“In March of 2019, my husband, Glenn, was diagnosed with Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia, a rare terminal bone marrow disease. He was given a best-case scenario of 18-24 months, but after only seven months, he passed away.
“Glenn and I have each been followers of Christ since our teen years. When we started our lives together, we had a strong desire to have a godly marriage and to be godly parents when our son, Ben, came along. But as we went about our lives, we experienced the tension of following the Lord – the life that He called us to live as Christians and the life we wanted to live according to our terms, our plans, and our desires.
“As we limped along in our married Christian walk, the Lord was good and merciful to provide us a good church home and Christian friends who challenged us to live differently from the world and to be better followers of Christ. A dear neighbor invited me to a weekly Bible study that opened my eyes and my heart to the importance of reading and knowing God’s Word and how to walk faithfully with Him. I learned to look for God’s attributes and identify His character in Scripture. I grew to enjoy being in God’s Word daily and learning more and more about the depths of God’s character. Knowing God’s character was very instrumental for me when our family met the hardship of Glenn’s terminal diagnosis.
“With the heaviness of Glenn’s diagnosis, we were taken to the bare bones of our faith in Christ, just like when in our young ages, we each realized that we were sinners who were separated from God and that our only hope was trust in Jesus for our salvation. In these circumstances, we had to admit how helpless we were. We had to surrender to God, trust His Word, and cling to the promised hope of His salvation.
“When we came to the decision that it was time for my husband to have hospice care, we had a tremendous amount of peace mixed in with our sadness. The Lord gave Glenn some fairly good days where we were able to make plans and get things in order. We had sweet family time when our son would come to visit and help, and we had precious time as a couple talking about and remembering our life together.
“This time was overwhelming, but Glenn and I were so humbled when we realized how the Lord really lived up to all of the attributes we had learned in His Word. We reflected on how faithful God had been to us and how very unfaithful we had been to Him. God in His abundant mercy and grace still cared for us. Glenn could rest peacefully and confidently because he knew the Lord would take care of me and Ben, even when he could no longer.
“After his death, in the natural ebbs and flows of grief, and on many occasions, God has provided comfort through a phone call from a friend at the perfect time, an invite from the neighbors for dinner, a sweet encounter with a stranger, an introduction to another widow who made me feel not alone, stories from my son about his dad, and the marriage of my son to a young woman, Sarah, whom my husband would have adored.
“But there have been just as many times the Lord has just let me sit in my grief for an extended period of time. I have sat in terrible puddles of my own tears, feeling no comfort. I have been bitterly reminded Glenn was gone, and then mad and anxious that I have to navigate life and family events alone. It’s been a hard season learning to be a widow and empty-nester at the exact same time.
“The Lord has been no less close, no less comforting, and no less faithful when He lets me sit in my grief. The pouring out of my pain, sorrow, regrets, and fears to the Lord has been ugly at times, but it hasn’t been too much for Him, and it hasn’t alienated me from Him. Instead, I have found that the more I pour out to the Lord, the more secure I am in Him and the more I feel loved by Him.
“There are times when I would love for my husband to be here, but I realize if he were, I would have missed out on this precious season of getting to know the Lord so very intimately and relying on Him in a way that I would never have before.”
Watermark’s grief recovery ministry is hosting a one-time event on November 16 to offer encouragement and hope to those navigating the holidays after the death of a loved one. Register for Surviving the Holidays.