“You never know what a day will bring.”
That is what someone told my daughter seven years ago. When it comes to losing a loved one, I wish I could say that I don’t know how it feels. But I can’t. I know exactly how it feels, and it hurts.
Whether your loved one is terminally ill and fighting for his life or something tragic happens and he is gone, it hurts.
With us, it was sudden; totally unexpected. I’m still not sure why it happened, I just know that, (and this is from what I was told), John was in the wrong place, at the wrong time when someone who was mad at the world took out his frustrations on him.
John was beaten so badly, he had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance; not the one nearby, but to one downtown that deals with severe trauma.
Christina was only 12 years old, and we were not close anymore. She kept everything inside and turned to her friends. I was a basket case, reaching out for help that was not always there. In fact, people were telling me to be strong. How can you be strong when your dearest friend on Earth, your husband, was dying?
I didn’t have a home church yet, which made it worse because there was almost no support system. My mother-in-law flew in from Michigan after John was hurt and two months later when he died. She was such a blessing. Even John, lying in the hospital on life-support was comforting. That might sound weird, but we were so close, I really believe that he wanted to “be there” for us.
But that was John; always “there”.
We were only married a little more than eight years. We had a small wedding; simple and sweet. He made our life wonderful because
he was wonderful.
I miss everything about him; his sandy hair and blue eyes that twinkled. I miss his quiet laugh and gentle spirit. He was adorable,
and I wish my mother could have met him. She would have been thrilled.
John was so smart and articulate. He could talk for hours about history and music. He loved jazz, the blues, and played several instruments. I used to say that he forgot more than I knew. And he was so humble about it.
John was such an animal lover, so of course we had pets; two cats and a dog. Once he figured out their personality, he would “talk”
for them. It was hilarious.
I miss his cooking. I miss his laugh. I miss the way he used to open his mouth in a happy, welcoming smile, and lift his arms
shoulder-height to greet me when I stopped by at his job, and when I came home. Kisses and arms!
He was a precious husband and a wonderful stepfather to Christina, taking time to read to her and help her with homework. But he
never tried to take the place of her dad. Many weekends we’d drive to Newport News from Richmond, and back so she could spend time with him. If John couldn’t go with us because of work, he’d worry about me falling asleep at the wheel.
So when he was in the hospital, I always told him that I would call and let the phone ring just to let him know I made it back safely.
I know God was there. And I’m grateful for the precious people He sent to encourage and pray for us. Christina kept her distance a lot, maybe it was God’s way of protecting her from so much pain. But there were times when she could sense His Presence. She said she saw angels near John, and a couple of nights before he died; she told me that she saw Jesus comforting him.
After Jesus carried him home, I wanted to go too. Christina spent more and more time with her friends, so I was alone a lot. I started thinking about the old hymns that talked about dying, Heaven, and Jesus Coming back again. Lyrics that once were just words now became my life support.
I eventually found my church and plunged in. When the former pastor died, I had the honor of running the sound system at his funeral. The service was precious and comforting. I took in every word. The speaker quoted the verses from the song, “It Is Well”. My spirit jumped for joy. We sang that the night of John’s memorial service!
God didn’t forget Christina either. He is so faithful. The Easter Season is a glorious reminder that He Who raised Jesus from the dead shall also quicken our mortal bodies one day. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Hallelujah!
Dana MacDermid is a freelance writer based in Richmond, Virginia