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by Coach Debbie

I prayerfully hesitate writing this article.  I’ve put it off.  I’ve wondered how to put thoughts into sensible sentences.  Yet I feel led to write to you about grief.  My grief.  Not your grief.  Because I know the second I start trying to explain it, you may shake your head in disagreement because that’s not how your grief is or was.  And though I immensely enjoy your company, I do not feel led to share intimate details of my loss.  And let’s be honest, you may not want to know them anyway.  What I do not want is to define grief or act like some expert in the field.  And I don’t want an applause of “You’re doing a great job, Debbie.”  You know what grief is like.  Because on some, or on many, levels you have experienced loss and sadness.

If you haven’t read this article of mine yet, be my guest:

The Goodness of Grief

I am approaching 3.5 years of being a widow.  Do you picture widows as 80 year old women too?!  I prefer that title over “single mom.” I’ve made it about 1300 days without my young husband.  Which is why my eyes glaze over when other women share how hard it is that their husband has been out of town.  1300 days.  You cannot see me, but I am shaking my head….and looking out the back window at the treehouse that my husband’s hands built for our 4 sons.

A big fan of lemons-to-lemonade, I want God to use this hardship, this void, this pain for my good and His glory.   I believe He uses Aaron’s passing as a way to purify me.  To draw me closer to Him.  Earthly relationships are important, yes, but my walk with Him is what stands the test of time.  He is teaching me that He is to be my everything.  It’s easy to speak Christianese  and say how much you love and trust Jesus.  But when the bottom drops out, what then?  So I look to the Guy who calls earth His “footstool” and surrender all to Him.  My plans have never worked out anyway.  God, make me like You.

In the practical sense, maybe you’re curious what my day-to-day life is like.  You wonder, yet pray you never find out, am I right?  It’s a push-pull.  I’m learning to navigate solo, though I truly am not alone.  I have loved ones who were and are so present for me in a hundred ways.

I was a stay-at-home mom; in 2013 I started 2 different business ventures: becoming a fitness instructor to some really fabulous people (I lead 15 group workouts each week) AND of course starting MOMSANITY!!!!  Both are extremely overwhelming and time-consuming, yet a great fit.  And I never appreciated the burden of the “provider” title my husband shouldered until that baton was passed my way.  It’s challenging…but that goes back to relying on the Lord.

I have testosterone-fueled sons.  It’s everything you think it is.  I no longer count down to 5 o’clock for relief to arrive.  I no longer threaten, “Just wait ’til your father gets home, young man!”  A mental shift happens in this position and you learn not to think like you used to.  Nike says JUST DO IT.  So I do.  Baths that probably just make my kids wet not clean, dishes that show the sink who’s boss, laundry that is more mountain than mole hill, bedtime woes, homework that makes me hate school, mealtime escapades that make me lose my appetite.  Time marches on. The world keeps spinning.  Though I am at my wit’s end and scream even more loudly than I should, I pray more.  And my kids pray for me (“Dear God, please help Mommy to stop yelling so much.”).   Prayer works.  As a fellow mom, maybe my day sounds a lot like yours; and it is.  Yet having grief present has a way of compounding everyday tasks, adding that emotional impact.

Once some of the fog lifted after Aaron left earth for heaven, my perspective became even more eternal.  It’s like I’m able to “zoom out” and prioritize what really matters.  I rear-ended 2 PARKED cars within months and shrugged it off, for example.  My children have learned about their Final Destination.  That everything dies (including 2 frogs and a dog in 6 months).  That we exist to love God and do His work.  That they will get to spend every second of eternity with their daddy.

Grief is not linear.  Oh, I wish it was.  Instead, it’s more of a zig-zag spiraling circle.  One day I’m “accepting” of the fact that I will not likely see that wonderful man’s face for 60 more years.  The next day I’m in denial that he is gone.  It’s a blindfolded roller coaster.  And it’s surreal for me.  But my steadfast hope is in a God who never leaves me or stops loving me.

The “silver linings” of my children being fatherless and me being husbandless are honestly just too many to count.  Isn’t that so like God to not leave us in a pit?  He carries us from valley to mountain top to valley to mountain top.   

Putting my grief into a neatly packaged article is not easy….and not possible.  One idea spilled into another and then another after that.  (And I need to go feed my children dinner and give them a bath).

Looks like you have a “Part 2” to dread look forward to!


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  1. Thank you for always being real and transparent and authentic. It’s admirable and appreciated. Thank you for living the example of God being your rock.

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