The Hardest Year of My Life
July 1 2022
My children and I just recently commemorated the anniversary of my wife’s death. It was on June 15, 2021 that she passed from acute pancreatitis, resulting from a procedure to remove a gallstone from her bile duct. What should have been a walk in the park became a walk to the cemetery.
I had no idea how her passing was going to affect me. I knew it would be difficult and I would have to make major adjustments after sharing 44 years with her. Quite honestly, it has been far harder than I thought it would be. My whole life has changed and I now have what many call a “new normal”.
The weeks preceding her death we spent a lot of time together talking about God, the church, our children, retirement and dreaming about what our lives would be like after the pandemic ended. We had planned to travel to Israel, Egypt, Paris, London and to many sites domestically like the Grand Canyon and a possible return to Hawaii. We were just waiting for things to open back up and we were going to hit the road. She did get the opportunity to go on the Alaskan Cruise she always wanted. And I got to visit Niagara Falls. I’ll never forget how patient she was with me as we got drenched from all the water that came upon the boat.
The year of “firsts” has been challenging but we have pushed our way through. Each major holiday has had it challenges, but none like Mother’s Day and Christmas. We missed her terribly on both holidays, but we managed without becoming too emotional. I have really had to be strong for my children even when I was in great pain myself. I can say unequivocally that God has sustained me each and every day. His grace has truly been sufficient for me and He has provided comfort through relatives, friends, church members and former coworkers. Support has come from unexpected people and I am overwhelmed by the number of phone calls I still receive a year later. People didn’t just show up before and during the funeral, but they are still around supporting me today. That’s God showing His love and compassion through the hearts of those He has touched.
This has truly been the hardest year of my life, but it is also the year that God has repeatedly demonstrated that He will never leave me nor forsake me. Irrespective of how I might feel on a given day, I can never question whether God loves me or not. He has shown me He does and that He will never stop loving me. He has lifted my head so many times that I have lost count.
Father I thank you for causing your light to shine in my heart during this dark season of my life. I trust you to guide my steps as I enter the fourth quarter of my life. I thank you in advance for continued peace and a life devoted to pleasing you only. Amen.