14 May Never Too Late To Begin Again
By Linda Anderson
Suffering a loss is difficult, but when you lose someone unexpectedly, especially a spouse, it is even more devastating. It not only affects you in your heart, but your soul and body, as well.
My husband, Russ, and I had been married for over 25 years and had four adopted children who were all in college. Plans were being made for the future and we were so excited to see what God was doing in our family.
On an ordinary day like so many others before it, I kissed my husband good-bye as we both headed off to work. A phone call came in mid- morning while I was in the office, though, that would forever change my life.
By the time I got to the hospital, Russ was already gone. The doctor said he had had a heart attack at work and after trying to resuscitate him for several hours, his heart just would not respond. Needless to say, I was in shock. It was December, right before the holidays, and all I could think about was how I was going to tell our children. They all took the news very hard.
After going through counseling and hearing all about the seven stages of grief they explain that you go through, I was still in so much pain that I could not function properly. I lost my job and had to move out of the place where I was living. Grief not only affects your life, but it takes a toll on your soul and body as well. I went through feelings of guilt. I thought that if I had only done something differently or would have noticed something was wrong, maybe this wouldn’t have happened! Then came feelings of anger and placing blame, not only on others, but God as well, crying out, “How could you let this happen, God? We had our whole life planned out…”
Then, the uncontrollable crying continues and so much emotional pain and feelings of loneliness sets in. You continue on with life, but you feel like you are just going through the motions. Oh, and then come what they call those triggering moments, when something you hear, a favorite song of yours, or something you smell, maybe his favorite cologne, awaken a memory or an emotion inside, and the tears start flowing again. They tell you this is all part of the healing process…
Friends and family and even church people think they are helping by seeking you out and having something to tell you. You hear words like “It’s going to be okay,” “Just move on,” or the really good one, from someone who has never experienced something like this, “Get over it and move forward – it has been a few months now, and you need to just let the past go.” All I could think was, “Wow really??”
No one who has not been through the loss of a spouse understands the magnitude of that pain. Even when you are with your family or friends or church at a function, you feel alone. Yes, you know God is with you but even then, you are not feeling very close to God when everyone else is laughing and has someone with them. You smile and go through all the motions, but again the pain is still deeply present.
Being connected to a church and church friends who have gone through the same experience that you can talk with and truly understand is what helps. Staying grounded in the Word of God and studying on your own, through various resources of books, CDs, messages on grief, and hearing over and over again that “It is never too late to begin again” and that God still has you here for a purpose are what helped me.
The healing process involves renewing your mind, what you are thinking and what words are coming out of your mouth, along with your emotions. It is the restoring of your soul! When I got over being angry with God and feeling sorry for myself, and got a new perspective on the situation, it was then that God could work with me and show me the reason why I was still here. I had to get my eyes off of myself and what I wanted and focus on God and what HE had me still here for, the purpose.
God showed me that I had hope and future and that I could use all my past experiences to help someone else. The hope then came by me asking and seeking out how I could be a help, an encouragement, and a blessing to someone else.
Now, I wake up every day excited about how God is going to use me to help others. Writing this is a prime example of something I never would have thought I would be doing!
My perspective now is what gives me true pleasure and my hope for the future is seeking out ways to help, encourage, love, and bless others by finding ways to put some good on them and help someone else’s dreams come to pass.
I have hope and a future and my future is bright because I still am here and have a lot of love to give and experiences to share that can touch someone else’s life and make a difference! Truly, it is never too late to begin again!