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Four Months

Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:5

Four Months | 122 Days

Four months.

122 days without you here with us. 


Last weekend I spent some time by myself at the beach.  The ocean has always been a source of calmness and helps root me in my soul.  I love the sound of the ocean, the smell of the sea, the sand between my toes, the sun on my skin, the breeze that is always there.  It’s all happy to me. 


But this trip to one of my favorite places did not begin happy.  I knew I needed this time but had zero expectations of what my time would look like, or what – if anything – I would accomplish. 


The thought of no agenda alone was enough.


This trip was hard, as I knew it would be.


I was at our favorite resort, alone.

I walked and enjoyed the sunset this morning, alone.

I sat on the beach and watched other families enjoy each other, alone.

I got food from our favorite restaurant, alone.

I watched the sun sink into the horizon, alone.


All alone.

I missed my kids, but also know I needed this trip for me.


I needed to take time away and process. 


This just all seems so unfair.  I miss Joe like crazy.  My heart feels like it’s shattering into a million pieces all over again regularly and at the same time, it feels like it is starting to get put back together.


We know that once something has been torn apart, it will never go back to the way it was.  I pray though, that it comes back stronger, and with a bigger capacity to love. 


On this trip, I talked to God, a lot – and I talked to Joe a lot too.  I felt that there was a lot of stuff I needed to just let go of. 










I just so happened to pick a weekend at the beach that was also Thunder Beach.  Look it up.  It’s a huge bike rally that brings in an estimated 60,000 visitors, and yes, all on their motorcycles.


I am no stranger to motorcycles.  But the sound of so many bikes rolling through the streets wasn’t exactly what I had envisioned for my weekend away. 


So there I was - somewhere between the roar of the motorcycles, the gentle lap of the waves against the shore and the sound of families enjoying the sun and sand – alone on a beach with my thoughts and my phone. 


I had come here to try and heal my heart, even if it was just a little bit of healing. 


How does one ‘heal’ anyways? 


Is it from positive affirmations and high hopes?

Is it from drowning in wine?

Is it from spending endless hours at the gym, or sleeping the day away?

Is it from reading all the self-help books?

Is it from completely retreating and disconnecting from the world to get through it?

Is it from staying busy and immersing yourself in ALL THE THINGS?

Is it from writing?


For me, none of this. 


Ok maybe some self-help books and writing has helped, but my pieces of healing are coming from the belief and promise that Jesus holds me in his hands, and knowing that this season is meant to bring a greater purpose in and out of my time here on earth. 


But … how?

How do we heal?

…and how do we move forward?


The agonizing thought of moving forward without a loved one seems so wrong.  So backwards.  So dishonoring to their memory, and the life you had together.  But NOT healing is also dishonoring them and wrong. 


This is where I find myself.  In the in-between.  In-between wanting that healing and terrified of letting Joe go.  I find myself nervously taking steps forward, knowing that there is no place else to go but forward, unless you want to drown in the what ifs.



This would be the easy way out.

Walk right into the ocean and not fight.

Take a bunch of pills to numb the pain.

Drink my sorrows away.

Never get out of bed.

Allow the enemy to completely take root and take over my life.


But you know what, then he’d win.  He thought he won when he stripped the life out of Joe and left us with a void.  He thought he won.  He didn’t.  He won’t.


This is war.

(these thoughts were all written on the beach)



Sleep came hard and fast that night, but it didn’t last, as it so often doesn’t these days.  I found myself restless after just a few hours and finally woke up and found myself mindlessly watching reruns of Sex and the City.  I was awake though and took some time to put down my thoughts. 


What went to bed as a plead with God to restore my joy, woke me up with a softened grief and a bit more peace than I walked into that condo with.


This is a thing of grief I have come to terms with.  It comes hard and fast.  It greets you in the most inappropriate of times, and then it just leaves without so much as a goodbye.  It leaves you often wondering when it will come back.  It leaves you begging for it not to come visit again … EVER. 


The first few days after Joe’s passing grief never left.  It felt like it was sitting on top of our chests, suffocating us.  But now it seems it has business with other people.  I find it leaving me alone more and more.  For this I am thankful, but dually mournful for the person it has chosen to visit. 



If I had to choose a word for month four, I would call it soft.  It has softened our grief. 


In the war, this is a win. 


Yes, we are still so deeply saddened with Joe’s loss. 

Yes, we are still feeling the massive void in our lives.

Yes, we still wish he was still with us.


But with this softening, we can find peace with the knowledge that while his death is so hard for us, it was a very beautiful thing for him.  We can rest in the power that Jesus promises us we will see him again one day.  We can find joy in the knowing that he has walked on ahead of us and is waiting for us in eternity.