Last First

Today marks 11 months since Jana died. Her pain was short with a wonderful landing in the arms of Jesus. My road has been painful, troubled, and full of struggles. Although, the path has grown more manageable as the days and weeks have passed. It has been a course full of “firsts.”

When I reflect on my grief work over the past 11 months I can clearly see the intentionality with which I set about my task. I did not “hide” from difficult situations, I made my best attempt at dealing with things head-on. It hurt to attack my grief…it hurt terribly those first many months. But, I knew life was on the other side.

Jana is safe and joyous. I am, as much as one can on earth, getting to a joyous place, too. This would have been her wish, as it would have been mine for her, were the tables turned. I can still easily fall into debating the “fairness” of events eleven months ago. I can even feel more sorry for myself than I should, if I give in to selfish thoughts. But, overall, I am close to completing my metamorphosis into the new man that will continue forward in life.

I have one more hurdle before I begin year two next month. Our anniversary. It seems the calendar, in cruel fashion, has saved the toughest for last. July 11th was about us. It was about what we shared for over 21 years. It was about our promises, which we both kept…till death parted her and I. We always took time, on the date or close to it, to remind ourselves of the importance of what we undertook in 1998.

Marriage is serious stuff. It’s not to be taken lightly or forced to take a back seat to other relationships in life, other than Jesus. I gave my all to this sacred institution. I believe in it. I support the wedded man and woman. Commitment, warmth, and emotional security, among other things, are found in this closest of all earthly relationships.

My faith allows me to be satisfied with Jana’s heavenly dwelling. My questioning human mind reluctantly steps aside and gives way to trust in God’s plan. My hope propels me into the future…allowing me, right now, to find joy in a wonderful relationship that deepens daily. And, one day, my eternal hope will be realized when I stand with all those I have loved at the feet of Jesus!

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