Thursday, October 6, 2011

365 Days of Grief

46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? 47 Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock.[h] 49 But he who heard and did nothing is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream beat vehemently; and immediately it fell.[i] And the ruin of that house was great.”

Luke 6: 46-48

I have been trying to write this post for over a week now.  I've been reflecting, struggling to communicate the jumble of emotions and thoughts in my head. 

A week ago the family came together to remember Marc and his passing a year ago.  It was a delightful evening -- lots of laughter, great memories, and a sense of relief about finishing the year.  Marc would have been pleased.  We enjoyed his favorite dinner, his favorite beer, and spent time talking, looking at pictures, and remembering what an amazing man he really was.

I had dreaded this past year.  While we always held out tremendous hope for Marc's recovery, we were never in denial about how serious his illness was.  I always knew that the monster could claim his life...and it did.  I remember falling apart several times -- terrified at the thought of losing him.  I wondered how I could face a day without Marc here.  How could I walk through our house, look at our children, touch his things, without falling apart every single day?  How does a person survive such a profound loss?

I have learned that the dread was infinitely worse than the reality.  I have found that living and finding joy -- in a word...surviving -- has been easier than I could have fathomed.  Perhaps that sounds trite.  It's not.  I miss Marc.  I miss staring into those loving blue eyes.  I miss his steady friendship.  I miss the safety of having my husband here.  I miss him.  However......

Elo called last week on the anniversary of Marc's death.  She called to let me know she was praying for us and to encourage us.  We talked for a long time about the last couple of years -- God's faithfulness, my amazing group of friends and family, and our church.  She then asked a very difficult question.  She hesitated and asked, "If you could change it and make it so that Marc lived, would you?"   I answered quickly.  No. 

Perhaps that answer makes you gasp.  How could I?!?   Yes, I would love to have my husband here with me right now; however, I wouldn't want to give up what I have learned about God -- who He is and His promises.  The things I have learned about the Lord in the last two and a half years are worth more than I can express.  Those things have been learned through tremendous pain and suffering.  I couldn't know these things without the loss.  My faith was tried and I have been set on a higher place.  I wouldn't want to go back and not know these truths.  If I could still have Marc here and know what I know now about my savior, I would; but, I don't think that's possible.  I can't have both.  So, the answer to the question remains the same:  No.

As I reflected on Elo's question this week, I started digging deeper in my heart.  Am I really okay?  Are my kids really okay?  Perhaps we just think we are okay.  Maybe we are all in denial.  Why has it been so peaceful this last year.  Why has the transition seemed smooth.  Yes, it's been a lot of brutally hard work, but it hasn't been the impossible tragedy I imagine a couple of years ago.  We don't wallow daily in grief.  While there are sad moments, they don't persist.  We have been surprisingly encouraged by the blessings God has placed in our lives.  Seems too simple....probably wacko to some of you. 

So if we aren't in denial, perhaps it calls into question the depth of our relationship with Marc.  Was our love for each other superficial and, therefore, disposable?  Are we not more sad because we didn't value him?  No!  We love Marc and miss his presence very much; however, Marc isn't gone.  He just isn't here.  It's hard to agonize over his absence when I know full well that I will see him again.  All is not lost. 

As I have worked around the house this week, I have smiled a lot.  I am constantly reminded of my sweet husband.  This house, especially, reminds of Marc.  We built it together.  He is in every detail of my home -- from the basic design of the house to the smallest fixture.  A song kept popping up in my head this week.  On Christ the solid rock I stand/ All other ground is sinking sand...I kept humming it to myself -- white noise...background music to my days.  I then stopped short.  That was it!  The secret to 365 days of grief!  Why has it been peaceful?  Why has the transition been smooth?    That song referred to the verses in Luke.  The man that builds his house on rock (Christ) will withstand.  Built on anything else,  it will fall.  Marc built our home on God's truths.  As hard as it was, and contrary to our culture as it was, we kept the faith.  Marc dug deep and made sure the foundation of his home -- his family -- rested on the solid rock of Christ.  And,  guess what?   The storm came and we have withstood.  Why am I surprised?  Why do I think to question it?

Folks are quick to compliment me and the kids.  People think we are amazing.  People don't understand how we do this every day.  Guess what?  We don't.  What you see isn't us.  The hope and joy you see in me and the kids doesn't come from us.  It comes from somewhere much more....perfect.  When you look at us...anything good you see....isn't us.  It's a reflection of an amazing and faithful God.  It's Jesus.  Don't miss it.  I would encourage you to check the foundation of your home.  If the storm comes, will it withstand?  Just wondering....

While you ponder the bigger questions, check out some of my favorite pictures from the last couple of years.  Images that encourage my heart and remind me of His faithfulness....

When the storms hit, who prays for you? 

Camping in 2009.  We didn't know he would be gone one short year later.  Good memories!

I watch my boys becoming more like their dad every day.

 Comforting in the midst of his own grief....

Last Family Photo


Irrepresible joy on my kids faces...


And again.

Sweet Comforts...Nothing beats a grandparent when we need cheering up.

More fun...

Our beautiful, courageous kids.  Marc would be proud.

The annual "Odyssey" that the boys do every year.  They carried on the tradition without their dad this year.  Thank you, John and Brian....

Learning a new sport...It happens to be their Dad's favorite.

Becoming a young lady...Growing up so fast!

Monumental firsts...

Stubborn vs. Stubborn
This picture just makes me laugh.

And life goes on...
Hoping you and yours find that solid foundation.
With love and gratitude....


  1. Dear Jane. I've taken my time on posting back to you on this entry. What I liked the best about your post is that you were very real. You opened up yourself so we could watch the inner workings of your brain as it processed this year. We have an amazing God don't we. And He has gifted you with being real and putting things into words. I am so grateful for you.

    Kathy P

  2. Oh Jane, Thank you for sharing your honest heart. I was a blog stalker back in the day when GSCC linked to your blog over a year ago. This week, my dear ex-next door neighbor is walking your same hard road with the sudden loss of her husband and father to their four boys. You have crossed my mind more than once since we heard the news of our friend Doug joining Jesus' presence. Your post gives me hope, yet you don't sugar coat. Thank you too for allowing me to share your e-mail with my dear Sister, Dana. Blessings!