Now what? I can’t see anything ahead.
My husband died on November 11, 2016. I was told we were near the end a week before his death. I could see the changes with my own eyes. So, why was I so unprepared? There had been many sleepless night and nights with only a few hours of sleep for years. The last week was no different. At night I would lie across my bed to rest with my alarm set to wake me in 30 minutes in case I actually drifted off to sleep. I did not want him to die alone but I had to have a little rest. And there were the medications to give and other things…
And now? Now, the emotions overwhelm at times. I can’t stop the tears when they come. The relief I thought I would feel is there…but not to the degree I expected. I mean…it had been a hard journey, a very hard journey. He was dependent upon me for many years…in varying degrees, fully dependent the last few years. While I do feel relief that the end has come, I did not expect to feel so lost.
I knew who I was before his death. For many years I was a mother doing my best to raise my children to love God above all else. I was the wife who kept so much hidden from others — hiding the truth from them. Then the role moved into full-time caregiver. It was stressful but I knew who I was. Now the void. I don’t know who I am. Maybe it is the loss of feeling needed. Maybe it is all the changes and losses I have gone through in the last five years. I really don’t know. I know I always expected to be taking care of him for many years to come…even before the diagnosis I knew I would be taking care of him in a different way than most wives. So, what does a caregiver do when it ends?
I know my children care about me.They simply do not understand. I think at times they wonder why I am not filled with more peace now that the journey is over. I can barely explain it to myself so how can I begin to make them understand?
On numerous occasions I have said and I have written that our joy must be in the LORD, and that we must find delight in Him alone — meaning that we seek Him as our utmost delight so that if everything else were taken away we would still have joy. Someone might look at me now and think that I am not living up to what I have taught. They might be right….yet, truly He is my joy and delight. I am amazed at the love of The Savior and I am amazed at His beauty. So, why does my heart still ache and my tears flow so freely? Because the yearning of my heart is not for anything here…
To hear The King’s voice. To gaze upon Him. One day He is coming back. Until then I must find a new way to serve, a new mission. I must not believe that my useful days are in the past but simply look to Him for help as I search for what I should be doing while I wait for His return.
Now what? Even though I may not see what lies ahead. I see Jesus, The King. That is enough…more than enough. May He help me to find my way as I keep walking toward Him, and to find my identity in Him alone. I am learning that everything is tied to Him. Slowly I learn…slowly I move forward to make that knowledge a reality in my life. It is one thing to know; it is another altogether to practice it so that it changes who you are in every aspect of your life — your love, your joy, your purpose, and yes, your identity.
Yes, there is a struggle right now, a struggle I pray I will result in growth. But even in the midst of the struggle there is an ever abiding joy for He abides forever. So, though the tears may flow at times, the joy remains. Tears and joy until He comes. Then He will wipe away all the tears, and only the joy in Him will remain.