace. I did a lot of things that seem crazy now, but my heart needed to do them at the time. I watched the funeral over and over again at night. I poured over more than two years of text messages with my husband. Since we messaged each other off and on every single day, that was a lot of messages. I sobbed over family photo albums. I would sit outside, drink coffee, and cry. I never could go in the living room after I put my kids to bed because that’s where we’d hung out. He had left a t-shirt on the bed that morning that he’d worn until he’d gotten dressed for work. I would hold it at night, smell him, and cry. I can’t tell you the meltdown I had the first night I reached for it and realized it no longer smelled like him. In your grief, your heart just needs to pour out the tears and sorrow. Know that not one of your tears is unseen by your heavenly father, and he has promised that he will one day wipe them all away.
Let yourself wrestle with God. God can handle your tears, your anger, your questions, your sorrow. In fact, he sent his son to this earth so that through him, we can have healing and eternal comfort and hope. I had to really reconcile in my head what I already knew to be true about God – how he can be good and still allow something so tragic in my life. I had to come to grips with the brutal reality that life is not fair, not in the slightest. It wasn’t fair that while my friends were shopping on etsy or baking recipes off of Pinterest, I was choosing a casket and shopping for tombstones with a baby on my hip. It wasn’t fair that my daughter was having to draw her pictures of butterflies and rainbows in the lobby of a funeral home. It’s not fair; none of it is. I’m so glad now though that life isn’t fair. Honestly, fair would be all of us suffering for our sins and eternally separated from God. Praise God he’s not fair. While this life may be horrible at times, your life will get better. You will always carry sorrow and pain from this loss, but it won’t define you forever. You will discover a strength in yourself and your children that you never knew possible. Your faith will be stronger and your story can become a testimony to others. You will always miss him, but praise God, because of our love for Christ, we know that one day, we will see our husbands again. Until then, just keep swimming, sweet friend. Don’t let the waves of sorrow drown you. Remember whose you are. God is still with you. It is so hard and so painful now, but one day, you will look back and say, God has brought me out of the valley. He has lead me to the rock that is higher than I. He has restored me. Amen.